True Name

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True Name is usually interpreted as a sound that expresses, or is connected with, the true nature of a being or thing. In the traditional view, a being's true name must be carefully concealed, because he who knows it acquires power over this being and can work magic upon it.

The idea that there is a sacred language based on the true names of things has been central in some philosophies, religions, and traditions of magic since antiquity.

According to C. W. Leadbeater

C. W. Leadbeater explained the concept of the "true occult name" not as being a word, but as the combination of sounds, a "chord", produced by the subtle bodies of a person:

Man's various forces and qualities, manifesting in his bodies as vibrations, send out for each vehicle what may be called a keynote. Take his astral body as an example. From the number of different vibrations which are habitual to that astral body there emerges a sort of average tone, which we may call the keynote of this man on the astral plane. It is obviously conceivable that there may be a considerable number of ordinary men whose astral keynote is practically the same, so that this alone would not suffice to distinguish them with certainty. But there is a similar average tone for each man's mental body, for his causal body, and even for the etheric part of his physical body; and there have never yet been found two persons whose keynotes were identical at all these levels, so as to make exactly the same chord when struck simultaneously. Therefore the chord of each man is unique, and furnishes a means by which he can always be distinguished from the rest of the world.[1]

This chord can be used to find and communicate with a person on the inner worlds:

The trained seer, who is able to sense the chord, attunes his own vehicles for the moment exactly to it, and then by an effort of will sends forth its sound. Wherever in the three worlds that man who is sought may be, this evokes an instantaneous response from him. If he be living in the physical body, it is quite possible that in that lower vehicle he may be conscious only of a slight shock, and may not in the least know what has caused it. But his causal body lights up instantly - leaps up like a great flame, and this response is at once visible to the seer, so that by that one action the man is found, and a magnetic line of communication is established. . . .
The combination of sounds which will produce a man's chord is his true occult name; and it is in this sense that it has been said that when a man's true name is called he instantly replies, wherever he may be.[2]

Regarding how to know the chord of a person, C. W. L. wrote:

The vibrations which cause [the chord] are communicated by the man to any object which is for some time in close contact with him, and therefore permeated by his magnetism. A lock of his hair, an article of clothing which he has worn, a letter which he has written - any of these is sufficient to give the chord to one who knows how to perceive it. It can also be obtained very readily from a photograph, which seems more curious, since the photograph need not have been in direct contact with the person whom it represents.[3]

This occult name, however, is not the mystic name of the Higher Ego or individuality:

This name of the man must not be confused with the hidden name of the Augoeides, for that is the chord of the three principles of the Ego, produced by the vibrations of the âtmic, buddhic and mental atoms, and the Monad behind them.[4]

See also

Online resources



  1. Charles Webster Leadbeater, The Inner Life, (Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1978), 312.
  2. Charles Webster Leadbeater, The Inner Life, (Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1978), 313.
  3. Charles Webster Leadbeater, The Inner Life, (Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1978), 315.
  4. Charles Webster Leadbeater, The Inner Life, (Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1978), 313.