For kids who love animals by a kid who loves animals
Even today, the significance of our dreams as projections of the human subconscious is a fascinating, yet uniquely difficult subject to research, much less understand.
A few years ago, I tried to keep a dream journal, but quite frankly dropped it after a few weeks because I didn’t even dream enough, or clear enough, to make it worth keeping track! Sometimes I dream about situations and subjects that I feel I can draw some sort of meaning out of, but it’s really hard to tell if I’m simply interpreting it in the way that I prefer. However, I do truly enjoy hearing about people’s relationship to their dreams and dreaming, whether it be nightmares, dreams of those who have passed, or nonsense mix-ups of people you know and people you don’t. They exist on such a vast spectrum! Many people, like one of my moms, hardly ever remember their dreams at all. But my stepmom has such a vivid and well-remembered dream world that she could talk about it for hours? So what makes the difference? I can’t say for sure, but perhaps we can glean a little bit of insight from looking at some animals commonly seen in people’s dreams and what some think they mean.
To me, it’s no surprise that rabbits are one of the more common animals seen in people’s dreams. Besides being cuddly and fuzzy little buddies, rabbits can be found on every continent except Antartica due to their resilient and, well, productive nature. Thus, from early on in many indigenous cultures, rabbits appear to play some sort of mythological, spiritual, or even moral role–whether the Rabbit’s Foot as a symbol of good luck and swiftness in Celtic and African American communities, Aesop’s Fables of Ancient Greece, Brer Rabbit, or the Rabbit trickster God Nanabozho of the First Nation Tribe of the Objiwe. Even in popular contemporary culture, the rabbit often plays the role of the mystic or the guide to an otherworldly experience—the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, anyone?
According to ChineseAstrology.com, holding a white rabbit or seeing a rabbit run through a meadow may foretell positive developments in your love life–whether that’s meeting a new, well-suited beau or becoming more attractive to possible partners. The symbolism of the rabbit runs far deeper than placement on the Chinese lunar calendar, as celebrated as it is.
In fact, the Chinese Moon Goddess has been tied to the rabbit as early as 5th century BCE. Called 玉兔 (Jade Rabbit), there’s even a longstanding legend that a rabbit grinding pestle and mortar can be seen upon the visible surface of the moon. As silly as it might sound to those who haven’t grown up with that story, it still holds a lot of power in China today–in fact, China’s first unmanned probe to the moon in 2013 was called the Jade Rabbit in honor of this legend!
Naturally, rabbits are generally often related to fertility, love, and intimacy–makes a whole lot of sense considering the Eastern Cottontail rabbit, for example, can produce up to 7 litters of 1-12 baby bunnies in a single year! Geez, to think we consider a family of 7 children large!
As fluffy and sweet as rabbits are, their symbolism isn’t all warm and cuddly. Due to their position in the animal kingdom as sought-after prey, the skittish and vulnerable nature of rabbits relates them with anxiety, betrayal, wariness, and warning against incoming danger. Seeing yourself or someone you love as a rabbit in your dreams may indicate a sense of instability or a lack of safety in your current state. A black-coated rabbit is even worse, often described as indicating the loss of innocence, a breakup, or the impending death of someone dear to you.
In various Native American tribes, the rabbit plays a key role in spiritual and ritual traditions and beliefs, although often very different depending on the community. For example, this Algonquin legend describes a rabbit and a fox as honorable allies to a young hero. Meanwhile, the Cree have a legend of a cannibal “person with the features of a rabbit” called Achaanwaapush, who tormented the young and old alike. Yikes! That’s almost enough for me to stay away from these long-eared rodents forever. Almost…..
Who knew there was so much to the legend of the rabbit? If you want to read more about rabbits and the subconscious, I’d highly recommend this fascinating article by House Rabbit Society. Sweet dreams!