Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Midsummer Dream

"The Quarrel of Titania and Oberon" by Sir Joseph Noel Paton

Blessed Litha, everyone! Although I do prefer the term Midsummer for this holiday, probably because of the Shakespeare play. It's just more poetic.

Litha marks the day of the Summer Solstice. Many cultures in Ancient Europe had a solstice celebration, but they were particularly important in northern countries like Sweden, Norway, and Latvia. It's still celebrated with great enthusiasm in that region (most likely under the name of St. John's Day). Wiccans believe that during this day the Horned God, as represented by the sun, is at the height of his power.

There is no one god or goddess that is especially important on this day. But you might remember the Holly King/Oak King mythology of the Winter Solstice, which says that the old Holly King is slain by the youthful Oak King. Well on the Summer Solstice, the opposite happens. The kings do battle again and this time the Holly King wins. This day is also a good time to honor any kind of sun god, obviously.

In many ways, Midsummer celebrations look quite similar to Beltane. You still make and wear flower crowns, build a bonfire, and dance around a maypole. But there are a few differences:

  • A good way to celebrate the power of the sun and take advantage of all the daytime hours is by spending lots of time outside. This holiday coincides with Renaissance Fair season, which is like catnip to Modern Pagans. If you live in an area that has them, try to find some fireflies at night.
  • Another way to celebrate the solstice is by inviting friends for an cookout. Common foods for this holiday include watermelon, strawberries, peaches, lemons, oranges, pineapple, broccoli, leafy greens, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, grilled meats, smoked fish, milk, cheese, pastries, and ice cream.
  • This holiday is very much associated with faerie folk, probably more than any other Wiccan holiday. It's very common to dress up as a fairy, make fairy houses, and perform rituals based on A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • Sun related crafts are popular this time of year. You could make sun wheels with colored yarn, ribbons, or paper. They're good for decorating an altar.
  • In some countries they release floating lanterns on the night of the Summer Solstice. Yes, like the ones from Tangled.
  • Midsummer is a good time to make spells relating to fertility, marriage, protection, communication with the faerie realm, and manifesting goals.

Enough talk, onto the names!

Mythical beings associated with the season:

Oak King (Celtic)

Holly King (Celtic)

Greenman (English folkloric)

Juno (Roman)

Lugh (Celtic)

Aphrodite (Greek)

Venus (Roman)

Apollo (Greek/Roman)

Freya (Norse)

Ra (Egyptian)

Bastet/Bast (Egyptian)

Horus (Egyptian)

Sunna/Sol (Norse)

Helios (Greek)

Hyperion (Greek)

Kali (Hindu)

Pele (Hawaiian)

Vesta (Roman)

Amaterasu (Japanese)

Other ideas:

Midsummer

Lithe

Solstice

Soleil

Sunny

Somerled

Sunrise

Sunshine

Sunday

Suvi

Anatole ("sunrise")

Marisol

Ravi

Faye

Mab

Oberon

Titania

Lysander

Lysandra

Demetrius

Hermia

Theseus

Hippolyta

Puck

Robin

Wren

Emerald

Jade

John

Dandelion

Heliodore ("gift of the sun")

Heliodora

Avery

Alfred ("elf council")

Aubrey ("elf ruler")

Auberon

Elvin ("elf friend")

Siofra ("elf, sprite")

Parisa ("fairy")

Momo ("peach")

Thyme

Rose

Gardenia

Draco

Revel

Revelry

Golden

Phoenix

Pazia ("golden")

Eve

Wisteria

Firefly

Dragonfly

Natsumi ("sunny beauty")

Clemency

Fallow

Lux ("light")

Haru ("sun, sunlight")

Samson ("sun")

Super fun combo time:

John Demetrius

Hermia Sunrise

Faye Firefly

Anatole Phoenix

Natsumi Lux

Samson Lysander

Cancer the Compassionate

"Crab Canon" by M.C. Escher
 
"...Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that's where you renew your springs that never dry up."
--Pearl S. Buck, novelist and Cancer

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 of Cancer begins. This sign lasts from June 21 to July 22, depending on the year. Cancers have one of the more compassionate and mothering signs in the zodiac, but that doesn't mean that they're are pushovers. Like their symbol, the crab, Cancers have a strong survival instinct and are very protective of themselves and those they love. Cancers like security and alone time. They are private, sensitive people who only open up to trusted friends. They can also be sentimental about objects with a history attached to them. One negative character trait of Cancers is that they don't handle conflict very well. When their feelings are hurt (which will happen often as Cancers are very sensitive) they tend to react by withdrawing. They also have a reputation for being moody. But if you manage to stay on their good sides, Cancers are caring and dependable friends.

