THE NAMES OF KHRYSSO:
A BIT OF BACKGROUND FOR THE FAERIE COMMUNITY
First posted to the Radical Faerie e-list hosted by QueerNet.org, June 2000.
I’ve told this story before, but it keeps evolving.
My parents named me Christopher Robert Wagner. Christopher because I was born two weeks before Christmas and Robert after my uncle Bob. (It was fun when we were younger to say, “Robert Wagner is my uncle!”, but now few remember who he was.) Mom also liked the A.A. Milne poem “Vespers,” with the repeated line, “Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.” (Little did she know that I really would end up at a theological seminary, though alas, not a Catholic one.) The “Robert” evoked Robin as well.
As a Catholic child, I chose Michael as my confirmation name. I liked the name, and St. Michael the Archangel (or whatever order of angel he was) was a strong character, and I aspired to such strength.
In junior high my cousin said, “Chris isn’t fat; he’s fluffy.” So to her I became Fluffy for several years. I hated that name.
Also in junior high, cruel classmates renamed me Chris Fagner. I hated that name lots worse.
In college a guy on my floor began calling me Chris-o. I asked him why. He said, “That’s what your roommate calls you when he gets drunk.” I asked my roommate, “Why do you call me Chriso when you get drunk?” He said, “I don’t.”
Well, I liked Chriso better than Fluffy or Fagner, so I propagated that one in hopes that it would supplant any others, and it did. I went by Chriso for a lot of years while I was involved in a fundamentalist cult that I belonged to during and after college.
When it came time for me to come out (at 28), I left the cult and the people who knew me as Chriso and became Chris again.
In 1994 I met the faeries and discovered that Chriso had been my faerie name all along and I just hadn’t realized it. So I adopted Chriso as my faerie name. But as I began performing more in the Pagan community at large, I began using Chriso as my Pagan and stage name as well, and I decided to come up with the more interesting spelling “Khrysso;” since I was no longer Christian, I also wanted to distance myself from the Christian roots of the word “Christopher,” which is Greek for Christ-bearer.
I also decided to embrace my pansihood and re-empower the old epithet “Faggner,” which I began spelling with two g’s just because I wanted to. I did a little bit of publishing in RFD and a couple other places under that name.
At a Short Mountain gathering, a faerie came up to me while I had stepped away from the heart circle to pee (not as kinky as it sounds, damn the luck) and told me that I was really channeling a faerie friend of his who had died recently, and he wanted me to have an amber necklace that this friend had given him. He slipped it over my head. Overwhelmed, I returned to the circle. When I regained my senses, I approached the faerie and said, “What was your friend’s name?”
“Scott,” he said, “but we called him Fluffy.”
So I became Khrysso Fluffy Faggner because I wanted to honor and reclaim another name that had been derogatory to me, and I wanted to gather Fluffy/Scott’s faerie energy and express that in the world.
Green is my favorite color, and for a while I wanted to use Jade Greene as a pen and online , but I didn’t have many opportunities to use it.
Several years later at a faerie gathering at SMS, I decided that I had allowed “Khrysso” to lose its faerie power for me by using it at large, and I wanted another name that I would only use with the faeries. I also wanted a name that had not been given to me, one that I had chosen myself. I realized that my heart chakra is where I relate most authentically to my tribe and my world, and so I chose the name “Heart” to be my new faerie name. So sometimes, basically as a joke, I would call myself Khrysso Fluffy Faggner Jade Greene Heart Chakra. But not often.
I have been Khrysso for so long now, even at school–I even got a scholarship announced under that name at our recent honors convocation!–that I have, in the last year or so, decided that I want to change my name to it legally. I never use Khrysso and Wagner together–I think it awkward to have a name ending with an O followed by a name beginning with a W (Chris O’Wagner? Chris O. Agner?), so I decided I wanted a new last name. As a terminal node on my family tree, I don’t need to worry about passing the name along, and besides, both of my brothers have already passed it along to their sons, so I’m off the hook genealogically. I’ve decided that my faerie identity is important to me, even while I plan to become an ordained minister in the Unitarian Universalist church. So I think Fagger is stretching credibility a bit. I’ve come up with LeFey as a new surname, since it means “the fairy” and has a precedent in literature (an important thing to UUs) in the Arthur legend-cycle.
So unless I get a better idea, I intend to change my name to Khrysso Heart LeFey before I graduate so I can have the name on my degree certificate.
I told my parents this recently, and tried to explain to them that I meant no disrespect to them. They were not amused, and they do feel disrespected. Oh well.
So I am gradually using Khrysso Heart LeFey more often. Since I still use Khrysso as my street and stage name, I even had my bank include it on my checks, as a one-word name like Cher or Madonna or Sting. But when I change it, I won’t tax the world’s databases by making data entry staff have to choose which field the Khrysso should go in.
I have been better about not mainstreaming Heart as my name, but it is not a secret name any longer. It is still the name that I wish to be known by among the faeries.
Greek people have told me on occasion that Khrysso is related to the Greek word for gold or a precious metal. So I use the name to remind myself that my life is precious and not to be taken for granted.
So faerie gatherings have been important in my naming processes. My name has evolved a lot. Some of my names have been given to me by intimates, some by casual acquaintances. Some I have chosen myself. Some I have ditched for lack of use or appropriateness. I encourage making up your own rules but not being too unyielding with them. Ultimately, do what makes ya happy, honey.
©2000 Khrysso Heart LeFey