Thursday, May 21, 2015

Gemini the Twins

 
"Pink Twin, Purple Twin" by Walasse Ting

"I do not know whether we can be saved through the intellect, but I do know that I can be saved by nothing else."
--Dorothy Sayers, writer and Gemini

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 sign enters Gemini. Gemini lasts through May 21 to June 20 and it's symbol is the heavenly twins Pollux and Castor.  This is fitting because it sometimes seems as if Geminis have two different personalities. They are highly adaptable and can fit themselves into almost any social group or situation. They like to keep busy and are generally pleasant people. Gemini is an air sign, so intellect and communication is important to them. People with this sign are very curious and love to learn, but they're not great at specialized information because of their short attention span. Geminis usually have many friends and social contacts but, at the same time, it can be hard to connect with them on an intimate level. Because they change themselves to fit any situation, it can be difficult to know what a Gemini is really thinking or feeling. They're easily swayed to the opinions of others. They cannot always be trusted to keep secrets or maintain loyalty. Also, people with this sign don't always care about the deeper issues in life, preferring to keep everything light and fluffy. Whether you love them or hate them, Geminis are never boring.

Twin/sibling/friend names:

Pollux
Castor
Thomas
Tavish
Tamsin
Amy
Bellamy
Bonamy
Adelphi
Adelphie
Amity
Beningo
Darwin
Tomoko
Ruth

Air names:

Aria
Anemone
Bird
Birdie
Kestrel
Zephyr
Caraway
Breeze
Sirocco
Paloma
Lark
Vox
Feather
Boreas
Notus
Whisper

Time names:

May
Maya
June
Juno
Spring
Primavera
Summer
Somerled
Suvi
Trinity (It's the third sign)

Orange names:

Orange
Mandarin (a type of orange)
Valencia (see above)
Cam
Saffron
Marigold
Clementine
Sienna
Cinnabar
Ginger
Tigerlily
Amber

Attribute names:

Grace
Charm
Blythe ("cheerful")
Fantin ("charming, seducing")
Mohandas ("charming, enchanting")
Mohan
Sophia ("wise")
Cato ("wise")
Sage
Keen
Revel
Revelry
Lively
Merry
Kavi ("wise man, sage, poet")
Allegra ("happy, cheerful")
Sunny
Erato ("lovely")
Rei ("lovely")
Mercy
Rama ("pleasing")
Gioconda ("pleasant, delightful, happy")
Niomi ("pleasantness")
Pleasance
Cosmo ("order, decency")
Cosima
Cosimo
Cosmina
Isaac ("he laughs")
Wilder
Wilde

Other ideas:

Clover
Griffin
Minerva
Pearl
Nestor
Margaret
Margot
Rhett
Hazel
Conrad
Alfred
Daisy
Lotus
Dexter
Orchid
Jasmine
Eve
Rainer
Myrtle
Linnea
Green
Tallulah
Arcadia
Raphael
Gypsy
Mabon
Romulus
Romilly

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Festival of Fire

"Maibaum" by Kristi Malakoff

Hope you're having a blessed and happy Beltane!

Beltane, also known as May Day, is based on an old Celtic holiday. This celebration was mentioned numerous times in Irish mythology and early Irish literature. Some people see this day as the beginning of summer, others as the height of spring. As late as the 1800s, people in Ireland and Scotland would take their cattle and walk around, or jump over, a bonfire as a way to herald the coming summer on this day. At it's core, Beltane is a day that honors life. This is the time of year in which the earth's energy is at it's most fertile.

