Posted in Alternative Names, Baby Names, Druid Names, Heathen Names, Llewellyn's Complete Book of Names, Magical Names, Names, New Age Names, Pagan Names, Pagan-friendly, Surnames as First Names, Unusual Names, Wiccan Names, Witch Names, tagged Alban, Angus, Ao, Faramond, Felix, Iolo, Loxias, Lucius, Odin, Orion, Rafferty, Rufus, Sol, Solifer, Solstice on December 30, 2011 |
7 Comments »
Yesterday, I featured my pick of girls’ names here at the Nook in 2011.
Now it’s the boys’ turn:
- Alban — most people associate Alban with St Alban of St Alban’s, Hertfordshire. However, Alban is also an old Welsh word meaning “equinox” and “solstice,” and it features in the Druid names of the Solstices and Equinoxes. As for the saint, there are actually three of them and two are British. The one who gave his name to St. Albans was supposedly a Roman soldier martyred in or around 283 CE. However, there is no evidence for his existence before the late fifth century, and the fact he was executed by beheading is a big give-away that a Celtic divinity lies behind him. If he truly was a real historical figure, his name may derive from the Latin cognomen Albanus “of Alba (Longa).” But this is unlikely, as even the legends say that he was a native Briton. Therefore, real or divine, his name probably derives from the Common Celtic *albiyo- “(upper) world” and “white” — the source of the Old Welsh alban “solstice,” which brings us full circle.
- Angus — A wonderful old Scottish name, which still sees plenty of use in Scotland but deserves more attention elsewhere, especially by those proud of their Scottish roots.
- Ao — Love this short, snappy ‘”-o” ending discovery from France.
- Faramond — With its splendid meaning of “journey-protection,” Faramond has cropped up more than once this year. Uncommon, but with a long, rich history, I think it’s an underused gem just waiting to be embraced.
- Felix — Another name which has justly had a lot of mention at the Nook. A great meaning, a great “look,” I love it.
- Iolo — A very accesible Welsh name with a wonderful past, and lots of great Pagan overtones.
- Loxias – I’ve always thought this epithet of Apollo would make a glorious name…
- Lucius — I’m an unashamed champion of this magnificent name from Ancient Rome!
- Odin — the Norse God, Lord of the Wild Hunt; a great name, especially appropriate this time of year, when he rides his eight-legged Sleipnir in the Wild Hunt — seen by many as one of the sources of the modern myth of Father Christmas and the reindeer.
- Orion — Another name from the ancient world with a very contemporary ring.
- Rafferty — I have quite a crush on this fabulous Irish surname which is yet to reach the top 1000 in the US, but was 406th in the UK last year and continues to rise.
- Rufus — Rufus is deservedly on the rise again on both sides of the Atlantic, but is still far from common.
- Sol — If short and sweet with a big Pagan/Druid/Wiccan punch is what you’re after, Sol can barely be beaten. For those who have issues with short, snappy names in their own right which might be mistaken for a nickname, there are plenty of “long-form” options, from the biblical — but still distinctly witchy Solomon — to the Pagan-and-proud Solstice, not to mention the magical Latin Solifer.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Alternative Names, Ancient Paganism, Baby Names, Classical Mythology, Druid Names, Heathen Names, Llewellyn's Complete Book of Names, Magical Names, Names, New Age Names, Pagan Names, Pagan-friendly, Paganism, Unisex Names, Unusual Names, Wiccan Names, Witch Names, tagged Aglaia, Alban, Amaterasu, Amber, Anwu, Apollo, Arevik, Arthan, Arthur, Arun, Aruna, Aster, Aten, Aurinko, Aygün, Áine, Bay, Cam, Cardamon, Cerah, Chryseis, Chryses, Chrysogon, Cinnamon, Citrine, Clove, Cressida, Day, Diell, Eguzki, Eithne, Enya, Frankincense, Günay, Geola, Gold, Grian, Grisegond, Haru, Haruki, Haruko, Heliodora, Heliodorus, Heliostásio, Helius, Heuldro, Heulwen, Hina, Honey, Iola, Iolo, Jólnir, Jole, Jolly, Jolyon, Jua, Julian, Julius, Kem, Khurshid, Light, Lucia, Lucius, Lucy, Lux, Maeve, Matahari, Mead, Medb, Midwinter, Mithras, Mull, Myrene, Myristica, Naran, Natalia, Natalie, Natasha, Nathalie, Noel, Nutmeg, Oenone, Orange, Oriana, Orinda, Orun, Phaëthon, Phanes, Phoebe, Phoebus, Ra, Ramesses, Ravi, Rì, Renaissance, Renata, Renatus, René, Renée, Sampson, Samson, Saulenė, Saulė, Shamash, Shams, Shemshi, Sherry, Soare, Sol, Solar, Solaris, Soleil, Solifer, Solifera, Soligena, Solstice, Solveig, Sonne, Sorin, Sorina, Sounia, Stella, Sulien, Sun, Sunday, Sunia, Sunlight, Sunna, Sunngifu, Sunniva, Sunny, Sunrise, Sunset, Sunshine, Sunčana, Surya, Svarog, Tesni, Wassail, Wine, Winter, Yáng, Youko, Yul, Yula, Yule on December 21, 2011 |
14 Comments »
It’s the Winter Solstice tomorrow in the Northern Hemisphere (and the Summer Solstice in the Southern — I’m not jealous, really, I’m not).
