Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My son Bo! ...The Meaning Behind the Name

Bo Medina Seltman was born in Bacolod city, Philippines, to Diadem Senora Medina, on December 8th 2011. He is my second son and third child and, like his sister Kai and brother Zen , a great deal of thought has gone into his name. 

The name itself is simple, generally found in Scandinavia, for some, it is an evolution of Bob from Robert. Robert is the name I proudly inherited from my father's brother Robert Seltman killed in World War II. Wikipedia will tell you Bo is derived from an old Norse nickname 'Bua' meaning "to live" which, in itself, is quite beautiful, but different than my own odd but true ruminations. 

Bo in Japanese can be translated as a walking stick, which I was first introduced to as the living symbol of Kobo Daishi. 

Kobo Daishi, or Kukai 空海, was the founding father of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism, and patron saint of the 88 temple pilgrimage of Shikoku. He walks, in the symbol of the hiker's staff, with each pilgrim, and protects us from harm. Having met many enthusiastic dogs and several venomous snakes on the trail, I appreciate the pragmatics. And now at 60 I appreciate the support.

Bojutsu 棒術, the martial art of a single wooden rod, shows how, in China and later Japan, everything ends as an art form. But for me, the core symbolism of the European Tarot cards brings out the greater meaning. Our modern deck of playing cards has four suits; diamonds, hearts, clubs, and spades. The clover-shaped suit originated literally as 'a club' or wand. 

This was the poor man's weapon, the magician's tool of charm, the symbolic staff of authority, and at times a child's play toy. This is the archetypical symbolism of civil resistance, a gentle reminder of appropriate masculine behavior. Unlike the sword, which remains unmistakably militant, with a stick we can talk softly. Bo, for me, represents a good man willing to stand up for what is right, to protect and to serve with grace. A friend, when the path gets dodgy. A simple name for simply doing, and being, good.