In Wicca, Beltane is the time of year in which the Horned God and the Great Goddess have their sacred wedding. And with the wedding comes the wedding night. Therefore, this holiday has a huge emphasis on (hetero)sexuality. It's what makes Beltane so great, but it's also what makes Beltane so potentially alienating. What if you want to celebrate with children? What if you're gay? What if you're not dating? Some people can feel completely left out during this holiday. However, there is actually a whole breadth of fun activities that you can use to celebrate Beltane.
  • Like most modern Pagan holidays, Beltane is celebrated with a feast. Traditional foods for Beltane include oatmeal, strawberries, dairy, mushrooms, oysters, honey, red wine, fruit punch, herbal greens, venison, mead, and any food traditionally believed to be an aphrodisiac. Sometimes food and drink are offered to the faeries.
  • One very well recognized tradition is the Maypole. The pole has a ring of flowers on the top and colored ribbons streaming down. In the Maypole dance, everyone grabs onto the end of a ribbon and then they dance in a circle, weaving in and out of each other so that the ribbons will braid around the pole. In the modern Pagan world this tradition has sexual symbolism, but you don't have to tell the little kids that.
  • Flowers are a big part of Beltane. Making and wearing flower crowns is a fun activity. There is also the tradition of leaving flowers on neighbors doors. The May Bush is an old Irish custom that involves decorating a small tree with flowers and ribbon, which may or may not come from an ancient tree rite. Altar decorations can be simple flower arrangements.
  • Beltane means "bright fire," so obviously there has to be a bonfire. The flames, smoke, and ashes of a Beltane bonfire are believed to be especially magical. Modern Pagans still jump over the bonfire as a way to purify themselves and increase fertility (use caution when doing this).
  • If you are fortunate enough to attend a Beltane festival you'll see many other activities including morris dancing, sword dancing, music, archery competitions, and hobby-horse riding.
  • A large part of this holiday is the Great Rite, or going "A-Maying." The Great Rite is a sacred Pagan ritual in which a man and a woman choose to, or are selected to, perform sex magic in the guise of the Horned God and the Great Goddess. This may or may not be performed outside. This may or may not be performed in front of an audience of other Pagans. They are sometimes referred as the May King and Queen. A-Maying is less formal but basically has the same idea: a couple spends the night in the woods together and comes back home with hawthorn branches (hawthorn is very sacred to this holiday). This day can be seen as a sort of Pagan Valentine's Day that honors romantic love.
  • But many Pagans use this day to honor any type of love and any type of passion, not just physical love and passion. They celebrate mother-child and friend relationships and encourage new hobbies and goals.
  • There is some debate over whether or not this is an appropriate time to get married. Some modern Pagans say that a wedding during the month of May is inauspicious because only a fool would upstage the God and Goddess. But just take a look through Offbeat Bride and you'll see that Beltane weddings are rather popular.
  • I feel like I can't talk about this holiday without mentioning the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Judging from the photographs of the event, it's absolutely stunning. They have also started festivals for Imbolc, Lughnasadh, and Samhain, but their Beltane festival remains the biggest. If you're a Pagan who loves to travel and this isn't on your bucket list, then what are you doing with your life?
Enough talk, onto the names:

Mythical beings associated with the season:

Artemis (Greek)

Diana (Roman)

Bacchus (Greek)

Dionysus (Roman)

Cernunnos (Celtic)

Flora (Roman)

Hera (Greek)

Juno (Roman)

Kokopelli (Hopi)

Pan (Greek)

Priapus (Roman)

Greenman (English folkloric)

Maia (Greek)

Aphrodite (Greek)

Venus (Roman)

Freya (Norse)

Balor (Irish)

Other ideas:

Beltane

May

Primavera ("spring")

Mayday

Ember

Phoenix

Hawthorn

Maythorn

Quickthorn

Whitethorn

Birch

Rowan

Lilac

Walburga

Jack (as in Jack-of-the-Green)

Robin (as in Robin Hood)

Primrose

Primeveire ("primrose")

Morris

Vivian ("alive")

Vivienne

Rose

Fiammetta ("little fire")

Spark

Hazel

Bright

Finn ("white")

Galatea ("milky white")

Myrtle

Aiden ("fire")

Cinder

Garland

Roux ("red")

Silver

Crimson

Queen

Regina ("queen")

Reign

Basil ("king")

Rex ("king")

Faye

Parisa ("like a fairy")

Siofra ("elf, sprite")

Alfred ("elf counsel")

Orchid

Euphoria

Joy

Soleil

Sol

Nymphia

Nymphadora

Wilder

Wilde

Fun combo-time:

Jack Maythorn

Rex Wilder

Faye Primavera

Hazel Reign

Artemis Wilde

Finn Silver

Juno Vivienne