March 13th, 2014
Baby Namer: Names That Everyone Else Doesn’t Have
True story: I named my daughter after a Tarot card. It was an accident, even. I had narrowed my search down to wanting a cool name that started with a soft-consonant “C.” But I didn’t want to do something cheesy, like being an astrologer who named her kid Celeste or Starr. (Eek!) That felt like the baby-naming equivalent of getting a “tramp stamp” tattoo in college and having to live with it after tastes and lifestyles inevitably changed. Nor did I want my daughter to live in my quirky shadow, even if I refused to choose from the “list of 100 most popular names.” Somewhere, there HAD to be a middle ground.
The name Cybele was given by my amazing friend Robin Palmer, a YA fiction writer and deep Aquarius, while we were pecking at our laptops at a hotel cafe one morning. I loved the sound of it and just KNEW that was the name. To my shock, though, a Google search revealed that Cybele was the goddess figure on the Strength tarot card. I’d pulled that card for my husband during a tough day, and he loved it so much that he photocopied it and taped it to his car’s sun visor three years prior. The soul of Cybele had already chosen us.
I share this story because you may be sensing your babe-to-be’s energy intuitively without even realizing it. In my tarot deck, Cybele is a gentle but fearless woman opening the mouth of a purring lion. We have a family of Leos: my mother, my MIL, and my stepdaughter Clementine. (And yes, Cybele has tamed the “lions” in our family.) Further research revealed that a temple to the goddess Cybele had just been randomly discovered by hotel developers in Varna, Bulgaria, where my paternal grandmother was from. Weeeeird. Clues and confirmations sometimes appear in funny ways. Many times, the name finds YOU.
In the meantime, here are some fun ways to research (and obsess) over possibilities for your little one.
The 6 most fascinating baby name sites we’ve found:
Wormhole alert: you will be entering every friend and family member’s name into the free Name Analyzer tool, which uses numerology (every letter of the alphabet is assigned a number) to analyze the strength, personality traits and life path of any name you can imagine. I’ve definitely found a lot of accuracy in the reports, but don’t let it scare you away from a name you really love!
Created by NY Times bestselling author Pamela Redmond Sartran (who’s written eight books about baby names), this site has cool ways of classifying names: by seasons, animals, cool factor, goddesses and mythology, even celestial baby names (Cassiopeia and Andromeda are still too much of a mouthful for us, though). We like their stories about trending baby naming habits and the history behind types of names. Lots of food for thought!
Dare to be different! Everything stale becomes fresh again, so reduce, reuse and recycle this list of baby names that fell out of favor back in the day. Give your kid some prohibition-era panache or steampunk swagger with names like Spurgeon, Beulah or Murl.
For parents-to-be that want something cool but maaaaybe also pronouncable by future teachers and friends, this site has every name under the sun—from unusual to common. Hey, I even found my weird name in their database.
Yes, it’s faddish and kind of Western-world-coopting-the-East if you’re not from these cultures, but there are some beautiful names all the same. Plus, there can only be so many Bodhis and Shantis born before backlash ensues. So if you love a good Sanskrit, Hindu or Buddhist baby name—or even Sikh, Punjabi and Jain—this site has puh-lenty of options.
Because, you know, you might just be one.