Once regarded as the favorite familiar of witches, rabbits have a long history of involvement in all forms of magick, from their power of transformation to their quickness. Long known as messengers of the departed and strongly associated with the moon. As a harbinger of seasonal change, rabbits contribute greatly to the Wheel of the Year. Much more than the March Hare or the Ostara Bunny, but yet it’s in spring when the call of the rabbit urges us to get back outside, to get of the couch, and get busy (in more ways than one). Honor those witches of old by adopting their practice of transforming into rabbit to bring about personal rebirth using ecstatic dance.
Rabbits And Witchcraft
Rabbits, or hares, have long been associated with the moon and witchcraft. In European folklore, rabbits were often seen as favored familiars of witches. In some cultures, such as Ireland and Scotland, a common belief was that witches shapeshifted into rabbits to travel undetected. This spirit-rabbit was only vulnerable to silver bullets.
Rabbits are strongly associated with spring. It’s curious that rabbits are such a symbol of the Christian Easter when in the Bible they are regarded as filthy and have such a long association with witchcraft.
Rabbits And The Moon
Many cultures have stories about the rabbit that is visible on the moon. In some of them, the rabbit is pounding a mortar and pestle or accompanied by a log. In China, rabbit is associated with the moon, and is one of the twelve astrological signs. The Chinese moon goddess Chang’e has a rabbit companion who pounds the life force for her in its pestle. The Moon Rabbit is involved in many Chinese folktales, including one where it saved Beijing from plague. Many other Asian countries have stories of the Moon Rabbit. In North America, several indigenous peoples have tales of the Moon Rabbit. The Aztec myth of the rabbit in the moon involves an impetuous god hurling his leporine ally.
Hekate, Other Deities And Rabbits
Many deities are associated with rabbits, include Eostre, Goddess of Spring, who turned her pet bird into one. Rabbits are sacred to Hermes, for they share the fleet-footedness of the messenger. Silver hares accompany Freya.
There is a common modern association between Hekate and rabbits. I went down the historical rabbit hole to suss out the origins of this connection. In my article on Hekate’s Animals, I declared that there is no direct link between them, historically speaking. Artemis, who was often conflated, combined and perhaps confused with certain versions of Hekate in the antique world, was linked to rabbits in some of her roles, including hunter and guardian of children. The former is where I believe the origins of the contemporary claim of rabbits being sacred to Hekate originates. Rabbits as potent symbols of all aspects of fertility, were depicted as companions to Kourotrophis, who is sometimes Hekate, Artemis, Hermes or another deity. Guardian of Children was a role assigned to many of them.
Nevertheless, rabbits are strongly associated with witchcraft from the days of antiquity, so they are certainly associated with Hekate as Regina Maleficarum, so they can certainly be included in her animal horde.
Rabbits As Messengers Of The Departed
Rabbits feet are a popular good luck charm, but European folklore has them as protection against witchcraft. Seeing a rabbit is a common sign from the departed. Late last winter, the previous owner of my house died. She was well into her eighties and in a nursing home. Not long after she passed, a brown rabbit started hanging around our deck early in the day, completely unafraid. When it was close to time for the school bus to arrive for my son, she watched him go and then hopped off to begin her day. We never have rabbits that close to the house. She was not a typical rabbit, I believe it was the original owner watching over us, specifically Aidan, as she had undoubtedly done with her own son more than fifty years before. I took to talking to her most mornings, as she breakfasted on the growing grass. She eventually left after another rabbit joined her one morning.
Witchery With RabbitTurn to rabbit as your companion for all sorts of witchcraft, but especially for rituals of rebirth, shapeshifting, and transformation. In addition, rabbit can be evoked for all sorts of fertility magick.
Other psychospiritual characteristics of rabbit include fear, creativity, ambition, productivity, planning and resourcefulness.
Draw down the Moon Rabbit to infuse swift energy into your rituals.
Rabbits And Rebirth
The connection of rabbits with rebirth predates the Christian association. Egyptian hare hieroglyphics are thought to mean “to be” or “being.” Three rabbits in a circle as symbolic of the life-death-rebirth cycle are found throughout many parts of the world, including Christian churches. On my favored tarot deck, the DruidCraft, the rebirth card features rabbit (card XX replacing judgement).
Working With Rabbit as An Ally
Rabbit is a willing companion to guide you through a journey into the plains of transformation. Enter into these spiritual fields through you third eye, summoning rabbit as you step into the fields. Having a symbol of rabbit to activate your connection is very helpful.
Rabbit As A Spirit Animal
If you are a rabbit, contemplate how your fear attracts predators. Work on setting your boundaries better and learning to release your anxieties. Rabbits in the wild have many strategies for avoiding being eaten, from creating hidey-holes to their swiftness. Message of the rabbit is to not walk into the wolf’s den.
Moon Rabbit Rebirth Ritual
This is a ritual for blending with rabbit especially suited for the new moon or the spring. Through invoking chosen characteristics of rabbit, they add to the power of your personal rebirth.
Best done under moonlight, so get outside or open the curtains. Draw down the Moon Rabbit and get your groove on.
Honor those witches of old by adopting their practice of transforming into rabbit to bring about personal rebirth.
Have a representation of rabbit, or even create an altar to activate your connection and to honor this amazing animal spirit.
Create a claim, even a sigil, evoking rabbit’s powers specific to your focus.
If you are inclined to yoga, rabbit pose can be used to boost the connection to the spirit animal. Other rabbit positions, like crouching can also be used. A bit of hopping also helps. Rabbit is such an active animal (except when its not), that ecstatic witchery/trance dancing as rabbit works very well for summoning rabbits’ characteristics of swiftness, productivity and ambition. This is more of the spring rabbit, or the March Hare as it is sometimes called, than the still rabbit of the winter. Spring into action as the rabbit. This may feel silly, but rebirth requires being uncomfortable. If you’re already into the rebirth process, see this as the final stage.
Conveniently, there’s a great house trance band called Rabbit In The Moon. Excellent for your ecstatic rabbit rebirth ritual. Let. It. Go. No one is watching. Dance with rabbit.
Even if you choose to remain still while connecting to rabbit spirit, envision allowing it to enter your own energy signature, remaining in control but also capturing some of rabbits’ qualities that match your rebirth claim.
Open your third eye, stepping out of your physical body into the field for your dance, pose or walk. Once you are into the vibe of rabbit energy, your spirit ally rabbit will come along.
When you meet rabbit, offer thanks, explain what you are doing, and ask for his help.
When you are satisfied that you’ve collected the properties of rabbit you’re invoking, offer gratitude, extract yourself from rabbit, release him back to his moon and begin anew. Hail the Moon Rabbit and rebirth!