Tuesday, February 28, 2012


There were a few trees names from the Celtic tree months that I didn't profile last year. Probably because I was already profiling so many names that began with "A" at the time and I wanted more variety. But that means that I get to profile Ash this year.

The Celtic tree month of Ash begins in February 18th and ends March 17th. The word ash is derived from the Old English aesc.The tree's Latin name is fraxinus, and both names mean "spear." According to mythology, Odin's spear is made from an ash tree. It's Celtic name was nion (pronounced "NEE-on," I think).

The Ash tree is famous amongst Neo-Pagans for many reasons. In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil, also known as The World Tree, is a giant ash tree that links and shelters all worlds (I'm sure all Neo-Pagans have seen a diagram of it at some point in their lives). The first man, Ask, was formed from an ash tree as well. This tree secretes a sugary substance which, it is believed, was fermented to make the Mead of Inspiration. In Greek mythology, the Meliae are the nymphs of the ash tree. It's this tree that the Hanging Man is strung from in the tarot deck. Yule logs often come from ash trees. It was believed that this tree was a serpent repellent, and that they would stay out of a circle drawn on the ground with an ash branch. Nicknames for this tree include "unicorn tree" (it was believed that ash was the unicorns favorite tree), "guardian tree," and "widow maker" (because large branches often drop without warning).

Neo-Pagans may uses this tree for many magickal and medicinal purposes. The month of Ash is a good time to perform magick that connects you with your inner self. Ash is connected to the water element, so you can use this tree for ocean power, ocean rituals, protection from drowning, and rain making. Witches brooms are often made with a handle of ash, and it was a popular wood for shields and spears since it was known for having protective powers. If there are no snakes around, ash can repeal nasty and negative people. They can absorb sickness because special guardian spirits reside in ash. The Druids use ash wands with special spiral carvings for the purposes of healing. Ash leaves placed under your pillow will induce prophetic dreams, and carrying one will attract a lover of the opposite sex. In springtime, leaves and freshly grown tops can be used to make a tea that encourages fasting or weight loss. Ash trees are known to be liver and spleen cleansers, and can make the immune system stronger.

It's most common practical use is, obviously, firewood. It is great for barbecues and smoking. Ash tree wood is a popular material for the bodies of electric guitars, and less commonly for acoustic guitars. They are also used to make drums and indoor furnishings. Because ash trees were commonly used to make the bodies of carriages, early cars and planes had frames made of ash.

Of course, the name Ash could also be a reference for the residue of fire. It's a name that combines the elements of fire and earth. Ashes also are heavily associated with death, "Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust," "Ashes, ashes, we all fall down." So that makes Ash a mildly macabre name as well.

There are a few fictional namesakes for Ash. Apparently the main character in Pokemon is named Ash. I wouldn't know, I was never into Pokemon. The association that comes into my mind is the son in the Fantastic Mr. Fox film.

This name could work as a Wicca-lite name because Ash is often used as a short form of Asher, a Hebrew name meaning "happy," or Ashley, an Old English name meaning "ash tree meadow."Put I didn't put it in that category because it is quite rare on it's own. It reads more masculine to me personally but it could work for either gender. Variant forms include Ashe and Asshe (although I wouldn't recommend the later). There are also other names that are related to Ash, like Ashby (meaning "ash tree home"), Ashford (meaning "ford by the ashes"), and Ashton ("ash tree town").

So if you want a short, no frills natural name for someone born during the month of Ash, this name could be very appealing.


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Found via http://pinterest.com

Monday, February 20, 2012

Name Round-Up: A Series of Unfortunate Events

I finally finished this series, and I have to say that I am a huge fan. I wasn't sure that I was going to be one in the middle of the series. Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) likes to keep his cards very close to his chest. I look forward to reading The Beatrice Letters, it's sequel.

I don't think I can say much without giving away pieces of the plot, but the series has a lot of inspired character names. Some of the names are jokes (there are siblings named Isadora and Duncan, get it?), but most of them are literary references. Esme Squalor, for instance, is widely assumed to be a reference to the poem by J.D. Salinger: "For Esme - With Love and Squalor." Here are most of the inspired names from this series:



Image Credit:
Illustration by Brett Helquist


I've already profiled Elphaba, Glinda, Nessarose, and Liir. The Wicked Witch's boyfriend has not yet been accounted for.

