People often ask me why in some circles, namely when I do energy work, I go by ‘Bright Star Woman’ as an alternative to Mercedes.

The short answer it’s my Cree spirit name.

The long answer only comes if I’m asked to elaborate and if it feels like a safe environment to share.

I’m from mixed indigenous ancestry, namely, of Cree descent. But I didn’t grow up with my culture. It was lost between my grandfather and I, because of historical circumstances and misguided beliefs. I thought for years that I’d have to trace my lineage exactly in order to truly feel like I belonged.

But in my mid-twenties, the call of my spirit was too strong. I had to go explore my heritage.

I’m grateful I did, because it’s opened my heart and my eyes, to parts of me I’d kept hidden.

When I was 27, I received my spirit name from a Cree Elder I love dearly, though I didn’t know him well then. He kindly explained to me that spirit names are deeply personal, especially now that the White Man rules and gave us all legal names. Spirit names used to be all there was. They were given to a child by an older family member who’d commune with the spirits and understand the child’s soul. The spirit name became a guiding light for that person; it reminded them of their true nature and of their potential in this life. Words are powerful, and names are to be honoured. Now, spirit names are used in a person’s spiritual practice and in ceremony, where it will be respected, as the person will, for who they are.

This is also a tradition in yoga; to receive a name from your Guru. I asked to be given a yogic spirit name as well, and when I received it, to my surprise, it aligned with my Cree spirit name in meaning.

I felt a renewed sense of purpose.

I’m grateful for the ceremony that reintroduced me to my Self.

Spirit names WIDE

What’s your view of spirit names and would you find it helpful on your journey?