The Lore and Luck of the Rabbit

In putting together the Rabbit’s Foot – Van Van Packs we recently made available, I decided to brush up on my Rabbit lore. There are lots and lots of stories, myths and legends involving Rabbits and Hares. Lots.
Rabbit has been portrayed with many aspects and differing personalities throughout history. The personal meaning that Rabbit has for you can vary greatly depending on your personal circumstances, as she doesn’t have one singular significator.
from the Grimm story, "The Rabbit's Wife"

from the Grimm story, “The Rabbit’s Wife”

In Germanic lore, Holda is the Mistress of the Wild Hunt and is often followed by a procession of torch-bearing Hares. The powerful Nordic Goddess Freyja is accompanied by a Hare and Boar in her chariot pulled by two great Cats. Other tales tell of Freyja being attended by silver Hares as she wanders the forests at night. There are many Eastern European and Slavic myths of Hares as shape-shifters, always changing into women and witches. There is evidence that Celtic tribes had methods of divination involving the observation of Rabbit behavior and the reading of tracks and entrails. It is an ancient belief that Rabbit burrows underground in order to be closer to the Spirit world, allowing her to be seen as a link that we can use ourselves. There are old maritime beliefs that it’s bad luck for a Rabbit to get aboard your ship, or that it’s bad luck to just say the word Rabbit. There are tribes in the world that even view Rabbit as the Great Creator of All Things. Rabbit is often also seen as a joyful, bountiful, yet frightful, little creature. Rabbit is fertile, abundant and life-giving, as well as a sly trickster and a lucky devil – certainly a mystical shape-shifter.
But I like to think of the Luck of Rabbit.
Illustration by A.B. Frost, Terrapin Speaking to Brer Rabbit

Illustration by A.B. Frost Terrapin Speaking to Brer Rabbit

When I think of the Luck of Rabbit, I immediately think, “Rabbit, Rabbit!” The old British superstition that it will bring you luck to say “Rabbit, Rabbit” (or some variation) on the first of every month, or at the New Year. This tradition goes back over a hundred years, although it’s exact origins are unknown. And of course the folk hero, Bre’r Rabbit, who may be a trickster, but always wins out in the end. Lucky Rabbit. In Eastern folklore, it is said that Rabbit is one of the twelve animals who came when summoned by Buddha. Their reward was to have a year named after them, to cycle throughout eternity.

Thus, to carry a part of Rabbit with you is to draw Rabbit’s Luck into your life. Rabbit’s trickster and sometimes ominous reputation also makes us want to stay on Rabbit’s good side, in which case carrying a part of Rabbit shows your respect and honor for Rabbit’s powerful nature.

4 thoughts on “The Lore and Luck of the Rabbit

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