Archive for the ‘Heathenism’ Category

From the cycle of the seasons, and the fruition of hope and perseverance of Jera, Eo takes us to the cycle of life and death itself.

For Eo — more formally Ēoh — is yew, a slow-growing, very long-lived tree which has long been symbolic of both eternal life and rebirth.

It is another rune which exists only in the Anglo-Frisian and Eldar Futharks; its Elder Futhark name is known by more than one form: *Iwaz, *Eiwaz, *Ihwaz and *Eihwaz.

The old rune poems emphasizes the solidness of the tree’s wood, its rootedness, and the fact it brings blessings to a person’s land.

And although the Ash is usually regarded as the “World Tree” (Yggdrasil) of Norse mythology, it is sometimes said to be the Yew.

Modern rune interpretations focus on the what is perceived as the yew’s steadfastness and patience; the yew takes a long time to grow, but its growth lasts eons.

It also points the way to spiritual growth, and the importance of experience in gaining wisdom.

As for names, the various forms of the rune name are certainly distinctive. Eo isn’t a million miles in appearance (and possibly not meaning either) from the Greek  Io and is probably the most usable.

But there are numerous other names meaning “yew,” many etymologically related to Eo — including Yew itself.

  • Bërshen — Albanian for yew
  • Cis — Polish for yew
  • Éber — from Irish mythology
  • Eibe, Eiben — German for yew
  • Eoghan — Irish form of OWEN
  • Euan, Ewan, Ewen — Scottish forms of OWEN
  • Hagina — Basque for yew
  • Ia — a Cornish female saint (another name for St Ive)
  • Idho — the Ogham name for the yew
  • Ifor — Welsh name, probably cognate with ÉBER and IOBHAR
  • Iobhar — also from Irish mythology
  • Ìomhar — Scots Gaelic form of IVAR
  • Íomhar — Irish form of IVAR
  • Iona — the Scottish island
  • Ivar — from the Old Norse Ívarr “yew-bow”
  • Ive — a Cornish saint, and a medival form of IVO
  • Ivo — Old German name
  • Jarri — Hittite deity
  • Jura — another Scottish island
  • MiloMilon — the Greek Milo comes from a Greek word for yew
  • Owain — Welsh form of OWEN
  • Owen
  • Serkhedar — Persian for yew
  • Tasso — Italian for yew
  • Taxus — Latin for yew
  • Teix — Catalan for yew
  • Teixo — Portuguese for yew
  • Tejo — Spanish for yew
  • Tis — Czech, Russian, Slovak and Ukrainian for yew
  • Tisa — Croatian and Slovenian for yew
  • Tisovina — Serbian for yew
  • Tiszafa — Hungarian for yew
  • Yolande — though traditionally linked with Violet, it is probably in fact from the Old German iv “yew” + landa “land”
  • York — use as a name is an adoption of the surname, from York, Yorkshire
  • Ywain, Ywein — medieval forms of OWEN
  • Ywen — Welsh “yew”

Read Full Post »

Jera is one of those runes which features only in a couple of alphabets — the Elder Futhark and the Anglo-Frisian.

The runic alphabet shifts again with Jera, with what at first seems an inexplicable leap from the depths of winter to the other side of the wheel of the year and the harvest.

Or is it?

For after the hardship and difficulties of the last three runes, Hægl, Nyd and Is, Jera represents the fulfillment of hope, the rewards of perseverance against all the odds. With Jera, we reap what we have sown, and reminds us that all things have their season.

Change — for good, for bad — is inevitable. Enjoy the fruits of Jera while you can.

Literally, it means “year” and “harvest” — and carries the sense of “prosperity”. Interestingly, it is etymologyically related to the Slavic words for “the spring,” and the Greek for “hour.”

Jera itself certainly has fairly good name potential, Jeran possibly even more, while Jeraz offers that slightly more exotic edge. With its meanings and associations of prosperity, there are lots of other names in harmony with Jera, such as those I listed under Feoh, and Wynn.

