- See also True Name (disambiguation)
True Name is the denomination of an individual that reflects their true nature and identity.
The True Name of a being is both its existence, its history and its identity. A human could think of it as a platonic blueprint of the being. It is a word that encompasses every part of its target, from its internal organs to its very soul. The more intelligent a being is, the more complex its True Name is. Animals have comparatively simple Names, while the Name of a human can change through life-changing experiences. Finding True Names is a harrowing task in itself and demands a deep psychological understanding of the target. If a person knows its own True Name, it can safeguard it against magi who would use it against him by inscribing it via arcane runes and magical wards.
The wizards of Ancient Egypt were the first mortals (so they claim) to utilize the power of True Names (ren in their native tongue). Legends tell that Isis learned the True Name of Ra and created Ra-Hekau, the art of controlling reality itself. These doctrines later found their way into hermetic thinking via the Cult of Mercury and formed one of the most important sympathetic connections in the hermetic paradigm. These mages were known to use their command of magic to fixate their True Name as a word of ten syllables (which did not necessarily have to form true words) which contained their mystical essence. Mistakes in pronouncing a True Name in a magical ritual can have disastrous effects. Most users of True Names use dead languages like Latin, Enochian and Egyptian to pronounce them, to not diminish their mystical significance.
In the Final Nights, True Names are used via the Hekau art of Nomenclature by the Amenti, as an important part of the principle of Identity in the hermetic Thaumaturgy espoused by the Tremere, the practices of Akhu by the Followers of Set, and the arts practiced by the Order of Hermes, as the métier of House Shaea.
Demons have True Names granted directly from God, that often describe their original purpose in creation. These Names are not words or names in the traditional sense; rather, they are a collection of abstract sounds and concepts, such as the sound of a hundred children laughing at once or the wind whistling over the entrance of a cavern. Demons also instinctively know their True Name and are carefully guarding it, least they can be controlled by other Demons or mortals. When Lucifer taught the wizards of Babel how to summon demons from the Abyss, he revealed the True Names of his former loyalists to them and these names are used by demonologists from all different paradigms to summon true demons (others contact spirits, banes, or similar nasty creatures).
Among the Fae
In a similar matter, the first Fae were shaped via their identities from the raw force of the Mists. They ascribe them with fixed names, and in a similar matter, the Fae formed existence out of the Mists, by ascribing things fixed natures with the use of Names. Following the Great Unleashing and the formation of the Four Courts, most of the Fae were trapped in – for them – relatively static forms. The Eshu Kith, is rumored to have developed the Art of Naming during this time period, until it was confiscated by the Nobles, allegedly to avoid abuse. After the Resurgence, only Sidhe have exhibited knowledge of using True Names for their purpose.
A namer or wielder of supernatural powers has a great advantage it he knows the target's True Name. Aside from any of the uses above, a person intuitively knows when his name is in the hands of another. He will instinctively defer to that person. This "shrinking" effect explains why the wizard Merlin carried an "aura of power " about him — perhaps he knew many of the True Names of the company he kept. The greatest power of True Name lies in its withheld usage. There is a widely held belief among the fae that the more times a True Name is spoken, the lesser the potential ability of the named. A True Name spoken aloud tends to diminish the stature of the owner in some unexplained manner.
The greatest fae seers recorded are those who knew their True Name at birth (it is said that these enlightened souls were fully aware at birth and even retained fragmentary memories of their experiences in Arcadia) and never underwent a Saining. Thus, the name of the seer remained a mystery to all but himself. There are certain rituals guarding against the theft of a True Name, but the whether these rituals work is anyone's guess.
True Names are also purported to summon the spirits of the dead. If you know the wraith's True Name, you can force her to manifest in a circle. Of course, this is mere speculation.