The True Tale Of The Easter Bunny
Ian R Thorpe
15 April 2006
Not long ago a news item appeared about the removal of the Easter Bunny from schools and public buildings as it may offend non - Christians. There were the usual blustering about political correctness gone mad and some preachers ranted about how the authorities are biased against Christianity and are trying to meddle with the most sacred Christian festival. Us pagans must just swallow our chagrin and stand by, helpless onlookers, as OUR festival of the Goddess Ostara (aka Oester), OUR Easter Bunny and OUR Easter Eggs and OUR resurrection myths are hijacked.
Christians have never understood their own religion of course; they should be rejoicing at the suppression of the Easter Bunny which is an even more powerful reminder of the pagan origins of Easter than the egg.
First things first though, the Easter bunny, an ancient European tradition, is not a rabbit but a hare which was a beast sacred to the Goddess and in myths told from the eastern Mediterranean to Scandinavia acted as her messenger. I should take a moment to explain the goddess here, she is a trinity; the maiden, the mother and the wise woman; the tree - fold goddess. She has many names in different places and cultures all around the world and she is the first deity ever worshipped by primitive humans. Does anyone recall here that after Jesus' male followers fled from the site of the crucifixion three women remained, his mother Mary, (the mother); Martha sister of Lazarus, (the wise woman); and Mary Magdalen, (the maiden); the last is represented as a prostitute but we should bear in mind that translation poses some difficulties, we now equate a maiden with a virgin but to the ancients, particularly of the orgiastic goddess cults, a maiden is simply a woman who has not borne a child.
So Dan Brown was on the right track in the Da Vinci Code. There is a connection between the crucifixion and the sacred feminine!
Easter, to Christians celebrates the resurrection of the Christ after he is betrayed by one of his friends and crucified on a symbolic wheel. There are elements of many different mythologies jostling each other in the muddled story, this is due to the chaotic nature of the Hebrew society that spawned the first Christian communities who created it.
Nobody truly knows what was happening around Jerusalem at that time, all we have is anecdotal evidence from a race that were known to be prone to emotional excess. This is very understandable when you consider that the Biblical suggestion that the Hebrews ruled a vast and powerful empire and successfully fought the Philistines, Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, and Greeks is pure delusion. These great empires and other ruled Palestine from the time of Abraham to 1918, the end of the first world war. Naturally Palestinian society absorbed religious and cultural influences from all of them along the way.
The crucifixion myth dates from a time of Greek rule. Cristos, the chosen or anointed one is a Greek concept related to the great spring festival of the sun god (like the Goddess variously named, Hermes, Ormazd, Marduk, Jove, Saturn, Dis, Beli, Helios and many more are all local variations but for convenience he will be referred to as Hermes.) The Bunny however is from the Druidic lore of north - west Europe while the world egg from which everything is reborn is a universal symbol and actually not a bird's egg but a serpent's.
Cristos, the Christ, is a yearly manifestation of Hercules, semi-divine son of a deity, Hermes, and a mortal woman (see Genesis chapter 6 verse 1 - 4.) Zeus, who is cited as the superhero's father in later Greek myths is simply a manifestation of the sun god for an era in which the jealous patriarch reigns supreme.
The Hercules legend is incredibly old. An Egyptian hieroglyphic text found in Thebes identifies his earliest presence on Earth as "17000 years before King Amasis" or around 20,000 years before the present, which places him in the Mesolithic or middle stone age period. He is a busy boy too, there are over 2000 different Hercules legends though again his name can change from locality to locality. In Irish myth he is Dagda, which means "the good," and as the old English spelling of good is god this makes him the first god to bear the sobriquet "god." Dagda is an invincible warrior who, like Hercules, walks with a limp, like Hercules armed with a club and who in spite of his warlike appearance is a talented singer and poet and a fine harpist also like Hercules.
The Hercules demigod of the Hermetic Jews is a calendar god; born to a virgin mother (calendar gods always are) he comes to manhood at the spring equinox, the day on which daylight begins to exceed darkness. From here the local myths become very varied so I will have to generalise. In some places he reigns for a year, in others he only lasts six months (as the Green Man in Britain for example) before he is killed at the autumn equinox by the dark king who will reign through the winter and be sacrificed by the new green man at the next spring equinox.
