Ancient Names: Beyond Jupiter and Mars
We’re all familiar with the ancient Greek and Roman pantheons of mythological deities, from Adonis and Athena to Zeus, but there a number of other ancient names from other cultures with their own pantheons of intriguing god and goddesses. We’ve delved into the some of the most intriguing mythologies—Egyptian, Phoenician, Norse, Celtic, Indian, African, et al– and discovered some striking ancient names for the intrepid baby namer.
ÁINE (AWN-ya)– Irish Celtic goddess of love, summer, wealth and fertility
AINO (EYE-no) — A Finnish mythological water sprite
ANAHITA — A Persian mythological goddess of river and water
ANNIKKI (accent on the first syllable) — A forest goddess in Finnish mythology
ANU – Irish Celtic goddess of fertility, magic, moon, air and prosperity
ASTARTE — Ancient Phoenician goddess of love, fertility, motherhood and war (morphed into Greek mythology as Aphrodite)
ASTRILD – Norse goddess of love
ATLA—Norse water goddess
BELISAMA – A Celtic goddess of light and fire
BRANWEN –Irish Celtic goddess of love, beauty, sexuality and the sea
BRIGHID (pronounced breed) — Irish goddess of fertility and creativity, martial arts and healing
DANU — Irish Celtic mother of the deities , goddess of rivers, water, magic, prosperity and wisdom
ELAINE – A Welsh Celtic maiden moon goddess
FREYA – Norse goddess of love, beauty, war, magic and wisdom; the most beautiful of the goddesses
INANNA — A Sumerian goddess of the earth, sky and love—and also war
ISIS – an Egyptian goddess, known as mistress of charms or enchantments
KALMA – Finnish goddess of death and decay (maybe skip this one)
KALI – Hindu goddess of power (and—oops—destruction)
LAKSHMI—Hindu goddess of beauty and prosperity, purity, chastity and generosity
LEZA — African goddess of protection and divination
MACHA (MOK-ah) — one of three Irish Celtic war goddesses
MAEVE — Celtic goddess of earth, fertility and war
NEITH — An Egyptian goddess of the hunt and of war
NIAHM (neev) – Irish Celtic goddess of beauty and brightness
OLWEN — Welsh Celtic goddess of flowers and springtime
PARVATI—Hindu goddess of fertility, love and devotion
RAKA – Indian goddess of the full moon
RHIANNON – Welsh goddess of the moon and inspiration
SESHETA — Egyptian goddess of learning and writing
SIDDHI—Hindu goddess of success
SULLA/SULIS – Celtic goddess of hot springs, healing (also the name of a Roman emperor)
TANIT/TANITH—Phoenician goddess of love, fertility and the heavens, including the stars and moon
TAMRA – Ancient Cornish river goddess
TARA – Important and compassionate Hindu goddess of peace and protection; probably the oldest goddess still worshipped in modern times
TOZI — Aztec goddess of healing and sweet water
UMA – Hindu goddess of self-sacrifice and love
XILONEN (zil-o-nen) –A beautiful goddess in Aztec mythology
ZARYA – In Slavic mythology, a goddess and protectors of warriors
ABELLIO –Celtic god of the apple tree
ADAD – the Mesopotamian god of thundery weather
ANGUS Og – Irish Celtic god of youth, love and beauty
ARAWN—Welsh Celtic god of the hunt and the underworld
AGANJU — An African (Yoruba) deity, ruling volcanoes, the wilderness and the river
ASHUR — The supreme deity of the Assyrian Empire, creator of all things
BRAN — Irish Celtic god of health
BRAHMA – The Hindu supreme deity, creator of the universe
EBISHU — In Japanese mythology, the god of luck and labor, fishermen and fortune
GWYDION—Welsh Celtic god of enchantment, illusion and magic
LLEW Llaw Gyffes — Celtic god of healing, poets, sorcerers and waters
LOKI — Norse god of fire, trickster god
LUGH/LLEW – (loo) — Celtic sun god, god of war, magic and good harvest
ODIN — Norse god of all men, father of all gods
RAIDEN – In Japanese myth, the god of thunder and lightening
TALIESIN — Welsh Celtic god of song and poetry
TANE (tah-neh) — Maori protector of birds and forests
THOR –Norse god of thunder and battle
TIKI – God of stone in Norse mythology
VIDAR –– A silent Norse god known for his great strength
VISHNU — God of courage, knowledge and power
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Charlotte Vera Said
on May 14th, 2010 at 3:11 am
Very fascinating list! It threw me for a bit of loop to see Krishna listed as part of the Hindu Trinity. In most Hindu traditions Krishna is understood to be one of Vishnu’s many avatars (incarnations). Vishnu, in turn, is a part of the Hindu Trinity. Brahma is the creator, Shiva the destroyer, and Vishnu the maintainer/preserver. I’ve never seen Krishna defined as one of the trinity before.
