Articles/Essays From Pagans
February 1st. 2019 ...
Paganism and Witchcraft in the Media
September 25th. 2018 ...
Understanding the Unseen
August 25th. 2018 ...
A Little Magickal History
Men and the Goddess
Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces
Kitchen Magic and Memories
Why the Faeries?
Magic in Daily Life
An Open Fire: Healing from Within
Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light
Gudrun of the Victory Gods
Ares and Athena
La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength
The Lady on the Stairs
The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives
July 26th. 2018 ...
The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity
May 29th. 2018 ...
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
April 20th. 2018 ...
Nazis Made Us Change Our Name
January 25th. 2018 ...
Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion
November 15th. 2017 ...
September 30th. 2017 ...
July 31st. 2017 ...
Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers
July 2nd. 2017 ...
On Cursing: Politics and Ethos
June 1st. 2017 ...
The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions
April 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles
March 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 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)
September 11th. 2016 ...
The Shadow of Disgust
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
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
An Open Mind and Heart
June 13th. 2016 ...
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
The Fear of Witchcraft
Magic in Sentences
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
December 20th. 2015 ...
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
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
May 6th. 2015 ...
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
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
January 1st. 2015 ...
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
August 24th. 2014 ...
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
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: 5,175
Times Read: 24,507
Author: Isaac Bonewits [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: January 23rd. 2005
Times Viewed: 24,507
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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