Love to Our Ancestors on Samhain: The Faery Seers

Samhain is a time to honor our ancestors.

Time to lay out a feast and invite them to dine, to share their presence with us while the veil is thin.

So, in respect for those who came before, I have made a small Ancestral Gallery of Witches. Give them a smile, tip your hat, light a candle and say thank you for blazing the trail and holding open the gates of Elfhame.  It took a lot of courage, in those old days, to walk between the worlds.

My original plan was to give space to thirteen of our forebears in one blog post, but i realized, not everyone would know them, so I shall make a series of posts with three in each — a good magical number. It is amazing to discover these great teachers and mentors all over again and to remember how they kept magic alive for all of us, sometimes at great personal risk.

The Jackman’s Song

by Ben Jonson

The Faiery beame upon you,

The starres to glister on you;

A Moone of light

In the Noone of night,

Til the fire-Drake hath o’re-gone you.

The Wheele of fortune guide you,

the Boy with the Bow beside you,

Runne aye in the Way,

Till the Bird of day,

And the luckyer lot betide you.

The Faery Seers

Thomas the Rhymer

Thomas the Rhymer

Thomas Learmonth of Erceldoune:

Born 1643,  Taken into Faery Dec. 13, 1713

True Thomas lay on Huntlie Bank

A furlie he spied with his e’e

And there he saw a Lady bright

Com riding along by the Eildon tree…


He has gotten a coat of the Elven cloth

And a pair of shoes of velvet green

And in seven years that have gone and passed

True Thomas on Earth was never seen…

From: The Ballad of Sir Thomas the Rhymer

True Thomas was a Faery Seer who was visited by the Queen of the Faeries and seduced away into Elfhame to live for 7 years. When he returned to the mortal world, he had the gift of prophecy. Many of his  predictions have true.

We are very lucky that the ballad  telling the tale of his adventure with the Queen of Elfhame has come down to us, over these 300 years, in an extremely intact form, for it is a most precise initiation into Faery, rivaled only by Tam Lin, a ballad of equal antiquity, that some scholars think is an extension of  the tale of Thomas the Rhymer.

If you want the keys to Faery, the entire texts of Thomas the Rhymer, and Tam Lin, are here:

Initiatory Faery Ballad: Tam Lin

Thomas Rhymer: An Exploration of A Faery Ballad

The page will come up. You just have to scroll down to find the ballads.

Reverend Robert Kirk: Born 1644/Taken into Faery 1697


1. These siths or Fairies, which they call sluaghmaith or the good people: it would seem, to prevent the dint of their ill attempts: for the Irish usually bless all they fear harm of, and are said to be of  middle nature betwixt man and Angel, as were daemons thought to be of old: are intelligent Studious Spirits, and light changeable bodies, like those called Astral, somewhat of the nature of a condensed cloud, and best seen in twilight. Their bodies are so pliable through the subtlety of the spirits that agitate them, that they can make them appear and disappear at pleasure…

The usual method for a curious person to get a transient sight of this otherwise invisible crew of Subterraneans, if impotently and over-rashly sought, is to put his foot on the Seer’s foot and then the Seer’s hand is put on the inquirer’s head, who is then to look over the wizard’s (seer’s) right shoulder. [This method is one] which has an ill appearance [for it implies] as if by this ceremony an implicit surrender were made of all between the wizard;s foot and his hand before the person can be admitted to the art of Seership.

From: Robert Kirk: Walker Between the Worlds, edited by R.J.Stewart

Reverend Robert Kirk was 17th century clergyman who was always at the edge of controversy. His main task had been to translate the psalms and Bible into Gaelic. Besides that, as a seventh son of a seventh son, he had the Second Sight. He communed with the Faeries, wrote a book about them called The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Faeries.  He  talked about them openly from the pulpit of his church.

The people of hos parish thought he was taking chances, for he had broken a taboo of secrecy imposed by the faeries on those who witnessed their doings. When his body was discovered on the Fairy Knowe, or hill, the traditional dwelling of the faeries, it was rumored to be just a “stock”, a simulacrum left by the good people who had taken the real Robert Kirk to live with them under the hills.

We are being blessed, that a film about the life of Robert Kirk by Scottish director Michael Ferns, will be released around Yule.

