Star Quality

June 3rd, 2008



In the previous post on place names, I touched upon Nevaeh.  Yes, it is heaven spelled backwards, and it seems to hold remarkable temptation for modern parents.  Nevaeh has climbed the charts at an alarming rate, escalating from having never been in the top 1000 before the year 2000 to being nationally ranked 31 in 2007.  One must admit it is a rather backwards choice.  The inspiration for thousands appears to be no less than Sonny Sandoval and his daughter Nevaeh’s appearances on MTV cribs in 2007.  Nevaeh is also often misspelled so as to have nothing to do with heaven in the first place, such as the more phonetic Neveah.  In New Mexico, the “original” spelling currently ranks # 4.  

Since the dawn of time, the skies have inspired everyone from Michelangelo to Bob Dylan. They are a source of myth and mystery, attribued to both creation and everlasting life.  Jewish Mystics have seven layers of heaven, while Hindus believe it is a transitory place.  In Buddhism, the ultimate goal is not heaven, but nirvana, and a position in heaven is impermanent.  That we each have our own vision of heaven (and many don’t believe in it at all) makes it that much more beautiful.  A baby name that relates to the heavens may be filled with awe, wonderment, and reverence.  It can honor loved ones who’ve passed, faith in one’s God, or hope for a little bit of heaven on Earth. 

If the goal is to get to heaven, there is a whole universe of names to turn toward.  From constellations to archangels, here are a few otherworldly ideas.  Just don’t try spelling Star backwards… or for that matter, anything else.



Alba- Italian, Spanish, “dawn”

Alya- Arabic, “sky, heaven”

Andromeda- Greek, “to think of man”; a Constellation (sorry ApMtn, I couldn’t help it!)

Angelica, Angelika- “angelic, messenger”

Apolline, Apollonia- From the Greek male sun god, Apollo

Ara- Constellation, the altar; Armenian god of spring and agriculture

Arista- The name of a star in the constellation Virgo; also Latin “ear of corn”

Artemis- Greek goddess of the moon and the hunt

Astra- Greek “star”

Ayelet- Hebrew, the morning star

Cassiopeia- in Greek mythology she was turned into a constellation

Celeste, Celestine- From the Latin, “of the sky, heavenly”

Chandra- Sanskrit, “moon” and “to shine”

Colomba- Constellation, the dove

Danica- Slavic “morning star”

Diana- Greek, means “heavenly, divine”

Divya- Sanskrit, “divine, heavenly”

Electra, Elektra- Greek, “brilliant, shining”; one of the seven sisters of the Pleiades.  An otherwise difficult history.

Eos- Greek, goddess of the dawn

Eloise- From Old French Heloise, possibly related to the Greek Helios, meaning “sun”

Estella, Estelle- Spanish, Old French respectively, “star”

Esther- Hebrew “star”

Gabrielle, Gabriella- female forms of Gabriel

Hermione- From Hermes (m), “messenger of the gods” 

Hokulani- Hawaiian, means “star of heaven”

Juno- Roman mythology, queen of the heavens

Leilani-Hawaiian, “heavenly flowers”

Lucine- Armenian, “moon”

Luna- Roman mythology, “the moon”

Lyra- Constellation, the lyre

Maia- Greek mythology, the eldest sister in the seven stars of the Pleiades

Michaela- female form of Michael

Mizuki- Japanese, “beautiful moon”

Nalani- Hawaiian, “the heavens”

Nova- A star that suddenly increases in brightness; also “new”

Phoebe- Greek mythology, “bright, pure”.  A titan associated with the moon.

Portia- a moon of Uranus

Rhiannon- Celtic, “great queen”, goddess of fertility and the moon

Roxana- Latin, “bright” or “star”

Selene, Selena- Greek goddess of the moon (also known as Artemis)

Serafina, Seraphine- from the Biblical seraphim, the highest order of angels

Stella- Latin, “star”

Tara- Sanskrit, “star”

Ursa (Major and Minor)- Constellation, the bear

Vela- Constellation, the sails



Aquila- Roman, Constellation, the eagle

Balthasar, Balthazar- Biblical, “protect the king”, one of the Three Kings who followed the north star to get to Jesus

Caelum- Constellation, the chisel

Caspar-  Biblical, “treasurer”, one of the Three Kings who followed the north star to get to Jesus (see also Gaspar, Jasper)

Castor- Constellation, twin; also means “beaver”

Gabriel- Hebrew, “strong man of God”, one of the seven archangels

Gaspar- Biblical, “treasurer”, one of the Three Kings who followed the north star to get to Jesus (see also Casper, Jasper)

Elijah- Hebrew, “the Lord is my God”;  Biblical: carried into heaven in a chariot of fire

Jasper- Biblical, “treasurer”, one of the Three Magi who followed the north star to get to Jesus (see also Casper, Gaspar)

Leo- Constellation of the zodiac, the lion

Malachi- Hebrew, “my messenger.”  The only drawback to this is that it seems to remind everyone of “The Children of the Corn.”  In my opinion, it’s worth overlooking that association.

Melchior- Biblical, “king city”, one of the Three Magi who followed the north star to get to Jesus

Meshach- Hebrew; Babylonian God of the moon

Michael- Hebrew, “who is like God?”, one of the seven archangels

Nunzio- Italian, “messenger.”

Oberon- a moon of Uranus

Orion- Constellation, the hunter

Pictor- Constellation, the painter’s easel

Rafael, Raphael- Hebrew, “God heals”,  one of the seven archangels

Ravi- Sanskrit, “sun”

Ravindra- Sanskrit, Lord of the sun

Shihab- Arabic, “shooting star”

Sirius- bright star, “burning”

Tariq- Arabic name of the morning star

Taurus- Constellation, the bull

Volans- Constellation