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Rabbit Symbolism & The Spiritual Meaning Of Seeing Rabbits

Photo: Miroslav Hlavko / Shutterstock
rabbit in grass

Rabbits are small, timid, and very cute animals that are often adopted as domestic pets. But before they became revered as part of the family, rabbit symbolism had a long history.

Rabbits can be seen in many different cultures and religious practices, as they offer important lessons about being aware and protecting ourselves, and are symbols of fertility, family, and new life.

Rabbits appear in mythology and folklore told in cultures around the world as they live on all but one continent: Antarctica. Rabbits are also familiar creatures as they are closely linked to the change of the seasons, such as springtime, representing a symbol of fruitfulness and renewal.

They are symbolic little creatures full of cleverness, devotion to self-improvement, and good luck.

Rabbit Symbolism & Spiritual Meanings Of Rabbits

Rabbits are symbols of good luck, fertility, new beginnings, sensitivity, gentleness, and even the Moon!

Rabbits are incredibly sensitive animals, processing up to 20 times the amount of scents humans can pick up. These intuitive animals can pick up on a variety of sounds in their environment, allowing them to keep an open ear for predators.

In addition, rabbits can see in almost every direction at once, and for those reasons, a rabbit in the spiritual world is a symbol of sensitivity. If a rabbit crosses your path, it's for a reason, reminding others to not become too desensitized, and to use empathy and compassion when speaking to others.

And as symbols of fertility, as rabbits are known to have lots of babies, visualizing the rabbit can put you in the right mindset for having a baby or babies. This idea also represents abundance in all areas of your life.

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Rabbit Encounters and Omens

Is it good luck to see a rabbit? Well, in many different cultures, rabbits are seen as incredibly lucky animals and are considered good omens. If you see a bunny in the wild or have one cross your path, you will experience good luck in romance, family life, and your finances.

A rabbit is a good omen because it means you'll experience a spiritual awakening or revelation soon, and should follow your intuition.

What Rabbits of Different Colors Symbolize

While rabbits come in colors of white, brown, black, and even orange, sometimes, you may dream about rabbits in non-traditional colors.

White Rabbit Meaning

White rabbits are symbols of love, tenderness, and inner power. In general, rabbits are considered lucky animals, but white rabbits are symbols of good luck and impending opportunity.

We see this in many European cultures as a white rabbit can be seen as a kind of blessing. The legend goes that if you say "white rabbit" or "rabbit, rabbit" on the first day of the month every month, you're guaranteed good luck.

Black Rabbit Meaning

Black rabbits symbolize the peacefulness of being still and silent, much like how the color black is symbolic of silence and stillness. Your interpretation of black rabbits all depends on how you symbolize it and your own personal or cultural impression of them.

Pink Rabbit Symbolism

Pink rabbits aren't seen in the wild, but dreaming of a pink rabbit means you may be ignorant to certain things in life and need to educate yourself. A pink rabbit may also be a sign that you are being deceived in terms of money.

Blue Rabbit Symbolism

Blue rabbits may appear in your dreams and represent someone in your life bringing you joy and happiness. Dreaming of a blue rabbit also means that the people you surround yourself with are those you can trust the most.

Gray Rabbit Symbolism

Unfortunately, seeing a gray rabbit means there are people in your life that you shouldn't trust. It's a reminder that you shouldn't give too much of yourself away and might want to keep that information private.

Brown Rabbit Symbolism

If you see a brown rabbit in dreams or your waking life, it's a sign of good luck and fortune, specifically in terms of money.

Rabbit Symbolism in Dreams

Dreams are our subconscious mind trying to deliver a message to our conscious mind. But there are many different variations of rabbit dreams you can have, and each holds its own meaning.

Dreaming of a dead rabbit

Dreaming of a dead rabbit is a warning sign that a person or issue in your life may be at risk, and you may be putting yourself in a tough situation. But a dead rabbit dream may also mean that you are on your way to achieving your goals, as long as you don't give up.

Dreaming of feeding a rabbit

If you dream of feeding a rabbit, it's symbolic of helping someone close to you. Just as you are helping the rabbit by feeding it, you are aiding your friend in whatever situation they are calling upon you for. And you will be rewarded for your help.

Dreaming of a baby rabbit

Baby rabbits are adorable, but dreaming of one means you may be acting childlike in certain circumstances. It's a reminder that you need to face your problems with maturity and adapt to your surroundings.

Dreaming of a rabbit biting you

To dream of a rabbit biting you indicates sexuality, and being nurturing towards living things. But it can also be a warning that your sex life may be in trouble.

Dreaming of a rabbit attacking you

A rabbit attacking you is related to fertility, but it's a good omen, as this dream means you are about to embrace new beginnings and opportunities.

