Change My Name
Saturn will transit sidereal Aquarius April 28, 2022 through March 29, 2025.
I told Jesus
If he changed my name
I told Jesus
If he changed my name
I told Jesus
One thing the God of the Bible was gonna do was change somebody’s name. Story after story is about the new identity that emerges from leaving behind one’s former self for a new self, one’s old name for a new name.
The God of the old testament gave new names to those God called to lead their people towards liberation, and to those given mantles to change the trajectory of their family lineage. Abram became Abraham while Sarai became Sarah. Jacob was called Israel.
This practice of changing names has been important for people, past and present, both as political statements of self-determination and as a reorganization of one’s sense of self. The latter is political, too.
Just as Jesus of Nazareth changed his disciple Simon’s name to Cephas (as a prophecy for how Cephas would soon carry forth Jesus’s work and legacy), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s father changed both of their names from Michael to Martin Luther. He did this in honor of the legacy of Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation. Malcolm Little was called Malcom X and then el-hajj Malik el-Shabazz in the tradition of the Nation of Islam, relinquishing the surname of their ancestors’ enslavers. He was renamed as an acknowledgment of a new identity from a new lineage, no longer seeing and knowing himself as the offspring of chattel.
There are also instances in the Old Testament of the Bible where colonizers changed the names of those they colonized. Pharaoh changed the name of Joseph, son of Israel (Jacob), to Zaphenath-Paneah. Daniel became Belteshazzar under the reign of imperialist ruler Nebuchadnezzar. Both Joseph and Daniel were given names as a way for their colonizers to appropriate and claim ownership of their gifts.
Though this particular kind of name change is not unique to the Bible, it illustrates the legacy of colonialism and imperialism. Empire makes objects of its subjects by supplanting the subjective gaze for that of empire. The colonized must see and know themselves as empire sees and knows them in order to survive empire. They must answer to the name that empire calls them.
What does it do to one’s identity, one’s sense of self, what one even defines as oneself, when one’s name is changed? Name changes are not in any way superficial or aesthetic. They form the shape and content of identity. They are symbols that allow us to conceptualize (see in our imaginations, our minds) ourselves. We come to know and see ourselves by the words and names we are called, for good or ill.
Whose Vision Determines What You See?
A question I pose often is, “whose vision determines what you see?” We assume that we see ourselves, each other, and this world through our own vision. If we are not seeing through our own eyes, whose eyes are we seeing through?
What we call the ‘self’ is an aggregate of internalized gazes. By gaze, I mean who and what other people perceive and/or demand us to be, and how they treat us and judge us. An internalized gaze, then, is the way we consciously and unconsciously see ourselves, each other, and the world through the judgements and perceptions of others. This often happens to the exclusion of our own gaze, until the time comes to see ourselves anew. That time is now.
The gazes of those who have, and have had, the power of life and death over us comprise the most of this self that we identify with and project outward. That which makes up the self that you identify with and as “me” comes from other people in direct proportion to the amount of power they have over you.
Enslavers’ power of life and death over the African’s they kidnapped and tortured.
Parents’ and other adults’ power of life and death over children who have no power of their own.
Whiteness’s power of life and death over all who must survive its obsession with dominance over all.
Capitalism’s power of life and death over all who must be fed and housed under its perpetual theft and hoarding.
Patriarchy’s power of life and death over all who must survive its entitlement to authority, assumed and enforced with violence.
One’s parents and caregivers, government and all proxies for the state, the dominating culture and their cultural norms⎻these all have the power of life and death over us in varying degrees at different points in our lives. Whatever self one might identify with as “I” is most certainly the self that has managed to survive these forces of life and death.
Are All People Persons?
Who lives without fear of physical violence from their caregivers? Who is conditioned to expect violence as a consequence for existing?
Who is granted the dignity of safe housing and food security? Who suffers from chronic housing insecurity and hunger?
Who can move freely without fear of imprisonment or an untimely death? Who constantly faces the threat of imprisonment and death?
Who is granted the freedom to embody and express their feelings as their evolving authentic self? Whose is stripped of bodily autonomy, the right to feel and to control what they do with and what happens to their body?
Under these definitions, who is seen as a person and at what cost? Are all humans granted personhood? Are all who are granted personhood humans?
Who has assumed the power to determine what a person is? This answer is simple. Those who harness and then weaponize the power of life and death over others determine what a person is. The definition of personhood precludes the self-determination of individuals and once sovereign peoples. The right is violently stolen.
Reclamation As Revolt
Name changes are a political act of self-determination. They expose and reject internalized gazes. They reclaim the power and the right to see oneself through one’s own eyes.
Name changes get to the root of imperialism and colonialism. The root is when and where the three-headed beast of patriarchy, capitalism, and whiteness claimed dominion over you by stripping you of your right to decide what name you will answer to.
Self-determination, as the gift of sidereal Aquarius, is the process of, right to, and survival based need to:
- Recognize and name the gazes you have internalized;
- Realize that those gazes are not your authentic self;
- Reclaim the right to see yourself through your own eyes and imagination;
- Reimagine, redefine, and rename oneself.
Self-determination is the difference between identifying with who and what has power over us, and identifying with a real imagined self that exists independent of who and what has power over us.
So, whose vision determines what you see?
Saturn Return in Sidereal Aquarius
You are having your first Saturn return if you were born:
- March 2, 1993 – June 2, 1995
- August 9, 1995 – February 16, 1996
You were born after a decades long fight against apartheid in South Africa “ended” with the election of Nelson Mandela. During the 1980s crack cocaine ravaged Black communities in the United States. It culminated in the 1994 Crime Bill which has irreversibly harmed generations of Black people. That same year HIV/AIDS became the number one cause of death for Americans aged 25-44. Also in 1994 was the Rwandan Genocide and the start of the First Chechen War.
Underlying all of these events is the same thing: the colonial exploits of whiteness, patriarchy, and capitalism and the movements of self-determination that rose up in reaction.
Your Saturn return begins the very first time Saturn enters sidereal Aquarius which is April 28, 2022. Your Saturn return does not end until the very last time that Saturn leaves sidereal Aquarius which is March 29, 2025.
You are having your second Saturn return if you were born:
January 27, 1964 – December 19, 1966
You were born at the height of the 1960s Civil Rights struggle in America which culminated in a polarized combination of wins and losses: the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the assassination of Malcolm X, the formation of the Black Panther Party, The Vietnam War and the anti-war movement, The Cold War, desegregation.
Preparing For Your Saturn Return
Join me for a 2.5-hour workshop Saturn Return in Sidereal Aquarius – 2022-25 which will take place Saturday May 7, 2022 at 11:30am central time via Zoom. The cost is $25. In this workshop we will cover:
- What is Saturn?
- What is the Saturn Return?
- What does Saturn in sidereal Aquarius mean in my birth chart?
- What is my Saturn Story?
- What will I experience during my Saturn return?
- How can I prepare?