Saturday, April 3, 2010
When I was three-years-old, I decided my favorite animal was the rabbit. It all started with the children's picture book "What Whiskers Did."
I lived in the country and would play in the woods behind my backyard looking for places a rabbit might hide. I would spend hours lying on the moss-covered ground, smelling the pine, and keeping watch amongst the pink Lady's Slippers, always hoping the tiny creatures would scurry by.
Today, all these years later, I still get excited when I see an Eastern cottontail in my yard or out in a field. In the evening, I leave food for them (twilight and midnight are their favorite times to dine) and peek through my window. It's my totem and we are very much alike: love vegetables, like to hide, shy, and lightweight.
A fondness for rabbits goes back milleniums. St. Melangell (also called St. Moncella) is the patron saint of rabbits, hares, and small animals. She was known for hiding a hare in her robe to save it from the hounds of Prince Brochivel of Powys. (The rabbit was the symbol of Eostra, the goddess of spring and fertility, and she is celebrated during the spring equinox).
Saint Melangell was born in Ireland to an Irish or Scottish king. She vowed celibacy and founded a community of women in Wales of which she was the abbess. Her shrine is at Pennant Melangell. St. Melangell died c. 509 and her feast day is May 27.