Ostara


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Germanic

Meaning: “Eastern; where sun rises; Dawn.”

Pronunciation: (0h-STAHR-uh)

Nicknames: Ossie, Ozzie, Star

Detail: Ostara, may come from the word “east”, meaning dawn.

Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility. Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring: “eastre.”

Variations:

  • Ausos
  • Austron
  • Easter (English)
  • Eastra
  • Eastur
  • Eostra
  • Eostre (Germanic)
  • Eostur
  • Ostara (Germanic)
  • Ostare
  • Ostern

Arizona


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Pima (Native American); Basque

Meaning: “Having a little spring; or good oak.”

Pronunciation: (air-ih-ZOH-nuh)

Nicknames: Ari, Ara, Azza, Zona, Zoni, Zoe

Detail: Arizona was inherited from the Spanish Arizonac, a word virtually identical to Basque arizonac “good oak”. However, it isn’t clear why the Spanish would choose a Basque word for (at the time) a Mexican territory. The name of this state is most probably a Native American word, possibly an O’odham (Pima) word meaning “having a little spring” made up of ali “little” + sona-g “spring-having”—plus a little corruption from the Spanish.

Onatah


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Iroquois

Meaning: “Daughter of the Earth and Corn Spirit.”

Pronunciation: (oh-NAH-tah)

Nicknames: Nat, Ona, Ota

Detail: In Iroquois mythology, Onatah is the corn goddess. She was the daughter of Eithinoha (Mother Earth).

Onatah was kidnapped by the ruler of the underworld. Her mother searched everywhere for her, to no avail. She grieved and while she grieved no crops grew. Finally, the sun found where she was, split open the ground and rescued her, and the earth flourished. However, the spirits of the underworld miss Onatah, and whenever the sun sleeps they snatch her back (winter), and then a great human effort in ceremonies and offerings are needed to awaken the sun and rescue her again (spring).

Persephone


Gender: Feminine

Origin: Greek

Meaning: “Bringer of death; Destoyer.”

Pronunciation: (per-SEF-oh-nee)

Nicknames: Sephy, Seffy, Poppy, Phee, Effy, Posy

Detail: As the story goes, one day in the valley of Enna, where spring reigns eternal, Persephone was innocently picking flowers. Hades, god of the underworld, saw her and it was love at first sight. He came charging in his chariot into the valley and snatched her away.

Demeter finally persuaded Zeus through adamant pleading, to demand for her daughter back from Hades. Hades agreed to return Persephone as long as she had not eaten anything from the underworld. (There is a permanent bond for those who consume food in the Underworld; they are bound to it eternally.) However the sly Hades, who fancied Persephone to pieces, duped her into snacking on a few pomegranate seeds.

This caused some intense arguing, but Zeus, being the crafty old mediator that he was, came up with an agreement by which Persephone could stay with Demeter in the spring and summer to help out with the botany business and then go back down to live with Hades for six months or so, creating a season for nature to take time off, winter break.

Demeter has never been satisfied with this, and that is why winters are so gaunt and cold. So you can thank Hades for when you have Jack Frost nipping at you.