Hare

hare In folklore, a witch’s Familiar or a witch metamorphosed in disguise (see metamorphosis). It is still bad luck in the British Isles for one’s path to be crossed by a hare. Witches were said to be able to change themselves into hares and other animals with magical charms such as the following from the British Isles:

I shall go into a hare, With sorrow and such and muckle care, And I shall go in the Devil’s name. Ay, ’till I come home again.

The hare supposedly was the favorite disguise of Isobel Gowdie, a Scottish woman who voluntarily confessed to witchcraft in 1662, astonishing her staid community of Auldearne with her wild tales. Once while in the shape of a hare, she said, she had a close call with some dogs.

The Devil had sent her, as a hare, to carry a message to neighbors. Along the way, she encountered a man and a pack of hounds, which sprang upon her. “I run a very long time,” said Gowdie, “but being hard pressed, was forced to take to my house, the door being open, and there took refuge behind a chest.” The dogs pursued her into the house, and Gowdie escaped only by running into another room and uttering a “disenchanting” charm:

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

Many stories exist in folklore of hunters shooting hares, only to discover they had killed old hag witches, who resumed their human forms upon death much like the werewolf in disguise. The following Irish folktale, from W. B. Yeats’ collection of Irish Fairy and Folk Tales (1892), tells of the wounding of a witch hare:

I was out thracking hares meeself, and I seen a fine puss of a thing hopping hopping in the moonlight, and whacking her ears about, now up, now down, and winking her great eyes, and—”Here goes,” says I, and the thing was so close to me that she turned round and looked at me, and then bounced back, as well to say, do your worst! So I had the least grain of life of blessed powder left, and I put it in the gun—and bang at her! my jewel, the scritch she gave would frighten a rigment, and a mist, like, came betwixt me and her, and I seen her no more; but when the mist wint off I saw blood on the spot where she had been, and I followed its track, and at last it led me—whists, whisper—right up to katey macShane’s door; and when I was at the thrashold, I heerd a murnin’ within, a great murnin’, and a groanin’, and I opened the door, and there she was herself, sittin’ quite content in the shape of a woman, and the black cat that was sittin’ by her rose up its back and spit at me; but I went on never heedin’, and asked the ould——how she was and what ailed her. “Nothing,” sis she. “What’s that on the floor?” sis I. “Oh,” she say, “I was cuttin’ a billet of wood,” she says, “wid the reaping hook,” she says, “an’ I’ve wounded meself in the leg,” she says, “and that’s drops of my precious blood,” she says.

In Norse mythology, the hare is the companion of Freya, goddess of fecundity.

See Also:

Further Reading:

  • Leach, Maria, ed., and Jerome Fried, assoc. ed. Funk & Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. New York: Harper & row, 1972.
  • Yeats, W. B. Irish Fairy and Folk Tales. 1892. reprint, New York: Dorset Press, 1986.

Source:

The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca – written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – Copyright © 1989, 1999, 2008 by Visionary Living, Inc.

You may be also interested in :

A Practical Guide to Witchcraft and Magick Spells - Cassandra Eason
Utterly Wicked: Curses, Hexes & Other Unsavory Notions - Dorothy Morrison
Wicca Book Of Crystal Spells -  Lisa Chamberlain
Wicca Spellcraft for Men - A.J. Drew
Magickal Seduction: Attract Love, Sex and Passion With Ancient Secrets and Words of Power – Damon Brand
The Quimbanda Goetia : Afro- Brazilian Magic Spells and Rituals - Carlos Antonio De Bourbon-Montenegro
The Magickal Job Seeker: Attract The Work You Love With Angelic Power –  Damon Brand
The Everything Spells and Charms Book: Cast spells that will bring you love, success, good health, and more – Skye Alexander
Secret Magic Spells of the Romany Gypsies - C. McGiolla Cathain & M. McGrath
Words of POWER and Transformation  - Tazkuvel, Embrosewyn
Magickal Cashbook: Attract Money Fast With Ancient Secrets And Modern Wealth Magick - Damon Brand
Golden Secrets of Mystic Oils: Over 300 Oils and 1000 Spells - Anna Riva
Moon Spells: How to Use the Phases of the Moon to Get What You Want – Diane Ahlquist
Financial Sorcery: Magical Strategies to Create Real and Lasting Wealth –  Jason Miller
The Witch’s Coin: Prosperity and Money Magick Christopher Penczak
7 Occult Money Rituals - Henry Archer
Exploring Spellcraft: How to Create and Cast Effective Spells -  Gerina Dunwich
Charms, Spells, and Formulas - Ray T. Malbrough
How to Cast Real Spells - David Angel
The Cyber Spellbook: Magick in the Virtual World - Patricia Telesco, Sirona Knight
Protection and Reversal Magick (Beyond 101) – Jason Miller
Crone’s Book of Magical Words – Valerie Worth
The Little Black Book of Nasty Spells - Curse Queen
Magic with Incense and Powders - Anna Riva
6th and 7th Books of Moses
Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook: Wonderfully Witchy Blessings, Charms & Spells -Deborah Blake
Dunwich's Guide to Gemstone Sorcery - Gerina Dunwich
The Gypsy Wisdom Spellbook - Denise Alvarado
Wicca Book Of Herbal Spells - Lisa Chamberlain
Tarot Spells