Do you know about the origins of your name?
Have you thought about how you came to be here or who gave you your name? Yes I was a surprise baby. A happy surprise, I am told. My mother had been told that she would either not conceive or that she would in all likelihood loose the baby before coming to full term. So my parents were delighted when I was born. My father had been married before and hadn’t had children from the first marriage either so it was a dream come true for him too. I was an only child and my mother often told me that I was a gift from God.
What is in a name?
I used this question to reflect on my past, my parents, my origins and who I would become. It is an easy way to start a reflection. The exercise is not original and I was first asked to do this with my spiritual mentor in 2006. Then I created an artwork, which was part of a series of expressions, of an inward response to considering the care and love my parents had for me as a baby. I enjoyed crafting and weaving the ribbon in the shape a heart showing how their love held me. In this original reflection I went onto consider what my true calling as an adult was.
Morag Frances Armstrong/Noffke.
Here are examples of questions you could ask yourself to help you reflect in this exercise; and some of my answers:
1) Provide the translation of your name and the definition and interpretation of it, in your culture.
Answer: Morag means Sarah in English which means princess/ highly prized (Hebrew) or great sun (Gaelic) as some modern translations have suggested Sun + great. I imagine the essence being like a great shining – like a sun. When I was a little girl I hoped that I really was a real princess (don’t we all). As an adult I realized it was because I wanted to be special. Now I believe we are all special.
2) What is the relationship between your name and your language?
Answer: my father was Scottish so he brought the Gaelic side of the language into our lifestyle.
3) Who gave you your name?
Answer: my father gave me my name
4) What is the story behind your name?
Answer: my mother was thinking of calling me Dawn or Heather because of my complexion but my father insisted that my name was Morag, being a good Scottish name for a lass.
5) Do you feel you live up to your name?
Answer: my name has been an encouragement to me when I have felt down, remembering that I was my father’s princess helped in dark hours, the great sun has been an inspiration to me to aim high. Unfortunately I can’t ever live up to being the great sun or a real princess but it’s definitely been an inspiration.
6) Would you change your name? If so, to what?
Answer: no I wouldn’t change it but I did when I was little as I couldn’t pronounce it. I told people that I was Frances which is my second name. But now I prefer Morag. The only thing I struggle with is how people pronounce it : Morag = sounds like Floor rug.
7) Would you add another name that you feel is applicable for you now?
Answer: Yes. Eldrid: it means wise counsellor. And yes it is a masculine name; that is for my ‘yang’ energy.
Frances is my second name and means free. I feel it describes my free creative spirit.
So when I feel bogged down creatively I remind myself about my second name and speak to the freedom that is needed. I claim that I am uniquely made and that my essence is like a light shining. (And I am queen of my creative kingdom.)
Armstrong is my clan name from Scotland. Legend has it that my for-bearer saved the King of Scotland when he was knocked off his horse; with one arm he picked the king up, thereby saving him. Well it is a nice story – what we really know is that the Armstrongs were a border clan and went on raids; more than that I would rather not say.
Noffke is my married name. It is not a name I know much about but the family came from Poland and moved through Germany and Derek’s grandparents lived in Holland before coming to South Africa. His ancestors were known to be very good at cabinet making and his family owned a joinery works in South Africa. It is in this business that Derek was trained to make cupboards as a teenager. He is excellent with wood and quite a perfectionist although his profession is engineering and programming.
Reflecting on: what is in a name.
It is fun and thought provoking to consider where your name comes from and the meanings; and it is also nice to know who chose your name and why your name was chosen. It is interesting how names have meanings: whether we live up to them or need to free ourselves from them is certainly something to ponder. How do you feel about your name?
What I also like to consider is my name as a title or tag and how that might mean different things to each of you individually. Each of you has a unique experience of me and so you might have a specific connotation when you hear or see my name; in this way Morag has many different meanings. I think that is an interesting and abstract idea that I am a different person in the eyes of the beholder. I would be very interested in your thoughts on this topic: what is in a name? Feel free to share about your name if you would like to.
Take care, till next time.