Monday, October 31, 2011


Happy Witch's New Year, everybody! To our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, Blessed Beltane!

To be honest, I don't care about Halloween. It's a silly secular holiday that's over commercialized and doesn't have much substance. It's not bad, but when I have my own kids I wouldn't want them to forget what this time of year is really about. Samhain is arguably the most important holiday in the Wiccan wheel of the year.

First off, Samhain has a tricky pronunciation that I'm sure I've butchered many times, and it's the subject of much debate and ranting. I'm telling you, every single explanation I've seen says it differently. Some pronounce it the way that it's spelled, "SAM-hayn." Others pronounced it like "SAH-win," "SOW-wen," or "sow-WEEN." I've been saying it "sah-VEEN." Once source who is well versed in Gaelic believes that it should be pronounced "SHAHV-nah" if you're a boy, and "HAHV-nah" if you're a girl. Now I know why lots of Neo-Pagans say Halloween or Hallows. Maybe it's just easier. As for the meaning, it is believed that Samhain (also spelled Samhuinn or Sauin) is derived from the Old Irish samfuin, meaning "summer's end." Others disagree, saying that it evolved from the Celtic word for "assembly."

In Ancient and Medieval Ireland, this holiday marked the beginning of winter. During this time, trade, harvesting, and warfare would officially end, and kings would gather their people in tribal assemblies. This holiday is a popular setting in many Irish myths. In a series of stories called "Tochmarc Emire," many of the quests taken by the characters start on the night of the Samhain Feast. In a story called "Cath Maige Tuireadh," the goddess Morrigan and the god Dagda meet and have sex before battle, so that Morrigan may act as a sovereign figure for Dagda's people (in the olden days, having sex was equivalent to getting married).

The idea of Samhain being a festival of the dead was not originally there. But once it catched on, it has persisted in some form or other ever since. Velu Laiks is celebrated by Baltic Pagans, Winter Nights by Asatru, Shadowfest for Stregas. Dia de los Muertos is beloved by practitioners of Santeria, as well as indigenous religions in Mexico and South America. Hindus celebrate Diwali. Vodou practitioners celebrate Fete Gede. If you're Catholic, you celebrate All Souls Day. Honoring the dead during this time is not so much a Pagan thing as it is a human thing.

Here's how Wiccans can celebrate Samhain. Most Neo-Pagans believe that the soul exists after we die, and that we go into some sort of afterlife. Many Wiccans use the term Summerland, a place were it is never winter. We do not fear the ghosts that come into our houses on this day, because they are our loved ones, or "beloved dead." We set up alters for them in our houses, giving them food as an offering. We like to carve and light jack-o-lanterns so that our beloved dead would know where to find us. Of course, pumpkins are indigenous to North America and therefore a relatively new tradition. In the olden days, they hallowed out turnips. Because this is the time for death, it is also the time for rebirth. And, like on Beltane, this is the traditional time to perform the Great Rite.

During this time, The Goddess is in her Crone stage which is the height of her wisdom. This is the day when the Horned God passes into the underworld. But not to worry, the Goddess is pregnant with the next Horned God, and she will give birth to him at Yule. So yes, the Horned God is his own father.

If you're going to use Samhain as a moniker, it's pronunciation is going to be the biggest hurtle without a doubt. Should you accept the challenge, Samhain is a great holiday name that honors our cultural Witchy heritage.


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Sunday, October 30, 2011


Neo-Pagans like to debate over which movie portrays our beliefs in the most accurate way. Many people believe that that movie is The Wicker Man.

The Wicker Man is a British movie based on the David Pinner novel The Ritual. It's about a devout Christian policeman named Neil Howie, who goes to an isolated island called Summerisle. He is there to find a missing girl, but the locals claim that she never existed. The locals practice a religion inspired by Celtic Paganism, which horrifies Howie. There is a sequel coming out called The Wicker Tree.

To be fair, I've never seen The Wicker Man. But when "Paganism" or "Witch" and "horror movie" are used in the same sentence, I think I get the picture as to where we're going. It's not really about accuracy (although more accuracy would be fantastic), it's about seeing the good in Paganism. I'm even more fearful about watching this particular movie because I've read about Druids and I know what a Wicker Man is.

But let's back up a bit. In everyday language, wicker is a hard woven fiber used to make baskets and furniture. Traditionally, wicker is often made from plants but now they can be made from synthetic materials as well. Wicker furniture has been documented as far back as Ancient Egypt, and wicker artifacts have been found in Pompeii. It was also very important to the Ancient Celts.

A Wicker Man is a large effigy in the shape of a man that the Ancient Druids would fill with people and animals and then burn in sacrifice. Obviously, this would be a very horrifying way to die. But like many old horrifying practices, it evolved into something new and beautiful. Wicker Men are still used by Neo-Pagans (sans sacrificial victims, thank the gods), for various festivals and performances. Wicker Men are also used at rock music festivals. The Wickerman Festival is an annual rock and dance event that is held at Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. There is also a similar tradition that takes place during the Burning Man festival.

Putting all that aside, Wicker is a "real" name. Wicker is an occupational surname from Middle Low German, meaning "soothsayer" or "magician." Quite perfect for a witchlet. Also, if you've read The Secret Garden, you know that "wick" means "alive."

Wicker is an unusual name, but I'm not sure that outsiders would think anything of it. Some people might catch the movie association, other's might think it's just another surname name. Regardless of whether or not people catch on to it, Wicker is an interesting option that's has a lot of witchy cred.


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Samhain is the time of year in which we honor our dead. So I'm going to profile the name of one of my most prominent ancestors, my Great-Grandmother Mercedes.

Mercedes is kind of legendary in our family. She was adored by her grandkids, especially my mother, but was also well known for being kind of frightening. But first things first. Mercedes was born in Puerto Rico, where she married my Great-Grandfather Pedro. She didn't marry him because she loved him, but because he would take her to America. They moved into New York City, first living in a neighborhood called Hell's Kitchen. Eventually, Mercedes kicked Pedro out for being an alcoholic, and moved the kids to a better apartment in Greenwich Village. That apartment is still in the family.

She raised her children predominantly by herself, working as a tailor in a garment factory. She had five children but lost her only son in a tragic accident, which is a whole other post. She and Pedro never divorced because "Catholics don't divorce." However, later in life she did fall in love with an Italian man named Benny, who adored her and acted like a grandfather to her grandchildren. She lived for a very long time, she died when I was four or five years old.

