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Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Happy Year of the Rabbit

Rabbit by Takagi Haruyama, 1850’s, Japan, Edo period

Jane Grey
Hope in Paris – January 2023


The Moon Rabbit chased by Sun Wukong, 1885-1892, Yoshitoshi, One Hundred Aspects of the Moon

The Way of the Rabbit

The Rabbit year is said to be one of peace, prosperity and luck.  In the illustration above, the small Moon Rabbit is successfully eluding the giant Monkey King. Rabbit cannot afford to be complacent, but she is confident. Rabbit’s acute vision, excellent hearing, and nimble, powerful jumping prowess are among her superpowers: Rabbit sails through the air in the moonlight, unperturbed, ably dodging her predator's weapon. "Lucky" Rabbit is alert, aware and agile.
Rabbit teaches us that neither peaceful nor lucky mean meekly doing nothing. The pacifist is not passive. Rabbit may be peaceful but she does not wait for danger to dig her warren. Rabbit looks sharp, does her work, and then enjoys well-earned tranquility.
In Numerology, 2023 is the universal number 7, whose dominant theme is serenity. Happily, the 7 aligns perfectly with Rabbit’s peaceful energy.

Reality and Rabbitude
Life lessons from my favorite rabbits

• Trust in the unseen.

Harvey is a 1950 film based on Mary Chase's Pulitzer-prize winning play by the same name. An invisible 6'3½" (192 cm) white rabbit, Harvey is the best friend of Elwood P. Dowd, played by James Stewart. There is considerable fuss when Elwood's sister tries to have Elwood committed to a sanatorium, because, after all, is his belief in the unseen actually insane? Is reality simply consensus?  I dare you to watch Harvey and not root for the rabbit. See the Harvey trailer. (Photograph of Harvey is unavailable.)

Listen to Jimmy Stewart narrate his lovely story about the making of Harvey.


For what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal.

– Jeri Smith-Ready

• Brains beat brawn.
Br'er Rabbit is the central figure in an oral tradition originating in African folklore and transmitted by African slaves to the New World. Br'er Rabbit (an abbreviation of Brother Rabbit) is a trickster who wins by his wits rather than his fists, provoking the establishment as he sees fit.  His reputation as "the back-sassiest critter in ten counties" was the basis of much-loved folktales such as The Story of Br'er Rabbit and the Wonderful Tar Baby. I love Br'er Rabbit for his smarts and his gumption which enable him to slip from the grasp of oppression.

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
Isaac Asimov

Detachment is power.
What is the secret of Bugs Bunny's cool, Groucho-esque, carrot-chomping insouciance?  He has read the script and knows how the story ends. Bugs knows he's just a player: he frequently breaks the "fourth wall" to speak to the audience. His nonchalance doesn't mean he doesn't care; it means he is unafraid. Bugs knows he'll get another chance in the next story. We do, too.

Bugs Bunny has been in over 160 films, was the first cartoon character to appear on a postage stamp, and even has his own Hollywood Star.  Read about the phenomenal journey of Bugs Bunny. Tout sur Bugs en français !


All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.

– William Shakespeare

• You are what you dare to risk.
The protagonist of Beatrix Potter's beloved children's books, Peter Rabbit was first and foremost an adventurer in his own mind. Young Peter Rabbit would have been wise to follow his mother's advise to stay out of the garden of the evil, rabbit-murdering Mr. McGregor, but if he had, his soul and psyche would never have known the magic of going far, far out of the comfort zone.
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.
– Helen Keller

• Never leave a friend behind.
Thumper is the beyond-adorable cartoon bunny in the 1942 Walt Disney movie, Bambi. Thumper's role in the movie with his fun, funny, friendly personality got ramped up because the story of Bambi, in the end, is pretty heavy for a children's picture. In this utterly charming clip from the film, Thumper, just a baby himself, coaches the newborn Bambi in the essential survival skills of hopping and jumping, ensuring the two friends can always keep up with each other.
I like the idea of being rigorous about friendship.
— Michelle Obama, a Rabbit born in 1964

• It's up to you.
Officer Judy Hopps is the star of Zootopia, and the first rabbit office on the police force of a future-perfect world without humans, populated only with anthropomorphized animals, including both predators and preys, who live in harmony...until they don't. Officer Hopps is fiercely independent, optimistic and brave, and succeeds despite facing doubt from almost everyone, including her own parents and 275 siblings. Her overconfidence can result in mistakes, but Officer Hopps grows and matures, and learns that to create a better world she had to start with herself.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
– Gandhi


• Succeed on your own terms.
If you think Mr. Bunny Rabbit looks like a mid-century puppet, you're right: that's exactly what he was, a supporting cast member of Captain Kangaroo, a much-loved children's TV show in the US which aired for 29 years, from 1955 to 1984. Mr. Bunny Rabbit never said a word, but he was a master of tricking the Captain out of his carrots, getting Mr. Moose in trouble, and getting away with pranks on every show. And there we have it, boys and girls, the essence of success: it's getting what you want.

