Sunday, April 19, 2009

More on the rabbit trickster

[lifted from http://paganismwicca]

Western European Symbolism
Rabbit (Coinean) and Hare (Gèarr) are symbols of fertility, intuition, rebirth, promise, fulfillment, and balance. He is the Goddess’ creature and represents the Moon, night and dawn. is also associated with abundance, rebirth and release and is symbolic of the ‘tween times, dawn and dusk. Their motions were used for divination. They’re also associated with transformation, receiving esoteric knowledge and intuitive messages.

The Celts believed they brought luck and keeping a part of the animal, usually the foot, attracted good fortune. It was also believed that the foot protected people against evil. Rabbit is a symbol of Easter and Ostara.

Native American
Rabbit, like Coyote, Raven and Crow, is considered trickster by some Native American tribes. Nanabozho or Manabozho, Great Hare, is a powerful figure found in some stories. Nanabozho is a hero, creator of the earth, supporter of humans, bringer of fire and light, and teacher of the sacred rituals. In others he’s a clown, a thief, or a sly predator, an amoral animal dancing on the boundary between the positive and negative.

To some tribes he’s known as Fear Caller because he brings whatever he fears most to himself. He’ll see Coyote and will tell him to stay away because he’s afraid of him. When Coyote doesn’t hear, Rabbit calls louder and louder until coyote notices, then preys on him.

Other Cultures’ Folklore
* Western African American: Perhaps the best known is Br’er Rabbit, recorded by Joel Chandler Harris, narrated by fictional Uncle Remus. The slaves mixed their rabbit tales with those of local Native American tribes. Br’er got himself into all sorts of problems, but, being clever, he could talk his way of his troubles.
* West Africa: Many tribes, have lore about a Hare trickster who is equally rascal, clown, and hero. In one, Moon sends Hare, her messenger, to earth to give humans the gift of immortality. Hare gets things mixed up, giving them mortality instead.
* Cajuns: Had a trickster rabbit, Compare Lapin, who was akin to Br’er Rabbit.
* India: The Panchatantra fables portray Hare as a clever trickster whose adversaries were Elephant and Lion.
* Tibet: Trickster Hare outsmarts Tiger.
* Japan: Hare is sly, clownish, and mischievous.
* Chinese: A rabbit's foot is associated with prosperity, hope, fertility, abundance and good weather.

But while as a child I sided with Peter Rabbit, now I am increasingly sympathetic to the position of Mr McGregor.