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Nameberry Picks: The Best Nature Names

nature names

Nature names have become such a huge category of baby names that it’s difficult to corral all of them – the flower names and the animal names, the tree names and the water and weather names – into one list, much less pick the dozen best. But we tried, with several nods to other favorites. Photo by Georgia Brizuela from Documenting Delight.

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posted by: Dantea View all posts by this author
solticex

By Dantea, aka Angel Thomas

Since Nameberry has done its Christmas post, I thought it would be nice to do one to represent Yule and all the pagans on this site.

Yule, or The Winter Solstice, marks the death and rebirth of the Sun-god. It also marks the vanquishing of the Holly King, the god of the Waning Year, by the Oak King, the God of the Waxing Year. The Goddess, who was Death-in-Life at Midsummer, now shows her Life-in-Death aspect. Modern Christmas celebrations are full of pagan symbology. Santa Claus is the Holly King, the sleigh is the solar chariot, the eight reindeer are the eight Sabbats– their horns representing the Horned God– the North Pole symbolizes the Land of Shadows and the dying solar year, and the gifts are meant both to welcome the Oak King as the sun reborn and as a reminder of the gift of the Holly King, who must depart for the Oak King to rule.

There are several herbs that are used to decorate the Pagan household at this time of year. We adorn doorways and mantles with evergreen boughs and  bunches of dried summer herbs. Our ancient ancestors brought an evergreen tree inside to ensure that there would be light all year round. The evergreen retains sunlight, staying green all year, and reminds us that life is forever present and renewable.

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chris13-nicholas

There are certain names, like Merry and Christmas and Noel/Noelle, that scream to the world. “I’m a Yuletide baby!” One way around this, if you still want to acknowledge the season, is to pick names that are related but are also used all year round, to the extent that they’re found in the Top 500, given to babies born in July as well as December. Here are some examples—both religious and secular — that do relate to the holiday, but in a quieter voice, shown in the order of their current popularity:

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jazzella

By Linda Rosenkrantz

The connection to the haunting voice of a well known jazz or blues singer definitely adds an element of –well—rhythm and blues—to a name’s image, an extra infusion of richness and pizzazz. Boyish Billie takes on new depth when listening to Lady Day, Etta goes from fusty to soulful via the “At Last” singer James.  Here then,  the Nameberry Picks of the jazziest ‘girl’ jazz singer names.

BILLIE

Billie Holiday, one of the greatest and most tragic jazz singers of all time, was born with the name Eleanora and took her professional name from an actress she admired called Billie Dove—who was originally Bertha.  Billie is a tomboyish nickname name that was in the Top 100 from 1928 to 1935, and now seems to be making a return—Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane have a young daughter named Billie Beatrice.

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abby-4-8---arya

This week’s Nameberry 9 by Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel shows us the wide range of girl baby names available to today’s parents.

Did you read Swistle’s post about a woman named Justin?

Some of us probably felt vindicated.  Of course you shouldn’t give a boy’s name to a girl!

Others probably thought: If only they’d chosen Justine instead.

Miss Justin might be an extreme case, but this week’s name news reminds us that the range of possibilities for girls is vast.  From conventionally masculine names to modern inventions to antique revivals, we are willing to be daring when naming daughters.

That’s not just a name nerd perspective, either.  In 2011, almost 79% of newborn boys in the US received a Top 1000 name.  For girls?  Just under 67% received a Top 1000 choice.

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