Mercedes may or may not have been involved in some form of Santeria. My father told me the story of when he first met her. My father started dating my mother when they were both in high school. Around this time they were at some kind of a party at my mother's house. This strange old lady was staring at my father from across the lawn. He decided to introduce himself while she was discussing something with my Grandmother Gladys. Mercedes didn't answer. She just turned to Gladys and said, "Is this him?" Gladys nodded. Mercedes said, "I'll take care of it," and left.

My parents likes to say to people, "I don't know what happened next, but it involved chicken blood and dancing naked in the moonlight." One day, Grandma Gladys took Mom aside and said, "You say that like it's a joke, but she really did do something." I guess I'll never no for certain if Mercedes was into witchy stuff or not. We do know that she visited fortune tellers on a regular basis, and always had an alter up in the house for some god or saint. Gladys was always really uptight around the alter, she didn't like it or let my mother touch it. Perhaps the neighbors were spreading rumors about her being a Witch. Grandma never wanted to talk about it.

So there you have it. Mercedes is a great woman, and a great name. But I would never give it to my daughter. Why? There are several reasons. One is the reasons is because Mercedes herself experienced a day-to-day problem with it once she moved to this country: the pronunciation. It's "MAIR-seh-deez" not "mehr-SAY-deez." I will stand by that until the day I die. My great-grandmother used to complain, "These dumb gringos don't know how to say my name!" Eventually, she just went by May in certain circles because she couldn't stand her name getting butchered every time she introduced herself. The other problem I would have is the association with the expensive car. A lot of people are attracted to the name because of that, thinking that it's "classy" or "rich" sounding. But I think it makes the name seem a bit shallow.

And now for the statistics. Mercedes is a Spanish named derived from merced, meaning "mercy." It is often bestowed in reference to the Virgin Mary. One of her many names is "Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes" or "Our Lady of Mercy." This name has never left the top 1,000. It peaked in the 1990s at #190, it's now at #667. Incidentally, Mercedes is my favorite singer in the television show Glee.

Maybe one day I'll find a name that will honor Mercedes in a way I'm comfortable with. A different Virgin Mary name? Maybe finding another name that shares the nickname Sadie, perhaps. And if you're interested in referencing family names, Samhain is a good time to do it.


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Saturday, October 29, 2011


Looking for a spooky name that's elegant and literary? Ulalume might be right up your alley.

This name was invented by Edgar Allan Poe for his poem of the same name. Like many of his other poems like "The Raven" and "Leonore," "Ulalume" is about the loss the narrator feels for a beautiful young deceased woman. Scholars believe that Poe's obsession with this theme is due to the loss of many women in his life. When "Ulalume" was written he had recently lost his wife Virginia.

The poem takes place on a night in the "lonesome October." The narrator roams around aimlessly, following a star in the sky until he unconsciously arrives at the grave of the woman he buried a year ago. Like most Edgar Allan Poe poems, it's constructed to create a feeling of sadness and anguish. Most of the wording suggests death and decay. The star he is following is actually Astarte, a Greek goddess of the evening star and sexuality. Some readers question whether or not Ulalume is meant to be a literal person. She could be a metaphor for death itself.

"Ulalume" isn't as well known as "The Raven," but it did leave a legacy. It's mentioned in Lolita, This Side of Paradise, and A Streetcar Named Desire. But not everyone views the poem favorably. Aldous Huxley likened Poe's style to wearing a diamond ring on every finger.

The name Ulalume might have been created by Poe, but it's possible that it has a basis in the Latin language. Ulalume was most likely coined from ululare, meaning "to howl," or "to shriek." I'm not sure how it's pronounced. We do know that it rhymes with "tomb," so I'm guessing..."oo-lah-LOOM"? Seems like a good bet.

Ulalume is a name perfect for this season. It's filled with darkness and sophistication. You might have to repeatedly explain to everyone how it's pronounced, but if you're looking for something unique, Ulalume's a good option.


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Thursday, October 27, 2011


Back when I was researching indigo children, I read this humorous story. An adult, who was studying indigo children, asked a boy point blank if he was an indigo child. Apparently, this boy decided to have a little fun with him, and said, "I an Avatar. I can recognize the four elements of earth, wind, water, and fire. The next Avatar won't come for 100 years." The man was impressed. This exchange was published in the Dallas Observer. And then the readers let them in on the joke, that the boys' response was based on a television show. You got them good, kid!

This little boy's name was Dusk. On one blog the author commented on the name saying, "I wish that was a pseudonym." Um...why do you wish that? People are so anti-name that it really shocks me what they find objectionable. Dusk is just one logical step away from Dawn. I think Dusk is wonderful. Makes me wonder why it isn't used more.

Dusk's current definition is relatively new, it was originally a color word. It's from the Old English dox meaning, "dark haired" or "absence of light." It wasn't used in reference to twilight until the 1620s.

It's a very appropriate name for this season. Dusk is occurring earlier and earlier in the day until Samhain. While some parents are going to be attracted to Dawn because it symbolizes the beginning, Dusk symbolizes the end. It's the death of the day and beginning of night.

Dusk would be an unusual name. It's more often seen as a surname, but it's not terribly common in the last slot either. The only real namesake I could find was a minor character in a minor direct-to-video movie, Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost. There actually is a Wiccan character in it, or at least that's what they call her. Dusk is a girl that plays the drums in a band, apparently. Not something everyone's going to be familiar with.

This name has a lot going for it. Dusk is simple and doesn't lend itself to nicknames. It's macabre, but it doesn't bang you over the head with gothic sensibilities. It's a lovely moniker that's perfect for the season of the dead.


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Tituba is one of the most interesting names from the Salem Witch Trials, and one of it's most mysterious characters.

One of the main misconceptions that a lot of people have about Tituba was that she was Black. I think people hear the word "slave" and they automatically think of African Americans. But the truth is that there were many different type of ethnicities enslaved in the United States during this time, like Native Americans, Irishmen, and anyone else the Englishmen deemed savage.

Tituba (pronounced "TIH-tuh-bah") is actually from South America. Where in South America is debatable. The most widely accepted version of the story is that she was born in an Arawak village. She was captured as a child and brought to Barbados, where she was sold to Reverend Samuel Parris when she was between the ages of 12 and 17. She moved with him to Boston, then Salem. She was married to his other Native American slave, John, and they had a daughter named Violet.