In the beloved musical version of Wicked, Fiyero (pronounced "fee-YEH-roh") Tiggular is the handsome popular guy. He is a prince of Winkie and attends Shiz University with Elphaba and Glinda. He almost immediately becomes Glinda's boyfriend, but gradually falls in love with Elphaba. Thanks to her, he starts thinking that there is more to life than having fun. Later, he becomes engaged to Glinda, but runs away with Elphaba when she reappears. When the two are ambushed by palace gaurds, Fiyero allows Elphaba to escape, and the gaurds torchure Fiyero...well, I guess I shouldn't give away the ending.

In the book by Gregory Maguire, Fiyero Tigelaar is quite different. First of all, he is not conventionally handsome. His dark skin is covered with blue diamond shapped tattoos, which immediately marks him as an outsider like Elphaba (the creators of the musical didn't think the tattoos would translate well on stage). He is still a prince, but he is a prince of the Arjiki tribe. When we meet him, he is unhappily betroved to Sarima, and they eventually have three children together. Fiyero and Elphaba have little interaction during their years at Shiz University. He begins an affair with Elphaba while she is a revolutionary years later. This union creates their son Liir. It is mentioned that he used to have a crush on Glinda, but they are never together. Most of Fiyero's character in the play is actually more like Avaric in the books. Avaric isn't a particularly important character, but he is carefree and a bit snooty.

Gregory Maguire has stated that Fiyero's name comes from the word "furious," which I find very strange. Anger doesn't seem to be a big part of Fiyero's personality. It is much more a part of Elphaba's personality. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.

You know, Hollywood is taking its sweet time with the Wicked movie. Now they are saying that it's going to come out in 2014, but who knows. I also heard a television miniseries based on the book was coming out, but that rumor was posted a long time ago. Wicked is a phenominally successful play and novel with a huge cult following, so I highly doubt that they are never going to capitalize on it somehow. When that happens, Fiyero is no longer going to be a name that only diehard fans will know. Who knows what will happen to these names in the feature?

Naming a son Fiyero would be like naming a son Atreyu. They're both lovely names, and I know there are people out there that name their sons Atreyu, but it's a diehard fan name. You must really, really love the Wicked world in order to use it.


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Found via http://pinterest.com


Venus remains one of the most well known goddesses, but apparently her name has yet to really catch on.

Venus (pronounced "VEE-nus") is a Latin name and word meaning "sexual love" or "sexual desire," although most baby name sources are likely to list it as "beloved" which, I suppose, is technically correct. As the name suggests, Venus is the goddess of love, sex, and fertility, but also of beauty, prosperity, and military victory. She was already in Italy when Greek mythology was integrated into the culture, but it is very difficult to figure out what attributes come from Aphrodite and which ones where already there. She has almost no myths of her own, and what ones she has came from Ancient Greek culture.

Nevertheless she was, and still remains, a very popular goddess. She is portrayed as a beautiful young woman, and is very often nude. She had her own festival (Veneralia was celebrated on April 1st) and her own cult. Apparently, the cult was funded by fines imposed on women for sexual misdemeanors. Venus loves water, roses, and myrtle. Some stories connect her to Mars, god of war, and together they sired Cupid. But other stories say she is Vulcan's girlfriend. She is also the mother of Aeneas, the Trojan ancestor of Romulus and Remus. In Ancient Roman dice games, the luckiest roll was called "Venus."

Like many Roman goddesses, Venus goes by a number of different names depending on what she is doing. Venus Genetrix is the mother of Roman civilization, Venus Felix takes care of luck, and so on. Venus absorbs and tempers the fiery male essence. Ancient Roman society dealt with her differently than they did with the other immortals. Usually, everything was very contractual and formal, "if I do this you will give me that" type of relationship. But with Venus, you had to charm and seduce her, and she may or may not choose to help you out.

As most people know, Venus is also in outer space. She is the second planet from the sun. After the moon, it is the brightest celestial body in the night sky. It is most bright shortly before sunrise and shortly after sunset, which is why it is known as both the Morning Star and the Evening Star. It is sometimes called Earth's "sister planet" due to it's similar size and gravity. It is believed that the planet previously had oceans, but they evaporated due to greenhouse effect.

