“Oh my God, did you hear what that fluff-bunny said?”
“Fluffies are everywhere!”
And so it goes.
The term ‘fluffy bunny’ isn’t new. I remember first hearing it and using it back in the 90s when the internet really started getting big and AOL was where all the savvy web-tech Pagans would hang out. There were all kinds of chat room options where we could meet up and talk about things. The anonymity of the internet also permitted people to set up cults of personality and deride others for not doing/saying/thinking as they did. I believe that within this environment, was born the label of “Fluffy Bunny”. The definition has expanded a bit since its inception. I remember it used to mean someone who focused on the lighter aspects of Pagan spirituality. The people called fluffy bunnies were the peaceful, pacifist, tree-hugging, earth-loving ones who believed that the Goddess was something like a galactic Barbie doll who loved everyone. The code of the fluffy bunny was ‘do no harm’. These were nice people, if a bit too much to handle at times, but in general they were harmless.
The definition later changed as more information came to light. With the publication of several books like The Triumph of the Moon, and the release of new editions of others like The Spiral Dance, the accepted history of Wicca and Paganism began to change. Now, instead of believing that there was once a peaceful matrifocal culture that worshiped The Goddess, until angry Warrior God types came in and ruined everything, Pagans were in more of a position to understand that our history involved war and bloodshed, and that we weren’t always nice and peaceful. The understanding that there was very little evidence to speak of that showed a connection to modern Witchcraft movements and those folk traditions of the past was also a blow to people who had built up their entire system of belief on these myths. The people who refused to accept this new information as it was presented were now termed fluffy bunnies, because they wanted to keep a tight grip on their way of seeing things and the thought of historical evidence that was different bothered them on a very deep level, and fluffy bunny sounds better than rigid fundamentalist, though they are really the same thing.
Now a third part has been collectively added to the definition of a fluffy bunny, and that is one of the Instant High Priest or Instant High Priestess. These are the people who read a book or two, or browse some websites, or watch some television shows or movies, and decide that they now know enough to teach others. It only matters that they know more than those who would be their students or followers. They don’t really seek out more information and they can’t be bothered with being told that their sources are incomplete or incorrect. They will simply stick their fingers into their ears, call you a meanie-poo-poo-head, and say that you just don’t recognize how special they are for knowing what they know. They never give sources and never have a deeper authority than their own opinions, but that’s enough for them and for a while, it may be enough for their followers. But, when the followers seek out more knowledge or information, and learn for themselves that the fluffy bunny is all show and no substance, they leave. Or they get thrown out in a hissy fit.
A fluffy bunny sounds cute, but it’s a derisive and derogatory term that means someone is out of touch, ignorant, and stubborn when presented with new information. There’s a movement in the Neo-Pagan community to stop using the label because it’s mean.
Yes, it’s mean. Yes, no one wants to be called a fluffy bunny when they understand what it is. But at a deeper root, why would anyone want to be a fluffy bunny in the first place? To me, the bigger issue is not stopping the name calling, but eliminating the problem.
We need to exterminate the fluffy bunny and remove it from all existence!! MWHAHAHAHAHA!!!
By that, I mean there needs to be a strong, solid effort of education and understanding. There will always be people who stubbornly stick to their beliefs and become rigid fundamentalists. All religious groups and all systems of belief and faith attract these people. Fluffy bunnies need to do some serious self-study and see if they fit this template and if they do, they need to work on gaining more knowledge and experience and finding a balance between honest history and practice and their own path to spirituality.
In 2006, Margot Adler, a well-respected Wiccan author and priestess had this to say:
If scholarship is redrawing the picture of the Burning Times, it is also reconfiguring the origins of Wicca. Scholars have never accepted the myth of an unbroken Wiccan tradition, and now most Wiccans are being asked to look honestly at their history. In a recent essay in the scholarly neopagan journal Pomegranate, Cat Chapin-Bishop and Peter Bishop observe that modern-day witches often disavow their roots, including connections to Masonic ritual, Aleister Crowley, Yeats and Kipling, the Golden Dawn, Theosophy, spiritualism, and much more. These authors write:
“The fanciful origin myths of Wicca told to us by Margaret Murray, the vastly inflated figure of 9 million dead in the burning times–these have long been discredited, and there is general acceptance now that Wicca is primarily a modern reconstruction of what we think might once have been. What hasn’t been generally acknowledged yet is the richness of the heritage we do have. We are like the children of immigrants embarrassed by our Mother Tongue. But…nothing prevents us from embracing our syncretistic origins while still preserving the unique worldview of modern Wicca, except for our own self-consciousness.”
We need to move past the fluffy bunny mindset. There’s nothing wrong with being a loving, peaceful person who seeks to help and heal others, but there must be balance. There’s no excuse for willful ignorance and there’s no sense in ignoring the realities of the world if you’re really trying to be helpful to others in it. Denying the truth of our history, both ancient and modern, isn’t helping either.
Walking around in complete light will make you just as blind as stumbling around in total darkness.