Discovering the history of your name can provide insight into your heritage and background. Many know the source of our birth names - the ethnic origin, who we were named after and perhaps even why. But a little extra research into the origin and meaning of your name, its occurrence and variations throughout the world; and mostly an in-depth look into your own family tree; can provide new appreciation for your handle!
When I was growing up, I didn't quite like my name, "Vicki". I didn't think it was a particularly pretty name; it rhymed too easily with icky and sticky and it seemed, well, kind of boring. When I was in my late teens to early-20s, I came up with all kinds of variations: Vickie, Vicky, Vikki, Vickie-Anne, Vicky-Ann, Victorianna. It was a bit of a trend at the time to mess around with the spelling of your first name.
My mind somewhat changed as I mused over Victor, the male version of my name, which obviously literally meant "victor" or, more basically; winner. Later I discovered that Victoria was actually the Roman Goddess of Victory and so this knowledge of the meaning of my name started to fill me with steel in times of need.
I also knew that I was named after my Grandmother, who passed away when my Mom was carrying me. In my late 20s, I started the fascinating hobby of genealogy and, interestingly, discovered that my Grandmother had also been named after her Grandmother. Suddenly, my name became even more special to me since it dated back to at least 1839 in my family. As Queen Victoria began her reign in 1837, and her name instantly became a popular baby name for girls, I wonder if this was the source of my Great-Great-Grandmother's name. Because while the name Victoria was consistently used throughout Europe since Roman times; it was not in popular use until Queen Victoria brought it into the limelight. More research is needed to see if my Great-Great-Grandmother was the first Victoria in our family, or if they were one of the more unusual "carriers" of the name before its popularity.
Have you researched your first name? What did you find?
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan, 2022
Meeting the Eternal Green Man
I've always been drawn to the Green Man, so much so that when my husband recently installed tiles in our kitchen; he thoughtfully incorporated our very own Green Man over the kitchen stove!
To me, the Green Man represents divinity in nature and is the male counterpart to Mother Nature. His face, most often formed or surrounded by leaves, is literally "fused" with nature and creation. His gaze is generally (but not always) one of benevolence. Sometimes, though, tendrils grow from his mouth, and even his eyes, nostrils and ears - then the overall feeling is one of the harsh reminder of the reality of death; our eventual return to dust and the earth; but also a visual representation of the rebirth and regrowth that is nature's life cycle.
I am very fond of old churches and architecture and am always delighted to find the Green Man incorporated into various structures; keeping everyone safe and reminding them of their inescapable relationship with nature. You can find him in many countries around the world - and through a variety of artistic expressions: from architecture to theatre and from jewellery to poetry. I guarantee that once you start truly "seeing" the Green Man - he will begin "cropping up" in more and more places ...
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan, 2021
Spring Maidens and Easter Bunnies
How appropriate then that even now, bunnies are often shown as a young girl's companion in modern art depictions or decoratives. Perhaps, in older times, the Spring Maiden, or Ostara, was accompanied by an Oster Hare, as the Easter Bunny is called in Germany. There is some contention on this matter as to whether or not the Spring Goddesses of ancient days were connected with hares, eggs and other symbols of Spring at all ... or if that is a more modern connection recorded around the time the Grimm Brothers collected their fairy tales. It matters little to us plebeians! In the eternal mind, the connection was made because it is the correct one. Bunnies and girls both represent youth, vitality and beginnings ... in every way the very essence of Spring!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017 / edited 2019 / 2021
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Folklore & Magic Archives