Thursday, September 29, 2011


Primeveire was one of those names that captured my heart from the get go. There was only one problem: I couldn't find out what it meant.

I came across Primeveire randomly. I was looking up Medieval baby names both for this blog and for my own amusement, when found a website that listed popular monikers taken from legal documents from the Anglo-Norman period of England. This time in history had a great variety of names that are obscure today. Primeveire is one of them. When I first saw it, I thought, "Mine!"

Being the Italian/Puerto Rican that I am, I immediately assumed that Primeveire meant "springtime," because of Primavera. Primavera itself has never been a popular name in the United States either, but it is more familiar than Primeveire. But Primavera doesn't have quite the same impact. It's lovely, but a bit too "light" for my tastes. The best witchy name should have a bit more shade to it, I think. Primeveire has that shade. I assume it's pronounced "PREEM-ah-vair," because that's how I've been saying it.

So I've been keeping Primeveire in my little desk drawer inside my head, only to take it out on occasion to gaze at it lovingly. Over time, a little voice inside of me said, "You can never use this name if you don't know what it means. Remember, you thought Musetta had something to do with the Muses before you researched it." (Musetta means "little bagpipe.") I mean, I'm supposed to be all about naming intentionally. I can't really pick a name just because it sounds nice, can I?

And then, stalking other baby name blogs paid off! According to a post about flowers in other languages by British Baby Names, Primeveire is French for "primrose." Primrose as a name has been gaining some attention, I've seen it in some birth notices from Britain in particular. Could Primeveire be an alternative?

Part of me has an irrational fear of my favorite name suddenly becoming enormously popular (hey, it's happening with Penelope!), but I'm sharing the very obscure name that I have insane love for because I care about you readers. Just use it only after I use it. That's reasonable, right? ...Right?


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Wednesday, September 28, 2011


This is the name of another one of my artistic heroes. But unlike Frida Kahlo, this one is not so famous.

Remedios (pronounced "reh-MEH-dee-os") is a Spanish name meaning "remedy." It is often bestowed in reference to the Virgin Mary because she is sometimes known under the title "Our Lady of Good Remedy."
In comparison to Frida her life was tame, if you don't count moving to another continent to escape the Nazis. She was born Maria de los Remedios Varo Uranga in Spain of 1908. Her father was a hydraulic engineer who found work throughout Spain and North Africa as a way to escape the Spanish Civil War. Her youth pointed towards nothing extraordinary. She was an imaginative little girl who was sent to art school to study her passions. In 1940, she fled to Mexico City. She expected to be there for only a few months, but wound up living there for the rest of her life.

Remedios Varo is often listed as a Mexican painter because her work really blossomed while in the country. She found her voice and her style became instantly recognizable. And I saw them in the flesh so to speak, the photographs don't really do them justice. They are just incredible. She knew Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera but did not prefer their company. I can't find any evidence of animosity, but I imagine it didn't help that one of the "intellectual artistic bitches of Paris" that Frida hated so much was Remedios' mentor. Remedios primarily socialized with her old European colleagues who were also in exile. Her great painting period was relatively short. Most of her well known work dates between 1950 to her death in 1963.

If you look through her work, you kind of get the feeling that she's Pagan. As it turns out, Remedios was passionate about the mystical and the occult. She particularly was in love with alchemy and the geometry used to create sacred spaces. She believed in the legend of the Holy Grail, I-Ching, and Sufism. Sure sounds like an Eclectic Pagan to me.

Remedios is an unusual name, even in Spanish speaking circles (although apparently it's popular in South America). Although Remedios is also the name of a character in the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, there doesn't seem to be that many well known namesakes. The masculine variant is Remedio, which is also not really used much. Or how about just Remedy? That in itself is lovely and I can see that catching on with the non-Hispanic set.

It's such a pity that this name doesn't get more attention. I would clap my hands in joy if I met a little Remedios. Not too many of them, though. I like my unusual gems.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Frida Kahlo is my hero. When I was a little girl first showing my lifelong interest in art, my mother introduced me to the only two female artists she knew: Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keefe.I never really got Georgia O'Keefe, but Frida had a story.
It's impossible for me to try to summarize her life, but I'll try to explain why people love her so much because I'm sure some people will roll their eyes and say, "Oh, she's one of those," when they read that. I guess Frida is one of those hipster (whatever that means) figures that people say they like because...they think it makes them look cool? It won't make you look cool with the normal crowd, most people (not my friends) I knew said, "Ew!" whenever I brought her up.

But Frida was a bad-ass woman. After the horrific trolley accident that left her in pain for life, she didn't cry or complain. When her lifelong love Diego Rivera cheated on her (multiple times) she had lovers herself. She wasn't conventionally pretty, and yet she's a fashion icon in her own right. She didn't follow anyone else's rules for what was cool or fashionable. Someone once said to me, "But she didn't have any painting ability, she just had a good story." I think she had great painting ability, she just wasn't interested in what the establishment thought was great. Her work was very influenced by folk art, so as a result her work isn't very fussy. She had low tolerance for insincerity, in one letter talking about European surrealists she wrote, "They are so damn 'intellectual' and rotten that I can't stand them anymore...I would rather sit on the floor in the market of Toluca and sell tortillas, than have anything to do with those 'artistic' bitches of Paris."

Another great quote of hers, “I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it's true I'm here, and I'm just as strange as you.” That right there is why I love her.

One day my father said to me, "I've been thinking...Frida Kahlo's father was a German Jew, right?"


"And his name was Kahlo? That doesn't sound right."

So it was research time. As it turns out, Frida's father was originally named Wilhelm Kahl, but changed it to Guillermo Kahlo in order to sound more Mexican when he immigrated to the country. Kahl is an Middle High German surname that's derived from kal, meaning "bald." Not a particularly flattering etymology, I admit. But Frida's life puts it in a new light.

I thought I was really clever thinking of Kahlo ( which is, by the way, pronounced "KAH-low," not "KAY-low" you gringos) for a potential daughter, but it looks like someone on Ohdeedoh beat me to it. One of the modern design lover's sons is Kahlo Roel. Oh well. You can't be the only person on the planet with a name. Still, it's a unique hero name that I yearn to use one day.


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I don't remember.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Name Round-up: The Names of Nick Bantock

Abby, Lou, and Elea have all bee talking about names in works of fiction, and asking their readers what names from fiction would they consider using? Well, I always have a hard time answering that question because my brain always overloads and need to be restarted in order to function again. However, I think that a lot of books that I've read as a kid have something to do with my name love today. And some of my favorite books were the works of Nick Bantock.

