Friday, March 16, 2012

F is for Fluffy Bunny

Fluffy bunny is a derogatory phrase I have heard as long as I've been a part of the Pagan community. I believe it refers to those bright eyed and bushy tailed young witches eager to believe everything they're handed and take it all to extremes. The problem I have with it, besides the fact that it's derogatory, is that I believe we are all fluffy bunnies at some point.

I have been a witch and a Pagan just about all of my life. When I was about 24, newly divorced and newly moved to a new neighborhood, I decided to reach out to the local Pagan community and see if I could make some connections. I answered an ad and joined a Wiccan coven. Understand that I had zero experience with Wicca at this point and really didn't know what it was. As it was explained to me at first, I thought it was what I was. After a few Circles with my new coven I realized that I was not, in fact, Wiccan already. But I was willing to make a go of it, I just needed a little guidance. My questions got on their nerves and I soon learned a new word, Fluffy Bunny. Now I had more experience with herbal magic, kitchen witchery and spell casting than any of them, but I

I see fluffy  bunny trouble in our future
didn't know how to call quarters, was completely mystified by their concept of deity and needed more clarification on the rede. They considered me naive and immature and perhaps it was true when it came to their religion. They confused me, embarrassed me, and made me feel stupid and that was a fluffy bunny mistake I would make over and over. For a time I went by the policy that if you were Pagan, I would be your friend and I got burned by it until I finally got over it.

Spotted a whole busload in Baltimore!
My daughter was raised Pagan and was doing her first spells in kindergarten. My children ate empowered breakfasts over which we discussed the symbolism of their dreams, kept magic charms in their rooms, celebrated every Sabbat at home if not with a group and basically lived as out Pagan as one can. She's 19 now and she is a Fluffy Bunny, stumbling through the challenging task of integrating the beliefs she was raised with with the beliefs of the other Pagans she's gotten to know of her own generation. I cringe just a bit, but what can you do? There really are no two family traditions alike and the established traditions aren't like any of them. So whenever a Pagan child goes out into the world, she's going to experience a little friction with the other Pagans until she finds those few she can comfortably Circle with.

This fluffy bunny terrorist infiltrated
our Lammas celebration in '07
The funny thing is, although we are "out" Pagans and have been my children's whole lives, I can only remember one incident where another child teased my oldest son about being Pagan. The teacher put a stop to it and the principal asked if we couldn't call ourselves something other than Pagan. I laughed and told him we are actually Neo-Hellenic Polytheists following a self-defined family tradition that was hard to define and had no official name. He paled and said Pagan was fine. There was one incident in Girl Scouts when my daughter called another girl stupid for saying that all witches could fly, but that blew over. We have faced very little, if any, discrimination from the general community but from within the Pagan community we have been called fluffy bunnies, puritanical, fake Pagans, posers, etc. In my case it's been more than 10 years since I've had to deal with it and I thought it was dead, but there it is again.

No wonder the economy
is in the toilet
Why is it that those most eager to learn and discuss those things that most conflict with what we already believe suffer the most derision? It's as if disagreeing or questioning the status quo is heretical. I have been told that fluffy bunny is applied only to those who hold tight to those beliefs when they are wrong. Without getting into the discussion of whether anyone knows who is right or who is wrong, I can't help but point out that sharing your conflicting opinion does not constitute holding tight to it. Sometimes discussing different viewpoints can lead to a change of viewpoint, but it doesn't happen all at once. It shouldn't. If you're going to flop your opinion from one short conversation then your opinion isn't worth much in the first place.

Our family, and some of our friends, have embraced the term "fluffy bunny". We have quite a few stuffed bunnies that we take with us to Pagan gatherings and announce that the fluffy bunnies have invaded. These bunnies have had their pictures taken all over the place and sent home with messages like "As expected, the fluffy bunnies are all over Salem" and "uh oh, it seems the fluffy bunnies are attempting to take over the capital". They've become something like a "flat Stanley". We have had so much fun with it that I've been thinking of setting up a website to share our pictures on, but I lost interest when my camera broke. Perhaps it's time I got around to it.

Addendum: I added some of our fluffy bunny pictures, at least the ones I could easily find.