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Reverence for Rabbits & All Living Creatures – The Greatest Gift at Easter is Sharing the Heart of Compassion


Let us remember that animals are not mere resources for human consumption. They are splendid beings in their own right, who have evolved alongside us as co-inheritors of all the beauty and abundance of life on this planet. ~Marc Bekoff

animal-children-photography-elena-shumilova-11

Photo by Elena Shumilova

Most people know that I am a huge animal lover and that my life is driven by living in reverence to all of life and in loving compassion to all creatures, great and small. You may also know that I have a special place in my heart for rabbits.

A few nights ago I was sharing about my connection with rabbits, as I was reflecting on Easter time and how rabbits are such a huge symbol of this day and Spring, but also experience the sad results of it.

Easter RabbitI find it quite profound that rabbits are the brunt end of so much violence and sadness, as they are killed for their fur, for their meat as food, are one of the animals hugely experimented on and tortured for “science” and for things such as cosmetics, are the third most euthanized animals after dogs and cats, end up abandoned, in shelters, or let loose in the wild unable to fend for themselves after their “cuteness” wears off (Easter time especially), or die short lives because of people not being educated on proper rabbit care and their delicate physiology. The majority of veterinarians are not even educated to treat them properly (a fact, as well as something I experienced with my rabbits). Rabbits are simply widely misunderstood because they take intuitive care and attention since they haven’t a voice like other animals that can meow or bark, are generally more docile and easily over-powered, and will simply retreat when something is wrong.

I cherish all animals and communicate with them daily, but for whatever reason since I was young, rabbits have been one of the amazing beings on this Earth that I have a special bond with and that I feel to be a voice for.

Tej3Every Easter, I sponsor a rabbit, or two, from the shelter where my bunny love, Joy Julianna, and I connected. This year I was instantly drawn to one bunny that stole my heart and I’ve been thinking of her ever since laying my eyes upon her photos.

Her name is Tej and she is a special needs bunny. I do not know her story, of how she came to be as you see her, but I have put in an inquiry to the shelter to find out more about her and her condition. I cried the instant I saw her, and felt such a bond with her. If Tejshe can’t be with me physically, I’ll be supporting her as I can energetically and in sponsorship.

If these dear ones call to your heart, perhaps you might help with a small donation, fostering, home, volunteering, or at least help to educate others that rabbits are not objects of amusement, but tender and intelligent beings that deserve our love.

Tej2You can give here and even choose a rabbit you’d like to sponsor at this nationally recognized rabbit rescue and non-profit organization: 

Donate to the Rabbits at SaveABunny

Or, at the least, when thinking about Easter today and what to share with your children, share the heart of compassion and reverence for all living beings and for the beauty of living in harmony with Nature. This will have great impact for all beings that walk this Earth with us.

Here’s a good article on reasons NOT to give a rabbit as an Easter gift:

Reasons Not To Give A Bunny As An Easter Gift

Let us deepen the reach of our hearts to extend to all beings gifting our lives with their precious souls.

Reflecting & Rejoicing – How SaveABunny Helped Save Me


joy playing hide and seekTwo days ago I received a voice message from SaveABunny.org – the nationally recognized non-profit adoption, education and volunteer-based foster center that rescues rabbits, based in Mill Valley, California. This is where I adopted my precious little Joy Julianna on February 23rd, 2009 – just 3 days before my birthday, coming up on almost 5 years ago now. She arrived at the shelter after being neglected, but still retained her loving quality, despite her experiences.

She was named Julianna by the shelter, but I added Joy to the front of her name. Since, she’s taken on a few nicknames to include “Tiny” and “Jules”.

I’ve shared a lot about Joy and Nestor (my two rabbit companions and soul partners) in many other posts, so I won’t go into detail here, nor could ever possibly explain the magickal experiences I have had with them in the decade of time they both have graced my life.

office3

i love this photo…look who’s peeking from behind the chair 🙂

But because of the synchronicity of SaveABunny contacting me, mirroring not only my thinking of them in the last week and some ways to support their efforts, but also their call coming in directly the morning after I hung my original painting, “Once in a Blue Moon” which features both Nestor and Joy, in my office (after receiving message to do so, which has created a portal and shifted the vibe of my space), I felt moved to share this short post today.

