I have a confession to make . . . when I first started out in Paganism some twenty-odd years ago I was what some of you might call a Fluffy Bunny. I encountered Wicca as an adult through DJ Conway’s Celtic Magic and carried with me for a few years the mistaken belief that Witta was an actual thing that people did (it’s an Irish Pagan tradition don’t ya know?). My practice was sweet and nice, and I had no idea at all what I was doing. Looking back on it I wouldn’t change a thing.
Fluffy Bunny has become so much a part of our lexicon that it’s got a few definitions at the Urban Dictionary. This is the top definition over there:
fluffy bunny: A fake wiccan (sic), usully (sic) in their teens, with little or no information about the religion.
Tend to make noise about their path.
“The fluffy bunny coven got their “tradition” out of Charmed.”
Short and sweet, this tends to sum up the idea of the fluffy bunny, but it’s also illustrative of the sneering, condescending attitude used by their many detractors. I was probably one of those sneering assholes too once; most likely while still being what some would call a Fluffy Bunny. Now can I please have my cake and eat it too?
At the heart of most Witchcraft is the search for authenticity. Witchcraft can only be “authentic” if it comes from certain sources, generally sources that are old. Certainly Wicca began as an initiation-only mystery tradition, but I think that’s evolved over the last seven decades. Perhaps that evolution hasn’t always been for the better, but I live in the world that we have now, not the world I wish we had. The rise of Traditional Witchcraft is another search for authenticity. Magical practices that come from cunning-craft aren’t any more (or less) legitimate than ones that come from Silver RavenWolf, but to many they feel that way. If something is new it certainly can’t be as good as something that’s old right?
What most people forget is that the people they deride as bunnies are full of passion for Witchcraft. A lot of that is because they see it as “shiny and new” but haven’t we all been there? There’s a part of me that misses my younger fluffier days because back then everything felt like it was full of magic. If it was raining I wanted to collect rainwater because I thought it had an extra spiritual significance. Every bush and every shrub seemed to have a fairy hiding in it . . . . that sort of exuberance is nearly impossible to recapture. I’ve had some amazing experiences in my “more developed” days of the Craft, but very little of it made me feel (and act) as if I was twelve (I mean that in a good way).
Did I tend to “make noise about my path back then? Completely. My love of the Goddess was so all encompassing in those early days that She was all I wanted to talk about. By bringing Her into my life I felt like I had discovered the secret to existence and wanted to share that power and knowledge with anyone who would listen. I never quite wore the pentacle as big as a hubcap around my neck, but I certainly didn’t hide my practice. I was proud of it in the way that only a know-it-all 21 year old can be.
When I hear the term “fluffy bunny” this is what I try so hard to remember. Those we label with this term are a lot like I was back then: excited! And yes that excitement often comes across poorly, but people who flaunt the Craft in their early years aren’t intentionally trying to damage it, they are just so caught up in that they can’t help themselves. Instead of deriding them we should be happy that they’ve discovered something that brings them so much joy.
It’s true that a lot of those excited (and loud) seekers won’t be here in four or five years. Sometimes that all encompassing energy leads to a quick burnout, but hey, thanks for stopping by. This path isn’t for everybody and it doesn’t affect my practice one way or another if someone ends up on a different one. Many “fluffy bunnies” grow up to be respected and serious practitioners of the Craft, and many more might if we choose to nurture instead of mock.
One of the biggest gripes I read about online are diatribes against the “white lighters.” If someone doesn’t embrace the darker parts of the Witch’s Path they are often seen as less serious. If a group of people choose not to honor The Lord of Death and Resurrection at Samhain who gives a crap? Does that hurt my practice in any way? Of course not. I can’t know what that person has been through in life, perhaps it’s what they need. Those that are drawn to more traditional forms of Witchcraft will find it, and those that aren’t can do what makes them happy. If I don’t like it I can simply choose not to attend those rituals.
I’ll admit I don’t like it when a seeker sets themselves up as a voice of authority or ends up talking to the press, but there are many self-proclaimed leaders and elders I feel the same way about. If someone isn’t qualified to teach their students will eventually figure it out. It can be frustrating to watch, but perhaps it’s a bit of self-discovery both “teacher” and “student” need. We should all be careful with who we think of as teachers and leaders to begin with. Shiny and new doesn’t necessarily mean “better” any more than old and crusty does.
Addendum Online (after posting this article) someone mentioned the “know it alls” who get angry when you suggest to them there’s more to Witchcraft then their book collection lets on. Those people can certainly be annoying, but why waste the energy on them? Get up and move on. It will be their loss in the long run if they refuse to seek the greater mysteries. Besides, if they set themselves up as the “be all end all” of the Craft it will come back to bite them in the ass, it always does. The cream rises to the top or something along those lines, and I think we’ve all seen those types crash and burn over the years.
I’d love to see a day when the term fluffy bunny is replaced with something a little more truthful. Perhaps we should be using terms like seeker or new practitioner. Those that continue to practice “white light Witchcraft” for years and years could be called what they are: “Witches.” There are many shades to the Craft, and if one shade happens to be made out of rainbows that should be OK too.