Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Learning From The Fluffy Bunny

For those who read my blog and aren't Pagan, this probably won't be very interesting to you... But it's been on my mind a lot lately.

What if the "fluffy bunnies" of the Pagan community are not only good, but vital to the community? I'm not talking about the people who are only Pagan for the shock value. I am referring, in this case, to the newbies. The brand-new pagans who are SO excited to get started that they choose a name they will likely regret in a few years, and they can't leave the house without their 6-inch wide pentacle. They walk through a grocery store and people stare and grab for their crucifixes because it‘s just so obvious what these people are. Those, to me, are fluffy bunnies.

I will never forget the day I realized witchcraft was the path for me. I was 15 years old and I had just recently told my Christian parents that I was a lesbian. I was struggling to find a religion that said that was okay, because I had realized I didn’t want to deny that side of myself. A friend handed me Silver Ravenwolf’s “Teen Witch”. I devoured it. The day I finished it I spent ten minutes jumping up and down on my bed in complete glee. I was absolutely ecstatic. When I discovered paganism it truly felt like coming home from a long trip. This was exactly what I needed.

So began my stage as a fluffy bunny. A COMPLETE fluffy bunny. My sister and I showed up at school in our "witchy clothes" so often that we were dubbed the "Blair Witch Sisters" by our classmates. I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I was becoming a witch. However, when I wasn't shocking classmates and covering my notebooks in pentacles, I was studying. Learning. I was obsessed with everything Pagan, and I was devouring every book I could get my hands on. I was ecstatic. I believe we need that drive of “Fluffy Bunny” in the beginning. In fact, I LOVED being a fluffy bunny! Admit it, you did to! It’s fun, it’s exciting. Your energy is up and you’re absolutely in love with life. You know you’re standing on the precipice of something huge, and even though you may not know what it is or how to harness that energy yet, you can feel that energy. You know it is everywhere, even if you can’t yet pronounce the names.

Wicca is a path of growth. In order to grow you must start somewhere and for a large majority of us that start came with Silver Ravenwolf. Silver Ravenwolf, the most famous “fluffy bunny” of the Pagan world, gave me the means to begin this amazing journey. I needed Silver Ravenwolf. As a teen I wasn’t ready for anything deeper than Wicca 101 and fluffy bunny-ism. I needed correspondences and the “Freeze your Enemies” spell. I wasn’t ready for trances. I couldn’t have begun to understand the darker side, and I can only imagine the damage if Silver Ravenwolf had given me more information than she so wisely publishes. She is writing to a specific demographic, and that demographic needs her. I was that demographic, as a teenage fluffy bunny. I needed her. She may have a bad reputation among some circles of the community, but I am here to proudly state that I am grateful for Silver Ravenwolf, and the doors she helped me open.

Perhaps the fluffy bunny exists to remind us to get in touch with our inner child. Sure they only think of the happy things, of course they have no interest in the darker stuff. Their spirituality is right below the surface, and probably evident in their completely outlandish outfit. They truly believe that all spells need a certain kind of candle, because their spiritual minds aren’t developed enough to realize where the true power of a spell is coming from. But they are having so much fun! Remember when you were a kid pretending to be Gandalf or Samantha for Halloween? The fluffy bunny is still that child. They are still wearing the dress-up clothes and believing the stories they are told whole-heartedly. They have the innocence of a child.

A person that has just been introduced to Paganism can’t even begin to understand the deeper and darker parts of Paganism, and for us to expect them to and push them past the stage they are at on their path is irresponsible. Many of us move past this stage on our own, but there are some who remain in the Fluffy Bunny stage for years. Maybe they need to. Maybe they are not ready to process the mysteries. Maybe their spiritual selves have not lived long enough for them to be trusted with the powers. A third-degree has to go through steps to become a third-degree. A Pagan has to go through steps to truly realize their power. Fluffy bunny is a step. They are the freshman in high school who thinks they are cool because they have a locker and a schedule, but don’t realize that in high school you don’t bring a lunch box covered in stickers. This in the audience Silver Ravenwolf is writing to. These are people who aren’t yet ready for anything deeper than “To Stir A Magic Cauldron”. And I think this is okay.

Don't get me wrong. Fluffy bunnies drive me crazy, too. There are a few at the big Beltane celebration that I will shamefully admit I avoid. But I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and meditating on why I avoid them. When I realized I was one once upon a time I thought this needed more exploration.

I have grown past that stage. I don't wear all black anymore (occasionally I add something olive green to my outfit) and my pentacle has shrunk to a half-inch wide and stays hidden in my shirt. I know that when a fluffy bunny mispronounces Samhain you just want to scream. I know that those of us who have been on the path for a decade or more get annoyed by the image they portray of us to the rest of the world. But there is a role for the bunny in our community. There are lessons the fluffy bunny can teach you if you stop judging long enough to listen. Are you ready to learn?

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