The similarities between the 'Rabbit-Gods' The Great Hare, the Jade Rabbit and Wn:

 
A note: I look into the similarities between God-like and Rabbit-like heros
in this page. This is no substitute for reading up on them. In fact, I recommend the library research as being more fun than say a resulting page. In no way am I collecting pieces of various religions to form some 'absolute truth,' although I certainly have found many truths in reading these stories. You know what I mean. Anyway,
 In all cultures the rabbit or hare has been an archetype of swift action.
Many of us know of the Cherokee Rabbit and the Zambian rabbit Kalulu who form the basis of Brer rabbit as well as Bugs' Bunny. In these tales we see the rabbit as a messenger, running against the wind and chewing on wood (a judgement element) in his path. Many tales around the world show the competition of the rabbit with beings of these elements as well as with other creatures. Of particular interest is the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. Unlike the Aisop fable in which the hare is a slacker, in the Cherokee and Zambian tales (very similar to eachother) it is the tortoise who out-tricks the rabbit by calling his relatives, who all look like him, and placing them at various points along the track including right next to the finish line. I have even heard tales where the race involves beer (rather than running) as an end to tales like like Trickster Rabbit. However, in the Korean version of the tale (different), the tortoise tricks the rabbit into joining him into the sea so that the rabbit's eyes may be used to cure the ill king of the sea. The rabbit in turn tricks his captors that his real eyes are still on land and that these are just spares. Taken to land, he escapes. Though different, the tales all have important points about the nature of being clever and cunning.
 Going back further are the more ancient versions of 'Rabbit-Gods.'
Throughout history the rabbit and moreover the hare (although present-day pet rabbits have some hare in them) have sustained us through rough times, especially cold and ice, and human kind has inevitably worshiped the hare as a God far more clever than we--we take of its numbers and yet their numbers never decrease. In nearly all cultures the hare has had a strong relationship with the moon, under which they could be seen most often, and with fire. The hare is known for conserving its energy, leaping only as needed, and upon the scent of a forest fire will leap through the flames to the protection of the already cindered trees rather than bother to outrun the flames.
 
I have put 'Rabbit-Gods' in quotes because not all are entirely lagomorpha
(rabbit or hare) and not all are entirely Gods. Wn, for example, though the hyroglyph for hare, was seen in only one inscription as a God (bellow). Wn (a jack-rabbit atop a single ripple of blue-green energy, above) means 'to exist' (The full phrase above means 'the perfect being'). Indeed, the hare's existence--the dependence upon cleverness to escape predators--clearly resembles our own.
 
Gluskap (also Glooscap), whos name means 'Liar,'
was a giant of Native American folklore, an immortal (indicated by his stone eyebrows). Like most (non-European) giants, he was huge (at his will tall enough for lightning to dance upon his head), intelligent, green, a conserver of energy and magic who did his best to use it for the good of all. Gluskap in particular was known for offering unending food as well as immortalizing a few choice onlookers as natural statues. More importantly he founded new lands and made the seasons and animals, destroying the giant beasts that once ruled the earth. In this his legends parallel those of the Great Hare, his predecessor. It is thought that the legends in part represent early archeology, a reference to early mammals (such as lagotherium, an egg-laying rabbit-rat) out-surviving the Dinosaurs.
In some respects Gluskap and the Great Hare resemble the Druidic Dagda
(God of the animals--Shiva in ancient Hindu) Commanding hound(s), the giver of life as well as the overseer of the afterlife, is the reason for the warm seasons as is the Great Hare. The original Hindu Moonhare God, Soma/Chandra, (the wine or vinegar of the Gods who granted them immortality and saw through the Gods, chanted as a-Chanr) is thought to have be related to Rabbits Gods and/or their consorts: Chang-O(China), Ix-Chel(Mayan), Ishtar(Babel) and Ostara(Wiccan/Nordic) Ostara's celebration lives on in Easter in the same way that Imbolc lives on in Ground-Hog Day (these holidays being not so well preserved and the Druidic Samhain or Holloween).
 A God called Bel existed in Babylonian/Sumarian religion. A trickster God
thought to be another name for Marduk, the central God of Babylonia. Though cherub-like, the Babylonian Bel is not entirely lagomorpha either. Like the similarity of the lunar Druidic and lunar Babylonian astrology, it is thought that both Gods are called Bel by coincidence, despite the common linguistic and religious origin of both cultures.
 This common origin is thought to have been near what is now Mongolia and Southern
Russia, the common source of all Indo-European languages and religions. This is also the origin of the Chinese Zodiac (the twelve animal archetypes are related to both year, month and hour-pairs, and in being related to month roughly subsume the Western Zodiac, although their element-types cycle differently, being taken from Egyptian and Babylonian religion), as well as Taoism. The rabbit is central to the Zodiac having helped the Bhudda's passage into the afterlife. In Bhudism the rabbit does this by sacrificing himself into a fire as a last meal. Taoism, however, having taken wisdom from over 4000 years ago, believes in sacrifice without injury to the Self, and developed the idea of the rabbit in the moon (also an important myth in Japan). This rabbit, called the Jade Rabbit, grinds the Jade Elixir, an herbal source of immortality, in the moon. The Jade Rabbit embodies much of what the Tao preaches; The lagomorpha conserves its energy until it truely needs to leap away, leaving time and energy for racing and circling and other fun activities. The Mayans, also, saw a rabbit in the moon with an accompanying goddess.


Ubasti the Cat Goddess

The cat has always been seen as a creature of raw emotion, silence, and speed--
competing with wind as does the rabbit. A poet once wrote:

Cats,
no less liquid than their shadows,
offer no angles to wind.
They slip, diminished,
neat,
through loopholes less than themselves.
The snow leopard and the lynx are the only animals to have fur on the bottom of their feet besides lagomorpha. In fact, in ancient Hindu belief, it was Shiva who brought the tiger into being to punish mankind's growing fearlessness.
But it was more the rabbit that was considered a kind of cat than the other way
around. Rabbits were often called cats of the thicket. But no baud could hunt the rats of Egypt as did the reed cats. These cats kept rat populations under control, saving human food and life.
Few cultures worshiped the cat as did the Egyptians.
If ones cat died it was traditional to shave ones eyebrows in mourning. Further, killing a cat was a capital offense. Ubasti (also Eubasti, Bastet, Bast), the goddess of compassion and happiness was originally Sakhma, the lioness goddess. Adoptive mother of the moon, she could be the eye-of-Ra, an instrument of punishment. (Often lions were associated with the sun because of the mane.)
Just looking at the hyroglyph alphabet one can see their reverence. The word Wn
can mean both hare and flower (perhaps Vinca Rosea though they usually have five rather than four pedals), while in contrast there are over four feline hyroglyphs, including Miw, Rw, L, and two special hyroglyphs, Hst for the front end of the cat and Ph for the back end.
Back to the Way of the Rabbit!
 
 
 
 
 

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