Why Are Rabbits—And Rabbits' Feet—Considered Good Luck Symbols?

Why Are Rabbits—And Rabbits' Feet—Considered Good Luck Symbols?

If you go on Twitter during the first of the month, you may notice “rabbit rabbit” trending. That’s because of a superstition that if your first words that day are “rabbit rabbit,” you’ll have luck for the rest of the month.

Alleged followers of this tradition have included actress Sarah Jessica Parker and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who also carried a rabbit’s foot for good luck. There’s no clear answer as to how rabbits became associated with good-luck superstitions, but folklore scholars have suggested that the specific practice of carrying a rabbit’s foot may stem from a mix of sources.

Why People Carry Rabbits' Feet

One theory is that European Americans appropriated rabbits’ feet from African American customs or jokes they didn’t fully understand, writes Bill Ellis, a professor emeritus of English and American studies at Penn State, in Lucifer Ascending: The Occult in Folklore and Popular Culture. He explains that in the early 20th century, U.S. companies that sold rabbits’ feet vouched for their authenticity by claiming that a black person had cut them off under specific, unlucky-seeming conditions.

“A 1908 British account reports rabbits’ feet imported from America being advertised as ‘the left hind foot of a rabbit killed in a country churchyard at midnight, during the dark of the moon, on Friday the 13th of the month, by a cross-eyed, left-handed, red-headed bow-legged Negro riding a white horse,’” he writes. “While other collected versions disagree about exactly when the rabbit must be killed, all indicate that the rabbit's foot historicizes an especially uncanny or evil time: the dark of the moon; a Friday; a rainy Friday; a Friday the Thirteenth.”

It’s hard to say whether these marketing descriptions reference a real tradition, a joke among African Americans or a cruel joke about African Americans (at least one marketing description for a rabbit’s foot used a racist slur). But it is true that other superstitions about body parts can be found among early European and African Americans, as well as in Europe and Africa. Benjamin Radford, deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer, suggests the rabbit’s foot could be connected to a European good luck charm called the Hand of Glory.

“The Hand of Glory was a hand cut from a hanged man,” he says. In medieval Europe, authorities sometimes left hanged men’s bodies out in public to warn others against committing crimes; “but oftentimes, people would go and cut off one of the hands…usually the left one, and pickle it.”

Like the Hand of Glory, Ellis writes that rabbit’s feet were sometimes considered lucky because of their association with the body of a criminal. According to the early 20th-century folklorist Newbell Niles Puckett, Grover Cleveland was said to have received the foot of a rabbit killed on the grave of Jesse James when Cleveland was running for president in 1884.

Writing about this more than 50 years later, Puckett observed: “the more wicked the person who is dead, the more effective the charm associated with his remains."

Why People Say 'Rabbit Rabbit'

If there’s no clear answer as to how rabbit’s feet became lucky, there’s really no answer for why people started saying “rabbit rabbit” (or variations like “rabbits” or “bunny bunny”). The earliest written reference may be a 1909 issue of the British journal Notes and Queries, in which a parent observed that some children said “rabbits” on the first of every month for good luck.

After that, references to the superstition only popped up occasionally. In 1935, the British Nottingham Evening Post reported this bit of gossip: “Mr. Roosevelt, the President of the United States, has confessed to a friend that he says ‘Rabbits’ on the first of every month—and, what is more, he would not think of omitting the utterance on any account.” The superstition also appeared in Trixie Belden’s The Mystery of the Emeralds, a 1962 book in the kids’ mystery series, and on Nickelodeon in the 1990s.

Some have suggested “rabbit rabbit” is considered lucky because rabbits are notoriously fertile and heavily associated with spring and renewal. But the fact is, we have no idea why people say “rabbit rabbit” or whether it’s related to the superstitions around rabbit’s feet.

And even though many assume these traditions must stretch far back in time, there are no written records of either the rabbit’s foot or the “rabbit rabbit” superstition before the 20th century.

“There’s a lot of superstitions, customs and beliefs that we sort of take for granted and we assume are centuries-old,” Radford says, but “in many cases are relatively new."

The exact origin of the superstition is unknown, though it was recorded in Notes and Queries as being said by children in 1909: [1]

My two daughters are in the habit of saying "Rabbits!" on the first day of each month. The word must be spoken aloud, and be the first word said in the month. It brings luck for that month. Other children, I find, use the same formula.

