Hopping Down the Bunny Trail
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Article ID: 8598
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 5,238
Times Read: 8,035
Posted: July 12th. 2004
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I didn't set out to be a "fluffy bunny" but, as an Eclectic Witch, I evidently am well on my way down the bunny trail.
Some Pagans have reserved the term fluffy bunny to refer to individuals (usually teens) for whom Wicca is just a trend, like the latest hairstyle or the coolest sneakers. These fluffy bunnies are often inspired by shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Charmed, and tend to lose interest when their friends do, or when the next trend comes along.
Using the term in this context doesn't offend me - it's simply Pagan shorthand, like using the term "Muggle" for people who don't practice magick. I am, however, miffed and mystified by those Pagans who label all Wiccans, or those who don't 'meet' their criteria of "Wiccan-ness," as fluffy bunnies. And, unfortunately, I've noticed that this term is being used more frequently in this derisive and derogatory manner in articles and essays in Pagan publications, websites and blogs.
First, let's consider the folks who believe that all Wiccans are fluffy bunnies. Evidently, Wiccans are too "New Age;" our magick isn't dark enough and even our very "creeds" ('An it harm none, do as ye will" and the Threefold Law) are too goody-goody and limiting for their taste.
Then there are those who believe that anyone who hasn't studied a formal Tradition and been initiated by a Priest or Priestess hasn't earned the right to call herself a Witch. Those of us who consider ourselves Eclectics, Green Witches, Hedge Witches and the like all fall into this category. Evidently, we're just play-acting - Witch wannabes.
Woe to we who count Scott Cunningham (author of a number of Wiccan "how to" books) among our teachers. He seems to hold a special place in the fluffy-bunny-bashers' hearts.
And don't let me get started on those "Hereditaries" who can trace their Witchy lineages back hundreds of years, like the Aldens and the Winslows to the Mayflower. Apparently, formal Traditions and degrees aren't enough to raise anyone to their rank.
It pains me that some members of the Pagan community are wasting time and energy on essays, articles and websites labeling and bashing fluffy bunnies. I was raised Christian in the Bible Belt. When I was a teenager, my friends and I spent hours arguing about theology - in short, why members of other denominations were going to Hell. Sure, there were distinctions between our beliefs and practices, but the essential fact was that we were all Christians, and the differences shouldn't have mattered as much as our similarities. But they did, and they divided our churches, our community and us as individuals.
I don't doubt that some Traditionalists are sincerely concerned about Wicca becoming a spiritual free-for-all that dilutes the essence of our religion so thoroughly that it will be indistinguishable from any other New Age practice. But this is where faith comes in; we Wiccans can either "live and let live" and trust that our religion will evolve as the Goddess wills or we can spend our time and energy sniping at each other. The latter choice will serve only to widen the chasm between Trads and Eclectics. Do we really want to perpetuate the "us and them" mentality that divides Catholic from Protestant, denomination from denomination?
Henceforth, I will embrace my fluffy bunny-ness. My magick is not dark; it is light. I apply the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law to my life, not just to my magickal practice. I believe that I am here to serve my Goddess, humanity, Mother Earth and all Her creatures; abiding by the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law to the best of my ability helps me to be mindful of my purpose, my potential and the impact of my thoughts, words and actions.
I am a proud Eclectic. Scott Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner was the first book I read when I realized that Wicca embraced the Goddess- centered theaology, Nature worship and animism that had been calling me for years. Cunningham's tone was nurturing, loving, supportive, accessible and all-inclusive - probably the very traits to which his critics object. If the first book I'd read had told me that the only way that I could become a Witch would be to find a coven, be welcomed into their fold, study a formal Tradition and be initiated skyclad by their High Priest and Priestess, I would have slammed the book closed and never looked back.
The idea of studying a formal tradition turns my stomach. I have endured at least one lifetime of hierarchical, organized religion, and I want nothing more to do with it. For the most part, I practice alone. I have a permanent altar in my apartment, which is the focal point of my meditation practice as well as my Esbats and Sabbats. From time to time, I celebrate with two likeminded women, and knowing that we can come together when and how we choose is what makes our loose coven the perfect arrangement for me. When we celebrate together, each of us plays an equal role; each of us is a Priestess, none higher than the other.
I spent the traditional "year and a day" studying and practicing before I dedicated myself formally to this path - not because I felt I had to, but because the concept made sense. I wrote long essays about my spiritual struggles and regular entries on my blog chronicling my journey.
I spent months planning my dedication ceremony, and wrote the majority of it myself. The opening sentences were, "Some say that only a Witch can make another Witch. I believe that Witches are born, not made. That's why this celebration is a dedication, not an initiation." I suspect that it's this attitude that is at the heart of the fluffy bunny controversy. Eclectics such as me have claimed the right - and the power - to mold our religion to meet our needs, rather than conforming to the religion; we are heretics.
I am not play-acting. I have been seeking this path for a long time, and I set foot on it only after serious deliberation. I've read volumes on Wicca and Witchcraft, have developed a relationship with the Goddess in some of Her many forms (and to a lesser extent, the God and His) and am acutely aware that I have much to learn. This is my religion and my life, not a phase, not a fancy.
If this is what it means to be a fluffy bunny, so mote it be.
Location: new york, New York
Bio: Neoma is an Eclectic Witch who shares her New York apartment with a Muggle, ten parrots and a European Starling. She has published a number of articles in the nation's two leading magazines on pet birds; this is her first submission to a Pagan publication. A lifelong seeker, nature lover and animist, Neoma began studying Wicca approximately two years ago. She considers Witch Wars, one aspect of which was addressed in this essay, and the continuing necessity of the broom closet to be the most important issues confronting modern Wiccans. In addition to her spiritual practice, Neoma enjoys rune casting, walking, hiking, container gardening, reading, watching movies and knitting.
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