Articles/Essays From Pagans
December 10th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
October 10th. 2016 ...
Witchcraft from the Outside
September 11th. 2016 ...
How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
September 3rd. 2016 ...
Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
Magic in Sentences
The Evolution of Thought Forms
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Making Fauna Pagans
Article Specs |
Article ID: 8963
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,340
Times Read: 22,875
Author: Isaac Bonewits [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: January 23rd. 2005
Times Viewed: 22,875
Many people in the Neopagan movements use an interesting metaphor (or “clever” putdown) to describe people who are newer to Wicca and Paganism than they are, or who seem to have more sensitive ethical constraints on their magical (or even mundane) behavior than their critics claim to have. These critics call their targets, “Fluffy Bunny Pagans.”
Sometimes the term used is “Bambi™ and Barbie™-Goddess Pagans, ” implying a sickeningly sweet attitude about life in general and the Craft in particular. If someone’s image of the Horned God is Bambi™ and of the Goddess is Barbie™, others could reasonably assume that person is naive and shallow. Of course, I know several Pagans who are proud owners of the (very expensive) Sun Goddess Barbie™ and Moon Priestess Barbie™ dolls…
Inhabitants of the Buffyverse know the overly enthusiastic, naive, and yet often dogmatic “newbie” Wiccans as “Blessed Wanna-Bes” and often declare that the character of Willow is a good example of what a Witch is supposed to be—although I’ve never met a Wiccan or any other kind of witch who could pull off the sorts of spells that Willow did on a regular basis.
Oddly enough, and hard as this may be to believe, all of the people who use such nasty terms were new to Paganism themselves once upon a time. Of course, many Wiccans and other Pagans do get their knowledge about their religious path from just one or two books published by a really big Pagan publisher, not knowing that these are often heavily censored (so as to not freak the mundanes), watered down (so as not to strain the brains of the readers too much), and/or filled with obvious mistakes (so as to save money in the production process). Such “one-book wonders” can be very annoying to the “ten-book wonders” who think they know all there is to know about Paganism.
And yet, and yet… as someone who’s read hundreds of books on Paganism and written a few of them, I have to admit that I’ve met some really annoying Fluffy Bunny Pagans myself—such as the ones who’ve just read a Wicca 101 book and are now going around telling everyone they meet on line what “real” Witchcraft is all about. Or the ones who’ve read a couple of books that have (shallowly) discussed the ethics of magic, so now they think doing magic for any other purpose than feeling good about themselves is “Evil Black Magick!™”
But Fluffy Bunnies are not the most annoying critters in the Pagan woods—many others are just as bad or worse, like the Stinking Badgers who sneer at the Fluffy Bunnies and insist that “Only Pagans who are in touch with the Dark Side (of the Force?) really know what’s going on.” Then there are the Slippery Eels who have learned a reasonable amount about Paganism and use their knowledge mostly to manipulate others and to improve the lies that get them money, sex, and/or prestige.
The Bunnies, the Badgers, and other Pagan Critters can best be understood by the use of value spectrums. These are graphic ways of showing pairs of opposites without slipping into dualism. Consider, for example, a common dualist way of depicting the difference between Left and Right:
Dualistic thinking saturates Western culture to such an extent that most westerners (especially Americans) have trouble thinking of any complex topic without slipping into Black/White, Evil/Good, Left/Right extremes. Unfortunately, reality is seldom that neat and clear. So let’s try looking at the Left-Right distinction using a value spectrum instead:
Clearly the value spectrum gives us a more accurate image of how real people might place themselves within the Left-Right polarity, with the vast majority being some mixture of the two extremes.
So let’s try using value spectrums to help us make some Pagan fauna (or vice versa). Imagine four of them, measuring varying amounts of experience, honesty, trust, and knowledge that a person might have, intersecting in four dimensions like this:
Let’s look at the various critters quickly:
- Fuzzy Sheep—blinking-eyed, open-mouthed, newbies with no experience in Paganism at all.
- Furry Coyotes—winking-eyed, howling-mouthed, tricksters who have seen (and done) it all.
- Sly Foxes—bright and clever folks who know enough to be dangerous.
- Wise Owls— thoughtful and temperate ones who value wisdom over knowledge.
- Golden Geckos—paragons of virtue, always ready to tell others what to do and how to do it.
- Slippery Eels—folks who’ve learned a lot of different ways to bamboozle others.
- Fluffy Bunnies—naive newcomers who think sheer niceness is all they need to be Pagans.
- Stinking Badgers—cynical contrarians who use their knowledge and experience as weapons.
- Tenacious Turtles—thick-shelled, steady learners who just keep moving forward on their paths.
I have to admit to having a soft spot in my heart for Fluffy Bunnies (they can be delicious under the right circumstances). Where am I on this multidimensional map? I think I started out halfway between being a Fuzzy Sheep and a Sly Fox, way back when. My forty years of Pagan experience have taken me from there, through Tenacious Turtlehood, towards the halfway point between being a Wise Owl and a Furry Coyote.
So if we’re going to use animal metaphors for other Pagans, let’s add a few new ones to the menagerie, so we can be equal opportunity offenders—but remember, “We don’t need no stinkin’ badgers!”
Copyright: © 2005 Isaac Bonewits. A shorter version of this was originally published at GaiaOnline.com. Various items such as tshirts, mousepads, lunch boxes, etc., with the Pagan Fauna Chart can be found at the author’s online shop at cafepress.com.
Location: Ashland, Oregon
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