And I’ve already covered some harvest-related names in my post on the Equinox.

Some other names, and name suggestions, which resonate with Jera:

  • Aika — Finnish: “time”
  • Amser — Welsh: “time.”
  • Anna Perenna — Roman Goddess of plenty, who presides over the wheel of the year. Both this Anna and Perenna may have links to the Latin for “year”: annus. It also means “circuit.” Perenna is usually derived from perennis “through the year.”
  • Annona — another Roman Goddess, who personified a year. Also from annus “year.”
  • Berry
  • Calendula — the botanical name for the English marigold. It acquired its name, from the Latin kalends, used of the first day of a month, because it has the ability to flower all year.
  • Carme — Cretan Goddess of the Harvest
  • Chakana — ancient Incan symbol of the Wheel of the Year.
  • Chronos — the Greek God of time.
  • Consus — Roman God of the harvest
  • Crop
  • Denbora — Basque: “time”
  • Ekin — Turkish name: “harvest.”
  • Gather
  • Harvest
  • Hour
  • Idő — Hungarian: “time”
  • Kausi — Finnish: “season”
  • Mimela  — Lakota: “to be round,” “to be circular.”
  • Ona — Hebrew: “season”
  • Pomona — Roman Goddess of fruit.
  • Reap
  • Saison — French, German: “season.”
  • Season
  • Sezona — Latvian: “season”
  • Teamhair — Old Irish: “time,” “season”; this is the Irish name for TaraTeamhair na Rí, and the name of the Goddess who presides over that place.
  • Tempest  — derives ultimately from Latin tempus “time.”
  • Tempo
  • Tempus — Latin: “time.”
  • Time
  • Tími — Icelandic: “time.”
  • Tymor — Welsh: “season.”
  • Zaman — Persian, Turkish: “time”
  • Zeit — German: “time”

Read Full Post »

The darker mood of Hægl and Nyd remains as we reach Is — Ice — in the runes.

The forms it takes in the various runic systems are:

In the runic poems, the focus is on ice’s appearance and nature — it is “the bark of a river,” and “a floor forged by the frost.”

But emphasis is also placed on the danger it brings, both tangible (such as slipping on it), and more metaphorical (for the perils that cold presents, both to the body and environement).

But ice also stands for winter, and as well as its dangers (so real and frightening in those days when famine was always a hair-bredth away), it is a time of rest and introspection.

Nature turns inwards, and so must we. After its sleep beneath the ice, new life will come in the spring.

Modern rune interpretations follow on from all this. Is is a distinct, virtually physical obstacle placed before us. It can represent sudden frustration in endeavours, something that stops us in our paths and threatens to prevent us from moving forward.

Indeed, to some extent it is actual tells us that we might need to stop and take time to think. Time to allow what will be to be. Just like Nature in wintertime. The spring will come.  We just need patience…

And so to the names…

Is is, of course, identical to “is”; I have encountered it as a nickname for Isabella and all her forms, and, after all Will’s resemblance to “will” hasn’t hindered him. Isaz is distinctly exotic, though not a thousand miles from Isis and Isaac.

His? Maybe, maybe not.

But lovely Isa has to be one of the best “rune names” of all. An old short form of Isabella, etc, particularly in Scotland, it has that “great-granny” charm going too, but has yet to be rediscovered in her own right (only 5 in 2010 in the UK), though it features in a lot of other names. In addition to all the variations on Isabella, there’s all these among the girls:

Aanisah, Alisa, Anisa, Anisah, Annalisa, Arisa, Beatrisa, Denisa, Elisa, Elisabeth, Elisabeta, Elisabetta, Ellisa, Eloisa, Elouisa, Erisa, Faisa, Ibtisaam, Ibtisam, Isadora, Isatou, Isatu, Larisa, Lisa, Louisa, Luisa, Khalisa, Khalisah, Maisa, Maisarah, Mandisa, Marisa, Melisa, Nafisa, Nafisah, Nisa, Nisanur, Parisa, Raisa, Ramisa, Romaisa, Risa, Rumaisa, Temisan, Tulisa, Unaisa, Unaisah.

