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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in naming

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Dog Named Yahweh

Back in the 80s, a friend was thinking about getting a new dog. She planned to name him Yahweh.

People, of course, name their pets for gods all the time. (Whether or not this is a good idea lies outside the parameters of this post.) Still, naming your dog Yahweh seems a little...well, let me at least say that I wouldn't do it. Do you really want to use someone that you love to even a score?

For this was the Reagan Era, and the Age of the Culture Wars. The danger of a full-blown theocracy in the US seemed like a very real possibility at the time. (The Kreesh-chun Reich certainly seemed to think so.) So you did what you could to strike a blow—even a symbolic one—against the theocrats and their triumphalist ways.

One can, of course, readily appreciate the idea's humorous potential.

"Yahweh bit me!"

“Bad Yahweh! Bad boy!”

“Yahweh really stinks; I'm afraid he needs another bath.”

“Oh no, Yahweh peed on the carpet again.”

Still, when it comes to Yahwehs, one has to admit that one—even one that only exists in people's heads—is bad enough.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I think of Romero's Dawn of the Dead, with the shopping mall zombies, the zombie Hare Krishna and the zombie nun among them. Satir
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember the 80's too well. Ronald Reagan Antichrist, Nancy Reagan the Scarlet Woman, Milton Freedman the False Prophet. I had
Why the Term 'Wiccaning' Doesn't Work, and What to Replace It With

I always cringe when I hear the term “wiccaning.”

Moral of the story: Let the borrower beware.

...
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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Wiccaning makes me think of weaving a wicker basket. Naming sounds right.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Not to Rename a Lake

“Then turn right when you get to....”

The clerk pauses in her direction-giving. A year ago, she would have said “...when you get to Lake Calhoun.” But last summer the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) decided to change the official name of Minneapolis' largest lake back to its original name.

“...Bde Maka Ska,” I say. She nods, gratefully, and continues with her directions.

Really, you can't blame her not being able to remember the “new” name. She doesn't speak Dakota. Most people don't.

I applaud the DNR's decision to shed the imposed triumphalist name, and to call the Lake formerly known as Calhoun what those who originally dwelt on its shores called it.

But I think that they've gone about it wrong.

It's a little much to expect most English speakers to wrap their tongues around a word that begins with bd-. (When's the last time that you used the word bdellium in a sentence?) To most non-Dakota speakers, Bde Maká Ska reads as gibberish: hard to pronounce, hard to remember.

So they end up calling the lake “Calhoun” anyway, which rather defeats the purpose of the change.

Here's what I think that the DNR should have done. The Dakota-speakers who lived on the southern shores of the lake named it Bde Maká Ska, “White Earth Lake,” for the deposits of white clay found on its banks.

White Earth Lake”: that's the new/old name that the DNR should have chosen.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Greetings fellow Twin Citizen, and thanks: blessed are they that do their research. Luck to the work of language preservation: the
  • Mary Lanham
    Mary Lanham says #
    Fellow Twin Cities pagan here! My initial reaction to the name change was also that the English translation would have been more e
A Few Friendly Tips on Choosing a Coven Name

Take your time. In the initial exhilaration of coming together, it's altogether tempting to want to name your new coven right away.

My recommendation is, don't. This is really far too important a decision to rush into.

Names are Wyrd-ful things. A coven name is aspirational, yes: but though it shapes what the coven will eventually become, it also needs to reflect what the coven already is. And sometimes that can take a while to "firm up."

So go slowly, and hold out for quality.

Avoid the humorous. Really, will the joke still seem funny 25 years down the road, after the ten thousandth repetition?

Probably not.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Grand Sabbat: Naming

The Horned One holds the baby in his arms.

He sits on the altar, cross-legged, shining in the firelight, each tine of his branching antlers tipped with its own delicate bud of flame. He holds the child to his chest, as if suckling him. Not everyone is privileged to drink from the breast of the witches' god. It is a promise, the ancient gesture of adoption.

He rises to his feet, towering—his horns reach up to heaven—and holds the infant out to the assembled people.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Of the following rituals, which would you rather attend?

a) Main Ritual or b) The Passion of the Harvest.

c) Beltane Ritual or d) The Marriage of Earth and Sky.

e) Men's Ritual or f) Men's Ritual: The Wild Hunt.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    My friend Stephanie, who's in advertising, always tells me, "A good ad is about one thing." The same could be said of ritual. Havi
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Right you are Steven. Giving a title to the ritual helps those who prepare and lead it as well as those who attend.

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