Of Witches And Hate
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Article ID: 10175
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,079
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Posted: November 13th. 2005
Times Viewed: 6,622
You would think that in a community as diverse and open-minded as we Pagans are, we would be more accepting of everybody’s differences. I was naïve enough to think that every Wiccan respected each other’s religious practices and beliefs. But, like every group that has ever existed, there are supporters of the status quo, and there are dissenters. There are people who claim, as I do, that everybody’s beliefs and views are valid. Then there are those who insist that to listen and/or believe the lessons of certain Witches means that you are following an incorrect theology, thereby making you less of a Witch yourself.
See, there’s an online website for students where I post frequently. Among the many forums available is one for religious debate. Now, I’ve always been hesitant to discuss religion, because from what I’ve experienced, whenever the subject of faith comes up, nobody’s going to be happy. This is often because you will oftentimes find that one individual who will not be respectful of another person’s beliefs, and either insists that their way is the correct way, or that your religion is not legitimate.
I’m not saying that this is always the case. In real life, I’ve had quite a few who have earnestly inquired about my beliefs, both when I was a Catholic and presently as a Wiccan. Online, however, seems to be a different story. I finally got the courage to visit the religion forum one afternoon. After reading the guidelines and making a few commentary posts, I introduced myself, and since this was a religion forum, I mentioned that I was an aspiring Wiccan.
I got a mixed reaction. While there were many who welcomed me, one actually asked me if I was a fluffy bunny or a legitimate Wiccan. My, was I taken aback. I posted that I was trying to be legit, to answer his question. But then I began to wonder why he would even ask such a question. Turns out there had been a surge of teens in the past claiming to be Wiccan, but were just causing arguments for the sake of arguing. I wasn’t there for that, I explained, and the issue was settled without much fuss.
But now my curiosity had been provoked. I had heard about the derogatory term “fluffy bunny, ” but I thought it was outdated and used only for Witches who were always about the mysticism, not even acknowledging the modern world. Turns out there was a much broader definition of what fluffy bunny entailed than what I had known. One of the users on the forum listed a website run by Wiccans who used the term avidly. This group, who I will not name to avoid more conflict, claimed to be there to dispel the mistaken beliefs that some Wiccans hold, particularly in regards to our history.
Now this was the oddest thing. I agreed with much of what they were saying. I never bought into the old religion mythos which Gerald Gardner and Margot Adler had made popular in their heyday. I know that the vast majority of Christians are not out to get us, nor will they always hate me for being Wiccan. The only problem I had with this group of Wiccans was how they were presenting their information, as if every reader was among the fluffy bunnies. That really didn’t sit well with me.
Then came what really made me go “What the…?” They had a list of Wiccan authors, whom they claimed to all be of the fluffy bunny category. Among the list were several authors of books I had read, such as Scott Cunningham, DJ Conway, Konstantinos, and (*gasp*) Silver RavenWolf. In fact, they disliked Ms. RavenWolf to the point that they wrote a whole article condemning her, all based on her book To Ride a Silver Broomstick.
Being American, I am well aware that everybody is entitled to their opinion, and we have the right of freedom of speech. But I was appalled by the anger these Wiccans had towards these writers, many of whom had introduced a whole generation to Wicca. I was feeling unnecessarily embarrassed at having bought DJ Conway’s Celtic Magic or Konstantinos’s Nocturnal Witchcraft. Suddenly, having Silver RavenWolf’s Book of Shadows for the New Generation Solitary Witch was a waste of money.
Why the anger, I wondered? The reasoning I soon found was that these Wiccans felt that the authors listed had a similar viewpoint. They had been raised and educated in the age of televangelism, where being Wiccan and being vocal about it was looked down upon. So these authors, going by their experiences, wrote works that are products of their times. Realizing this, I came to the conclusion that this website was being directed at adults who grew up learning from these authors. They apparently don’t want that generation or the next to grow up believing the past is still the present.
Does that mean I should disregard the works of authors whom they claim are fluffy bunnies? Honestly, no, because they are just as much a part of our Wiccan history as any other author. We should read and learn from sources irregardless of their age, because it shows how much our community changes overtime. I read every book on Wicca and Witchcraft that I can get my hands on, albeit with a discerning eye, because the more you read, the more you learn, the better you can actively discuss and, in the future, educate about your particular path with others.
On the other hand, should we be accusing one another of being fluffy bunnies because they’ve got their histories a little mixed up? Again, no. In my opinion, calling a Pagan a fluffy bunny in our community is like a white person calling a black person a nigger, or a straight person calling a gay person a faggot. But it’s made even worse in the fact that both parties are among the same group, so it’s like creating a private club within a group. Remember, the Wiccan Rede states, “An it harm none, do what ye will.” How is addressing certain people with a derogatory title like “fluffy bunny” (oddly enough, a name that doesn’t sound as harsh at first) not harming anybody?
Wicca is a path of constant spiritual growth, and with that growth comes much needed respect and admiration for our fellow Witches. But if we continue to throw around negative labels, accusing one another of not being true Wiccans, then we lose much of that growth. We lose the ability to recognize each other’s beliefs as valid to the believer. If we ever hope to develop the power and compassion needed to live up to life’s expectations, we need to learn to get along, plain and simple. We can discuss our history and the deeper tenets of our faith. But leave the fluffy bunny talk at the door, okay?
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