Fluffy Bunnies

Discussion in 'Pagan' started by iBrian, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    10
    Thinking on another thread - is the Fluffy Bunny on a real and personal search for the Divine? Or are religious symbols nothing more respected than plastic jewellry, to be discarded and broken on a clumsy whim?

    Is it critical title of "Fluffy Bunny" even unfair, arrogant, and ultimately judgemental? Or is it a real reaction to perceived superficiality within neopaganism?
     
  2. Sisetekh

    Sisetekh Queer Kemetic

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think there is more than one type of "fluff bunny." Usually when I think of the word "fluffy," I think of somebody who uses the disguise of a spiritual search to do things they think are neat. People who are in it for the magic, but since it's seen as a spiritual thing by so many who do it, they think they have to, too. They really couldn't care less about connecting with divinity, which is why they rarely make any real connections to gods and goddesses, they simply use the generic "Goddess" and/or "God." That's how I was when I was into Wicca, anyway.

    I think, though, that a lot of people that are considered "fluff bunnies" really want to be on a real and personal search for the divine, but they are so wrapped up in neopagan stereotypes that it winds up meaningless. I think of people who would really connect with a god/dess, or even the God and the Goddess, but sparkly crystals and spells get in the way. They think that's all there really is in the neopagan world. And really, can anybody blame them? It's all most people really talk about popularly.

    I do have kind of a distaste for both the above groups... as much as I sympathize with the second group, it all looks very cheap to me. Not to mention, I don't like being represented by them.

    I rarely use the term "fluffy bunny" to describe people, not aloud anyway. I personally am pretty arrogant (I'm not proud of it, but at least I'm honest :p), so I really couldn't tell the difference between a fair title for a group of sub-intelligent pagans and the arrogance of "non-fluffy" pagans.
     
  3. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Messages:
    522
    Likes Received:
    1
    Personally I don't have any use for terms like "fluffy bunny" as they are derogatory. If the problem is that some people are not as well educated as others would prefer, the solution is not to call them demeaning names but to actually try and educate.

    I wrote an article about this topic a while back. It's on my website http://www.witchgrotto.com in the Theory section. The article is called "Thoughts on Bashing Fluffy Bunnies."
     
  4. Erynn

    Erynn Professional Madwoman

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    0
    Part of the problem with at least some folks is that they are so wedded to their misconceptions and to the inaccurate information they've read in bad books that they refuse to be educated. With some, the ignorance isn't simply a matter of no chance to learn any different, but a willful clinging to that ignorance.

    There are those who want everything handed to them on a silver platter, and wish to expend no effort of their own. Insta-priestesses who read one book and declare themselves Third Degree High Priestess, then don't listen to others and resent when folks who've been around for 20 years or more try gently to correct their misconceptions tend to be quite annoying.

    There are those who try on Paganism of some stripe (usually Wicca, because it's the most easily available thing) simply to shock friends and family. Some think it looks cool to wear black and "do spells." Others only want to try to control others with magic, who have no appreciation for the ethics.

    There are fluff types who believe that as long as the project "white light" nothing bad can possibly happen to them. Unfortunately, white light without any shielding or technique usually equals a big neon sign saying "eat me" to some kinds of spiritual entities -- or to less scrupulous members of the Pagan community.

    Everyone needs to start somewhere. Many people start out "fluffy" but get better as time goes by -- but some never make it past the starting gate.
     
  5. WHKeith

    WHKeith New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    0
    I absolutely agree with Erynn on every point.

    Now I, too, don't care for the derogatory aspect of the term--for the same reason I don't like Rawlings' popular "muggles" to describe non-Craft folk. It creates an "us" versus "them" mentality, with us as smart and them as ignorant.

    But there ARE people within the pagan community who read a book or two and are experts, or who adopt a happy and carefree "we are all beings of light and there is no such thing as evil" philosophy that is superficial at best, dangerous at worst.

    So I use the term "fluffy bunny" to refer to someone--usually a young newbie--who hasn't thought things through, who is superficial in practice or belief, or who is in it for the cool toys. They tend to think less about personal spiritual development and growth than about the flashy outward perks. Many have a simplistic view, to say the least, about evil, dark magic, black magic, pain and suffering, and the darkness we all know within our own souls.

    In fact, I don't have much of a problem with fluffy bunnies in general. As Erynn suggests, you gotta start somewhere! It's the ones who never grow up who get on my astral nerves. A few are playing with things they really don't understand, and could well harm themselves, but even those cases can become learning experiences.

