Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Egyptian Gods - Isis, Osiris, and more!

Nofri ehoou, readers!*

*Supposedly "good day" in Coptic.

With the new name statistics scattered across name blogs, many have pointed out the sharp decline of the name Isis. While pretty, this divine name has now been soured with the surge of the terrorist group called the Islamic State, or ISIS (though a better term to use would be Daesh, since the Islamic State is less about the Islamic religion than violent extremism). In any event, it looks like Isis will be out of use for a while - but are there other Egyptian god names that might be desirable?

Also - if you love the name Isis and want to reclaim it, more power to you! It's gorgeous and meaningful and should be associated with all that is good. 

Let's begin!

Alright, we've heard enough about Isis. As the goddess of health, marriage, and wisdom, she offers a wide range of meanings from which names can be generated. Other goddesses of marriage include Laima, Hera, Freya, and Juno; and other goddesses of wisdom include Anahita, Athena, Brigid, and Minerva. Similar sounding names include Isla, Amaris, Anais, and Isadora.

An even one hundred boys and eleven girls were named Osiris last year, up a little bit from 2014. This god of the afterlife has an incredible backstory, including his marriage to his sister, Isis. This name is definitely unique in sound and style, and while it might raise some eyebrows, it's definitely memorable. Other divine O-names include Odin, Orion, and Omega.

This name has only made records once - 5 boys were named Horus in 2011. Homophone Horace, on the other hand, was in the top 100 for over fifty years until dropping off the top 1000 entirely in 1990. Egyptian Horus, the god of the sky, war, and hunting, is often depicted as a falcon (bonus points for coolness). The first syllable might invite teasing, but the name has definite mythological merit.

While Seth is also a Hebrew name meaning "placed", the god Seth in Egyptian mythology is a bit more active - he's the god of storms, chaos, and war. Seth has the head of a set-animal, about which very little is known. If you like the name but really want to push the meaning, seven boys were named Chaos last year.

The god of mummification and the afterlife, Anubis is down there with Hades and Pluto in underworld divinity. Seven boys were named Anubis last year, and the name has been recorded (barely) since 2002. His symbol is a jackal - sidenote, but why isn't Jackal on the list of Jack names? - and he's represented as the color black, a sign of the silt and fertility of the Nile.

So this isn't a godly name, but Egypt has been recorded for both boys and girls since the 1970's. Egypt is a lovely place-name calling to mind history, religion, and discovery, and it's unusual spelling and sound make it stand out.

Tell me what you think in the comments!

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