'Breathe' by Pink Floyd

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Breathe Appendices

Dark Rabbit

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” - Morpheus (The Matrix, directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, 1999).

“Rather than a man in the moon, the Aztecs saw a rabbit there (as do the Chinese). Like the prolific rabbit, lunar gods were connected with fertility, probably because the menses suggested a lunar cycle. Easter is a pagan holiday that Christians copied...it is a fertility festival, and since the bunny is well...very fertile, they chose it as a symbol.” – Patricia Rieff Anawalt, director of the Center for the Study of Regional Dress at the Fowler Museum of Cultural History, University of California, Los Angeles (‘Flopsy, Mopsy and Tipsy,’ (interpretation of the rabbit symbol in Aztec iconography), Natural History, April 1997, p.24).

“Older than Christianity, the symbolism of the hare is thus a celebration of life's continuation with rebirth, as in each spring, and the rabbit expresses hope that life will be renewed, and better than before. The nocturnal rabbit, signifying the moon who dies every morning and is resurrected every evening, also represents the rebirth of nature in spring. Both the moon and the rabbit were believed to die in order to be reborn. Therefore the hare is a symbol of immortality.” (www.ruinedeye.com/cd/symbol.htm).

The following text was sent to me by a Russian friend. I assume that she tried to translate it herself because I have had to figure out what some of it means and rewrite it. Apart from adding some remarks and analysis of my own, I am also including some studious notes from an article I found online by a bunny lover!

The rabbit, in view of its fast natural duplication in many cultures, became a symbol of fertility, that with which fertility is connected. It is not new. The rabbit of the ‘Playboy,’ one of the most worn out and ingenious trademarks of all time is a bright example of the use of this ancient image and its active continuation of a sort for modern purposes. In Christianity and Judaism, the rabbit bears a somewhat opposite emotional sentiment. For Christians, the rabbit is a symbol of mildness and trust, of those who have relied on the Christ; the Easter rabbit symbolises revival, revival and nascence of the New Moon. For Jews, the rabbit is a dirty animal, even with some hints of homosexuality. Even in Russian national folklore, the rabbit often symbolises marriage, courtship, the groom. It was not observed in the antique literature of chastity. Also the rabbit was used simply as a symbol of lust and debauchery. During an epoch of gothic style the rabbit will be rehabilitated and becomes allegory of speed and assiduous service. On many Gothic tombs the rabbit makes a divine medicine of immortality in a boiler.

“’Oh dear, oh dear!’ said the Rabbit. ‘I shall be too late!’ And so, when the White Rabbit ran away, Alice wanted to see what would happen to it. So she ran after it: and she ran, and she ran, till she tumbled right down the rabbit-hole.”

- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (an abbreviated version) by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), 1865.

The rabbit has not been helped by its image in literature and the media, however. Alice’s fall down the rabbit hole has been considered to represent hidden paedophilia in a child’s dream. With Alice, possibly, all hell has broken loose. Now the rabbit is not only the sexual maniac but also a symbol of monstrous shadows in the subconscious, dark forces, schizophrenic bents and unpredictable cruelty; bloody, inspiring animal fear in the character. And the further it goes the worse it becomes. One infernal monster rabbit is Frank in Donnie Darko (directed by Richard Kelly, 2001). Frank apparently helps Donnie Darko to save the Earth from a new universe which exists in a parallel dimension. However, when Frank arranges for the murder of Donnie’s girlfriend he is pushed to kill Frank but it turns out that he has killed his sister’s boyfriend who wears a foolish and hideous suit of sick consciousness that costs him his life. This is all supposedly a “practice for the main assignment,” as Julie Smith explains (‘Cult Film Delivers New Rabbit Monster: Frank of Donnie Darko,’ www.rabbit.org/journal/4-11/cult.html); that is, the heroic deed which will save the world. Donnie is willing to go back in time once he has lost the people to whom he is attached. For me, Frank represents an evil spirit who takes advantage of a disturbed teenager and coaxes him into committing criminal acts under the pretence of saving the world which only he can do (for the bizarre reason that a jet engine crashed into his bedroom – as though in a dream).

“If you follow the parallel-universe theme but do not like the religious reading, you might see Frank as simply analogous to the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. The White Rabbit had some scheduling concerns (‘I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date’) and led Alice down to a bizarre alternative world. Like the White Rabbit, Frank is under time constraints, having only 28 days to get Donnie with the program. And when he first leads Donnie out to the local golf course, scene of Donnie's first vision of him, one could say that Frank has inserted Donnie into the spiral of a new time/space dimension, just as the White Rabbit did for (to) Alice. In short, rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland is wormhole in Donnie Darko, and both access a new reality. If you're inclined to see Donnie as just a very disturbed teenager, then Frank is a tad more malicious. He embodies the dark, destructive side of Donnie, imagined as the flip side of the rabbit stereotype: ugly instead of cute, bizarre instead of familiar, destructive instead of reproductive, and so on. In this reading, Frank stands not just for the evil side in Donnie but in all of us.” - Julie Smith (‘Cult Film Delivers New Rabbit Monster: Frank of Donnie Darko,’ www.rabbit.org/journal/4-11/cult.html).