When Parris' daughter, Betty, began displaying strange symptoms, she tried to help out. She mixed rye and some of Betty's urine, baked it, and fed it to the family dog. She then watched to see if the dog acted sick or wobbly, which she believed would be proof of Betty's enchantment. So unlike most people accused in Salem it appears that Tituba actually did have some knowledge of Pagan, or possibly Voodoo, practices. When Parris found out about the cake he was furious, and Betty soon named Tituba as a witch. She was an easy target.

Tituba confessed immediately after being beaten by her master, most likely to avoid further punishment. She also named Sarah Good and Sarah Osbourne as witches. She was the first person to confess, and she arguably instigated the mania that was to happen. As the Salem Witch Trials went on, Tibuta began to feel guilty and recanted her story. This enraged Parris further, and he refused to pay her bail, leaving her in jail for thirteen months. It is unclear what happened to Tituba and John after the Salem Witch Trials.

But that doesn't explain where the name Tituba comes from. One scholar listed it as a Yoruba name, which is most likely a product of confusion over her race. The fact that Tituba's name was respelled so many times in historical documents doesn't help much. Court records also list it as Titiba, Tittiba, Tittuba, and Titipa. Before historians can figure out where the name comes from, they have to find out once and for all where Tituba herself comes from. So the jury is still out.

Tituba is a definite head turner, and the prominent namesake doesn't exactly have a spotless record. But it's a daring and exotic name with a lovely sound. I can see it working on the right person.


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Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Hey look at that, this is the second name in one week that's has a well known namesake that was portrayed by Johnny Depp! The iconic Ichabod Crane was created by American author Washington Irving for his short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

Ichabod (pronounced "IH-kah-bohd") is a Hebrew name, and it has an interesting meaning: "the glory is gone." Some experts disagree with that, this might be folk etymology. For Christians, Ichabod is the grandson of Eli the High Priest and the son of Phinehas. Ichabod is barely mentioned in the current Bible, but there is evidence to suggest that his role was once very important. The character Ahitub is referred to as the brother of Ichabod, not as the son of anyone in particular. Why would being the brother of Ichabod have any relevance? Some scholars believe that Ichabod and the Biblical Jacob are the same person, and that Jacob and Ichabod are both variations of Jochebed. Jochebed means "Yahweh is the divine glory."

Washington Irving based his character not from the Bible, but off of people he knew. He met Captain Icabod B. Crane who fought in the army during the War of 1812, and the name must have appealed to him. As for the character's attributes, they are based off of a schoolteacher named Jesse Merwin.

As the story goes, Ichabod Crane is a scrawny, skittish school teacher working in Sleepy Hollow who is very superstitious and panics at the slightest things. He becomes attracted to the wealth and beauty of Katrina Von Tassel, who is the only child of a rich farmer. A guy named Brom, who is all muscle, wants Katrina too. The two men instantly become rivals.

Both men are invited to a harvest celebration at Katrina's house. Ichabod makes a proposal of marriage to Katrina, but she refuses. It is suggested that she was only using him to increase Brom's desire for her. Downtrodden, Ichabod rides home. On the way he encounters another traveler, who is reveled to be the legendary Headless Horseman. The Headless Horseman is the ghost of a soldier who was decapitated by a cannonball during the Revolutionary War. Ichabod flees in terror towards the safety of a bridge in a Dutch burial ground. The legend stated that the Headless Horseman couldn't cross this bridge. At first, it looks like Ichabod is safe. But then the Headless Horseman throws his severed head at Ichabod and knocks him off his horse. The next morning, Ichabod's hat is found next to the remains of a shattered pumpkin, and Ichabod is never seen again. The author makes strong hints that the Headless Horseman was really Brom disposing his rival.

Some people believe that Ichabod is unusable. After all, cowardly Ichabod Crane isn't exactly the most positive of associations. Some won't touch it because they think it sounds like "icky bod," which I think is a little bit silly. I think the name's interesting. It has a good sound. I have no idea how many people it would appeal to, but I think it's worth it to no write it off completely.


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Sunday, October 23, 2011


You don't see the macabre aspects of this name, do you? Allow me to help.

Kagami is a Japanese name meaning, "mirror." And not just any mirror. A special type of round copper mirror that had some sort of religious significance to the Japanese that has long since been forgotten. This is the name of two towns in Japan. Kagami mochi, meaning, "mirror rice cake," is a traditional decoration for the Japanese New Year. It's also a surname there.

I don't know how many of you watch The Haunting on Animal Planet. It's another reality show about hauntings that's only vaguely about animals. Those shows are terrible PR for Neo-Pagans, but I still find them fascinating. Anyway, there's this one episode were this family moved into an old house in New Orleans. The previous owners were obviously Occultists. There was a large mural of people having an orgy painted in an Ancient Egyptian style with charms on it (one of the new owners painted nasty slurs all over it because he's an idiot). Another odd detail of the house was that all of the mirrors were either covered with sheets or painted over so it couldn't reflect. Eventually, they find out that this was their was of summoning and trapping spirits in the house.

That's not a common way for Neo-Pagans to use mirrors. Mirrors have many applications in traditional Witchcraft, but it's usually for scrying or divination. Apparently, it's an old custom in the Southern United States to cover all the mirrors in the house when a wake is being held there because they believed that the soul of the dead person would become trapped in the house if they didn't. This is still practiced in countries like Romania, and extends to any reflective surface like a television.

There are lots of superstitions surrounding mirrors. For example, if you break a mirror you receive seven years of bad luck. Mirrors were believed to reflect part of the soul, and that the soul regenerated every seven years. To take away the bad luck, you can grind the mirror parts into dust or bury the mirror. There is also the belief that an infant cannot look into a mirror until her first birthday, because the soul is still developing. Mirrors cannot tell a lie, so if you see something reflected in one that isn't there in the real world, it is a bad omen. And also creepy.

Kagami isn't a name most Americans will be familiar with. I tried to find a pronunciation, which was not forthcoming from the bowls of the Internet. I've been saying it like "kah-GAH-mee" but that is most likely not accurate because Japanese pronunciations are sometimes trickier than they look. But I can guarantee that it would sound unconventional to a Westerner's ears. It has an appeal for it's veiled Witchy meaning, and it's great for someone with bold tastes.