    I just don't care to be in-circle with them when those lessons manifest!
     
  6. Rain of Brass Petals

    Rain of Brass Petals Solar Exalt

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    I wrote this on another forum, and thought that it was relevant to this topic. So voila!
    FAQ: What is a Fluffy Bunny?



    This is a difficult question to answer, simply because there are many ideas regarding what constitutes a fluffy bunny. In this thread I hope to provide an overview of the different types of fluffy bunnies. If you feel that I've incorrectly defined or labelled a fluffy, please feel free to either post here or PM me so that I can update these definitions.






    Fluffy Bunny 1: The Beginner (A.K.A. the "Newbie")

    These are of the harmless sort, which do not deserve to be flammed or mocked. Only guided with patience, care, and attention. I'm sure many of us were of the "Newbie" variety. I most certainly was. PaulS (from another forum) has provided an excellent definiton of what constitutes a Newbie:





    The Newbies are open to information, and that's precisely why they've most likely come here. For correct information, for open discussion, for general or varying opinions and insight regarding anything from God/desses, to Herbs, to Elements, et cetera.








    Fluffy Bunny 2: The Pop Culture Bunny

    Those who have watched too many episodes of Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and/or Angel; seen The Craft too many times; have read Harry Potter, the Sweep Series, et cetera; and cannot seem to separate fictitious inventions from reality.


    These are different from the people who have seen the magick in The Craft and who ask, "is there such a being as Man'al real?" Because this is an honest inquiry. The Pop Culture Bunny is the kind to see rituals used in Buffy, and attempt to replicate them exactly. Then going on to claim to others that they've opened a Hellmouth, and now a Sloggoth demon is after them.


    The kind who want the drama they see on TV manifest in real life. They want that kind of Hollywood excitment in their life, so they try their hardest to replicate fiction. They weave worlds of dellusion around them, and refuse to acknowledge magick honestly does, and can do.








    Fluffy Bunny 3: The Bad Historian (A.K.A. The "Poor Me!" Bunny)

    These are different from the Beginner Types because the Bad Historian Bunny knows that Wicca is only about 60 years old, but continues to claim that it is thousands of years old. That Wiccans were persecuted during the Inquisition (rather than innocent Christians), that Wiccans were burned at Salem (no one was burned at Salem), and that the evil Christians are out to thwart Wicca at every turn. For this reason, they're also known as the "Poor Me!" bunnies.


    This is the sort of Bunny that will wear "Never Again the Burning Times" buttons, and will hiss every time they pass a Church, and will "recall" countless lifetimes in which they were persecuted for witchcraft. These sorts of Bunnies are pretty stuck in their way, so all that one can really do is smile, nod, and carry on without any further thought.






    Fluffy Bunny 4: The White Light Bunny

    This is the "I only practice White Magick" form of Bunny. They generally believe that all of the magick they practice is "white" or "good," and either deny the existence of dark/black magick, or are hell-bent on opposing it.

    Very seldom do they consider the intention of their "white-light-Glenda-type" of magick. Is it wrong to bind someone if they are a danger to themselves or others from doing harm? Usually not, but they will insist it is. Or they will continually try to heal and send energy to someone that really only prolongs a suffering existance when that individual has come to grips with mortality.








    Fluffy Bunny 5: The Anti-Fluffy

    These are the sorts of fluffies who make it their sole purpose in life to belittle and insult the fluffies. They condemn them at every chance. They're often bitter and highly arrogant, believing that they alone have the correct view of magick and philosophy and that Fluffies are only serving to cheapen magick.


    I've seen some anti-fluffies who look like Nancy from The Craft. All in black, looking terribly goth (there's nothing wrong with gothic style, but anything done for the wrong reasons is not very dignified) and scary. Regardless of their rhetoric or the particulars of their rantings, the Anti-Fluffy is still a Bunny.



    Fluffy Bunny 6: The Blinded Bunny

    This is the kind of Bunny which strips basic necessities from a given practice or religion, watering it down, or altogether butchering it. As Asimis suggested: The type of Bunny who focuses solely on the Goddess, while ignoring the God altogether, then claiming that s/he is "balanced" and believes in the "balance" of the Universe. (Often goes well with Fluffy Bunny 4)

    Or the kind who starts a Coven for the sole purpose of being High Priestess, and demanding veneration from the coven members.

