by Shawn E AOR
Understanding Your Name
Your name can be separated into three main parts, the first or given name, the middle name(s), and the last or surname. Each of these hold some importance to who you are as a person, if you can accept that names – no matter how awful – are given for a purpose. There are internet sites to help you understand the root and meaning of your name and this is a great place to start. However, in this article we will push further and look into some categorization that I have come up with after working with names in this way for a few years.
Your first or given name offers much that should be considered when looking at who you are and what your overall potential can be. Perhaps this sounds a bit bold, but I believe you will come to see what I mean as you continue reading. The letters and the progression through them of the given name offers a blueprint from which you can extract potentials and character traits within yourself.
Your middle name(s) offer some supportive elements to your first or given name. The letters and progression within the middle name(s) will help you to understand the focus of your first name and offer a secondary level of understanding when coming to see your overall potential.
Your last or surname can be seen as your clanic connection. This is the name of your family and through an analysis of the letters and their progression you can come to understand clanic teachings that may have been passed along your family lines.
A Note on Adoption
Perhaps you were adopted. If your birth name is not available to you, then you can continue with the surname given to you at the time of adoption. Although this may not represent the teachings passed to you on a more genetic level, it will allow you to investigate the family line/clan you have been adopted into.
At this point you simply transliterate your name into the runic characters for each letter. For this I use the transliteration chart found in the back of Edred Thorsson’s “Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic” simply because I have yet to find one I like better or one that makes more sense. Be mindful that letter combinations should be transliterated correctly. For example, the ‘th’ and the ‘dh’ as well as ‘ng’ or ‘x’ (which according to the chart I use is a combination of ‘k’ and ‘s’)
I tend to keep one name to one sheet of paper with the name at the top while I am analyzing. With my name as an example I would have the following for my first name:
Sowilo / Hagalaz / Ansuz / Wunjo / Nauthiz
From this basis we can begin to analyze the runic information within the name. Take your time at this point and consult all of your trusted sources as well as explore some of your own intuition on each rune. Start finding a progressive connection between the letters and build a commentary of the name within the context of its placement. For example, if you are analyzing your first name then you are looking for archetypal characteristics and not for clanic awareness and fine points of teaching. I like to build word lists and from there build my analysis. Using my first name again as an example I find that the name Shawn offers the following:
Success, controlled crisis, communication and inspriation, need
The name Shawn suggests that I have a personal potential to succeed in the face of crisis and that I have some level of success in communicating and inspiring others through times of need.
This is a VERY quick analysis and rather rough but I think it illustrates the basic process and idea of the technique at hand.
You could also incorporate some basic numerology to help with focusing the understanding of the runes. I won’t go into detail on that here as it is beyond the scope of this article.
Putting Things in Perspective
I have found that using the runes in the manner to analyze and interpret various aspect of people’s names is an interesting exercise in growing in personal runic understanding. It has also been rather fruitful in helping others see themselves in a new light. Does this work for every name? I would say that it does, however that is not to say it doesn’t take practice. I mean, I know I am not the only Shawn Evans on this planet. Often I look to the addition of basic numerology and include the birth-date of the person I am doing an analysis for. This often helps to bring things into focus and perspective for that analysis.
I won’t say that this technique is flawless, nor will I say that it is for everyone. In fact I am sure there are some purists who seek to re-create the past only who are screaming to the skies in disbelief. However, our ancestors were innovators and I do not claim that this technique is traditional nor is it perfect.
The original idea for this can be seen near the end of Jennifer Smith’s book “Raidho: A Runic Journey” however, her example in the book is flawed as she works her analysis with the wrong runes most likely by accident. She also does not go into much detail on the practice beyond the most basic look at a single name.
I think that all folks working with the runes should give this a fair trial. I think others will find this technique enlightening and if nothing else it may open the doors to some new personal insight on the runes themselves.
Currently I am working on a book on this topic and offer this sampling, though it is brief, to test the waters and to share with my new found folk of the Odinic Rite.
Faith, Folk, Family! Hail the Rite!