Anyway, back to the phone call from SaveABunny….the lady calling was asking to have my contact information updated, as well as was checking in to see how Joy was doing and asking if I’d be willing to update them with a brief share about her along with some photos, as they love to hear and share about happy endings for these sweet and magickal creatures.

I, of course, immediately stopped everything and sent them the small share you can find below, along with the photos you see in this post (I’m only sharing a few of the many I sent them. Yes, I love my little one so much and I wanted them to see how happy and wonderful Joy is).

me and joySome people have human babies…I have animal babies, but to me they are much, much, MUCH more than that. They are powerful beings, my best friends, and alchemical magicians that have not only worked their magick with experiences in my life and the lives of others, but have worked their magick on my heart.

After having experienced a traumatic transition that Nestor left this experience through to continue her eternal one, I found myself in an instantaneous “Tower” Tarot card experience where the quick and intense lightning strike of change flashed through my soul. Not only did it mark one of the largest shifts that have me on my current journey, but it also had my heart in a pain I had not yet ever experienced until that moment, and likely won’t again. Not only did Nestor take me to the depths of unconditional love, but she took me to the depths of anguish in having the physical experience of my Twin Soul move on, which at the time felt like – without me.

joy with stuffed friendYet this proved not to be the case, and rather than continue that story I’ve shared before, through a series of magickal circumstances, messages, and signs orchestrated by Nestor, Joy Julianna came into my life (something I thought I would never allow in again), but she, with Nestor’s guidance, helped me to mend and integrate healing of my heart and come to know the true resiliency it houses, as I love her with ALL of me again.

From the depths of dark and light, I have learned about the fullness and wholeness of experience and deepened my capacity for unconditional love and compassion. And from the experiences they both have shared with me (much too long to explain the how’s), I have been able to harness the authenticity and clarity of my/this life’s path and get myself aligned and on track with greater strength and courage.

joy-and-skullAnd woo!! what an enchanting life we experience together. My life is graced by Joy’s devotion, purity, innocence, love, musings, magick, and service-focused heart.

The word “Gratitude” is far too limiting for what I feel.

You never know where and how gifts will show up in your life, and it is often the most challenging experiences that are, and hold, the greatest of gifts that hold the opportunity for us to grow exponentially.

Here is the brief, general update I shared with SaveABunny about Joy:

I’ve attached several photos of sweet little Joy Julianna, as I call her now – nickname “Jules”. She is doing amazing and has integrated beautifully into our home with a sister Tortoise named Gaia, a sister cat named Sweet Pea, and a brother cat named Boojum. They all get along beautifully and it’s been such a delight to have Joy with me. She is healthy (has had no major issues since I’ve had her), happy, loves jj and gaiato be with me all of the time, and shares my office with me, although has the run of the house since she’s potty trained and I keep her free. I work from home, so it makes it nice to be with her and the other little ones, and she has proven to be quite the powerful little healing bunny and loves to assist me with all of my healing work and artistic creations. She adores crystals (is often laying with them), is very telepathic, adores and admires her sister Gaia, and loves her stuffed bunny friend that I swear she has enchanted. I just love her so much and am joy and sweet peagrateful that I found her through SaveABunny, as she is my beloved best friend. Thank you so much for all that you do!

joy and crystalsAccording to the ASPCA, rabbits are the third most frequently euthanized animal in the country. Adopting or fostering a rescued rabbit saves precious lives. If you can’t foster or adopt you can still express your care and support with a donation:

http://saveabunny.org/donate

Giving Back to the Easter Bunnies – Save A Bunny


As shared in my blog this week, Easter has varying symbolic meanings, but it also carries varying feelings for me along with this in terms of rabbits, knowing that Easter is when many people go out and purchase them for their children and that they are seen more as a novelty who, in most cases, are later neglected, forgotten, mistreated and handled, and even euthanized.

