I know I’ve spoken at length about going out and finding the idiots in Paganism and Wicca, and exposing them for the idiots they are. But now I want to talk about the other side of that for a while.
While I have been out of the hunting business for a while now, there are those I’m friends with who are still out there in the communities, looking and reporting on trends in the groups of the new seekers, and the responses that the older and more experienced generations are having toward them.
This is where the downside of the hunting comes in. There is a HUGE temptation to slather ALL new people with the same “bunny brush”. To label the sincere and genuine seeker with the “fluffbunny” title, which makes it impossible for them to thereafter find real help in their spiritual journey.
So I want to talk about this trap in this essay.
Always remember the golden rule of bunnyhunting: “THE NEW ARE NOT ALL BUNNIES.” Certainly the possibility is there for the new seeker, the person who found Wicca and Paganism last week to be a bunny. The “One book and I’m a witch!” crowd is one that we always have to be on the look out for, since they can do so much damage if left without those who are concerned with keep facts out there. They tend to be the worst when taking something they read out of context, and without subjective verification (through research in the case of facts, through meditation and experimentation in the case of non scientific items) and repeat it ad neausium to anyone who will hear. I could go on for days on all of those, but the two most common I will give here as examples; “Wicca goes unbroken back to prehistoric mankind” and “All witches are Wiccan because they have to be.”
Anyone who has been around the block a few times just let out a huge groan of frustration, and believe me I feel your pain. I have spent probably a year or so (if you put all the scattered bits together) of my life trying to purge only one of those from the collective Wiccan mind.
But does the repeating of one of these rotten chestnuts automatically warrant a sign of “FLUFFBUNNY” to be on the speaker?
I am telling you now, it does not.
Just having read that in one of the many MANY bad volumes of Wicca instructional manuals and classes does not mean the person in question is someone who is an idiot and fluff. Remember, a fluffbunny has a very specific definition and set of behaviors. It is someone who is unrepentantly ignorant, willfully turning aside from and denying anything that makes their little mental universe change. When they (metaphorically) stick their fingers in their ears and begin making random noises to drown out your information, and go blithely out and teach this “fact”, which can be refuted about two dozen ways, to anyone who will listen, from the new student to the fundamentalist Christian, then it’s a pretty safe bet that they are a fluff.
But someone who is asking for references and help finding information, is, by that definition, NOT a fluffbunny. They are someone who is asking for a starting place.
Yes, you may feel that it is your duty to follow in the steps of Elfwreck and try to drive them away from our faith, and that is your choice. But don’t do it thinking that you are keeping a fluff from being created. It is shutting down a seeker from finding a pathway, finding information.
I’ll admit that this is a judgment call. It’s a hard call in most cases, trying to figure out if this is the first symptom of someone who just wants to fling poo all over Wicca and Paganism, or if this person is sincere in their quest for knowledge. Thankfully it’s something you can take to your Gods, to your Teachers, to those who are allies and your own mind and conscience as to if you are going to help or not.
And, by all the Gods living and dead, it’s so tempting to to just ignore the request and go your merry way, but I want you to remember something…. you started out in the same place at one time. You too were lost and overwhelmed with a lack of resources and a lot of people who were talking in circles around your understanding. So, now that I reminded you about this, what would you tell yourself in that long ago time when you desperately wanted what you now have?
If you had the chance to go back in time, as you are now, what would you say to yourself back then to encourage them to investigate and what hints would you drop?
Why not do that now. It doesn’t have to be blatantly obvious, but it shouldn’t be a Chinese Puzzle Box either. Understand and sculpt the lesson to the student, give hints and give tools to find more. Feed the hunger to know, instead of stomping on the embers.
Remember, the seeker now, will be the teacher of your grandchildren.