The sacrifice is ritual, actual human sacrifice was rare and stories of it are usually Christian calumnies against non - Christians.
Throughout his reign the King is accompanied by twelve companions and on the penultimate day of his life they all join him for a final feast where he is made drunk with the local brew; wine, mead, cider or beer. He is then ritually betrayed by one of his companions, hooded by the priests, bound with sacred bonds and led into the centre of a circle of wooden or stone pillars, where he is laid out on a symbolic universe - wheel (the cross is a symbol representing a wheel.)
Now in a well recorded British ritual, at this point the man is spirited away and goes to live with a another tribe or joins the priesthood, he must never return to his own village because the people have seen him miraculously transformed into a young white bull. The bull is bound, rendered unconscious and impaled on an oak stake and its blood is caught in a vessel (which may or may not be called a grail.) The flesh of the "god" who has willingly sacrificed himself for the good of his people is then roasted on an oak fire and shared out among the members of the tribe while each adult is marked with the blood (a cross, symbol of the universe wheel, on the forehead) and then allowed to take a sip of the liquid and so, symbolically the tribe have eaten the flesh and drunk the blood of their god - king.
After the feast the twelve companions are touched by the sacred fire (usually by jumping through the flames) before they lead a wild dance accompanied by frenzied drumming and the singing of ecstatic, nonsensical songs. Christians, being a sober lot, wait a few weeks for this part of the celebration.
Before outraged Christians protest, as they usually do when I reveal the pagan origins of a biblical myth, that mine is just a pagan rip off of a Jesus story, I will remind readers that my source material was written over fifty years before the date given for the birth of Jesus by one of the people Julius Caesar sent to investigate whether Britannia was worthy of conquest. My own instinct suggests this equinox myth was already old when Adam was a lad.
The Easter Bunny comes into the picture once the old King is done away with and the new one takes his place. The goddess sends the hare to lead him to his appointed ritual coupling with her on the summer solstice. There was symbolic sexual intercourse between the Queen of the Mai, the traditional May Queen who is chosen as queen of the woods, queen of life and youth, and crowned with a garland of haw(or mai in old English) flowers in on her hair.
The king and queen of summer are earthly representations of the sun god and the earth goddess but for the actual coupling in the astral plane the gods both take the form of serpents. The caduceus, the staff of Hermes, his symbol of power, is in the form of two serpents you may remember.
Nobody can be certain why the hare is sacred to the three - fold goddess, maybe it is because the triangular face over a cleft lip resembles the females public delta over the cleft of the vagina (similar the face of a Beaver!), maybe it is because the hare is three toed, usually litters three young or perhaps because of its fecundity; the females can conceive while already pregnant with a litter. Any way you look at it the Easter Bunny is a potent fertility symbol.
Another task of the hare is to distribute the Easter eggs.
Ostara, the original goddess of the festival is a very specific three - fold goddess aspect, she is goddess of the sown corn and the swollen grain when it bursts open resembles an egg from which the chick is hatching so that is one egg myth.
The world - egg that the serpent - goddess lays is of infinite potentiality but the world can only be reborn from it when it is hatched by the warmth of the sun. This is entirely consistent with the hatching of snakes eggs by the heat of sunlight.
There is a natural involvement for the egg too, after the lenten (lean times) which dates back to the world's first known language spoken in the Indo - European crescent that stretched from the Ganges delta to the Alpine mountains, when the solstice festival takes place, the birds are laying. The primitives did not know the process involved so it seems likely that they created a legend that the Goddess sent her messenger the hare to hide eggs as a way of involving children in the gathering of food. The children would have a fine game of finding eggs in the bush and then a high protein, high fat feast to celebrate the end of the lean time.
Anyone doubting the connection between the Christian crucifixion myth and the pagan solstice ceremony (the spring equinox was to the ancients the beginning of the solar year,) should take a look at the first chapter of the book of Ezekiel which contains a perfect description of the Chariot of Hermes with the cherubim being the spokes of the wheels. It would take too long here to explain all the symbology of this fantastical passage.