    Another kind of Blinded Bunny is the kind which believes that only heterosexuals can be Wiccan, because Wicca is a fertility religion, which stresses the ability to procreate. I don't know about you, but I've always heard of Wicca as being described as a "Nature-Oriented" religion rather than a "Fertility" religion.






    Conclusion

    In conclusion, one could begin to associate the word "fluffy" with "nonsense." Thus, a Fluffy Bunny, would one who is ridden with nonsensical and counter-productive opinions. Rarely does a Fluffy Bunny recognize that their opinions reflect reality just as poorly as everyone else's. They tend to carry the notorious "Witchier-Than-Thou" attitude. That, coupled with bad history, too much pop culture, or a hell-bent offence makes for an ugly combination.
     
  7. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    10
    Thank you for that, Rain of Brass Petals - very interesting reading. :)

    How do the NeoPagans here view the list, though? A fair assessment?
     
  8. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Messages:
    522
    Likes Received:
    1
    I still see the term "fluffy bunny" as derogatory and distracting from the actual issues. For instance, for those people who are wilfully refusing to face clearly documented and proven facts, we need to address that rather than resort to calling them something like "fluffy bunnies" which only alienates and increases the animosity from both sides.

    I think the FAQ brings out some valuable points of contention that do need to be addressed within the Wiccan community in particular. Again, though, I think we should stop confusing the issues by using derogatory terms like "fluffy bunny." We can be mature enough to address the real issues, like questionable sources, questionable history, oversimplification, stereotyping, ego trips, etc. without resorting to name-calling.
     
  9. Rain of Brass Petals

    Rain of Brass Petals Solar Exalt

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh, I agree that the term "Fluffy Bunny" is derogatory. It was meant to be. It was coined by those Neo-Pagans who got sick and tired of walking into their Occult stores and seeing $ilver Ravenwolf books on the shelves, telling their readers how evil and vile the Christians are. Or seeing D.J. Conway telling her readers to ask dragons to "frolic" in their energy (never, ever tell a dragon to "frolic" in anything, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup).

    They got sick of seeing authors re-hash each other's work, so that when you opened the bibliography you could see that S.R. drew her sources from Grimassi, and Grimassi from Conway, and Conway from S.R.

    They became fed up with the careless way authors used the term "Wicca" and "Witchcraft" interchangeably. Witchcraft is not a religion, Wicca is! So, out of frustration, they started a movement, and in their movement their anger needed to be vented. Their vented anger took the form of the derogatory term "Fluffy Bunny."

    I absolutely believe that we can out-grow this term. As the "Wicca For the Rest of Us" sort of movement gains ground and begins to put out books to give Lady Sheba a run for her money, we can begin to settle down, relax, and drop the verbal attacks.
     
  10. Erynn

    Erynn Professional Madwoman

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I *have* seen the terms "Rainbow-chasing Smurf worshipper" and "Crystal Weenie from Atlantis" used. I've been guilty of using them myself, in fact. But I usually only apply them to the willfully ignorant. Most of the time, I ignore such people and just get on with my own stuff.
     
  11. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Messages:
    522
    Likes Received:
    1
    I guess I've been around too long and have read too many books on Wicca, witchcraft, and the occult but I find it hard to get all upset about Silver Ravenwolf and the other authors you've listed (and presumably others that are similar to those.)

    Silver Ravenwolf in particular writes for a teen audience. That's no secret. I have no problem with authors choosing to target specific audiences. No book is perfect, no author is perfect, so if you don't like a particular one chances are there are others out there who present the same material in a way that you do prefer.

    I wonder though about condemning authors based on their comments about past or present injustices. In an ideal world there would be no such thing as religious persecution but unfortunately we live in an imperfect world and do have to learn to deal with it. Perhaps it's politically correct in some communities to refuse to talk about history that might portray injustices but I have to be honest and say I'm not convinced that being politically correct really helps much.

    There is a need, of course, to build respect and trust with those who follow other paths. There is always a need to build solid alliances with all sorts of religious groups including those who might have historically attacked us. They can certainly change and so can we. But I still have a problem with sanitizing history or sanitizing our own community from politically incorrect ideas in order to conform to some ideal of mainstream acceptance.

    Oh, and I'd respectfully suggest that condemning others for how they perceive or choose to work with mythical creatures is a little silly. I'm sure that if dragons don't like being treated in a specific way they are perfectly capable of dealing with it themselves. As some wise people have said, if you don't like something, then don't get involved in it.