In response to this note another contributor said that his daughter believed that the outcome would be a present, and that the word must be spoken up the chimney to be most effective another pointed out that the word rabbit was often used in expletives, and suggested that the superstition may be a survival of the ancient belief in swearing as a means of avoiding evil. [2] People continue to express curiosity about the origins of this superstition [3] and draw upon it for inspiration in making calendars [4] suggestive of the Labors of the Months, thus linking the rabbit rabbit superstition to seasonal fertility.

It appeared in a work of fiction in 1922: [5]

"Why," the man in the brown hat laughed at him, "I thought everybody knew 'Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.' If you say 'Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit'—three times, just like that—first thing in the morning on the first of the month, even before you say your prayers, you'll get a present before the end of the month."

Chapter 1 of the Trixie Belden story The Mystery of the Emeralds (1962) is titled "Rabbit! Rabbit!" and discusses the tradition: [6]

Trixie Belden awoke slowly, with the sound of a summer rain beating against her window. She half-opened her eyes, stretched her arms above her head, and then, catching sight of a large sign tied to the foot of her bed, yelled out, "Rabbit! Rabbit!" She bounced out of bed and ran out of her room and down the hall. "I've finally done it!" she cried [. ] "Well, ever since I was Bobby's age I've been trying to remember to say 'Rabbit! Rabbit!' and make a wish just before going to sleep on the last night of the month. If you say it again in the morning, before you've said another word, your wish comes true." Trixie laughed.

In the United States the tradition appears especially well known in northern New England [7] [8] [9] although, like all folklore, determining its exact area of distribution is difficult. The superstition may be related to the broader belief in the rabbit or hare being a "lucky" animal, as exhibited in the practice of carrying a rabbit's foot for luck. [10]

During the mid-1990s, U.S. children's cable channel Nickelodeon helped popularize the superstition in the United States as part of its "Nick Days", where during commercial breaks it would show an ad about the significance of the current date, whether it be an actual holiday, a largely uncelebrated unofficial holiday, or a made-up day if nothing else is going on that specific day (the latter would be identified as a "Nickelodeon holiday"). Nickelodeon would promote the last day of each month as "Rabbit Rabbit Day" and to remind kids to say it the next day, unless the last day of that specific month was an actual holiday, such as Halloween or New Year's Eve. [11] [12] This practice stopped by the late 1990s.

Rabbits have not always been thought of as lucky, however. In the 19th century, for example, fishermen would not say the word while at sea [13] [14] in South Devon, to see a white rabbit in one's village when a person was very ill was regarded as a sure sign that the person was about to die. [15]

There is another folk tradition which may use a variation "Rabbit", "Bunny", "I hate/love Grey Rabbits" or "White Rabbit" to ward off smoke that the wind is directing into your face when gathered around a campfire. [16] It is thought that this tradition may be related to the tradition of invoking the rabbit on the first of the month. Others conjecture that it may originate with a North American First Nation story about smoke resembling rabbit fur. This tradition may be more of a social tradition in a group setting than a genuine belief that certain words will change the wind direction, and may be more of a childhood tradition than an adult one. Children have sometimes adapted from Rabbit to "Pink Elephant" or other comical derivatives. [17] Because of this more mutable usage, historical record of this is even more scarce than other more static meanings.

As with all folklore, its truth is made evident even in its only occasional fulfillment: should the wind then appear to change direction, others will interpret the use of such an expression as evidence of its effectiveness and will then tend to adopt and repeat its use. That multiple instances of its ineffectiveness also exist is discounted in light of the "fact" that it appeared to work once.

As with most folklore, which is traditionally spread by word of mouth, there are numerous variants of the superstition, in some cases specific to a certain time period or region.

The Symbolic Meaning of Rabbit in Chinese Culture

You must be very familiar with the story of the race between Tortoise and Rabbit. In Chinese culture, rabbit can be used to symbolize the moon. Ancient Chinese believed there was a rabbit living on the moon. They could see it on the shiny full moon on Mid-Autumn Day. Though the success of the Apollo Program proved the rabbit never lived on the moon, but its lucky image never faded. The rabbit, called in Chinese the Jade Rabbit or the Moon Rabbit, is a companion of the Moon Goddess who never grows old. It makes medicine by grinding herb with a mortar and pestle.

