Monday, November 14, 2011


The Stitch Witch has been wanting me to profile the names of her two daughters, so I'm getting started on Faye. As this name has no standard spelling, I profiling it as Fae for no reason in particular other than I just find it aesthetically pleasing.

If you're Neo-Pagan, the meaning to Fae is quite clear. It's referring to the mythical faerie creatures found in folktales and legends in many cultures. The word fae is ultimately derived from the Latin word fata, meaning "fate" and also The Fates. Fae is an Old French word and it came to mean "enchantment." When it was given the ending -rie, the combined faerie meant "state of enchantment." If you're going to be proper about it, Fae is a noun referring to a race of mythical beings, and Faerie is an adjective describing things associated with the Fae. But no one actually keeps that straight and the words are used interchangeably. As we all already know, Fae has multiple spellings including Fay, Fey, Feie, Faie, and Faye.

When most people think of fairies, they think of Tinkerbell. But there are literally tons and tons of myths involving fairies and where they come from. In the olden days, Fey was sometimes a word meant to describe all sorts of supernatural creatures, including goblins, elves, and nymphs to name a few. But other times the word referred to a specific type of being. There are many different stories about what fairies exactly are. One theory states that they are Irish gods and goddesses, who are said to have withdrawn to the sidhe ("fairy mounds") after the Christians came in a diminished state of power. One popular belief was that fairies are a certain class of dead people. Christians called them demoted angels or demons. The one that most believers think now is that fairies are an intelligent species separate from humans. However, they often look like humans according to legends, although sometimes they are portrayed as being short. They are whimsical, mercurial, and may be benign or devilish.

The Faerie World play an important part in two types of Neo-Paganism at least. There is the Feri tradition of Witchcraft and there's Faery Wicca. Feri Witches often see themselves as Fey, and that much of reality is unseen. They have an appreciation for nature, beauty, and creativity.

There are other references to this name in folklore. Faie is known for being one of the names for legendary Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay. On a bit more macabre note, the etymologically unrelated Old English word fey means "fated to die." Clearly not everyone with this name has died prematurely.

Fae as a name is something of an antique, but it doesn't have a grandmother's aftertaste. Fae is sometimes used as a shortened form of a more Christian name: Faith. But it was clear that this name was popular because of it's more mythical origins. Fae peaked in the 1910s at #826, Fay in the 1900s at #218, and Faye in the 1930s at #164. Fairy was common during this time as well, it peaked in the 1900s at #772. This time in history had a famous namesake, Fay Wray is the actress forever known for being carried up the Empire State Building by a giant gorilla. Fay even charted as a boy's name.

Fae is a simple Wicca-lite name that still manages to be incredibly Witchy. The only problem I could spot is that there are so many spellings that someone is bound to misspell the one you choose at some point. But Fae, or Faye, is a great name filled with enchantment.


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  1. This was amazing! You taught me even more than what I already knew, and here I thought I knew everything associated with it. Anyways, this was great and I really appreciate you taking the time to profile the name. The name definitely suits her too. What's funny is that I wanted to spell it Fae, but my Husband won that battle. No worries though. She loves her name too and, at 5 years old, freaks out (for the good) when she meets someone else with that name. Once again, thanks so much!

  2. Oh, and we picked it because of my love of all things (good and bad) faery and my Husband picked it because of some bad ass chick that he used to love on an Anime called "Cowboy Bebop".

  3. My husband is also strongly vying for this name due to the "bad ass chick" from Cowboy Bebop!


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