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Thank you, Anna, for the beyond generous review at Waltzing More Than Matilda! And while I'm on the subject, I got a very kind blurb from Cristina on A Baby Name a Day! I'm so glad to be embraced by other name enthusiasts!


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Saturday, October 22, 2011


I'll admit that I'm not the biggest horror movie fan. However, I adore both the stage and film versions of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Pretty soon, I was weighing the pros and cons of the name Sweeney.

The name by itself isn't menacing at all. Sweeney (pronounced "SWEE-nee") is a Gaelic name derived from Mac Suibhne meaning, "son of Suibhne." Suibhne means "pleasant." It is most often used as a surname. But another explanation exists. In the United States, Sweeney evolved from the French surname Choiniere. Choiniere is derived from choin, meaning "white," which possibly originated as an occupational name for a baker.

But the most well known first name namesake is Sweeney Todd. I don't want to give too much of the story away for those that haven't seen the Stephen Sondheim play or Tim Burton movie. But the basic gist is this. Barber has wife and daughter taken away by judge, barber wants revenge, kills clientele for his neighbor Mrs. Lovett who turns the bodies into meat pies. This was adapted from a simpler melodramatic series first published in 1846. The original Sweeney Todd was not out for revenge, he was simply robbing his clients. He was more one dimensional there than in the musical I fell in love with.

Lots of people have tried to convince the public that Sweeney Todd was a real person. But I'm afraid that there is no historical evidence that proves it. He's one of the first urban legends. But that doesn't mean that there isn't truth in his story. There were recorded instances in which barbers have killed their clients back then. But it's possible that Sweeney Todd is based off of Sawney Beane, a older legendary character. Sawney Beane was the leader of a clan of murderous people living in the wilds of Scotland. They would kill and eat whatever traveler happened to come into contact with them. There's not much evidence that he existed either.

I can understand why this name would be off-limits in England. There, Sweeney Todd is an iconic bogeyman. He's not so iconic in America. He's not completely unknown, either. After West Side Story, Sweeney Todd is the most popular Sondheim musical for high school productions. And the movie did respectably. But if someone met a little boy named Sweeney, would they immediately make the connection to the demon barber? I don't know.

This name also appeals to me because of an underrated movie called Fur. Robert Downey Jr. plays a former side show freak named Lionel Sweeney. But my love for this name is mostly my macabre side showing. I've been toying with it as a middle name, Peregrine Sweeney is quite lovely.

In the first name slot, Sweeney fits into the surname trend. It might even be picked up for girls some day. It does sound like sweetie, doesn't it? How could that be evil?


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Thursday, October 20, 2011


When I was a teenager I was reading the copy of The Fifth Sacred Thing that my uncle gave me. I told him about it the next time I saw him, and he said, "Oh, you like Witchcraft? I have a movie you're going to love!" He popped The Craft into the VCR and we watched it together. He was mistaken. Far from loving The Craft, I hated The Craft with the passion of a thousand suns! I thought it was every bad stereotype and every bad fantasy Witch cliche combined into a dumb teen movie. Lots of Neo-Pagans agree with me. But I was shocked to see that some people have a very different idea. Some cite this movie as "life changing" and the reason that they first immersed themselves into this lifestyle. What is also surprising is that the girl that plays the bad teenage witch is an real life Witch herself. Her name is Fairuza Balk.

But first, let's analyze why this movie made such an impression. Out of all the Neo-Pagan women reading this, how many of you became interested in all things witchy when you were teenagers? Good. Now, were you interested in these things, at least in part, because you knew it would be intimidating to certain people? It's okay, you can be honest.

Regular American society does not allow women to express aggression. According to Pink Brain, Blue Brain by Lise Eliot, mothers tend to ignore their infant sons expressions of pain and their infant daughters expressions of anger. From the beginning they are given subtle cues that being submissive is feminine. This causes all sorts of problems for girls in the high school years, like depression and more covert forms of bullying. So when some of those girls saw teenage girls taking matters into their own hands when The Craft came out in 1996, I'm sure they saw it as empowering. Besides, the heroine is a witch too.

But back to Fairuza Balk. Fairuza (I can't find a pronunciation) is the feminine variant of Fairuz, an Arabic name or an Iranian name depending on who you ask. It's derived from the Persian name Piruzeh, meaning "turquoise," "precious one," or "successful." As the child of a Middle Eastern dance teacher and a folk musician who lived in Turkey for a few years, her name is a product of the parent's shared interest in Arabian lands. It was also inspired by their child's blue eyes. Born Fairuza Alejandra Feldthouse, she has Romani, Cherokee, and Blackfoot ancestry. It is unclear when she became interested in the occult.

The Craft is not the only film she's known for. One of her first roles was as Dorothy in Return to Oz. She was awarded the Independent Spirit Award for best actress for her performance in Gas Food Lodging. She also appeared in The Island of Dr. Moreau, American History X, and The Waterboy. She also does voice work for cartoons and video games, and records her own music. She once owned an occult store in Hollywood called Panpipes Magickal Marketplace, but has not been associated with it for ten years.

Fairuza would be quite the head-turner in the United States. Variant forms include Firuzeh, Firuza, and Firouzeh. For boys there's Firuz and Firoz. Fay or Fairy could make good nicknames. Balk isn't so famous that she's taken over her unusual name, so it's still relatively association free. However, I'm not so sure that it would appeal to everyone familiar with the movie.


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Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Ah, absinthe. The preferred herb based, highly alcoholic drink of the bohemians of Paris. It has a bad reputation, but is it deserved?

Absinthe was supposedly invented in Switzerland, but there is evidence that versions of this drink have existed since Ancient Egypt. It became popular in France during the 1800s and 1900s. It was particularly well enjoyed by artists and writers like Oscar Wilde, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent Van Gogh, Charles Baudelaire, and famous Occultist Aleister Crowley. Anyone who's seen the film Moulin Rouge knows that this beverage's nickname is "the green fairy." Absinthe has also been portrayed as a dangerously addictive psychedelic drug, but it's effects are exaggerated. In reality, it's no worse than any other alcoholic drink.

There are some conflicting explanations for the etymology of the infamous green drink. Absinthe (pronounced "AB-sinth" or "AB-santh") is derived from the Latin absinthium, an old name for "wormwood," also known as Artemisia. The flowers and leaves of wormwood are used to make absinthe, in combination with sweet fennel and green anise. An in the olden days when they gave their children medicine containing wormwood they would smear honey on the brim of the cup to make it drinkable.

