ABOUT THE BOOK
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
For example, think of a little girl named Brittany. The influence of the name Brittany is monumental: In a nutshell, Brittany is tenacious, independent, single-minded, and very, very direct. That's all well and good for Brittany herself, but what about her parents? There may be little harmony in that house until Brittany packs up and goes off to college. That's a long time for everyone in Brittany's family to wait for a little peace and quiet. But if her parents understood the effect Brittany's name has on their daughter, her parents could be empowered with knowledge that would allow them to see their daughter in a new light. Instead of engaging in a continual battle of wills with Brittany, her parents could work with her to enhance her strengths and mitigate her weaknesses as she matures.
This book is the key that unlocks the mystery of names so you can deal with the Brittanys in your life and improve your understanding of yourself and others by arming yourself with the knowledge that comes from truly understanding the personality traits inherent in a name--what a name gives you, what it takes away from you, and what it can really do for you if you give it a chance. Once you have brushed up on your own name's strengths and weaknesses, there are 717 other name interpretations in this book to check out. Reading a name's entry will tell you whether or not a new boss named George could be supportive, or a new lover named Kathy might be inclined to want children.
What's to know about a name, besides the origin or derivation of the thing? Plenty. There are powers that are inherent in a name, and there are very distinct ways in which a name can control one's destiny, for good and bad. The powers associated with names have been studied by mystics for centuries, but this is the first book to digest their findings for the layperson. By reading the expert interpretations in this book, anyone can understand the influences of their name as well as the influences of the names of people in their life, whether they are already familiar with the work of numerologists, rune masters, and kabbalists or are reading about these arts for the first time right now.
Your name is not only your calling card, it is also something that uniquely distinguishes you from everyone else and may even determine, to a large extent, who you turn out to be in your lifetime. The name you "wear" affects not only how others perceive you but also how you perceive yourself. If you truly understood the meaning of your name in all its mysterious and hidden aspects, could you use that knowledge to affect your own destiny? Would it be possible to take advantage of the inherent power of your name to alter the direction of your life for the better?
With a bit of effort and the information available in this book, you'll be able to learn enough about the meaning of your name to be able to truly embrace its secret powers. By knowing and comprehending the meaning and significance of your name, you will come to understand yourself more clearly and more fully. Armed with this understanding, you will be able to develop a deeper self-knowledge that will help you make the most of your life by utilizing the strengths and influences of your name to your benefit.
After you've learned how to analyze and understand the significance of your name and how it shapes your personality, you'll be able to work out the meanings of the names of your coworkers, friends, family, or anyone else you want to understand better. As you learn the deeper meanings of their names, you'll be more in tune with the temperaments and tendencies of the people in your life. And by considering how the personality characteristics of others correlate with your own traits, you will be able to deepen your relationships by building upon things you have in common with others and by avoiding areas of potential discord. If, for example, you discover that someone you will soon be working with has a name that indicates a feisty, argumentative temperament, you will know what to expect when dealing with them. By deepening your understanding of others, you will be able to create stronger and more lasting relationships in all areas of your life, from your work and social relationships to your intimate relationships with family, friends, and lovers.
In addition, by understanding the power and deep significance of names, you will be better equipped to choose names for your children when the time comes for you to do so. Choosing a name for your child can often be a daunting task with few guidelines for the decision other than your own preference or sensibility. How do you know if a girl named Grace really will be poised or if a boy named Clint will be adventurous? By understanding the meanings and energies that a particular name bears, you will be able to choose a name for your child that will equip her to embrace the challenges of life with strength and certainty. By giving your child a powerful and meaningful name, you will help her begin life with one of the greatest gifts you can give, a good name.