True tidbits:  Bob Keeshan, who played Captain Kangaroo, and Fred Rogers of Mr Roger's Neighborhood were not rivals, but close friends. Both men were devoted to creating good and decent children's television. I love this video of a 1971 episode of Mr. Roger's show when Captain Kangaroo dropped in to visit, and thrill of all thrills — he brought Mr. Bunny Rabbit!!!  It is tempting to conclude this newsletter right here on this exalted note, but onward we go.


There is only one success –
to be able to spend your life in your own way.

– Christopher Morley

• The Now is all there Is.
In Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the White Rabbit is first seen grasping his pocket watch, fretting about being "late" - and when Alice out of curiosity follows him down the rabbit hole she learns that "late" is not only a concept but irrelevant. Down in Wonderland, the White Rabbit understands that the experience of time is relative. Up on the ground, though, he "forgets" and scurries to be "on time" even though "time" does not exist. It is merely another human invention, an agreed-upon dream, like reality. The thing to be mastered is not time itself, but your relationship to it. Or, by default, be its slave.

Time is an illusion.
– Albert Einstein, a Rabbit born in 1879

• Be the hero of your own story.
Snowball is the cute, fluffy rabbit in the very clever and funny animated film The Secret Life of Pets. Thumper he is not. Snowball is the leader of a gang of abandoned pets, and he is on a mission for revenge. So, he is not a sweet and cuddly bunny but a psychopathic little monster who is a literal scream because of the hilariously insane vitriol that spews out of his adorable mouth. It does seem that Hollywood has an evil bunny fixation, as in Donny Darko, et al., loving the contrast as we do... Snowball refuses to be a victim. His determination to transform his pain, suffering and humiliation into victory does bring him unexpected redemption...with a killer set of soft skills.
The revolution has begun!
Liberation forever!
Domesticated never!

– Snowball, The Secret Life of Pets


     Ye olde Rabbit Ears antenna.

Films & Shows
which may or may not have anything to do with rabbits

     Disclaimer: This image is for entertainment purposes only.
     You should never feed popcorn to a rabbit; they cannot digest it.

• Art imitates art.
Bugs Bunny's carrot-chomping demeanor, Bronx accent, and even the line "What's up, Doc?" were essentially a spoof of Clark Gable's character in the 1934 film It Happened One Night. This was the first movie to win 5 Oscars and was on everybody's radar, so everyone got the joke. Thusly, what would become the world's most famous funny bunny, was born.


• Living
French title: Vivre
UK | Japan | Sweden | 2022
"It's the rabbit you want." There is a toy rabbit in this film, a prize in a grab-it arcade game. It's a brief moment in a slow film: a tiny bit of trivial fun in an unremarkable, boring life which suddenly gets re-evaluated after a grim diagnosis. This movie is not about embarking on a Bucket List or last-hurrah hedonism, but a question of what makes a life meaningful. Trailer in English with French subtitles.

• 1899
Germany | US | Netflix 2022
White Rabbit” is the well-chosen soundtrack for this mind-bending period sci-fi series. 1899 is clever and contrived, crafted to keep you hooked.


• Watership Down
French title: La Colline aux lapins
UK | Netflix 2018

A modern classic in contemporary literature, anthropomorphized rabbits face the destruction of their homes. Their survival is further complicated when the warnings of one of their own, a seer, are ignored. Made for BBC One with a stellar cast, this short series was acquired by Netflix this past year. Trailer in English or dubbed in French.

• Wednesday
US | Netflix 2022
Any story version of the Addams family's macabre teenager greatly satisfies my inner misanthrope, and this one, produced by Tim Burton, the master of noir comedy, is no exception. Jenna Ortega is brilliant as Wednesday, forced to attend a boarding school for misfits, where she unexpectedly thrives.  Not to be missed. (Spoiler: no rabbits.) Trailer.

