Rad is quite unusual in the Runic alphabet, in that they all agree that it means “ride” and “journey.”
Similarly, the emphasis in the poems is all pretty much in agreement, focusing on the hard work of horses, which makes traveling for their riders so much easier.
Modern rune-users interpret Rad as signifying journeys, both physical and spiritual, and either such journey with a specific goal — a quest, or a pilgrammage. And as journeys inevitably take us from one place or state of being to another, it also stands for change and growth.
A journey also involves a certain level of control over one’s destiny; it is a pro-active, not a passive state of being.
As a name Rad could work — although it has a distinct “short-for-something” air about it which some dislike. There are some interesting long form options though:
For boys, there’s Caradoc, Conrad, Nostradamus, Radagast, Radamisto, Radomil, Radoslav, Radulf and Rhadamanthus.
None of these names are related etymologically to Rad, but they all shorten nicely to it.
Meanwhile, I think Raido and Reith make great names on their own, both have very contemporary vibes.
But there are also plenty of other names to choose from inspired by Rad. Here are just a few:
- Christopher — Greek: khristophoros “bearing Christ.” The famous patron saint of travelers.
- Eachann — Old Irish: each “horse” + donn “brown.”
- Éowyn — Old English: eoh “horse” + wynn “joy.” The name of a princess of Rohan in Lord of the Rings; the Rohirrim (“Riders of Rohan”) are famed horsemen.
- Epona — Common Celtic: *ekwo- “horse.” The name of a Gaulish Goddess of horses, and probably also of sovereignty.
- Euodia — Greek: euodia “good journey.” Ancient name (crops up in the New Testament).
- Faramond — Old German: fara “journey” + munda “protection.”
- Farilda — Old German: fara “journey” + hildi “battle.”Ferdinand — Germanic: fart “journey” + nanþ- “courage.”
- Garnet – a stone long used as a protective talisman for travelers.
- Geoffrey – one source of this name is the Old German valha “traveler” + frithu “peace.”
- Hermes — one of Hermes’s roles was to protect travelers.
- Hippolyta — Greek: hippos “horse” + luô “to set free.” Hippolyta was an Amazon queen, and the mother of Hippolytus.
- Ingrid — Old Norse; one interpretation of the name is Ing (the God) + rida “ride,” referring to the symbolic first ploughing of the year by Ing on a golden boar.
- Isra — Arabic: “night journey.”
- Journey — self-explanatory!
- Llywarch — Welsh: llyw “leader” + march “horse.”
- Marcán — Old Irish: marc “horse” + diminutive suffix -án.
- Marshall — Old French: mareschal; used originally of someone who looked after horses.
- Peregrine — Latin: peregrinus “traveler,” “stranger.” Often shortened to Perry, or, in the case of Tolkien’s character, Peregrin Took, to Pippin.
- Philip — Greek: philos “friend” + hippos “horse.” Not forgetting its feminine form Philippa, popularly shortened to Pippa.
- Pilgrim — the word “pilgrim” derives from the same source as Peregrine.
- Pushan — Sanskrit: “cause to thrive.” The name of a Hindu God of journeys, who protects travelers from bandits and wild animals.
- Rhiannon – Common Celtic: *r-gan- “queen.” In mythology, Rhiannon is an otherworldy woman closely associated with horses. It is quite likely she represents the survival of the Goddess Epona.
- Rider — English surname meaning simply “a rider.” Also spelled Ryder.
- Rosalind — Old German: (h)ros “horse” + linde “serpent” or lindi “gentle” and “soft.”
- Rosamund — Old German: (h)ros “horse” + mund “protection.”
- Rose — Old German: (h)ros “horse.”
- Séadna — Old Irish séadna “traveler.”
- Steed — Old English stēda “stud-horse.”
- Xanthippe — Greek: xanthos “yellow” + hippos “horse.”