That is to say, it’s the shortest day, or — as my mum used to say — the longest night.
And whatever your religious persuasion, or none, there’s something special about it.
It marks the very deepest, darkest moment of winter — that’s the bleak bit.
But it means from now on, the days gradually start to lengthen again. The ever turning wheel of the year has shifted, and we’re on our way back to the warmth and light. Yippee!
However, for a few days, each side of the Solstice, to the naked eye, the sun appears to rise and set in the same places — hence the name, from the Latin sol “sun” + sisto “to stand still.”
Of course, we know today that the reason why the sun grows weaker and the days shorten after the Summer Solstice is because the Earth goes round the sun, spinning on its axis, which is on an angle.
But for most of human history (and prehistory) most humans thought it was the sun doing the moving, rising in the East, setting in the West.
As the Winter Solstice approached, they thought the sun was dying; the Sostice marked the point when the sun was reborn, to strengthen and grow until it reached the peak of its power at the Summer Soltice.
No wonder this period is marked with numerous festivals, frequently of light.
Chief among them in the pagan Roman Empire was Sol Invictus — “The Unconquered Sun” — whose birthday was celebrated on December 25.
It is no coincidence that it shares December 25 with Christmas, only celebrated on that date since the fifth century.
December 25 is the first date after the Solstice when the sun stops seeming to “stand still” and the day is discernibly a little longer.
The word “Christmas” actually dates only to the twelfth century. Prior to that, the festivities which took over Sol Invictus were called Yule (the earliest Old English form known is geohol), almost certainly the name of the Germanic pagan festival celebrated at this time.
The ultimate source of the word “yule” is uncertain, but it is either cognate with, or derived from the Norse jól and is, most likely, connected with “jolly,” though there is a bit of a chicken and egg situation about which came first.
The original Norse festival of Jól was celebrated between the 20th and 31st December.
Yule and Yuletide are still used generally as an alternative name for Christmas, as they have for centuries, but it is the preferred name for the season by most Pagans of all persuasions, who usually use it now for the Solstice, rather than December 25.
Druids, however, will often call the Solstice Alban Arthan, which was first recorded by Iolo Morganwg.
So, what names for a Winter Solstice baby?
- Aglaia — Greek aglaios “splendor”; one of the Graces
- Alban — Welsh “solstice”; identical to the name of the saint, and quite probably sharing the same roots in the Common Celtic *albiyo- “upper world” and “white.”
- Amaterasu — Japanese 天 “heaven,” “sky” and 照 “shine”; the name of the Japanese Goddess of the sun
- Amber — one ancient belief was that amber was the solidified light of the setting sun on the sea.
- Anwu — Igbo “sun”
- Apollo — God of the sun
- Arevik — Armenian name meaning “sun-like”
- Arthan — An Old Welsh word meaning “winter”, connected by Iolo Morganwg with arth “bear.”
- Arthur — Druids see Arthur as symbolic of the sun and equate him with the winter solstice.