Krishna also appears in Buddhism and the Baha’i faith.
on May 14th, 2010 at 5:56 am
This is one of my favorite categories of names, because many are rare and beautiful but also steeped in incredible meaning. I would encourage anyone interested in these names (even Kalma) to look further than the definitions listed here, as gods and goddesses have complex and multi-layered histories and meanings.
on May 14th, 2010 at 7:01 am
I’ve always loved Danu and Tane. We actually have nicknamed one of our kids Loki.
I’d add Idunne / Idony to the list– Norse goddess of spring and renewal.
on May 14th, 2010 at 4:52 pm
Didn’t know about Tara! That’s cool. Gives it a little more edge.
on May 14th, 2010 at 5:04 pm
Some of these are really beautiful: Aine, Astarte, Lakshmi, Olwen, Angus, Osiris– all of them really.
The great thing about names of deities is that they never really go out of style and keep from being trendy.
on May 14th, 2010 at 6:25 pm
I second Sachiko’s suggestion of Idony. One of my favourite names!
Branwen, Freya, Niamh, Arthur, and Thor (or Thora) are all great!
on May 15th, 2010 at 10:39 am
The names I like the most are:
on May 16th, 2010 at 1:03 pm
I’m really wondering where you get your Norse Mythology information from.
Astrild is not a goddess, it’s the old Nordic name for Cupid/Amor. Rana/Rania are not forms of the Norse Rán/Rån as far as I know. Ran was a sea goddess, but Rana and Rania are never mentioned
Elli was not a goddess of old age, but the personification of old age. And she always defeated Thor in wrestling.
And Tiki is just silly. It’s the first man of Maori mythology according to wikipedia, and that’s all I can find of it.
Other interesting ones to add:
Idun – guardian of the apples of immortality
Mist – a Valkyrie
Sol – rides the chariot that pulls the sun across the sky
Sif/Siv – wife of Thor
Dana – One of Heimdall’s wives
Eisa – Loki’s daughter, fire-giantess (!)
Dufa/Duva – One of Heimdall’s 9 mothers, a ‘billow maiden’
Nanna – Baldr’s wife
Sigyn/Signy – Loki’s wife
Eir/Eira – goddess of healing
Kara – A Valkyrie
Svava – A Valkyrie
Vor – Goddess of vows and marriage, nothing could be hidden from her
Saga – Friend of Odin, goddess of sagas, poetry and history
Rind – One of Odin’s wives
Laga – Water goddess of springs and wells
Laufey – Loki’s mother
Ty/Tyr/Tivar/Tiw/Tew/Tiu – god of war
Sindri – Dwarf, excellent blacksmith!
Ivaldi – Sindri’s father
Magni – Thor’s son
Logi – a Fire giant
Modhi/Modi – Thor’s son, Magni’s half-brother
Aegir – God of oceans, father of the ‘billow maidens’
Annar/Onar – dwarf, father of Jörd, Odin’s wife and Thor’s mum
Ymir – The origin of the world, it grew from his body
Mimir – Guardin of the ‘Well of the Highest Wisdom’
Heimdall – guards the entry to the realm of the Gods
Hermod – Messenger god, equivalent of Hermes
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