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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Moon-Gazing Hares...and an important message (not) from my sponsor...

Moon Gazing Pictures, Images and Photos

The symbol of the moon-gazing hare is almost universal. It refers to fertility and dates back to ancient times. The hare is in fact always associated with lunar deities. The moon-gazing hare was especially important to early Britons. It can also be found in other cultures, for example, Chinese moon-gazing hares were believed to be gazing up at what they saw as their ancient ancestor in the moon...

kaltes, moon goddess who appears as a hare Pictures, Images and Photos

...This is Kaltes, a moon goddess of the Yugrian people of West Siberia, who appears as a hare in their legends.

Hare and moon Pictures, Images and Photos These myths then reflect ancient beliefs. Pagans believed that seeing a moon-gazing hare would bring growth, re-birth, abundance, new beginnings and good fortune. The hare is known to be sacred to the goddess Eostre, that I blogged about very recently, and the symbol of the hare eventually became transformed into the Easter bunny, that we have grown to know and love...

At Easter in the UK (did they make it over the pond, I wonder?), we eat Hot-Cross-Buns, the cross on the bun is said to represent the four quarters of the moon, as these buns were originally Pagan offerings, and were hung from rafters to deter any evil that lurked around houses.

Easter Bunny • The Easter bunny has its origins in pre-Christian fertility lore. Hares and rabbits served as symbols of new life in the spring season. A hare then, and not a rabbit, symbolizes Easter.

From antiquity, hares have also been synonymous with the moon, and as we found out recently, if you were paying attention there at the back during class ...the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox determines the date for Easter.

Hares are born with their eyes open, while rabbits are born blind. The hare was thought never to blink or close its eyes, and is a nocturnal creature, just like the moon. The hare also carries its young a month before giving birth – like the changing moon which erupts into fullness monthly.

Ostara Goddess Pictures, Images and Photos

According to one legend, the Easter bunny was originally a large, handsome pet bird belonging to the goddess Eostre. One day she magically changed her pet into a hare. Because the Easter bunny is still a bird at heart, he continues to build a straw nest and fill it with eggs.

...So, whether hovering above us in the arms of a moon goddess or carrying messages from the Netherworld below, whether clever or clownish, hero or rascal, whether portent of good tidings or ill, rabbits and hares have leapt through myths, legends, and folk tales all around the world – forever elusive, refusing to be caught and bound by a single definition.

And as a final recommendation from me, this is one of my favourite books to gift to small children, among friends and family... and I fondly remember reading it to my son, when he was little, acting out all the simple parts of the gentle, loving story:
guess how much I love you Pictures, Images and Photos

By Sam McBratney, this book has an important and simple message, that is always worth repeating, again and again...It is sure to melt even the coolest of hearts...

guess how much i love you Pictures, Images and Photos

When did you last gaze at the moon, and tell someone that?

MOON GAZING Pictures, Images and Photos

33 comments:

damian said...

Everyday. My big, strong nearly 10 year old won't go to sleep until we play guess how much I love you. xx

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Oooops, it's really me Fhina! An imposter has logged on and confused the issue. Must be that damned talking duvet again! xx

Rob-bear said...

If you accidentally spill scalding water on moon-gazing hare at Easter, do you end up with a hot, cross bunny? (Yes, we have hot cross buns across the pond.)

Glad you enjoy Sam McBratney's book. We found it for our grandkids; we love them all the way to the moon and back.

Well, enough of this hare-raising commentary.

Maternal Tales said...

I just love that book - I have two different sizes of it. It's the sort of book I wish I had written myself. My girlies love it. Didn't know that about the baby rabbits and hares (eyes shut/open). Very interesting. I am now a fountain of knowledge thanks to you!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Reasons: You know just how easy it is to confuse me, right? And there was I thinking I had a handsome new commenter called Damian! 10 is still such a gorgeous age in little boys! I still occasionally get to 'rub noses like eskimoeses' with my 17 year old - but blink and you miss it - LOL! x

Rob-bear: It just came to me when I was pulling this piece together - Just how sweet that book is - I even keep a smaller, hardboard version of it in my china cabinet, just to look at, just for my memories... Have a lovely day, Rob-bear!

Maternal Tales: Helloooo! Same as myself! Yes, and I was surprised when I found out yesterday that Sam was a man and a grandpa from County Antrim - It is such an ageless book to share with children... Welcome in 'Fountain'!

Derrick said...

Hi Fhina,

All fluffy and soft this morning! But then, you always are. I've never seen this book but it could make a lovely gift for a new great niece!

Happy Day to you!

sometimessophia said...

Again, a wonderful post! All my life I've wondered about the connection between the Easter bunny and eggs. Thank you for illuminating my day. Btw, the first picture is lovely, but I think it's rather about moon-gazing hair... ;)

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Derrick, happy to help, Sir - It might be a useful item in the gifts section of your shop - There are lots of baby-related giftettes that go with the merchandising for the book - Usual sort of thing, but the book is the real treasure - And, I can do fluffy and soft - Occasionally!

SometimesSophia: I know what you mean, SS, but I was running out of pics of moon-gazing hairs via Photobucket, so had to resort to humans moon-gazing, which we all do de temps en temps, non?! x

A Woman Of No Importance said...