Then there are all the great names beginning with Is-. As well as Isaac, the Isabellas and Isadora, there’s:

Isabèu, Isaiah, Isambard, Isamu, Isao, Isca, Iseult, Isfael, Isfandiyar, Ishaq, Ishara, Ishkur, Ishtar, Isidore, Isioma, Isis, Iska, Iskander, Iskra, Isla, Islay, Islwyn, Islyn, Isra, Issachar, Issoria, István.

Then there’s the meaning; and what leaps out first is Ice itself, along with Icie and Icy and “ice” or “icy” in other languages:

  • Ais — Malay: “ice”
  • Akull — Albanian: “ice”
  • Akulli — Albanian: “icy”
  • Bīng — Mandarin: “ice”
  • Buz — Turkish: “ice”
  • Duramen — Latin: “ice”
  • Eis — German: “ice”
  • Eisig — German: “icy”
  • Gelido, Gelida — Italian: “icy”
  • Gelu — Latin: “ice”
  • Glace — French: “ice”
  • Glacial — French: “icy”
  • Glacies — Latin: “ice”
  • Hielo — Spanish: “ice”
  • — Welsh: “ice”
  • Izotz — Basque: “ice”
  • Jää — Estonian, Finnish: “ice”
  • Jäine — Estonian: “icy”
  • Jäinen –Finnish: “icy”
  • Jaleed — Arabic: “ice”
  • Jég — Hungarian: “ice”
  • Jeges — Hungarian: “icy”
  • Kerakh — Hebrew: “ice”
  • Kori — Japanese: “ice”
  • KryerosKryera, Cryerus, Cryera — Greek: “icy”
  • KrymosKryma, Crymus, Cryma — Greek: “icy”
  • Krystallos, Crystallus — Greek: “ice”
  • KryosKrya, Cryus, Crya — Greek: “icy”
  • Led — Croatian, Czech: “ice”
  • Ledas — Lithuanian: “ice”
  • Ledovy — Czech: “icy”
  • Ledinis — Lithuanian: “icy”
  • Ledus — Latvian: “ice”
  • Lód — Polish: “ice”
  • Lyed — Russian: “ice”
  • Oighreata — Irish: “icy”
  • Oighir — Irish: “ice”
  • Pegylis — Greek: “icy-cold”
  • Rhew — Welsh: “ice”
  • Stiria — Latin: “icicle”
  • Thalj — Arabic: “ice”
  • Xeado — Galician: “icy”
  • Xeo — Galician: “ice”
  • Yax — Persian: “ice”
  • Yelo — Filipino: “ice”

It also inspires the following in English:

  • Berg
  • Cryo
  • Crystal
  • Diamond
  • Floe
  • Frazil
  • Frost
  • Frostflower
  • Frosty
  • Gelid
  • Glacier
  • Glacieret
  • Glaçon
  • Glaze
  • Glitter
  • Glittery
  • Hail 
  • Icicle
  • Kittly
  • Kulfi
  • Lollipop
  • Lolly
  • Nilas
  • Popsicle
  • Rime
  • Rone
  • Sparkle
  • Sleet
  • Star
  • Thaw
  • Varve
  • Winter

Read Full Post »

Nyd, like it’s antecedant Hægl, Nyd represents a shift in the Runes to darker waters.

Its forms are as follows:

In all, it means “need,” and the runic poems emphasize the dire effects of being in need, coupled with the necessity of hard work — and hope — to overcome it.

In modern interpretation, it can stand as a warning of impending both of hardship and challenges, both physical and psychological needs, and obstacles that must be overcome.

But it also highlights the dichotomy between our desires and expectations and our actual situation. It forces us to assess what we really need, rather than simply desire.