Dreaming of a rabbit hopping

A rabbit hopping in your dream means you have an impulsive attitude in life that may get you in trouble, especially when it comes to your job. If you aren't able to finish projects you start, it may put you in a bad position with your boss.

Dreaming of eating a rabbit

Dreaming of eating a rabbit indicates that you may think too highly of yourself in comparison to others. Rather than thinking you are superior, it's important to remain down-to-earth; otherwise, you will push people away from you.

Dreaming of turning into a rabbit

Turning into a rabbit is actually a pretty common dream and is meant to provide awareness with your own strengths. It's a dream that is meant to motivate you to focus on your future. On the other hand, in general, dreams about turning into an animal indicate sexual frustration.

Dreaming of a talking rabbit

If you dream of a rabbit that talks, it means you are facing a difficult circumstance in your life, whether it's currently or in the future. This dream is meant to guide you in the right direction, and is encouraging you to seek help to solve your issues.

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Rabbit Spirit or Totem Animal

Spirit animals are our life guides, giving us direction and teaching us lessons; totem animals are also spirit guides, but we call upon them when we need their guidance. Both spirit and totem animals protect and guard us, and help us find our higher purpose.

You can't choose your spirit animal, as they select you, but you'll know if a rabbit is your spirit animal if you resonate with this creature somehow, or have had a profound experience.

If you identify with the rabbit spirit animal, you're a loving, lucky, family-oriented, shy, creative, and quick-witted person. The rabbit spirit animal will show up in your real life, media, or art for a reason.

A rabbit spirit animal reminds you that there's hope and new opportunities in your future. They also remind you that renewal is possible, and you can gain the capacity to try new things.

As spirit animals, rabbits inspire you to be kind, tender, and find the power of fertility, rebirth, luck, and spiritual exploration in your life.

A rabbit totem offers magical and mysterious powers, and possesses deep connections with the sacred and eternal spirit of the earth. The rabbit totem animal serves as a symbol of cleverness, sensitivity, and shamanic power as rabbits have strong perceptive and intuitive powers.

The rabbit totem represents positive creative problem-solving, courage, and quick-wittedness. It reminds us of our need to control our fears in life in order to find our true potential.

Photo: Miroslav Hlavko / Shutterstock

Spiritual Meaning of Rabbits in Christianity and the Bible

Many Christians feel that rabbits should not be connected with Christianity because of their significance to some pagan religions, as rabbits are spiritual messengers in the pagan world, traveling through the human realm and underworld.

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Therefore, rabbits are rarely mentioned in the Bible, but when they are, they are negative symbols. In the Bible, it mentions that humans should not eat rabbits as they are considered unclean animals because “he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof.”

Surprisingly, even though it's not symbolic, Christians do follow the tradition of Easter and the Easter bunny, which originated in Germany.

Spiritual Meaning of Rabbits in Buddhism

In Buddhism, Buddha is said to have been a hare in an earlier incarnation. He would travel as a hare in the company of an ape and a fox.

The symbol of three rabbits symbolizes samsara, or the wheel of karma, that is spun lifetime after lifetime until the person reaches enlightenment. The three hares also depict a lotus flower which implies that the hares represent a cycle of reincarnation and spiritual enlightenment.

In both Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies, the rabbit is associated with fire, a symbol of renewal and rebirth. The rabbit shares this symbolism with the phoenix.

Meaning of Rabbits in the United States

In the United States, rabbits are known as tricksters.

Take Peter Rabbit, for example, who hops around Mr. McGregor's garden, causing mischief. There's also Bugs Bunny, a nonchalant Looney Tunes character who often plays tricks on Wile E. Coyote, and outsmarts characters who challenge him, like Elmer Fudd, Gossamer, Daffy Duck and others.

Meaning of Rabbits in Literature

Just like rabbit symbolism is related to good luck, fertility, rebirth and gentleness, many representations of rabbits in literature are similar to these themes.

In "Alice in Wonderland," white rabbits, specifically, serve as symbols of rebirth and the connection between the physical and spiritual worlds. Alice is led by a white rabbit, leading to an adventure of sorts and beginning a new phase.

In the novel "Of Mice and Men," rabbits represent the character Lennie's dreams for his future, one filled with calm and peace where he can tend to the rabbits and other farm animals. On the flip side, rabbits also symbolize the impossible feat of achieving those dreams.

Rabbits are also central in "The Velveteen Rabbit," who is transformed into a real rabbit from the love of its owner; as the practical friend of Winne-the-Pooh; and in the novel "Watership Down," where character Hazel serves as the chief rabbit after a disaster who is loyal to his companions.