So there are some cultural meanings related to this folktale. In the Chinese myth Chang'e Flying to the Moon, the jade rabbit pounding Chinese herb medicines under an osmanthus tree means helping to bring good luck to the people on earth. What’s more, in ancient literature the jade rabbit is often compared to the moon. According to legend, people can climb higher levels in their life in the year of rabbit as rabbit has shorter forelegs and longer hind legs, which makes it better at climbing up than down. People wish to have better development in the rabbit year. Rabbits, especially ones with white hair, are also a symbol of longevity in traditional Chinese culture.

Besides, many interesting tales about rabbit will be mentioned. After knowing that you will find how charming and lovely the rabbits are.

Ancient Chinese men before the Han Dynasty believed that there were no male rabbits and female rabbits only became pregnant by watching the moon and spat out babies from their mouths. The origin of the Chinese term for rabbit "tuzi" was drawn from this belief, where tu means 'spit' and zi means 'babies'. This belief was corrected in the Han Dynasty. Mulan Ci, the story of Hua Mulan, talked about the way to tell rabbits' gender by lifting the rabbit by its ears. It was said that male rabbit's feet kept moving while female rabbit's eyes squint.

A lot of Chinese sayings are associated with the rabbit. "Quick as a fleeing bunny" describes great agility, while "A wily rabbit has three burrows" describes someone who has more than one line of retreat prepared, or who can flexibly resolve complex situations. The rabbit and fox are both considered to be smart and resourceful, so the saying "When the rabbit dies, the fox grieves" describes the bond between opponents who are also kindred spirits.

The Creepy Reason Why A Rabbit’s Foot Is So Lucky

The Celts first associated rabbits (the whole rabbit, not just it’s severed foot) with good luck back in 600 B.C. Since rabbits live underground in burrows, it was believed they could communicate with the spirits of the underworld.

So, how exactly did carrying the dismembered limb of a rabbit become, you know, a thing?

Although the superstition of rabbit’s feet being associated with luck has some roots in European culture, the common North American myth originates from the African-American folk spirituality known as hoodoo. It’s said that rabbit’s feet are lucky because of their reproductive habits, so carrying a rabbit’s foot was thought to help with fertility.

There are, however, a few specifications the rabbit’s foot must adhere to in order to technically be considered lucky:

1. It has to be the left hind foot.

2. The rabbit needs to have been captured or killed in a cemetery.

3. The rabbit’s foot needs to be cut off on a specific day—usually a Friday, but with variations such as the weather, date, etc.

CSA-Printstock / GettyImages

But wait—there’s more.

According to Folklorist Bill Ellis, some believed the foot would be more powerful if the rabbit was killed on an actual grave—the meaner the person, the luckier the foot.

A common misbelief about lucky rabbit’s feet is that their origin has something to do with Easter, which celebrates the Christian belief of the resurrection of Jesus. The holiday actually adopted the mindset of the rabbit being worshiped as a fertility goddess from older European traditions.

So, is that pink, lucky rabbit’s foot keychain you got from a vending machine really the amputated hind leg of an adorable furry creature killed in a cemetery?

Probably not. These days, most of the so-called “rabbit’s feet” are actually impostors made from latex covered in dyed, fake fur.

But don’t worry. The fact that your lucky rabbit’s foot didn’t come from a live rabbit doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t lucky.

A rabbit’s foot is still considered a token of good luck because it reminds its owner to be courageous in adverse situations. Today, it’s more about the symbolism of what the so-called lucky rabbit’s foot represents than all the lore surrounding its origins.

Rabbit Symbolism in Dreams

Dreaming of a Rabbit can be a significant sign to be on the lookout for danger.

Although the Rabbit loves playing in the fields of green, it is in this same field where his greatest danger lurks, therefore, the Rabbit is very cautious and ever watchful of potential danger. 

When you dream of the Rabbit, it could also be that you are receiving a significant message from your intuition or inner mind. 

You may be surrounded by abundant opportunities yet not quite able to see them clearly, you may have a sense that there is an untapped resource or opportunity, but the details of where to get started are foggy. 

When Rabbit shows up in your dream he is reminding you to set aside your anxiety so that you can "feel" which steps to take. 

Sometimes the next step to take is to just do something that you thoroughly enjoy doing

something that is related to the unfolding of your special dream or aspiration.

There could be fears in your subconscious mind that keep you from moving forward in the direction of your dream, but if you can just tip-toe into the direction - your subconscious mind will see that there really is not all that much to fear! 

