Spring Blogfest: Juliet Waldron

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What’s up with the Rabbit and those Eggs?

I’ve always wanted to come to the bottom of this particularly odd imagery which goes hand in hand with Easter. When I was little, back in the early fifties, I received an Easter basket, usually complete with a fluffy toy bunny. We had festive posters on the school room walls of cheerful looking rabbits with candy baskets. Bunnies=Easter—that was simply how it was. Nothing to do with the awe-full Christian story of agony and resurrection, a mysterious tandem.

As I grew older, I was fascinated by mythology and with history. Following both back to the long ago age where they merge, I came upon a Saxon goddess named Eostre whose arrival brought spring to the British. Like others of her regenerative earth goddess kind, flowers sprang up where she walked. Eggs are laid in spring, and so perhaps, I thought, the basket is actually a nest, containing eggs, and the eggs and new born rabbits and all the other creatures who begin their life cycles at this time have simply become conflated in a mash-up of imagery.

This worked to satisfy me for a very long time, until this year, in fact, when I think, with input from British scholars, (Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm) I think I’ve finally come to the bottom of the rabbit and eggs conundrum. Long ago, in England, before the Romans introduced rabbits to the island, there were related creatures called “hares,” decidedly not the same animal as “silly rabbits.” For one thing, they are larger, relatives of the white Arctic Hare. They thrived in the extensive, grazing-created grasslands, sharing them with Neolithic people. Hares do not sleep in burrows, but in “forms,” which their neatly tucked up bodies make in the long grass.

julia walden 6406_Lapwing eggs in nestxxA British bird, the lapwing, shares this habitat. She lays her speckled eggs on the ground, like the American whippoorwill. She even does a similar “my wing is broken” routine to lead predators away from her eggs/chicks. Sometimes the lapwing made use of a hare’s abandoned “form” for her eggs—and presto!

Ancient people saw the forms, sometimes containing the pretty speckled eggs of the lapwing, and a magical image was born. To put a cap on it, at least from a long-ago Britain’s point of view, both these animals were sacred to the earth goddess, Eostre, the sweet goddess who brings fertility, green grass and flowers in her train, so welcome after winter’s frozen time.

juliet Waldron-RoanRose2 2014 coverxxxxxROAN ROSE ~ English Medieval/Wars of Roses
Loyalty Binds her! From childhood, maid-servant Rose bears witness to the passions, betrayals, battles and the reversals of fortune which shape Lady Anne Neville’s life—and, for better or for worse–her own.

About the Author: Juliet Waldron has lived in many US states, in the UK and the West Indies. She earned a B. A. in English, but has worked at jobs ranging from artist’s model to brokerage. Thirty years ago, after her sons left home, she dropped out of 9-5 and began to write, hoping to create a genuine history/time travel experience for her readers. She’s a grandmother, a cat person, and a dedicated student of history, Herstory, and archeology.

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  1. Really interesting post!! Thanks for the chance

  2. Enjoyed reading your post, very interesting.

  3. Neva Brown says:

    What fun to learn about rabbits and eggs. Roan Rose sound likes a great escape from our modern world–much needed once in a while..

  4. interesting info about eggs

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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