Respect for life in our everyday actions
A tradition and a choice to make with a sense of humor
Damanhurians make the decision to assume a new name at some point after becoming citizens. Taking on a new name is a tradition that occurs in many spiritual schools around the world. At Damanhur, citizens choose their own names (which are used next to their birth names) and with this act, they define a new phase of their lives, a kind of rebirth.
Animal names are chosen to establish a connection with nature—and specifically with another living species with which they can easily identify. Also, it is amusing and fun to have an animal name! At Damanhur, it is said that in order to do things seriously, we need to not take ourselves too seriously!
As an alternative to an animal name, citizens may choose the name of a nature spirit or mythical animal, such as Hippogriff or Centaur.
A few years after taking an animal name, each Damanhurian may also take the name of a plant, with the same kind of significance of renewing oneself, connecting oneself to nature and having a humoristic view of life.
Everyone chooses his or her own name, and then the process is formalized by other citizens during community meetings. It may be possible that the assembly recognizes a more suitable name than the one requested; in these cases, the person can accept the name that is proposed or postpone the acquisition of the new name to another time.