Rabbit spirit animal guide reminds you that your fears are just a projection of not knowing how things may unfold. 

The Rabbit thoroughly enjoys the time in the lush fields!   He knows where the treasure is - it's all around him, and the fields are overflowing with abundant yumminess!   

. and that my friends is precisely the Rabbit's field of dreams!

Rabbit just needs to learn how to watch for danger and be prepared with a quick and safe escape if needed. 

The same goes with what you're trying to manifest in your life, your field of dreams is just waiting for you to build it! 

Rabbit will show up in your dream to guide you in his power animal medicine  don't be too hasty and take time so that you know the best tactics and moves to make, and most of all make the most out of each day you have in that magical little field of yours!   

Blog Post 79 – Lucky Rabbit’s Foot

For today’s post, I’m looking at the folklore and magic surrounding one of the most ubiquitous pieces of conjure paraphernalia, the rabbit’s foot. There are plenty of theories about this particular luck charm, but not much that can be definitely put down regarding its origin or provenance. Rabbit foot charms have been around since at least the mid-to-late 19 th century in North America, and likely predate the Civil War. They are used for general luck, gambling aids, love enhancers, and other areas where a bit of extra luck might help.

A quick word of warning, however. Many of the sources I’ll be citing in this post also date from earlier eras, and thus have a great deal of offensive material in them. There are words that appear here which would likely incite violence if used lightly today, so please understand that I present them here as a piece of the folklore to which they belong. Just as a smart modern magician finds a reasonable substitution for liquid quicksilver/mercury (and thus avoids madness and poisoning), a wise student of folklore and folk magic remembers that just because a sentiment appears in print doesn’t make it right or appropriate.

There, now let’s move on to some of the good stuff about rabbits’ feet.

Catherine Yronwode provides information on the rabbit’s foot on her Lucky W Amulet Archive, describing the foot as catalogue offerings from the early-to-mid twentieth century:

As for the foot itself, a circa-1940 mail order catalogue from the Standard O and B Supply Company, a Chicago-based distributor of African-American hoodoo material, offered undyed rabbit foot charms “made with a metal band and a link to attach on chain.” The Johnson-Smith Novelty Company offered identical charms in its 1941 catalogue. The advertisement shown here goes these one better and promises a free vial of Van Van oil with each rabbit’s foot the formula is a Louisiana hoodoo favourite that “clears away that evil mess” and increases the strength of any good luck charm to which it is applied. Since none of the older catalogues or ads mention any colour when describing rabbit’s foot charms, it can be assumed that the items were undyed and came only in natural tan or white.

She goes on to talk about her uncertainty regarding why a rabbit’s foot might be so lucky:

Why is the rabbit foot lucky? I am not sure. Rabbits are swift and they reproduce prolifically, but the luck of the rabbit foot is monetary and sexual as far as i know, it is not related to swiftness or fertility. There is considerable evidence that the lucky rabbit foot is a remnant of an African clan totem, an importation related somehow to Br’er Rabbit, the famous protagonist of an African trickster-god myth-cycle.

Yronwode points out that the rabbit’s foot appears in the famous Uncle Remus stories, written by Joel Chandler Harris in 1881. In a tale entitled “Brother Rabbit and his Famous Foot,” Uncle Remus describes the tricky Br’er (or Brother) Rabbit’s prosperity-drawing mojo bag (which he refers to as a money purse, or dialectically a “money-pus”):

Brer Wolf look at de money-pus, en see w’at in it. Hit ‘uz one er deze yer kinder money-pus wid tossle on de een’ en shiny rings in de middle. Brer Wolf look in afar fer ter see w’at he kin see. In one een’ dey wuz a piece er calamus-root en some collard-seeds, en in de tier een’ dey wuz a great big rabbit foot (Harris p. 223)

So even a rabbit carries a rabbit’s foot for luck and money. How’s that for strange? But why is it so lucky? In a 1973 thesis on conjuration in the works of African-American author (and somewhat accidental folklorist) Charles Chestnutt, Bettye Jo Crisler Carr uncovers some possible reasons behind this talisman:

One might have expected Chesnutt to refer to ghosts who haunt graves, to witches ‘riding’ their hapless victims by night, to conjurers tying bits of roots in tiny bags to ward off evil. But surely his reference to the efficacy of ‘de lef hin’ foot er a graveya’d rabbit, killt by a cross-eyed nigger on a da’k night in de full er de moon’—surely that is something Chesnutt (or Uncle Julius, who seems equally real) has made out of whole cloth.