The Wonder
Ireland | UK | US | Netflix 2022
Ambiguity runs through this film like a tainted stream. This is a fascinating story which weaves together corrupted religion and false redemption, unbearable grief and unearned shame, courageous truth and unexpected deliverance. Florence Pugh in the leading role is powerful and unforgettable. The trailer is intriguing and the movie does not disappoint. (No rabbits, though.) This is possibly the best picture I saw last year.

Chez Jane, every year is
The Year of the Pigeon

• Pigeons honored in National Geographic!
"Forget everything you think you know about pigeons. There are more than 300 species of pigeons in the world — many of which are drop-dead gorgeous." So begins the esteemed National Geographic's wonderful report on "the world's most overlooked birds" replete with dazzling photographs of some of the most exotic pigeons on the planet.

     E. Hunt, Rabbits and Pigeons on the Farm, 1947
• Let's compare rabbits and pigeons, shall we? 
And cats, too, while we're at it.

On our plate
Both rabbit and pigeon meat can be found on some menus in France. Kitties are one of the few things the French don't eat.

On their plate
Rabbits are herbivores. Pigeons are naturally vegans, but they can and will eat anything, if necessary, to subsist, which contributes to their resiliency and survival rate. Cats, like big felines, are obligate carnivores.

Religious significance
appear in the symbolism of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and paganism. Cats were considered gods in ancient Egypt. Bunnies bring chocolate eggs on Easter.  Proof once again that everything is connected.

Military service
During both World Wars, thousands of pigeons were conscripted as messengers. Countless rabbits from various European fields were put into stews to feed the troops. Cats did rat patrol.  Only the pigeons were decorated with the Dickin Medal of Honor and the French Croix de Guerre.

Science projects
Pigeons are studied in particular for their extraordinary homing and navigation capacities. Rabbits continue to be used as subjects in hideously cruel testing for cosmetic and drug safety, and were once routinely sacrificed for human pregnancy testing. Cats have inexplicably only recently been studied for anything (check out the recent "cat science" documentaries "Inside the Mind of a Cat" and "Kitty Love: An Homage to Cats," both on Netflix.)

The eyes of rabbits and pigeons are set toward the sides of their heads, giving them a nearly 360° field of vision, as well as monocular eyesight: each eye can see independently, like separate monitors. Cats, like humans, have
binocular vision in which both eyes face the same direction to focus on and perceive three-dimensional images in their surroundings.

Both rabbits, cats and pigeons all have three eyelids: the two obvious upper and lower ones and a third which is called the nictitating membrane. It is a translucent eyelid that keeps the eye moist while maintaining vision, allowing the eye to stay open for quite long periods. This is why you should not enter into blinking contests with either rabbits, cats or pigeons: you will lose.

Both rabbits and cats are crepuscular and see well in the low light of dawn and dusk. Pigeons see better in daylight but can navigate in the light of the moon and streetlamps. However, they don't really like to drive at night and generally make sure they are in bed before nightfall.

Pigeon racing is a huge "sport" and star racers are worth thousands of dollars. There are rabbit hopping competitions. Cats will race, if they feel like it, but nothing organized, mind you.

Both cats and pigeons are listed among the 25 most intelligent animals on earth. Rabbits are not on the list (but that doesn't mean they're dumb bunnies).

Dating and Mating
Pigeons mate for life, with occasional hanky-panky on the side. Rabbits are polygamous. Cats consider monogamy just another human folly.

Female cats and rabbits rear their kits, and nurse them with mother's milk. Both male and female pigeons share domestic duties, including taking shifts to incubate eggs, and both feed their young "pigeon milk," a thick, fermented, highly nutritional white substance they make in the crop, a digestive sac off the esophagus.

Sleeping arrangements
Rabbits live and sleep in groups in underground dens, which are part of the labyrinth-like warrens they make through tunneling. Pigeons do not roost in nests; the nest is for brooding a clutch of eggs and rearing the squabs until they fledge. The roost is where a pigeon settles to sleep at night, usually with their mate and/or flock. Cats prefer to sleep on comfortable human beds which have been pre-warmed by servants.