Finally, this book will teach you how to create name interpretations of your own based on the ancient arts of the Kabbalah, numerology, and runes. These mystical forms of divination have been used for centuries to glean insights into a person's destiny. In the pages that follow, you will learn from experts how to begin to use these techniques yourself to create original interpretations of not only first names but any name. Your first name plays the most powerful role in determining your destiny because this is the name most associated with you. However, middle names and last names also have an impact on your life, and by interpreting these, too, you can gain a fuller understanding of your personality and the personalities of others. If you have a friend with a very unusual name not interpreted by the experts in part II of this book, you will still be able to determine the key characteristics of his name by doing your own analysis. As you become more adept at creating your own interpretations, you will also gain additional insights into almost any name you choose to study, whether it is already listed here or not, for as you will see, name interpretation is a science based on instinct. Like reading tarot cards or astrology charts, there is no one right or wrong way to define a name's characteristics, and everyone's analysis of a name will vary a little bit according to the methods of interpretation they use. These methods are thousands of years old, and the mysteries they reveal are constantly changing as new practitioners learn to unlock their magic.
In part, the importance of names was based on the theology of the Egyptians. According to one of the Egyptian creation myths, the god Ptah created the universe by pronouncing the names of all things; the very act of speaking the names of things brought them into existence. Since the name of someone or something was so intimately tied to its very being, the preservation of an individual's name was an important part of his or her ability to survive both in this life and in the next. For example, an important aspect of Egyptian funerary theology involved the nightly reunion of the ba, which is loosely translated to mean "personality" or "spirit," with the physical body of the deceased. One question the Egyptians faced was where the ba would go if the body were destroyed. The solution was to provide a statue or likeness of the person to which the ba could return. But as anyone who has seen Egyptian statuary might wonder, how would the ba know which statue to return to? The answer was simple: A statue would have the name of the individual carved into it. The name would effectively transform the lifeless image into an appropriate nightly resting place for the ba by imbuing it with the very essence of the person whose name was carved into it. A nasty consequence of using a name to "claim" a statue, however, was that once you were gone, someone else might come along and usurp that statue for himself by cutting out and replacing your name with his own! And it was critical for a person to ensure the continuation of his or her name because if that name were wiped out or entirely forgotten, there was a distinct and terrifying possibility that he or she would simply cease to exist.
Although other ancient cultures differed in their specific views of the significance of names, most of them shared a common perspective that the name was a crucially important part of who a person was. The choice of an appropriate name was so vitally significant in ancient societies that parents would often consult oracles or religious authorities for assistance in assigning a name befitting their child. If an oracle was not consulted, parents might name their children on the basis of their physical characteristics, their place of birth, their relationships, or even the expectations parents had for their future achievements. Illustrious parents would pass down the power and significance of their names by using prefixes such as "son of" or "daughter of" to indicate that the child was expected to continue, and even reinforce, the glory of the parents' name. Religious customs also played an important part in the naming conventions of many cultures; children in pagan societies were often named after the favorite family gods just as children in monotheistic societies were given names to inspire religious sensibilities and an awareness of the fact that there was only one God (for example, Elihu, which means "my God is He," or Elijah, meaning "my God is Jehovah").
The name was not only essential to truly understanding a person but could also provide tremendous power over that person. In many ancient religions, including the Israelite and Egyptian religions, God or the gods had many different names, some of which were more powerful than others. Many of these names were hidden or secret names that were rarely, if ever, pronounced. Speaking a name with the appropriate accents and sound quality would literally provide power to move the gods to do one's bidding, and the secret names of the divine being or beings were known only by a select few among royalty or the priesthood. Because of the power inherent in divine names, knowledge of the secret names of gods was also a key element in magical and religious rites. By knowing the various names of gods, one could literally manipulate them to obtain favors or gifts, or to guarantee an appropriate harvest or a victory in battle. But the inappropriate use of a name could bring down divine wrath to such an extent that the universe itself could be devastated, and it was considered blasphemous to inappropriately utter the name or names of divinities.
