I’ve always taken care about the choice of names. Whenever a new cat comes into our home I spend many happy hours deciding what to call it. I sometimes also give names to inanimate objects such as computers or cars.

Names can have a major influence in many spheres of life – the development of a child’s character, the marketing of a new product, the psychological impact of a medical diagnosis. For each individual, the significance of a name will depend on its cultural associations, whether it sounds pleasing, and how it looks when written down. I can ‘see’ certain names in different colours with my mind’s eye.

But the idea that names can have any metaphysical significance, or predict the future in some way, never seemed credible to me until I started thinking about a couple of my experiences.

When I moved to New Zealand 12 years ago, I needed a new email address and chose the username of ‘Starflower’ simply because I liked it (though I no longer have it now). It was not until two or three years later that the ‘flower’ part acquired significance, when I began studying the Bach flower remedies and found that one of these, Star of Bethlehem, is also known as Starflower. And about ten years later I developed an interest in astrology, so that completes the ‘star’ part.

Another example: ‘Bach’ is an unusual name where I come from, and one that I would rather avoid because I find it difficult to pronounce, however my two great enthusiasms in recent years have been the flower remedies of Edward Bach and the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Maybe just a couple of trivial coincidences, or maybe a little glimpse of esoteric patterns we do not understand.

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