Speaking of which, others claim that absinthe means "undrinkable" in Greek. It may also be linked to the Persian spand or aspand. Because wormwood was commonly burned as a protective offering, it could also be related to the Proto-Indo-European spend, meaning "to perform a ritual."

Absinthe used to be illegal in the United States and most of Europe. However, there's been a recent resurgence of interest in this drink since the 1990s. In 2007, the ban on absinthe was lifted in the United States. Now there are absinthe clubs around the country.

But what about Absinthe as a name? Originally, I categorized this as a controversial name, but maybe only because part of me wishes that it would be. It's probably on the same level as Chardonnay, a name associated with wine. Sure, Absinthe is more sophisticated than Tequila or Budweiser, but it's still an alcoholic drink. It's not the best association.

But I'm sure this name will appeal to some people, it's daring and has feeling of bohemian debauchery. If you want to chance it, alternate spellings include Absinth, Absynthe, and Absenta. It's a macabre name that would take a specific type of macabre person to wear it.


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Monday, October 17, 2011


Here's a name for gothic kitch lovers, but could it appeal to anyone else?

If you know the Spanish names of the days of the week, it's easier to figure out which god presides over this day. Miercoles sounds a lot like Mercury, doesn't it? However, Wednesday is derived from the Middle English Wednesdei meaning "Woden's Day" because Woden was seen as a Germanic Mercury. Woden is the Norse counterpart of Odin. Some Christians call this day "the fourth day" in order to avoid the Pagan associations.

For Neo-Pagans, the different days of the week are good for performing different types of magick. This day is good for travel, communication, wisdom, education, self improvement, and creativity.

Technically, this name could be given to both genders. However, this name is very strongly associated with girls because of Wednesday Addams. Wednesday Friday Addams was created by cartoonist Charles Addams for his comic strip The Addams Family. He gave this character the name Wednesday because of the nursery rhyme, "Wednesday's child is full of woe." She is pale with dark hair and has a fascination with death. The strip was adapted into a television show, and then into two films famously starring a young Christina Ricci as Wednesday.

There is also an out-of-print book called The Wednesday Witch by Ruth Chew. In this book, witches are not portrayed favorably. The Wednesday Witch, so called because her magic works best on Wednesdays, is enemies with Mary Jane. The Witch looses her vacuum cleaner (which she rides on instead of a broom) and her cat to Mary Jane.

One problem that you might run into is despite the fact that people see this word every day most don't know how to spell it. The extra "d" makes sense when you know it's "Woden's Day," but most people don't know that. There is also the macabre association with the name because of the well known Addams Family. You are either going to like the character and think it's a great namesake, or be completely put off by the name because of it. Either way, I do like Wednesday for the right family.


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Sunday, October 16, 2011


One of my favorite gemstone names, Peridot is not an option that most people consider.

Peridot (pronounced "PEHR-ih-doh") is the gemstone for Libra. They are often confused with emeralds, but chemically the two have nothing in common. Peridots are a type of olivine (another great name idea) which is a common mineral found in lava. Strangely enough, this gemstone is also an alien. It's been found in meteorites. Gem quality peridots are very rare, and they are the only gemstone to come in one color: olive green. They are mined in the United States, Kenya, Pakistan, Mexico, China, Australia, Brazil, Norway, South Africa, Tanzinia, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.

No one is quite sure where the word peridot came from. Some believe that it comes from the Arabic faridat, meaning "gem." Another suggestion is that it's derived from the Anglo-Norman pedoretes, an old word for "opal." However, we do know that the word peridot itself is a French one.

Peridots hold great significance in many cultures. An Ancient Egyptian legend says that they mined them on an island called Zeberget. They mined during the nighttime because they believed that the gemstone could not be seen during the day. This was very dangerous work because the island was infested with snakes, but one Pharaoh remedied that by driving all of them into the sea. The Romans called peridots "the evening emeralds" because it's color didn't darken at night. Peridots were used to decorate medieval churches. They are highly prized in Hawaii because they are said to be tears from the volcano goddess Pele.

Given their extraterrestrial origins, is it any wonder that Neo-Pagans use the stone to invoke higher powers? Peridots are used for channeling and visions. It is also believed that peridots drive away evil spirits. As a magickal remedy, peridots are used to relieve stress and aid the bloodstream and sinus.

Peridot fits into names that end with an "o" sound like Shiloh, Milo, and Willow. But using it for a name is largely unheard of. It's a strange and elegant name. It's definitely in the running for my future children.


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Friday, October 14, 2011

Name Round Up: Inspired by Tori Amos Songs

While I'm on the subject, Tori Amos songs have lots of great names. Here are a few that I've collected. Any strike your fancy?


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I don't remember.


Tori Amos has a new album out called Night of Hunters. This has rekindled an old question that many Neo-Pagans have on their lips: "So is she Pagan or not?"

Tori Amos (born Myra Ellen Amos) grew up the third child of a Reverend of a Methodist church. She was interested in music from a very young age. She won a full scholarship for the Preparatory Division of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, but it was cut and she was asked to leave by the time she was eleven years old. She has mixed European and Cherokee ancestry. Her grandfather offered her pantheistic spiritual guidance and was a great inspiration to her.

Tori Amos was one of the most important female singer-songwriters of the 1990s, and is still respected today. She is well known for songs like "Crucify," "Caught a Lite Sneeze," "1000 Oceans," "Cornflake Girl." Her most commercially successful single is "A Sorta Fairytale." Granted, her later albums have not been as good, but I'm still a devoted Tori fan. She is also well known for being close friends with Neil Gaiman, but contrary to popular belief the Sandman character Delirium is not based off of her.

I would say that Night of Hunters is the best album she's had for a while. All the songs are based on classical compositions and are all acoustic, which is how I like her music. The entire album is also based on the book The White Goddess by Robert Graves, which is about mythology from Ancient Ireland. The White Goddess is one of the most controversial books among Neo-Pagans because of it's questionable historical veracity. She said, "When I read about the power of poets in those days, it took me a while to really comprehend that sort of world, because we don't have a world like that." It is interesting to note that her ten year old daughter Natashya "Tash" Lorien Hawley also sings on this album, and sings with much maturity.