The Moon Rabbit in an 18th century embroidered textile

Quotes, Proverbs, Poems, and Lyrics
about, or by, Rabbits

Do not rely on a rabbit's foot for luck, after all, it didn't work out too well for the rabbit. 
– Unknown 

RAREBIT, n. A Welsh rabbit, in the speech of the humorless, who point out that it is not a rabbit. To whom it may be solemnly explained that the comestible known as toad-in-a-hole is really not a toad, and that riz-de-veau à la financière is not the smile of a calf prepared after the recipe of a she banker. 
– Ambrose Bierce

A rat is not born a rabbit.
– Proverb

When Rabbit said, “Honey or condensed milk with your bread?” Pooh was so excited that he said, “Both,” and then, so as not to seem greedy, he added, “But don't bother about the bread, please.”
– from Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

When the rabbit has escaped, comes advice.
– Proverb

Snooze and ya lose.
– My dad, a Rabbit born in 1927 (and ironically, a champion napper)

Don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden. Your father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.
– Mrs. Rabbit in The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter 

EFFECT, n. The second of two phenomena which always occur together in the same order. The first, called a Cause, is said to generate the other — which is no more sensible than it would be for one who has never seen a dog except in the pursuit of a rabbit to declare the rabbit the cause of a dog.
– Ambrose Bierce

Oh, John the rabbit, Yes, Ma’am
Got a mighty habit, Yes, Ma’am
Jumping in my garden, Yes Ma’am
Cutting down my cabbage, Yes Ma’am
My sweet potatoes, Yes Ma’am
My fresh tomatoes, Yes Ma’am
An' if I live, Yes Ma’am
To see next fall, Yes, Ma’am
I ain’t gonna have, Yes Ma’am
No garden at all, Yes Ma’am

Oh, John the Rabbit, traditional American folk song

You put a baby in a crib with an apple and a rabbit. If it eats the rabbit and plays with the apple, I'll buy you a new car.
– Harvey Diamond, author of Fit for Life and advocate for vegetarianism

If you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall,
Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call.

– Grace Slick, White Rabbit lyrics

It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.
– Lionel Messi, a Rabbit born in 1987

Truth is not determined by a majority vote.
–  Pope Benedict XVI, a Rabbit born in 1927

One of the big secrets of finding time is not to watch television.
– Bob Keeshan, creator and star of Captain Kangaroo, and a Rabbit born in 1927

"Pooh," said Rabbit kindly, "you haven't any brain." 
"I know," said Pooh humbly.

– from Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both.
– Proverb of unknown origin

Alice: "How long is forever?"
White Rabbit: "Sometimes, just one second.” 

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Book of Hours, France, Paris, circa 1420-1425

May your Rabbit year be serene, filled with many joys and every success –

Jane Grey
Holistic Life Coaching, Counseling and Courses
Contact me
There’s always hope in Paris.

Your Bonus Bunny

Bunny massage
Stressed out? Too wound up to meditate? Just watching this rabbit get massaged will make you soften, smile and relax. (This works only if you can suspend snarky self-judgement for watching a cute bunny video.)  With a refreshing lack of annoying new-age twinkly music, this is 9 minutes of mellow. Go full screen.


Goodreads quotes

Further Reading

The New Astrology by Suzanne White is a unique, astute synthesis of East-West zodiacs with 144 distinct, accurate profiles. This is my favorite book on astrology.

My Year of the Rabbit dedicated board on Pinterest is chock full of everything Rabbit.

PBS article all about The Year of the Rabbit/Cat

The Legend of the Moon Rabbit

All about rabbits

Famous rabbits

Rabbit jokes and puns

Down the rabbit hole…'ll go, perusing this listing of expressions and idioms in English using the word “rabbit.”
Ca ne vaut pas un pet de lapin...
...does not mean "not worth a pet rabbit"; the literal translation is "it's not worth a rabbit’s fart," meaning, something is worthless. Find the English equivalents of these terms, expressions and idioms in French using the word “lapin."

One Hundred Aspects of the Moon by Tsuki no Hyakushi (月百姿)


Not yet.

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle
you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.

– Robin Williams, a Rabbit born in 1951

Moon and Rabbit, Ohara Koson (Japan, 1877 - 1945)

Believe there is a great power
silently working all things for good, 
behave yourself and never mind the rest.

– Beatrix Potter, a Tiger born in 1866,
author of The Tales of Peter Rabbit
Copyright © 2023 by Jane Grey. All rights reserved.

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Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane
perform "White Rabbit" at Woodstock, August, 1969

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