Monday, November 7, 2011

Named Avatars 5

I am very pleases to introduce you today to Sjöfn Stoneshield in my series on how we decided on the names for our avatars-

"My cousin, Vanadis Falconer, lured me into Second Life because she thought I needed a little break now and then from the work on my dissertation in psychology.

When I joined I needed a good first name. "Vanadis" was already taken by Vanadis. Since we are almost the same age and cousins, we have grown up with the folklore about the Norse gods Thor, Odin, Frigg and Freya. Now I had to think a little extra. 

We have an old tradition in Scandinavia; If you pick seven kinds of wild flowers from seven different fields in absolute silence on a midsummer night and then put the flowers under your pillow you will dream about your future husband or wife. In the pre-Christian era there was also a goddess named Sjöfn, sister of the goddess Freya, who was worshiped if you had love troubles. The goddess was revered by both men and women.

There was only one small problem with that first name. It was not possible to use the Swedish letters Å, Ä and Ö in Second Life at that time (A´s and O´s with circles or two dots above). The Swedish Ö (O with two dots) is pronounced as "I" in "bird". Should I spell my name "Sjifn"? Nah, it made no sense to other Scandinavians. Should I use the German "OE"? Nah, only Germans would understand that. So I just gave up and called myself Sjofn. 

Then it was time to choose the surname. One name sounded more ridiculous than the other, eventually I came to the "S" and Stoneshield. Sjofn Stoneshield that´s good, I thought. A shield of stone for a strong and independent woman - perfect!

One of the first things I did after joining Second Life was to write to Philip Linden and tell the boy that he should ensure that Swedish Å, Ä and Ö could be used in Second Life names. And because Philip is obviously a well-mannered and obedient boy, Second Life introduced Å, Ä and Ö in the next update. So now I have my dots over the o and Sjofn is now and for eternal time called "Sjöfn Stoneshield".

Ars go Fridars ("prosperity and good harvest" in Old Norse)

If you would also like to participate in the series by sharing your reasons for choosing the name you have given your avatar, please send me an e-mail Please include a picture of your avatar.

I may take some editorial liberties with your text and picture, such as correcting obvious misspellings in the US English and perhaps shortening. However I promise that I will not distort any facts and that I will contact you if the changes are of a major nature (or if I have reason to believe that you would think so).

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