The symbolism of names did not involve only the use of whole words. The ancients also believed that individual letters contained intrinsic meaning that, when combined to form words, produced varied textures and layers of significance that would provide clues to the mystical or hidden meanings of those words. When the words were names of people, the meanings would reflect not only the physical aspects of a person's life but also the complexities of an individual's personality and spirituality. The philosophy of the critical importance of letters as mystical manifestations of the thoughts or intentions of the divine was expressed powerfully in the arcane tradition of the Kabbalah, which was the name given in the twelfth century to the ancient mystical traditions of the Jewish people. According to kabbalistic teachings, God created the universe from the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, in much the same way as the Egyptian god Ptah created the universe by his spoken word: "Twenty-two elemental letters. God engraved them, carved them, weighed them, permuted them, and transposed them, forming with them everything formed and everything destined to be formed." (1. Daniel C. Matt, The Essential Kabbalah (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995).
Each of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet was thought to contain a kernel of mystical truth that, when meditated upon individually and in combinations, could bring the spiritual seeker to union with God, the source of all things. By deeply understanding the meanings of letters and words, the student of Kabbalah was able to penetrate into the mysteries of the universe by entering into communion with the mind of the divine. And by uttering or writing words and letters, the mystic could literally attune his vibrations with the higher vibrations of the energy that sustained the entire universe. In Kabbalah, each letter contains within itself the potential to be a path of ascent from the microcosm of the individual human life to the macrocosm of all existence and ultimately to the divine spirit. Since each letter of an individual's name was so pregnant with meaning and significance, analyzing a name using kabbalistic methods could yield a tremendous amount of insight into a person's character and personality. Today this ancient form of name analysis is gaining in popularity once again, and using the techniques described in this book, one can gain valuable insight into the hidden meanings of hundreds of names.
The letters of other ancient languages such as Egyptian and Chinese were also considered to have intrinsic meaning that extended far beyond their mere use as the building blocks of words. [One such collection of symbols that has enjoyed a modern renaissance is the Futhark, the letters of which are known as runes. The Futhark is a northern European alphabet whose origins are uncertain but which was known to have been used throughout Europe since at least 200 b.c.e.] The runes are widely used today as an oracle, and "casting runes" has become a popular method of divination as well as a means of gaining deeper self-knowledge. By analyzing the ancient symbolic characters of one's name in the Futhark, an individual might be able to obtain a greater understanding of his or her own personality. By looking at both the runic and kabbalistic interpretations of a name, an even more detailed picture of a particular name will be revealed.
Ancient peoples not only saw meaning in letters and words but also considered numbers to be extremely significant as aspects of the universal order. Each number represented a concept that reflected the essential nature of a particular attribute of the universe. According to some ancient philosophical systems, the analysis of numbers was the key to a complete knowledge of the mysteries of existence. The most famous ancient philosopher of numbers, Pythagoras, lived in Greece circa 550 b.c.e. and taught that all things could be reduced to a numerical value that would provide the means to understanding their nature. Because numbers were a fundamental building block of the universe, they were obviously associated with all things that existed, including, of course, words and letters. In the kabbalistic tradition, the study of the correspondences between letters and numbers was known as gematria. According to the science of gematria, each letter in the Hebrew alphabet corresponded to a specific number. When words were analyzed for their numeric values, hidden meanings could be unearthed that would shed light on mysteries that were normally beyond the grasp of ordinary intellectual comprehension. Of course, the letters of other alphabetic systems, such as Greek, Egyptian, and the Futhark, also contained numerical correspondences that could be used to analyze the hidden meanings of words and names, and the people who used these languages were well aware of the depths of their significance.
By combining divination and the consultation of oracles with the analysis of words, letters, and numbers, ancient peoples were able to create names for themselves and their children that were extraordinarily rich in symbolic value. A person in ancient society would have little doubt about the meaning of his or her name, as this knowledge would be deeply ingrained from an early age. And by deeply understanding how their names affected their lives and destinies, the ancients were able to possess the great depth of self-knowledge and personal strength that was the natural result of being in tune with the energy of their names. By taking advantage of the power of one's name and avoiding the pitfalls associated with any weakness of that name, a person could literally shape his or her life into a true reflection of the destiny implied by that name, and thus live in greater harmony with the natural order of the universe.
