Charmed, Harry Potter, Fluffy Bunnies, Laziness, Seriousness, & Power: Everything That Is Wrong With the Community.

Because I make good blog posts all year, I’m allowed one post a year where I write whatever I feel like so long as it is technically on-topic. It can be stupid, cryptic, or just me bitching. I didn’t make a post like this last year. This is my post for this year.

I don’t like the term fluffy bunny. I’ve been called a fluffy bunny before. In fact, I’ve been called a fluffy bunny and accused of practicing dark magicks which are too dangerous to be played around with in the same sentence. So am I a dark evil LHPer or am I a fluffy bunny? I don’t care so much, I just want to know who I’m supposed to hang out with during the next Pagan Pride event.

I guess it doesn’t bother me as much as it could because I’m not Wiccan. The term is entirely Wiccan. It is almost always used by Wiccans to describe other Wiccans in a negative way. To me that implies that it’s a term that no one should ever use, ever. From my experience, the term fluffy bunny means, “Someone who doesn’t practice the exact same religion as me,” or “Someone who approaches spirituality differently than I do.”

Those of us in the magical community, as a group, have been called by outsiders evil, immoral, incompassionate, criminal, child molesters, rapists, serial killers, animal abusers, and just about every other horrible name imaginable. The people who do that are mean assholes. And yet some members of the community have found it necessary to create an entirely new name to call people in the community. They’re also mean assholes.

If you use the term fluffy bunny, there’s no difference between yourself and some Christian extremist who preaches against Wiccans. You’re calling someone a name and being mean to them because they happen to have different spiritual views than yourself. The fact that you happen to belong to a minority faith and experience a good deal of bigotry because of it doesn’t excuse the behavior. In fact it makes it worse that you choose to participate in it.

Fluffy bunnies leads right into a common complaint in the magical community about people who have derived their spiritual beliefs from Charmed, or Harry Potter, or the Craft, or any other media portrayal of magic. When people talk about all those people who think magic works like Charmed, my response is, “So?”. I honestly don’t understand what the problem is or why these people care.

First off if someone happens to be turned on to magic and exploring their spirituality because of Charmed or the Craft there’s nothing wrong with that. If that’s where someone’s coming from, that’s their spiritual path. It’s not the same as my path, but we’re different people, and my own path is fairly atypical anyways. The important thing is that the person had something open their eyes to a magical universe and set them on their current path. All of us should be proud of how we came upon our magical path and people shouldn’t be making others feel ashamed of how they came about their spirituality, even if it was derived from Charmed. Well, I mean they shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed for any reason besides the fact that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is superior in every way and yet they chose to watch the crappy urban fantasy show.

From what I gather though most people don’t have too much of a problem with people who simply got turned on to magic from some media portrayal. What most people are upset about are these people who think that Charmed or whatever is how magic really operates, and so they create some sort of spiritual practice mimicking what they see on the show. This is the real problem people have. Once again though I don’t see a problem here.

There are two outcomes to this situation. The first is, absolutely nothing happens and they waste their time because Charmed is fiction and none of it is real. I don’t see anything wrong with this scenario. They didn’t waste my time and if that’s how they enjoy spending their free time and it makes them happy, then they should probably keep doing that. The second outcome is that, for whatever reason, they actually achieve success, in which case maybe we all should be following the gospel of Charmed.

Now some people say that these Charmed people make all of Wicca or Paganism or the Magic Community out to be a joke and no one will ever take us seriously because of them. That isn’t happening. No one actually believes this. The magic community hasn’t had any respectability since sometime in the 1970s. We were a huge joke before most of these people were even born. I’ll admit these people aren’t doing anything to help the situation, but at this point they really can’t do any more harm.

Bottom line what’s happening is certain people in the community are telling other people in the community how they can or can’t practice their spirituality. That’s strange because people in the community have been told their entire life by family, neighbors, schools, churches, politicians, judges, employers, and coworkers how they can or can’t practice their spirituality. And none of us like it when it happens to us. When we see it happening to someone else, most of us get pissed off and want to fight it. We don’t put up with judges telling parents their children can’t participate in their religion. We don’t put up with politicians treating us like a second tier religion. We don’t even put up with Pagan convicts not getting the same religious priveleges as Christian convicts.