Thus it warns us to focus on what really needs doing, and stop wasting time on the trivialities.

And, above all, it tells us that perseverance is always the key. With perseverance, we can overcome and achieve anything.

What names can reflect all this?

Nyd itself, when you think about it, isn’t a million miles away from Ned, while Naudiz and Nauthr have a certain exotic allure. Not — well, why not?

It’s not as though, as a runic name, it actually means “not,” now, is it?

There’s also the unrelated but very similar-looking Nydia, invented by Edward Bulwar-Lytton for his 1834 novel, Last Days of Pompeii.

As the concept of need and poverty isn’t one which many would feel inclined to choose to dedicate in a name, there aren’t many names which carry that meaning. But names which carry overtones of perseverence, hard work, and dedication, are worth consideration.

Here are some great options:

  • Almeric — medieval form of AMALRIC.
  • Amal — Old German: “work.”
  • Amalia –Old German girl’s name derived from AMAL.
  • Amalric — Old German boy’s name. AMAL + ricja “rule,” “ruler.”
  • Amalaswintha — Old German girl’s name. AMAL + swinde “strong.”
  • Amelia — usual modern form of AMALIA.
  • Amélie — French form of Amelia.
  • Amery — medieval form of AMALRIC.
  • Amory — medieval form of AMALRIC.
  • Angen — Welsh: “need,” “necessity.”
  • Athelstan — Old English name meaning “noble stone.”
  • Behar — Basque: “work.”
  • Beharra — Basque: “need,” “necessity”
  • Bill — well-known nickname of WILLIAM.
  • Billie, Billy — well-known nicknames of WILLIAM and WILHELMINA.
  • Constance — traditional girl’s name derived from CONSTANTIA.
  • Constancy
  • Constant
  • Constantia — feminine form of the Roman cognoman Constantius, from consto “to stand firm”
  • Diligence
  • Drive
  • Driver — English surname meaning “a driver”; used first of someone who drove cattle, but no reason in a name context not to interpret with the sense of “one who has drive.”
  • Dunstan — Old English name meaning “hill-stone.”
  • Emmeline — medieval name arising as a pet-form of AMALIA.
  • Emerick — medieval form of AMALRIC.
  • Emerson — “son of EMERY.”
  • Emery — medieval form of AMALRIC.
  • Emory — medieval form of AMALRIC.
  • Endeavor
  • Eysteinn — Norse name: “forever stone.”
  • Focus
  • Garnet — the stone promotes perseverance.
  • George — Greek: “famer”; perhaps the ultimate job  across the millennia requiring dediction and discipline to bring plans to fruition.
  • Gerek — Turkish: “need,” “necessity.”
  • Grit
  • Gwaith — Welsh: “work”
  • Ida — medieval name from Old Norse “work,” or Old German id “work.”
  • Idhunna — Norse Goddess. Old Norse: “work” + unna “love.”
  • Idonea — medieval name, probably derived from IDHUNNA.
  • Idony — medieval form of IDONY.
  • Lan — Basque: “work.”
  • Liam — Irish short-form of WILLIAM.
  • Lutte — French: “struggle.”
  • Mason — a job requiring perseverance and skill to produce creative work.
  • Mélisande — French variant of MILLICENT.
  • Millicent — usual form of AMALASWINTHA since the Middle Ages.
  • Millie — popular short-form of MILLICENT.
  • Milo — probably arose as short-form of a name beginning with AMAL.
  • Mina — short-form of WILHELMINA.
  • Moxie
  • Naphtali — biblical name. Hebrew: “my struggle.”
  • Oluchi — Igbo name: “work of (a) God”
  • Perseverance
  • Pluck
  • Práce — Czech: “work.”
  • Resolution
  • Savaş — Turkish name: “struggle,” “striving.”
  • Sisu — Finnish name: “determination”
  • Smith — another job which demands dedication to achieve items of both practicality and beauty.
  • Stamina
  • Stanley — English surname: “stone clearing.”
  • Stone — stone encapsulates Nyd possibly best of all; as a symbol of cold and hardness it represents well Nyd’s hardship, but its durability represents perseverance, with which hardship can be overcome.
  • Strive
  • Tenacity
  • Thurstan — Old English name: “Thor’s stone.”
  • Töö — Estonian: “work”
  • Työ — Finnish: “work”
  • Wilbert — Old English name: will “will” + beohrt “bright.”
  • Wilhelmina — feminine form of WILLIAM.
  • Will — as well as being a major short-form of WILLIAM, Will can be interpreted for exactly what it actually is, the word “will,” i.e. “determination”, the English cognate with the Old German vilja “will” of the name.
  • Wilfred — Old English name: will “will” + frið “peace.”
  • William — Old German name: will “will” + helm “helmet.”
  • Willis — surname derived from WILLIAM.
  • Wilma — short-form of WILHELMINA.
  • Wilmer — Old English name: will “will” + mær “famous.”
  • Wilmot — medieval pet-form of WILLIAM; used in medieval times for boys and girls.
  • Wilson — surname: “son of WILL.”
  • Winston — surname, deriving in part from the Old English name Wynnstan “joy stone.”
  • Zeal

