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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”

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It was the full moon last night, which is the inspiration for today’s pick of the week, the little heard Argent.

Argent falls into the categories of both “surnames as first names” and “word names,” though they share the same source: the Old (and Modern) French argent “silver.”

Silver’s association with the moon goes back to ancient times. It has long been believed to enhance the power of the moon, capable of forging a strong link between the the physical and metaphysical worlds.

The surname probably arose as a nickname for someone with silver hair, while the word has been used in the past as a noun (for a silver coin) and an adjective.

Nowadays, it is mostly confined to heraldry, where it is used of both silver and white in coats of arms.

The Old French word came from the Latin for silver argentum, which gives us the chemical symbol for silver — Ag.

It is cognate with the Welsh arian “silver” — which is still used to mean “money” in Welsh — which is found in more than one Welsh name, such as Arianwen, which combines it with gwyn “white,” “pure,” and “blessed,” and Arianell, which combines it with gell “yellow,” and “shining.”

It may also feature in the name of the Goddess Arianrhod — which is popularly interpreted as meaning “silver wheel” and a reference to the moon.

Caer Arianrhod is the Welsh name for the Milky Way.

The Common Celtic word from which arian derived was *arganto-, and the “g” is preserved in the medieval name Argante — used by Layamon in the twelfth century epic poem Brut as the name of the Queen of Avalon.

She is usually identified with Morgan le Fay, and there are those who argue that the name derives from an older form of Arianrhod.

Another old form is Eraint, which features in the epithet of the mythical Welsh figure Lludd Llaw Eraint “Lludd of the Silver Hand.”

This form also happens to demonstrate well the etymological relation between arian and the Modern Welsh Eirian “shining.”

Meanwhile, its Sanskrit cognate is Arjuna, a name borne by a hero of the epic Mahabharata. The modern Hindi form of the name is Arjun.

Argent itself is first found as a given name as early as the sixteenth century, interestingly enough as a girl’s name. This probably represented a simpler form of Argentea, which was taken directly from the Latin argenteus meaning “silvery” and “of silver.”

By the nineteenth century, it is more commonly found as a boy’s name, often as a middle name, indicative that the surname was now the principal source.

Today, Argent is a rarity. It has never reached the top 1000 in America, and only even appears in the data at all on one occasion, in 1926, when five girls were given the name.

Bursting as it is with heritage and meaning, I think it makes for a great unusual and contemporary choice for a boy or a girl. What do you think?

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Over the course of today and or/tomorrow, most Pagans in the Northern Hemisphere will be celebrated Imbolc (down under, it’s time for Lughnasadh).

Both Imbolc and Lughnasadh are what are often dubbed “Celtic fire festivals.”

Both names are Irish, and are the names by which the festivals were known in the early medieval period, but it is thought that the fire festivals were celibrated across the Celtic world.

The other two are Samhain and Beltane, and they all fall midway between a Solstice and an Equinox — hence their other generic name “cross-quarter days.”

Imbolc — also called Imbolg, and correctly pronounced “i-molk” — marks the transition between the deepest, darkest days of winter and the Spring Equinox.

It seems to derive from the Old Irish for “in the belly,” although a medieval glossary said it meant “ewe’s milk.” Either way, its association with the burgeoning new life of spring is clear.

It’s still cold. It’s still dark, but signs of spring are increasingly everywhere, from the trembling, delicate snowdrops, to the shivering catkins on the hazel and the buds on the blossom trees.

It is the time of the Maiden.

Not surprising that the saints most strongly associated with early February are Bridget and Agatha, Bridget — often now called by the Irish form of her name, Brigid — on the first, Agatha on the fifth.

It is Brigid who has become most associated now with Imbolc — though not the saint. The Goddess who lies behind her. The great Irish Brigid, so beloved in Ireland in pre-Christian times that instead of trying to eradicate her worship, the Christians turned her into a sixth-century saint.

She is equally revered among many modern Pagans, especially Wiccans and Druids.