- Arun, Aruna — In Hindu mythology, Aruna is the charioteer of the sun.
- Aten — Egyptian “disc of the sun”; the name of an Egyptian God, considered an aspect of Ra.
- Aurinko — Finnish “sun”
- Bay — one of the herbs traditionally added to a seasonal mulled wine
- Cam — the Romani word for “sun” (and “to love”)
- Cardamon — a spice added to mulled wines in the Middle Ages
- Cerah — Malaysian “sunny” and “bright”
- Chrysogon — Greek khrusogonos “gold-born”; Grisegond is an old variant
- Citrine — used since the eighteenth century as the name of a type of yellow topaz; it is believed to radiate the energy of the sun
- Clove — one of the most important ingredients of a mulled wine
- Cressida — derives ultimately from the Greek mythological Chryseis, meaning “(daughter) of Chryses” — a male Greek name from khrusos “gold.”
- Diell — Albanian “sun”
- Eguzki — Basque “sun”
- Enya — in the Native American language of Papai, enya means “sun.” The Irish Enya originated as the Anglicized form of Eithne used by the Irish singer-songwriter Enya; Eithne is an old form of Áine, the name of an Irish Goddess, whose name means “heat” and “light”.
- Frankincense — an ancient resin, used as an incense since ancient times, and used for purification in Pagan temples. It is considered to be ruled by the Sun even today, and the Ancient Egyptians used it particularly in the worship of the sun God Ra.
- Geola — Old English form of YULE
- Gold — associated with the sun since ancient times
- Grian — an Irish Goddess of the sun, whose name means “sun”
- Günay — Turkish girl’s name combining güneş “sun” + ay “moon”; Aygün is a variant
- Haru – Japanese boy’s name: 陽 “sun,” “sunlight”; Haruki, another boy’s name, combines it with 輝 “radiance, shine” or 生 “life,” while the girl’s name Haruko combines it with 子 “child.”
- Heliodorus, Heliodora — Greek “gift of the sun”
- Heliostásio — Modern Greek “solstice”
- Helius — Greek God of the sun; his name means “sun”
- Heuldro — Welsh “solstice”
- Heulwen — Welsh haul “sun” + (g)wen “white,” “blessed” and “pure”; used since the late nineteenth century
- Hina – Japanese girl’s name: 陽 “sun,” “sunlight” or 日 “sun,” “day” + 菜 “vegetables”
- Honey — associated with the sun since ancient times
- Iolo — although unrelated, Iolo (with its feminine form Iola) has a very similar ring to YULE…
- Jólnir — a byname of Odin. Old Norse: jól “YULE”
- Jolie — French jolie, feminie of joli “pretty,” derives from, or shares the same origin, as the Old Norse jól “YULE”
- Jolly — sharing the same origin as JOLIE, if you find this too light, why not consider the “long-form” Jolyon, a form of Julian, deriving ultimately from Julius? Although, like Iolo, not related to Yule, the similarities are there…
- Jua — Swahili “sun”
- Kem — Romani “sun”; a variant of CAM
- Khurshid — Old Persian “shining sun”; the name of an angel in Zoroastrianism associated with the sun
- Lucy — English form of Lucia, the feminine of LUCIUS. St Lucy’s day was celebrated in many parts of Europe last week on the thirteenth; until the switch over from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, St Lucy’s used to fall on or around the Solstice.
- Lux — Latin “light”
- Maeve — Usual modern form of the Irish name Medb, which derives from the Common Celtic for MEAD (cognate with mead itself)
- Matahari — Indonesian “sun” (from mata “eye” + hari “day”)
- Mead — a beverage made from HONEY, dating back to ancient times; probably the unofficial official Pagan drink, especially for the Solstices; it shares honey’s associations with the sun.
- Midwinter — a word used of the Solstice since Angl0-Saxon times
- Mithras — the Greco-Roman God of the mystery religion of Mithraism, popular with Roman soldiers. His worship arrived from the East in the first century; he is identified with Sol Invictus, and his birthday was also celebrated on December 25.
- Mull — “mulled wine,” from the verb “to mull” meaning “to warm.” The Island of Mull gets its name from a Gaelic word meaning “bare,” also quite appropriate for the season, since all is bare (the cognate Welsh word is used of bare, “bald” hills).
