Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Elemental Name Game

Do you love baby name games as much as I do? Of course you do! That's why you're here, on a name enthusiast blog! I especially love name games in which you have to build a sibling set using specific parameters. So I decided to come up with one of my own.

This is the Elemental Name Game. Here are the steps:

1) Go to this website. Make sure it's set to one eight-sided dice with one roll. Or if you happen to own one eight-sided dice you can just use that.

2) Roll the dice to determine the number of additions to your family.

To make this easier to follow I'll play along: I rolled a 5. I get five additions to my family.

3) The next roll determines who you add to your family. Each number of the dice represents a different outcome.

1: A boy.
2: A girl.
3: Boy/boy twins.
4: Girl/girl twins.
5: Boy/girl twins.
6: Triplets of any gender.
7: A cat.
8: A dog.

So even though I rolled a 5, I might still get more children than that if I wind up getting twins multiple times.

Okay, so I rolled a 7. So I have a new kitty.

4) This is the part where names and elements come in. Each number of the dice represents an element that the name you pick must be inspired by.

1: Water
2: Fire
3: Earth
4: Air
5: Spirit
6: Metal
7: Wood
8: Void

These might need some explanation.

So coming up with water, fire, earth, and air names should be pretty easy for most people. The spirit element (considered the most important element in Wiccan tradition, and is also found in Hinduism and Buddhism) is more open to interpretation. Because I'm a Wiccan, I associate the spirit with especially "witchy" names, or names that have to do with life, death and rebirth. A Christian person might associate this element with biblical names or names that have to do with light and purity.

Metal and wood are both classical elements from Chinese philosophy. These are self explanatory. I tend to include minerals and gemstones with the metal because there are only so many metal names I can come up with. The wood element would inspire names of trees, or names that mean "tree."

The void is another complicated one. Most of the time it's linked with the spirit element, but for our purposes we're splitting them up. The biggest void I know would be Outer Space, so I tend to pick celestial names for this one.

Continuing on with my personal game, I rolled a 5. So my new kitty must have a name that has something to do with the spirit element. I'm going to go with Ghost. A cool name that I would never give a human child, but works great for a furry baby.

5) And you just repeat the process with the number of family additions you got in the beginning. So Ghost was the first of five additions that I'm allowed. I have four more.

For my second roll I got a 7 again. Apparently my first cat was lonely. I roll again and get a 1. My cat must have a name inspired by water. Hmm. Let's go with Otter. So my cats are Ghost and Otter.

So am I doomed to be the crazy cat lady? That would be funny if I got cats over and over again. But my third roll is a 6. Triplets. So what element do I have to use as inspiration for their names? I roll again and get a 4: air. I'm going to go with Zephyr Paloma, Vox Mohan, and Kestrel Augustus. Zephyr is a minor Greek god of the west wind, Vox is Latin for "voice," and Kestrel is a type of hawk. I decided not to stick with the air theme for the middle names and just picked ones that I like. You can try to stick with the element for both names if you want.

My fourth roll is 2, so after my triplets I have a baby girl. My next roll is a 7, so her name has to be a wood name. I'm going to go with Maple Calliope.

For my fifth and final roll I get a 1. A baby boy. I roll again and get a 5. So I need a spirit name again. So what will go with his siblings Zephyr, Vox, Kestrel, and Maple? I think I'll choose Jove Delphinio. Jove is another name for the Roman god Jupiter.

So that's my elemental family. My daughters Zephyr and Maple; my sons Vox, Kestrel, and Jove; and my two cats Ghost and Otter.

Now you can try the Elemental Name Game. You can post your results in the comments or on facebook. Hopefully it will be fun, and let me know if you would like some more name games!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Libra the Balancer

"Libra" by Mikalojus Ciurlionis

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."
--F. Scott Fitzgerald, novelist and Libra

Many modern Pagans prefer to pick names based on astrological signs. Yes, I know 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, the sun enters Libra (roughly September 22 to October 22). Libra's symbol is the scale. Traditionally scales are a symbol of justice, laws, and civilization. This gives some insight into the character of Libras. Libras are generally thought to be very sociable and peace-loving. They can be very idealistic and romantic. This is an air sign, so they are very good at communication. Libras strive for balance and will try to be everything to everyone. Unfortunately, this is how Libras can get a reputation for lying. They feel justified in not telling the truth so long as it doesn't rock the boat. Some people can be annoyed by their lack of directness and apparent unwillingness to stand for any one side.

Okay, this one is a little difficult in terms of rounding up names, but I'll do my best.