You can see the trailers and read my interview with Michael here:

Kirk! An Interview with Film Director Michael Ferns

Kirk! Official Trailer

Isoble Gowdie:  Tried for Witchcraft in 1662

I shall go into a hare,
With sorrow and sych and meickle care;
And I shall go in the Devil’s name,
Ay while I come home again.
Hare, hare, God send thee care.
I am in a hare’s likeness now,
But I shall be in a woman’s likeness even now.

The year 1662 seems to have been a great year for Faery contact in Scotland, for all three of these Faery Seers, had their most intense experiences at that time. It coincided at a time when fairies were thought to be disappearing from the land a,nd that a vast and amazing store of cultural lore was threatened with extinction.

This process was being accelerated by the seizure of political control by Protestant extremists under Cromwell’s Commonwealth. Unlike the more tolerant Catholics, the Puritans, Presbyterians, and others, viewed anything that smacked of Paganism as  idolatry and suppressed it. This included the Faery Faith, and it was said that the Methodists had driven the faeries out of Wales.

Isobel Gowdie was tried for witchcraft in 1662. Historian John Callow told her story to a rapt audience in London in 2005. As a poor woman, changing into the shape of a hare or a raven, gave her entry into the glamorous Faery Hall where she attended feasts and danced in elegant clothes. In her raven form, she stole food and trinkets. She left a broomstick beside her sleeping husband and flew up the chimney to attend the Sabbat. In the end, she had wagered with the Devil to destroy a man she didn’t like, and her magic was so effective that she turned herself in to the authorities as a way to make her stop.

She voluntarily gave  detailed accounts of her experiences with her coven and her visits with the Faery Queen, whom she called the Queen of Elfhame. We are extremely fortunate that she did this, for otherwise her adventures would never have been written down for us to learn from, and be amazed at, three hundred years afterwards.

This interesting point of view comes from wikipedia:

It is unclear whether Gowdie’s confession is the result of psychosis, whether she had fallen under suspicion of witchcraft and sought leniency by confessing, or was she simply much smarter than her Christian inquisitors. It is also unclear whether there was some truth to her remarkable confessions. Her confession was not consistent with the folklore and records of the trials of witches, and it was more detailed than most. What draws attention to her remarkable case is the fact that her admission of witchcraft sounds very much like the actual shamanic practices that are still in use today. She did not pander to the distorted beliefs of the Christian church about witches and the worship of Satan. There is no record of her ever being executed.

John Callow suggested that guilt made Isobel confess. That she was, in a sense, addicted to magic, and it was going terribly wrong. I agree. There is a lot of psychological validity to this view as some if us have seen in our own lives. Faery Witchcraft is also a highly shamanic path. For want of a better word — if you don’t like the word “shaman” substitute “witch” and the picture comes clear.

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My Nine Favorite Witches

I thought it would be fun to have a little ancestral gallery of my favorite witches. You know, like they have in haunted houses, the ones who follow you with their eyes…

Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn had such a powerful glamour that she won what morsel of heart Henry VIII possessed, and used her feminine powers to become Queen of England. In the process, she was the catalyst for religious reform, causing King Henry to renounce the Church so he could divorce Catherine of Aragon to marry her.

She was not known as a great beauty, but she had mysterious black eyes and a great deal of charm and personality cultivated in the French Court at Calais. Before her death, her enemies had begun refer to her “The Witch” claiming she had bewitched King Henry and citing as proof the extra little finger on her left hand….


Queen Elizabeth I

Rainbow portrait

Rainbow portrait

Like mother, like daughter…

Now you must agree that there has never been a more magical Queen that Elizabeth Tudor. She was known as the Faerie Queen because she deliberately presented herself as an Otherworldly being. Her various costumes were covered in magical symbols and included esoteric regalia. Some of her gowns even had wings suggesting that she was capable of flight! Her court astrologer was the Magus John Dee who, through the medium Edward Kelly, spoke with angels. She encouraged the art of Alchemy in her Court and was of course the Royal patron of William Shakespeare — and various other members of the School of Night.

Her personal power and glamour were enormous. She was, and still is, on the inner planes, a Goddess.



The Enigmatic LadyX

I have no idea who this lady was, but hey!

Isobel Gowdie

We have no pictures of 17th century Scottish witch, Isobel Gowdie, but we have her the words of her voluntary confession, her tale of shape-shifting to join the Faery Court in their magnificent feasts and dances. These poetic words are sung by the incomparable Maddy Prior.

