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APRIL 2016

I’ve been thinking that the hare just might be the perfect symbol to reflect the very distinct personality pertaining to the citizenry of the magical land of Norneverland.Given that across the land people are riven with conflicting senses of identity the leperid might provide the adhesive glue to better reflect our innate curmudgeonry complexity ; that slight crookedness and truculence of personality , mixed thoroughly with a dark, dry humour and mischief. You just have to imagine the symbology on a brand new flag, fluttering in the wind as Spring dawns.
It’s the time of the season to think about the lepping hare. This is really the hare’s time of year . It is most associated in Ireland with the Celtic goddess Eastre which we have named our Eastertime after, so it is appropriate to give the little creature a moment of our thoughts at this juncture of the year . We used to find its image stamped on the Irish threepenny bit when I was growing up in the pre- decimal 1950’s and 1960’s. Some of them filtered across the border separating Norneverland from the rest of the Irish inhabitants. These tiny little silver darlings which could so easily burrow into the corner fluff of a schoolboy’s trouser pocket ,were much sought after; magical tokens that could skip out of the same pocket with the penknife or the conker.
The ancient magical mythology of the hare stretches back in time across many cultures . The creature was thought to be an other-worldly shape-shifter which often manifested itself as a young and beautiful woman in storytelling and Celtic myths. By the time ancient Ireland became populated , the hare was already well entrenched as a fertility symbol of regeneration and magical fecundity, older than anything else in the culture..The symbol of its power survived even the introduction of Christianity by Patrick and many legends and pre-Christian superstitions refused to be supplanted by the newer alien belief system well into modern times.Folklore has extremely deep roots which cling tightly.
The incoming Celts associated the hare as the goddess Eostre’s spirit form much as cats were associated as witch’s familiars .The new incoming Spring , the early dawn, Eastertime, the redemptive sun following the cold of wintertime and the resurrected land ; the hibernating animals awakening and birds returning from foreign climes seemed part and parcel of the hare’s legacy. At the time of the full moon Eostre magically changed herself into not just any creature ….It was a hare.
Across Europe the hare has always been associated as an otherworldly animal, given that it was seen and assumed to be a mysterious and somewhat solitary creature , unreadable, contrary and inconstant in its habits. In ancient Egypt the hare was often found and interpreted in hieroglyphic form for the word denoting existence. The history of hares seems to have been informed by a very serious pedigree.The moon and the hare were partnered as brothers ,both also associated with madness and eccentricity and in Buddism the creature is seen as a symbol of resurrection and rebirth, much as the moon is.The moon was thought to die and then re-appear. Most religions have their origin story buried in these beliefs. That whole notion that a living creature must expire in its earth-bound form before he can be “born again” on a more esoteric plane of existence.
It wasn’t long before the errant hare was supplanted in popular affection at Easter by the more cuddly Easter Bunny which was deemed less freakishly and supernaturally threatening. Indeed before the aforementioned witch had her black cat familiar , the pagan hare acted as the pussy’s stand -in in popular lore. He was obviously a wee fellow with a long , dark and mysterious past. There was a time when it wasn’t a fluffy rabbit’s foot that was the designated good-luck charm ,said to aid in pregnancy, benign fortune or the charms of love and romance. That was soley the hare’s forte, now as long-forgotten as the Celtic Goddess Eostre’s charms against all evil…. even as Eostre herself has long since been mostly abandoned by her fickle ,. That little leaping hare still remains, though.
Given its ancient provenance and longevity it strikes me that the hare would make a fine and more reflective symbol for a new flag of Norneverland.You’ve only to imagine droves of cloth quadrilaterals bearing the imagery of hares, fluttering in the Springtime winds , supplanting the garish and divisive circus symbology of red , green, blue, white, and orange currently adhered to across the land, especially atop some of our public buildings.