The other day when talking to my mother on the phone, I realized that there is something that is actually really bothering me a lot about all this talk about “fluffy bunnies.” I thought back to my experience as a very enthusiastic Pagan teenager, and the way I was treated by many of the adults in the Pagan community around me. Needless to say it wasn’t a very good one. In fact, ten years later I’m still put off by it, and would love a chance to sit down and talk to those adults about how they treated me.
So here are my questions – Where have all the elders gone? Where are those people that are willing to attempt to help bring people into the fold in a gentle way? Why is it that so many of us are looking down our noses at others, and couldn’t we put our energy into better things?
Now I know that there are those that will never change. They will be perma-bunnies. However, I don’t think it’s fair to assume that every “white-lighter” that we find out there isn’t willing to learn more about their own religion. And I think that was the original thought behind those first webpages talking about fluffies.
As a teenager, I would have loved for someone to hand me or even suggest a book to me not written by Silver Ravenwolf. I’d have greeted knowledge about the “burning times” explained to me by an elder if it had been gently given. Basically I was a sponge just waiting to soak up information, and no one took up the challenge of it.
It’s not safe to assume that every teenager out there is just embracing a passing fad to anger their parents. I understand the legality of letting someone under the age of 18 join a coven, but what I don’t understand is when it became illegal to simply suggest a book or a website with information to someone.
If they don’t seem open to it, fine. Just leave knowing that you tried. But until you try, don’t write a person off as a hopeless case.
So instead of looking down your nose at that pentacle covered kid running around at your Pagan gathering, introduce yourself to them, talk to them in a way that doesn’t say you’re trying to cram information down their throat, and generally treat them like a person. It’s not that hard.
You are an older, more experienced person, and it is an honor. I would go so far as to say that it is your sacred duty to help those that are less experienced than you are. If it wasn’t for the elders teaching us through books and in-person learning, none of us would have gotten as far as we are today. (Though some of us are further along the path than others, and I don’t claim to be that far along!)
7 thoughts on “You’re an Elder! Act Like One!”
As a new Pagan, I really appreciate that someone out there doesn't think I'm a ridiculous human being for being young and enthusiastic 🙂 My experience with the "locals" was pretty disappointing because of this.
I've had that experience with "locals" over and over again. At this point I'm only 27, but I've been at this for 14 years now (Wow, that seems like a long time). I love the young and enthusiastic! I think it breathes life into my own feelings about my religion, and I wish more people would see it that way.
I know what you mean. Even now when I was browsing my local Witchvox listings, I found all these super intimidating ads from "teachers" – basically bragging about how wise and such they are, degree flaunting, etc. I tried to put up my own ad and in a matter of days I got many interested emails – many of them from people who could easily be dismissed as fluffies. (A few of them I wasn't even sure if they were real seekers of people just having fun and testing the waters to see if I was full of it or not – that's how stereotypically fluffy some of them were!) Nevertheless, I try to reply respectfully and cheerfully anyway, but gently point out (in a positive way) some of the misconceptions they might have included in their emails. A few of them never wrote back but several people and I have started a good conversation. I tried to give them a few pointers for books to check out, etc. I'm hoping I made some sort of positive difference so far, but who knows. I kind of shudder though to see the conversations some of them might have had with some of the "elders" you were describing.
This is precisely one of the reasons that I'm not Wiccan and never will be. Christians don't have "Fluffy bunnies". And you're encouraged to be as enthusiastic as possible when walking that path.The problem that Pagans face is that a lot of people walk these paths for shock value. To get Ooohs and Aaahs out of others, that's why the term "fluffy bunny" even exists in the first place. Normally, they're not very serious about the path they're walking, and have forgotten that paganism and Wicca are religions and a way of life. Most of those people you can see coming a mile away and usually they don't stick with it for any length of time. Again, the problem is that Pagans are jaded, now. Due to the bad press that those people create for our paths. And as a result, all "newbies" if you will, are seen as "fluffy". I still get it from certain people and I'm 15 years in. But, degree flaunting and chest beating are two of the reasons I'll never take on the Wiccan label, and I'll likely never seek out a coven or community group, either. I think that those attitudes turn many would-be Pagans away from their search.
I wanted to come back and link something for you. I was trying to find it last night but it was late. This is a post at "Wicca for the Rest of Us" about Fluffy Bunnies. I used this site early in my study, but it gave me an understanding of why that term is thrown around like it is. But, it also shows how anyone intimidating another person about that term, might be one themselves.http://wicca.timerift.net/fluffy.shtml
Well said! Although I'm not familiar with the term "Fluffy Bunnies" I know the type of person you've described…sometimes what starts as a teen fad can actually develop into something meaningful if someone is willing to talk to them. Its a good bed that these "bunnies" turned to paganism because they felt rejected in their former belief system…so why would we want to subject them to the same behavior?
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