Yet certain people certain people in the community think it’s okay to attack other people in the community in the exact same way. They’re vocal that these people shouldn’t be practicing what they’re practicing. That their spirituality is wrong. And it’s wrong because it’s different and it’s in opposition to what someone else believes in.

I know some people are upset because these Charmed Wiccans come to them wanting to be taught or to join their coven or whatever. Here’s the thing about someone wanting to be taught by you. You have all of the leverage in that situation. You can say no and there is really nothing they can do about it. They can demand you teach them, they can argue that you’re obligated to teach them, they can really say any number of things. But ultimately you don’t have to teach them. Problem solved. You should be flattered people want to be taught by you. I don’t understand why this is an issue.

Sometimes the real problem is that these are the only kinds of people that want to be taught by you or join your coven or whatever. I’ve seen people outright admit that this is what the real problem is. At that point though you really need to look at yourself. Maybe there’s something you need to change about yourself or your group to attract a higher quality person. Maybe your standards are just too high. Maybe this is the universe telling you that you just aren’t ready to be a teacher or a coven leader yet. But the fact that you cannot recruit the students or members you want has nothing to do with your prospects and what they practice. It is entirely a reflection on yourself and that is where the problem lies.

And I do think a lot of this is really peer pressure. When a person enters a new group or first enters the community, they’re usually exposed to a group of people who talk about fluffy bunnies and how stupid they are and how they believe Charmed is how magic really works. They bitch about them and how they’re ruining the community and make jokes at their expense. This group of people is usually being led by the older members, and often times the senior members, of the group, and usually the majority of the group will go along with them. A lot people I think just join in with the bitching and the joke either to be accepted and not looked down upon by these people, or at least not to alienate the group and its senior members.

These people are sort of like bullies in school. They’re the cool clique who are picking on the kids who are different or beneath them, and most of the school is going to go along with them instead of becoming an outcast themselves. When your a teenager, or younger, this kind of behavior might be acceptable because at least then you had the excuse that you were young and stupid and didn’t know any better. But as adults, going along with people who act like that and submitting to the group mentality is not acceptable behavior. In fact I would say that as an adult when you see people acting like that and bullying other people you have a moral obligation to confront them, to call them out, to expose them for what they are, and stand up for their victims who may not be strong enough to stand up for themselves. If you’re not going to do that for whatever reason you at least have a moral obligation not to participate in and encourage their behavior.

Another thing I see a lot of people mad about is laziness. They talk about how a lot of people in the community want power or status or training or information or to join a group or whatever else, but these people don’t want to do the hard work that’s needed to get these things. These people want to take shortcuts and have things handed to them.

As a magician I can’t understand how any magician, regardless of your exact spiritual beliefs and practices, can be upset at someone for being lazy and not wanting to do the work. They should be happy that they’ve found such a remarkably advanced student. Whether you’re a Ceremonial Magician, Pagan, Voodoo Practitioner, New Ager, or whatever, magic is all about taking shortcuts and getting things the easy way instead of doing the actual work.

Look at the medieval magical goal of turning lead into gold. The whole idea here is whatever process you’re going to have to go through to turn that lead into gold, it’s going to be easier than finding gold in the ground and mining it. Even with a modern prosperity spell the idea is that casting the spell is going to be easier than going out and earning the money. Maybe you are going to work to earn the money at the same time, but you’re still casting the prosperity spell with the hope that it will make earning the money easier. You wouldn’t knowingly cast a spell that would make it harder to earn that money. And if casting the spell was more difficult than going out and getting a second job to earn the money, I doubt you’d be casting it then either.

Even if you believe magic is all about spirituality, it’s still a shortcut. You could progress spiritually without magic. You’d still go through your life having your life lessons. You’d learn, you’d grow, and you’d die better off than you started. When you use magic though what you’re doing is over-analyzing things and using your knowledge of metaphysical laws to create phenomena and situations that wouldn’t normally occur, all with the intent of accelerating the rate of your spiritual progression. It’s a shortcut and you’re cheating.

