In a moment of boredom, or out of fun or recklessness, have you ever tried one of the internet quizzes, the funny kind that will, allegedly, work out what occupation you would have had two or three hundred years ago, or what colour you would be, if you were a colour etc?
Apparently, one quiz said – and it was only for ‘fun’ – that I would have been an undertaker or mortician several hundreds of years ago; and another said I was the colour of peridot. I quite like that colour.
With a few friends over last evening – and did you know yesterday in London was the hottest September day since 1911, at a sweltering 34c – and with the evening be a very warm 20c, these friends and I discussed names.
‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’ From Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare
This got me, and those friends thinking about names and the meaning of names.
Names from history.
Names in sacred text.
And, yes, and even names used when we visit Starbucks; but more about that, later
Names? I like history, and one King that I find most endearing is King Canute (AD 995 – 12 November 1035) , a Dane. He was King of Denmark, and England and Norway. Many might know from their school history lessons, that King Canute is often depicted as sitting on a throne, on the beach, commanding the tide to go back, and getting drenched in the process – see right. A ludicrous thing to do, but not arrogance on his part. Infact, quite the opposite. He was so annoyed with his courtiers believing that, as King, he could do anything (the King being so close to God, it was thought), that he purposely went out to so something ludicrous, to show that he was, like them, human! His antics of deliberately commanding the sea to retreat, knowing that it wouldn’t, were borne out of humility. But, his name? Canute? Oh, yes. It means ‘knot’! Great man!
Names? In sacred text, there’s the story of dear old Sarai. And she was old. I’m not being insensitive, it was a fact. Forever wanting children, she was at such an advanced age that that seemed no longer possible. She was bitter. In an age when it seems many peoples names summed up their character or temperament, her name Sarai meant ‘quarrelsome’. However, God granted her prayer, and she did become pregnant (and eventually that led to the formation of the Edomites, allegedly), and her name was changed to Sarah, which means ‘princess’. I like that. Great woman.
‘Names have power.’ Rick Riordan
Names? For some time Starbucks have encouraged customers to declare their first names when ordering and paying for coffee, so that the name can be written on the cup; and that name can later be called at the other end of the counter, when the coffee is ready.
I like that idea. With a name like Tadhg, though, I have to smile when they call my name. I’ve been called Todd, Tadd, Todge, and even Tigger!
With that in mind, if I go into Starbucks now with friends whose name maybe, say, Mike, or Tom, or Alison, I encourage them to adopt a Celtic name there and then, and I usually make (impromptu) suggestions…..just for fun. And, then, I wait to see what the barista writes on the cup, and another barista a few minutes later try to pronounce the name as they call out for the customer to claim their brew.
‘I’m not my name. My name is something I wear, like a shirt. It gets worn. I outgrow it, I change it.’ Jerry Spinelli
And, so, for fun: on one visit to the Starbucks, recently, Mike became…Coillcumhann (which means a small forest) and is pronounced (approximately) ‘koy-l-kahhaen’. Tom became NewyddIlyn (which means dwells near the pool) and is pronounced ‘ newwy-dill-lee-on’. And, Alison became Dearbhail (which means a daughter of Fal (and that’s the ancient name of Ireland)), and is pronounced ‘dare-villa’, approximately. Oh, it was great fun at Starbucks on that occasion as names were mispronounced by the barista.
But, what about your name?
The three friends who visited yesterday, quite liked their ‘acquired for Starbucks usage’ Celtic names, and/or for use them in my company, and at other times, too.
But, what about your name, is it a Celtic name.
Would you like a Celtic name?
Would you like a Celtic name? Even if it’s only kept to yourself, or maybe between you and a few others, or maybe you can use it as a nickname, or as a special or a spiritual name?
It occurred to me as I write this, this morning, that it would be interesting to find out what Celtic name best suits you. And, I think that’s much more interesting that finding out, for fun, what your medieval occupation might have been, or what colour you are, if you were a colour.
‘Everybody should customize their names.’ Charles Baxter, The Feast of Love
So, here’s an offer!
The ancient Celts and Druids had distinctive names and such names are still given in Celtic countries. For those that have a laboured onto the end of this article – and I do thank you for that – I’d encourage you to email me (at: firstname.lastname@example.org) to get your free, Celtic name, if you haven’t got one and would like one. Emails only, please.
Do list a few attributes (or whatever ‘sums you up’ or a do you have a nickname that friends call you, or do mention if your have, say, distinctive eye or hair colouring, a tattoo or the like, or maybe you have an interesting hobby etc – but nothing too personal, please), for me to work with.
Then, over a few days I’ll do a little research, email you back, and give you your Celtic name at no cost whatsoever (and, hopefully give you a few Celtic names to choose from). You can then use it, or just bear it in mind, use it as a middle name, a nickname, perhaps, see it as a bit of fun, or use it as a special name or spiritual name, alongside your legal name.