Read Full Post »

Another seasonally appropriate rune — by pure coincidence — Wynn.

It means “joy.”

Wynn is only found in two systems, the Eldar Futhark, and the Anglo-Frisian; it is missing from both the Younger and the Marcomannic:

Predictably, with the meaning “joy,” it is all sunshine and light in the rune poems.

Modern rune interpreters see Wynn as symbolic of joy in all its aspects, from the wonder and delight of childhood, to the sexual pleasure of adulthood.

As such it is a rune that reminds us to embrace the Now; to live in and enjoy the moment, grasping life with both hands, and not dwelling always in the past or the future, a trap so many of us fall into all too readily.

Wynn itself has a great deal of name potential, both as a boy’s name and a girls. With other one syllable “-nn” names, such as Finn and Flynn, making waves at the moment, Wynn slips right in alongside as a more unusual alternative.

It also has quite a long heritage.

Wyn occurred as a given name in Wales in the Middle ages as a variant of Gwyn, the straightforward use of gwyn  “white” as a personal name. It was also common as a proto-surname, and both gave rise to the Welsh surname Wynn — also spelled Wynne.

Meanwhile, in Medieval England, there existed the personal name Wine “friend”, usually in use as a short form of one of the many names which contained it as an element, such as Edwin. Like the Welsh gwyn, wine was also used as a proto-surname, and led to the English surname Wynn — also spelled Winn, etc.

Both the Welsh and English surnames started to given as first names from the seventeenth century.

The Old English wynn itself was used as an element in girls’ names in Anglo-Saxon times:

  • Ælfwynn — “elf-joy.” Old variants: Elfwyn, Elfwynn, Alfwen. The name of one of Alfred the Great’s granddaughters
  • Æþelwynn — “noble-joy”; the Modern English form Ethelwynn was adopted in the nineteenth century.
  • Æscwynn — “ash-joy.” The Modern English form is Ashwynn.
  • Beorhtwynn — “bright-joy”; one of the sources of the surname Brightwen.
  • Beornwynn — “warrior-joy.”
  • Burgwynn – “fort-joy.”
  • Ceolwynn — “bright-ship”; old variant: Ceolwen.
  • Deorwynn — “dear-joy.”
  • Eawynn — “river-joy” (though possibly originally Eadwynn “rich-joy”).
  • Ealuwynn — “ale-joy.”
  • Ecgwynn — “sword-joy.”
  • *Eohwynn — “horse-joy.” Not a known name in Anglo-Saxon or medieval times; Tolkien, however, used the elements to form Éowyn.
  • Herewynn — “army-joy.” Old variant: Herewinne.
  • *Hroðwynn — “fame-joy.” Normalized as Rothwyn, this is often cited as the origin of Rowena, but it is not actually attested in Anglo-Saxon or medieval times.
  • Leofwynn — “dear-joy.” Old variant: Lefwen. Probably the source of the old country name Levina.
  • Mærwynn — “famous-joy.” Source of the lovely Merewen.
  • Oswynn — “(a) God-joy.”
  • Sæwynn — “sea-friend.” Old variant: Sewenna.
  • Wulfwynn — “wolf-joy.”
  • Wynstan — “joy-stone.” The only male name in this list, it is one source of the surname Winston.