But there's another important Venus for Neo-Pagans. It's the one from Willendorf. The Venus of Willendorf is an idol found in southern Austria. It was made sometime between 24,000 and 22,000 BCE. It appears to be a very round woman with a big belly, bit thighs, and big breasts (she looks pregnant to me). She doesn't have a face, but the artist created what looks like a braided helmet of hair. Several similar sculptures from this time period have been found, but this one is the most famous. Of course, Venus can be used an art term for any nude female figure. However, the use of this term in relation to this idol is slightly controversial because it implies a divinity that we don't really know is true. We don't know anything about it's cultural significance during the period when it was made, but we do know of it's cultural significance now. Many Neo-Pagans believe that this is a very early image of the Great Goddess, and it is often used in ritual spaces.

I expected Venus to be more popular than it actually is. It's not on the charts at the moment. It was most popular back in the 1970s, peaking at #710. I thought American tennis player Venus Williams would have brought in more namesakes, but apparently not.

But Venus seems like the perfect candidate for namesakes as she is generally a benevolent goddess with no tragic mythology. I would like to see more little witchlets with this name.


Image Credit:
Found via http://pinterest.com

Friday, February 17, 2012


Last weekend I saw the ballet version of Don Quixote. Being familiar with the Broadway musical version, I was expecting to watch a story about a downtrodden prostitute named Aldonza. Instead, I got a story about a spirited inn keeper's daughter named Kitri.

In the ballet (which has little to do with Don Quixote, by the way) Kitri (pronounced "KIH-tree," I assume) is in love with Basilio. But Kitri's father Lorenzo wants her to marry a noble named Gamache. Kitri runs away with Basilio, but is eventually found and dragged away. On the day of the wedding, Basilio pretends to kill himself. Kitri, knowing that it is a trick, implores Lorenzo to bless the couple since she would be very soon widowed and free to marry Gamache. Lorenzo does so, and Basilio leaps up unharmed and the happy couple is married.

The ballet is based off of two chapters of the book. There's a moment where Don Quixote is at an inn and he asks the inn keeper to knight him. That's what the whole ballet is based off of. It was composed by Ludwig Minkus (who apparently composed a ton of ballets that I have never heard of) and originally choreographed by Marius Petipa, and was originally performed in Russia.

There is really nothing about Kitri as a name on the Internet, so I have no idea where it comes from. It certainly doesn't strike me as being Spanish. It seems more Russian to me. I would assume that it's a variant of Katherine, because that makes sense. But I really don't know.

But I have to admit that I'm intrigued by Kitri. I think that it's has the ability to catch on as a baby name. If nothing else, it's a nickname for Katherine that isn't Katie. Names that end in an "ee" sound are very popular for girls at the moment. It's also has the same style as the nickname of a certain princess' sister.

So if you want a rare name that is associated with the arts and falls into trend, then Kitri might be your gal.


Image Credit:
Found via http://pinterest.com

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Witchitizing Disney Princesses

I've been turning this post about what makes a good Witch's name from The Juggler over and over again in my head (and seriously, The Juggler is my new favorite website). The poster is talking about fictional witches, but I think it struck a cord with me because the qualities he describes is what I want in my daughters names. Lily, although it possesses fine qualities and would be great for someone else's witchlet, is not a proper Witch name in my mind.

But what exactly is a "proper" Witch name? Let's bring out the super fun Witchitizer! What are the rules for Witchetizing a name? Well, it's a bit of a subjective game. I only have three criteria:

1. They would not be a name that you hear everyday, and is often ancient. It's hard to believe, but Samantha was a rarity before it was picked for Bewitched.

2. They are very strong names. You instantly get that Ursula is a person who you do not want to have as an enemy.

3. There is a touch of something shadowy, and that's not really something I can explain. Elphaba wouldn't be the same if she was Eliza. There's got to be some mystery there.

On whom shall I test my Witchitizer? Let's do Disney princesses. I think that could be...interesting.

1. Snow White - Snow White
Snow White is a tough one. It's not exactly a "real" name. I suppose you could invent something like Black Heart, but...meh.

2. Cinderella - Cinderella
The French name for the story is Cendrillon, which has captivated me as a name option ever since. Names that end in -ella yields more results. Rafaella, Lionella, and Norella are all good options.

3. Aurora - Sleeping Beauty
Just switch the -a with an -e and it's Aurore. If you want to stray a bit further, there's Leonora, Eldora, and Devora.

4. Eilonwy - The Black Cauldron
Eilonwy works perfectly fine as a witch's name, even though it's a little bit wispy. There's also Elfrieda, Electra, and Evadne.

