The Name Game
by Sybok Pendderwydd
Comment: Sadly, in this day and age in a supposedly “free” country, one cannot use ones own real name on the web. Your opinions, politics or religion might just keep you from getting or keeping your job. So we develop all sorts of net alias’s. This is the story of mine.
My first net alias was before I was actually on the net. Back then (1985) few people were. What we had was CompuServe and Prodigy, two separate “nets” but not the Internet. Not yet. I was on CompuServe, and my first online persona was “Keymaster.” It was taken from the Ghostbusters movies, and as I was at the time struggling to open up a locksmithing business in Kankakee IL, it seemed a pertinent persona. It was on CompuServe that I first made connections with the Pagan community and attended (and later, led) online rituals.
Compuserve was spendy though. We used to spell it “Compu$erve” even. One day my friend Jim Blakely came along with GEnie (just $4.95/month) and I switched right away. On Genie, Jim was known as Frodo, after the Tolkein ring bearer. I decided to do a little one up manship, so I became “Gandalf,” leaving the “Keymaster” behind on CompuServe.
About the time I landed in Santa Cruz CA, I upgraded my persona from “Gandalf” to “Mithrandir” (the elvish name of Gandalf). I kept that up until I left GEnie altogether. For awhile, on the Santa Cruz based “Cruzio” ISP, I was “Vidmage” after another failed business venture. Later though, I took on the name “Elrond.” I’ve been known by that moniker (another Tolkeinish one) since 1997, and after the founding of the Order of the Mithril Star, and after moving to southern Oregon..
With the release of “Lord of the Rings” the movie at Yule 2001, I started feeling that “Elrond” did not suit me any more. Besides which, “Elrond” the online entity has a bad reputation in some sectors of the Pagan community (totally undeserved). There was also the sick feeling I kept getting when I saw “Elrond” action figures in toy stores. Yech. I read the Mabinogian, seeking out a new persona, and tried on various hats over the last few months. To kind of ease the transition, I have been tending to sign off as “Pendderwydd,” the Welsh word meaning “Arch-Druid.”
On June 8, 2002, I had a dream. In the dream I was named “Sybok.” Now this one is really obscure, except among Trekkies. “Sybok is Spocks brother, the leader of a fanatical Vulcan religious cult, from the movie “Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier.” I happen to like the movie, and strongly identify with the character. However, most folks dislike the movie (though many of those like the character). The dream was extremely compelling, so compelling that I feel that the Goddess was speaking to me through it, compelling me to become “Sybok.”
And so, on most of the net and to the Pagan community, it is.
Through this process, which began in December, Ceridwen has been right with me, supporting me all the way. She has been so instrumental in my evolution magickally speaking. As a matter of fact, she fully supports everything I am trying to do in both the mundane and magickal worlds. This is a whole new thing for me. No woman I have ever been married to before has ever been so supportive, so loving, or so willing to put herself out there for me. And frankly, I’ve never been as happy in my relationships as I am right now. And I think it’s going to just get better. Really.
But wasn’t Sybok (of Star Trek 5) insane? Maybe, There is a thin line between the visionary and the insane. In the movie, Kirk is the only one who suggests that Sybok is insane, and that is only after Sybok says he “talks to God.” Well, I talk to God too. Everyone I meet is God, according to my belief system. And so are you. Am I insane? In the end of ST:5, it is Sybok who becomes the ultimate hero, sacrificing his own life to save his brother and the Enterprise. I suppose that is insane as well.
Of late, with all the bru-ha-ha and paranoia with the Xtian Republicans and their Nazi like tendency toward totalitarianism, I’ve been thinking that we can’t really hide behind these pseudonyms anymore. The Gestapo will find us no matter what we decide to call ourselves, but why make it easy on them?
May you dear reader, never thirst.