In addition to a reawakening of traditional forms of religion and spirituality, there has also been a tremendous growth of interest in mysticism, divination, and other methods of gaining deeper self-awareness such as numerology, runes, tarot, and the Kabbalah. Because of the revival of interest in these metaphysical disciplines and philosophies, the ancient ideas about the meaning and significance of names have become popular again. An increasing number of people are making efforts to consider a wider variety of options for their children's names based on the metaphysical and spiritual consequences of those names. More and more, people are beginning to realize that their own names possess power that they can tap into for personal strength and growth, and that the names of others can be used as tools for improving their relationships. There is a growing suspicion that perhaps the ancients weren't as far "off the wall" as the modern scientific mind-set has always assumed. The renewed interest in matters long ago written off by science as irrelevant superstition has led to a newfound respect for the wisdom and knowledge of ancient cultures and a rediscovery of many of their forgotten secrets.
And as science itself continues to discover that things in the world are more intimately connected than ever before thought possible, the idea that a name, a birth date, or a place of birth can have a significant influence upon a person's life and destiny becomes more and more feasible. The belief in a deep existential connection among all things allows for the possibility that our name is fundamentally correct for us. If all things intimately affect and are intimately related to all other things, and if there is a deep well of spiritual life from which we all draw our existence, then the idea that the name we ended up with is the right name for us becomes a plausible concept indeed. Because of the amazing and paradoxical discoveries in fields such as quantum physics, many rational and intelligent people are replacing an overt skepticism with a willingness to accept that there are things we simply may never understand but that are nonetheless quite real and affect our lives in ways we have yet to imagine. To conceive that the name we are assigned to "wear" throughout our lifetime has meaning for us should seem a small leap of the imagination when compared to some of the incredible truths science has discovered in this century about the workings of the universe on both the micro and the macro levels. And to imagine that a name contains power in its own right as a bundle of energy or a set of vibrations should not be any more of a challenge to an open mind.
To get a sense of how a name possesses a certain "feel" or energy, consider the fact that everyone has at one time or another heard phrases such as "you don't look like a Tom" or "I think you're more of an Ellen than a Mary." We tend to associate stereotypes with certain names based on our experiences of people bearing those names. However, despite our tendency to stereotype, there are certain energies associated with names and words, just as the ancients taught for thousands of years. Although the way people respond to your name is typically caused by personal impressions and experiences, there is a certain "truth" to your name, and you probably identify very strongly with it because you have a sense that it is "right" for you. As you use this book to become more conscious of the symbolism and meaning of names, you will be able to utilize their power to influence your destiny more directly as well as gain valuable insight into the character and personality of others whose names you analyze. If you find that your name doesn't quite "fit" you in some way, you may need to analyze it in light of your personality to see just where discrepancies can be uncovered and dealt with. The problem may simply lie in the fact that you haven't taken full advantage of the power of your name and therefore you aren't drawing strength and energy from it as you should. On the other hand, you may find after careful analysis of the meaning of your name that it simply doesn't feel right to you, in which case you may need to consider the possibility of either changing your name outright or changing the name you allow people to use when addressing you. For example, a good nickname or a variant on your given name might fit your personality more closely, and using this means of referring to yourself will give you the opportunity to take advantage of the power of your name in a way that suits you.
While many people are discovering that names have a tremendous significance on a mystical or spiritual level and are therefore drawn toward a more in-depth study of their many meanings, others simply find that they identify closely enough with their name on an intuitive or feeling level to make the most of that name in their lives. For example, you may know that your parents named you after a great king, a saint, a sage, a famous actor or sports hero, or even a beloved relative or relatives. You don't have to walk in that person's footsteps to draw inspiration and power from his or her name because you can consciously adopt a certain grace or finesse for yourself based on the power of that name. Someone named Alexander (or Alexandra) doesn't necessarily have to be a world conqueror to take advantage of the power of that illustrious name! However, an Alexander may find that he is comfortable with a leadership role in his work or daily activities, and he should easily be able to draw strength from his name in his leadership position.