Cancer might be the hardest zodiac sign to make a list for because there really aren't any "crab" names in existence. Fortunately, Cancer is ruled by the moon, and there are a lot of "moon" names:

Moon Names:

Luna
Amaluna
Altaluna
Artemis
Diana
Chandra
Selene
Koray
Esmeray
Cresent
Monday
Moonbeam
Moonlight
Moonrise
Moonlily
Moonstone

Water Names:

River
India
Indio
Ocean
Oceanus
Rain
Pearl
Delphine
Delfino
Cascade
Rumi
Otter
Mortimer
Undine
Riverlily
Margaret ("pearl")
Coral
Coraline
Coralie
Tallulah
Lotus
Haven
Havelock
Rosmerta

Time Names:

June
Juno
July
Julius
Jules
Summer
Somerled
Solstice

Yellow, Orange, Purple, and Silver Names:

Xanthe ("blond, yellow")
Xanthus
Saffron
Amber
Electra ("amber")
Orange
Marigold
Lavender
Violet
Viola
Silver
Argent ("silver")
Grey
Grayson
Arianrhod ("silver wheel")

Attribute Names:

Temperance
Clemency
Clement
Prudence
Ophelia ("help")
Edmund ("wealth protection")
Liv ("protection")
Amparo ("protection, shelter")
Faramond ("journey protection")
William ("will protection")
Sigmund ("victory protection")
Rosamund ("horse protection")
Chester ("fortified place")
Alma ("nourishing" or "soul")
Admetus ("untamed")
Frida ("peace")
Remedy
Remedios
Wilder
Wilde

Other ideas:

Opal
Henry
Leveret
Ceres
Ballad
Madrigal
Graham
Esmeralda
Reuben
Cloud
Sylvan
Lorelei
Dove
Notus
Paloma
Anais
Lupine
Genevieve
Magdalene
Franco
Reverie
Billie
Liam
Porter

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Name Magpie: One Thing After Another

You might have noticed that this blog has been more quiet than usual. I am working hard at finding a job overseas, and that means lots of paperwork and a lot of research. That has been my priority for the past few months. Where am I going, you ask? You'll see. In the meantime, I am still occasionally poking around the blogosphere for new names.

Most of my discoveries have been from the Dictionary of Medieval Names. It's a relatively new website and I encourage you to look through it. I was surprised to find that Indigo, Bono, and Paxe were used during that time. Some new (for me) monikers that stood out to me are:

Cherubina ("cherub, angel")
Unica ("unique, sole")
Sapience ("wisdom")
Tedesco/Tedesca ("of the people, popular")
Fabrissa ("craftswoman, female artisan")
Consolat ("consoled, comforted")
Solomona (feminine form of Solomon)
Bellavita ("beautiful life")
Transmundus ("on the other side of the world")
Omnebon ("all good" or "every good")
Zoete ("sweet")
Bonamice ("good friend")
Guardia ("guard")
Recuperate
Basile (feminine form of Basil)
Calomaria ("beautiful Mary")
Olivera (feminine form of Oliver)
Savage
Ursilda
Thorkill ("thunder kettle")

Now for some others:

Theory. Found this one when First and Middle Baby Names answered a reader question. The commenter was actually thinking about Thyri, but Theory is an interesting idea too.

Ojas. If you had asked me what language this name comes from I would not have guessed that it was Sanskrit, but there it is. It means either "vigor" or "appearance."

Poema. Spanish for "poem." I might have just made this up, but it's wonderful isn't it?

Kaguya. I recently saw The Tale of Princess Kaguya. I'm working on a post about Studio Ghibli movies, so I'll talk more about it there. But I believe the heroine's name means "bamboo."