Many Christians — particularly Catholics — still contend  that the saint just happened to share the same name as Pagan Ireland’s favorite Goddess, that she just happened to found her monastery on the site of Bridget’s cult center in Kildare, and just happened to have a thing for fire, etc.

Similarly, the widespread nature of St. Bridget’s cult in England and Wales is often ascribed to the spread of the cult from Ireland when — although the form “Bridget” is Irish — her worship in the British Isles is probably much older; Bridget and the famous Brythonic Goddess Brigantia are almost
certainly the same deity.

The form Bridget developed from Brigitta, a Latinized form of the Medieval Irish Brigit and Brigid. It derives ultimately from the Common Celtic *brig-/brigant- “high,” or *briga- “might” and “power” combined with the Irish fem. suffix –ait. This has become Brighid in Modern Irish Gaelic. The variants Bríd and Bríde are also used.

In England and Wales, Bride and Bryde  were also commonly used in the Middle Ages, surviving in place names such as Bridewell.

Bridie — an Anglicized form of Bríde — is not uncommonly heard in Pagan circles too.

Bridget is found as a given name in England from the fourteenth century. In Ireland it wasn’t actually used until the seventeenth; it was considered
too sacred for everyday use in previous centuries (so much for the saint just happening to share the Goddess’s name!).

In the nineteenth century, the pet-form Biddy was so common in Ireland that it became a nickname for an Irishwoman (in the same way Paddy was used for an Irishman). It has lost this meaning now, but “old biddy” is still used in Britain as a mild slang term for an old woman.

Many wonderful old traditions surround Imbolc and St Bridget’s. One of it’s other names — Candlemas — comes from the tradition of making and blessing candles at St Bridget’s; the connection between candles and Brigid’s fires is obvious.

In Ireland, the tradition of making a Brigid’s Bed has survived until modern time in some parts; women and girls make a corn dolly, and a bed for her to lie on beside the fire. They then keep a vigil on the the eve of St Bridget’s, and the men visit to pay Bridget their respect.

In the morning, the dolly is sometimes taken round the village from door-to-door, a bit like a guy on Bonfire Night in England.

Due to the believe that Brigid goes abroad on Imbolc eve, clothes are sometimes placed outdoors for her to bless as she passes.

Candles are often placed in all the windows to welcome her.

But probably best-known is the Brigid Cross, with it’s four spokes, it almost certainly is a vestige of the Pagan Celtic sun-wheel. Generally woven from straw or rushes, they are placed in the chimney as a protection against fire. Although the general tradition was that they were renewed each year, with the old burnt on Imbolc fire, old ones are not uncommonly found forgotten up the chimneys of old Irish houses.

A bright and blessed Imbolc, one and all!

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This weekend, people of all faiths and none across the world will be celebrating Halloween.

For most, it is just an excuse to dress up and have a party, the start of the midwinter party season which culminates in Christmas and the New Year.

From an anthropological perspective, the scary, spooky theme which most embrace belongs to a time honored tradition of facing our deepest fears in a controlled, safe environment.

We embrace all the monsters from the wardrobe, including the scariest of them all (as far as most folk are concerned) — death — but live to party another day.

It is a form of catharsis.

No one can doubt that the roots of Halloween lie deep in the past. Probably the ancient, Pagan past. “Halloween” — more often “Hallowe’en” in the UK — means simply “All Hallows’ Eve” — a reference to the fact that November 1st is the Christian feast of All Hallows — generally called “All Saints” today.

In Mexico, November 1st is “The Day of the Dead,” a feast of commemmoration of loved ones who have died. This often continues on November 2nd (the Catholic feast of All Souls). Although it shares many characteristics with Halloween, its origins are indiginous, and was originally a festival in honor of the Aztec Goddess of the Underworld.

While most Pagans participate in all the fun aspects of Halloween just like most people, Pagans often mark it with more sober observation too. Like the Mexicans, it is considered a time to honor and remember those who have died.

Many regard it as the end of the old year and start of a new, as seems to have been the case in Ireland into the medieval period.

And to distance it from the vernacular celebrations, the Irish name Samhain is often prefered.

It derives from the Old Irish sam “summer” and fuin “end.”