An examination of folklore sources, however, justifies Chesnutt’s requirements for the rabbit-foot good-luck charm. An informant from Atlanta states that the talisman must, indeed, be the ‘left hind foot of a graveyard rabbit. Mary Owen, recording her collected tales prior to 1893, adds to the requirement that it must be ‘de lef hine-foot ob er grabe-yahd rabbit kilt in de dahk o’ de moon.’ A Memphis informant states further that the graveyard rabbit must have been killed by a cross-eyed person. Louise Pendleton, also writing before the publication of Chesnutt’s stories, comments that the use of the rabbit foot for good luck ‘may be traced to the fetishism, or worship of guardian spirits dwelling in inanimate objects, of their African ancestors.’ (Carr, “Charles Chestnutt & the Doctrine of Conjuration”)

So now we can see the process of making the charm has something to do with its luck associations. If a cross-eyed person could catch a rabbit in a graveyard in the dark, he would indeed have to be very lucky, and thus his luck might transfer to the animal’s foot (this is a bit of a stretch for a reason, in my opinion, but there certainly seems to be a specific tradition involved in collecting this talisman). Much of this lore is corroborated by Harry M. Hyatt in his five-volume compendium on African-American folk magic, Hoodoo – Conjuration – Witchcraft – Rootwork. Two prime examples are included here:


If yo’ wanta go git a job agin, yo’ could use a rabit’s foot – yo’ use a rabbit’s left foot. Ketch a rabbit, if yo’ kin kill him if yo’ can’t ketch it, kill it. Well, befo’ he gits cold, take de left laig of dis rabbit off. (Front or back?) De back laig. Take de back laig off while it’s warm an’ yo’ sew it up in some cloth an’ when yo’ go tuh bed at night, yo’ jes’ carry it an’ push it in yore pillah. If yo’ git up tuh go in de daytime, wear it in yore pocket or either yo’ could have it in yore stockin’. Put it in yore hat or shoe or anything an’ jes’ keep it wit chew all de time. Yo’ll have good luck wit de rabbit’s left hind laig. (When you are going out to get a job?) Yes sir.

[Savannah, GA Madam Pauline Informant #1274. C575:1-C586:10 = 2136-2167.]


You take off his right feet, yo’ bury it in de cemetery – let it stay dere fo’ nine days an’ nights. Yo’ go an’ git it out from under dere an’ make yo’ a chain an’ put it on yo’ fo’ a locket or either, yo’ know, yo’ kin jes’ have it made into somethin’ den – yo’ know, somethin’-like. Dat’s de rabbit foot. [She laughs.] Den y’ jis’
tote it wit yo’ or either place it fo’ a watch charm or anythin’ like dat – right feet, jes’ one, de front.

[Waycross, GA Informant # 1125 (Contact man Edwards’s landlady) Cylinder C235:4-C250: 1 = 1816-1831, and C384:1-C392: 5 = 1965-1973]

One of the common threads to the rabbit’s foot seems to be an intimacy with death or the dead. The rabbit must be freshly killed (or “warm”) or found in a cemetery. This may have something to do with its luck. The dead are able to provide luck to the living in some folkloric accounts, and a magical animal like a rabbit which becomes tied to the dead may well be “running” luck back and forth from them to you. If you are interested in more spells like the two immediately above, by the way, you can find many of Hyatt’s spells transcribed in the Hyatt Spells Yahoo! Group. If you manage to find actual text volumes of his work and you have an interest in folk magic, buy them. They will be worth it.

Finally, Ozark folklorist Vance Randolph records a couple of uses of the rabbit’s foot charm in his Ozark Magic & Folklore:

  • Some healers claim to cure hiccoughs by rubbing a rabbit’s foot on the back of the patient’s neck unexpectedly.
  • I recall a girl near Lanagan, Missouri, who wore a peach stone love-charm on one garter and a rabbit’s foot fastened to the other.

This particular lucky charm can be found throughout North America, often sold in roadside stores, children’s candy-and-prize machines, and even gas stations. It’s commonly rubbed to actually activate the luck, and “fed” with an oil like Fast Luck or Van Van on a regular basis. If you happen to have one of these in keychain or charm form, I’d love to hear your experiences with it. Have rabbit’s feet ever brought you extra luck? Or, as the joke is often made, is it just “unlucky for the rabbit”?