    I agree that often new books are just a rehash of previously published material with only minor variations or some overall "style" applied to it. That is the nature of publishing (and the arts in general) and is not limited to just Wiccan books. How many novels about vampires that might not be completely evil have been published? How many movies have there been about aliens invading the Earth, with a ragtag band of unlikely heroes saving the day?

    As particular fields grow it is also quite common for the same authors to crop up in bibliographies and quoted material, with one author quoting another in an apparently closed cycle. It's common for "experts" in any field to know each other and to refer to each other in their works. This, again, is not a new thing nor is it evident in just Wiccan writing.

    If an idea is invalid it needs to be debunked with evidence, not by casting aspersions on the authors.



    This is another example of a relatively recent idea in the Wiccan and modern Pagan community which has taken hold, where we seem to forget that it was different only a few years ago.

    For the longest time, the word Wicca was a synonym for witchcraft (actually, to be precise, a synonym for witch.) Many authors didn't bother using the term Wicca at all. Gerald Gardner, who many today credit with founding the religion of Wicca, himself used the term only rarely and usually spelled it "Wica." Most of the time he just called what he was practicing and teaching "witchcraft." His books, after all, are called "Witchcraft Today" and "The Meaning of Witchcraft," not "Wicca Today" or "The Meaning of Wicca."

    It's only really been since Ronald Hutton's book, "The Triumph of the Moon," which came out in 1999, that there has been anything like a real distinction between Wicca as a religion and witchcraft as something else. I suspect some of the distinction was starting to appear before that in a limited way, but it didn't really take off in the community until 2000 and later. And here we are in 2004, speaking as though this has always been the case and those who use the terms Wicca and witchcraft as equivalent or interchangeable are treated to public name-calling.

    I see the whole "fluffy bunny" bashing crowd, and the "Wicca for the Rest of Us" site and its supporters, as symptoms of our communities' growing pains. And I think we will outgrow this and move on to a more mature and accepting phase where the whole "fluffy bunny" bashing movement will be recognized as nothing more than political correctness in our community, and like political correctness in other communities, something that we can grow past.

    I'm a gay man and I lived through the big "politically correct" movement back in the 1980s in the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered community in Canada. The university where I was attending at the time was in the national news in Canada over various politically-correct controversies and was a hot topic. There was a lot of fuss over people needing to fit into very strict roles in order for the glbt community to be accepted by the mainstream -- or so the politically correct pushers believed. If you were stereotypically gay or lesbian you were either treated as a role model or considered to be shameful and something to discourage and hide away, depending on which parts of the community you hung around with. It was all about conforming to some arbitrary ideal so that we could be accepted by the mainstream. But thankfully the glbt community (at least in Canada anyways) grew out of that painful phase and realized that we don't grow into a strong community by bashing each other. There are enough people out there who will dislike us no matter what we do that will bash us. We learned to accept and embrace our diversity and grew stronger as a result.

    Sarah M. Pike has a very interesting and very important book called "Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves" which examines the modern Pagan community, particularly in North America, and discusses its development from the perspective of sociologists who have studied community growth. It points out that in the relatively early phases of community evolution it often happens that a group will spend a lot of energy on trying to define itself by focussing on what it's not. They emphasize the "other" and make loud noises about how they are not like that "other." Communities that mature and survive tend to grow past this phase and turn their energies to focussing on what they are rather on what they are not. They realize that it's more valuable to focus on strengthening their own core, deepening their sense of self, in order to mature. It doesn't really matter so much what you aren't when you realize it's more important to look at what you are.

    Wiccans in the past have spent a lot of time worrying about saying we aren't Satanists, we aren't Christians, we aren't whatever. I see this "fluffy bunny" bashing as just another manifestation of that phase. I really look forward to seeing the Wiccan community growing past that phase, like the glbt community in Canada did, and realizing that what we are is more than enough to make us strong, happy, and healthy. And when we realize what we are, then suddenly that diversity that seems to annoy so many of the anti-fluffy crowd doesn't seem so threatening and can actually be embraced and celebrated.

    And that, in a nutshell, is why I personally try to encourage people to focus on things other than what their neighbors are doing, whether so-and-so is "fluffy" or not, and instead put our energies on strengthening our core.
     
  12. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Messages:
    522
    Likes Received:
    1
    Oh, I thought I'd mention too that there is absolutely no chance that Lady Sheba in particular will be putting out any new books to upset the anti-fluffy crowd. Lady Sheba passed away in 2002.