5. Ariel - The Little Mermaid
Aradia comes to mind immediately. You can do what Disney did and use Hebrew boys names like Azriel or Nouriel. A particular favorite amongst Neo-Pagans is Galadriel.

6. Belle - Beauty and the Beast
There are plenty of witchy names that have a "bell" sound in it: Belladonna, Mehitabel, Sybella, and Bellicent are just a few of them.

7. Jasmine - Aladdin
Jovana or Jasperine. I'm also tempted to put Jezebel here.

8. Pocahontas - Pocahontas
This is another tough one, sounding witchy and still Native American. This would take some digging, but I found Calfuray and Onatah, and Rayen is only one step away from Raven.

9. Kida - Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Terse names with hard consonants. Almost caveman-like. Tova, Guro, Dara, Kore.

10. Giselle - Enchanted
The name that pops into mind is Griselda. There's also Gitana. Perhaps Gretel could fit in here too, even though it is attached to someone who was attacked by a witch.

11. Tiana - The Princess and the Frog
No, I would not be intimidated by a Tiana. You would have more luck with a Tatiana or Tabitha.

12. Rapunzel - Tangled
If it weren't for the fact that Rapunzel will always be identified with princessness, it would be an option for witches as well. But looking through the realm of very uncommon plant names I came up with Amarantha, Eglantine, and Verbena.

13. Sofia - unnamed television show
I do like Sofia a lot, but it's a bit too sweet (and also too popular). Sofinisba, Sophronia, and Sephora are more exotic options.

14. Merida - Brave
Merida also works perfectly fine as a witch. There's also Merewen, Morrow, and Maeve.

15. Fiona - Shrek
Okay, she's not from Disney, but she is a popular princess. Fiore, Freya, and Fortuna are much more witchy.

That was fun! This Witchitizer of mine might become a regular feature.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I suppose it's about time that you learned about the one living creature I named. Haiku was my pet baby chameleon. Hey, don't laugh! She was a little scaly ball of gorgeous. Unfortunately, she didn't live very long. But supposedly she hatched on Valentine's Day, so I'm profiling her name on her birthday (hatchday?).

Haiku (pronounced "hiy-KOO," at least in the United States, in the original Japanese I believe that the syllables are treated with equal emphasis) is a relatively new word. The style of poetry has been around for a very long time, but before 1900 a haiku was called a hokku. The term "haiku" was coined by Japanese writer Masaoka Shiki in 1899. As far as I can tell, haiku means "verse."

A traditional haiku contains 17 syllables, or on. It's three lines must have 5 on, 7 on, then 5 on again. A succession of haiku linked together is called haikai, meaning "linked verse." The essence of haiku is kiru, or "cutting," meaning that it juxtaposes two ideas or images. Classic haiku are almost always about nature, but contemporary haiku have started to moved away from this subject. The most famous haiku is Basho's "Old Pond:"

"furuike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto"

"old pond
a frog leaps in
water's sound"

But my favorite is this one by Roger McGough:

"the only problem
with haiku is that you just
get started and then"

...Well, I thought it was funny, anyway.

So yes, I know that I used this name for a pet. But why not use Haiku as a name for a person? There's already Sonnet, Ballad, and Poet. I don't think that it's any less weird than those. The "sweet, small poem" association would be great for a child.


Image Credit:
Found via http://pinterest.com

Sunday, February 12, 2012


February 4th of this year was the first day of Chinese New Year, and it is the year of the dragon. This means that I need a dragon name to profile, and Draco's been done already.

Ryu, or Ryuu, is a Japanese name meaning "dragon" or "imperial." The pronunciation is tricky, and unfortunately Westerners have a hard time agreeing on one. It's not "ROO," that's for sure. Some say it's "REE-yoo," which seems natural enough. But the "R" might be closer to an "L" sound, making it more like "L-yoo." That is not at all confusing.

I suppose it would make more sense to profile a Chinese name for the Chinese New Year. But dragon mythology in Japan is very similar to those in China because, well, they were imported from China. In both cultures, most dragons are benevolent water deities, and each one is associated with a specific lake or river. Even rainfall had it's own dragon.

There are many references to dragons in Ancient Japanese literature. An eight-headed one was defeated by Susanoo, the god of the wind and sea. Ryujin, also known as Watatsumi, was a dragon god who rules the oceans. He is able to change into human form. His daughter was Toyotama-hime, who is allegedly the ancestor to Japan's first emperor. In a folktale called Kiyohime, the title character is spurned by the Buddhist priest she loves. So she studies magic and transforms herself into a dragon in order to kill him. Dragons have always been associated with Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Ryujin Shinku ("dragon good faith") is a sect of Shintoism that worships dragons.