But Pagan references in Tori's work is nothing new. You can find them in "God," "Muhammad My Friend," "Icicle," "Devils and Gods," and The Beekeeper album. But her music also has a complex baroque style that's reminiscent of church music. Apparently when she was a child she used to give new lyrics to church hymns.

She permanently adopted the name Tori because a friend's boyfriend told her that it suited her. The name that she picked for herself could come from two of sources. It is most likely a shortened form of Victoria, meaning "victory." Tori has ascended sheer nickname status and has appeared on the top 1,000 on it's own. It shot up in the 1990s at #202 and now sits at #565. Tori Amos' real debut and rise occurred in the 1990s, but I'm not sure that this rise in popularity can be attributed to her. But this name is also used by our friends in Japan. There, it is a unisex name meaning "bird."

Although she's never aligned herself with any one religion, I'll include her as a well known Pagan here. She's one of us in all the ways that actually matter. And her name should sound right at home with the Maddies of the world. I've heard of Torabelle as a variant, which may appeal to some. But in the meantime, go and listen to her new album. It will remind you of what's so great about her.


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Illustration by Jinyoung Shin.


I know what most people think when they here this word. This seems like a name that is meant to be spooky. I suppose that it could be in reference to a ghost, but that's not really what I'm talking about here.

Spirit is derived from the Old French espirit, which is in turn derived from the Latin spiritus, meaning "breath," "soul," or "courage." It is often used in Christian contexts, there is of course the Holy Spirit, but the idea doesn't belong only to them. The use of the word in reference to a supernatural being started sometime in the 1300s.

For Neo-Pagans, Spirit (also known as Ether or Aether) is one of the five elements. It is symbolized by the top point of the pentagram, because it's the most important, and by the colors purple and white. Spirit is the source of the other four elements, uniting all things and giving the world meaning. Spirit is the most commonly called-upon element when performing magick, whether we mean to or not.

Occasionally you might see an upside-down pentagram. This inverted symbol is most closely associated with Satanism. It symbolizes that the wearer does not care about the spirit element at all, but is only concerned with earthly pleasures. Personally, I find the inverted pentagram quite offensive.

Of course, another way this word is used is in reference to the afterlife, or to supernatural beings we don't fully understand. But most Neo-Pagans don't find these things threatening, although we are very respectful of these being's power. Both Native American religions and Shintoism tell us that there is a spirit for everything. Those that have watched Spirited Away know that there is even a spirit for radishes, and he is very nice. Many Neo-Pagans have spirit guides, which may or may not take the form of an animal. In this Pagan group I socialize with, a Wiccan who was a psychiatrist was observing the symptoms of this woman who barged into her office who she thought was a patient. When she asked for her name, she said "I'm Angel," and disappeared. "So my spirit guide is bipolar," she told us. "That explains a lot, actually."

I have tags for fire, water, earth, and air names, but how would you even begin to categorize a spirit name? Names with ghostly meaning seem too literal, and there's not many monikers like that anyways. But if spirit is in everything, a spirit name could technically be anything.

Spirit could be an interesting choice for a name. If Spirit doesn't strike your fancy but you like the idea of it, you could consider Espiridion or Spiridion, Spanish and Greek for "little spirit." And I might have to do a round up of "spirit" names so people know other options. But for now, this is a name for those that want religions overtones plainly visible.


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Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Here's an unused option from Ancient Egypt that has an appealing, familiar sound.

Hathor (pronounced "HAHTH-awr") is the Greek form of Het-Heru, meaning "the house of Horus." One of the goddess' oldest names is Mehturt, meaning "great flood." This was because she was directly associated with the Milky Way, which was known as the Nile of the sky back then. Due to this, Hathor presided over the inundation of the Nile.

This deity's origins are difficult to trace because her worship predates recorded Ancient Egyptian history. In the earliest icons she is depicted as a cow goddess wearing a sun disk crown and a necklace. Later, she was rendered as a human with a cow's head, or as a normal looking woman. Have you ever seen the Neo-Pagan statues of a faceless woman with her arms raised up in a circle? That's Harthor too. Hathor presided over love, music, motherhood, childbirth, dance, and beauty. One of the most popular goddesses in Ancient Egypt she was beloved by poor and royalty alike. It was believed that she welcomed the dead in the next life.

Some readers may be thinking, "Wait. I thought Isis did all that. What gives?" In fact, Hathor was sometimes merged with Isis, even though the two goddesses developed separately. In fact, some texts even list her as the mother of Rah. This was not seen as a paradox. The Ancient Egyptians believed that gods had the power to merge with each other because reality is multi-layered.

According to one myth, Hathor is not to be trifled with. In this tale, Rah, the ruler of Upper Egypt, was no longer respected by the people of Lower Egypt. He used magick to communicate with Hathor's third eye. He told her that some of his people were planning to assassinate him. Hathor became so furious that she merged with Sekhmet, the goddess of war, and slaughtered the offending citizens and drank their blood. Apparently Rah thought she got a little carried away, because he poured blood-colored beer on the ground to fool her. Sekhmet drank the beer and became drunk, transforming back into the gentle Hathor.

I suppose some westerners don't think that "cow goddess" is a flattering association. But why not use it? Isis seems to be doing pretty well on the charts. A Hathor could hang out with Harper, Arthur, and Hawthorn. And it seems appropriate for a girl born during the fertile times of the year.


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Monday, October 10, 2011


Well, I almost missed Columbus Day without posting about it. Some Neo-Pagans might wish that I actually did.

Between 1492 and 1503, Christophorus Columbus (born Cristoforo Colombo, now known as Christopher) made four round trips between Spain and the New World, which Columbus always insisted was Asia despite all evidence to the contrary. These voyages marked the beginning of European exploration and colonization.

Columbus (pronounced "cuh-LUM-bus") is an old hero name. Apparently, the names Columbia and Columbus spread rapidly after the Revolutionary War and was used until very recently. It peaked in the 1880s at #228 and steadily trickled down the charts until it disappeared in the 1960s. Columbus is a variant of a Latin word meaning "dove." Columbia is a poetic name for America derived from the explorer's moniker as well as a female personification of the country. This name was given to our nation's capital, the District of Columbia. Columbus does have a beautiful sound. So why isn't it used much today? It's still a hero name, right? Well, not so much.

