Inside the Shadows: Understanding Cult Names and Their Influence
We know why you’re here, traveler. You are taking a peek at the finest cult names available out there. We won’t encourage you to create your cult though! But if you are looking for good examples of cult names for your next story, campaign, or plot ideas, you came to the right place!
In this article, we’ll give you quick information about cult names. Not only that, you’ll get to know some great cult name suggestions that you can freely use on the spot. Let’s begin with defining what are cults.
What is a Cult?
Cults are an organized group of people that dedicated themselves to a common belief. The word “cult” came from the Latin word cultus, which means “to worship” or “adoration”. Members of a cult are generally called “cultists”, although they may be named after the cult itself. Cultists devote themselves to a specific philosophy or religious idea that is often unorthodox and eccentric. Their cults have distinctive characteristics such as being authoritarian to the members, having extremist beliefs, promoting isolation from the usual society, and imposing worship or veneration on a single deity or thing.
A Cult is often led by a single, self-appointed leader who controls and dictates most of the activities of the organization and its members. The leader may require excessive offerings from the members, sacrifices, and unwavering devotion to whatever beliefs and practices he imposed.
Most Famous Cults in History
The Peoples Temple Cult
The Peoples Temple cult is supposed to be a religious community founded and led by Jim Jones. The supposed church became the headlines all over the globe when around 900 of its members died at the church’s compound in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978.
Jim Jones founded the Peoples Temple in the 50s. He inspired many people to follow the euphoria of a just society that defeats racism and poverty. His preaching method and idealistic views attracted local African-Americans to join his movement. The Peoples Temple was recognized and became an affiliate by the Disciples of Christ, a Christian Church, in the 1960s. His leadership with the said church became a center of attraction in the media because of numerous reports of financial fraud, physical abuse of members, and abuse of children, forcing him to transfer his cult to Guyana.
In 1978, he led around 900 of its members in the town of Jonestown and initiated a murder-suicide of its members. The young children were lined up first, forced by their parents and some nurses to inject poison through their mouths. Afterward, all the remaining adults lined up to drink the poison while being held at gunpoint by Jones’ guards. Jim Jones, on the other hand, died of a gunshot wound in his head.
The Heaven’s Gate Cult
The Heaven’s Gate religious cult was founded by Bonnie Lu Nettles and led by Marshall Applewhite. Applewhite was a music professor back in 1972 before he was recruited by Nettles into the cult. The cult preaches to its members that their human bodies bound them to earth, and should be abandoned to attain a higher form of physical existence. They practice sexual abstinence and forced most of their male members to undergo castration.
In the early 1990s, their cult becomes more rampant in recruiting newer members, targeting mostly teenagers and young adults. In 1995, a newly discovered comet named Hale-Bopp was discovered. This became a motivation to the Heaven’s Gate cult members, convincing themselves that an alien is about to visit Earth. In 1997, as the comet passes Earth’s orbit, Applewhite and 38 of his followers committed suicide in hopes of leaving their bodies and entering the spacecraft.
The Branch Davidians Cult
The Branch Davidian cult was a splinter group from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It was founded by Ben Roden, after the death of the original Davidian founder Victor Houteff. Ben Roden was succeeded by Vernon Howell when he died In 1978. Howell self-proclaimed himself as a spiritual heir to King David from the bible, renaming himself David Koresh.
He ruled unopposed inside the supposed Davidian church, taking for himself multiple wives, including young girls as young as 10. He claimed that he is the perfect “mate” for all female members of his church and openly suggests that he intended to create a new holy lineage of children that will rule the world.
His church was accused of multiple child abuse by former members of the Davidian church. Multiple claims and accusations were thrown against his church by anticultist activists, branding them a sectoral cult—which then attracted a response from the authorities. In 1993, the FBI raided the compound of the said cult. Koresh and his followers fortified and barricaded themselves in the compound and challenged directly the authorities. The raid ended in 51 days, where 75 people died, while Koresh was found dead with a gunshot wound in his head.
The Children of God Cult
The Children of God took different names during its entire existence such as The Family International (TFI), the Teens for Christ, and The Family of Love. It was founded in the late 1960s by a traveling preacher named David Berg. His supposed church openly preached the concept of “free love”.
David Berge repeatedly tells his members that God is love, and love is nothing but sexual intercourse. He insisted that regardless of age or relationship, sex should be open to all and become a tool to proclaim love. His cult encourages sexual activities among teenagers and minors. Female cult members invite other people through sexual favors, called “flirty fishing”.