Ryu is often used as an element for composite names. Ryouma could either mean "dragon horse" or "imperial horse." Ryutaro means "son of the fat dragon," which must have been a flattering description at some point in history.

Should you actually find the correct pronunciation, this is a simple and unique boy's name in the United States. It would be a great name for someone with an emotional connection to these mythic creatures, or for someone who enters the world during this year.


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Found via http://pinterest.com

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Depending on who you ask Snowdrop could be a charming appellation, or too sugary sweet.

Snowdrop is the name of a small, white flower. Snowdrops are also known by the name galanthus (from the Greek gala, meaning "snow," and anthos, meaning "flower"). They originated in a large area of Europe but like a lot of plants they have been spread throughout the world. However, in some of it's original locations snowdrops are a threatened species, and collecting them from the wild is illegal.

These plants are celebrated as a sign of spring, as they are often the first flower to bloom. In many religions, they are a sign that the gods are returning. They are sometimes called the "Fair Maid of February" or "Candlemas bells," and are associated with Imbolc. In Celtic mythology, this flower symbolizes Brigid. In the Bible, the snowdrop was placed on earth in order to comfort Eve, who was crying for the warmth of Paradise during her first winter. On the other hand, many stories say that snowdrops are unlucky because they often grow in cemeteries. It is particularly unlucky to pick them and bring them into the house on Imbolc or St. Valentine's Day. But there seem to be no repercussions for growing them in the house. Some believe that the snowdrop has many healing properties that modern medicine doesn't know of yet. Research has suggested that it could be used to treat neurological problems like Alzheimer's disease.

I wasn't aware of this, but apparently snowdrops are a big deal. Die-hard galanthrophiles have been known to travel all over the world to find them, attend snowdrop shows, and purchase single bulbs for up to $500. I like flowers and all, but I don't get flower-mania. My mother is a flower addict, and she likes to go to big fancy gardens where pay for admission and spend hours walking through it, and I'm just standing there thinking, "Can't we look at roses for free somewhere else?"

Speaking of mother darling, I have a very old book of fairy tales that used to belong to my mother when she was a child (and is probably even older than that). In this book, there is a story called Snowdrop. Most people would know this story as Snow White. Snow Drop is actually her original name in the Brothers Grimm collection. Apparently, that name wasn't catchy enough. There were two other noticeable differences in the original story: the evil queen is her mother, not her stepmother, and said mother's punishment at the end is a bit extreme. These elements were changed in order to soften the story for children.

Snowdrop is a great magickal name for someone that has a special connection with this time of year. It also sounds like it could be a My Little Pony character. I think it's lovely for someone else's daughter, even if it's not my style.


Image Credit:
Found via http://pinterest.com

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


So I was looking through a blog about designer wedding dresses (don't judge me!) I found a designer called Temperly London. I thought, "Temperly? Hmm, very interesting. I wonder where that one comes from?"

I immediately assumed that this name had something to do with Tempest, or maybe even Temprence. But no. Temperley (pronounced "TEM-per-lee," I think) is an Anglo-Saxon surname is a variant of Timperleigh or Timperley, which is the name of a town in North Cheshire, England. In Old English timper means "timber" and leah means "glade." Therefore, the meaning of the name is listed as "the clearing where timber for building was obtained." Hmm. Not the most Pagan-friendly of meanings. Not much is sadder than a cleared-out forest.

Unless it wasn't cleared out by humans for building purposes. I mean, it literally means "tree glade." The rest of that definition is just assumption, and that's probably why the namesake town was devoid of trees. But trees could be very easily removed via a forest fire or a volcano or a number of other natural means.

Besides England, a place called Temperley also shows up in South America. It's a city in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was named after English textile merchant George Temperley, who founded the town in 1912.

The first recorded spelling of this name as a surname was for Emmet Timberly's wedding records in 1561. So if you meet a little Timberly, it's not made up! The parents picked up an unusual surname name, although possibly unknowingly. Throughout the ages, other spellings have included Tympirleg and Temperli.

This name is probably going to appeal to people who want a fashionable but not popular surname-name for a girl the most. Some people might sneer at it, but I think Temperly has a lovely sound (I like it better without the extra "e"). But unfortunately, it's sound is almost too trendy for it's own good: people unaware of it's history will think it's made up. Which is a shame. The more I run it through my brain the more I like it.