First of all, we all know that Columbus didn't "discover" America, right? That particular honor is usually given to Leif Ericson now, the Norse Explorer who landed in Newfoundland some 500 years before Columbus. But if you really think about it, the Native Americans themselves discovered America when they migrated from Eurasia to this continent via a land bridge that used to connect what is now Russia and Alaska 60,000 years ago (this theory is still debated).

No, Columbus is the guy that opened up America for the purposes of making money. Back then, this meant killing and enslaving lots of indigenous people. And this is why Columbus' legacy is no longer considered noble, particularly to the Native Americans. Like most Europeans back then, Columbus didn't make much of them. When he first encountered Native Americans, he wrote, "I think they could very easily be made Christians, for they seem to have no religion," and further, "I could conquer the whole of them with 50 men, and govern them as I please." After he landed in Hispaniola, now Puerto Rico, the native Taino people died off at an alarming rate. Before, there was an estimated 300,000 people, but 56 years after Columbus landed that population was brought down to less than 500. It is suggested that had Columbus not arrived, the Native American population, culture, and sacred structures (both man-made and natural) would not be on the life support that they are on right now.

The Native American religions are considered a form of Paganism, so many Neo-Pagans are going to side with them. Others choose to embrace the positive, the willingness to take risks and the spirit of adventure that Columbus has embodied for many centuries. Because of it's former popularity, many people pick this name because they saw it on their family tree. And Columbia is a very appropriate name for this time of year. Can you figure out why? I'll give you a hint, couple it with Frank, Magenta, Brad, and Janet. Other variant forms include Columba, Colombe, and Colombo.

Columbus is a name that keeps re-entering and leaving my favorites list, and if you look at the history it's clear to see why. So if you're going to use this name, you must know that you're going to wind up dealing with lots of conflicting emotions from other people.


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I've been on the fence regarding Libra's "naminess" in the past. But now, I see that for the right person it could work great.

This zodiac sign occurs from September 23nd to October 22nd. Libra (pronounced "LEE-brah") is Latin for "scales." This refers to the type of scales you weigh things with. This tool was commonplace in the lives of many Ancient people since Babylonian times (although the Babylonians also referred to this constellation as "The Claws of the Scorpion"). This is the only zodiac sign that does not symbolize a living creature. Scales are also symbolic of truth and justice. In Ancient Babylonia, the scales were sacred to the sun god Shamash. In Ancient Egypt, Libra was associated with Ma'at, goddess of balance.

But it is the goddess Astraea which is most often associated with this constellation. In Greek and Roman mythology, Astraea was the daughter of either Zeus and Themis or Eos and Astraeus, depending on who you ask. She was associated with innocence, purity, and justice. According to legend, she was the last of the immortals to live in the human world during the Utopian Bronze Age. But by the end of the Iron Age she became disgusted by the wickedness of humanity. Some say she ascended into heaven to become the constellation Virgo, while her scales became the neighboring constellation Libra. Astraea is often associated with another Roman goddess, Justitia. Justitia appears in the Tarot as Justice, so that card could also be related to Libra.

Libra is a masculine air sign. This is considered to be the most desirable zodiac sign by some astrologers because it occurs during the peak of the seasons, where all that is to be reaped from the harvest of spring, summer, and autumn is to be enjoyed. Traditional Libra traits include intellect, charm, idealism, and diplomacy. They are easygoing and love to enjoy the pleasures of live. On the dark side, Librans can be frivolous, easily influenced, and self indulgent. I don't put much stock in astrology, but the only Libra I knew fit this description pretty well. I remember when she said, "I took this weekend seminar in performance art and I now know I'm ready to quit school and live on my own in New York City!" "...Um...yeah, an unfinished B.F.A. in Drama doesn't exactly scream 'hireability,' so maybe it would be better if--" "I'm off to change the world!"

The reason I did not originally see this as a good naming option is because when I was younger I read a book that said that Libra could be seen as a joke if the person was fat. I see now that that's a little silly. The point of the name is that it embodies fairness and honor. Don't be too literal.

So if you have a little Libra baby, this one could be a head turner. But if you want to bestow honorable qualities in your daughter, this name could be a daily reminder of those ideals.


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Saturday, October 8, 2011


If you've watched a television show that featured witches, you can bet that one of them was probably named Ember. Ember is one of the trinity of cliche witch names, Willow and Raven are her sisters. But there's just one problem with the association: unlike the others, I've never seen any real life Witch named Ember.

I'm serious. Go look yourself. There's no well known Neo-Pagans with this name. I don't remember seeing anyone go by this name on forums. And I've never met an Ember. A quick google search revealed maybe two Embers, but it's not as popular with us as the media would suggest. There are far more Wolfs and Ravens. So television is proliferating a misconception about witches that has little basis in fact. Go figure. Don't get me wrong, it's a great name. And it could be perfect for Neo-Pagans.

You might be surprised to know that Ember (pronounced "EHM-ber") has more than one meaning. The most obvious is it's fiery one. In the English language, an ember is a burned, smouldering coal or a spark. The word is derived from the Pre-Germanic word for "ashes." But in Hungarian, Ember means "man" or "person."

Ember is a new addition to the American Top 1,000. It first appeared in the girls column in 2009, and last year it ranked #825. Overall, pretty mild popularity so far. It's more unusual as a boy's name. Little boy Embers are mainly found in Hungary.

Ember's debut on the charts coincide with the film version of City of Ember, which appeared in theaters in 2008. The movie received mixed reviews, but it appears to have inspired a few parents. The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau is a young adult post apocalyptic fantasy. It's the first in a series and is quite successful. In the books, Ember is an underground city that is slowly running out of power. The two protagonists, Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow, must decode clues left by the original builders of the city in order to lead the people to the outside world. Other fictional namesakes include one of the main characters in Piers Anthony's novel Isle of Woman. Witch Ember is a fantasy novel by John Lawson, but it doesn't appear that Ember is the name of any characters.

A potential problem may be that little Ember will constantly have to correct people who think it's Amber. I think that's ultimately not a big deal, but it will be up to the namer to decide that. A source listed Ember as a variant of Jeremy, but I'm not sure I buy that. It could very easily be a nickname for September. As a girl's name, Ember has a lovely sound but isn't overly frilly. As a boy's name, it's strong without being overly macho. It's a great nature name for a little witchlet.


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Friday, October 7, 2011


A very appropriate name for any Neo-Pagan, October is an unique option.

