As I complete writing my forthcoming book – Diving for Pearls: Discovering Inner Wisdom – I am concluding with my account of reclaiming my original name, Maggie Kay, last year. I’ve been looking at the videos I took at the time to remind myself of the magic of that occasion. And so, I thought I’d share it with you again and re-post my blog from the summer of 2013…
This summer I changed my name from Srimati to Maggie Kay.
I’ve been known as Srimati for 20 years – a spiritual name given to me when I was ordained into the Western Buddhist Order in 1993. And although I resigned my ordination 11 years ago and no longer consider myself to be a Buddhist (preferring to embrace all spiritual traditions), I kept my beautiful spiritual name until now.
So why the change?
The idea came out of the blue – well from the heavens to my husband Pat, as it was he who had the sudden insight to make the change after talking with me about some old unconscious beliefs I was letting go of. But it felt so right! I knew as soon as Pat suggested it that it was what I would do.
We could see that being called Srimati was keeping me subtly but powerfully linked to aspects of Buddhism that I no longer resonate with. And it was blocking me from claiming my true spiritual inheritance from my family name, ancestors and magical Scottish homeland.
I gave myself the summer to make the changes. It has been a profound, rich, intimate inner process (as anyone who has changed their name may tell you) and has also required a bit of practical work including re-branding my business.
In August, Pat and I had a wonderful holiday in Scotland. On our first night, wanting to honour my ancestors, we visited the birthplace of my Great Grandmother, Mary Kay, whose name has been passed down at least five generations on my mother’s side to me.
Here is a video I took that morning, speaking about my great grandmother, Mary Kay:-
After enjoying a delightful week with my mum on the Isle of Cumbrae, Pat and I spent our last night in Scotland near the Scottish Buddhist retreat centre, Dhanakosa, where I had been ordained and given the name Srimati.
In this video I am standing on the lochside by the retreat centre, reflecting on my ordination as Srimati:-
The following morning, I conducted my own private ceremony to lovingly lay aside my Buddhist name, Srimati, in the very shrine room where I was publicly ordained.
I took the video camera into the shrine room with me to catch this spontaneous but powerful ceremonial moment:-
And so Srimati ‘radiant mind’ has become Maggie Kay ‘pearl fire’.
My friends have been adapting with love and understanding (some of them affectionately calling me Srimaggie for a while to help them with the transition!) and my mum is very happy I’ve chosen to reclaim the beautiful names she gave me at birth.
There have been a few moments when I’ve missed being Srimati and have been feeling strangely ‘naked’ as Maggie Kay, but I know I am embodying more of myself than ever before.