To say that a name has a certain specific influence or effect on one's life isn't to say, of course, that because someone is named Alexander at birth he will become a powerful leader simply by virtue of that name. A good name is analogous to a talent that someone is born with: An individual may have a particular gift for music, for example, but if that innate ability is not developed and exercised, it will simply go to waste. To truly take advantage of a congenital musical talent, an individual must spend many painstaking hours learning the techniques required to play a musical instrument or working out a range of vocal skills that will transform a naturally beautiful voice into a magnificent instrument. In much the same way, a name gives a person certain potentials and characteristics that must be understood, embraced, and developed by that person if the power of the name is to be fully utilized. So while an Alexander may have a gift for intelligence and leadership, if he squanders his talents by not pursuing a path that enables him to take advantage of these strengths, the power of his name will never be completely expressed in his lifetime.
Another issue to consider in regard to the inherent qualities of a name is that even a good name can have both positive and negative influences on a person's life. While the natural leadership strengths of an Alexander may be a positive characteristic in many respects, there is always potential for the abuse of that power. There is a danger that Alexander's great pride and tremendous ego may become overbearing to others or that his ambition will lead him to harm others as he continues his pursuit of self-aggrandizement. By learning both the strengths and weaknesses of your name, you will be able to improve your areas of weakness and exploit your areas of strength by intentionally choosing to build skills that match the influences of your name. And by learning the strengths and weaknesses of other people's names, you will be able to work off their names' powers to improve your relationships with them. As with any tool that can help you improve yourself and your future prospects, the benefits you receive from an in-depth knowledge of a name depend upon your own level of awareness and your willingness to make positive changes in your life to achieve your goals when necessary. You must be willing to find ways to use the power of names creatively and constructively before those names will be able to impart their power to you.
If you acknowledge the tremendous power inherent in names and are inclined to learn more, keep reading. In this book you will learn how to discern and understand the many meanings of your name so you can use that knowledge to increase your personal power. You'll also be able to use the information in this book to help you name a child appropriately and in such a way that he or she will be able to draw strength from that name throughout his or her lifetime. Equally important, you will learn to analyze the names of your friends, lovers, and coworkers to gain a better understanding of what makes them tick. For example, you may feel uncomfortable asking for a new boss's astrological sign, but once you know her name, you'll be able to use this book to get immediate access to the information you need best to interact with her.
Regardless of whether you accept the ancient teachings about the meanings of letters, words, numbers, and sounds, the fact remains that our names are a fundamentally important part of who we are. By learning as much as possible about your name and the names of those you know, not only will you have a better understanding of the influences and energies that affect you and others, but you'll also know more about how other people see you and react to you because of the name you bear. Armed with this knowledge, you'll have the opportunity to take steps to improve the quality of your life by developing skills that allow you to fully embrace the power and energy of your name.
These days, the same techniques of name analysis and name divination can be used to determine the general path of someone's life just as astrology is frequently consulted for guidance. If you understand the subtle nuances of meaning in your name, you will be better able to determine your life's purpose. Consider again, for example, the name Alexander. If you think of some of the qualities of Alexander the Great (perhaps the most famous person bearing this name), you should get an immediate sense of the energies behind it. Someone given Alexander as a birth name is likely to have a natural propensity for leadership roles in his life, whether that means an executive or managerial position in a company or a preeminent position in some other career or activity. Alexanders are very adept at mental activity and deep thought, and they are quite willing and able to act on their ideas. This name bears a tremendous amount of creative energy and potential that, if tapped into with wisdom and self-awareness, can result in success in any chosen field. A simple divination based on this name indicates that an Alexander should consider putting his energy into developing his leadership and interpersonal skills so that he can better fulfill his destiny as a thinker, creator, and person of action.