Balance/Harmony names:

Harmony
Atalanta ("equal in weight")
Concordia ("harmony")
Concord
Unity

Air names:

Bird
Birdie
Anemone
Zephyr
Sirocco
Breeze
Aria
Whisper
Vayu
Keanu ("cool breeze")
Boreas
Kite
Feather
Gossamer
Kestrel
Lark
Halcyon
Quill
Vox ("voice")

Time names:

September
Septima
Septimus
October
Octave
Octavia
Octavian

Green, Pink, and Purple names:

Lavender
Emerald
Esmeralda
Olive
Jade
Rose
Rosaline
Coralie
Forrest
Llinos ("green finch")
Pembe ("pink")
Violet
Midori ("green")
Plum
Lilac
Garden
Viridian ("green")

Attribute names:

Evander ("good man")
Placido ("placid")
Placida
Pax ("peace")
Paz
Salem ("peace")
Salome
Eloquence
Serenity
Serena
Stellan ("calm")
Pia ("pious")
Clemency ("mercy")
Clementine
Clement
Silence
Miran ("peace" or "world")
Frida ("peace")
Dragomir ("precious and peaceful")
Shanti ("quiet," "peace," "tranquility")
Belle ("beauty")
Aoife ("beauty")
Eulalie ("well spoken")
Shiloh ("tranquil")
Zola ("quiet," "tranquil")

Other ideas:

Opal
Caraway
Symphony
Clover
Sabin
Sabine
Lazarus
Isadora
Isadore
Isidro
Sonnet
Alma
Gita
Copper
Noah
Avalon
Tallulah
Echo
Pandora
Carmel
Rhiannon
Vashti
Absalom
Olivia
Columbus
Columbia
Myrtle
Urban
Rainer
Geoffrey

Harvest of Fruit

"The Autumn" by Alphonse Mucha

Blessed Mabon!

Mabon is the only Wiccan holiday that is not based on an ancient equivalent. That being said, the Autumnal Equinox is an official holiday in a number of countries (in China the Autumnal Equinox is the moon's birthday, for example). Mabon is the second of three harvest holidays. While Lughnasadh focused mostly on grains, Mabon focuses mostly on the harvest of fruits.

This holiday is named after the mythical Welsh hero Mabon. He is also a character in Arthurian legend and is most likely based off of an ancient deity but we have no solid proof of that. This idea of using his name for this holiday was coined by Aiden Kelly sometime around 1970. But a different deity is becoming an increasingly more popular Mabon mascot: Persephone. As you might recall, her most famous myth ends with her having to split her time between her husband (Hades/Pluto) and her mother (Demeter/Ceres). It would make sense that the equinox would be the day she has to go back to the Underworld. For many modern Pagans, Persephone is a symbol of balance between darkness and light. This makes her a very apt choice for the autumnal equinox since day and night are the same length.

Since there is no ancient Mabon holiday to gain inspiration from, how do modern Pagans celebrate?
  • Mabon is sometimes referred to as "the Wiccan's Thanksgiving," and for a good reason. Mabon is all about the feast. Traditional foods include breads, berries, nuts, apples, grapes, pomegranates, goose, mutton, acorns, pork, potatoes, carrots, squash, and pumpkin.
  • A Mabon feast also involves the making and/or drinking of alcohol, traditionally wine and ale. If you're not fond of alcohol, celebrate with apple cider.
  • But "the Wiccan's Thanksgiving" is also called that because we use this holiday to count our blessings. This is a good time to perform rituals to honor the things that we're grateful for.
  • Because this is the first day of autumn, many modern Pagans enjoy making decorations from fallen leaves, acorns, pinecones, and feathers. Altars made during this time of the year usually involve the Cornucopia, or the Horn of Plenty.
  • A common practice is leaving apples on gravesites to honor the dead. Personally I feel like that sort of thing is more appropriate for Samhain, but it seems like I'm a little bit outnumbered. Visiting the graves of ancestors on the Autumnal Equinox is also a tradition in Japan.

Here are some inspiring fall names:

Mythical beings associated with the season:

Mabon

Persephone (Greek/Roman)

Modron (Welsh)

Dionysus (Roman. Dion could be a good shortened form.)

Thor (Norse)

Morgan (Welsh/Cornish)

Hermes (Greek)

Hotei (Japanese)

Pomona (Roman)

Epona (Gallo-Roman. Also consider its literary variant Eponine.)

Musidora/Musidore (Greek. For all the muses.)

Demeter (Greek)

Ceres (Roman)

Thoth (Egyptian)

The Green Man (English folkloric. Perhaps Greenman would work better?)

Other suggestions:

September

Septima

Septimus

Autumn

Autumnus

Harvest

Acorn

Vineyard

Grapevine

Rue

Hazel

Apple

Pomeline ("fruit")

Maple

Garland

Sage

Brandy

Russet

Peridot

Garnet

Sienna

Vinicio ("wine")

Calix ("wine cup")

Michael (Michaelmas is a harvest holiday celebrated by some Christians in honor of St. Michael.)

Amethyst

Marigold

Violet

Indigo

Blackbird

Clove

Kestrel

Thistle

Cedar

Peregrine

Hawk

Wolf

Wolfgang

Topaz

Fun combo time:

Hazel Eponine

Mabon Vinicio

Michael Wolfgang

Violet Blackbird

Kestrel Pomeline