In Wales, Pagans and non-Pagans call it Calan Gaeaf “the first day of Winter.”

Whichever way you look at it, it is clear that the Celts regarded it as a time of transition.

Today, it is regarded as not just a time of transition between seasons, but between worlds. Between the planes of existence.

This ethereal, otherworldliness pervades all four of the year’s “quarter-days”, which fall midway between the solstices and equinoxes.

They are often called the “fire festivals” as there is evidence to suggest that fire — symbolic of purification and light — featured in the celebration of all the quarterdays.

But the sense that the “veil between worlds is thin” is felt particularly strongly at Samhain, and the festival which faces it on the other side of the wheel of the year — Beltane.

The focus of Samhain is very much on reflection — looking back, and looking inward. It is a time of remembrance and contemplation at the start of the season when the earth itself retreats within itself, to sleep.

Everywhere, there are signs of dying, death and decay — but we know it is only a semblance. An illusion.

For come the spring, it all springs up anew. Rejuvinated. Regenerated. Reborn.

The wheel always turns. There is no beginning. And no end.

And when it comes to names? Here are just a few to mark this special season:

Apple — apple bobbing is an old Halloween tradition, probably bound up in an ancient fertility rite to Pomona, Goddess of fruit, whose name derives from the Latin pomum “fruit,” source of the French pomme “apple” — a hint that of all fruit, apples are the fruit. English “apple” is cognate with the Welsh afal, with which Avalon, is also connected, a hint at the apple’s Otherworldly and mystical connections. She’s on my list to feature as a Pick of the Week, so I’ll say no more for now.

Aradia  — an Italian Witch-Goddess, introduced to the world by the American folklorist Charles Leyland in 1899 in the influential Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches. Probably a form of Herodias,  which derives ultimately from the Greek hêrôs “hero.”

Autumn — appropriate for this festival as much as for the Equinox.

Calan — deriving ultimately from the Latin kalends a word used to mean “first of the month.” Calan Mai is used as the Welsh equivalent of Beltane, though it is used by all Welsh speakers to mean simply “May Day.”

Circe — one of the most famous mythological Witches. A daughter of the Sun, her name derives from the Greek for “to encircle” — no doubt with enchantments. Other legendary Witches with wonderful names include  Ceridwen, (the Witch of) Endor, Lilith, Medea, Morgan/Morgana, all who deserve posts (and will get them) all to themselves.

Edric — an Old English name meaning “rich ruler.” Wild Edric is a figure of English folklore, associated with the Wild Hunt — and Halloween marks the start of the Wild Hunt season. Of course, chief among those associated with the Hunt is Odin.

Eve — Instead of Halloween, think All Hallow’s Eve. Eve as an established name is the English form of the Hebrew Ḥawwāh. But there is also the English “eve” a poetic form of “evening,” redolent of twilight, and thus perfect for the season.

Hallow — an Old English world meaning “saint.”

Halloween, Hallowe’en — not without precedent, such as a little girl called Hallowe’en Lucy Trodden in Durham, England, in 1899, but it certainly makes for a very bold choice.

Hecate — the famous Witch-Goddess of the Greeks. Although not specifically associated with Halloween (although she may have a festival at the end of the November), she is a Goddess of the earth and boundaries. Many Wiccans and Witches regard her as the Goddess in her Crone aspect, making it an appropriate — if distinctive — name for a girl born at this time of year.

Nicevenn — a Scottish Goddess, equated with Hecate, Diana and others, whose name means either “daughter of heaven” or “daughter of frenzy.” She is particularly associated with Samhuinn.

November — a neglected month name, but why not? It comes to us direct and unchanged (except in pronunciation) straight from ancient Pagan Rome too, with the literal meaning of “ninth month.”

Nox — the Latin for “night”. Nights are drawing in quickly now, and we have more night than day. With Halloween’s association with death, and darkness, Nox resonates well.

October — same comment as November, except it means “eighth month.”

Pumpkin — the vegetable which has come to symbolize Halloween more than any other. Its etymology provides more suble options, such as the original Pompion, from Pepon, a type of melon or gourd, deriving ultimately from the Greek pepôn “ripe,” “mellow.”