To clarify, no, these are not children's books. Well, he did do children's books early in his career, but that wasn't what I was reading. My parents let me read the Griffin & Sabine trilogy at six or seven years old thinking, "Pretty pictures mean it's a kid's book, right?" They eventually took them away from me because Griffin says, "Of all the fucking nerve!" at one point (sorry, parents reading this). That didn't stop me from reading the books behind their backs. Bantock's books are also filled with tons of sensuality that totally flew over my head at that young age.

Although my love for Nick Bantock is primarily due to his exotic and eclectic collage-style artwork, I couldn't help but notice the names of the characters as well. Here are just a few of the names I was introduced to because of him:

1. Griffin: The Griffin & Sabine trilogy is Bantock's most famous work and it's what propelled him into making these artsy stories for adults. This was actually the first time I had ever seen the name Griffin. It used to be one of my favorites because of the book, but unfortunately it has shot up in popularity since then. Griffin is a Latin name meaning "hooked nose."

2. Sabine: My grandfather's name was Sabin, but I didn't know that while he was alive because everyone called him Sam. So this was the first time I had seen this name as well. Sabine references the Sabine people, an Ancient Italian tribe.

3. Niccolo: Niccolo is the computer ghost in The Venetian's Wife. In life, he was a trader along the Silk Road. Niccolo is the Italian variant of Nicholas, and it means "people of victory."

4. Yasoda: The beloved wife of Niccolo, Yasoda is the daughter of a king and a sorceress. In the Hindu religion, Yasoda (sometimes spelled Yashoda) is Krishna's foster mother.

5 & 6. Basia & Umberto: The names of Niccolo and Yasoda's two surviving children. Basia is a Polish variant of Barbara and it means "foreign." Umberto is an Italian variant of Humbert and it means "renowned Hun."

7. Hurtago: Armon Hurt is the lead character in The Forgetting Room. Hurtago is a surname Nick Bantock invented for the purposes of being able to shorten it to Hurt when the lead character is running away from his past. It wasn't until he finished the book when he realized how appropriate the -ago was when the lead character took back his full name at the end of the book.

8. Ceres: Another character from The Forgetting Room. The name is derived from the Indo-European root ker, meaning "to grow." Ceres is the Roman equivalent of Demeter.

9. Sage: An important character in The Museum at Purgatory, who suffers from amnesia and goes by Non for most of the book. This was the first time I've heard of this name, and now it seems like it's everywhere. Except that the character in the book is a man, and it's more common for girls. Sage means "wise," and it also a type of herb.

10. Archelo: Also in The Museum at Purgatory, there's an eccentric female archaeologist named Archelo Bora Cavarn. Archelo is most likely a variant of Archelos, Greek for "champion" and more often used as a surname.

11, 12, & 13. Zephyr, Boreos, & Sirocco: Windflower is Nick Bantock's only foray into unillustrated fiction, with mixed results. These three characters have a connection that is probably supposed to remain a secret until the end, but anyone well versed in names could probably guess it in a heartbeat.

I would consider all of those for my children. Of course, I'm very influenced by literature, so you're going to find a lot of round-ups like this on this blog. What books influenced your naming style


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Illustration by Nick Bantock

Friday, September 23, 2011


Blessed Mabon, Northern Hemisphere people! To people below the equator, Blessed Ostara! But today I'm profiling Mabon!

Mabon is a Wiccan holiday that takes place on the Autumnal Equinox. The last holiday celebrated the harvest of grains, and Mabon celebrates the harvest of fruit. This holiday is sometimes referred to as "the Wiccan Thanksgiving" and that's a pretty apt description. We often prepare a large feast on this day and give thanks to the earth for providing for us. The earth is dying little by little, so this is a good time to practice some of the darker elements of the Craft. The Horned God is an elder at this time of year, and on the next holiday he will die.

Mabon (pronounced "MAY-bohn") is unique in that it is the only Neo-Pagan holiday that does not have an ancient equivalent. That's right, it's pretty much "new and made-up." Apparently, the Ancient Pagans didn't think the Autumnal Equinox was much cause for celebration. The name Mabon, however, is very old.

This name was given to the holiday by Aiden Kelly, a Wiccan academic and poet, in 1970. He was referencing Mabon ap Modron, a prominent figure in Welsh mythology and Arthurian legend. His name is most likely derived from that of the Northern British god of youth, Maponos. Maponos means "divine son." Both Mabon ap Modron and his mother Modron are likely based on deities, or it's possible that they were once real people.

There are many different variations of Mabon's story, but here's an overview. Mabon is a great hunter and tracker. He was taken away from his mother when he was three nights old and imprisoned, but was eventually rescued either by King Arthur or by his various animal friends. He appears in the Welsh tale Culhwch & Olwen, in which he helps Culhwch fulfill his quest in slaying Twrch Trwyth, the magical boar. Mabon is sometimes viewed as the masculine version of Persephone in that he travels back into his mother's womb during the winter months.

There is evidence that suggests that Mabon was a name used during Ancient times and the Middle Ages. What supports that is it's saintly namesake. Saint Mabon, also known as Mabena or Mabyn, is a 12th century saint that is associated with Cornwall, England. Not much is known about her life, and sources can't even seem to agree on her gender.

Mabon is perfectly Witchy. And pretty obscure to those that are not familiar with any Neo-Pagan faith. It's a great name for any little autumn hunter.
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Here's something for the young Witchy fiction lovers out there: Smoky and the Feast of Mabon is a children's book by W. Lyon Martin with illustrations by Catherynne M. Valente. In it, a little girl named Smoky is sad because all her flowers are dying, and goes into the woods to find solace. There she meets Lady Equinox who teaches her about death and rebirth. Smoky is named for "the delicious scent of wood burning that heralds the coming of Autumn and Winter."

Technically, the correct spelling is Smokey (Smoky just looks odd to me). Smoke is associated with both fire and air, the two masculine elements. In Wicca, smoke is often used for purification. Practitioners take a bundle of magickal herbs, what types of herbs depend on what magick they want to accomplish, and then light one end on fire. They then waft the smoke around a person's s aura or throughout a room or building to erase negative energy. This process is called smudging.

Smokey was cast into the namescape by Smokey Robinson. Born William Robinson Jr., he is an American R&B singer. He was the lead singer in Motown's first band, The Miracles, and his consistent commercial success gave him the title of the "King of Motown." He was given the nickname when he was six or seven years old. "Smokey" is an old derogatory term for a Black person. Robinson has an unusually light skin tone for an African American, so his uncle called him "Smokey Joe" so that he would never forget that he was Black.