    I strongly recommend Isaac Bonewits' book "Witchcraft: A Concise Guide" for an excellent explanation of the various distinctions that have arisen between the various factions of witches and magickal practitioners. It also provides some solid history to complement other books such as those written by Ronald Hutton for instance. And Isaac's book has some interesting mentions of the role Lady Sheba played in Wiccan history as well.

    I also highly recommend Rosemary Ellen Guiley's "The Encyclopedia of Witches & Witchcraft," Shelley Rabinovitch & James Lewis' "The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism," and John Michael Greer's "The New Encyclopedia of the Occult" for rounding out historical reading.

    Knowing where we come from can tell us a lot about where we are now, and where we could be going.
     
  13. Uriella

    Uriella New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    I find it terribly sad, and a reflection of the reasons for the current state of the world, that anyone finds it necessary to demean another person with such derrogatory terms. It matters not what their reasons for being there are, we should all just live and let live. I have never heard anyone refer to a Christian or Muslim as being 'fluffy', ever. And I am 100 percent certain that there are many Christians and Muslims who are not what they are for their spiritual edification. Some would have ulterior motives.

    I regard those who use the term 'fluffy bunnies' as being playground bullies all grown up in body but not in mind.



    Blessings, Uriella :)
     
  14. Child of a New Day

    Child of a New Day New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    People should be very careful what they say to the newbies. We will study, practice, educate ourselves, dedicate, be initiated by the God/dess, complete/begin the wheel and become a force to be reckoned with. We will ask and learn, seek Council and hope it returned in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust!
     
  15. hotaru_rose

    hotaru_rose New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Respectfully snipped:

    "I regard those who use the term 'fluffy bunnies' as being playground bullies all grown up in body but not in mind."

    I'll have to agree with the all grown up in body but not in mind phrase. I have had to deal with elders on anti-fluffy forums getting bent out of shape just because I've told them that I agree with them on a superficial level, but not on a deeper level with certain issues, and they have proceeded to call me laughable names just because I have disagreed with them. I'm new to Wicca, but I feel that if I disagree with a point made, then I can freely express my dissent. I don't mind if people tell me that I'm wrong, but in those situations, they never really do. They almost always continue with the playground behavior. :)

    hotaru_rose
     
  16. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Messages:
    522
    Likes Received:
    1
    Earlier in this thread I recommended Isaac Bonewits' book "Witchcraft: A Concise Guide." Anyone who is interested in the book should look for the brand-new edition of the book which was recently released with the new title "Bonewits's Essential Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca."

    I haven't read the new edition so I don't know how much new material in in it, or if any of the old material was changed. But knowing Isaac, I'm sure the book is good!
     
  17. hotaru_rose

    hotaru_rose New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello! Thank you for the recommendation on the good read. I will have to pick up a copy now...:)

    Regards,

    hotaru_rose
     
  18. Guard

    Guard New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2006
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Does it serve any useful purpose to apply the term "Fluffy" to anyone. Personally, I see no gain. I can only see obstacles to learning and growing by the use of that term. Everyone attaches their own individual measure of importance to their chosen religion or belief system. How people approach, discover, learn and grow is hardly a matter of importance in this context providing the end result is spiritual fulfilment for the practioner.
     
  19. suanni

    suanni Confused

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2004
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is an equally derogartory term within the Christian communities for the newly embraced....basically on the same par as Fluffies....they're referred to as 'Happy Clappers'. Don't know about the Muslim world


    And on that I agree. Its the same with all faiths that become 'fashionable' and the different faiths do tend to move in and out of fashion, usually because some pop star/ movie icon has changed faith. For those with an ulterior motive, some mightn't be in it because of that. I'm thinking 'public speakers' who have profitted through 'faith'.

    I did enjoy Rain of Brass Petals post on the definition of fluffies although I'm not quite sure if the term is useful or not. Mankind does like its tags and I think we'll be stuck with the term for quite a long time to come. What I would love to know is how many of the pagan community can be categorised within that listing and to what percentage would the 'true' pagan be to the growing movement.
     
  20. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    There's an additional thing going on that adds to the confusion. In most Interfaith groups, witches tend to identify themselves as "Wiccan" because it's not such an emotionally-laden term, and most followers of other religions don't automatically think they know what "Wiccan" means.
     

Share This Page