Image Credit:
Found via http://pinterest.com

Monday, February 6, 2012

Place Your Requests Here!

There has been a lot of confusion as to how to request names on this blog. Clearly, there needs to be a better way to do this. So I'm going to put a link of this post on the sidebar, and you can submit requests at any time right here. M'kay?

So if you want to profile a specific name, all you have to do is write it in the comments. If you want naming consultation, I need a bit more information.

For advice on a magickal name, I would need answers to the following:

1. What type of path are you on? (Gardnerian Wicca, Stregheria, Druidism, etc.)
2. Where would you like to go with your practice?
3. What types of names do you like? (Celtic, Egyptian, invented nature combinations like Silverfaun, etc.)
4. What names have you considered before and dumped? Why?
5. Do you intend on going by this name in your mundane life, or is this for magickal purposes only?

For advice on the name of a new baby, I would need answers to the following:

1. What will be the child's last name? I don't need to know specifically, I just need to get the general idea of what it sounds like (for example, if your last name is Croix, you can say, "It rhymes with 'soy'").
2. Do you have other children? If so, what are their names?
3. What types of names do you like?
4. What names have you considered before and dumped? Why?

Answers to name consultations would be posted on the blog unless you specifically say that you want to keep it private.

Hope this helps and request away!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


At the end of January, Laurie Cabot closed The Official Witch Shoppe and retired from her 42-year career of running various Witch-related stores in Salem, Massachusetts. She is switching her energy towards building a temple, according to a newspaper. Which is great, but her decision to step out of retail has left some reeling.

Laurie Cabot (born Mercedes Elizabeth Kearsey) was one of the leaders of the Neo-Pagan movement in the United States. She is a bit of a controversial figure for us due to her willingness to embrace publicity (she's appeared on Oprah, among other shows) and for her stereotypical way of dressing. But she endured a lot of hatred and ridicule so that others in Salem can practice their faith relatively unharassed. She raised her two daughters as Witches way before there were resources readily available for that. She was named "Official Witch" by the Governor for her work with special needs children. She is credited for single handedly turning Salem from a footnote in history to a tourist attraction. She is approaching the winter of her years, but it's not like she's dead. She's just switching her goals.

Cabot (pronounced "KAH-bit") is an Occitan name, which is a romance language spoken in the south of France, Italy's Occitan Valleys, and in Spain's Val d'Aran (which is sometimes unofficially known as Occitania). The name is a diminutive of the word cap, meaning "head." Therefore, Cabot started as a nickname for someone with an odd-shaped head.

In America, Cabot is a surname especially associated with Boston, Massachusetts. It was one of the ultimate Boston Brahmin surnames, which means that they were very wealthy. The "Boston Toast" by John Collins Bossidy contains the line, "Where the Lowells speak only to Cabots/ and the Cabots speak only to God." Laurie Cabot claims to be a descendant of this family. The name has since lost it's elitist tinge thanks to jazzman Cab Calloway.

Unfortunately, it's impossible for me to think of this name without thinking about Mystery Science Theater 3000. For the uninitiated, that is a television show with a cult following that played bad movies with hilarious commentary by robots. Fellow mysties will know which episode I'm talking about, and how could they not? In the episode "Outlaw," the "hero's" name is said over 60 times in the first fifteen minutes. It's really difficult to take a name seriously after that.

If that doesn't bother you, then this is an interesting name that's on trend for a boy. And I really do see it as a boy's name, I have a hard time picturing it on a girl (but my boundaries have been pushed before). I don't think that many muggles will know who Laurie Cabot is, so it also references Neo-Pagan culture without being too overt. If I wasn't a complete nerd, Cabot would be an intriguing option.


Image Credit:
Found via http://pinterest.com

Friday, February 3, 2012


There is a shortage of African names here on this blog. This is quite embarrassing. I'm going to make a point of bringing in a lot more. Let's start with the name of a mighty African goddess: Oya.

Oya (pronounced "OH-yah," I think) is a Yoruba name literally meaning "she tore." As the name suggests, she is involved with many destructive things like hurricanes, lightening, earthquakes, and any and all forms of natural devastation. But the havoc she wrecks isn't done in an arbitrary, careless manner. She is the spirit of the chaos necessary to bring about creation and drastic transition. She is very similar to the Hindu goddess Kali. She also presides over magic, fire, wind, and fertility.

