Forgive me dear hiviners for recycling!

If you’ve been good the Easter bunny will presumably leave you some eggs, according to age old custom, in your bonnet – or if you are an old man from up north, in your flat cap. If you happen to be a youth of today without any asbos, you might well find some lurking in the bottom of your hoody.

The Easter bunny is a mythological rabbit (sorry to shatter your illusions but it’s always better to know the truth!)) based on pre-Christian customs honouring the fertility goddess Eostre. According to the 8th century historian the Venerable Bede (better known as Rowan Atkinson!!) the word Easter is derived from the Germanic goddess Eostre pronounced yo’ ster (one for the hoodies) a fertility goddess from whom we derived the word oestrogen. Not much is written about her lesser known sister progesterone, which is a pity and probably why women are having so many problems with PMT and the menopause these days.

I often wondered why rabbits are associated with Easter and now I know. It’s because the hare and rabbit (sounds like a pub) were the most fertile animals around and so became symbols of new life during the spring season. The Female can apparently conceive a second litter of offspring whilst still pregnant with the first, in which case, I’m glad I wasn’t born with floppy ears and a fluffy tail – well, at least the fluffy tail!

The expression ‘Mad as a March hare’ derives from the wild caperings of hares as the rampant males fight over the females in the early spring and then attempt to mate with them. Males of any species are often prone to fighting and ritual (not to mention mating!). Take the ritual of bunny dipping for example where the gentleman half stands and half sits when a lady leaves the table. The phrase allegedly originates from the Playboy club where the bunny girls developed the ‘bunny dip’ so that their bosoms didn’t fall out of their bustles when they were bending over the tables. Rabbits are also often present at the table, but usually in a casserole dish, and there are many different ways of cooking them. The Welsh have always been renowned for their rare bits, as well as their cheese on toast and there is nothing tastier, it has to be said, especially with a sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce.

There is also the ‘bunny boiler’ of course, which originated from the film ‘Fatal Attraction’ when Glen Close performed her very own version of bunny dipping – as in boiling the pet rabbit. There is even a website where if you click on ‘she boilers’ they will give you a unique bunny boiler rating. I wonder if they would be interested in my mine? It’s been acting up a bit in these high winds and I am absolutely dreading the pilot light going out.

The Goddess Eostre has also got her own website and her message today is that if you have been going through a period of stagnation and lethargy, where nothing seems to be happening, (tell me about it) well let it go. Now is the time for growth. The Goddess says that wholeness is matured when you stretch and that stretching promotes growth. Well, I’ve been stretching all day but I don’t feel any taller. Perhaps I should make her an offering – but not a rabbit casserole of course.

The following poem ‘The White Rabbit’ is a poem which has been passed down through the generations of my family and which I can somehow relate to HIV especially in regard to prejudice and stigma. Maybe that bigot Nigel Farage should read it and take heed especially after his comments in the Leaders election debate last night.

The White Rabbit

There was once a rabbit with silver fur
And her little grey neighbours looked up to her
Till she thought with pride in the moonlit wood,
“The reason I’m white is because I am good”.

“Oh dear, oh dear” said the tiny mole,
“A fairy has stumbled into a hole.
It’s full of water and creepy things
And she can’t get out as she’s hurt her wings”.

“Don’t tell me about it,” the white rabbit said
And she shut up her eyes and her ears grew red.
“There’s lots of mud and it’s sure to stick
And my lovely fur is so long and thick”.

A little grey rabbit popped up from the gorse
“I’m not very strong but I’ll try, of course”.
And his little tail wagged as he waded in
And the muddy water came up to his chin.

But he caught the fairy tight by the hand
And sent her off safely to fairyland.
But first she kissed his little pink nose
She kissed his cheeks and his little mud toes.

And when the day dawned in the early light,
That little grey rabbit was……

Shining White!


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