So what we’ve actually done is create numerous religions and groups all based in the idea of figuring out ways to not do the work and still get the reward. And now the people in these religions and groups are going to be upset that new people who are attracted to and want to join these groups and religions don’t want to do the work. When you really think about it, it blows your mind.

And I’ve set this before, so now I’m repeating myself, but if magic is hard work for you, you’re doing something wrong. It’s not supposed to be hard work. Magic isn’t hard work for me. I work hard when I go to work. They pay me money for that. I’m rewarded for my efforts. I work for money so I can do magic, so it damn well better be enjoyable.

Some people argue that magic works the same way. You put in the time now and you do the work and somewhere down the road you’ll get rewarded. Years in the future when you’re an all powerful magician that will be your reward.

That’s bullshit. As Koopa said, “The journey is the destination.” There is no reward down the road. Whatever you’re getting out of practicing your spirituality and doing magic, that’s your reward. That’s all you’re ever going to get. So if you’re not getting something that makes it worth doing right now, don’t expect something better later on.

I hate people who use the word work when they talk about magic. I hate people who bitch about how hard and difficult the magical path is. If it’s really hard and difficult and work for you, do something fun instead like play video games or watch movies.

I think magic is really fun. I think most people who get into it will enjoy themselves and have fun with it if they approach it correctly. Memorizing crap and reading boring British authors and casting a banishing ritual for the umpteenth time and walking in a circle singing songs about being in a circle in a circle and having some group leader give you tests you have to pass like your in tenth grade is boring. That isn’t fun. But things like astral projection and evoking demons and reading grimoires out loud to see what happens and sex magic are like going to adult Disneyland (it’s an amusement park for adults, but with sex magic!). So if you’re doing the stuff from column B instead of column A, you’re going to have fun. If you’re doing all that stuff in column A though, yea it’s probably going to suck. And then you’re going to wonder why no one else wants to do the work to learn magic.

I really only have two problems with these hard work people. First is when they get all full of themselves. “I’ve done all this great magical work, I’ve put in my time, blah, blah, blah.” This is usually followed by claims of power and then demanding that other people listen to and respect them. Those sorts of people just irk me. Even more so because they usually don’t have the kind of knowledge and power they claim and they aren’t deserving of any respect.

The other problem I have is these sorts of people try to ruin other people’s fun. More importantly, my fun. I wouldn’t have a problem with these people if they just kept to themselves and their hard work, because it doesn’t involve me. I wouldn’t even know about these people if that’s what they did. There is no way in hell I would seek that out. These people are super vocal though. They want to ruin everyone’s fun and make everyone work. And the reason they do this is because they want the respect of other people. They want admiration from others for having done this work and they want to be regraded as great and powerful members of the magical community. And they don’t like idea of someone exceeding them, or even reaching their level, without first doing the work they had to do to get to where they are.

The last thing I want to talk about is seriousness. A lot of people have been complaining about this lately. People aren’t taking their spirituality seriously. They don’t take these religions, magical practices, or training seriously. I see it complained about in just about every spirituality and belief system sometimes. Lately I’ve seen a lot of Wiccans complaining about it, so I’m going to pick on them for a minute.

Now I’ve read the Farrars, Cunningham, Buckland, and I’ve also been privileged with some of the supposedly secret materials that some trads have which are reserved for high ranking oath bound members. In none of this literature have I found anything that says you have to take this shit seriously. Wicca is varied and at times eclectic, so there are a lot of different branches and beliefs and systems. But I can’t find any information from any branch of Wicca that says you have to take this stuff seriously.

The one Pagan source I can find that talks about being serious about your spirituality is Bonewitz. And what does Bonewitz say? He says if you’re taking things really seriously, that’s a bad thing. He says their should be some sort of levity and humor in your group’s approach to spirituality. If that isn’t there, that’s one of his signs that what you’re joining is a cult.

And this is true of just about all of these religions and groups that make up the magical community. If you read the literature, no where does it ever say you have to be serious about this stuff. In fact quite a few different systems say you shouldn’t take it all that seriously.

This idea of taking spirituality seriously is derived from Christianity. It’s another example of people who used to be Christian trying to get away from that religion and embrace something new inside of the magical community, and yet they insist on imposing the ideologies and concepts of their past religion on their new spiritual belief system.