Double click on the arrow to get it to work.

Isobel Gowdie is cool. She was a poor woman living in a hovel in the Scottish Highlands in the 17th century. Have you ever been to Scotland? If you have, then you know it is freezing in May in Edinburgh. Isobel shapeshifted  into the form of a hare or a crow to go to the Faery Hall. There she had tea with the Queen of Elfhame. She was then invited to a royal feast. She wore  a  magnificent gown, and danced with elegant Faery men. Before she went on these nighttime excursions,  she put her broomstick in the bed beside her husband so he wouldn’t know she was gone.

For a starving woman, you could say this visit to Elfhame was a compensatory ‘fantasy’, but her descriptions are so vivid, I believe she really went. And I know the Faeries are real!

Isobel Gowdie was a true Faery Seer.

Unfortunately, the Devil began to encourage Isobel to steal things like food, and then to kill a man she didn’t like. She did magic and the man died. Isobel felt so guilty, she turned herself in to the authorities. They questioned her about her witchcraft and she confessed everything without torture. This is why her testimony is so reliable! Her stories of Faery Witchcraft  came from her heart.

So they let her go….

The Americas: New Orleans

Marie LeVeau

Marie LeVeau

Marie LeVeau

A hairdresser by day and a conjure woman by night….

When I lived in London I knew a real Marie LeVeau. She saved my life. I was being targeted by a rival Tarot reader with an extremely virulent psychic attack. A Jamaican client of mine insisted I go to visit this woman whose identity was to be kept top secret. When I walked into her office, the lady, a half African/half East Indian from Guiana, went into shock. I think I was the first white person she ever saw! She  was a very powerful psychic and saw instantly that I was a “spiritual person”. Once the novelty wore off,  we became great friends. I learned a lot about Hoodoo and Santeria from her as well as well as  ethnic Hinduism and Pentacostal Christianity. I had trouble with the Christianity as I wasn’t used to seeing God as something outside myself.

Now we get a little more up to date!

Dion Fortune

Dion Fortune

Dion Fortune

Dion Fortune was a former Golden Dawn initiate. She wrote a book that was so powerful, I credit it with setting me on the magical path forever. She self published The Sea Priestess and thank the Goddess she did. The main character, Vivian LeFay Morgan is a reincarnation of Morgan LeFay and a very wondrous enchantress  and priestess of Isis.

I plan to write an entire blog post about this book, it is so important not only to me but to many witches.

When I went to Britain for the month of April 1997, my King Arthur Tour veered onto a side road because I also wanted to find Dion Fortune. I had a lead: she was from Weston Super Mare in Somerset, and the fort that is transformed into a Sea Temple in Sea Priestess actually existed at a place near there called Breen Down.

I took a bus from the elegantly Victorian down at heels seaside resort of Weston Super Mare to what she accurately refers to in the book (written in the 1930′s) as the “dead alive town” of Breen. I had to walk several miles before I found any sign of village life. There was a beach covered with camper vans — I don’t know the English term for them is – maybe caravans. It was crass and horrible. Just above a miserable looking sort of zoo, Breen Down rose up and it was 100 steep steps to the top of the headland. I almost chickened out. I was tired from walking, but when I saw some old people going up the 100 steps, I decided I couldn’t wimp out.

It was so worth the climb! Amazing! What I call a Wizard of Oz experience. Arriving at the top of the stairs, I stepped out upon a lush green lawn. The air was so clean and fresh it revived me, and I felt like dancing!  The sky was beautiful with a peculiar light. Circular indentations in the ground were the remains of Roman dwellings. The avenue of trees Dian Fortune describes so poetically in Sea Priestess was really there!

It was a long walk to the tip of the down, but when I got there the sun was setting like silver disk that turned the sea to silver and the Fort was there just as she described. Built to fight Napoleon’s armies invading from France, it was made of thick bricks and mortar that was riddled with bullets and had that lingering sense of sadness that suffering imprints in the land. Of course the view of the sea was amazing  — and did I see St. Michael’s Mount in the distance?

The swinging 60′s!

Maxine Sanders

Maxine Sanders

Maxine Sanders

Witches can be gorgeous and cool 1960′s chicks!

Maxine is the real deal. I have written two articles about her and she gave me a very sweet interview that has moved many readers.

