Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Leo the Lion

Ancient Roman artifact, image from the Miho Museum website.

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
--George Bernard Shaw, playwright and Leo

Many modern Pagans prefer to pick names based on astrological signs. Yes, I know that I just finished doing a series of posts very similar to this on the old blog, but this time I'm not limiting myself to thirteen names. Llewellyn's Complete Book of Names by K. M. Sheard is an excellent resource for finding names to go with specific astrological signs, so if you want even more options than the ones I list here go find that book.

Today is the day that the sun sign enters Leo (generally it lasts from July 22nd to August 22nd, depending on the year). Leos are traditionally known for being caring and generous leaders. They have a lot of dignity and tend to like luxury, but they also know that they have to work hard. Leos tend to be a bit vain and love being the center of attention. Generally they're very sociable and love to help people.

Pack a sandwich, because this is one long list:

Lion names:

Leo
Leon
Leonie
Leonard
Leonardo
Leodora
Leonidas
Leonine
Lionel
Aslan
Ariel ("lion of God")
Simba

Fire names:

Phoenix
Draco ("dragon")
Seraphim ("burning ones")
Seraphina
Sirius ("the scorcher")
Firelily
Ember
Cinder
Aiden
Blaze
Oriel ("fire battle" or "fire strife")

Time names:

July
Julius
Jules
August
Augustus
Augusta
Summer

Sun names:

Sunny
Sunshine
Sunday
Apollo (Greek/Roman god)
Apollonia
Helios (Greek god)
Sol
Soleil
Ravi
Ravindra ("lord of the sun")
Haruki ("sunshine")
Harumi ("sunny beauty")
Anatole ("sunrise")
Sorin
Marisol
Samson
Loxias (Another name for Apollo)
Horus
Bast (Egyptian goddess)
Bastet
Phoebus (Another name for Apollo)
Phoebe
Sunniva ("sun gift")

Gold/Yellow names:

Oriana
Golden
Goldie
Golda
Jin
Chrysalis ("golden sheath")
Saffron
Blaine
Flavia
Pazia
Marigold
Xanthe ("fair hair")
Amber
Kohaku ("amber")
Electra ("amber")

Attribute names:

Verity ("true")
Zohara ("to shine")
True
Truly
Melchior ("king city")
Zerach ("glowing")
Rogue
Cleo ("fame, glory")
Mohan ("enchanting, bewitching")
Fidelius ("loyal")
Celeste ("heavenly")
Celestine
Celestino
Noble
Llewellyn ("leader")
Llewella
Caradoc ("love")
Merrick ("fame" and "power")
Eudora ("good gift")
Regulus ("little king")
Honor
Honora
Amadeus ("love of god")
Gloria ("glory")

Other ideas:

Onyx
Isadora
Isadore
Ganesh
Orlando
Romulus
Romilly
Lysander
Lysandra
Tobias
Lazarus
Donatella
Theodore
Peridot
Rhiannon
Anais
Ruby
Wendy
Oscar
Jasmine
Clarion
Betony
Cedar
Acorn
Clove
Mandrake
Copper
Mahogany
Bryony
Rue

Friday, July 4, 2014

Hail, Columbia!


To all my fellow Americans, Happy Independence Day! Hail Columbia!

But wait...who's Columbia!

The term "Columbia" (obviously a reference to Christopher Columbus) as a poetic term for the what would later become the United States had been used since 1738. But she wasn't personified until the Revolutionary War. Columbia as a quasi-mythical figure was imagined by the African American poet Phillis Wheatley. Ever since then, Columbia has been America's goddess-like figure. Sadly this female personification of America has fallen out of favor with conventional society, but many modern Pagan American have adopted her as the patron goddess of America and religious freedom.

Celestial choir! enthron’d in realms of light,
Columbia’s scenes of glorious toils I write.
While freedom’s cause her anxious breast alarms,
She flashes dreadful in refulgent arms.
See mother earth her offspring’s fate bemoan,
And nations gaze at scenes before unknown!
See the bright beams of heaven’s revolving light
Involved in sorrows and veil of night!
 
The goddess comes, she moves divinely fair,
Olive and laurel bind her golden hair:
Wherever shines this native of the skies,
Unnumber’d charms and recent graces rise.
 
--from "To His Excellency, General Washington" by Phillis Wheatley

I hope you all enjoy a wonderful 4th of July. Here are some American names to celebrate the holiday! I'm off to find some fireworks...

Columbia

Columbus

July

Julian

Jules

Freedom

Liberty

America

Americus

Eagle

State names that could be used (and have been used) for people:

Nevada

Washington

Oregon

Florida

Montana

Dakoda

Vermont

(New) York

Carolina

Georgia

Missouri

Colorado

Iowa

Virginia

Alaska

Alabama

California

Delaware

Indiana

Louisiana

Tennessee

Rhode (Island)

Sprout


My love of names has always been intertwined with my love of reading. So it would make sense to put some book reviews here, particularly if they're interesting in a name-y way.
 

The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Korean author Sun-Mi Hwang might be the most perfect book ever written. I'm serious. I'm aware that it's a cutesy animal story that barely makes it to 130 pages, but trust me. This book is the best I have ever read.

Let's get to the general premise: Sprout is a egg-laying hen living an unhappy, monotonous life who longs to leave the coop and raise a chick on her own. When she starves herself and refuses to lay eggs for her human captors, they take her out of the coop and leave her to die. She tries to make friends with the animals of the barn, but they reject her. Her only friend is Straggler, a wild duck who can no longer fly.

Time passes. Sprout's dream comes true when she finds an unattended egg in a briar. Straggler dies while protecting her and the egg for reasons she does not understand at the time. When the baby hatches she goes to the barn in hopes of raising her chick there. Instead it comes out that her "chick" is actually a duckling (he's Straggler's baby) and all of the farm animals regard Sprout and her adopted son as disgraceful and unnatural. But Sprout refuses to give up on her dream of being a mother, and she is well aware that this may be her only chance. So she leaves the barn with her baby, who is eventually named Greentop, and takes her chances in the unforgiving wilderness.

It is a very simple story, but the underlying themes are so deep. Sprout encounters so many difficulties and perseveres to become a strong heroine. And yet, she's only a humble chicken. Seriously, I cannot overemphasize how impressed I was by this book.

There are not many names in this book. The outcasts are the only ones with names (I just noticed that!). The passages in which Sprout talks about her name and why she picked it for herself are wonderful:

"Sprout was the best name in the world. A sprout grew into a leaf and embraced the wind and the sun before falling and rotting and turning into mulch for bringing fragrant flowers into bloom. Sprout wanted to do something with her life, just like the sprouts on the acacia tree. That was why she'd named herself after them."

But how would Sprout work on a person?

John Sprout

Sprout Augustine

Edmund Sprout

Sprout Heather

Penelope Sprout  (I almost wrote Pomona, but then I realized...)

The name does remind me of Scout, so perhaps that's why it doesn't sound totally off to me. I like it as a meaningful middle, it has a ring of hope to it. Sprout could work in the first spot, but only for the most daring of people.

This book is an incredibly popular modern classic in South Korea, with an animated film adaptation and dramatic adaptations. The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly should be a classic in America too. There's no reason why it shouldn't be.