Samhain — As already said, this is the name which many Pagans, especially Wiccans, use for Halloween. Others, especially Druids, often use a slightly different version, the Scots Gaelic cognate Samhuinn. With the meaning “summer’s end” it would make a good name generally for those born at this time of year.

And with that, I wish you a bright and blessed Halloween!

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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.

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It’s the Equinox today — one of the two days in the year when the hours of day and night are equal. Up in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the Autumnal Equinox, and we have to face the less than cheery fact that from now on, the nights will be drawing in as winter approaches.

Those fortunate enough to be in the Southern Hemisphere, on the other hand, are celebrating spring and the fact that from now on, their days will be growing longer and warmer. Lucky blighters.

But fate has made me an Earthling of the Northern Hemisphere, so the Autumnal Equinox is the focus of today’s post.

What makes the Autumnal Equinox special? Well, because of their equal length of day and night, both Equinoxes are a time of balance — and among many Pagans and folk of alternative spiritualities, they are regarded as good times to focus on achieving balance in our lives.

It is an interesting co-incidence (or possibly not) that Libra — the astrological sign of the balance scales — begins on September 23.

The Autumnal Equinox also sits at the heart of the harvest-season — many a church and school are celebrating their harvest festivals around this time. It is therefore a good time to focus on the bounty of Nature and the Earth.

Autumn — from the Latin autumnus “autumn,”  “fall” and “autumnal” — is already seeing a lot of use as a girl’s name. In the US, it peaked (for the time being) in 2001 in 72nd place, but remains in the top 100. In the UK, where “autumn” is the usual name for the fall, it is still gradually climbing; it was ranked 238 in 2010.

Equinox itself — from the Latin aequus “equal” + nox “night” has seen only a very little use as a given name since the late twentieth century — not enough to register on the radar at all in the US or UK. But with the rise in Knox as a given name, however, perhaps it is time to consider Equinox?

Many Pagans, especially North American Wiccans, call the Autumnal Equinox Mabon, while to Druids across the Norther Hemisphere, it is Alban Elfed.

The festival of Mabon is named in honor of the Welsh deity Mabon ap Modron, and has been in use since the 1970s, its use promoted by Wiccan writer Aidan Kelly.

Mabon ap Modron is often dubbed “the Divine Son of the Divine Mother”; he features in (and gives his name to) the Mabinogion, an important source of early Welsh mythology. He is considered by many to be one and the same with another important figure of Welsh myth — Pryderi ap Pwyll, the son of Rhiannon.

Mabon is almost certainly a survival of the Celtic deity Maponus, whose name derives from the Common Celtic *makwos “son” + the suffix -on- commonly found in theonyms. From the same source derives the Old Irish macc (source of the Mac– which features in so many Scottish and Irish surnames), Old Welsh map and Modern Welsh mab — all meaning “son.”

Five little boys were called Mabon in the UK in 2010.

Meanwhile, the Druid Alban Elfed combines two Old Welsh words — alban meaning “solstice” and “equinox” and elfed “the fall” and “autumn.”

As the Welsh name for the Brythonic Kingdom of Elmet, which had a short-lived existence in the region roughly inhabited now by West Yorkshire following the departure of the Roman legions, until it was absorbed by the neighboring Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia.

This derives from the same source as the Old Welsh elfydd “world,” “country” and “region.” This also happens to be related to both Albion and the Scottish Alba.

Elfed — pronounced “el-ved” — has been used as a boy’s name in Wales since the late nineteenth century. It is rare now, however, largely because it is used as the name of the patchwork elephant in the Welsh versions of David McKee’s Elmer the Patchwork Elephant series of children’s books.

While Equinox might be a bit bold for some tastes, Autumn, Mabon, Alban and Elfed certainly provide subtle but interesting options for an Autumnal Equinox baby.

Whatever your spiritual path in life, a bright, blessed and fruitful Equinox, one and all.

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Many Pagans like to practise some form of divination. There are numerous methods, but a popular one is to use the ancient runes.

