Not Just a Name #namesymbolism #pastlives

Have you ever thought about why you have the name you do? What does your name mean to you on a personal level? Does it feel right? Does it resonate from a deep place of truth within you? How did you get your name?

Some people believe, myself included, that we choose our names before we are born. As we review the life we wish to experience before we incarnate, we select the name that will resonate with the energy we wish to embody or experience. Sometimes, as Denise Linn observes in her book Past Lives, Present Miracles, we are named after a particular person because we have a  karmic connection to him or her, and often our names can link us back to a geographic location where we had a significant past life.

When I was a child, my mother told me my name, Alethea, came from a book. When I was 36, my birth father told me a different story, I story that I know believe to be true. In the year of my birth, the TV series Kung Fu featured an episode with Jodi Foster called “Alethea.” The wealth of symbolism in this episode is, for me, too significant to be a mere coincidence.

Despite the phonetic spelling of my name, my parents always called me Aletha. Aletha, from what I have found, has connections to England, a land where I enjoyed a very happy past life as a writer. Is it an accident that my parents chose to overlook that second e? Without the second e, the meaning of the name changes from truth to truthful.

As a young child, I felt bound by, and intensely bonded to, my name. On the one hand, I loved it. I thought it had a beautiful ancient strength in its sound. Alethea reminded me of Greek goddesses and the wonderfully mythology that fascinated me from a young age. It also constantly reminded me of  the concept of “truth.”

My name felt like a stamp on my soul. It still does. My obsession with my name and its meaning of truth would often cause great conflict and turmoil within me. If I felt a compulsion to lie or cheat in any way, I would have a visceral reaction compounded by an overwhelming sense of guilt.  When I knew someone was lying or being deceitful with me, I would have an equally strong reaction. Truth, it seemed, was a vital piece of my being. It never left me wherever I went, whatever I did.

Although I didn’t realize the soul significance at the time, I had many encounters where truth was subverted or hid during my childhood. I was told secrets and stories by my family and friends I was not allowed to share, secrets and stories that I sometimes realized were not grounded in “truth.” Yet I clung to their truths until the pain from harboring them became too much. My body literally could not take it.

Deep within, there was the ever-present soul truth yearning to be free. In college, I became enthralled with Keats’ odes, in particular “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” For my honors thesis, I chose the young poet, who, like myself, seemed obsessed with the idea of truth.

Truth haunted me with each life stage. If you have been following my writing, you will know that I wrote a memoir, called A Girl Named Truth and named my healing business Inner Truth Healing. Truth is always inserting its presence in my life.

When I decided to write my book manuscript as nonfiction instead of fiction, A Girl Named Truth was the first and only title I considered. It felt destined. I started healing my truth when I began writing this book, and by the time I was finished, I knew I needed to use my experience and gifts to help others heal.

I no longer view circumstances in life as coincidences or random occurrences. I believe the Source behind all life has a wonderful, vastly intelligent way of weaving a tapestry of deliberate scenes for us to personally experience and learn from. No character or event is irrelevant.

When you look at life this way, circumstances become more, and less, personal. For example, what I used to consider unfair personal attacks on my being, I can now look at as learning experiences designed for both me, and the other individuals involved.

In Past Lives, Present Miracles, Denise Linn also writes of the significance of nicknames. When I was a child, my paternal grandmother, with whom I had a strained relationship due to my parents’ divorce, used to call me “Leethie.” This nickname, as you may have noted, is similar to the world Lethe, which also has Greek origins. For those unfamiliar with the word, Lethe is the name of the goddess and river of the underworld in Greek mythology. The River Lethe is also called the River of Forgetfulness, from which the dead drink in order to forget their earthly life.

You could say I (almost) never drank from that river. My sister often remarks on my ability to remember life events that she has forgotten, even though she is older than I am. It’s almost as though I refuse to forget. I believe it’s significant that only my grandmother called me by this nickname. The year I turned 14, the last time I saw her, I felt as though she had forgotten me.

I didn’t have many nicknames as a child. Most friends and family simply called me Aletha, never choosing to shorten it more, and I never insisted upon being called by any other name. On the other hand, I hated, yes hated, my middle name, so much so I tried to hide it. According to my mother, my birth father insisted on giving me the middle name Eamon because he was expecting me to be a boy.

Eamon was the name I tried desperately to hide, which I did until it appeared on the program when I graduated 6th grade. The name Eamon has Gaelic and Old English origins. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that I have always been drawn to the Emerald Isle, as well as England. The slightly differing translations of the name all center around the theme of protection and  defending. As noted above, I tried desperately to protect my family’s truths for man years. I also defended their truths at the expense of sacrificing my own.

According to this site:, people with the name Eamon are creative, often writers, and are drawn to beauty in their lives. It took me a long time to let the writer inside of me out, but before I did, I traded in the name Eamon for Elizabeth.

Elizabeth, chosen when I was 18 by me and my mother, is the named shared with my maternal grandmother and great-grandmother. The name Elizabeth also has Greek origins, and can be loosely translated to “I am God’s daughter.” When I ceased being a protector of my family’s secrets, I also found my spiritual self.

So, even if you don’t love a name you were given at birth, it may be worth doing some research into how it was chosen for you and what it means. The more we explore the origins of our names, the closer we can get to our own personal truths.

4 thoughts on “Not Just a Name #namesymbolism #pastlives

  1. A really interesting post Alethea. Before I was born, my parents decided they’d call me John Ronald. They hadn’t even considered that I might be a girl, so when I was they struggled to find a name – they thought about Ann, but in the end added to it so it became Andrea – which I’m glad about, as I couldn’t see myself as an Ann. I hated it when I was young, but am now happy with it. Funnily enough, given the story behind it, Andrea is traditionally a boys name with the meaning ‘manly’ – so I still didn’t escape being given a boy’s name! But the meanings associated with it, such as a need for quiet and to look for the deeper meanings in things is definitely me!


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