Your middle name complements and adds energy to your first name and is therefore also very important to understand in terms of its influence upon the energies of your first name. However, if you tend to "go by" your middle name, that name will be the "sound" or energy associated with you, and will therefore have a stronger influence on your personality than your first name.
Also, you need to consider how you use your name to get a better sense of how the energy associated with it plays upon your life. For example, if your name is Thomas and the most common way people address you is to call you Tom or Tommy, then the influence of the name Thomas is altered because you are shortening or modifying its spelling and its sound, and therefore its energy. You also may use different forms of your name at different times and in different circumstances, depending on who is addressing you and your relationship to that person. Using different forms does not necessarily lessen the influence of the "primary" form of the name in your life (Thomas, in this example) but rather allows you to express the diverse aspects of your personality, depending on the contexts in which the name is used to address you. For example, Thomas may be an appropriate form of address in your professional life or career, whereas Tom might be the form your friends use, and Tommy the form used by intimates such as your wife or family members. The variant you use most of the time will have the strongest influence on your life and personality, and if you choose to change the forms of address people use with you, you'll be able to modify the energies and vibrations they receive from their interactions with you.
Your last name, of course, carries the energies of your family and your national and cultural heritage. While the influence of your last name is typically less powerful on you than the influence of your first name because you are primarily associated with your first name in your day-to-day life, your last name nevertheless affects the energies available to you in your first and middle names by bringing its power to bear on those names.
In part II you will find a comprehensive listing of interpretations for 718 of the most popular names in use today. One of the most fascinating aspects of name interpretation is the variety of results each system offers. While the three systems you read about in this book often complement one another, it is not uncommon for there to be significant differences in the interpretation of a name. You may want to weight more heavily the system of thought that seems most reflective of you and your personality. If you're doing your own basic name analysis with the information provided in this section, you'll be able to use these analyses to check your work. Keep in mind that much of the information you'll discover on your own about a name will be very personal, and your interpretation may include different nuances and meanings from the analyses in part II. That's not necessarily an indication that your work is incorrect as much as it may simply show that you've considered your current situation and personality traits when working on your own analysis. Each of us is subject to many influences that affect our personality and the way we express the energies of our name, so if you find that your name analysis in part II isn't a precise reflection of who you know yourself to be at this stage in your life, there's no reason to think that it is entirely inaccurate. If you carefully consider the details of the analysis, you should find that the general sense of the interpretation is an accurate picture of traits and characteristics that define your personality and behavior tendencies.
Consider again the name Alexander. A person named Alexander will tend to have strong leadership qualities as a primary personality trait, but if your name is Alexander and you don't happen to be an all-powerful military leader, it doesn't mean you've disgraced the power of that illustrious name! To find how your name's influence acts upon and shapes your character, you need to consider other areas in your life where you naturally bring leadership skills to bear. If you're a father, for example, are you doing your best to foster your child's character and good behavior? Are you leading by example or just by words and rules? Are you, in a positive and nurturing sense, the true head of your household? In your career, even if you aren't a manager or executive by title, do you often find yourself in situations where you're called upon to provide help or guidance to other people because of your skills and ability to lead others toward their own success? Remember that leadership is more than simply the act of taking charge and manipulating things to your own benefit. Leadership also involves helping others achieve their goals and facilitating success for the entire group; Alexander the Great may have been a pretty amazing fellow, but without a cadre of talented generals, he probably wouldn't have gone nearly as far.
With the extensive information available in part II, you'll have information at your disposal that will give you important insights into the character and personality of other people in your life. You will also have a tremendous selection to choose from when you need to find an appropriate name for a child or for yourself if you should decide to change your birth name. Remember that selecting a name is much more than simply picking a label with which to identify someone. A name carries great power in a person's life, influences his or her personality and development, and becomes part and parcel of a person's overall identity, for better or worse. The energies associated with a particular name can provide strength to bolster the confidence of someone who may naturally lack it, or further weaken someone who may be in need of additional strength. With a good name and an understanding of the meanings and energies behind that name, a person can make great strides toward improving his or her situation in life.