Monday, 5 March 2012

March of the Mad Hares .

Well spring is well and tuly in the air, time when certain senses awake, the season too of our 'mad march hares'..... boxing, prancing, dancing, having it large. The female of this species is superfecund at the moment, so the males get a bit frustrated, and tend to bounce around the female erratically, its  the ritual of fertility,   and of course desire is in the air, but  for the lady, when she stands on her hind legs - no means no. To us humans they can seem to look crazy, demented. No madder than your average human being though.
Long have they been seen as mysterious and sacred to us, for some messengers of the underworld, they come and go as they please.And long have they been invested with mystical property, I for one find them enchanting.The hare in mythology crops up, time and again across the globe.
It is percieved to be solitude and remote. It is also active at night, a symbol of the intuitive, and fickleness of the moon, an unpredictable creature. It is seen as sacred to the White Goddess/mother earth.

In Saxon times there was a cult of the hare and there was a Goddess Oestara (oestrous cycle) or Eostore (Easter) who was said to rule over spring and the dawn. Then christianity came along and suppressed this cult and the hare totemic values were  replaced with the safer images of the easter bunny and the easter egg.
Hares that were seen to be acting oddly were also thought to be shape-shifting witches or 'were-hares.'
It was also said that if one crossed your path, it was seen as a warning of imminent danger. Sailors apparently , thought of them as unlucky, but for others a hare's foot was seen as a symbol of luck, but I wouldnt recommend hunting them for any purpose, long may we have them around.
Can dissapear quite quickly, here one minute, gone the next. Swift and nimble, at full speed can get up to 40 miles per hour.They tend to come out around dusk, graze and play all night, and go to bed about dawn. Because of their shyness, don't like to attract to much attention, but if you catch a glance a beautiful sight to behold. They live in a small depression in the ground called a 'form' above the earth, and will often be found in open fields.
 Who knows  could be at a tea party somewhere or if you look out this week, you might  be lucky enough to see one or two , leaping over the moon.

Leaping Hare - Ian MacCulloch

' The common sort of people suppose that hares are one year male and one year female. . . .
yet hunters object that there be some which are only females and no more, but no male that is not also a female, and so they make him an hermaphrodite.' -

- Edward Topsell , History of Four-footed Beasts 1607.

March of the Mad Hares represents the art of Professor Ralph Skelton, done in the printmaking process called, intagilo. His animal images represent the individual cages in which humans hide and the surreal landscapes that exist within each individual.

Link to Hare Preservtion Trust.

Protect threatened Hares Petition.

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