Clifton Leigh Collier's Guide to Crone Etiquette
First rule of thumb: you don't have to use any of this if you don't want to.
Second rule of thumb: see first rule of thumb.
Unlike in other covenants where etiquette is set and inflexible, Crone etiquette is based on endearment and respect, and is entirely optional. You don't have to use it, however it is a good way of showing someone that you respect them. Also for the most part no-one is going to come down on you like a ton of bricks if you get it wrong. We are not the slaves of a rigid structure like the Invictus or Lancea Sanctum. These simple rules are fairly easy to learn, and as long as you get each other's personal name right, then the rest should be plain sailing.
Personal names Edit
The first thing to remember is that within the Circle itself the last name doesn't have to be used. It is an honorific or nickname that may help you to embellish why you respect that person, of which we will study more later. The first name however, or personal name, is something that once it has been adopted doesn't change throughout the Acolyte's life.
At embrace (or initiation into the Circle) it is not uncommon for the Crone neonate to choose a name for themselves to describe their character, and that name replaces their first name for the rest of their unlife. It is the name that everyone knows them by. As time goes by of course and the memories of mortal days begin to fade, it is quite common for the Ancilla or Elder to forget altogether what their mortal name was €“ this is expected and accepted, as the Acolyte will never use their mortal name again.
In some covens it is common practice for an Acolyte to have an alternative name that they reserve for use in ritual. This helps them to focus on the spiritual energy within ritual and leave the stresses and politics of the Court outside the temple door. This is quite acceptable, but is by no means compulsory. Remember though that if someone does choose to use a ritual name, it is bad etiquette to use it in front of non-initiates, and that is something that you would get a slapped wrist for.
Last names, surnames and family names Edit
Adopting surnames became common practice in 14th century England as a means of making taxation more effective. They are a patriarchal mechanism of oppression and as such are generally not used within the Circle. Where a last name is used, it is generally something that has been adopted since embrace in honour of a particular success or achievement, or a character trait that the Acolyte is known for.
Thus Jane might turn out to be a particularly successful Valkyrie, and so she becomes known within the Circle as Jane the Bold, Jane Armstrong or Jane Archer. John may turn out to be a good Fool, so he becomes known as John the Fool, John Trickster or John Loki. Also an Acolyte may have multiple honorifics if they prove to be adept at more than one skill. A case in point is the name Clifton Leigh Collier, where Clifton is the personal name, and Leigh and Collier are both honorifics.
A list of the most common honorifics used for Circle positions is as follows, however this is not an exhaustive list. Inventiveness is the key to finding a name that you are comfortable with. Also remember that these don't have to be used, and sometimes some of the most respected Acolytes within the Circle are known by just a single name (e.g. Annis).
Valkyrie: Armstrong, Bold, Longstrides
Vala: Leigh, Deft, Prime
Hierophant: Goodmother, Fairwife, Magea
Adhveryu: Masters, Journeyman, Prentice
Fool: Loki, Trickster, Harlequin
Haruspex: Seer, Psychea, Soothsayer
Skald or Bard: Wordsmith, Wordsworth, Wise
Titles are a mark of respect rather than something that you have to use and where they are used are generally only used within the confines of the temple. Using titles in the presence of non-initiates is the other thing for which you are likely to get your wrist slapped. Titles tend to be for the steps an Acolyte takes between initiation and death. Here is a list of common titles that may be used, but as before this is not an exhaustive list, and you may prefer to use your own. Also remember that you don't have to use any title if you don't wish to.
Choristin or Chorister: Boy, Girl, Child, Choristin, Chorister, Junior
Maiden: Maid, Miss, Maiden
Knave: Master, Knave, Jack
Mother: Mother, Hierophant (where applicable), Mistress
Father: Father, Hierophant (when he is acting on a Hierophant's behalf), Sir
Crone: Widow, Crone, Nanny, Darkmother, Witch, Queen
Emperor: Emperor, Grandfather, King
Rex Nemorensis: Sage, Elder, Grandmaster
Cista Mystica: Pray you never meet one to find out
Semnotatoi: Priest, Brother, Castrati
Examples from other Circles:
Margaret of the Sight
Castrati Wigmund Firstwren
Emperor Nugent of Milan
Sir Leon SeerGoodwife Bennett Magea