Superstitions About Rabbits

What does a rabbit mean as a sign or omen? My wife and I were standing together as I was getting ready to leave for a very important business trip. We were waiting for a plane to pick me up to charter off for the meetings. We decided to take a walk next to the small airport. It is very remote with wheat fields and pasture all around. We noticed a jack rabbit in the distance. In a nut shell, while standing together watching the rabbit, he started towards us. He continued until he was only 4 or 5 feet in front us. He sat down and quietly observed us.

It felt as he looked each of us in the eyes… then he quietly left and ran into the pasture. One other important observation…. this jack rabbit had a split ear… His left ear for the entire length was split. Apparently from running under a barb wire fence that cut the ear as he(she) ran under it…

Both of us felt this an omen… a good omen…. What does it mean? Scott

In the Medicine Card Deck, Rabbit medicine is about fear. He is the Fear Caller. Here is the lesson. If you pulled Rabbit, stop talking about horrible things happening and get rid of “what if” in your vocabulary. This card may signal a time of worry about the future or of trying to exercise your control over that which is not yet in form – the future. By focusing on your fears so strongly you can create them. STOP NOW! Write your fears down and be willing to feel them. Breathe into them, and feel them running through your body into Mother Earth as a give-away. Let go and allow all the positive things that life has to offer flow to you. Let go and Let God, Laura

The Rabbit means fertility and new life.. Look for new things in your life in a 28 hours, days or weeks. If you are drawn by nature a good book to pick up is Animal Speaks.. It is written by Ted Andrews and a interesting read.. Hope this helps, Barbi

Rabbit’s Foot – Lucky or Not?

What are your thoughts on rabbits? Like…. the rabbits foot or other bodily parts of rabbits. I have a reason for asking this. Lynn

Rabbit is known as “fear caller”… those of us who work closely with energy prefer not to work with such objects… and in general it is unwise to focus one’s attention – or “luck” on any kind of charm because this just represents our fear that we may be unlucky… that said, the superstitions about rabbit’s feet go back two centuries at least… when they were also thought to be healing, good for rheumatism. – some thought that rubbing a rabbit’s foot on a newborn’s face would ward off evil spirits… However, it was also said to be unlucky to kill a rabbit, so… who can say where the truth is… it’s all about what you choose to believe. Lotsa LLLove, Danielle

Rabbit superstitions go back a long way….

The first thing to note is that rabbit is primarily referred to as a hare. However, in 1920 comes a little entry that puts the semantics into perspective:

“…the following belief is common in many parts of Great Britain, with local variants: To secure good luck of some kind, usually a present, one should say ‘Rabbits’ three times just before going to sleep on the last day of the month, and then ‘Hares’ three times on waking the next morning”

From 1922 comes this exerpt from a speech “Coming on to midnight, gentlemen, he said:

‘I hope everybody here will remember to say ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit’ first thing in the morning.”

Hey, I thought rabbit was for night, hare was for morning! Well, we certainly can’t leave it that simple – from 1953 comes this published bit of folklore:

“On the first day of the month when you wake up in the morning shout ‘White Rabbit’ and when you go to bed at night shout ‘Black Rabbit’ and you will have good luck.”

Aha ! – it’s the colour that counts! From 1982:

“The first words you say for a lucky month are ‘White Rabbits.’ If you can remember to say that twelve times a year, you’ll have a very lucky year..”

Notice the plural, rabbits – multiply the good luck?

Rabbits also for Bad Luck…

The superstitions surrounding these creatures are not always benign.

Wicked witches are supposed to be able to turn themselves into hares (or is that rabbits?). I guess they alternate with black cats – keep the villagers guessing. In old times, it was considered quite unclean to eat hares. From 1738:

From 1893 edition of Folklore comes this:

“Country people in Kerry don’t eat hares the souls of their grandmothers are supposed to have entered into them.”

Some big ones surround the hare/rabbit as a portender of fire. 1852:

“The running of a hare along the street or mainway of a village portends fire to some house in the immediate vicinity.”

From 1972 comes this retelling:

“I’ve heard about the hare running and a fire coming afterwards. In fact, an old character out this way used to reckon that they were bad luck to have run through your garden because you’d probably have your house on fire before the end of the year.”

