ChinaCat- What’s in a name?

"Animal Heaven"- photo by Mauro Luna

In case you haven’t figured it out, my other name is ChinaCat. I have a few names, and even my everyday name is one I adopted, not the one I was given at birth. But regardless of how many names I use, my main alias is ChinaCat. Perhaps it is a Pagan thing to take other names. Not that non-Pagans don’t have alternate names, but in general I think Pagan’s are in touch with their many states of being and make the choice to name those different aspects of their personality. For me, all my different names represent a different personality. Not that I have a mental disorder (or perhaps I do…) but I can recognize the different sides of my personality and naming these help me come to terms with myself.

I’ve been ChinaCat for almost twenty years. Yes, it is a leftover from my Grateful Dead days. It comes from “China Cat Sunflower”, a nonsense song:

Look for a while at the china cat sunflower,

Proud walking jingle in the midnight sun.

Copperdome bodhi drip a silver kimono,

Like a crazy quilt stargown through a dream night wind.


Crazy cat peekin’ through a lace bandanna,

Like a one-eyed Cheshire, like a diamond-eye jack.

A leaf of all colors plays a golden-string fiddle,

To a double-e waterfall over my back.


Comic book colors on a violin river cryin’ Leonardo,

Words from out a silk trombone.

I rang a silent bell, beneath a shower of pearls,

In the eagle-winged palace of the queen chinee.

There are other ChinaCats out there, but it’s somewhat unique, and at this point I’m pretty attached to the name. There are even people in the world that don’t know me as anything but ChinaCat. On the flipside, there are many people who have never met me as ChinaCat.

"Avian Tendencies"- photo by Ed Schipul

Regardless of what name people call me, ChinaCat has now taken on a very public manifestation. For about five years I have run a contemporary dance company which I call ChinaCat Dance. Through the name the company has definitely adopted the personality of ChinaCat. The current company is very close knit and some of us have been dancing together for years. We have come together very organically and I believe that our energies found each other. People don’t audition for ChinaCat Dance. Instead I have to know you personally, you have to be a good energy fit with the current ChinaCats, and you have to be a kick-ass dancer. Personality and vibe are just as important as talent.

Although I am a solitary Pagan and do not belong to a coven, ChinaCat is my coven name of sorts. And ChinaCat Dance is certainly coven like. We are a group that meets regularly and we know each other fairly well. We have our own little rituals (especially before a performance) and all the Cats are regularly exposed to and supportive of my Pagan ways. They actually like to be saged down or anointed with what I refer to as “holy oil” before they go onstage.

Of course we Pagans are a special breed. We are able to identify different aspects of ourselves and give these aspects names. This naming process helps me get in touch with my various personalities and levels and states of being. Plus, let us not forget that creating names is fun.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Just Bren
    Feb 04, 2012 @ 10:30:47

    Very awesome and thanks for sharing. If I may ask, did you perform a ritual to take your name. I’m wanting to take a Wiccan name for myself and unsure how to go about it. Any info you can share would be greatly appreciated!


    • chinacat27
      Feb 04, 2012 @ 11:03:09

      I didn’t have a ritual. I was young and crazy and the name just stuck. My other nicknames were all given to me. In choosing names I just kick them around awhile and the ones that are meant to be stick with me. Sometimes you’ll grow away from one and come to another. I think it’s just a matter of what feels right. I’d recommend thinking/meditating on names that appeal to you and the right one will come. And the right names really will “stick” to you so you know it’s right 🙂


  2. cinnageek
    Feb 04, 2012 @ 13:09:28

    🙂 Fun post! Thanks for sharing about your name and your group 🙂


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