Even in Christianity it’s a concept a lot of Christians and churches embrace, but it isn’t clearly spelled out in the bible. There are a few passages where if you really read between the lines and pick up on the subtext and you also assume that certain things are implied and interpret everything in a very particular way you could come to the conclusion that you’re supposed to take spirituality seriously. But it’s never explicitly stated. There isn’t some guy in the bible who makes fun of the size of God’s penis and then gets struck down by lightening.

All of the things I’ve bitched about have something in common. They are all essentially about people who are telling other people how they should practice their spirituality, how they should practice magic, and how they should practice their religion. The problem is that there are people in the community who have taken it upon themselves to tell other people how to be spiritual. It comes down to people trying to attain power over other people.

And magic is largely about power. The people trying to attain this power are usually people who have not been able to attain large amounts of power spiritually. After all if they were all powerful magicians, why would they need to steal other people’s power, especially something as petty as stealing someone’s ability to choose their spiritual path?

Meanwhile the people who allow themselves to be victimized, who let these people tell them how they can and can’t practice their spirituality, who let these people make them feel ashamed of what they practice, or the people who give in to peer pressure and join in attacking people who may be different are not on the road to becoming powerful magicians and adepts. Magic is largely about power, and if you’re giving away your power, especially to assholes like that, where do you think that’s going to get you? Part of being an adept is coming to the realization that you have power over yourself and you get to do whatever you want; no one gets to tell you what you can and can’t do.

15 Responses to Charmed, Harry Potter, Fluffy Bunnies, Laziness, Seriousness, & Power: Everything That Is Wrong With the Community.

  1. .anna. says:

    This isn’t a bad post. It’s absolutely wonderful and it got me thinking about several things I do myself in a whole new way.

  2. Diogeneia says:

    Hi Rob,

    From one fluffy bunny to another…

    First of all, thanks! You’ve posted a great many words on a favorite topic of mine. I should have blogged this myself ages ago…but I haven’t done my pagan-blog thing in years, since my writing career finally materialized into something sustainable and lucrative! So yaye! This is why I follow you and just toss a word in as I am inspired to.

    Next, my friend, you said “I hate people who use the word work when they talk about magic. I hate people who bitch about how hard and difficult the magical path is…” In a post about people who hate on other people, you’ve hated on other people. Of course, I am simply giving you a good-natured hard time over it…but words have power. They resonate within our bodies and within the world. How about… “dislike” instead? :)

    Second, what you’ve described to me is the one of the fundamental differences between “Religion” and “Spirituality”. Religion is of humanity and requires the giving up of power. This is why Religions have “followers”… when we follow, we have traded discernment for doctrine. Spirituality is of the Self. It requires that you retain your power and discernment–and thus responsibility as well.

    You can have religion without spirituality and you can have spirituality without religion. Theoretically, you can have both together–but that’s not something I believe…unless of course you created the religion. lol Most religions are all or nothing when it comes to their doctrines…and those who can’t accept the “all” spin-off into their own sub-group. (How many versions of Wicca are there now??) Membership is as precious to a Religion as its doctrine. The more members the more “valid”…the more “right” their doctrine is. Therefore, Religions not only recruit, they chastise and denigrate those who are different and less “pure”. It’s a requirement because religion by its very nature requires agreement. If you are different, you challenge our premise and our reason for existence…that is a threat that has started every religious argument and war since folks invented religion…

    Am I arguing against religion? Not really. Although there is a reason why Buddhists refuse the term for their movement…and I have refused it for my own spirituality. I’m just saying…there is a strong correlation here…that is my observation.

    Peace & Respect,

    Diogeneia

    • Rob says:

      Thank you.

      I don’t think religion itself is the issue. The issue develops with religions that put an emphasis on dogma over spiritual exploration, faith over experience. The entire concept of dogma is counterproductive to truth. What you end up with is people who use dogma as a basis for argument.

      Dogma is actually really easy to learn though. You don’t have to do anything, you just have to read a book. Then these people try to appear intelligent by quoting the dogma. Then they use the dogma as an argument for their power and subsequently their position of power within a group. Once you’ve given away positions of power to people who didn’t really earn it on their own merits there’s an even greater incentive to subscribe to and even enforce the dogma.

