Yellow Blog, Up High in Banana Tree

I love the beautiful world at night.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Space rabbits.

Westerners usually say they see a man in the moon, but in China and Japan they traditionally see a rabbit. I've looked for that Asian leporine many times, but couldn't see him. Last week, while seeking planet pictures for Beanie, I was lucky enough to find the above picture to help me out. The dark seas of the moon are emphasized so you can find the rabbit. His head is the Sea of Tranquility. But what is he doing? In Japan, they say he's making rice cakes (mochi) with a mortar and pestle. In China, they say he's mixing the Elixir of Immortality. See?

About rabbits...they've been on my mind lately, and not just because of our impending celebration of the Pagan fertility goddess Eoster.

I have an admission to make. I have a pooka. A companion rabbit -- think Harvey:

Mine happens to be a bunny, but pookas aren't always rabbits. A children's book caught my eye today, called "Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka" by Tomie DePaola. It says that...

"...according to William Butler Yeats, who collected, edited, and published many Irish folktales, a pooka (also spelled puka) is an animal spirit who lives a solitary life. Some people think that the word pooka comes from the Gallic word poc -- a he-goat. Others also think that a pooka is the forefather of Shakespeare's Puck. Pookas come in many forms -- a horse, a he-goat, an ass, a bull, even an eagle. (One of the most famous pookas is Harvey, the ubiquitous friend of Jimmy Stewart in the play and the movie of the same name.)"

I'd never noticed that pooka book in the library before, and I'm always combing those stacks. Huh.

My personal pooka sits in the passenger side of my car when I drive down a certain stretch of road. I can only see him peripherally; if I turn my head to look at him directly, he's gone. He looks a lot like the Playboy bunny (or the moon bunny pictured above): overall rather dark, with the ears always askew at a certain angle. He's a little larger than a real rabbit, and sits upright. He always has an eye trained on me, which appears to periodically blink, or worse, wink. If Eemie is in the passenger seat, I can still see him on her lap (but she can't -- this unnerves her a bit).

So, what does he want? There are friendly pookas, like in "Harvey". There are menacing pookas, like the oversize rabbits in the films "Donnie Darko" and "Sexy Beast". Mine never speaks, but he's always sure to hitch that ride.

Maybe my long-eared copilot is from space. No, really. Check out the "UFOs PO Rabbits" part of this website, particularly the parts about R.A. Wilson's observations on space rabbits:

[R.A.] Wilson goes on to sight (sic) numerous other UFO incidents coincidentally involving rabbits. From UFO occupants seen stealing rabbits from a hutch in Italy during the 1950s, and a description of a UFOnaut as looking like a giant rabbit, to an abductee presented by Budd Hopkins who recounted seeing hundreds of paralyzed rabbits, and Mrs. Trent's encountering of a UFO while out feeding her rabbits. We have tales of jackrabbits dancing in the road prior to the sighting of a giant white UFO and of a southern England encounter where a witness saw the regionally known "Bunnyman" immediately following her sightings of a UFO. Bunnyman said, "Please pray for me."

There's also this, directly from R.A. Wilson's "Cosmic Trigger Volume 2":

The pookah takes many forms, but is most famous when he appears as a giant, six-foot white rabbit - which is the form most Americans know from the play and film, Harvey. Whatever form the pookah takes, he retains the special ability of his species, which is like that of Thoth in Egyptian legend, Coyote in Native American myth or Hanuman the Divine Monkey in Hindu lore -- he can move us from one universe, or Belief System, into another, and he likes to play games with our ideas about 'reality.'

Neat, huh? I'll keep you posted about my friendly (?) moon bunny. In the meantime, here's another rabbit in space, and a ridiculous amount of info on rabbit/hare/moon mythology:

Happy Easter (a little early)!


  • At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I always saw it as a native american with two feathers on their headband, cradling a child in their arms.

    This seems to be a week for Harvey references. I heard a guy interview on Air America today and the first thing he said was "No, I am not a 6 foot rabbit."

  • At 10:02 AM, Blogger Kate said…

    I just noticed that in a previous post, I was communing with another Harvey (the Keitel variety, not a big bunny).

    Did you originally see the feathered Native American on your own, or was it pointed out to you by someone? Is it someone's tradition or your own idiosyncracy?
    Just curious.

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