See my post Rabbits, Cosmic Eggs, Pagan Goddesses & Transition – Easter Origins & Awareness for more information about rabbit awareness involving Easter and Easter symbolism.

You can also go directly to this great post that covers the considerations to be consciously aware of in terms of our rabbit friends and making compassionate choices on their behalf: Five Reasons Not To Buy A Bunny For Easter by Julie Castle

I’ve had several discussions with people recently about rabbits and how to care for them and communicate with them, as I feel they are one of the least understood animal companions. I was happy to hear that a teacher friend of mine was going to incorporate rabbits into her curriculum of animal teaching with her students after our discussion, realizing that it would be of benefit to educate children about these dear ones.

Rabbits’  sensitive natures and need for your tender presence and intuitive care is part of the value you will receive tenfold from them if you learn how to give in these ways to them. Commitment to love them the way they need, not as you want, is a lesson of learning unconditional love and going within more in order to understand their reflections. And when taken seriously and with awareness the magic that awaits you in a friendship with one of these dear loved ones is precious and priceless.

Bunnies

101 South

Today, in honor of my beloved Nestor whom I celebrated a 10 year anniversary of our physical connection in this life just two days ago, my precious Joy, whom Nestor brought into my life after her passing and led me to SaveABunny, and all of the beautiful souls in rabbit form, I donated to two rabbits that have been through an enormously courageous ordeal that are residents of SaveABunny now and in need of new homes and care. These two called to my heart and I wanted as my Easter gift to give back to the beings that have given so much to me.

Bunnies

Heaven Lee

The bunny loves I donated to are 101 South and Heaven Lee. You can read about each of them at the links and you can see all of the bunnies that are in need of donations, fostering and adoption here: SaveABunny Rabbits

If these dear ones call to your heart perhaps you might help with a small donation, fostering, home, or at least help to educate others that rabbits are not objects of amusement, but tender and intelligent beings that deserve our love.

You can give here and even choose a rabbit you’d like to sponsor: 

Donate to the Rabbits at SaveABunny

Marcy Schaaf, head ofSaveABunny (a non-profit organization rabbit rescue and nationally recognized adoption, education and foster center) is such an endlessly giving soul to these beautiful beings.

SaveABunny was founded in 1999 following the rescue of a frightened, neglected stray rabbit. Since then, their professional reputation has grown into a nationally recognized adoption, education and foster center. Yet, at heart they are a scrappy, resourceful and volunteer-based group that walk the talk. They are recognized as a leader in rabbit rescue efforts, as well as a model for building effective partnerships with animal shelters and community groups, such as the Girl Scouts.

Return to Natural Harmony:

My hope is that people and animals will one day live in natural harmony once again. This is one of the focuses of my service. It is also a heart calling to help educate and provide support in the co-creative partnership with rabbits we have, as they truly are symbols of our cosmic origins.

Rabbits, Cosmic Eggs, Pagan Goddesses & Transition – Easter Origins & Awareness


As we continue to move deeper into the Spring of this year and renewing cycle of life, we are also edging toward Easter this weekend, which also calls up visions, thoughts, beliefs, and energy of its own including fertile creation. Easter brings pictures to mind of spring blooms like tulips, colored eggs, baby animals, and also deep symbolism that may have varying meanings to each individual.

nestor with bunnies

Nestor with her bunny friends

Easter is also a time when a lot of people, unfortunately, give baby bunnies as gifts to their children and do not understand the commitment to these precious and extremely sensitive living beings that comes hand-in-hand with that. Rabbits are the third most euthanized animals in shelters, right behind dogs and cats – something I learned from Marcy Schaaf, head of SaveABunny (a non-profit organization rabbit rescue and nationally recognized adoption, education and foster center) when I adopted Joy from there just over 4 years ago.