'moon-gazing hares' - What am I like - What kind of Freudian slip was that?!

Protege said...

One always learn so much from your posts.;) I never knew where the Easter bunny comes from.;))
I love the moon, in fact, my astrological sign is often referred to as "the moon sign".
Last time I gazed at the moon was not so long time ago, when the moon was full, while talking to the man in Ireland. After I told him so, he replied that he was looking at the same moon. That makes the wast distance between us somewhat obsolete.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Z: That's profoundly beautiful - Thank you for sharing that sweet slice of Protege's life, separated by a vast sea from her lovely, wild Irishman... Blessings x

jinksy said...

This post brings a whole new meaning to 'mooning around!'... xxx

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Jinksy! Ever the wonderful wit! x

Heather said...

I love that book. So sweet! And thanks for the lesson about the Easter bunny (or hare). I never figured that one out.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Heather: Fhina takes a bow, smiling humbly - Thank you, and neither had I known about the hare/bunny, until I read about it! x

Artist Unplugged said...

The pictures today are awesome!!! Over here there is no talk of the hot cross buns....sadly. Thank you for writing and enlightening us on this very 'harey' situation!!!

blognut said...

As always, I'm a wee bit smarter the minute I arrive here. I love your stories, and I love that book.

But now, I must go... I'm late for my own meeting... again....

Working gets in the way of blogging.

Love to you, Lady Fhina xo
Bloggus

Diane said...

Reading your blog is better than taking a college course! :)

Guess How Much I Love You was one of our favorite books when Ryan was little. We still do our version of 'I love you more than...' I still give it as a gift whenever a new baby is born :)

French Fancy said...

Wasn't there a song - I love you to the moon and back ?

It seems to ring a bell

Happy 1st April Fhina

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Artist Unplugged: Thanking you, preciosa - And coming from such an artiste, well...it means so much more! x

blognut: Bless you for your goodness, BN, and what's that about work getting in the way - Goddess help me when I return to work next week - I shall become Miss Havisham, all cobwebs, rotten cake and rats in my hare/hair - I kid you not, dahlink BN! Take care, and it was so nice to tweet to you last night. xxx

Dearest Diane: You are a lovely, cheeky treasure! It is lovely as a gift for baby showers, definitely - I was almost in tears just flicking through my memories, Diane - You know how that is, I know... :) xox

French Fancy: Not sure, FF - How are you today? Still very busy with OU stuff, and working too... x

ladyfi said...

Lovely post.. magical, mythical, mystical...

Chairman Bill said...

You can starve if you eat only rabbit.

lizspin said...

I love that book . . . and use it with the church kids to illustrate God's love for us.

My hat's off to the hares!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

ladyfi: Thank you, as are you, as enchanting as Swedish glacial, palatial ice and snow! x

TC: I am so not going there - I do bite, you know!

Liz: Sounds a really positive and loving thing to do to me... - And yes, yayyy! Hats off to buns and hares who share our planet! x

shabby girl said...

What a wonderful post! And the pictures are gorgeous.
I have two sized copies of that book as well! I just can't get enough of it. My kids were all grown when I discovered it. But I love it just the same.
I'm saving one to give to my grandchild that I just know will come to me eventually...

Lola said...

Thank you Fhina for all this wonderful edutainment! I'm always learning a little more after each one of your great posts, grazie! I never heard of the book you mention, I must repair immediately. The only "bunny books" I read my son are Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny. I must get my hare literature untangled! Ciao

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Dear Shabstress: Putting a book aside for the grandchildren sounds like a very good idea to me, and maybe that's why I keep the little hardbacked book in my china cabinet - Maybe that was in the back of my mind when I did that?! Who knows, for I do ramble as you know! x

Lola: Grazie, bella... I think it could be a good book to read to your little bambino - He is 3, no? Just the right age to emphasize and re-emphasize that yours and his love for one another go all the way to the big bright moon and back... Ciao cara x

Woman in a Window said...

I don't moon gaze nearly enough. I lament that. Instead, I should simply do something about it. Thanks for all the wonderful information. I had no idea.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

WiW: I aim to please, as you can tell - While you aim to be a brilliant writer, ma chere... and are doing so wonderfully... x

carma said...

Veddy veddy interesting, so it's really the Easter Hare. Thanks as always for the enlightenment!
carma

GB said...

A lovely posting from which I, for one, learned a lot. I do know the book 'Guess How Much I Love You': A must for every child (and adult for that matter!).

sallymandy said...

This is so interesting Fhina! I didn't know any of this about mooon-gazing hares, though when I read the title of your post I instantly thought of "Guess How Much I Love You," which is also one of my favorite children's books. Sigh.

You write so well. It's a pleasure to read, no matter what the subject is. Thank you and have a great Thursday.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Carma, bless you treasure!

GB: Glad you enjoyed it, and the book, Sir!

sallymandy: Now you will know what to look out for when you see a moon-gazing hare in art or in a garden centre, somewhere! Bless you for the lovely things you said about my scribblings, SM, I really appreciate it xxx

Something I wrote earlier...

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