Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Celtic Origins of the Easter Bunny

Holy Family With Three Hares (Albrecht Durer, circa 1497)
This is another illustration of rabbits by Albrecht Durer, who did the original hare that inspired the Easter Bunny motif.

I was happy to learn this:

The symbol of the hare was used deliberately to transfer old pagan religion into a Christian context, and the Albrecht Durer woodcut of the Holy Family (1471-1 528) clearly depicts three hares at the family' s feet. Later superstition changed the Easter hare into the Easter rabbit or . bunny.far less threatening than the ancient pagan symbol and very few people will be aware that the hare ever held such standing, and why. 
As the ancient beliefs died, superstitions about the hare were rife and many witches were reported to have hares as their familiars. In the . 17th Century Witch Trials. quoted by Margaret Murray, one of the old women chants...  
"Hare, hare, god send the care
I am in a hare's likeness now, 
But I shall be in a woman's likeness even now. 
Today we talk of a lucky rabbit's footbut for many generations a hare's paw or foot was a much used charm against evil, a throw-back to the long forgotten belief in Eostre the Celtic dawn goddess. By AD 410 when Celtic Britain had emerged from the long centuries of Roman occupation, the Celts were struggling to balance the original co-equal society with male dominance.
This has me itching to get back to work, but I have a lot going on right now. I think Eostre should become a minor character, someone peeved enough to throw some weight around.

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