To be honest, I have no idea how a Black person would look at this name. In all the reading I've done about slaves and racism I've never seen the word used that way. But I've still noticed that all the people who bear this name seem to be Black. Even the Smoky in the Mabon book appears to have dark skin. Robinson's Uncle's attitude makes me think that it's used as a badge of pride now, but I'm not sure. So there's that challenge.

The other great American namesake is Smokey the Bear. For those of you who live outside the country, Smokey the Bear is the mascot of the United States Forest Service. He teaches children about fire prevention and safety. He was created when my grandparents were kids, in 1944. He's been on television commercials forever. Everyone knows him. And that might be standing in the way of this name being used more than the obscure-racist-slang association.

Smokey is a beautiful, unique nature name. But it might be a bit more challenging to wear than one would expect. Still, it has a comforting vibe. Like a campfire late at night.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011


Last weekend, I went on a trip with my family to see Mount Saint Helens and stay a few days in a beautiful beach house in Oregon, and those few days were very tense for me. Because I've been carefully watching all the earthquakes and tsunamis in Haiti, Japan, Argentina, and New York City (seriously? New York City?) during the year and looking at the active volcanoes to the east and the ocean to the west. And I keep thinking, "It's only a matter of time." I live a safe distance away from both. I think.

Anyway, I watched the educational movie that they have in the tourist building for Mount Saint Helens (which is gorgeous, by the way, I thought I was looking at a painting). After the eruption, the soil around the volcano became filled with pumice. No plants could grow in this pumice except for the hardy lupine, which make the mountain all purple and pretty and made the soil suitable for other plants again.

Lupine (pronounced "LOO-pin" or "LOO-piyn") is derived from the Latin lupinus, meaning "wolf." This name was given to the plant because it was believed to "wolf" down all of the nutrients in the soil, when in fact it does the opposite. The plant is found in south and western North America, the Andes, the Mediterranean, and Africa. They have recently been introduced to New Zealand by accident, and are rapidly taking over the country.

The plant has many culinary uses, although most of the time they must be soaked in a salty solution before eating. Lupine beans were a popular dietary supplement of the Ancient Romans, and lupini dishes are still commonly found in most Mediterranean countries. The plant is also used to make vegan foods, and they are fast becoming an alternative to soy. And sometimes they are kept just because they look pretty. Their flowers could come in purple, pink, or bluish. Because of the flower's shape, some lupines are known as blue bonnets or Quaker bonnets.

To Harry Potter fans, this name may appear to be somewhat familiar. Professor Remus Lupin was first introduced in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. During his school years he was best friends with James and Sirius. He became the defense against the dark arts teacher and a father figure to Harry. The character was given two names that have something to do with wolves because he is a werewolf.

Lupine has never been a common name, but it is very similar to one. Lupe is a Spanish unisex name. They both peaked in the 1930s, #341 for girls and #567 for boys. This name is often a short form of Guadalupe, and is therefore a reference to the Virgin Mary.

Lupine would be a lovely moniker for a child. Current fashion is steering away from names that end in -ine for boys, but they're not completely unheard of and I still think this would be a great for either gender. Sweet Lucy or Lou. What do you think?


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It's been a while since I've talked about Pagan virtue names, and this one might be on the rebound after a long period of obscurity.

Most people recognize this as a Puritan name, but it could also be used by Wiccans. In the Charge of the Goddess, the eight Wiccan virtues are listed as mirth, reverence, humility, strength, beauty, power, compassion, and honor. We all generally know what honor is, but what does the word mean to Wiccans? Neo-Pagans often use the phrase, "A Witch's word is her bond." Upholding that bond is honor. We try to live honestly by our own ethical system.

Most Neo-Pagans have at least a passing familiarity with the Theban Alphabet. This code is often used to hide magickal writing or simply because it looks nice. The script is very unique and bears no resemblance to any other alphabet. The invention of the Theban Alphabet is credited to Honorius of Thebes. No one knows why he made it, and indeed there is no evidence that he really existed (other sources claim that it was created by Pietro d'Abano). But the script is also known as the Runes of Honorius (although they're not really runes), the Honorian Alphabet, or the Witch's Alphabet.

The name is quite common for girls in Scotland, as of 2008 it ranked #445. So it shouldn't be surprising that most of the namesakes are from Britain, Ireland, and Scotland. There's the British actress Honor Blackman, British zoologist Dame Dr. Honor Fell, Irish Singer and Actress Honor Heffernan, and Scottish model Honor Fraser.

When Jessica Alba named her daughter Honor Marie, it lead to speculation that this name could catch on in the States. It's variant Honora was last popular in the 1880s at #847, which is pretty meager rating. Other versions of this name include Honour, Honore, Honoree, Honorine, Honoria, Onora, and Annora.

That doesn't seem so promising for the boys, but this is a great unisex name. I especially like Honore for a future son. It doesn't lend itself to any male nicknames, but a females Honor could easily go by Nora, or the more exotic Nor. I think it's lost it's Puritan aftertaste that would make it unsavory to some, and is ready for the playgrounds again.


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Zephyr is one of my favorite boy's names. It's appearance in Nick Bantock's book Windflower cemented it's place in my heart (the book isn't a great work of fiction, but it was fun to read). Actually, I've been introduced to a lot of my favorite names through Nick Bantock's work. Maybe I should make a round up.

Zephyrus, sometimes known as just Zephyr (pronounced "ZEHF-er"), is the Greek god of the west wind. And that's exactly what his name means: "west wind." His is a gentle wind that heralds the arrival of spring. Okay, so it's not really the appropriate time of year to profile this name, but hey. My blog, my rules to break.

If his various marriages are any indication, he had a thing for incestuous relationships. Among his wives are his sister Iris, goddess of the rainbow; his sister Cloris, with whom he sired Carpus; and his sister Podarge, who was a harpy. He also plays a large role in the story of Hyacinth.

Officially, Zephyr is an unusual name. It has never appeared in the Top 1,000 baby names in America. But unofficially, Zephyr is used a lot, just not on people. It appears to be a popular name for to vehicles. It's bestowed on planes, cars, trains, and boats. It's also been an inspiration for businesses and sports teams. This is also a botanical name. The genus zephyranthes includes a plant called the zephyr lily. Now there's a cool name for a girl right there.

Zephyrs appear in many works of fiction and song. If you've read the Babar series by Jean and Laurent de Brunhoff, you know that Zephyr is the name of their monkey companion. Zephyr is also a wind spirit in the popular fantasy comic books series Fables. "Zephyr in the sky at night I wonder" is a lyric in Madonna's song "Ray of Light." The Red Hot Chili Peppers were inspired too, they wrote "The Zephyr Song." This name has also been used in many video games, either for characters or for places and abilities. As far as real life Zephyrs go, there is only one I could find. Zephyr is a well known graffiti artist who is considered to be one of the "elders" in the medium.

Different versions of this name include Zefir, Zefirin, Zephiros, Seferino, Sephirio, Zayfeer, and Cefirino. Some parents are considering using Zephyr for thier daughters as well. Other feminine variants include Zephyrine, Zephyra, Sefira, Cefirina, Tzephira, and Zefeera.

Zephyr is cool and, dare I say, breezy. And something I would love to give to a future son.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011


We are in the mists of the Vine Moon. Could this be inspiration for a name?

The Celtic Tree Month of Vine takes place from September 2nd to September 29th. It was known by the Celts as muin, pronounced "muhn," and it's referring to a grape vine. So it shouldn't be surprising that the word vine is ultimately derived from the Latin vinum, meaning "wine."

The fact that this is considered one of the Celtic tree months is a testament to its traveling power. The grape vine plant actually originated in Persia. From there, it was introduced to the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Today, vines grow throughout Europe, North Africa, and North America. There is a species of vine native to North America that was a diet staple for the Native Americans. Most don't know this because the European colonists considered it's grapes to be unsuitable for wine.

Obviously, grape vines are associated with the harvest. The Ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated the Vinalia Rostica every year, a festival dedicated to Bacchus/Dionysus, Aphrodite/Venus, and also Athena/Minerva. It was a thanksgiving festival that celebrated the sustenance that the earth gave them. This plant is sacred to many other deities as well: Osiris, Jupiter, Hathor, Rhea, Aphrodite, Guinevere, and Demeter to name a few. The vine's leaves have five points, slightly reminiscent of our pentagram. Vine's wood is one of the nine traditional fire woods to be burned at Beltane. To our Christian friends, grapes are often depicted in works of art as a symbol for the blood of Christ.

Aside from harvest magick, the Month of Vine is also a good time to practice magick associated with imagination, inspiration, Faerie work, rebirth, happiness, fertility, and prosperity. To Neo-Pagans, vines symbolize two very powerful emotions, joy and wrath. There are happy drunks and mean drunks, after all. Wine is revered because it's the preserved form of the plant's power, and it also erases the boundaries between people.

The grape vine has a history of practical uses besides the oft celebrated alcoholic drink. Grape leaves can be brewed into a tea to treat diarrhea. These leaves can also be ground into a poultice that treats headaches, fevers, and rheumatism. And, of course, the grapes can be eaten on their own or be made into jam, jelly, vinegar, raisins, and juice.

That's a lot of history. But as far as Vine's "naminess" goes, it's a bit insubstantial. To me, anyway. At least in the first slot. It could, however, be a meaningful middle name. Vine is also a surname, although how common it is I have no idea. No matter where it's placed, it's definitely not a name someone hears very often.
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Monday, September 19, 2011


Here's a name that has a strong artsy, hippy, and New Age vibe.
Indigo (pronounced "IN-dih-goh") is a color name that refers to a deep purplish-blue. It is ultimately derived from the Greek word indikon, meaning "from India." This is because this color dye originally could only be found in India, and it's a color still heavily associated with the country today. This blue dye was created from a genus of plants called indigofera which grows in the Asian tropics.

Indigo is well known for being one of the traditional colors of the rainbow. Isaac Newton first introduced indigo as a spectral color, which he found by shining a light through a prism to create a rainbow-like band of colors on the wall. In yoga practice, this color represents the sixth chakra. This chakra is positioned on the third eye and is in control of intuition.

This color is also in the center of a somewhat controversial belief. In the Neo-Pagan world, the claim that people can see auras is a common one. They way they describe it, auras are colorful radiations that surrounds people or objects of power. In the 1970s, a parapsychologist named Nancy Ann Tappe claimed to notice that several children were being born with indigo auras. Descriptions of these so-called "indigo children" include characteristics such as independence, curiosity, stubbornness, empathy, and an interest in spiritual matters. I find this whole thing ridiculous because that pretty much describes all children before materialistic pop culture digs their grimy little claws into them. And aren't all auras supposed to be special in their own way?

Although unisex, Indigo is a name often associated with girls because of the folk music duo known as the Indigo Girls. The band is well known for songs like "Galileo" and "Closer to Fine." Both Amy Ray and Emily Saliers identify as lesbians, and they continue to be active in environmental and political causes. Despite that, Indigo could very easily be used for both genders as it has never charted for either.

I would imagine that a family with someone named Indigo would be a creative one because that's the stereotype. The name is a bit of a hippy cliche, but that doesn't stop it from being cool. Indigo is a name with great mysticism attached to it, and for that it's perfectly witchy.


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Sunday, September 18, 2011


I'm sure many fellow Witches are interested to see if the new Wizard of Oz prequel will be any good. It'll be called Oz: The Great and Powerful. James Franco is playing Oz, and the two wicked witches will be played by Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz, so there's that. The film makers gave the two witches new names, Theodora and Evanora. And as I read that I thought, "Um...okay. Was that really the best they could come up with?"

Don't get me wrong, they're both perfectly lovely names. They're just rather ordinary. After the imaginative names of the Wicked world, Theodora and Evanora are kind of a let down. And, I'm sorry, but my favorite green girl will always be Elphaba. But seeing as they're going to have some Witchy cred really soon, I decided to profile Theodora.

Theodora (pronounced "thee-oh-DOOR-ah" or "thee-oh-DAWR-ah") is the feminine form of Theodore, a Greek name meaning "gift of God." The name doesn't necessarily refer to the Christian God, it could mean any god. However, this name does have a slight Christian aftertaste because of it's association with many Byzantine Empresses. The most famous is Empress Theodora, wife to Emperor Justinian I, who is a saint in the Orthodox Church. She is arguably the most influential woman in the history of the Roman Empire.

Theodora was the daughter of a bear trainer and an actress in Greece. When her father died, she was forced to help support the family as an actress as well (being an actress at the time meant that you had to preform the services of a prostitute as well). After traveling through North Africa she eventually gave up this lifestyle to become a wool spinner. Her beauty and wit attracted Justinian, so he repealed the law forbidding government officials from marrying actresses so that he could be with her. So she did pretty well for herself, and she was able to secure good marriages for her sister and niece as well. They were both crowned, and Theodora took an active part in government affairs. She saved Justinian's reign during the Nika Riots, and both rebuilt Constantinople into the most beautiful city the world had seen for ages.

In America, Theodora has a bit of an antique vibe. It peaked in the 1920s at #574 and slipped out of the charts in the 1950s. It's presidential masculine variant Theodore has received far more attention. It has always appeared in the Top 1,000. It peaked the 1900s at #38, and now hangs out at #263. Surprisingly, Theodora is the name of Keith Richard's daughter. Maybe he's ahead of the curb.

Theodora is a good, strong Wicca-lite name. It would be nice to see this more on the playground. I like it way more for real witchlets than for fictional Ozian witches.


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Thursday, September 15, 2011


Carnelian is the birth stone for Virgos, but chances are most people have never heard of it.

Carnelian (pronounced "kahr-NEEL-yuhn") derives from the Latin carnis meaning "flesh," because the stone is sometimes flesh colored. Carnelians can vary between pale orange to almost black. But it's more prized color is a reddish-brown. Carnelian is also a color name that describes this hue. These stones (also known as cornelians) are a variety of quartz that contains trace amounts of iron. The best quality carnelians are found in India and South America, but could be found elsewhere as well. They are often confused with sard, a gemstone that is harder and darker.

Carnelians were widely used for decorative purposes in the ancient world. Artifacts were uncovered in Knossos that date back to the Bronze Age. The Ancient Egyptians believed that this stone protected souls in the afterlife, and called it thet. Ancient Romans used the stone to make signet rings used to imprint a unique wax seal on important documents because hot wax does not stick to carnelians. In more modern times, carnelian is the national gemstone of Norway and Sweden.

This stone has many magickal purposes. It has long been associated with courage and will expel the wearer's fears. Some believe that this stone embodies the fire element, others associated with the earth element. No matter which one you believe, most agree that it is an excellent grounding stone. Carnelians will enable people to focus on the task at hand and accomplish our goals. In healing, carnelians are used to cleanse the blood and stop infertility or impotency. Some Neo-Pagans suggest that this stone should be used as a talisman against psychic attack.

Carnelians are not considered to be one of the more glamorous stones in terms of fashion. I've never seen any jewelery store featuring chokers made with carnelian beads. So it's no surprise that it doesn't show up in any baby names. Also standing in the way of it's "naminess" is that it contains the word "carnel," a term often used to describe sensual activities. But some might argue that that's part of it's charm, as the stone is often used to channel sexual energy, particularly in men.

As a name, Carnelian will definitely turn some heads. The only name that sounds kind of similar that I can think of is Endellion, and that one certainly isn't common either. But if the bearer is a Virgo and you're looking for a name that may have never been used before, it may be worth it to consider Carnelian.

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Name Round-Up: Names From My Family Tree

September is Pagan Pride Month! Hooray! Between September 15th to October 15th, it's National Hispanic Heritage Month! Double hooray! Time for my to show off my Puerto Ricanness.

Genealogy is very difficult when you are the descendant of immigrants. I have no ancestors born in America before 1900. As a result, most branches on my family tree cut off short. However, when my mother attempted to fill in the missing spots, she found a friendly distant cousin living in Puerto Rico who gave her an abundance of information. As a result, I know the names of my matriarchal lineage (the mother of my mother of my get the idea), back eight generations. As well as their siblings, significant others, and children.

So why am I writing about this? Because they have awesome names, of course! What blog did you think you were reading?

I know that my ancestors were only in Puerto Rico for one generation, and before that they were Spaniards. Before that? I'm not sure. I didn't expect to find so many German names on the Spanish side of my family, so that's curious.


Clotilde: From the Germanic name Chlotichilda, meaning "famous battle" or "famous in battle."

Fecita: I couldn't find a meaning for this name. The closest I could get was looking up the word fecit. It used to be inscribed on a work of artwork in the place of "by," for example: "Michaelangelo fecit" would mean "by Michaelangelo."

Fermina: A Spanish name meaning "strong."

Fidelina: A variant of the Latin Fidelity, meaning "loyal." Sounds kind of prissy, doesn't it?

Gertrude: An Old German name meaning "sharp spear."

Hormen: Yes, this really is the woman's first name. I'm not sure where it comes from. My only guess is that it's a variant of Horman, an Anglo-Norman occupational surname in reference to a chief servant of a medieval household. Since it sounds a lot like "whore man," I don't think it's going to be appearing on the charts any time soon.

Leonor: A Spanish and Portuguese variant of Eleanor.  It could also be a variant of Leonora, a Greek name meaning "light."

Mildred: An Old English name meaning "gentle strength."

Monserrate: The Portuguese variant of Monserrat, a Latin name meaning "jagged mountain." This is the name of both of my earliest female ancestors.

Niome: A...variant of...Naomi? I guess? I don't know for certain. She married into the family and went by "Dolly" which doesn't give me any clues.

Nydia: A Latin name meaning "nest."

Nydiarose: A lovely compound name bestowed to the grand daughter of Nydia.

Petronilda: I can't find anything about this name. There's Petronilla, a Late Roman feminine form of Petronius, meaning "yokel." Maybe they're related.

Ramona: A Spanish and Old German name meaning "protecting hands." There are two in the family, a mother and a daughter.


Adolfo: Spanish form of the Germanic Adolf, meaning "noble wolf."

Dionizio: Spanish form of Dennis, both meaning "follower of Dionysius." Dionysius is the Greek god of wine, ecstasy, and ritual madness. There's two of them in the same generation and they're not blood relatives, so maybe it was a popular name back then.

Jose Marie: I was quite shocked at first to see that my fourth-great grandfathers were named Jose Marie and Jose Marias, but apparently this moniker is still very common in parts of Europe. Of course, Joseph and Mary were the names of Jesus' earthly parents.

Mariano: A Latin name meaning "manly." Could also possibly be related to Mars.

Nemesio: A Spanish name meaning "justice." Most likely related to Nemisis, the Greek goddess of revenge. He went by "Nessy."

Roque: A Spanish and Portuguese variant of Rocco. Rocco is an Italian and Germanic name meaning "rest."

Rudulfo: A variant of the Old German name Rudolf, meaning "famous wolf."

Walberto: I couldn't find any information from sources that I trust. Others listed it as a Germanic name meaning "one who is in power." He was the husband of Hormen. There's a clunky combination if I ever heard one.

Pretty cool, huh? How about you guys? Do you have any gems on your family tree?

Website Note:  I apologize for the messiness of the spacing in recent posts. Blogger has redesigned the site and it's been a pain in the ass to get it right ever since. It'll look fine when I hit "publish" only to find that it arbitrarily added and deleted spaces which is annoying. So please bear with me.


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Sunday, September 11, 2011


Being the descendant of immigrants, there are quite a few places that I could call my ancestral homeland. However, the one place that gives me the warm and fuzzies would be New York City. That's where all my various grandparents converged to start their new lives, and if they hadn't come to that city I wouldn't exist. Both my parents were born in the city also. So on 9/11, I was completely heartbroken for my beloved New York City even though I was no where near the twin towers (I was actually living fifteen miles away from where United 93 crashed at the time). So I feel compelled to profile York.

Anyone who's listened to the song "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" knows that New York was once New Amsterdam. Why'd they change it? New Amsterdam started off as a Dutch settlement, but then the city was surrendered to the English and renamed. And of course there is an Old York as well. York is a city in the north of England.

The history of how the original York got it's name is a bit complicated. It is believed that it's earliest name was Eburos, since the Romans called the city Eboracum. Eburos is an Ancient British word meaning "yew." The Yew tree is sacred in Celtic lore, symbolizing death and rebirth. During Roman times there existed a Gaulish tribe called the Eburovices, whose name meant "warriors of the yew tree." When the Anglo-Saxons arrived, they corrupted the town's name to Eoforwic, meaning "wild boar settlement." This is why sources state that York means both "yew" and "pig farm." When the city was conquered by the Vikings, they derived their own name from Eoforwic: Jorvik. Which was eventually shortened to York. That was a long walk to get to that name, wasn't it? The city of York is located in the county Yorkshire.

As far as namesakes go, there is a great American bearer. York was the name of the only black person in the Lewis and Clark expedition. No one knows what his first name was. He had been William Clark's slave since they were both boys. York was a large, strong man and Clark thought it would be wise to bring him. But he proved to be instrumental for another reason, the Native Americans loved him. For many of these isolated communities, this was the first time that they've seen a black person. That, coupled with his great strength, earned great admiration and respect from the native peoples. York did not work full time as Clark's servant, he performed the same duties that everyone else did. He was known for expressing sincere concern for his fellow expedition members, and also for being a practical joker. After the freedom he experienced during the expedition, coming back home was excruciating. York had a wife that he rarely saw, and no one knows if he fathered any children. Unfortunately, it is unclear whether or not York was freed after the expedition. The York Islands in Montana were named after him, and President Bill Clinton posthumously gave York the rank of an Honorary Sergeant.

York is more common as a surname than as a first name, and has never appeared in the top 1,000. Variations include Yorke and...Yorick. Yes, as in, "Alas, poor Yorick," in Shakespeare's Hamlet. And also as in the last man on earth in the comic book Y: The Last Man. Yorick has more of a macabre feeling than York does, since in Hamlet he's only a skull. Yorick is also not quite so American sounding. It sounds much closer to it's Viking origins, which may make it appealing to some Neo-Pagans.

York, on the other hand, brings to mind the most magical city in the country. It's a great name for anyone with a deep connection to it. So to New York City today, I hope you're healing. I love you.


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Friday, September 9, 2011

Morning Glory

Would you like to know where I first heard this name?  The My Little Pony movie. The pony's home is getting drowned in black sticky liquid that makes everyone grumpy on contact, which is a crime perpetrated by an evil woman and her two daughters for some dumb reason I forget. So the remaining ponies along with a dragon and a teenage girl go to the realm of the flutter ponies (ponies with fairy wings) to ask for their queen's assistance. The queen doesn't want to get involved at first, and another flutter pony is trying to convince her to help, and the queen turns to her and says, "It's not our fight, Morning Glory." I'm totally not embarrassed that I watched that so much as a child that I remember it twenty years later.

This is why, when I first thought of the idea of using on a person, I thought, "HAHAHAHAHA!" But then I thought about it...and I thought about it some more...and now I think that maybe it's not quite so ridiculous.

A morning glory is a type of flowering vine. Being a vine, it is a very hardy, fast-growing plant that could grow in any subtropical and temperate habitat. The blossoms bloom in the early morning, hence the name. In China, morning glories are used for medicinal purposes because their seeds can be used as laxatives. A type of morning glory known as water spinach is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine. Ancient Mesoamerican cultures used the plant to make rubber and hallucinogenic drugs. In the Victorian language of flowers, morning glories symbolize love in vain.

Morning Glory is the name of a well known Neo-Pagan, which would give the name some credibility in our circles. Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart (born Diana Moore) is an eclectic priestess in Shamanism, an author, a poet, and a lecturer. She has dedicated her life to collecting knowledge of Goddess worship, traveling all over the world. She has founded many workshops and events alongside her husband Oberon Zell-Ravenheart (Morning Glory and Oberon is an awesome combination). The two of them practice polyamory, which is basically polygamy without strictly adhering to the patriarchal construct, and they strive to educate others about their way of living. She also has an...interesting hobby of making living unicorns by performing minor surgery on goats. In 2006, she was diagnosed with a broken spine, so she might not be quite so mobile as she used to be.

I don't know where she got the idea of using the name Morning Glory. She may have a close personal connection to the flower. Or maybe she's just a fan of the television show Bewitched, Samantha and Darrin live on 1164 Morning Glory Circle.

I do admit that the name Morning Glory is a bit challenging to wear. Not because it's two words. Two names in one isn't unheard of. Mary Ellen and Jose Maria are traditional first names, for example. So that's neither here nor there. It's just sounds really...faerie. It's not for everyone. The person would have to be very confident. At the same time, the idea of an attorney named Morning Glory kind of fills me with glee.

So despite my earlier prejudice, it can be a very lovely, unique name option. Because who the heck besides me remembers the My Little Pony movie?
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Some may argue that this name has too much in common with our animal friends, but that hasn't stopped some people.
Rex (pronounced REKS) is a Latin name and it means "king." This was, of course, only used as a title in Ancient Rome and wasn't used as a given name until the 1800s. Rex is also commonly seen on British coins, although since it's been a while since England's had a king these coins might be quite old.
Rex brings to mind two animals. One is the reason why some would stay away from this name: dogs. Rex, along with Fido and Spot, is a common name to give a dog, or at least it used to be. Rex was the name of a sheepdog in the film Babe. In the realm of comic books there is Rex the Wonder Dog. There is also an Austrian TV show called Inspector Rex, which stars a police dog. I myself had a beloved stuffed pooch named Rex, so that will always be my first association.
The other animal it could be referencing is the tyrannosaurus rex. It's name means "tyrant lizard king," and no other dinosaur has captured the public's imagination quite like it. Everyone knows it's full scientific name. As a result, Rex has been used as a not-particularly-creative name for fictional dinosaurs including the one placed in New York city in We're Back and the plastic one in Toy Story.
In animal breeding, "rex" is a term usually used to indicate something special about their fur. For example, in domestic cats there's the Cornish Rex and the Devon Rex, known for their unusual curly hair. In rabbits, "rex" indicates an especially plush coat.
If you prefer namesakes of the human variety, there are plenty of those too. Rex Harrison was a British actor well known for his roles as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady and Julius Caesar in Cleopatra. There are also many, many other namesakes in sports, entertainment, and politics. Rex is also used as a surname.
Despite some people's distaste for this name, it has never left the top 1,000 in America. It peaked in the 1950s at #198, and now hangs out at #707. As far as I know it's not currently charting in Britain or Australia, but it has been used in the past in both countries.
Rex is a no-nickname, no-nonsense name that sounds very dignified. It also could sound slightly dangerous and intimidating. So depending on whether or not animal associations bother you, and when has that ever bothered Neo-Pagans, Rex could be a wonderful Wicca-lite name.
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011


You might have read my post on Bellatrix and said to yourself, "Okay, wiseguy, do you have any alternatives to suggest?" Why yes, yes I do.
My first instinct upon seeing this name was that it was "made up." In my defense, it does look like a compound of Belle and Millicent. But looks can be deceiving. Bellicent's (pronounced "BEL-ih-sent" I think) meaning is unknown, but it is possibly related to Belenus, the Celtic god of the sun. If this is true, it would therefore mean "brilliant" or "bright." Some sources list Bellicent as a boy's name. I'm not sure I'm buying it, but I might as well mention it.

Bellicent is a character in Arthurian legend. If you haven't heard of her before, that's probably because she sometimes goes by another name, Morgause. Bellicent is the half-sister of King Arthur and the mother of Gareth and Gawain. She is mentioned in the epic poem "The Idyll of Gareth and Lynette" by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

In the poem, Gareth longs to become a knight of the round table, but Bellicent doesn't want him to go as he is her last son. She orders him to go to Camelot to serve as an anonymous kitchen servant for a year and a day, thinking that he wouldn't obey. To her disappointment, he does as he is told. After Gareth serves King Arthur well for the time his mother says, Bellicent has no choice but to allow him to become a Knight.

This name is almost unknown in the United States. There are a handful of Bellicents that I could find, and all of them are older. But the timing seems right for Bellicent. With Isabelle on top, Belle names are in vogue. And of course, this names sounds very similar to Bellatrix, without the villainous connotations.

Bellicent certainly has a nice witchy sound that's very dignified. And Witches generally do love Arthurian legend. At the moment, Bellicent is the only girls name beginning with the letter B that I would consider for my own daughter as a first name. I wonder when others will share my love and place it in the top 1,000, although mostly I wish that it will stay unique.
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This lovely mythical name has not seen much use at all, and could be a fitting name for a girl with her head in the clouds.

Nephele (pronounced "NEF-eh-lee") is Greek name meaning "cloudy." It's Latin variant is Nubes. In Greek mythology, Nephele is a carbon copy of Hera created by Zeus. It appears that on some websites she is listed as a nymph, but I don't know if she could logically be characterized as a nymph after reading about her. Unfortunately, her story is not a happy one.

King Ixion was invited to a banquet on Mount Olympus with the gods. Ixion was filled with lust for the goddess Hera, the wife of Zeus, and intended to rape her. Zeus learned of his plan, and created an incredibly lifelike replica of his wife out of the clouds. He named this person Nephele. Ixion fell for this and sought to rape Nephele instead (it's not really clear from my sources whether he succeeded or not). Zeus caught him and punished him by tying him to a flaming wheel and casting him into the Underworld.

However, Nephele could not become unmade, and now Zeus had to contend with a carbon copy of his wife running about. She became something of a nuisance to the other gods. Nephele did not have a strong sense of identity as she was constantly mistaken for Hera. She would break down into constant fits of crying. Zeus eventually married her off to King Athamas of Boeotia to get her out of his hair. Things went well with her new family until after the birth of her two children, Phrixus and Helle, when her depression came back.

Nephele also has a connection to the myth of Aries. Because of Nephele's constant melancholy, Athamas divorced her for Ino. Ino hated her new stepchildren, and hatched a plot to get rid of them. She roasted all the towns seeds so they would not grow, which scared the farmers. The farmers sent to men to the oracle for assistance. Ino bribed the men into saying that the oracle told them to sacrifice Phrixus. Nephele learned of this and sent a flying golden ram to collect her children and escape. On their journey, her daughter Helle fell and drowned, but her son was saved.

Nephele has never been a common name in America. The only human being with this name that I could find was Nephele Tempest. She is apparently a successful literary agent, with a specialty in romance novels. I have no idea if that's the name she was born with.

Except for her obvious love for her children, Nephele is not a very positive character. However, I've always thought that Nephele could be a unique alternative to Penelope due to their similar origin and sound. It could be difficult to pronounce, but so many people don't know how to say Penelope either. Plus, I can't help but fall in love with it's "cloudy" imagery.


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In my head, it is still July. We have only had warm weather for the past month, and I'm not quite ready to wear tights outside again. However, the calender does not lie, it will very soon be Mabon. And September is a name option that has always hidden in obscurity.

Unlike it's predecesors, the last four months of the year kept their numerical names. Therefore September is derived from the Latin septum meaning "seventh." Unfortunately, this doesn't give it much of an interesting backstory, although you can have a look at the profile for Seven.

In the Northern Hemisphere, September symbolizes the coming of autumn and new beginnings. It is the time when students go back to school. September also has more of a somber overtone due to the September 11 attacks in 2001, or at least it does in America. Another American association is the beginning of the football season.

Most namesakes and songs have to do with music. "September" is a song by Earth, Wind and Fire. "Wake Me Up When September Ends" is a well known Greenday song. There is also a Swedish singer/songwriter who was born Petra Linnea Paula Marklund (that's a lot of "-a" endings for one person) but works under the name September.

September has never been a popular choice, which is great for those looking for a unique moniker. You're more likely to find this filed as a girls name nowadays, but in the 1800s there were a handful of baby Septembers and they were mostly boys. There are other Latin names that sound much like September, Septima and Septimus, all of which mean "seventh."

September is a beautiful, poetic name for any gender, bringing to mind the colorful leaves and the relief of cool air. Possible nicknames include Tember, Ember, Temmy, and Emmy. And as Abby says, if you miss your due date you could always use October.


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Why did I do so badly at the so-called theme "month?" Maybe I don't want Harry Potter magic to really be over? That's a poor excuse but I'm going with it.

Even though it's obvious that the stories were not written by a fellow Neo-Pagan, no books or films have brought as much positive PR to Witches in recent years as Harry Potter. The bespectacled hero began his journey when tragedy struck his family. Voldemort learned about half of a prophesy that stated that the "chosen one" would kill him. Believing the chosen one to be Harry, he set off to kill the infant. When his mother Lily gave up her life for him, she protected her son and Voldemort was not able to kill him. Because of this encounter, Harry Potter became famous throughout the wizarding world.

Harry had no knowledge of his fame growing up, or of the wizarding world at all. He was treated horribly by his aunt, uncle, and cousin. It wasn't until his eleventh birthday, when he got his letter of acceptance from Hogwarts and met Hagrid for the first time, that he learned anything about his past. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have a hankering to re-read the first book already.

Aside from being a story about the dangers of bigotry, Harry Potter is also about personal integrity. Being a famous person, Harry repeatedly experiences the fickleness of public opinion. Sure, there are times when everyone wants a piece of him. But there are also times where it seems like everyone hates him, the wizarding government, his fellow students, even on occasion his best friend. But he never changes his personality to suit other people, nor does he ever waver from what he knows is right.

This name has been popular in the English speaking world for centuries. Harry (pronounced "HAIR-ee") is a variant of Henri, which in turn is derived from the Germanic name Heinrich, meaning "home ruler." It could also be a short form of Harold, which is from the Old English name Hereweald, meaning "leader of the army." J.K. Rowling picked this name because it was her favorite boy's names. If her first child (born before the books came out) had been a boy she would have named him Harry.

But I'm thinking there's something else behind this name. In America, Harry has an "old man smell." It's never left the charts, and now rests at #658, but there's no mistaking that it was way more popular in the 1890s at #11. Prominent namesakes were also alive a while ago: Harry Houdini and Harry Truman, for instance. But on the other side of the pond, this name is quintessentially English, and is also the name of a certain unmarried prince. So it's kind of an "everyman" name, especially in combination with the very common English surname Potter. It is interesting to note that Potter's Field is a burial ground for unknown or unclaimed dead, an appropriate association considering what happened to Harry's parents.

Harry does sound old fashioned to me, but some people like that. Plus, it's got a great namesake in the form of this story that J.K. Rowling has given to the world. So that's me whimpering out of the Harry Potter names for a while. I really don't want Harry Potter to end. Luckily for me, there are 772 characters mentioned in the Harry Potter series, so at least on this blog we'll be okay.
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Monday, September 5, 2011


It seems like yesterday when we were under the sign of Leo, but it's already time to profile Virgo.

The sun sign of Virgo occurs between August 23rd to September 23rd. As you could probably guess, Virgo is Latin for "virgin." I've once called Virgo the Neo-Pagan version of Chastity. I still think that any name that connotes celibacy is...icky, for lack of a better term. However, after researching it, it appears that the mythology surrounding this constellation has more to do with the harvest.

Virgo is the second largest constellation in the night sky. The Greeks and Romans believed that the constellation was Demeter/Ceres, the goddess of fertility and the harvest. She is obviously not a virgin, since she is the mother of Persephone. The constellation's coincidence with the harvest time is not serendipitous. Virgo is believed to be carrying two sheaves of wheat.

But this is not the only interpretation. The Babylonians called this constellation The Furrow, and it represented the goddess Shala's ear of corn. The brightest star in Virgo, Spica, retains this tradition. Spica means "ear of grain." During the Middle Ages, Virgo was often believed to be the Virgin Mary.

Virgo is also believed to symbolize Erigone. In Roman mythology, Erigone was the daughter of Icarius. Dionysius, the god of wine, gave Icarius the secret of wine making. Armed with this knowledge, Iracius made a happy life for him and his family until he was killed by peasants who believed that they were poisoned by his product. Erigone was lead to her father's corpse by the family dog. When she found him, she hung herself in grief. It is important to note that this time of year would have been the time when grapes were harvested. The first century astrologer Marcus Manilius referred to this constellation by the name Erigone.

Virgo is ruled by the element of earth and is therefore feminine. People born under this sign are known for being exacting and eloquent, modest and human. They have a very analytical nature and have a tendency to over think things. They aren't collectors, they like to keep their lives at the bare essentials. They are the Hermione's of the astrological world, in other words.

In other words, the virgin association should not be taken so literally. I take back my prejudice. Virgo's not icky at all. Virgo's actually okay. It fits in with Shiloh and Juno nicely. Virgo could actually be cute.


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Sunday, September 4, 2011


You may or may not have already seen the photos of Tippi Degre that are making rounds across the Internets. Tippi Degre is the daughter of wildlife photographers, and was born while they were working in Namibia. Up until she was ten years old, Tippi lived a life in tune with the animals and with the native Africans. Apparently she was given a second name (I assume it's from the native language): Okanti, meaning "mongoose." When she was ten, she went back to her parent's homeland in France (I wonder how that transition went). Tippi should now be about 21 years old. These photos will be published in a book.

Looking at these photos, I've felt something akin to searing jealousy. I went through a phase of loving all things African after watching The Lion King as a kid. She gets a pet cheetah? Where was my pet cheetah? I asked my parents for one. My second feeling was curiosity over her name.

According to the official website, Tippi is named after the American actress and fashion model Tippi Hendren. Tippi Hendren is most well known for her leading role in The Birds. After that, she stared in another Hitchcock film called Marnie. So where did her name come from? She was actually born Natalie Kay Hendren. Her father gave her the nickname Tippi because he thought that the name Natalie was "too much" for a baby. After coming into contact with many, many Natalie's in my lifetime, I find this sentiment beyond bizarre. And it's not like the name was that uncommon back in 1930, the year she was born.

Tippi Hendren is also well known for founding the Shambala Preserve. Hendren produced a film called Roar in 1981. During production her daughter and her then-husband were attacked by one of the dozen lion stars. Despite this, Hendren was inspired to help wild cats by forming a sanctuary in the Mojave Desert. Shambala is now the home of approximately 70 animals including lions, tigers, mountain lions, leopards, servals, and bobcats. Recent additions include two bengal tigers formerly owned by Michael Jackson. To this day, Hendren lives on the preserve and guides tours for the public.

So it's obvious to see why this name would appeal to the Degre's. But how about the rest of us? I have the feeling that Tippi is a bit too informal for most Americans. They would want it to be a possible nickname for, say, Tiffany, rather than let it stand on it's own. So Tippi Degre can enjoy her unique name for the moment, although according to the official website many people confuse it with Teepee.

So take a look at the gorgeous photos of young Tippi, and observe that sometimes having an unusual name is by far and away not the most unusual thing about a person's childhood.


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