Zodiac Baby Names Are Rising Stars
“Hey baby, what’s your sign?”
Look to baby’s name, and you might be able to tell.
Coinciding with the recent cultural obsession with astrology, we’ve observed a rise in names relating to the zodiac and all things celestial.
Millennials have taken astrology and rebranded it to fit the 21st century, turning it into a phenomenon. Astrology has permeated the zeitgeist, affecting how young people think about their relationships, careers, and now, baby names.
Each of the signs is represented by one of the four elements of the zodiac—fire, earth, air, and water. The elements are linked with particular traits—water signs wear their hearts on their sleeves, while earth signs are, well, down-to-Earth.
Millennial parents are drawn to names that speak to the elements themselves. The names that clearly announce their affiliation with fire, earth, air, or water are some of the most fashionable names of 2020.
Glowing Ember no doubt owes much of its success to its similarities to fashionable names such as Emma, Emilia, and Emery. But the connection to fire gives Ember a feisty edge, perfectly embodying the fire sign spirit. We could easily see Ember making its way into the Top 100 within the next few years.
Ash and Phoenix, related to the mythological bird who rose from flames, are two more fire sign names to watch. Ash has more than doubled in use for boys over the past five years and is an easy nickname for popular biblical pick Asher. Phoenix is a hot unisex choice, rising in use among girls and boys.
Noted for their practicality, dependability, and sense of caution, Earth signs—Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn—are the mellowest, most predictable signs of the zodiac. Fitting then, that so too are their names. Of all the elemental names, those related to the Earth are the least likely to be affected but sudden shifts in popularity. In a word, these names are steady.
For girls, gemstone names are stylish again. During the last astrology craze, the so-called Age of Aquarius of the 1970s, gem names such as Amber and Crystal were rapidly increasing in popularity. Today those dated choices have been abandoned for newer, shinier options such as Jade, Ruby, Emerald, and the quite literal Gemma. Parents have picked up on the trend for boys as well, with choices like Jasper, Jet, and Onyx all seeing more use.
The air signs—Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius—are thinkers. They’re intellectuals with strong communication skills and big ideas. This loftiness is captured by many of the airy names that have been soaring in popularity.
Aria, which means “air” in Italian, is the biggest hit for girls, breaking into the US Top 20 in 2017. It’s still on an upward trajectory, but don’t worry—it’s not on track to be a Top 10 name. Celeste, meaning “heavenly,” has seen modest gains over the past five years, as has the windier Tempest.
Zephyr is the air sign name we’ve got our eyes on. Ten years ago, it was an obscurity given to only a handful of boys. It’s still rare, but more babies—boys and girls—are being called Zephyr than ever before. It made our list of the Top Unisex Names of 2020.
Water names are making waves among hip parents, as choices including River and Brooks have gone mainstream. They make excellent names for children born under Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces. Water signs are the emotional, sensitive signs of the zodiac, known for their empathy and nurturance.
Harbor, which embodies both water and a nurturing essence, is a rising unisex water name, as are Lake and Ocean. Storm and Stormi, which capture the emotional intensity of water signs, are also seeing more use, although the success of the latter has much to do with Kylie Jenner’s daughter.
Caspian is perhaps the most noteworthy of the recent crop of water names. It rose over 200% in the past five years, breaking into the Top 1000 in 2017. It has a soft, delicate quality, akin to the nature of those born under a water sign.
Each sign of the zodiac is governed by a planet, and each planet is inhabited by a sign in one’s birth chart. The conjunction of sign and planet reveals more about one’s life and personality. Venus, for example, is the sign of love and romance. Having Venus is Cancer would suggest that one is nurturing and maternal with loved ones.
With the exception of Venus, which had a brief appearance on the charts in the midcentury, planetary names have barely been used as baby names. We may be at the helm of a new trend though, as there have been small but significant increases in planetary baby names in the past five years.
Mercury and Saturn recently entered the baby name pool, but both are still incredibly rare. Mercury was given to equal numbers of girls and boys in 2018, while Saturn—named after the Roman god—was interestingly only given to baby girls.
Jupiter and Mars are the real superstars though, with Mars rising in use by over 300%, and Jupiter by over 1000% from 2013-2018. In astrology, Mars is the planet of aggression and action. It represents the masculine energy in one’s natal chart. It is fitting then, that although a unisex name, Mars is primarily given to baby boys.
Sun Names and Moon Names
The Sun and Moon are considered planets in the language of astrology, ruling over Leo and Cancer, respectively. Sunny names for boys are on the ascent, including handsome names such as Cyrus, Elio, and Samson. Apollo, the Greek Sun god, is an especially fashionable name that coincides with the recent trend of mythological names.
Zodiac Sign Names
A handful of the zodiac signs have also been adapted as baby names. Leo is the most common of the bunch, in the US and internationally. It has great appeal—short and strong, plus that much-loved O ending. The connection to the astrological sign may be an added incentive for some parents, however Leo’s applied use from the zodiac is likely an exception rather than the rule.
Aries, Gemini, Taurus, and Aquarius are also used, though infrequently. Aries has seen the most growth in recent years and broke into the Top 1000 for the first time in 2018. In Roman mythology, Aries was the god of war, giving his name a powerful and steadfast image. Mythological baby names continue to allure parents, both Gen X and Millennial—Aries is a name to watch.
Would you consider your child’s astrological sign when choosing their name?