- Myrene — an Amazon in Greek myth; Greek: murinês “sweet wine.”
- Myristica — botanical name for NUTMEG, meaning “fragrant”
- Naran — Mongolian name meaning “sun”
- Natalia – from the Latin natale “bitth”; these days, associated with the birth of Jesus, but is just as appropriately applied to the rebirth of the Sun, as celebrated at Sol Invictus; Natalie and Nathalie are the popular French forms, and Natasha, the Russian pet-form.
- Noel — Anglo-Norman noel “Christmas” from Latin natale — see NATALIA
- Nutmeg — another spice often added to a mulled wine
- Orange — oranges, being round and, well, orange, are often associated with the sun
- Oriana — coined by Elizabethan poets in honor of Queen Elizabeth I, from Latin orior “to rise,” used specifically of the rising sun.
- Orinda — another poetic invention coinage from orior (see Oriana above), this time of the seventeenth century.
- Orun — Yoruba: òrùn “sun”
- Phaëthon — Greek “shining”; the name of a son of Helius, famous for almost crashing the chariot of the sun
- Phanes — a primeval Greek God, associated with MITHRAS; his name derives from the Greek phainô “to bring light.”
- Phoebus — Greek: phoibos “bright” and “radiant”; epithet of Apollo
- Ra — the Egyptian God of the Sun, whose name means “sun”
- Ramesses — The name of a famous Pharaoh, meaning “RA/the sun bore him.”
- Ravi — Sanskrit “sun”
- Renaissance – French “rebirth”; generally used since the nineteenth century of the cultural “rebirth” at the end of the Middle Ages, its basic meaning is simply “rebirth” and could be used as a name with reference to the rebirth of the sun at the Winter Solstice
- René, Renée — French forms of RENATUS
- Renatus, Renata – Latin “reborn”; used of the rebirth of the sun
- Rì — Chinese 日 “sun,” “day”
- Samson – Hebrew: “child/man of SHAMASH”; Sampson is a common variant
- Saulė — Lithuanian Goddess of the sun, whose name means “sun”; Saulenė is a variant
- Shamash — major Assyrian God; his name means “sun” in Akkadian
- Shams — Arabic “sun”
- Shemshi — Swahili “sun”
- Sherry — rolled out across the land at this time of year, particularly to leave out for Santa…
- Soare — Romanian “sun”
- Sol — Latin “sun”; Norse Sól meaing “sun” is the name of the Norse Goddess of the Sun
- Solaris — Latin “of the sun”
- Soleil — French “sun”
- Solifer, Solifera — Latin “sun-bearing”
- Soligena — Latin “sun-born”
- Solveig — Old Norse sól “sun” + veig “strength”
- Sonne — German “sun”
- Sorin — Romanian name, usually derived from SOARE
- Sorina — feminine of SORIN
- Sounia — epithet of Athena, from Sounion in Attica, which may, possibly, derive from the Proto-Indo-European root *su(w)en- “sun”; Latinized as Sunia
- Sulien — Old Welsh name, probably meaning “sun-born”
- Sunčana — Croatian name from sunče “sun”
- Sunday — could be interpreted as referring to the Solstices as well as the day of the week
- Sunna — Goddesss of the sun in Germanic tradition.
- Sunniva — Old English: Sunngifu “sun-given”
- Surya — Sanskrit “sun”; the Hindu God of the sun
- Svarog — Slavic God of the sun; Slavic: svar “bright”
- Tesni — Welsh name deriving from tes “sunshine” and “warmth”
- Wassail — originally a salutation used when passing a cup to a guest; from the Old English wes hāl “be in good health”; in time it came to be used of the drink too, especially the spiced ale drunk during the twelve days of Christmas
- Wine — another popular beverage of the season, especially mulled
- Yáng — Chinese 陽 “sun,” “positive”
- Youko — Japenese girl’s name: 陽 “sun” + 子 “child”
- Yule — of course. Also the fab variant Yul. Yule was actually used as a given name in medieval times (with a feminine form Yula), surviving for some time on the Isle of Man in the form Jole.
