The Secret of the Rabbit's Foot as a lucky charm

In the list of the most common lucky charms, the four-leaf clover and the horseshoe take their place next to the rabbit's foot. However, these have a much less macabre history.

Why did people start wearing cut rabbit feet as good luck charms? The answer is much more complicated than you might think.

While many cultures around the world have long cherished these animals as pets, the rabbit's foot came to us via African-American slaves in 19th century South America.

You should know that African folklore is rich in lucky charms, and therefore a rabbit's foot pendant of this type is for them a very precious possession, a guarantee of luck and happiness.

Contents :

Rabbits are everywhere, really

The symbol of the rabbit in Antiquity

The witches' familiar from the Middle Ages

An African lucky charm... quick and deceptive

The arrival of this lucky charm in America

Reverse logic

Exploit bad omens

Just the foot, ma'am

A basic element of esotericism and voodoo magic

Family of three rabbits in a plain of green grass

Rabbits are everywhere, really

Thanks to their impressive reproductive capabilities, rabbits are found almost everywhere on the planet. They're fast, smart, and agile, and evasive - admirable qualities...unless you're using them to steal from someone.

Rabbits therefore appear in myths and legends, as well as folklore, around the world and often occupy this kind of rather negative role. Strange for a lucky charm, right?

Well no, and we'll see why!

Another point to highlight is its close relationship with fertility. Since rabbits reproduce quickly, and given their surprisingly abundant offspring, this animal was quickly linked to breeding.

A piece of jewelry in the shape of a rabbit's foot brings luck, yes, but can also be used as a symbol of fertility, abundance and masculine power.

Ruins of an archaeological site dating from Antiquity.

The symbol of the rabbit in Antiquity

Historians still debate the origin of the use of the rabbit's foot as a good luck charm. We all want to be luckier, and even the literati are interested in the subject.

There are theories tracing this custom to European, Chinese, African and even Native American folklore. It is undeniable that the symbol of the rabbit's foot occupied an important place in each of these civilizations.

There is, however, a people who placed more value on the rabbit: we are talking here about the Celts. In fact, the ancient Druids of Europe believed that this animal rabbit was linked to the world of spirits and lesser gods.

Living in burrows, rabbits spend a lot of time underground, where (according to Celtic mythology) all these ethereal beings live.

The Celts therefore saw the rabbit as a magical creature possessing great powers, but from which it was better to keep a distance so as not to irritate the spirits linked to it.

Note also that, in certain popular legends which are still told today in Europe, the rabbit (or more precisely the hare) is described as a shape-shifting animal capable of changing shape.

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The witches' familiar from the Middle Ages

The rabbit has therefore been considered a sacred animal, almost magical in reality, for a long time in European folklore.

This idea did not stop with the end of the Celts.

Here is a list of some anecdotes that prove it:

  • In the 16th century, a certain Reginald Scot wrote a grimoire of advice in which he specified in particular that carrying a rabbit's foot on oneself would solve arthritis problems.
  • Some country wizards also advised equipping oneself with such a lucky charm to protect oneself from cramps... and from certain spells linked to paralysis.
  • In the Middle Ages, it was said that witches and other magicians liked to transform themselves into rabbits so they could move around without being spotted.
  • Along the same lines, rabbits were often considered witches' favorite pets.
  • There are even legends which speak of the devil himself who could have taken the form of a hare (although with the small particularity of having only three legs).

blurred vision of a road due to speed

An African lucky charm... quick and deceptive

Rabbits are easy prey to catch. As such, they are often hunted and pursued by predators.

Many African people have noticed that rabbits possess impressive skills and know many tricks when it comes to escaping death.

For this reason, the rabbit is considered a trickster, an intelligent and elusive animal... that's something a little more relevant for a lucky pendant !

Sorcerers and marabouts have made it a great gri-gri, a tool capable of warding off the evil eye and bringing bad luck to their enemies.

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The arrival of this lucky charm in America

Africans who were captured and brought to the Americas as part of the slave trade brought their traditions and beliefs with them.

Many writings on these beliefs have come down to us. These included the deep belief that a rabbit's foot could increase our luck levels. A sort of charm or fetish, they used it as some people use their lucky key ring today: to always have something on them to bring them good luck.

Having previously seen the characteristics of the rabbit, it is easy to understand why Africans held in slavery would admire and envy this animal.

If slaves wanted to be able to escape their situation, they had to possess the qualities intrinsic to this African lucky charm : speed, resourcefulness, courage, determination and intelligence.

