Power of Names

In the book of Genesis we read that once God finished his creation, he politely asked Adam and Eve to name the animals and plants. Since an early age I wondered how come Adam and Eve chose such complicated unpronounceable names such as Agathis Australis etc. That query put aside, names are considered to be of out most importance in many spiritual traditions. In Kundalini Yoga, the yogini starts her practice with the chant Sat Nam, which roughly translate to “truth is my name.” In Judaism, God is many times called Ha’Shem which means “the name.” Many traditions assert that our names contain our destiny, the DNA of our soul. In other words, our name can tell us where we came from, where we are as well as our destiny. Our names tell a story which takes as much time telling as our years on earth. Our names’ tale begins in conceptions and ends with our final breath.

While our name might change, add or subtract letters, shift, morph, misspelled or mispronounced, it will always serve as a lighthouse that shows the way even in the darkest most turbulent nights. In the introduction to Cosmic Navigator, I share the story of how I followed the meaning of my name all the way from Israel to the US and how it helped me connect to Astrology, Kabbalah, Yoga and everything that I am today.


I would like to dedicate this blog to Uncle Sam. The power of names applies not only to human, plants, businesses and restaurants, but also to nations and countries…
"Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives that the Congress salutes Uncle Sam Wilson of Troy, New York, as the progenitor of America's National symbol of Uncle Sam."
--The 87th United States Congress resolution issued on September 15, 1961

Uncle Sam became the pictorial representation of the US government in the first part of the 19th century. Like any other story, we don’t really know which version is the “true” one, but most agree that the origin of Uncle Sam can be traced to Samuel Wilson, a meat supplier who faithfully delivered soldiers his goods during the 1812 war. From 1852, the image of Uncle Sam became the most popular personification of the USA. Dressed in the national colors, heavily propagating patriotism, his finger sticking out of the poster pointing at YOU. If we need a name to contain the collective consciousness of the US (the abbreviations could, after all, stand for Uncle Sam) Samuel would be that name. So what does Samuel mean?

The origin of the name is biblical and therefore Hebrew. But to tell you what it means, I have to tell another story…

Hannah was the favorite wife of Elkanah. The name Hannah is derived from the same root as “grace” or “mercy” and Elkanah, literally means, “God has purchased.” Obviously, we are dealing with a story that will have a lot of tears, compassion and a certain element of trade and negotiations.

While Hannah could not give her beloved husband any children, his other wife bore his a child. Elkanah’s other wife begun mistreating Hannah, degrading her and gloating at her misfortune. Every year, Hannah made a pilgrimage to the tent of God, focusing all her intention and prayer on being able to have a child. On one such occasion, when her pain was unbearable, her knees buckled and she broke out in a sob. No more prayers, no more ritual, she just released all her anguish and started conversing directly with God. She promised God that if he opens her wombs to life, in return, she will give up the child to be raised as a man of God. She vowed that “no razor shall touch his head.” (Samuel 1 1:11) No, I am not saying that the name Samuel created the hippies and flower-power movement, but then again, with names, you never know how far their powers go…

The High Priest, Eli, saw Hannah’s strange mumble and tears and mistaken her for a drunken woman. The ecstasy of her prayer could have been easily perceived as intoxication. When he stood corrected he asked her to go home. Her wish was already granted. Sure enough, about nine moons later, a perfectly healthy and extremely vital son was born. Hannah named him Samuel, which the bible tells us means, “borrowed or lent from God.” Samuel grew to become a powerful wizard and prophet. He was the one that unified the 12 quarrelling tribes into one kingdom. He was the one who anointed King David and started one of the longest lasting dynasties in history. A bloodline that according to the New Testament led to Jesus.

What does it tell us about the US? First and foremost is the fact that the US, by adopting the name Samuel, was lent to the world by God. Maybe the combined population that makes up the United States - people from all religions and races, from all corners of the world, had to converge in an attempt to be the Light to the Nation. Light that is borrowed from God. Maybe that is why on the $1 bill you find the announcement – In God we Trust. Maybe on the $1000 it should say – From God We Came.

If we look at the situation now, the US is living its name but in reversal. The recession which is blamed on bad mortgages, deception, greed and mismanagements of loans is a good example how we are not living according to our name. In addition, as a nation, we are borrowing money from China so we could buy oil from nations, tribes and cultures that not always like us that much. As of the spring of 2008, the US owes the rest of the world 9.5 trillion dollars which means each resident in the US owes $32,000 on top of what their dept might be in their personal finance. Alas, we have drifted far away from the time the US landed energy, money and talent to rebuild Europe after WWII.

An analysis of the name Sam will also yield that when the US finally reaches its full potential in wizardry and prophesy it must unite the warring nations of the world and anoint someone or something that can help deliver this world from its current discord. Maybe the US is to start a new society, a new colony in space, a new movement whereas people could start manifesting their full potential. Maybe it is an outreach program to solve world hunger, diseases or undeveloped countries. Who know? Uncle Sam does…

The final message is to all you graphic designer, marketing directors and commercials agencies. Make sure you are using the right symbol for the right message. Using Uncle Sam for a poster that asks mothers to give up and lend their children so they could fight in a war is an ironic if not cynical use of the power of the name Sam. We each have to make sure we connect to the positive aspect of our name, just like we have to tap into the light side of our birth sign. I recommend that you google your name and find out what it means. It’s your birth right…

Happy New Moon in Virgo (August 31st)
Gahl Eden Sasson