Thursday, September 22, 2011


It's been a while since I've talked about Pagan virtue names, and this one might be on the rebound after a long period of obscurity.

Most people recognize this as a Puritan name, but it could also be used by Wiccans. In the Charge of the Goddess, the eight Wiccan virtues are listed as mirth, reverence, humility, strength, beauty, power, compassion, and honor. We all generally know what honor is, but what does the word mean to Wiccans? Neo-Pagans often use the phrase, "A Witch's word is her bond." Upholding that bond is honor. We try to live honestly by our own ethical system.

Most Neo-Pagans have at least a passing familiarity with the Theban Alphabet. This code is often used to hide magickal writing or simply because it looks nice. The script is very unique and bears no resemblance to any other alphabet. The invention of the Theban Alphabet is credited to Honorius of Thebes. No one knows why he made it, and indeed there is no evidence that he really existed (other sources claim that it was created by Pietro d'Abano). But the script is also known as the Runes of Honorius (although they're not really runes), the Honorian Alphabet, or the Witch's Alphabet.

The name is quite common for girls in Scotland, as of 2008 it ranked #445. So it shouldn't be surprising that most of the namesakes are from Britain, Ireland, and Scotland. There's the British actress Honor Blackman, British zoologist Dame Dr. Honor Fell, Irish Singer and Actress Honor Heffernan, and Scottish model Honor Fraser.

When Jessica Alba named her daughter Honor Marie, it lead to speculation that this name could catch on in the States. It's variant Honora was last popular in the 1880s at #847, which is pretty meager rating. Other versions of this name include Honour, Honore, Honoree, Honorine, Honoria, Onora, and Annora.

That doesn't seem so promising for the boys, but this is a great unisex name. I especially like Honore for a future son. It doesn't lend itself to any male nicknames, but a females Honor could easily go by Nora, or the more exotic Nor. I think it's lost it's Puritan aftertaste that would make it unsavory to some, and is ready for the playgrounds again.


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1 comment:

  1. Honor isn't regarded as a particularly Scottish name, though it did rank slightly higher there in 2010 than in the rest of the UK. It's firmly a girl's name here, though I agree, there's no reason why it couldn't be used for a boy.

    The more elaborate Honora used to be considerably more popular in Ireland than anywhere else -- it was in Ireland and from Honora that Nora first developed.

    For boys, there's always the lovely French Honoré, which I've always had a soft spot for :).


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