Yikes! So, not to be victimized by this, from 1866 comes this story:

“On Saturday last, a foolish hare ventured from broad field and open pastures, to visit the city of Ely…she was hotly pursued…and when near the Bell Inn, she was laid by the heels by a stout walking stick. The fact being generally known, great consternation prevailed many persons being certain that Ely was too be visited by a fire.” Good grief – poor rabbit!

Hares were just not good luck. Even just “meeting” one could really mess up your day. From as far back as 1159 a version of the belief (I’m sure translated) says:

“You may ascertain the outcomes of your journeys from beasts…You are to avoid the hare that is if it escape, for undoubtedly its fitting place is the table, not the road.” (Didn’t they hear it was bad luck to eat the things too.)

1584: “He that receiveth a mischance, wil consider whether he met not a.. hare, when he first went out of his doores in the morning.”

1614 “How superstitiously we mind our evils!…the crossing of a hare of powre to daunt whole man in us.”

1822 “Neither Clawson’s boat, nor Peter Grot’s are out to the haaf this morning, for a rabbit ran across them as they were going on board, and they came back like wise men.” (Imagine calling that one in to your boss!)

So, we only get so many years of these superstitions left unchallenged. If this was so, then by 1875 we have these remedies:

“It is still bad luck to meet a hare, yet if you are unfortunate enough to do so, you can easily set matters right by spitting over your left shoulder, and saying, ‘Hare before, Trouble behind: Change ye, Cross, and free me,’ or else by the still more simple charm which consists in touching each shoulder with your forefinger, and saying, ‘Hare, hare, God send thee care.’ I have never heard of more than these two lines being used, and indeed I do not think that the old man who told me of them knew any more.”

By 1883, things began to get a little more specific. The concept of this poor hare/rabbit being lucky, in certain conditions, of course, is introduced.

“It is lucky to meet a hare, but unlucky to see it run across the path. Should it cross the path of a wayfarer from right to left, his journey will be disastrous if it scuds along the way before him, the issue of his affairs will be doubtful for some time but if it crosses from left to right it is a lucky token.”

This must have been the start of the lucky rabbits foot, although for the rabbit, maybe not so lucky – I wonder if the hare who lost the foot saw a rabbit cross it’s path that day…..hmmmm. 1972:

“I was driving out with a man the other day when a hare crossed the road: ‘Had that been my old father driving he’d have turned back and gone straight home,’ said the car driver. He didn’t. But I noticed that he drove with special care the rest of the way.”

The rabbit’s foot is the only “really lucky entry” and they all say the same thing. Brush it on a new born babe to ward away evil spirits. The root of the use of the rabbit’s foot is to ward off witchcraft.And finally, the sailors have their go here too. No real surprises, not just bad luck but very bad luck should a hare , especially a dead hare show up on a ship, (bad weather). It would be very unlucky to go to sea with any part of a hare or rabbit about. 1939:

“If a fisherman from these places found a hare on his net he would burn it rather than go to sea with it.”

Young boys being what they are, used this particular belief to have a little fun. 1930:

“Stories are told all along the coast of mischievous boys getting hold of rabbit skins, filling them with rubbish and placing them in the sterns of boats, in order to stop the men from going to sea.” (A new take on “Daddy, Daddy, please don’t go…”.)

Those old Brits didn’t see much as lucky – no wonder Bugs Bunny was an American invention. Until next time…..

Our source, once again, is “A Dictionary of Superstitions” Oxford press, edited by Iona Opie and Moira Tatem

Opossum – a reminder to use your head

My friend and U have been seeing a possum in the middle of the road, not dead, for the past three days, since she had gotten her license, and we were wondering what does it mean? Amanda

In the Medicine Card book it says that opossum medicine is Diversion. You and your friend are being asked to use strategy in some present situation. Rely upon your instincts for the best way out of a tight corner. If you have to pretend to be apathetic or afraid, do it! Oftentimes of you refuse to struggle or show that hurtful words bother you, your taunter will see no further fun in the game. Opossum may be relaying to you that you are to expect the unexpected and be clever in achieving your victory. Opossum is beckoning you to use your brain, your sense of drama, and surprise – to leap over some barrier to your progress. Just be aware of your surroundings and stay on your toes. Love, Laura

And if you’re feeling stuck by old patterns, old beliefs and ideas, Get a Reading.
Our psychics may have the insight you’ve been reaching for….