As for other names with the meaning “joy,” I covered many of them recently in my post celebrating the festive cheer and merrymaking that was the Roman Saturnalia, which can be found here. But there’s still a few more:

  • Adebayo — Yoruba: “the crown has met with joy.” Short-form: Bayo
  • Adedayo — Yuruba: “the crown has turned to joy.” Short-form: Dayo
  • Amena — Spanish: “delightful”
  • Aniel — Hebrew; possibly “joy of (a) God”
  • Aoibhinn — Irish: “delightful” and “charming”
  • Chara — Greek: “joy”
  • Charidotes — Greek: “giver of joy” (an epithet of Hermes)
  • Charmian — Greek: kharma “joy”
  • Delicia  — Latin: “delight.” Var: Delice
  • Delight
  • Desta  — Ethiophian: “joy”
  • Eden — as in “Garden of –“; one option for its source is a Hebrew root meaning “delight”
  • Etsuko — Japanese: “delight-child”
  • Euphrosyne — Greek: “mirth” and “merriment”; the Hungarian Fruzsina derives from it, and it is probably the true source of the curious English Frusannah
  • Euterpe — Greek: “delightful”
  • Euthymia — Greek: “joy”
  • Fiayosemi — Yoruba: “mold me with joy”
  • Freyde — Yiddish: “joy” and “delight”
  • Gwenydd — Welsh: “joy”
  • Hedone — Greek: “joy” and “pleasure”
  • Hephzibah — Hebrew: “my delight is in her.” Often shortened to the gorgeous Eppie (I fell so in love with Hephzibah and Eppie after the BBC dramatization of Silas Marner in 1985)
  • Hesione — Greek; possibly from êdô “to please.”
  • Ifedayo — Yoruba: “love has turned to joy.” Short-form: Dayo
  • Le’a — Hawaiian: “joy” and “pleasure”
  • Libentina — Roman Goddess of sensual pleasure, from Latin: libens “glad”
  • Mayowa — Yoruba: “comes with joy”
  • Myrna — Irish: “joy” and “affection”
  • Nishatsi — Hausa: “joy of being alive”
  • Omolayo — Yoruba: “a child is joy.” Dim: Layo
  • Omotayo — Yoruba: “a child worthy of joy.” Dim: Tayo
  • Oregano — interpreted in ancient times as deriving from Greek oros “mountain” and ganos “joy,” “brightness” and “pride”
  • Rana — Sanskrit: “delight” and “pleasure”
  • Rati — Sanskrit: “delight,” “love potion” and “sexual pleasure”
  • Rina — Modern Hebrew: “joy,” “divinity,” “soul,” etc
  • Shin — Korean: “joy”
  • Terpsichore — Greek: “delight-dance”; one of the Muses
  • Yuki — one reading of this Japanese name is “reason-joy.”

Read Full Post »

Rad is the fifth letter of the Runic Alphabet. As with others, its name varies depending on which Runic Alphabet is being used:

Rad is quite unusual in the Runic alphabet, in that they all agree that it means “ride” and “journey.”

Similarly, the emphasis in the poems is all pretty much in agreement, focusing  on the hard work of horses, which makes traveling for their riders so much easier.

Modern rune-users interpret Rad as signifying journeys, both physical and spiritual, and either such journey with a specific goal — a quest, or a pilgrammage. And as journeys inevitably take us from one place or state of being to another, it also stands for change and growth.