If the subject interests you, you will find a number of lucky charms from Africa by clicking on this link.

Inverted image by reflection in a glass sphere

Reverse logic

One of the reasons that makes the rabbit's foot so intriguing is that, according to legend, when making this African lucky charm, one must use as many objects as possible associated with misfortune and bad luck to that the pendant, bracelet or necklace obtained sees its lucky qualities (energy, vibrations, etc.) fully develop.

We could see this as an “anti-proportional” rule: the greater the number of objects of misfortune used, the greater the future happiness will also be.

We are far from being superstitious (in the pejorative sense of the term anyway). However, to enhance the magical effects of one of our lucky charms, we are ready to listen to what marabouts and magicians have to tell us!

Note also that unlike most other lucky charms (such as the black cat, the four-leaf clover or the hand of Fatma), the rabbit's foot is the only one based on this idea of ​​inversion.

Baby rabbit in green grass

Exploit bad omens

A superstition always finds its origin in reality. Evil spirits, Feng Shui energy or curses: all of this exists, and we must take it into account.

Without going into details, remember this: ideally, the rabbit should be captured in a cemetery on Friday the 13th during a full moon.

The lucky charm will be more powerful if the rabbit was found on the grave of a person who had a bad life, such as a murderer or a thief.

The person who catches the rabbit should be a red-headed person, with squinting eyes, and do all this with the left hand.

These criteria may seem very strange, and I tend to agree with you. Yet they make this symbol of luck what it is today.

In fact, they are considered to bring bad luck. As we saw before, this will help to make your lucky rabbit's foot more powerful and make it attract luck more intensely.

Dog giving paw to his master

Just the foot, ma'am

We agree, carrying a whole rabbit as a good luck charm is certainly not very practical, so we naturally chose to take a paw. .. but do you know that it's not just any paw? which will do the trick.

If you want to maximize its effects, you will need the left hind leg. And yes, one paw is not the other, and they will not all make an equally good lucky item.

This is in continuity with the concept of inverse logic, the rear of an animal always being the part considered less noble.

Furthermore, traditionally, the right side of the body was considered the good side while the left could sometimes be seen as cursed (this is where the prejudice against left-handers comes from).

Logically, the rabbit's left hind leg was therefore the most likely to bring us bad luck... and therefore the best for making an effective talisman !

Rabbit feet, a voodoo doll and a loa (lwa) amulet

A basic element of esotericism and voodoo magic

As early as the 1880s, African lucky charms (particularly in the shape of a rabbit's foot) were sold in esoteric shops around the world. At the time, people believed much more in superstitions and sought to protect themselves from bad luck.

In recent years, animal protection groups such as Gaia, PETA and vegan movements have protested against this unnecessary massacre of defenseless rabbits.

Ladybug, beetle, elephant and rabbit: many lucky animals have been protected by environmental groups.

Most of the lucky charms you find today will therefore be made with synthetic materials, such as plastic or even faux fur.

If you're worried that these replicas don't have the same power as the original lucky charms, we have bad news for you: the real ones probably don't either.

If a rabbit's foot truly had the power to bring good luck, then rabbits would rule the world. ..

Besides this note of humor, it is obvious that the power of a lucky charm, although it can be influenced, does not always depend primarily on the material in which it is constructed.

We hope you liked this article, if so, do not hesitate to visit the part of our site related to witchcraft.

Lucky charm featured in this article

Rabbit's foot

Rabbit's foot

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author picture(Cyril Gendarme)

Discover the author: Cyril Gendarme

Cyril Gendarme is a writer whose website "The Lucky Door" ("La Porte Du Bonheur" in French, his native language) has become a reference in the field of esotericism. Born in Belgium, Cyril has been attracted to the mysteries of the world since he was a child. When his interest in occultism was awakened, a particular subject caught his attention: lucky charms.

After years of study and in-depth research on esoteric traditions from around the world, Cyril decided to share his knowledge with the public through the internet. In 2019, he launched "The Lucky Door," a website dedicated to exploring lucky charms, magical symbols, and esoteric arts.

The Lucky Door is much more than just a showcase for those curious about magic, divination, or tradition. It is the result of Cyril's passion for researching and understanding the mysteries of the universe. Every piece of information available on the site testifies to his dedication to sharing his knowledge of the most hidden symbols and their unique powers.

In addition to his online work, Cyril regularly organizes workshops and conferences in different countries. His presence on social media is also highly appreciated, where he offers personalized advice and happily answers questions from his community.