I talk about surnames all the time in my work as a celebrant. It’s a HUGE deal for many people. One couple even had an enormous row about whether or not ‘she’ would / should / better-freaking-decide-right-now-to take ‘his’ surname.

I had to excuse myself by suggesting that I make them a nice cup of hot tea while I seriously contemplated sculling a few gin and tonics in case I lost the will to live.

Actually, I’ve been witness to many of these terse exchanges that have left me wondering why engaged couples never think to have this issue resolved in their own homes before we complete their wedding paperwork in mine.

It’s an issue that divides many people and many families. But wait, I hear you say, aren’t Australian blokes really easygoing?

While I can’t speak for every Aussie bloke, I do know that being easygoing has nothing to do with compromising your own values that shape you as an individual and connect you to your family and society.

My friends in Spain and in some parts of South America have grown up with the notion that double barreled surnames (one from mama and the other from papa) are considered to be a ‘normal’ aspect of their culture.

And while there are many adjectives that I could use to describe these wonderful guys, ‘macho’ and ‘chauvinistic’ would probably come WAY before ‘easygoing’ for most of them.

I think about this today as I celebrate my name day today. Yes, you read that correctly. I have a birthday AND I have a name day.

A name day is a tradition in some countries in Europe, Latin America, and most Catholic and Eastern Orthodox countries in general. It consists of celebrating a day of the year that is associated with your given name that has been named after a saint.

Much like St Anthony is the patron saint of lost things and a protector for when you travel, my given name is Madonna’s Greek counterpart. In a parallel universe where I can have as many lives as I want, I am currently on holidays in Santorini with all my family and friends while all of Greece enjoys a public holiday.

In reality I’m about to take dad to his appointment with the cardiologist for his 6 month checkup, but also to let him and his team know that my old man is still sneaking in several fags a day. When they ask how I know I’ll cleverly whip my iPhone out with photographic evidence of how badly my dad ‘hides’ his butts.

I mean if Madonna could pose as the Virgin Mary and miraculously birth tiny baby Jesus, maybe having the Greek version of that name means I also carry the essence of some of those magical powers to miraculously heal my papa’s addictions. My current status does not involve holding my breath.

When I tell people that my Greek name is ‘Panayiota’, their immediate response is a look of confusion as they tentatively repeat ‘you mean, like.. pana cotta?’

Close, but not quite.

Panna cotta is an Italian dessert of sweetened cream thickened with gelatine. The cream isaromatized with coffee, vanilla, or other flavourings, but you’re on the right track given that my nickname for years has been Patty Cake, so I guess it was my destiny to add extra sweetness to my essence.

Plus my dad was the forklift driver for Lifesavers and Nestlé, so the fact that I’m not diabetic or obese is really nothing short of miraculous.

Speaking of destiny, if you’re assuming that my parents chose this name because they had such high hopes for my spiritual evolution, let me assure you that this was not the case.

The region of Greece that they both hail from dictates that the first born of each gender is named after their paternal grandparents. Patriarchal much?

Had I been the second daughter, my name would have been Olympia, so I can’t help but think that this might be a contributing factor for my distinct lack of gold medals from any given Olympic games.

Oh well, there’s always the next generation, I suppose. Although if I ever have a daughter, I’ll probably end up naming her Artemis, after the warrior goddess. But then I’d be hedging my bets about whether she becomes an Army General or a successful bank robber..
Now before I go on retreat and then immerse myself into a week of study, I wanted YOU to be the first to know that I have not one, but TWO exciting events coming up next month!
I will be hosting a SPRING EQUINOX LIVER CLEANSE & SOUND HEALING on Sunday 23 September from 1.30 – 3.30 – on the *very* day that day and night are equal. Spaces are limited to only 20 people – so first in best dressed.
Actually that’s a lie when it comes to yoga and healing workshops. First in means you get the best position closest to the gong and away from the door.
AND I will be running a 7-week course to help you CHARGE YOUR CHAKRAS AND IGNITE YOUR LIGHT, every Tuesday morning from 7am – 8am starting on 9 October til 20 November.
It’s been 3 years since I’ve taught a chakra balance course and I have missed it immensely, and this feels like the perfect end of year timing to recharge your energy in Spring before we all get crazy busy in Summer.

This 7-week chakra balance course will be very different to any that I have previously taught. In addition to the 7 classes + gong healings, you will *also* receive 7 distant group healings to help you with your integration of knowledge and activation of gifts.

Spaces are limited to only 20 people, so please grab your bestie and book yourselves in!

And until I see you next time, I’m sending you lots of LOVE,

Patty Kikos