This is a great post that covers the considerations to be consciously aware of in terms of our rabbit friends and making compassionate choices on their behalf: Five Reasons Not To Buy A Bunny For Easter by Julie Castle

With the connection many of you know I have with rabbits and the depth of their magical presence in my life, this time of year can be especially sensitive for me and also a chance to share some of that magic with you in relation to the symbolism and connections rabbits have with Easter, along with some of the origins and meanings behind this “holyday of transition.”

joy-with-cosmic-egg

Joy with our Septarian Cosmic Egg

Here are some snippets from a post I shared last year about this connection:

“….Traditionally, the Easter Bunny, actually a Hare, was said to lay eggs at Easter. This concept is of course very strange to our factual minds, but taken symbolically, the Egg is not only Potential, but it also represents the Cosmos, the very ground of Being from which we spring–no pun intended! One only need think about the Cosmic Egg and the Druid’s Egg to begin to get the full scope of this meaning. No wonder then that the Hare was at one time considered both male and female. To produce the cosmos, both must be present….

….Overall the Hare is a symbol of many things, all involving balance, Life, creative potency, regeneration, fertility, and eternity. This symbolism manifests in associations with Springtime, the Dawn, the Moon and Sacred Fire, the Egg, the Circle and Infinity symbol, Marriage, Androgyny and Hermaphroditism, as well as Madness, Genius and Inspiration (which seem to go hand in hand)….”

hareYou can read the full post here: Hare Symbolism for the New Earth – Birthing the Cosmic Egg here

Easter has Pagan origins that bring to light a deeper understanding of its meaning. Easter is connected to the Anglo-Saxon Pagan goddess Eostre (or Ostara), but was originally the celebration of Ishtar (pronounced “Easter”), the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of love, procreation, sexuality, fertility, and war. The dyed “cosmic” eggs were both “sacred Easter offerings in Egypt,” as well as are connected to the “mystic egg” that hatched Ishtar.

You can read a few of these insights to reflect on below and click the links for the whole articles.

As N.S. Gill shares in The Eostre Hares and Pagan Easter:

“An Anglo-Saxon goddess named Eostre may have had hares as attendants. If so, the hares may have held her lights, since Eostre was the goddess of Dawn, like Eos (Greek) and Aurora (Latin). The month of April was, among the Anglo-Saxons, called Eostur-monath, and during Eostur-monath, a festival was held to Eostre. This festival has, at least in name, been taken over by the Christian spring festival Easter. If Eostre did indeed have hares as companions, the association of Easter and Easter bunnies is an ancient one.”

eostreSwain Wodening adds in the article Eostre:

“Eostre is a very obscure Goddess, and uniquely Anglo-Saxon Pagan….Her name is connected for words for “east” and “shining.”  It is therefore related to the Greek godname Eos, Goddess of the dawn in their pantheon….

….Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology maintained that “Ostara, Eástre, was goddess of the growing light of spring.” The date of the holy tide would make this a reasonable conclusion. Holy water in the form of the dew or water collected from brooks was gathered at this time. Washing with it was said to restore youth. Beautiful maidens in sheer white were said to seen frolicking in the country side. Also according to Grimm, the white maiden of Osterrode, was said to appear with a large batch of keys at her belt, and stride to the brook to collect water on Easter morning.  Cross buns were of course baked and eaten.  While this could be a Christian addition, that cakes were often use in Heathen rites is apparent in any survey of the lore. And the cross may be symbolic of the rune Gebo or the buns may represent the sun wheel.  Easter eggs seem to go fairly far back in both English and continental celebrations, and of course symbolize the beginning of new life. The hare also known for its fertility appears fairly early in Easter celebrations. Bonfires and vigils also seemed to play a role in many Easter rites.

Based on this Eostre would appear to be a Goddess of purity (the holy water), youth and beauty (the young maidens), as well as one of new life beginnings….”

ishtarAnd as Mark Esposito shares in his guest blog, Happy Ishtar Day: The Origins of Easter

“….But the festival likely has origins before the Hebrew feast of Passover. Two thousand years before the accepted birth of Christ, ancient Babylonians were marking the beginning of Spring with a gala celebration honoring the resurrection of the god, Tammuz, who was killed by a wild boar. Tammuz was returned to life by his mother/wife, Ishtar (after whom the festival was named) with her tears. Ishtar was actually pronounced “Easter.”