The association of the runes and divination is almost certainly as old as the runes themselves. The word rune comes from an ancient root meaning ‘mystery’ and ‘secret’.

It is easy to understand how such an association arose, when you remember that at the time the runes developed, the skill or reading and writing was known only to a few.

An ability to read and write meant access to texts — and texts contained knowledge which was entirely hidden from those who did not possess the skill to read them.

There are many parallels throughout history and around the globe, which demonstrate this connection of literacy with knowledge, magic and power.

Even today, in countries which have highly literate and well-educated populations, this deep-seated — and passionate — belief in the power and sanctity of the written word, especially in the sphere of religion and magic, is still very commonly encountered.

But let us return to the Runes…

There is actually more than Runic system:

  • the evocatively named Eldar Futhark — of the 2nd to 8th Centuries. This is so old that the actual names of the letters have had to be reconstructed. It takes its name from the first seven letters of the Eldar and Younger Futhark alphabet — namely f, u, þ, a, r, k
  • the Anglo-Frisian (essentially Anglo-Saxon), used beteween the 5th and 11th Centuries
  • the 8th-9th Century ‘Marcomannic Runes’
  • the Younger Futhark. 8th-12th Centuries.

I prefer the Anglo-Frisian:

  • Feoh (F) ‘wealth’
  • Ur (U) — ‘cattle’
  • Þorn (Þ) — ‘thorn’ (Thorn)
  • Os (O) — ‘mouth’ (or Ós — ‘God’)
  • Rad (R) — ‘ride’
  • Cen (C) — ‘torch’
  • Ʒiefu (Ʒ) — ‘gift’ (Giefu)
  • Ƿynn (Ƿ)– ‘joy’ (Wynn)
  • Hæʒl (H) — ‘hail’
  • Nyd (N) — ‘need’
  • Is (I) —  ‘ice’
  • Jear/Ior (J) — ‘year’
  • Ēoh (Eo) — ‘yew’
  • Peorð (P) — uncertain — possibly a type of woodwind instrument (Peorth)
  • Eolh/Eolxecʒ (X) — ‘elk’, ‘elksedge’
  • Siʒel (S) —  ‘sun’ (Sigel)
  • Tir (T) — ‘(the God) Tyr’
  • Beorc (B) — ‘birch’
  • Eoh (E) — ‘horse’
  • Man (M) — ‘man’
  • Lagu (L) — ‘ocean’
  • Ing (Ng) — ‘(the God) Ing’
  • Œðel (Œ) — ‘estate’ (Oethel)
  • Dæʒ (D) — ‘day’ (Daeg)
  • Ac (A) — ‘oak’
  • Æsc (Æ) —  ‘ash’
  • Yr (Y) — ‘bow’ (but see Eolh)
  • Ear (Ea) — ‘earth’
  • Iar (Ia) — ‘serpent’
  • Kalc (K/KK) — ‘chalice’
  • Gar (G) — ‘spear’
  • Cƿeorð (Cƿ) — ‘fire’ (Cweorth)
  • Stan (St) — ‘stone’

The Runes offer an interesting source of names, not just the names of the Runes themselves — some of which have potential from one system or other — but for the inspiration. Those who first used the Runes also wrote poems about them, capturing their essence, and each rune possess certain qualities and meanings, just like the cards of a tarot.

All this make the Runes a great starting place for someone on the search for a perfect name!

Indeed, a number of names may have arisen from the word rune itself and its cognates.

The Vikings had Rúni ♂ and Rúna ♀, which were either from the Old Norse rúnar ‘secret’, ‘hidden lore’ and ‘wisdom’, or runi/rúna ‘intimate friend’.

These have become the modern Scandinavian Rune and Runa.

There is also the traditional Welsh name Rhun, from the Proto-Celtic *r³nƒ ‘secret’ and ‘magic’, as well as the modern Welsh girl’s name Rhinedd, from Welsh rhin ‘secret’.

Over the coming weeks, I shall be taking a closer look at each Rune, and some of the naming potential they present.

And then I shall move onto the Ogham :D!

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