With Yule and Sol Invictus to celebrate, I’ll be back at the Nook when the mead’s worn off…
A bright and blessed Solstice, Yule, Alban Arthan and Christmas one and all.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Alternative Names, Ancient Paganism, Baby Names, Celtic Mythology, Celtic Names, Druid Names, Druidry, Heathen Names, Llewellyn's Complete Book of Names, Magical Names, Names, New Age Names, Pagan Names, Pagan-friendly, Paganism, Unusual Names, Welsh Names, Wicca, Wiccan Names, Witch Names, tagged Alba, Alban, Albion, Autumn, Elfed, Equinox, Mabon, Maponus on September 23, 2011 |
3 Comments »
It’s the Equinox today — one of the two days in the year when the hours of day and night are equal. Up in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the Autumnal Equinox, and we have to face the less than cheery fact that from now on, the nights will be drawing in as winter approaches.
Those fortunate enough to be in the Southern Hemisphere, on the other hand, are celebrating spring and the fact that from now on, their days will be growing longer and warmer. Lucky blighters.
But fate has made me an Earthling of the Northern Hemisphere, so the Autumnal Equinox is the focus of today’s post.
What makes the Autumnal Equinox special? Well, because of their equal length of day and night, both Equinoxes are a time of balance — and among many Pagans and folk of alternative spiritualities, they are regarded as good times to focus on achieving balance in our lives.
It is an interesting co-incidence (or possibly not) that Libra — the astrological sign of the balance scales — begins on September 23.
The Autumnal Equinox also sits at the heart of the harvest-season — many a church and school are celebrating their harvest festivals around this time. It is therefore a good time to focus on the bounty of Nature and the Earth.
Autumn — from the Latin autumnus “autumn,” “fall” and “autumnal” — is already seeing a lot of use as a girl’s name. In the US, it peaked (for the time being) in 2001 in 72nd place, but remains in the top 100. In the UK, where “autumn” is the usual name for the fall, it is still gradually climbing; it was ranked 238 in 2010.
Equinox itself — from the Latin aequus “equal” + nox “night” has seen only a very little use as a given name since the late twentieth century — not enough to register on the radar at all in the US or UK. But with the rise in Knox as a given name, however, perhaps it is time to consider Equinox?
Many Pagans, especially North American Wiccans, call the Autumnal Equinox Mabon, while to Druids across the Norther Hemisphere, it is Alban Elfed.
The festival of Mabon is named in honor of the Welsh deity Mabon ap Modron, and has been in use since the 1970s, its use promoted by Wiccan writer Aidan Kelly.
Mabon ap Modron is often dubbed “the Divine Son of the Divine Mother”; he features in (and gives his name to) the Mabinogion, an important source of early Welsh mythology. He is considered by many to be one and the same with another important figure of Welsh myth — Pryderi ap Pwyll, the son of Rhiannon.
Mabon is almost certainly a survival of the Celtic deity Maponus, whose name derives from the Common Celtic *makwos “son” + the suffix -on- commonly found in theonyms. From the same source derives the Old Irish macc (source of the Mac- which features in so many Scottish and Irish surnames), Old Welsh map and Modern Welsh mab — all meaning “son.”
Five little boys were called Mabon in the UK in 2010.
Meanwhile, the Druid Alban Elfed combines two Old Welsh words — alban meaning “solstice” and “equinox” and elfed “the fall” and “autumn.”
As the Welsh name for the Brythonic Kingdom of Elmet, which had a short-lived existence in the region roughly inhabited now by West Yorkshire following the departure of the Roman legions, until it was absorbed by the neighboring Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia.
This derives from the same source as the Old Welsh elfydd “world,” “country” and “region.” This also happens to be related to both Albion and the Scottish Alba.
Elfed — pronounced “el-ved” — has been used as a boy’s name in Wales since the late nineteenth century. It is rare now, however, largely because it is used as the name of the patchwork elephant in the Welsh versions of David McKee’s Elmer the Patchwork Elephant series of children’s books.
While Equinox might be a bit bold for some tastes, Autumn, Mabon, Alban and Elfed certainly provide subtle but interesting options for an Autumnal Equinox baby.
Whatever your spiritual path in life, a bright, blessed and fruitful Equinox, one and all.
Read Full Post »