Ishtar was quite the racy goddess, as historians Will and Ariel Durant explained in their monumental work, The Story of Civilization:

 “Ishtar …  interests us not only as analogue of the Egyptian Isis and prototype of the Grecian Aphrodite and the Roman Venus, but as the formal beneficiary of one of the strangest of Babylonian customs…known to us chiefly from a famous page in Herodotus: Every native woman is obliged, once in her life, to sit in the temple of Venus [Easter], and have intercourse with some stranger.”

Need anyone wonder why the ancient Hebrews would want to amend this legend and the Puritans to forget about it all together. They didn’t consider Babylon “the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth” for nothing.

Another theory, adopted by the Roman Catholic Church, is that Easter celebrations have their linguistic origins in the Anglo-Saxon fertility rites of the goddess, Eastre. “Since Bede the Venerable (De ratione temporum 1:5) the origin of the term for the feast of Christ’s Resurrection has been popularly considered to be from the Anglo-Saxon Eastre, a goddess of spring…the Old High German plural for dawn, eostarun; whence has come the German Ostern, and our English Easter” (The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, Vol. 5, p. 6).

But what about Easter eggs? How did they enter the mix? Christians have always used the egg to symbolize the rock tomb from which Jesus emerged into new life. But the symbolism predates the Christian era. Pagan theology considered the egg as a symbol of Spring’s rebirth from Winter. (Francis X. Weiser, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, p. 233). The Egyptians had a slightly different spin considering the egg the symbol of the passage of life from one generation to the next.

“Eggs were hung up in the Egyptian temples. Bunsen calls attention to the mundane egg, the emblem of generative life, proceeding from the mouth of the great god of Egypt. The mystic egg of Babylon, hatching the Venus Ishtar, fell from heaven to the Euphrates. Dyed eggs were sacred Easter offerings in Egypt, as they are still in China and Europe. Easter, or spring, was the season of birth, terrestrial and celestial.” (Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought, James Bonwick, pp. 211-212)

The pagan tales of gods and goddesses was quite an ecumenical affair with many civilizations sharing the same deity but branding each with a different name that suited their populations. Thus Ishtar became Astarte to the Greeks and Ashtoreth to the Jews. Nimrod, the Biblical figure who built the city of Babylon, and was mentioned in Genesis is another example. He was worshipped as Saturn, Vulcan, Kronos, Baal,  and Tammuz by succeeding civilizations but the story remained more or less intact for centuries.

Easter thus is an international affair going back centuries and spanning civilizations from the Babylonians to ourselves. Who says things really change?”

Wishing you a regenerative, abundantly creative, and cosmically enlightening Easter.

The fasts are done; the Aves said;
The moon has filled her horn
And in the solemn night I watch
Before the Easter morn.
So pure, so still the starry heaven,
So hushed the brooding air,
I could hear the sweep of an angel’s wings
If one should earthward fare.
~Edna Dean Proctor, “Easter Morning”

Dedicated to my beloved and departed angel, Nestor, who embodies the Cosmic Egg of my heart.

A Day of Joy!


Joy

Today is all about JOY!!! Yes, Joy for life, Joy of love and definitely love of JOY!!!

Happy 3 year Anniversary Joy (aka Tiny and several other love names)!!! Today, three years ago, I picked up my precious little Joy from SaveABunny.org  as a birthday gift to me, after she came into my dream and spoke to me telepathically. This connection was made by my dearly departed Nestor in a story that is too long to share and hard for some to grasp. The pick up was shared with Laura Bruno, who accompanied me for a special birthday celebration feast at Cafe Gratitude up north, followed by a visit to the shelter to get my new bunny love. It was about a 3 to 3 1/2 hour drive from my home in Lake Tahoe, but worth it for good food, friend, fun and love!