A journey also involves a certain level of control over one’s destiny; it is a pro-active, not a passive state of being.

As a name Rad could work — although it has a distinct “short-for-something” air about it which some dislike. There are some interesting long form options though:

For boys, there’s Caradoc, Conrad, Nostradamus, Radagast, Radamisto, Radomil, Radoslav, Radulf and Rhadamanthus.

For girls, how about Angharad, Aradia, Paradise, Rada, Radegund, Radiance, Radiant, Radmila, Radoslava, and Sharada.

None of these names are related etymologically to Rad, but they all shorten nicely to it.

Meanwhile, I think Raido and Reith make great names on their own, both have very contemporary vibes.

But there are also plenty of other names to choose from inspired by Rad. Here are just a few:

  • Christopher — Greek: khristophoros “bearing Christ.” The famous patron saint of travelers.
  • Eachann — Old Irish: each “horse” + donn “brown.”
  • Éowyn — Old English: eoh “horse” + wynn “joy.” The name of a princess of Rohan in Lord of the Rings; the Rohirrim (“Riders of Rohan”) are famed horsemen.
  • Epona — Common Celtic: *ekwo- “horse.” The name of a Gaulish Goddess of horses, and probably also of sovereignty.
  • Euodia — Greek: euodia “good journey.” Ancient name (crops up in the New Testament).
  • Faramond — Old German: fara “journey” + munda “protection.”
  • Farilda — Old German: fara “journey” + hildi “battle.”Ferdinand — Germanic: fart “journey” + nanþ- “courage.”
  • Garnet — a stone long used as a protective talisman for travelers.
  • Geoffrey — one source of this name is the Old German valha “traveler” + frithu “peace.”
  • Hermes — one of Hermes’s roles was to protect travelers.
  • Hippolyta — Greek: hippos “horse” + luô “to set free.” Hippolyta was an Amazon queen, and the mother of Hippolytus.
  • Ingrid — Old Norse; one interpretation of the name is Ing (the God) + rida “ride,” referring to the symbolic first ploughing of the year by Ing on a golden boar.
  • Isra — Arabic: “night journey.”
  • Journey — self-explanatory!
  • Llywarch — Welsh: llyw “leader” + march “horse.”
  • Marcán — Old Irish: marc “horse” + diminutive suffix –án.
  • Marshall — Old French: mareschal; used originally of someone who looked after horses.
  • Peregrine — Latin: peregrinus “traveler,” “stranger.” Often shortened to Perry, or, in the case of Tolkien’s character, Peregrin Took, to Pippin.
  • Philip — Greek: philos “friend” + hippos “horse.” Not forgetting its feminine form Philippa, popularly shortened to Pippa.
  • Pilgrim — the word “pilgrim” derives from the same source as Peregrine.
  • Pushan — Sanskrit: “cause to thrive.” The name of a Hindu God of journeys, who protects travelers from bandits and wild animals.
  • Rhiannon — Common Celtic: *r-gan- “queen.” In mythology, Rhiannon is an otherworldy woman closely associated with horses. It is quite likely she represents the survival of the Goddess Epona.
  • Rider — English surname meaning simply “a rider.” Also spelled Ryder.
  • Rosalind — Old German: (h)ros “horse” + linde “serpent” or lindi “gentle” and “soft.”
  • Rosamund — Old German: (h)ros “horse” + mund “protection.”
  • Rose — Old German: (h)ros “horse.”
  • Séadna — Old Irish séadna “traveler.”
  • Steed — Old English stēda “stud-horse.”
  • Xanthippe — Greek: xanthos “yellow” + hippos “horse.”

Read Full Post »

Time to return to the Runes, and the second letter of the Runic alphabet — U.

It has the following names:

It is unclear what the inspiration for the Eldar Futhark U was — it was either *ūruz ‘aurochs’ or *ûram ‘water’.

