A few weeks ago, I had several encounters with Rabbit.
Although we live in a populated suburb, surrounded by warehouses and housing developments, there is a strong natural component that remains from the years when this was a fertile valley filled with farms. Of course there are the seagulls, crows, ducks, pigeons, and geese. Almost daily I see red-tailed hawks, for example. A Great Blue Heron lives in several ponds and lakes nearby, and in the spring we see many bunnies along the bike paths and walkways. Tiny little things, they go tharn at the sight of us until they can’t stand our nonstop approach and flee into the brush. I’m not talking about them, I’m talking about Rabbit.
Sasha was taking the sun on our deck (2nd floor) when she suddenly went nuts — barking and lunging as if there was something *evil* on the lawn below her. I told her to hush and she subsided for a few minutes and then repeated her aggressive stance. We played the ‘hush’ . . . ‘but I need to warn you!’ interplay a few more times, then I finally went out to look.
There, in broad daylight, in the middle of our lawn, was a huge rabbit. It was easily 20 pounds and quite unconcerned by the presence of either my dog or me. I watched it browse around, nibbling on the grass and taking an occasional dandelion leaf for variety. It kept an eye on me, but was absolutely not perturbed by my presence. Even Sasha finally calmed down and simply watched it with interest. The rabbit finally meandered off into the nearby wetlands after about a quarter of an hour.
“Curious.” I thought and then thought no more about it.
That night, and the next, as I sat outside on the porch (ground floor) reading as the day turned to night, several rabbits passed by on the grass. Not hurrying, they often stopped to look at me and graze. One even crossed the concrete edge of the porch, not a body length away from me. Again, I watched and didn’t think much of it.
After my diagnosis, I realized that Rabbit had come to me in the days between my biopsy and my results, and He’d given me a message (oh how blind we can be!). Did I have a new Totem? I’ve never had one that was prey before. (My totems are Hawk, Wolf, and Bear. Only Hawk continually manifests in my life, however.) So I looked into it.
Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak is pretty much the only totem dictionary I own, and its excellence is continually affirmed by sources I trust. He notes that Rabbit symbolized fertility, intuition, rebirth, promise, fulfillment, balance, abundance, rebirth and release and is symbolic of the ‘tween times, dawn and dusk. A creature of the Goddess, He is linked to the Moon, night and dawn and is associated with Hecate and Diana.
I consulted my intuition, and what came to me was that I had gotten a warning that my life was about to go in a completely new direction. The underworld connection was present — this was a journey of transformation (another Initiation?), one requiring my skills of adaptability and as a Warrior.
Two of my magickal sources provided additional perspective and insight. (One of those sources is my friend Lupa, author of the utterly indispensable DIY Totemism. The first link is to her website, the second will take you to my review at Facing North. The other is my longtime friend and perfumer Diana Rajchel.) Rabbit is a Warrior, they are fierce defenders of their territory and phenomenally adaptable. Tasty prey, they can teach us to confront our fear while remaining mindful. (No complacency here!) Rabbit also reminds us to play, to enjoy life, and to walk carefully in the edges between night and day.
In the black furror of a field
I saw an old witch-hare this night;
And she cocked a lissome ear,
And she eyed the moon so bright,
And she nibbled of the green;
And I whispered “Whsst! witch-hare,”
Away like a ghostie o’er the field
She fled, and left the moonlight there.
~Walter LeMare, found at Terri Windling’s “The Symbolism of Rabbits and Hares”
The message delivered, I haven’t seen Rabbit since, only occasionally glimpsing a bunny as I walk Sasha along the trails in the morning. And not even that since Mabon.
The male of the family of rabbits who nearly destroyed our entire vegetable garden was about that size. I once saw him lurking on a nearby lawn, and I swear he SNEERED at me. We had to resort to double fencing, buried a foot deep. The only vegetables he and his family didn’t like turned out to be tomatoes, zucchini, and oddly, lettuce.
My sister’s two old dogs walk within feet of those bunnies and just ignore them. To us that family represents frustration!
The lettuce reference made me laugh. Your frustration reminds me of Rabbit’s ability to be a trickster, like Coyote.
I’d still keep your eyes peeled. If there’s to be another change, Rabbit may come back to deliver that message as well. Also, if you haven’t read Watership Down in a while, might be a good idea. (Those are the pings I’ve gotten from Rabbit’s direction, at least. Take it for what you will.)
I’ve been looking out, and will continue to do so. The absence now is quite obvious. I’m not sure I *ever* read Watership Down.
/me adds that book to her list of reading to ‘catch up on’