“There are many similarities between the two narratives. Donnie falls asleep, and hears, then sees Frank, a 6-foot tall rabbit-costume wearing being. Alice's summer slumber brings a vision of a talking rabbit wearing human adornments. Frank tells Donnie to follow him, and leads Donnie to a golf course. Alice chases her rabbit, following him right down the rabbit hole. Character introduction and water/metal symbolism aside, the golf course/rabbit hole relation seems obvious. Like Alice's rabbit, Frank acts as Donnie's guide in the mad world of the ‘underground.’ (This aspect is suggested by Donnie's poem.) Alice's rabbit is a servant of the Queen / Frank is a being manipulated by the master force. Alice and Donnie are similar in their confusion and curiousity, both are desperate to figure out what is happening to themselves. Also...eat me/drink me similar to Donnie's pills, both characters are changing lifeforces - Alice grows tall / shrinks, Donnie grows stronger and superhuman-like when he's sleepwalking. These physical changes give solution to the current dilemma the character is facing, but also cause feelings of isolation and fear. And...The mirror imagery of Donnie's bathroom communion place with Frank is similar to Through the Looking Glass.” (www.ruinedeye.com/cd/symbol.htm).

David Lynch also has put his hand to the cinema image of the rabbit as an embodiment of all nightmares in his series of short surreal films called Rabbits (2002). I have not seen any of these videos but, three rabbits apparently hang out in a dark room which seems reminiscent of the red room in Twin Peaks; that is, between lives in the astral planes awaiting incarnation (According to the Wikipedia entry: “In the very last episode, the steps that have been haunting the rabbits finally come to a stop, the door opens, and a hellish scream is heard. The rabbits cower in fear on the sofa, and Jane says ‘I wonder who I will be’").

An inexhaustible theme. Yeah...rabbits and hares disappear down holes...like...people vanishing, or disappearing into their subconscious, or into the gutter, lost in their dark side, in their vices, in depression, away from the world of the living, from civilisation.

The white rabbit is reminiscent of the small white microcosmic ‘eye’ in the black ‘fish’ of macrocosmic yin. Although yang, the white dot represents the expression of conscious individuality as dependent on the unconscious whole like an embryo in the womb. There is potential for growth but this half of the circle reveals the range of experiences and states of consciousness from the tip of the tail to the girth of the big round head of the yin fish. The Moon, while it may glow with borrowed light from the Sun reflected on its surface, is a dark object set in dark space and the effects of its orbit around the Earth cause more turmoil and insecurity than peace even if our moods, habits and responses prompt us to care about our lives and the people with whom we have emotional ties.

The weird and wonderful mysteries of rabbit symbolism is quite rich and varied and resembles the Moon (life/experience/consciousness) leading us to the dark depths of the unconscious and unknown worlds and back out again. Like pulling a rabbit out of a hat…conjuring or manifesting form and experience where there was none before, at least not physical. There are so many lunar cycles and phases ranging from the slender crescent of the New Moon to the rotund disk of the Full Moon and then in reverse. Likewise, there are so many passing conditions and circumstances in life. Some come from within us while others come to use through people and events. Our emotional responses evoke layers of our consciousness and keep it flowing continuously.

Plot summary: “A middle aged drunk has been driving his sister and niece wild by introducing everyone he meets to his pal Harvey. Harvey is a big white rabbit, six feet three and a half inches tall, which only Elwood (and occasionally his sister when she's feeling odd) can see. The sister, Veta Louise Simmons, tries to have Elwood committed to Chumleys Rest sanatorium, but they let Elwood out and lock her up. After sorting out the mistake, Dr Chumley goes after Elwood himself.” - Zaphod (www.eis.bris.ac.uk/~ccjpb/ftp/Harvey.faf).

The white rabbit in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland leads Alice down a long dark hole, or tunnel, to a bizarre world of dreams. The red pill in The Matrix leads Neo down the rabbit hole, into depths of the mind, beyond the rational intellect, the limited left brain in which most people seem to be locked, to the Truth. These are basically the astral planes of which we are unconscious in our physical waking lives but which we sometimes vaguely recall in oft-jumbled nonsense through dreams. From here, however, clear and awake, one can observe the outer physical world for what it is. In addition, waking up beyond the astral realms, we know ourselves as beings of Light who can manipulate and move freely in the holographic illusion of these physical and astral realms. We exist on all of these levels. Essentially, we are all ‘the One.’ Morpheus refers to the Matrix as a “neural, interactive simulation” which means that life on Earth is nothing more than a computer programme designed to distract us and keep our minds occupied while our energy is harvested to fuel the Machine World. “You’ve been living in a dream world, Neo,” he says, and shows him the world as it really exists today: bleak, desolate, stormy and uninhabitable. “Welcome to the desert of the real.” He goes on to explain that during the early 21st century, human beings were celebrating “Artificial Intelligence, a singular consciousness that spawned an entire race of machines.” But this led to a war between humans and machines. When humans cut off the machines’ energy sources including the Sun the machines took their energy from the human body creating endless fields where human beings were grown for the sole purpose of generating electricity. “What is the Matrix?” asks Morpheus. “Control. The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world, built to keep us under control, in order to change a human being into this [holds up a battery].”