Oya's form is that of a human being, but when she dances she has the tail of a horse. Her twirling skirt creates tornadoes. Traditionally she is often depicted screaming, with wide open eyes. Oya is the sister and favorite wife of Shango. She has many titles, including "the Great Mother of the Elders of the Night" and "She Who Puts on Pants to Go to War." She is not a goddess of the underworld, but she does preside over cemeteries, spirit communication, funerals, clairvoyance, and rebirth. Oya is sometimes said to have a sister named Ayao, but the legitimacy of this goddess is questionable.

Oya is very important to Santeria, and is often merged with Our Lady of Candelaria (patron of the Canary Islands) and St. Theresa. Which would make her feast day...February 2nd. Well, I was close. Santeria Priests from Cuba have prophesied that 2012 will be the year of Oya. After reading about her, I think we all have an idea as to what that means. They have predicted that this year will be characterized by "war and confrontation, social, political, and economic change, and a dangerous increase in temperature."

Invoking this goddess is not a task that should be taken lightly. She speaks the truth, even when you don't want to hear it. But if you want to make the attempt, you must make the proper offerings. She loves eggplants, shea butter, grapes, and anything spicy. She loves all colors except black.

This name is only for the bold, and I'm not sure I would recommend it for a little child. Oya would be a challenging name to bear because the energy of this goddess is so wild and unpredictable. If you still want to chance it, Oya is a strong name especially fitting for the year 2012.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012


This name used to be popular only in Ireland and Scotland. Now it has reached mega popularity, and it just happens to be especially appropriate for Imbolc.

Aidan or Aiden (pronounced "AY-din") is the primary Anglicization of the Irish name Aodhan, a pet form of Aodh. Aodh means "fire," and it was the name of a Celtic sun god. Aodh, or Aed, is the eldest son of Lir, King of the Tuatha de Dannan (a race of people in Irish mythology). According to tradition, Aodh's mother Aobh died in childbirth giving birth to four children: Fionnuala, Aodh, Fiachra, and Conn of the Hundred Battles. Lir's second wife, Aoife, was jealous of the children and wanted them killed. But her servants had great love for the children and refused. As punishment, Aoife cursed the servants to live as swans for 900 years. Aodh grew up to be a minor god of the underworld.

This name is a classic in areas of Europe with a strong Celtic influence. It was given to many members of royalty, including King Aiden of Dalraida and Prince Aeddan ap Blegywyrd. It is also a name used by several saints. There is Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne, and also Saint Maedoc of Ferns who is sometimes known as Aedan.

One well known Neo-Pagan namesake is Aidan Kelly. Aidan Kelly is a Wiccan academic and a poet from America. He was born in 1940, which would have made him a teenager when Wicca was introduced to the world. He became a leader in the Neo-Pagan community while he was studying for his Masters degree in creative writing. A friend of his asked him to compose a ritual as part of an art seminar. It eventually led to Kelly founding his own branch of Wicca: the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn. Now, Kelly has a bit of a sense of humor. His coven's name is a reference to the famous Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the one that William Butler Yeats was involved with. Kelly was also essential in the formation of the Covenant of the Goddess, which is an organization designed to protect the civil rights of Wiccans in the United States.

Aidan first appeared in the charts in the 1990s and skyrocketed. The name peaked in 2003 at #39. Now it ranks at #94. Realistically, it always takes a very long time for mega popular names to leave the charts completely. And I'm not saying that because I dislike the name. I actually don't dislike Aidan at all. It's all the copycats that I'm not in love with. When it got popular a whole herd of invented rhyming "-adan" names appeared on the charts as well. Kayden, Zaidan, Jaden, you name it, it's been done.

One source is rather insistent that Aidan is historically a unisex name. Unfortunately, there aren't any female namesakes that I can find that backs that up. I've seen it used for girls in modern times on a very occasional basis. Some suggest that the feminine version of Aidan is Eithne. Going back to the masculine, variations of this name include Hayden, Aden, and Ayden.

Aidan is very good for boys that are born on holidays that are associated with fire, like Imbolc. This name does have one practical problem with this name. While writing this post, I kept wanting to spell it Aiden. There are so many spellings of this name that he is going to have to constantly repeat it for others. I wouldn't use the name personally because it is not likely to become obscure again anytime soon. But despite the trendiness, it's a nice name. It has a Witchier past than one might expect.


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