When I was a kid, my family did a lot of road trips up and down the east coast of the United States, visiting family. One of the things that I noticed through these peripatetic meanderings was that a lot of towns had the same names: Dover. Rockville. Gloucester.
There was a part of me that always wanted to believe that those towns with the same name were somehow connected, that if I knew the right spot, the place where everything lined up, it would be easy to step – or drive – from one Dover to the next, from one Rockville to another.
I was thinking about this again last night, when I went to dinner at a restaurant just off Route 28, and how my father lives just off Route 28 a few hundred miles away, an entirely different road, but they share a name. So there has to be a way, right?
Names are magic.
We see this in the Western grimoire tradition, where knowing the true name of an entity makes for the powers of summoning and dismissal and control – and we see this back in Egypt, where Aset stole Ra’s name in order to gain the power of creation.
We name things. We summon them up from out of nothingness, out of the Nun, we bring them into being. We imagine things, form images, develop concepts, and then out come the blueprints, the design sketches, the plans, and these things happen… because we started to give them names. We make laws, form families, join clubs, all of these social matters, and all of them are the power of naming.
Names are magic, and with this magic we make the world.
(And if anyone can figure out how to tesser-hop from one Dover to the next one or state route 28 here to state route 28 there without having to deal with the New Jersey Turnpike, I’m all ears.)