She was born with paranormal gifts, raised by a mother who loved  spiritual traditions. At 15, Maxine went through a life threatening and powerful initiation into the Egyptian Mysteries deep in cave in England. She went on to marry Alex Sanders, and together they formed the Alexandrian tradition of Wicca, becoming King and Queen of the Witches. Maxine devoted her life to teaching and training her students to carry forth the Witch power in a deeply responsible way.

Hail to Maxine Sanders! A true pioneer of consciousness.

For more about Maxine read:

Firechild: The Life of Maxine Sanders, Witch Queen

Maxine Sanders: Queen of the Witches

Interview with the Queen of the Witches: Maxine Sanders

Hollywood Witches

Kim Novak

Kim Novak

Kim Novak

Let’s face it! Any woman who watches Kim Novak in Bell, Book, and Candle wants to BE her. A beautiful, sexy, mysterious, glamorous siren with a cat named Pywackett. She has the most provocative witchy dresses. They would make Elvira jealous!

Did you know, that even in the oh-so -wholesome 1950s, that there were witches in New York City?

If I have only one life to live, let me live it as a sexy witch!

Sharon Tate as Odile

Sharon Tate

Sharon Tate

Sharon Tate’s terrible death has obscured the fact that she was a promising young actress. Her portrayal of Odile leCaray in Eye of the Devil is the center of the film. She has a quality of mysterious stillness and concentration that makes her totally believable as the beautiful young witch that works to bring about the Rite of the Sacrficed King for the sake of the land.

In her autobiography Firechild, Maxine Sanders discusses Sharon’s initiation into Alexandrian Wicca as she prepared for her role in the film. She truely was a witch!

Who are Your Favorite Witches?

My list is not complete, and there are some favorites among the Warlocks that I haven’t included here.

Interest of space you see.

I would love to know who your favorite  witches are. If you make suggestions, I will write a post called:

My Readers’ Favorite Witches

I will put their pictures beside  text that you provide telling us what makes them your favorites. How fun is that?

Leave your list in the Comments by clicking the words Coments at the top of this post. I would love to see if there  are some I don’t know about!

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Shape Shifting Song

This is a Scottish ballad about shape shifting that is very much Isobel Gowdie’s Hare song. Thanks to Asher Agrippa, my friend on FaceBook:

Fith Fath Ballad

I shall go as a wren in Spring,
With sorrow and sighing on silent wing,
I shall go in our Lady’s name,
Aye till I come home again.

Then we shall follow as falcons grey,
And hunt thee cruelly for our prey,
And we shall go in our Horned God’s name,
Aye to fetch thee home again.

Then I shall go as a mouse in May,
Through fields by night, and in cellars by day,
And I shall go in our Lady’s name,
Aye till I come home again.

Then we shall follow as black tom cats,
And hunt thee through the fields and the vats,
And we shall go in our Horned God’s name,
Aye to fetch thee home again.

Then I shall go as an Autumn hare,
With sorrow and sighing and mickle care,
And I shall go in our Lady’s name,
Aye till I come home again.

Then we shall follow as swift greyhounds,
And dog thy steps with leaps and bounds,
And we shall go in our Horned God’s name,
Aye to fetch thee home again.

Then I shall go as a Winter trout,
With sorrow and sighing and mickle doubt,
And I shall go in our Lady’s name,
Aye till I come home again.

Then we shall follow as otters swift,
And bind thee fast so thou cans’t shift,
And we shall go in our Horned God’s name,
Aye to fetch thee home again.

Ricahrd Dadd

Richard Dadd

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Witchery of the Hare

Witchery of the Hare

Listening to the Moon, by Jackie Morris
Listening to the Moon, by Jackie Morris

I shall go into a hare,
With sorrow and sych and meickle care;
And I shall go in the Devil’s name,
Ay while I come home again.

So sang the young witch, Isobel Gowdie, when, under the light of the full moon, she transformed herself into a hare. In this shape, she journeyed to take part in a lavish banquet with the Queen of Elfhame, in her Hall under the low hills.

For a poor woman in 1660’s Scotland, an invitation to a royal feast was worth the price of her soul.  All she had to do was leave her broomstick in bed beside her sleeping husband so she wouldn’t be missed, leave by the chimney, and shape-shift into a creature whose speed and endurance ensured her timely arrival at the Faery Ball. When she had had enough of wearing fine clothes, dancing, and feasting, she returned in her woman’s shape before dawn singing:

Hare, hare, God send thee care.
I am in a hare’s likeness now,
But I shall be in a woman’s likeness even now.