When people identify with the outside world and define their reality according to what they see in front of them they do not usually believe that there could be anything beyond it. The physical and material environment appears so concrete and conclusive because their chakras, wheels of Light, and Merkaba fields, have ceased spinning. This is, therefore, all that they know. Any glimpses of subtle realms beyond the physical dimension are written off as delusions, tricks of the mind, fantasy and psychosis. And, yet, it is they who are deluded, bound to the ball and chain that is their fear of the unknown and their resistance to other possibilities. Through subconscious project, they accuse those who have experienced other planes of consciousness and even interacted with entities dwelling on other dimensions as following a belief system. The truth is that it is they who are following a belief system that has been carefully designed, prescribed and promoted by an oppressive Elite to keep humanity enslaved and to exploit them for their own ends.

The rabbit appears to be a herald, guide or messenger who moves freely between the inner, astral realms and the outer world of physical matter. Harvey, in the film with the same name starring James Stewart (directed by Henry Koster, 1950), is an invisible entity (a 6 foot 3½ inch tall rabbit) whose kindness and magic inspire tremendous affection, admiration and even devotion in people who are sensitive and open to levels of consciousness beyond the physical personality. On the other hand, those who are attached to their egos do not appreciate Harvey and what he represents and wish he would just go away so they did not have to question life or wonder if there is anything more to life than their shallow experiences and familiar comforts. Although kind and innocent, he is a thorn in their side. People do not want to be reminded that there could be different ways to live, other ways of seeing the world and more to this world than meets the eye.

Thus, the charmingly relaxed and friendly, Elwood P. Dowd is finally declared insane and yet the power of Harvey with or shining through him wins the game simply by him being himself, being authentic. One could argue that it is this honesty and simplicity that have thinned the veil of separation until he has become aware of a friend on a higher dimension, beyond this holographic illusion. At the end, Dr Chumley fancies having Harvey around himself and is advised to find his own ‘pooka’ because Harvey is quite content where he is for the time being; that is, as the friend and guide to Elwood P. Dowd.

Wilson (Jesse White): Is he alone?
Mr. Cracker, the Bartender (Dick Wessell): Well, there's two schools of thought, sir.

Although he refers to his liking for Martini Elwood is never once seen with a drink which suggests that the label of ‘alcoholic’ is just a cover being more socially-acceptable in Christian society than ‘occult’ experiences. One gets the impression that turning Elwood into a drunk was a clever disguise to put people at ease because the audience was not, at that time, ready to hear about the possibility of highly intelligent, enlightened beings accompanying us through life’s lessons or our true eternal selves being closer to us than our own breath and therefore ready to express itself through the physical personality. In times of deception and delusion those who appear insane might just be the most clear and awake. The writer is breaking the news to them gently, planting a seed which may or may not grow depending on their choices. It’s a way to get in the door.

Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart): Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.

How else could a pleasant and otherwise respectable citizen have such strange experiences, claims or influence? It would be very unchristian as well as being offensive to science if Elwood’s bizarre behavior and visions were real and not just fantasy, fuelled by drink, loneliness or the result of nervous breakdown. Similarly, that generation would have ascribed any drug-induced experiences to alcohol. The alternative would be unthinkable! What Stewart’s character teaches us is that he is happy as he is and, however crazy or unusual he appears to society. And everyone else in the film show us that, whether we believe there is something wrong with him or not, he is the one who inspires and uplifts people because his energy vibration is higher than theirs and, no doubt, he has more chakras open than they do.

Elwood P. Dowd: I always have a wonderful time, wherever I am, whomever I'm with.

Wilson: [reading from an encyclopedia] ‘P O O K A - Pooka - from old Celtic mythology - a fairy spirit in animal form - always very large. The pooka appears here and there - now and then - to this one and that one - a benign but mischievous...creature - very fond of rumpots, crackpots, and how are you, Mr. Wilson?’ ‘How are you, Mr. Wilson?’ Who in the encyclopedia wants to know?

You reached for the secret too soon
You cried for the moon
Shine on you crazy diamond
Threatened by shadows at night
And exposed in the light
Shine on you crazy diamond

- Roger Waters ('Shine On You Crazy Diamond' by Pink Floyd, 1975).

Further reading:

Rabbit Symbolism compiled by Dee Finney www.greatdreams.com/rabbit.htm

© 2008 Antraeus de Herschia ~ www.antraeus.com

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