Sarah Palin: A Reading

Today I found myself inspired to do a name analysis reading, and since Sarah Palin and her political influence have been on my mind recently, I decided to inflict her with one.

druidzodiacSarah, the name which represents her spiritual guidance in the social world, is a Biblical name, and one of the oldest: the name of Abraham’s wife. Actually Sarah’s original name, according to Genesis, was Sarai, which probably meant “contentious”. Some theologians think it unlikely that Sarai was a native Hebrew name — after all, who would deliberately name their daughter “contentious”? They think it more likely that Sarai was not a Hebrew woman, and the name Sarai wasn’t Hebrew, and meant something else; it just sounded like a Hebrew word meaning “contentious”. However, given the misogynistic nature of many ancient societies, I personally wouldn’t be surprised if it really were her name.

In any case, when Abraham was blessed by God, God graciously changed Sarai’s name to Sarah, “princess” (literally the feminine form of sar, “prince”, and related also to sarsaparilla, Sargon, and Balthasar.) Spiritually the name is full of power, especially solar energies and impetuous motion.

Louise, Sarah’s middle name, represents her personal internal spirit guidance. It is of course the feminine form of Louis, traditionally the names of the kings of France since, well, since there was a France. It is cognate with the German name Ludwig and literally means “famous warrior.” The “famous” part goes back to Proto Germanic hluda, which is also the root of English “loud”. Spiritually Louise indicates a flow of deep, perhaps subconscious energy, which emerges as high, tense, protective strength.

Heath is Sarah’s maiden name, and represents the spiritual guidance from her ancestors and her own parents (who were, incidentally, employees of the public school system: her father was a science teacher and coach, and mother was a school secretary). Heath is an English name and refers to a family from areas with a lot of heather, such as west Yorkshire or Shropshire; it goes back to Proto Indo European kait, unplowed land, and is related to heathen. Heath contains sounds that indicate unpleasant conditions and perilous journeys, as might be expected when one travels far from civilization.

Palin is Sarah’s married name, and represents spiritual guidance from her husband’s ancestors. Todd Palin’s family is originally from western Canada, but I couldn’t determine whether his family ultimately came from Wales or England (Palin might be from Welsh ap Heilyn, meaning something like “son of the table servant”, or from a couple of possible English place names of uncertain origin). Spiritually the name indicates a place where one is reborn, a death and initiation, resulting in fluidic or subconscious energy.

The Name and the Woman

Followers and observers of Sarah Palin will see a lot of her characteristics here — the princess (at least of the beauty pageants), the impetuous motion, the subconsciously-generated fame, the (appearance of) protective strength, the home far from civilization, and so on. Other elements might reflect Sarah’s future rather than her past. I wonder, for example, about the death and initiation in the name Palin — this may indicate a talent for reinvention, or perhaps something that hasn’t happened yet. Or something that she is fleeing.

Personally I don’t worry about Sarah’s political aspirations; while she may be popular enough to win the Republican nomination in 2012, she remains extremely unpopular among the larger electorate, with even higher unfavorables than Hillary Clinton. What I do worry about is her role in the national media noise machine. She, along with her employer, Fox News, feeds on a conservative news cycle based on fear. And this fear-mongering is becoming even more powerful than the corporate moneybags that usually control the American empire. Now that the Republican establishment is weak and discredited, popular figures like Palin (and other mouthpieces propped up by Fox) are strong enough to influence policy. It’s not unlike the period near the end of the Roman Republic, when popular leaders like Caesar were strong enough to wrest control from the senatorial moneybags that usually controlled Rome’s dominions.

I don’t think that Sarah will be the Caesar of the American Empire. But the fact that someone like her can wield the power she does means that the time is ripe for someone like Caesar to rise. Imagine a Sarah Palin just as competitive, driven, and personable, with a compelling personal story and legions of loyal followers… but who is also smart, informed, and strategic. Palin and Fox have set the stage and prepared the throne for just such a person. And when they come, it will mean the end of the Republic.


  1. I doubt an etymological relation between “Sarah” and “sarsaparilla.” Merriam-Webster gives the etymology of “sarsaparilla” as follows: “Etymology: Spanish zarzaparrilla, from zarza bush + parrilla, diminutive of parra vine”

  2. Jeff Lilly says:

    Kate, the etymology for sarsaparilla is correct, as far as it goes. But the Spanish word zarza, “bramble”, comes from Arabic saras (borrowed during the extensive contact between Spanish and Arabic throughout the medieval period), from Arabic sarasa, “vicious”, from the Semitic root sar, “prince” (the same root that gave us sara, “princess”, i.e. “Sarah”.)

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