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Posts Tagged ‘Zaqar’

A rare little gem for this week’s pick of the week.

You may think it is Arabic, but it is not.

It comes from a related but much, much older language.

It’s actually Akkadian — the Semitic language of Ancient Mespotamia — one of the earliest ever written languages in the world.

Often separated into its two principal dialects — Babylonian and Assyrian — it flourished between the third and first millennia BCE.

Zaqar derives from the verb zakāru, meaning “to speak,” “to name,” and “to swear. ”

The Hebrew cognate is zakar, which crops up a few times in the Bible meaning “to remember,” “to call to mind,” “to remind” and “to invoke.” It is also found in the name Zachariah — often Anglicized as Zachary — “Yahweh remembers” or “memory of “Yahweh.” and all its related forms.

The Phoenician was identical, and featured in the name Zakar-Baal “Baal remembers” or “memory of Baal,” the name of a king of Byblos in the eleventh century BCE.

Meanwhile, the Arabic cognate gives the names Zakir (also transliterated as Zaakir), meaning “remembering,” and Zakoor “narrator” and “speaker.”

Zaqar was the name of the Mesopotamian God of dreams — also known as Zakar and Dzakar — who acts as the messenger of the moon God Sin.

Unsurprisingly, he delivers these messages in dreams.

As such, he represents one of the oldest examples of the belief that dreams contain messages and prophecies from supernatural or divine sources.

The peoples of Mesopotamia, like their neighbors the Hebrews, were particularly prone to reading a great deal into dreams.

They read a great deal into everything.

Divination featured very highly in Mesopotamian life, and strongly influenced people’s lives — including decisions taken by kings on matters of state.

In the Epic of Shulgi, for instance, Zaqar takes a message to the Sumerian King Shulgi telling him that the Gods will aid him in battle. Secure in this knowledge, Shulgi trots of to war and successfully annihilates his enemy.

Fast-forwarding a few millennia, and Zaqar is now one of a number of Egyptian and Mesopotamian deities commemmorated in the names given to craters on Jupiter’s largest moon (and the largest moon in the solar system), Ganymede.

So if you’re looking for a more unusual long form of Zac, Zack, Zak — or even Zaq — with history and excellent Pagan connections, why not consider the evocative and exotic Zaqar?

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Os is yet another Rune which ended up interpreted  in different ways in the medieval period.

The form it takes in the various alphabets is as follows:

The Eldar Futhark has been reconstructed as *Ansuz “(a) God; this is the forerunner of the Anglo-Frisian Ós, Macromannic Óss and Younger Futhark Áss. So far so God — sorry, good.

However, in Old English os meant “mouth” while óss also carried the meaning “estuary.”

Hence this rune’s slightly bizarre duality exhibited in the ancient rune poems.

In one, its divinity is stressed.

In another, where the meaning “mouth” is understand, stress is placed on the mouth as the vehicle of language, and therefore of the transmission of wisdom, joy and happiness.

Lastly, the word is interpreted as meaning “estuary,” and thoughts turn on estuaries as places where journeys inland begin — with a curious comparison of swords and scabbards. Both rather carry the understanding of journeying inward, and returning home.

To those who use the runes today, one of Os’s principal associations is with the notion of journeying inward in order to communicate with the Divine within.

Estauries and Gods aren’t quite such separate entities as might initially be thought…

Emphasis is also placed on Os as a symbol of communication.

With the excpetion of Áss, I think Ansuz, Os and Oss all have interesting name potential. But there are many other interesting options to incorporate the spirit of this rune.

Hundreds — if not thousands — of names include an element meaning ” a God.”

  1. The Hebrew el — usually translated as “God” (i.e. the Judeo-Christian one) — originally meant “a God” and there’s no reason not to interpret it that way still. Among this vast source of names are well-known favorites such as Daniel, Elijah, Gabriel, Joel, Michael, Nathaniel and Samuel  as well as biblical oldies which are increasingly dug out of the grandfather’s chest, such as Eleazar, Elihu, Lemuel, Ozias, Raphael, and Reuel, and rarities like Abdiel, Gamaliel, Jophiel, Mahalalel, Mehetabel, Othniel and Uriel.
  2. The Greek theos also meant “a God” rather than “God” in Pagan times. Names which feature it include well-known classics such as Dorothy, Thea, Theo, Theodora, Theodore, Theophilus, Tiffany, Timothy, and lesser known glories such as Panthea, Theano, Theoclea, Theona and Theoxena.
  3. Likewise, the Roman deus was used in Pagan times to mean “a God” and “God” from the Christian period. Names which feature it include Amadeus and Deodatus.
  4. The Sanskrit dev “a God” is also cognate withtheos and deus. In India, Dev (feminine: Devi) is used as a name in its own right, as well as featuring in compounds like Devdan and Devdas.
  5. Old English god “a God” originally, as well as “God”, just like all the others. Names which feature it include Godbert, Godfrey, Godiva, Godric, Godwin and Goodeth.
  6. Our feature Os was also popular in Anglo-Saxon names: Osbert, Osborn, Osgar, Osmund, Oswin and Osyth.
  7. Its Norse cognate Áss was equally popular: Ásbjorn, Ásgeirr, Ásketil and Astrid.

As for the Rune’s other associations, here ‘s just a small selection of other options:

  • Benedict ♂ — Latin bene “well” and dico “to speak”; usually translated as “blessed.” Fem: Benedicta.
  • Campbell ♂ ♀ — Anglicized form of the Gaelic Caimbeul “crooked mouth.”
  • Cato ♂ — Latin catus “wise” and “clear-sighted.”
  • Enigma ♀ — the origin of “enigma” is the Greek ainissomai “to speak in riddles.”
  • Eulalia ♀ — a name of Greek origin, meaning “sweetly-speaking.”
  • Fatua ♀ — the name of a Roman Goddess; her name means “speaking by inspiration” from fatuor “to be inspired.”
  • Frodo ♂ — Old Norse fróðr “wise.”
  • Geneva ♀ — the name of this Swiss city may derive from a Common Celtic word meaning “mouth” and “estuary.” The Italian city of Genoa may share the same source.
  • Keen ♂ ♀ — in the eleventh century, keen meant “wise,” “learned,” “powerful” and “strong.”
  • Metis ♀ — one of the Titans, Goddess of wisdom, and mother of Athena. Greek: mêtis “good advice” and “widsom.”
  • Ninkasi ♀ — the Sumerian Goddess of beer and brewing; her name means “the lady [who] fills the mouth up.”
  • Panya ♀ — Thai name meaning “knowledge” and “widsom.”
  • Phineas, Phinehas ♂ — one interpretation of this ancient name derives it from the Hebrew for “mouth” and either “serpent” or “oracle.”
  • Prophecy ♀ ♂ — derives from the Greek: prophêteia “prophecy” from pro “before” + -phêtês “speaker.”
  • Sage ♀ ♂ — “sage” meaning “wise” derives ultimately from the Latin sapio “to be wise.”
  • Snotra ♀ — the Norse Goddess of Wisdom; Old Norse snotr “wise.”
  • Sophia, Sophie ♀ — Greek sophia “wisdom.” 
  • Sophocles ♂ — a famous Greek playwright, whose name means “wise-glory.”
  • Yeshe ♂ ♀ — Tibetan name meaning “wisdom.”
  • Zaqar ♂ — the Mesopotamian God of dreams, and messenger of the moon-God Sin; his name comes from the Akkadian for “to speak.”

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