Laura and I had met the SaveABunny.org Founder, Marcy Schaaf and some of her staff at the World Veg Festival in San Francisco, which included Ambassador Scooter, a sweet rescue lop bunny whose found sanctuary with Marcy.

Joy in my Lake Tahoe home where she quickly showed me what a spiritual bunny she was always gravitating to my crystals and altars

Founded in 1999, SaveABunny is a nonprofit, volunteer-oriented animal rescue organization based in Mill Valley, California and recognized as a leader in the “new generation” of rabbit rescue. SaveABunny rescues and assists Northern California shelters to adopt more than 300 domestic rabbits per year and is funded primarily through donations and grants, and secondarily through adoption fees and specialty services such as boarding, rabbit grooming, and limited merchandise sales. I was assisting Laura, as her photograher, with an article she was writing for We Like It Raw, when we were guided to the SaveABunny booth.

After talking with Marcy, not only did I learn the very disheartening fact that rabbits are the #3 most euthanized animals after dogs and cats, but I discovered what Nestie had in store for me. I knew I had to be a part of supporting Marcy’s heartfelt efforts and so I did visit the shelter to give healing Reiki energy to the bunnies there, which is how I first met Joy Juliana – as she was named Juliana, which I kept as her middle name and still call her Jules and Jewel as some of her nick names. I received confirmation of Nestie’s nudge when a SaveABunny t-shirt suddenly came into my visual field. I turned to Laura and said, “Oh my gosh! It’s Nestie!” And so it was, and of course I quickly purchased the t-shirt (All proceeds going straight to the bunnies of course!) with grey lop-earred bunny under a Full Moon, of all things! It is an exact image of what Nestor looked like and depicted her connection with the moon. I always heed the signs!

T-shirt image I purchased from SaveABunny

(Image left is the SaveABunny t-shirt I bought at the World Veg Festival – which I like to call, Nestie under the Full Moon: Comes from the Reflection of Compassion (Aijo-no-kagami) series of five rabbit watercolors created by artist Elizabeth Koval Maffeo of Koval Designs. Each painting is inspired by the Japanese story “Rabbit in the Moon.” This story deals with the rabbit’s compassion and charity. These paintings are created to symbolize that display of compassion.)

At first I was against getting another bunny, after having lost Nestor, which was the most traumatic experience of my life. But I knew Nestie knew better and there was some healing alchemy in her plan in store. So, I listened to the insistent nudges that kept coming to me with visions of Joy and not being able to stop thinking about her. I ended up emailing Marcy to ask about her after some time had past from my first meeting with her. Marcy informed me that a family had come to see her and were thinking about taking her, but she knew my dedicated love and being a Reiki practitioner herself she understood the magick of the story I relayed and said, if you want her, she’s yours.

Joy and me, image created by my good friend Cliff Durfee

I didn’t hesitate after that and went to get her two days before my birthday. Marcy informed me that right after I had told her I was taking Joy, that the family had called wanting Joy for sure. Timing is everything! Joy knew this, which is why she showed up in my dream with a message really fast because she preferred coming home with me and knew she had only a window to work quickly. Luckily I listend because she has brought so much love and magick back into my life and has not only aided my healing of losing Nestor physically, but she’s proven to bring some very powerful gifts into our experience together, allows me to cuddle her, whereas Nestie had her own way I honored, and facilitates communication between Nestor and I, sometimes channeling Nestor.

It’s such an amazing friendship we have.

There just simply are NO coincidences! Thank you Nestie! And thanks to Marcy for the love that she shares, for Laura who supported me in the process of bringing Joy into my life and for Joy showing up just when I needed her, and she me.

Joy and our large rabbit amethyst geode connected with Nestor's energy

I love you Tiny!!!

Joy under another altar table

Joy hanging out and hamming it up with the rabbit and turtle statues in my solarium overlooking Lake Tahoe

Close up of Joy under the altar

Marcy and Scooter center with SaveABunny staff members at the Veg Fest

Joy with her amethyst geode - photo captured a large orb in the amethyst

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