On the way home from work this evening, I passed a rabbit sitting in the middle of the road. I thought it weird that the rabbit was there so I turned around, went back, and turned my hazard lights on. When it didn’t run away, I knew that the poor thing was injured. My first thought was to gather it up and take it to a vet. Then, I saw the little pool of blood under it and knew that it was going to die. My heart ached for it. I had two options presented before me. The rabbit was going to die tonight either way. I could take an active part in the animal’s death and deliver the coup de grace or I could drive on and let nature take its course.
As a Pagan devoted to Epona, I’ve always felt a strong kinship with horses (obviously) and rabbits. Epona, in addition to guiding the sole in the afterlife and influencing our dreams, is a fertility goddess and rabbits are often seen as symbols of fertility.
In addition, my father, on occasion, would call me Boudica as a teenager. Boudica was a Queen of the Iceni people (now modern Norfolk, England). She was a strong, intelligent redhead that waged war against the Romans when her daughters were raped by them. It is said that the Warrior Queen released a rabbit onto the battle field as an offering to the gods before the battle and won. She, it is also said, had a rabbit as a guide during a vision.
I’ve always considered seeing a rabbit the sign of a good day and have always wanted one as a pet. Because of the religious association, I simply won’t eat rabbit outside of ceremony and, honestly, would feel very sick if I had to in ceremony. So, you see, as silly as it may seem to you, I simply could not just let this animal suffer. I, also, did not think I had it in me to kill any animal, especially a rabbit.
I cried over this decision. I simply didn’t know what to do. Then, the rabbit looked me straight in the eye and I felt my Goddess push me to end the animal’s suffering. I got in my car, drove a short way, turned, and aimed directly for the creature, praying that I wouldn’t miss lest I have to turn around and make a second attempt. My front tire hit with a definite thud and bile rose in my throat. As soon as I parked my car in front of my house, I cried for the rabbit’s soul and wished it safe journeys on its way.
I feel so sad for the animal. Now, I know that I went that particular route home because Epona knew that animal needed my help. It was a challenge, one I hope not to be presented with again, but I think I acted well on her behalf. I hope I shortened the rabbit’s suffering even a little bit. I hope that, in those final moments, in whatever capacity it could, it felt my sorrow for its pain.