Christianity Rabbit Symbolism

In the Christian belief system, the association with Rabbit is more secular as a symbol that came to be associated with Easter. This is not a direct result of the observations of Jesus Christ, but of later transmogrification between Pagan and Christian cultures.

To some, the connection between Jesus and Rabbit can stem from the Rabbit living underground, similar to Jesus’s time spent in an underground tomb.

They are associated with rebirth and fertility and the association with resurrection also connects Rabbit with Christianity. Some accounts of early Christian cults describe a connection between Rabbit and the Virgin Mary as well.

Rabbit is not mentioned in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, Rabbit is incorrectly labelled as a “ruminant” and therefore considered unclean. Though in more recent factions of Christianity, Rabbit is associated with purity, innocence and gentleness and therefore associated with Christ or being Christ-like. In other or perhaps earlier aspects of the Abrahamic religions, Rabbit was more likely associated with trickery and being unclean or not to be trusted.

Though Rabbit Spiritual Meaning is often positive, signifying growth, abundance, wealth, fertility and rebirth, in some traditions, Rabbit also connotes subversiveness. Historians note this link when exploring the origins of the Lucky Rabbit’s Foot. How in the world did carrying the foot of a Rabbit become symbolic of luck?

As it is traced to a tradition of bending the rules of trade (and in doing so, using the cunning and intelligence of sneaky Rabbit Spirit Animal), using a Rabbit’s Foot as a form of currency allowed people to get around the rules and restrictions of currency exchange.

Other references point to the association between Rabbit’s Foot as a lucky token and a prolonged ritual in which all that is associated with “good” in Christian mythos is inverted. Thus, the connection between Rabbit and more specifically Rabbit’s Foot and Witchcraft or Sorcery, may stem from this lore. According to folklore, it was said that a Rabbit’s Foot had to be from the Rear Left side and prepared using a ritual in a graveyard under a Full Moon using one’s Left Hand.

It was common for those who persecuted Witches to assume that powerful ceremonies were based on an inversion of the power of Christian symbolism. So where Christ was seated at the “Right Hand” of God, it was considered then that the Left side was associated with evil and Satan.

This superstition carried down to modern times in which recent generations of children were cruelly trained out of Left-Handedness because it was associated with evil. So while the Bible says nothing about Rabbit’s Foot as a talisman or portent of Witchcraft, it was later facets of social norms and trends influenced by Christian doctrine but taken to an extreme, that led many to associate Rabbit and Rabbit’s Foot with Witchcraft and Folk Magic.

When unpacked step by step, the connection between Rabbit and Moon is found in many cultures and was no doubt observed in many non-Christian societies. Crusaders and later Colonizers who lumped all that was not Christian into one large box associated with the Devil and Black Magic, would no doubt see this connection as sinister when it was not.

The Lunar connection associates Rabbit Spirit Animal and Feminine Power, something also considered suspect by patriarchal authorities who leaned on Christian dogma in order to give credibility to their suspicions.

The connection between the Left side, often associated with intuition, magic and again, Feminine Energy, further creates a link in the mind of patriarchal authorities manipulating Christian dogma for their own agendas, between Rabbit and deceit.

Rabbit symbolism in general

Rabbits are popular in both traditional beliefs and popular culture. They are portrayed as funny and curious book and cartoon characters, but they also have special place in many traditional customs.

If we summarize different interpretations of rabbit symbolism, we could agree several ideas stand out.

Therefore, we could say rabbits represent:

  • Fertility and abundance
  • Luck and fortune
  • Family life and harmony
  • Alertness and curiosity
  • Joy and peace

Rabbits are popular as pets, perhaps because they are so fluffy and cute. In general, rabbits are not as attracted to people as if dogs, for example, but much scientific evidence shows their presence is extremely positive.

In modern times, rabbits are commonly used in different forms of psychiatric therapies.

Some studies even prove their presence can help children and adults suffering from autism. Just the sight of these tender cuties will bring smile to peoples’ faces, that is for sure!

Other Articles of Interest on This Website

A Collection of Animal Totem Meanings

Animal totems play huge roles in our lives. They aid in self-discovery and capture our imagination, giving us incredible avenues of self-expression and awareness. From armadillos to zebras, click here to get a whole list of animal totem meanings.

Rabbit Meanings for Good Luck

Did you know many animals, including rabbits, are considered to be lucky? Yep. This page gives you a whole list of animals that stand for good fortune and big luck. Check out good luck animals and lucky rabbit meanings here.

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