The Story of Moon Rabbit
A NOTE FROM OUR FOUNDER, GUDRUN WU SNYDER
Before I opened the doors to Moon Rabbit, I had to settle on a name - and if you've ever named a business, you know it's easier said than done. I wanted something with history and meaning, something that told my story, reflected my roots, and spoke to the ideas of culture, healing, and community that live at the core of my work.
My grandmother, Chuan, seemed to embody all the values I was working to represent. Thinking of her, I was reminded of the traditional folklore she grew up with, which led me to the Moon Rabbit.
In traditional Eastern stories, the Jade Rabbit is a mythical figure who lives on the moon. In Chinese folklore, the rabbit is the companion of the Moon goddess, Chang’e. The Rabbit makes the elixir of life for her, and uses a mortar and pestle to mix herbal medicine for Earthly families.
During China’s Mid-Autumn Festival families visit open-air altars to worship Chang’e. Mooncakes depicting Chang’e and her rabbit companion are placed on the altar for her to bless, and it is said that Chang’e will endow her worshippers with beauty.
But how did the Jade Rabbit end up on the Moon with Chang’e? Legends associated with this bunny differ from country to country. According to a Buddhist story:
“The Jade Emperor disguised himself as a poor, starving old man and begged for food from monkey, otter, jackal, and rabbit. Monkey gathered fruit from the trees, and otter gathered fish from the river. Jackal stole a lizard and a pot of milk curds.
Rabbit though, could only gather grass. Knowing well enough that grass can’t be offered as food to humans, rabbit decided to offer its own body, sacrificing itself in a fire the man had started. Somehow, though, the rabbit wasn’t burned. The old man suddenly revealed himself to be the great Jade Emperor! Touched by the rabbit’s selfless sacrifice, he sent it to the moon to become the immortal Jade Rabbit.”
It is said that if you look up at the moon, you can see an outline of the Jade Rabbit pounding with a pestle. More than just a beautiful story, the Moon Rabbit is a symbol of selflessness, piety, and sacrifice.
Maybe that’s why the Jade Rabbit is on the moon—so that no matter where we are on Earth, we can look up and see that there is always someone taking care of us.