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Rabbit Symbolism in Mythology and Folklore

Native American Rabbit Symbolism

In Native American folklore, Manabozho is a god known for being a trickster and the Great Hare. He has powers of shape-shifting and his tricks help to spawn creation.

The rabbit is also a powerful and well-respected totem animal in Native American culture. Native Americans also have a rabbit clan, like the Hopi and the Shawnee tribes, and Northeastern and Northern Plains tribes do a sacred Rabbit Dance.

Celtic Rabbit Symbolism

The Celts had a goddess named Eostre who was known for her closeness with rabbits; she is the fertility goddess associated with springtime and the Spring Equinox, very similar to Germanic culture.

Druids used rabbits as a source of divination, catching and releasing rabbits sort of as a game, and interpreting the direction the rabbits took after being let free.

Rabbits were associated with fairies, so they could communicate underground and humans could shapeshift into rabbits; taboos about killing them were often told.

East Asian Rabbit Symbolism

The rabbit in Chinese culture is the fourth animal in the Chinese astrological chart. Those born under the rabbit are conservative, friendly, and deeply compassionate. They also are creative, active, and try to avoid conflict.

In Japanese culture, the rabbit is associated with the Moon, as told in a story. In the story, the Man on the Moon comes to Earth and is very hungry, so the rabbit offers himself to be eaten. The Man on the Moon is so impressed with the rabbit's generous offer that he doesn’t eat the rabbit; instead, the Man brings the rabbit to the Moon to live with him.

In Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese cultures, rabbits are also associated with the Moon. The Chinese also viewed the rabbit as an incarnation of the Moon goddess.

Ancient Greek Rabbit Symbolism

In Greek mythology, rabbits were associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love, marriage and beauty. Known for their ability to have many babies, rabbits were symbolic of fertility and abundance, and were said to have "the gift of Aphrodite."

Rabbits were also associated with Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, who deemed newborn hares not to be killed and left under her protection instead.

Rabbits were a common gift in Greece, specifically men giving them as a token of their love.

In addition, rabbits appear in carvings on Greek tombs, often eating figs or grapes, and symbolizing the cycle of life and death.

Ancient Egypt Rabbit Symbolism

Much like the Western world celebrates Easter in the springtime, Egyptians associated rabbits with this time of year. In their hieroglyphs and art, hares, eggs, and the resurrection of Osiris are all depicted.

There's also an Egyptian goddess, Unut, who was part-snake and part-hare. Other gods were depicted as rabbits and guarded the underworld.

African Rabbit Symbolism

In African mythology, rabbits were bad luck, though rabbits were related to gentleness and wisdom. In one tale, a trickster rabbit was a divine messenger of the Moon, and was sent to offer immortality to mankind; however, the rabbit brought death instead.

The rabbit's foot is part of African culture, stemming from Hoodoo, where the charm is made with the left foot of a rabbit who is captured during a full or new Moon.

Norse Mythology Rabbit Symbolism

In Norse mythology, rabbits are also associated with the Moon. The Vikings, in addition, associated hares with Freya, the goddess of fertility, and Holda, the goddess of domesticity who was often depicted as riding in a chariot pulled by rabbits.

Germanic Rabbit Symbolism

In German culture, the rabbit is sacred to Ostara (or Eostre), the fertility goddess. Ostara celebrates new life and in her vision can only see potential in things. She's the reason spring gives vitality as she keeps her light bright even through the longest months of winter.

She is also celebrated at the festival of Easter, where her sacred rabbit is morphed into the Easter bunny for centuries with the head of a hare and body of a goddess. Ostara is connected with the vernal equinox that happens through March 20-21.

Ancient Aztec Symbolism

In Aztec culture, rabbits were symbols of fertility and partying. Legends told of Centzon Tōtōchtin, a group of divine rabbits who meet often for drinking parties.

Another tale is about the rabbit in the moon. After the god Quetzalcoatl turned himself into a human and went to Earth, he forgot to eat and drink, eventually resting on a log. A rabbit came along and offered to share its food with Quetzalcoatl, who was impressed by the rabbit's giving nature.

When Quetzalcoatl said he could only eat meat, the rabbit offered himself as a meal. Moved by the gesture, Quetzalcoatl returned to being a god and pressed the rabbit into the Moon, so when people look at the Moon, it serves as a reminder of generosity.

Rabbit Tattoo Meaning

Though people get tattoos for numerous reasons, getting a tattoo of a rabbit can symbolize your gentle nature, being born during the Year of the Rabbit, or celebrating a new chapter in your life.

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Megan Hatch is a writer at YourTango who covers zodiac, love and relationships, and pop culture.

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