Aurochs isn’t a word heard much in general conversation these days; it is the name used for a long extinct species of wild ox. Aurochs is actually a German word, which came into English in the 18th Century.

Its Old English and Norse name — úr fell out of use at a very early date — probably around the time the animal disappeared. This may be the reason why in the Norse runic poems it seems to be derived from ūr ‘fine rain’ — a word ultimately cognate with urine.

In the poems, Ur gets a distinctly mixed reception, with reference to the animal’s pride, ferocity and stamina, and the negative effects of water in the form of rain.

Modern rune diviners focus on Ur’s wild ox past, and neglect the watery undertones. It is generally viewed as a rune that signifies physical strength, stamina and durability. It stands for raw, untamed power — a great asset, but something which someone who possess it might need to learn to control in order to get the best out it.

Its negative qualities are pretty clear: savagery and recklessness.

Ur itself makes an unlikely name choice, although there are other noble namesakes, such as the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, and the identical sounding Er, hero of Plato’s Myth of Er, in which Er, a former warrior, witnesses what happens to the Dead — how after a period in the Underworld, they take it in turns to choose their fate in their next life, according to how virtuous their former life had been.

Uram, however, has some potential. It’s not a million miles away from names like Aaron and Erin, after all, and plenty names end in -am.

But there are also plenty names out there (and not “out there”) with meanings such as “strength,” “power” and “endurance.” Many are sadly  probably still too heavily buried beneath a pile of Victorian corsets — names such as Elfreda, Ermyntrude, Etheldreda, Frideswide, Maynard and Millicent.

These are some suggestions:

  • Alcestis ♀ — name of a Greek heroine, from alkê “defensive strength.”
  • Alcis ♀ — epithet of Athene, also from alkê “defensive strength.”
  • Arnold ♂ — Old German Arenvaldarin “eagle” + vald “power.”
  • Bala ♂ — Indian name from Sanskrit bala “force,” “power” and “strength.”
  • Brian ♂ — Irish and Breton in origin, from Proto-Celtic *brig-/brigant- “high,” or *briga- “might” and “power.”
  • Bridget ♀ — Anglicized form of Brigid, which comes ultimately from the Proto-Celtic *brig-/brigant- “high,” or *briga- “might” and “power.” Well known as an important Irish Goddess — and saint.
  • Emin ♂ — Turkish name – emin “safe,” “secure,” “strong,” “firm” and “trustworthy.”
  • Firmin ♂ — from Latin firmus “strong,” “steadfast” and “enduring.”
  • Gertrude ♀ — Old German gêr “spear” + drudi “strength.”
  • Gorwst ♂ — Old Welsh name from gor- “super” + gwst “power,” “force” and “excellence.” Latinized in the Middle Ages as Gurgustius.
  • Griffith ♂ — Anglicized form of the Welsh Gruffudd, probably cryf “strong” and “powerful” + iud(d) “lord.”
  • Imelda ♀ — Spanish and Italian name, from the German Irmhildeermen “strong” and “whole” + hilta “battle.”
  • Iphigenia ♀ — Greek: is “strong” + gignomai “to be born” i.e. “strong-born.”
  • Jarek ♂ — Czech and Polish name, originally a pet-form of names beginning with jar “spring” or jary “fierce” and “strong.”
  • Metin ♂ — Turkish name – metin “strong” and “durable.”
  • Millie, Milly ♀ — Shorter, more approachable form of Millicent (among other names!) < Old German amal “work” + swinde “strong.”
  • Nero ♂ — Sabine: nero “strong” – cognate with San: nara and W: nêr (and banned in New Zealand!).
  • Ruslo ♂ — Romani < ruslo “strong.”
  • Swithun ♂ — Old English name < swīþ “strong.”
  • Valentina ♀ — Latin: valens “strong,” “vigorous” and “healthy” < valeo “to be strong.”
  • Valentine ♂ ♀ — as above.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »