Tuesday, May 29, 2012


This flower name isn't used all that much anymore, but I wouldn't be surprised if that changed in the future.

Magnolia (pronounced "mahg-NOH-lee-ah") doesn't have much of an interesting meaning. It was coined by botanist Charles Plumier, and it comes from the name of the botanist Pierre Magnol. Pierre Magnol is notable for inventing the current botanical scheme of classification. What he has to do with this flower in particular, I haven't a clue. The obvious follow-up question is, "Where does Magnol come from?" Well, I've hit a dead end there. The other obvious follow-up question is, "What were magnolias called before they were magnolias?" In Martinique, an island in the Caribbean, it was known as talauma.

Magnolias are an ancient flower. Fossilized specimens have been dated at 20 million years ago. They've been around even before bees evolved. They are designed to be pollinated by beetles instead. Magnolias generally grow in warm to areas like East and Southeast Asia; the West Indies; and Central, South, and parts of North America. They do well in some temperate areas, but are not overly abundant there. They come in white, yellow, purple, and pink.

I expected magnolias to show up more in Wiccan herbal sources, but not really. There is some mention of the bark, which has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine as well. Fidelity, love, and hair growth are possible magickal applications. Extract from magnolia bark has been proven to inhibit the growth of bacterial plaque, so dentists are now interested in it.

Historically magnolias have been strongly associated with the Southern United States, particularly Mississippi and Louisiana where it is the state flower. One of the nicknames for Houston, Texas is "The Magnolia City" because quite a lot of them grow there as well. Magnolias are also associated with nobility and perseverance.

Magnolia peaked in the 1900s at #490. It left the charts completely in the 1940s. It might sound dated to some people, particularly to someone who actually knew a Magnolia in that age range. But I doubt that many Americans have met a Magnolia before. For most it could sound like a fresh yet timeless name.

Magnolia is a good name for someone who's looking for a name that's familiar but unique. I would expect a Magnolia to have a "southern belle" personality, charming and proper.


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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Name Round Up: So You Think You Can Dance

Watching So You Think You Can Dance has become something of a mother-daughter tradition in my family. For the uninitiated, it's basically a televised dance competition. Like Dancing With the Stars only a million times better. Abuelita watched the show when she was alive, and my mom and I still tune in year after year despite the fact that it's been slightly disappointing lately. Since I don't take dance lessons anymore, it fills my childlike desire to watch and be inspired by those who are better than me. And within the seemingly endless sea of Kates, Ryans, Stephens, and Ashleys, there were a few names that made me take notice too.

1. Kherington. This is the sort of name that name enthusiasts don't understand when they see it on birth announcements, but her parents were pretty ahead of their time. She seems to be doing well for herself now, she's appeared in several movies. I'm sure the distinctive name didn't hurt.

2. Artem. I actually wasn't watching the show during the first season, so I don't remember him very well. He came back once as a choreographer and that's the only reason I know him at all. Out of the many Russian ballroom dancing dudes on this show, I like Artem's name the best.

3. Auska. It's pronounced like Oscar, if the speaker has a strong Boston accent ("auh-skah") and it's Japanese. I'm always shocked when there's a ballroom dancer that isn't Russian. Unfortunately, Auska didn't last long.

4. Vitolio. Can't find much on the meaning or origin of this name, but the dancer was born in Haiti.

5. Legacy. Okay, this is not his real name. But it's his stage name and it's how he was addressed on the show. If there are parents naming their sons Epic, I'm sure there are also ones that use Legacy.

6. Comfort. People who don't watch the show may only see this as a stuffy Puritan name. The gritty hip hop dancer changed all that in my mind.

7. Benji. The second season winner was every inch a Benji. That spunky name fit him so well.

8. Sabra. I'm actually surprised that there aren't more Sabras in the world. Sabra was the underdog winner for the third season despite having only been dancing for a year or so. And then she disappeared. She hasn't visited the show or been mentioned at all.

9. Kupono. According to a not particularly reliable source, Kupono is Hawaiian for "justice." Perhaps not surprisingly, Kupono had a quirky style.

10. Hokuto. If you don't recognize this name immediately, it's because he shortened it to Hok. He was a breakdancer born in Tokyo, but I distinctly remember his British accent.

11. Iveta. Another Russian ballroom contestant. She didn't last very long, but I can certainly see the appeal of her name.

12. Ade. A variant of Adam which is apparently well used in some African countries. There was also a contestant named Adechike.

13. Ellenore. Perhaps not such an interesting name in and of itself (some will not be thrilled with the spelling), but I'm putting it here because she changed my perception of Elenor. It stopped being an "old lady" name in my mind and became cool. She's a longtime favorite of mine. I'm still a bit upset that she didn't win the sixth season.

Do you watch the show? There are versions of So You Think You Can Dance produced in other countries, did you notice any interesting names there?


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Galileo has a great sound and a scientific hero attached to it, so why isn't it used more?

Galileo (pronounced "gah-lih-LAY-oh") is an Italian name meaning "from Galilee." But thanks to one Galileo in particular, most people are likely to think about galaxies when they hear this name. You don't even need to say his full name. Everyone will know who you're talking about.

Galileo was born in Pisa, Italy and was the child of Vincenzo Galilei, who was a famous musician and composer at the time, and Giulia Ammannati. He is named after his anscestor Galileo Bonaiuti, who was a respected teacher, physician, and polititian. At some point, the family changed their surname from Bonaiuti to Galilei in reference and reverence to him. So Galileo Galilei might as well have been named Galileo Galileo.

Galileo achieved so many things during his lifetime. He was an astronomer, philosopher, physician, and mathmetician who played a key role in the Scientific Revolution. He improved the telescope and compass, discovered the four largest moons of Jupiter, confirmed the phases of Venus, and observed sunspots. As for his personal life, he sired three children out of wedlock with Marina Gamba. The eldest daughter, Virginia, is probably most well known. She was extremely close to her father and the two exchanged letters. The girls were perclaimed unfit to marry by Galileo due to their birth and they were sent to a convent. The lone son was somehow legitimized. Surprisingly, Galileo was a devot Roman Catholic, so the church's denouncement must have deeply upset him. He was also interogated during the Inquisition.

Galileo was well known for championing Heliocentrism, or the belief that the earth revolves around the sun. But Pagans had already figured that out. The Greek philosopher Philolaus first proposed the idea that there was a "central fire" in which Earth, the sun, the moon, Venus, and Mercury circled around. Anyone who pays attention to the sky will see that the sun moves at different speeds depending at the time of year.

Despite the popularity of Leo, Galileo has never been a common name in the United States. It's Spanish feminine form, Galilea, has had a bit more luck. It peaked in 2003 at #799, but it fell out of the top 1,000 in 2008. I keep seeing, "Oh, we can't use Galileo because of the science dude. He will never shake with the association," which I don't quite understand. I doubt that parents who name their sons Capone have any such qualms (yes, I've actually seen that name used). Galileo was far more honorable. Besides, Galileo can be shortened to the fashionable Leo, so why not?

I love Galileo. It's a name I would use. I don't see it's most famous bearer as a problem.

P.S. Spell check has been acting up again, so the past few posts probably have a ton of typos.


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Well, I've seen the Tony nominations and I am thoroughly unimpressed with the "best" new musicals. We have three movie adaptations and one with a kitchy original story and existing music. How disappointing. But one musical that only got one nomination (for best book, which means script and story) intrigues me: Lysistrata Jones.

Lysistrata Jones is based on the Ancient Greek play Lysistrata, and even if you've never heard of it you've probably heard of this story. This comedy was written by Aristophanes, and it's one of the few works of his that survived. Like many comedies of the time, Lysistrata makes a lot of topical references so it is worthwhile to have a passing understanding of what was going on the time it was written. Athens had just experienced a catastrophic defeat in the Sicilian Expedition, which was a battle in the long running The Peloponnesian War.

In the play, women are portrayed as crazy hedonists but Lysistrata is the exception. She has a sense of moral responsibility. Lysistrata brings together women from various city states in Greece (how she manages to do this when most rich wives in those days were confined to their houses, I haven't a clue) and convinces them all to withhold sex from their partners as a means to force them to end the Peloponnesian War. The women are very reluctant, but Lysistrata manages to convince them that this is the right thing to do. Hilarity ensues, and eventually the men agree to peace talks with the "unruly women with unruly names."

This plot has been adapted many times over. In Lysistrata Jones, Lysistrata is a high school cheerleader who refuses to have sex with her jock boyfriend until loosing-streak his team wins a game. It got a lot of good reviews during it's Off Broadway run. But apparently, the musical only ran for 64 days on Broadway. That doesn't say much in this terrible economy. It is probably worth mentioning that another musical based on Lysistrata is in the works and it has an increadibly Pagan sounding title: Goddess Wheel.

Lysistrata (pronounced "lih-sih-STRAH-tah," I think) is the Latinized form of the Greek name Lysistrate, meaning "loosening the army" or "army disbander." As much as I love the story behind the name, it's is a bit of a mouthful. You could always shorten it to Lyssie I suppose, but still.

Lysistrata would be a good name for someone who wants something with history but is unique. And if you're willing to overcome the spelling and pronunciation issues, power to you.


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On Girls Gone Child, the lone son Archer Sage has comparitively the most "normal" name out of all of his siblings. On the other hand, the nice thing about having a name that's been used for many years is that when some random blogger writes about it she has a lot more to go on!

The meaning of Archer should be obvious to anyone who speaks the English language, but it's ultimately derived from the Latin word arcus, meaning "bow." Archery was the main long-distance weapon for hunting and battle for thousands of years, but the invention of firearms rendered the skill obsolete. Still, archery continues to exist as a sport and hobby.

Many heroes and dieties from Pagan mythology have been described as archers. Some of them include Artemis, Cupid, Apollo, Diana, Rama, Shiva, Lempo, William Tell, and Robin Hood. In Greek mythology, there are three minor dieties of archery that were worshiped on the island of Delos. Hekaerge (representing distance), Loxo (representing trajectory), and Oupis (representing aim) were believed to be attendants of Artemis. Earlier depictions of Hercules show him as an archer rather than a club weilder. And, of course, this would be a great name for anyone born under the zodiac sign of Sagittarius.

Historically, Archer is far more common as a surname. It did experience some fleeting popularity as a first name back in the 1880s. However, it has been more used now than it has ever been used before. It first appeared on the top 1,000 in 2009 and now ranks at #447. That's impressive.

So I would be very surprised if this name didn't become more mainstream in the coming years, much to the chagrin of the older set. My parents, for example, hate Archer. They wrinkle their noses whenever I bring it up. They think it's "old money." They've seen way too many television shows in which a boy named Archer is the "Draco Malfoy" of the story. They don't understand why I love it. But isn't that always the way with different generations? And knowing the general distaste for the boys-names-for-girls trend a few name enthusiasts are going to give me a dirty look, but...I think Archer would be badass on a girl! Oh what, only men can draw a bow and arrow?

If you're not put off by Archer's rising popularity, it's a great option. It has a mythic, rustic feel to me, but it also has a preppy side. So it can appeal to a great number of people.


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Sunday, May 20, 2012


The eldest daughter in the Girls Gone Child clan is Fable Luella. As far as I know, this name wasn't used before her, and it quickly became a favorite.

Fable is an Old French word derived from the Latin word fabula meaning "that which is told." Aside from meaning "story," it could also mean "falsehood" or "pretense." Somehow I don't think that that's what parents giving this name to children are getting at.

Fables are also a type of literary genre. These types of stories were essentially "invented" by Aesop, who was supposedly a slave in Ancient Greece. They feature animals, plants, or inanimate objects that have human-like qualities. Fables always have a moral and are intended for children. Many scholars have attempted to find which mythology or culture fables come from, but realistically they could be from any of them including Indian, Greek, Syrian, Hebrew, or Egyptian.

They may be trivialized as kids stuff, but fables still have a large impact on culture in general. Popular Aesop fables include "The Tortoise and the Hare" and "The Lion and the Mouse." Both Bambi and The Lion King could certainly be categorized as fables. And George Orwell's novel Animal Farm uses an animal fable in order to critique Stalinist Communism.

Fable as a name has pretty much been whole-heartedly embraced by name enthusiasts. Rebecca of Girls Gone Child has stated that the only bit of difficulty this name has encountered is that many people confuse it with Mabel. Which might be working in it's favor in terms of it's "naminess" but might also work against those who want to use it as a boy's name. Still, Gable has recently been picked up for boys, so maybe it has a chance.

Fable brings to mind the magic(k) of storytelling. And since most, if not all, name enthusiasts are vicarious readers. So it's easy to see the appeal.


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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Name Round-Up: Names from Offbeat Mama Part II

Today Offbeat Mama put out an article called The Pitfalls of Offbeat Baby Names Debunked (the author has a daughter named Ophelia) so of course I had to root through the comments again. I mean, where else are you going to find not one but two boys named Epic? Okay, maybe on For Real Baby Names, but still.

Anyways, here are names of actual people, and names that are considered by Offbeat Mama commenters:

Ejypt (not sure if this is a typo or not)
siblings Caesar, Mercutio, Severus Danger, and Samara
Kilwich Jared (I know what you're thinking, but it's pronounced "KIL-wik" apparently)
Nola Luv
Georgia Jane
Cassandra De La Paz
Epic Darwyn
siblings Chantel & Shaina
Epic (b)
Ripley (g)
siblings Desiray, Emmett, & Damien
Xavier Dante
Bowie Irene
Bowie Violet
Portia, mother to Max Beowulf & Cleo Clementine
Wallace Lier
siblings Remy (g) & Kyrie (g)
Lacey Jewell JoLynn Jean
Selkie Jubilee
siblings Benson Jordan & Elliott Lane (g)
Avalin Claire
Emmalyn Dahlia
Jasper Corbitt
Dexee (g)
siblings Josephine Alexandria Anne & Henrietta Elizabeth Pearl
siblings Matteo Archer & Ivan Ferris
Jona Marley (g)
siblings Cedella Michelle & Isora Rose
Cailan (b)
Miacoda White Fawn (g)
Armstrong Jameson
Arthas Riou
siblings Lillian & Tyr (g)
Appolina Blossom

Ah, fellow Offbeatlings, what would I do without you?

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012


On Girls Gone Child, the twin sister of Boheme Shalom is Reverie Lux. This one's even harder to find something to say about, but I'll try.

Reverie (pronounced "REH-veh-ree" or "REHV-ree," depending on who you ask) is a French word derived from resver, meaning "to dream" or "to wander." Today when people say reverie they mean "daydream" or "a fantastic, impractical idea," but it wasn't always used in that way. From the 1400s to the 1650s, reverie meant "delirium," "frolic," "revelry," and "wild conduct."

The way we view daydreaming changed with the introduction of assembly line production. Before that, daydreaming was seen as a harmless creative activity that brought about new ideas. But as the assembly line took over craft production, there was no room left for creativity. Therefore, reveries became associated with laziness and danger. In the 1950s, some parents actively discouraged their children from daydreaming as they believed that it led to neurosis. Nowadays most people are much more lenient.

Reverie is also a genre of musical composition. It is instrumental style of music characterized by it's vague, dream-like quality. Reverie is also the name of a company that sells mattresses and a few musical groups and songs.

Reverie is a lovely name, and I can certainly see it appealing to those that like Avery. It's a bit of a stretch to say that Rebecca of Girls Gone Child invented the name as I've seen it used on some other children before. But it's still very rare. I've only seen this name on girls, but Avery is used on plenty of boys so why not Reverie?

If you want a beautiful sounding word name with a great meaning, Reverie might be for you.


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Saturday, May 12, 2012


Most name enthusiasts are fans of the mom blog Girls Gone Child, and if you know the children's names it's easy to see why. The mom, Rebecca, has four children with very creative names. Her three daughters have names that she "invented," or if they were used before they were used very rarely. The youngest are girl twins. One of these girls is named Boheme Shalom. I have never heard of that as a name before her. It can be harder to find things to say about the new coinages, but I'll try.

Boheme (pronounced "bow-EHM") is a French word derived from the name of the country of Bohemia. The country is named after the Boii, a Celtic tribe that settled in the area. The Boii originally lived in Northern Italy until the Romans defeated them in battle and they had to retreat. This area they retreated to was recorded as Boihaemum by the Ancient Romans.

There was a time in France when bohemian meant "gypsy," as in a literal Gypsy/Romani person. This came from the (incorrect) belief that they were from the country. It might be true that the Gypsy/Romani people first appeared in Europe by way of Bohemia, but it is generally believed nowadays that they were ultimately from India. As time went on, this word started to be used in a less literal way and was employed to describe an artist or writer. The definition of this word is sometimes written as "a gypsy of society." People who defy conventions in art and life. In the fashion world, the words "bohemian" and "gypsy" are pretty much used interchangeably.

Some people might think of the opera La Boheme when they hear this name. This opera by Giacomo Puccini is basically a tragic love story about starving artists. I actually saw this opera as a girl, although my interest was only due to it being the inspiration for the Broadway musical Rent. I have to admit that I was not overly found of the music, but I loved the acting and the characters.

Boheme got a few raised eyebrows when the name was revealed on Girls Gone Child. Her other daughters, Reverie and Fable, are similar to familiar names Avery and Mabel so perhaps they were easier to swallow. Boheme doesn't have a popular or "established" sound-alike name. Not that I can think of, anyway. The nickname Bo is familiar, but more so on boys.

I love the idea behind Boheme, even though the sound took some getting used too. Someone who uses this name would be someone who has a revolutionary spirit, who likes to live life by their own rules. A description that seems to fit the mother pretty well.


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Name Round Up: Famous Witch's Cats

The Witch's world, both in fiction and in real life, is full of cats. They are the traditional familiar, although the tradition is more recent than most people realize. Still, when you think about black cats people instantly think about witches, and books, movies, and other media sources have reinforced that association.

A lot of these cats aren't given names, and usually that's explained away with, "Oh, he's so independent that I don't really own him so it would be ridiculous to give him a name," or something like that. But there are a few monikers to be found. Here are the names of a few well known Witchy felines:

1. Salem. This famous talking cat from the comic books/televisions shows Sabrina: The Teenage Witch is actually a male witch who was transformed into a cat as punishment for attempting to take over the world.

2. Ebony. Ebony is the cat of Agatha Harkness, a Marvel comic book character who appeared in the Fantastic Four series. Ebony is able to transform into a black panther.

3. Pyewocket. Gillian's familiar in Bell, Book, and Candle becomes disgusted with her midway through the movie and leaves her when she starts to fall in love with Shep.

4. Jiji. Jiji is the companion and best friend of Kiki in the Miyazaki film Kiki's Delivery Service.

5. Binx. The talking black cat in Hocus Pocus was actually named Thackery Binx. He was a boy transformed into a cat by the three witches, who called him Binx.

6. Gobbolino. Probably the most obscure name on this list, Gobbolino, The Witch's Cat was a children's book published in 1942. It features a witch's kitten who longs to be a regular farm kitten. Gobbolino is Italian for "little hunchback."

7, 8, 9, & 10. Mystery, Miles, Nee Chee, & Sabbath. Calling popular gothic advertising mascot Emily the Strange a witch might be a bit of a stretch, but with her fondness for black, skulls, and all sorts of macabre things she certainly could be read as one. She is sometimes depicted with her four cats.

11, 12, &13. Ms. Norris, Minerva & Crookshanks. Crookshanks was Hermione's persian, and Ms. Norris was the cat that patrolled Hogwarts. And technically Professor Minerva McGonnagall is her own familiar, she's an animangus that can transform into a tabby. Unlike all of the other cats on this list, none of the Harry Potter cats are black.


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I don't remember.

Friday, May 4, 2012


This name is much more Witchy than some people might think.

George (pronounced "JORJ") is derived from the Greek name Georgios, which is in turn derived from the Greek word georgos, meaning "earthworker" or "farmer." Perhaps no one has done more to champion this name than Saint George. Ever since I learned that the "snakes" Saint Patrick drove from Ireland were actually Druids, I wondered if the story of Saint George slaying a dragon is code for something. Are we supposed to believe that Saint George actually slayed a literal dragon?

Of course not. There is no historical documentation on Saint George (except for ones made after he supposedly lived), so one can question whether or not he existed at all. But the legend states that he was a Roman soldier from Palestine who was martyred during the anti-Christian persecutions of Emperor Diocletian. He was not originally a dragon slayer, he just did ordinary heroic knight things like rescuing princesses and such. The dragon stuff didn't appear in artwork until the 1000s.

The story usually told is that Saint George went to a Libyan city that was being terrorized by a dragon. In order to pacify it, the townspeople sacrificed a virgin daily. Eventually, the only virgin left was the princess, but before she could be delivered Saint George came along and killed the reptilian menace. In gratitude, the citizens promptly converted to Christianity. One certainly could read the dragon as a symbol for Paganism, and that's how the story was interpreted during the Middle Ages. After all, human sacrifices were quite common in some ancient Pagan religions.

So it's quite ironic that Saint George is so associated with magic and Witchcraft today. Occurring on the 23rd of April, Saint George's Day is celebrated in a similar way to Beltane and May Day. The eve of St. George's Day is considered to be among the best times for divination, spell casting, and vampire slayings. This day, and it's reputation, is even mentioned in Bram Stoker's Dracula. This day is still celebrated in parts of Eastern Europe. Some Neo-Pagans even equate it with the Green Man, because they are both unconquerable.

Saint George used to only be popular in areas under Byzantine control, but his influence soon spread throughout the city (rumor has it that this was the doing of the Knights Templar). This name is often thought to be one of the quintessential English names. However, the name was rarely used in that country until German-born King George I came along in the 1700s. Five Kings after him have had this name. This is also the name of American founding father George Washington, which helped propelled the popularity of George in this country.

George continues to be a popular name in England (it was #12 in 2008), as he is the patron saint of that country. During 2008 it was also #30 in New Zealand, #66 in Australia, #108 in Scotland, and #156 in Canada. As for the United States, it's still doing well but it no longer dominates like it used to in our parents and grandparents generations. George peaked in the 1880s at #4 and has been trickling steadily downward to where it now sits at #164. There are literally tons and tons of variations: Giorgio, Georges, Jorge, Jurgen, Jeordie, Georgie, and Yuri are just the tip of the iceberg. There are also some lovely feminine forms including Georgiana, Georgia, and Georgina.

George is a straight-laced, traditional, and conservative name. But I can still see the appeal for Witchy-folk. It is a very meaningful option for any little boy born on or at the eve of April 23rd.

Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints, & Sages by Judika Illes

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Have you ever heard an unusual name in passing, only to see it written down years later and say, "Oh, is that what that name was?" Years ago I watched a documentary that featured a little girl who's name sounded like Palace. I thought, "Palace, huh? We use Castle and Temple, so why not?" Recently, I picked up a beautifully illustrated book of Greek myths and there was that name again, only it was Pallas.

Pallas (pronounced "PAH-las") is a multi-faceted Greek unisex name. It is worn by several characters in mythology. One of the most important ones was a Titan. He is associated with war, and was killed by Athena in a contest. Pallas was sometimes described as a giant or as "goat-like." It was also the name of two (mythical?) kings and Athena's teacher. As a boy's name, Pallas means "to brandish."

For girls, the story is different, although it is still very closely associated with Athena. I've seen the meaning listed as both "maiden" and "wisdom." When Athena was born, Zeus couldn't take care of her for whatever reason and dumped her on Triton, the messenger of the sea and son of Poseiden, who raised her. Triton had a daughter, Pallas. Pallas and Athena grew up together and loved each other like sisters. But, as with all best friends, there was a time when they had a falling out. Both girls were well versed in the art of war and decided to have a deul. Zeus chose this moment to intervene and protected Athena, but Athena accidentally killed Pallas. As part of grieving for the loss of her friend, Athena took Pallas's name. So sometimes she is refered to as Pallas Athena, or sometimes just Pallas. Pallas used to be an increadibly common a name for Athena, if you've read "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe you would notice that it mentions a bust of Pallas. I'm inclined to think that the "wisdom" tag has nothing to do with the etymological origins of the name and more to do with the association with the goddess.

There are quite a few real life Pallas's, but most wear the name as a surname. People very well versed in animals might know that Pallas is the name of several species of birds and mammals. They are named after German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas. Pallas was also the name of the wife of Herod the Great, the famous Roman client king of Judea who killed a whole bunch of people.

I'm actually shocked that there aren't more little Pallas's running around. It's a great alternative for people who love Paris but not the Hilton association or the overwhelming slant towards girls. It's also a sound alike for Dallas, another very popular name for both genders.

So Pallas is growing on me. I wouldn't mind having a child with this name.


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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Character for TigerLilly

TigerLilly wrote in with a request, saying that she was in a hurry. This might already be too late, but her request required some thought.

TigerLilly is writing a story and needs a name for a dreamy young girl that is a cross between Sybil (Trelawny, I'm assuming) and Luna Lovegood, but even more eccentric. This character has the gift of prophecy. She has trouble managing her emotions. She's an isolated girl, but she wants to have friends. She is also very noble. TigerLilly has considered Ilah, Sybil, Luna, Lilly, Nymphadora, Ruby, and Maya, but Nymphadora seemed "heavy" and the others didn't feel right.

I'm actually thinking of character names for a project as well, so I was into this right away. If I were to make up a character like this, looking at the criteria I was given, this is what I would consider:

Opal, or Opaline

Anyways, that's what I thought up. Perhaps other readers have other ideas to share. I hope this helps, TigerLilly!

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Blessed Beltane, everyone! To our friends in the southern hemisphere, Blessed Samhain! And if you live in Central or Northern Europe, Blessed Walpurgis Night!

Walpurga (pronounced "wahl-PUR-gah," I think) is a variant of Walburga, a German name meaning "rule of the fortress." This name is associated with a well known Saint Walpurga, who lived during the 700s. As it turns out, she is a quite important saint.

Saint Walpurga, also known as Saint Walburga, Valderburg, or Guibor, was actually a nun from England. She traveled to Germany with her brothers Saints Willibald and Winibald in order to become an assistant to Saint Boniface, her uncle. Clearly sainthood was a family tradition. Germany was still a very Pagan area, and the saintly family was trying to convert them. What's interesting about Walpurga is that she was very educated. She wrote her brother's biography in Latin. Literacy was a rare skill in general during the time, but it was especially unusual for a woman to read and write. It is believed that she is the first female author of both England and Germany. Oddly, she is the patron saint of rabies.

Walpurga's canonization was on...May 1st. As we all know, that date coincides with an earlier holiday. And that is why this saint is associated with the other, warmer Halloween. Walpurgis Night is on the eve of Beltane/May Day. It is traditionally celebrated in Germany and other Central European countries with bonfires, dancing, witch costumes, and all other sorts of Pagan festivities. I wonder if she's spinning in her grave.

Walpurga has never been a popular name in the United States. I don't think it will appeal to many Americans. But German names in general tend not to speak to me, so perhaps my opinion is biased. I'm still a bit shocked that some parents are considering Winifred again, for instance. Variations include Waldeburg, Valpuri, and Vappu. The last two might have a chance.

So if you want a really unusual, strong sounding name for a girl that is associated with the season, Walpurga might be for you.


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