Female children as young as four are groomed to sexual activities. Those who try to question the activities of their church are badly beaten by adults. Children born inside the church never experienced interactions with other people. They are deprived of education, free thinking, and entertainment. Authorities were alarmed by the activities of the cult and prompted an investigation that reached the eye of the international community. The cult was renamed The Family International in 2004 and still operates today as an online network rather than a church.
Cult Name Creation and Ideas
Cult names are often catchphrases that describe the group itself. They are created by describing the organization and combining it with their common vigilance or religious interest. For example, The Children of God describes the members as the “children” and their religious interest is “God”. The same can be observed with the Peoples Temple and the Branch Davidian.
This naming convention is not a general rule of thumb. Anyone can still create cult names that are outside of this name convention. However, if you want the name to be cool and cult-like, it is highly encouraged to follow this convention. Below are a few cult name examples you want to avoid.
Cult Name to Avoid
Cult names under this category are often single-word names or not cult-like.
- The High Throne
- Dwelling Waste
- Moonlight Summit
From the above examples, notice that single-word names do not sound like a cult, while small generic phrases looked like titles or places. Below are some good cult names that you should consider instead.
Good Cult Names Ideas
A good cult name should effectively describe the cult’s common goal and form of worship. That is why cult names are most likely never single-worded names. Check some of our suggested awesome cult name ideas below.
- The Moonlight Reavers – describes a group of ‘reavers’ who admire the moonlight.
- Circle of the Damned – describes a group of people or a ‘circle’ of select people who received damnation.
- Bloodlust Crusade – describes a blood-thirsty people. They may be vampires or undead. It is up to you.
- Cult of the Wolf – The word ‘cult’ is already an obvious but effective hint to make the name more cult-like.
- The House of the Guilty – This may not necessarily mean a physical ‘house’, but rather a family belonging to a single house.
Cult Name Composition
There are two sets of words or phrases that comprise a cult name. The first is the collective noun that represents the group. A few examples are pack, flock, coven, convent, and senate. Not all group naming has to be collective nouns. You may also formulate a collective term for a group. There are hundreds or thousands of possible word combinations to call groups of people such as The Crusaders of, The Watchers, Guardians of, Circle of, and The Walkers.
The second term is comprised of their feats, interest, form of worship, or deity. A cult is defined as a group of people with a common religious interest or devotion toward a particular object, figure, or deity. That is why your cult name must either have a figure or a deity that serves as the center of cult worship.
In summary, cult names can be easily formulated by using the formula:
Collective Noun/Term + Cult’s Interest/veneration/Deity
You can further improve your cult name by adding ‘the’ articles and ‘of’ prepositions:
The + Collective Noun/Term + of + Interest/Deity
Let’s apply these formulas by creating some cool cult names!
Cool Cult Names Examples and Ideas
- The Cult of Whispers
- Vessels of Cross
- Coven of the Dead
- The House of Blight Star
- Divine Harps
- Followers of the Wretched
- Worshippers of Skada (a fictional name for a deity)
- Adepts of Northrand (a fictional place)
- Occult Band of the Fallen Serpent
- Daughters of Boethia (a fictional deity)
Funny Cult Names
Not all cult names should be serious. Authors and players may also create fantasy cult names inspired by funny terms, puns, or jokes. You can still use the cult name formula mentioned above to create a funny cult names. Below are good examples.
- The Circle of Family Butlers
- The Faithful to the Math Club
- The Cult of the Jams
- Order of the Pizzarina
- The Adepts of Rocky Balboa
- Coven of the Bacon Lovers
- Dad’s Psychology Club
- The Cult of the Beers
- The Prophets of the Crypto Currency
- The Daughters of Thanos
How Cult Name Generators Help
There is an easier and more effective way to create cult names. This is through online AI-powered tools such as a cult name generator.
In general, name generators are automated and AI-powered tools that can provide cult name ideas or suggestions to users depending on their topic or criteria. For example, cult name generators will generate relevant name suggestions solely for cult names only, following the proper naming conventions.
Cult Name generators have their advantages and disadvantages. A few disadvantages are their limited output suggestions. Most name generators display only 1, 5, or 10 name suggestions at a time. This will prompt the user to repeatedly generate random names if they want more ideas. But this little disadvantage is often outweighed by its advantages. With name generators, users have access to hundreds of thousands of cult name ideas. And of course, they are free and easy to use and are very accessible on the Internet.