[Heralds] German/Norse name for Destiny

GeekGrrl geekgrrl at geekgrrl.org
Thu May 3 14:25:18 PDT 2001

On Thu, 3 May 2001, Richard Culver wrote:

>   Leifr inn heppni (off the top of my head); the fem. would be per ex. Asa
> ina heppna or such.  I do not agree luck is close enough cultural to
> destiny.

What I meant is that 'luck' may be as close as you are going to find in a
human name. There is of course a cultural difference between luck and destiny,
but I have no evidence Destiny was used in the naming of human beings, while
there is evidence 'luck' and 'bad luck' were used.

>    I would argue though that the meaning of names did matter and were
> telling of what the parents expected of that child or what one's place in
> the culture was.  Yes, ancestry was important too, and no doubt the
> grandchild or such was also expected to live up to the virtue of the name.
> Rolfr Mostrskeggi eventually became Thórolfr due to his dedication to that
> particular God.

My argument is that the meanings of the names did not matter in a literal
translative manner. To name someone Ulfgeirr would be to imply bravery and
stalwartness and masculine characteristics expected in that society. It would
not be used because it literally meant wolf-spear and the bearer was expected
to grow up to kill lots of wolves with spears explicitely, but that if his
family were threatened by wolves (or anything else), he would be capable of
dealing with it. I actually think we are agreeing here more then we are
disagreeing. :) I actually have an excellent message on Viking naming
practices by Mistress Gunnora saved from the Norsefolk egroup mailing list. I
would invite you all to go to
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Norsefolk/message/4108 . You might have to sign
up to the list to view the message... I will try to get Mistress Gunnora's
permission to cross-post if there is enough interest. Hopefully it will soon
become an article on her excellent website, http://www.vikinganswerlady.org .

Going from Rolfr to Thórolfr is expressing a trait aquired after birth, though
certainly he could have been named so from birth. I should have added being
named with a god-element to my list. Which brings me to the possibility of a
name composed using the name of a Norn as one of the elements. The norns were
Ur{dh}r, Ver{dh}{ae}ni, and Skuld. I do not think Ver{dh}{ae}ni could be used
as a name element as it does not fit the pattern. Name elements seem to be
short and composed of one syllable, two at most, usually. Ur{dh}r means "That
which was", which rules out a direct translation to Destiny, as that seems to
indicate Past much better. Ver{dh}{ae}ni means 'That which is', which would
indicate Present. Skuld means 'That which should be', which would be closest
to Destiny. All three names are derived from the irregular verb "to be". The
trick here would be to find a name in which one of these names was used as a
name element in the name's construction. It is not enough that Freya and Thor
and a few other gods' names were used as name elements. There must be proof
that these goddesses' names were used, in my opinion. I honestly do not believe
that one will find any names showing this evidence, but feel more then free
to prove me utterly wrong. :)

There are titles which mean 'Prophetess' that could be used as nicknames.
Specifically sp{a'}kona and V{o:}lu-. This, however, may or may not be
something the client wishes to explore. Sp{a'}kona is also used to indicate a
practioner of sp{a'}-craft, a sort of magic oriented towards Wyrd and Orlog.
There is a good article on such at http://www.vikinganswerlady.org/seidhr.htm
I am not sure of 'prophetess' would be an appropriate or acceptable term to
register in the Society due to it's magic-religious connotations.

Thank you for the opportunity to have this discussion!

In service,
Herald, Lindenwood

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