Entrnace to Faery
Entrance to Faery

It is March. The Winterspells draw to a close. The Hare leaps into Spring to dance in the rains and frolic under the budding trees The Goddess, Oestar, arrives to herald the season of re-birth with her company of Hares. Even she, the great Goddess, became a Hare under the full moon to enjoy the wantonness of Spring.

You have heard the phrase “Mad as a March Hare.” Unlike the more docile rabbit, born naked and blind and burrowing under the earth for protection, the hare has the audacity to arrive fully furred with its pooka eyes staring wide, to sleep under the open air.  The heady call to mate in Spring inspires in the hare a frenzy of leaping and jumping, and boxing against other hares all mad with the lust of Oestar. An old legend says he is so full of fertility that he changes gender, from male to female, and back again, giving birth by mating with him/herself. Perhaps this belief is true, or came about because, even in the mating season, the hare is quiet, solitary, alone.

Yet the hare and rabbit are close cousins and share their lunacy and magic.  The hare lives in the upper world, visible to all. As such, he may be considered a creature of the light. Living under the earth in burrows and warrens, rabbits live in contact with the spirits of the Underworld, and may  be called upon to carry messages from the living to the dead, and from humankind to the Faerie.

Hare in the Moon
Hare in the Moon

The image of the hare is imprinted on the moon, the esoteric sphere from which souls descend to find embodiment on earth. The moon, Mistress of the Tides, also rules the feminine hormonal cycles of menstruation and heat. The moon is the Queen of Heaven in Her Witchery. She is the source of creative, generative power from which all life springs. Her rhythmic emanations govern the potency of herbs, the life cycles of animals and plants, and the oceanic flux of visions, dreams, and prophecy.

Spring is a season between seasons, a transitional time when one thing becomes another, the magic of the dark revolves into the light, the sleeping Earth stirs and begins to awaken, that which was hidden in the dark of the Underworld greets the light of day.

I shall never forget one early Spring morning when I lived at Oak Lodge beside Hampstead Heath in London. As the dim, liquid light of sunrise was barely glimmering through the trees, thousands of birds began to sing. I lay half awake and half asleep in the half light as cascades of song swelled and died and swelled again, filling the sky, and falling to earth, until it grew light, and the singing stopped. Then it was so quiet it was as if the birds, who had orchestrated their chorus for the first breath of Spring, had flown away forever.  I never heard anything like it before or since. The next night I was walking along the road beside the Heath and chose to take a path through the woods that led through a grassy clearing. There was a ring of flattened grass encircling a Rowan tree. I had no idea how it came to be there, but it reminded me of an old belief that in Spring, a group of hares was wont to dance in a ring around a young tree under the moon, while standing on their hind legs.

As the first stirring of Spring begins, the life that Winter held at rest below the ground, rises to the surface of the earth. The season of rebirth is a breath of fresh air.  The wind blows wild and gusty, carrying seeds over great distances.  Birdsong is carried on the breeze. The animals give birth and all grown things wake to new life. The clear horizon belongs to Spring, where the rays of rising sun stream over the hills, illuminating the grass and stones, and the first wild flowers lean towards their reflections in shining pools of rainwater.

With the Spring come the witchery of the Hare that stirs the Witchblood to carousal..

The Mysteries of the Goddess and the Hare:

The first of all Goddesses was Diana, that fertile darkness out of which life emerged.
Diana’s law reflects the cycles of the moon and hunt. Why is fertility combined with the hunt? What is the meaning of the cycle of birth and death?

Fertility brings game which is the purpose of the hunt. An abundance of life means and that there is plenty to eat. But, in the darkness of the soul, the hunter and hunted change position, for one cannot take life without being haunted by death. Everything on Earth is intertwined…the Goddess orders it this way in all of nature. Her sign is the appearing, disappearing, and reappearing moon.

The earth is a place of transformation, governed by the lunar wheel that cycles from light into dark, and into light again, reflecting the constant cycle of nature: what is born falls into death and what is dead springs back to life.