October is derived from the Latin word for "eight," because it was the eighth month of the Roman calender. I had to wonder if this name was given, at least in part, in honor of Emperor Octavius (also known as Augustus) but there's no historical evidence that suggests that.

In temperate regions, October is deep into autumn bringing vibrantly colored leaves and berries. Most animals start hibernating during this time and insects are dying by the truckload. Birds start to migrate southward, but alongside them are bats, which is probably why I always see more of them this time of year. Also, the nights are getting longer and longer.

October is arguably the most sacred time of the year for Neo-Pagans in the Northern Hemisphere. We are counting down the days till Samhain, while the people bellow the equator are excited for Beltane. October has long been associated with the dead and the spirit world because of Samhain/Halloween, but we'll save that for the holiday. But it's not all about the supernatural. The German festival of Oktoberfest is celebrated in many parts of the country. In Canada, Thanksgiving is in October, as opposed to the American November Thanksgiving.

October is a very unusual name. Namesakes are few and far between. Dave Eggers, author of novels like A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and What is the What, has a daughter named October Adelaide. And a character named October appeared in the horror film Stay Alive. There aren't any more that I know of.

As usual for the more daring names, this often gets listed in with the girls. I often picture it more for a boy because I'm unusual like that, apparently. But I love it for both genders. It's a gothic name without being completely unsettling. It's definitely Witchy. Finding a little October on the playground would fill my heart with glee.


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Tuesday, October 4, 2011


One parent wants Gwen. One parent wants Lily. Didn't you know that you can have both? Now you do!

Gwenllian (pronounced "gwehn-LEE-an") is a Welsh name composed of the elements gwen meaning "white" or "blessed," and llian meaning "flaxen." This name is almost unheard of in America, but has a long and illustrious history in Wales.

Gwenllian ferch Llewellyn was only a few months old when she became an orphan in the 1200s. Her mother, Eleanor de Montfort, died giving birth to her and her father, Llewellyn ap Gruffudd, was captured and put to death by the English. Gwenllian's life was in danger because she was the only heir to the throne of Wales. But she had family ties to English royalty, so she was not killed. King Edward I arranged for her to and her cousins to live in Lincolnshire while he took the title of Prince of Wales. Gwenllian was not allowed any freedom, and she never learned any Welsh. Documents indicate that she didn't know how to spell her own name, she signed it as "Wentiliane." She has been referenced in at least three works of poetry and song. After a lengthy campaign, the mountain Carnedd Uchaf was renamed Carnedd Gwenllian in her honor.

Now, this Gwenllian is often confused with Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, also known as Gwenllian the Brave. This Gwenllian was the daughter of Gruffudd ap Cynan and Angharad. Born in 1097, she was the youngest daughter of eight children; her sisters were Mared, Rhiannell, Susanna, and Annest, her brothers were Cadwallon, Owain, and Cadwaladr. She was strikingly beautiful, and became romantically involved with visiting Prince Gruffydd ap Rhys who she eloped with. According to legend, Gwenllian and her husband would take goods and money from the English, Norman, and Flemish colonists and redistribute them among their people.

Gwenllian the Brave died in The Great Revolt of 1136. Her husband had left their kingdom in order to enlist help from her father. While he was gone, the Normans attacked. Gwenllian was compelled to lead an army against them. She was eventually captured and beheaded. She is the only known Medieval Welsh woman to lead an army into battle. For centuries after her death, Welshman cried out, "Revenge for Gwenllian!" while charging at the enemy. Historians often compare her to the Celtic leader Boudicea. The field where The Great Revolt is believed to have taken place is named in her honor.

Although this name has never been popular in the United States, the two elements split apart are very familiar. Gwen peaked in the 1950s at #327. Lily is, of course, an enormously popular name today at #17. You could even make the compound more obvious and use Gwenlily.

Gwenllian is a great name for those that want to honor a great female warrior. But it also has a sweet, delicate side. The "lily" aspect falls in line with today's name fashion, so only time will tell if this name will jump across the pond to our country.


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Monday, October 3, 2011


After finding a Lorelei Charm on For Real Baby Names, I instantly fell in love with the idea of Charm.

Charm is a word in the English language that is derived from the Old French charme, which is in turn derived from the Latin canere, meaning "to sing" or "to chant." The oldest use of this word has always been in reference to enchantment and reciting verses of magickal power.

Today, Charm is a name that could reference several different things. In the Neo-Pagan religion, a charm is another word for a spell. It's usually a traditional incantation in the form of a poem. Jacob Grimm once wrote, "But these, to be effective, must be choice, well knit, rhythmic words...must have lilt and tune; hence all that is strong in the speech wielded by a priest, physician, magician, is allied to the forms of poetry." The word could also be in reference to amulets. Most people own a lucky charm that they carry with them or wear. In England, Charmers are practitioners of supernatural healing. They have carried their abilities down to the next generation in secret and still live today. It is believed that this is where the idea of a "hereditary witch" came from.

But could Charm also be a new virtue name? Used in a different context, charm is a synonym for charisma. When people have charm, they have socially desirable characteristics like a sense of humor, courtesy, and attractiveness. It certainly sounds like a virtue. Unless that charm is superficial. Superficial charm, a tactic used by people to get what they want, is one of the characteristics of sociopaths.

If you really think about it, this name has been used for a while. Prince Charming is a traditional hero in many fairy tales. No one is quite sure where the term came from, the Princes didn't have names in the earliest versions of the stories. Some believe that it was coined in Charles Perrault's version of "Sleeping Beauty" published in 1697, which includes the phrase, "The Prince was charmed by her words." It's a weak connection, but there are no other explanations. Years later, Madame d'Aulnoy wrote "The Blue Bird" which included a hero called "The Charming King," and the rest is history. Today "Prince Charming" is often a term for an idealized man that a woman hopes to marry.

This name also brings to mind the successful television show Charmed, a show that was a confusing mish-mash of tired fantasy cliches, demonology, and Wiccan ideas. I understand that a lot of people (and lots of Neo-Pagans) liked the show, but when they called the characters Wiccan they went into theological territory that they shouldn't have touched. I hated the show with the passion of a thousand suns and never watched it if I could help it, but that was mostly because of my dislike of the actresses.

Charm is going to be a new one for a lot of people. Because of the fairy tale reference, it might be too much in the first slot, particularly for a boy. But it could be a daring and meaningful middle name. I'm very glad that someone decided to use it for their daughter.


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