Both Diana of the Wild Beasts, the moon and the hunt, and Aphrodite of love and beauty include the hare or rabbit among their attendants.  Freya, the Love Goddess of the North, travels with a hare.  These make sense as the hare as legendary object of the hunt, leading the hounds on a relentless merry chase, while his  heightened sexuality and fertility align him to Aphrodite and Freya. A procession of hares carry torches behind the sky Goddess Holda at the head of the Wild Hunt at Beltane.  This suggests that the hare colludes in his role as prey, or even sacrificial victim, whose death supports the rest of life and whose prolific breeding ensures his quick return.

Yet, though the hare is hunted in Celtic countries it is taboo to eat her, for she may be someone’s grandmother, or a Faery, or a wisewoman-witch.

Yule Goddess by Angela Barrett
Yule Goddess by Angela Barrett

The Hare and I

I myself have roamed the low hills alone at night in the shape of a hare, wearing a long dark gown and a headdress of hare’s ears. Crouching under the full moon, with the smell of goldenrod and witchgrass in my nose, has been an eerie experience, plunging the consciousness into the soul of the animal while falling under the spell of the moon.  If you want to access the Witchblood, I suggest this guising as a means of merging with the Earthlight and accessing the Hall of Elfhame.

So special has the hare become to me that she found her way into my Gothic Faery Tale, The Golden Stair, as a companion to my villianess, the evil Countess Orzsebet.
Here, one of the Countess’s girls has created a tapestry that reveals the true soul of Orzsebet, and the dark forces working through her:

“Treszka unrolled the linen and revealed a length of remarkable needlework. The subject was strange, disturbing, for it showed forth something that I knew, deep inside, should never be revealed.
On a background of tiny, precise flowers called millefluers, a golden-haired Goddess stood under a raining golden willow tree clad in a green-gold gown. A troupe of white hares danced around her in an eerie ring. Hidden in the top of the tree, a dark face brooded; perhaps it was a witch’s face, or a spirit, from whose eyes dripped tears of blood. The blood drops fell, spattering the willow fronds, and staining the Goddess’s pale cloak with crimson points like bloody ermine’s tails. The stitching was exquisite, impeccable, and the colors perfectly natural, and yet decorative in their effect. I shivered.
“Treszka, where did you get the idea to make a picture like this? It is extraordinary! I can hardly believe my mother would let you take it away.”
“She doesn’t like it, so she says, but it does show what I can do. She wants you to learn to embroider flowers, my Lady.”
I had to wonder what my mother was playing at, for she knew my eyesight was impaired and that flowers were detailed and called for small, delicate stitches. I was also surprised she allowed Treszka’s handiwork out of her sight, for the perverse, witchy image was surely inspired by her if it was not a direct portrait of her.
“Treszka, have you always made pictures like this?” I asked.
“Not really, though I do like to embroider animals and flowers. I just put the Countess’s likeness in the midst, I suppose.” She held the tapestry up and looked it over. “Do you like the rose-colored background? I would have preferred dark blue, for it is meant to be a night scene.”
“Thank God it isn’t,” I murmured. “And who might the hares be?”
“The girls, perhaps. But not really,” she laughed nervously. “It is the same with this figure in the top of the tree. I don’t know where it came from, but it was impossible not to weave it into the tree. Oh, my Lady! I am not used to great aristocratic houses, but only fields and cottages. Places with secrets are frightening sometimes.”
“ Yes, they are.”

The Origin of the Easter Bunny

Celebrated on the first full moon after Spring Equinox, Easter, is named after the Anglo-Saxon fertility Goddess, Ostara. In her role as rising sun on the first days of Spring, she wears a white hare’s head with its long ears, like horns, signifying spiritual power.  A white hare stands at attention beside her. I imagine this scene on a rose colored ground of millifleurs, like the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.

As a fertility Goddess, she is also a Mother. One day, to amuse her children, Ostara turned her pet bird into a hare. In this new form, it laid bunch of brightly colored eggs which she gave to the children as gifts. This is the origin of the Easter egg.

I shall end this essay with an evocative quote from Teri Windling on the magic of the hare:

“Now, as I walk through Devon lanes in the long twilight of a summer’s evening, rabbits dart out of the hedgerows, stare at me with unblinking eyes, and disappear again over the crest of the shadowed hills. I’m reminded of a 19th century children’s poem by Walter de la Mare:

In the black furror of a field
I saw an old witch-hare this night;
And she cocked a lissome ear,
And she eyed the moon so bright,
And she nibbled of the green;
And I whispered “Whsst! witch-hare,”
Away like a ghostie o’er the field
She fled, and left the moonlight there.”

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