      Religions which lack infallible works and rules and at best have guidelines and which also promote spiritual exploration and discovering truth for oneself usually don’t fall into these same traps.

      • Diogeneia says:

        Hey Rob,

        Only problem is… that’s inherent to religion. Name one that encourages spiritual exploration outside of their dogma? Make sure they consider themselves a religion when you do…and that they meet the commonly defined criteria of the term.

        I would argue that the requirement of strict adherence to the dogma/doctine requires that methods of enforcement and positions of power be created…thus leading to the issues at hand. It’s the basic human societal structure really… I am not sure we know how to create “society” (whether social, religious or any other) in any other way. We seem to NEED it…and we FEAR the loss of it… and that fear is what causes us to “hate on” others. We do the same with our political systems. We can seem to have any philosophy without that issue.

        Religion isn’t evil or bad…it’s just a concept. It’s the people who created it that make it negative. Whenever you give up your control and responsibility to an external source, you are pretty much asking for trouble.

        Thanks for the response. I won’t take up your blog with this topic. If you get bored some day, look me up for a chat.

        It’s wabbit season, you know. ;-)

        Diogeneia

  3. Gordon says:

    Good rant.

    And of course you are completely correct… about Buffy. :)

    • Amonjin says:

      This is my first time posting here. I’ve read your blog for a small while now and this post compelled me comment. Seriously … Bravo good sir, Bravo. It was hard not to laugh out loud during reading many parts of this post. I’m at work.

      This thread is a testament to why I’m still a solo practitioner. In fact, most groups of people who practice magic together scare the bejesus out of me as much as organized religion does.

      I’ve yet to find a group of open minded individuals who practice magic together in order to gain results through a shared interest of success and comradery (blasphemy, I know). It aggravates me something fierce.

      But who wants to enjoy what their doing anyhow. Like, that’s totally overrated. I would rather be miserable and curmudgeony any day of the week… No really… *Sigh*

      • Rob says:

        Thank you.

        I know a lot of people in a lot of different places have issues with the groups in their community, and from my experience the problems usually stem from the leadership rather than the members.

        Have you thought about starting your own group? A lot of people don’t do this because they don’t think they have the experience or qualifications to start a group yet. Truthfully though most group leaders just woke up one morning and decided they were going to start a group. That’s true of most of the bad group leaders out there (in fact if you know how to research it you can find out many are lying about degrees and titles), but it’s also true of most of the good group leaders out there.

        In most places certain groups thrive because there just aren’t enough good alternatives to them. What the communities need to get better are better groups being run by better people.

        • Amonjin says:

          I never really wanted the responsibility of starting a group or running one. If I knew three or two other like minded people I would have no problem trying to start a small gathering once a week.

          But I’ve been inspired by reading this blog and the others that you have linked to start my own and see what crops up! Hot off the press… yeah.

          • Rob says:

            Well that’s a catch-22 since you need a group to find two or three like minded people :)

            The responsibility of running a group is largely dependent on how much responsibility you want to take on. A group with a complete spiritual system and hierarchy where you’ll be teaching new initiates is a lot of responsibility. However a loose group of associates who meet up a couple times a month for group rituals, experiments, and general discussions doesn’t require as much work, especially when the group is kept small.

            The only major concern with any kind of group is having private space. Groups that don’t have this IMO aren’t worth going to, and this is usually why these groups fail. You really need either a large working space inside of your home that you can use, or a private outdoor space on private property, or you need to own a store or something like that.

            If you don’t have private space, you’re never going to be able to do any kind of real ritual or explore most of the things that you and other group members may wish to explore.

    • Rob says:

      Buffy’s magic is evil and ultimately corrupts the practitioner, which is why I guess we don’t have more people in the community believing magic works like in Buffy the vampire slayer.

  4. Hieronimo says:

    Absolutely fantastic and I salute you for this post. There are some of us—I’m talking about myself but I don’t believe I’m the only one—who willy-nilly live out Nietzsche’s question: “This is myway—What’s yours?” We must find a way completely our own, however strange or dangerous or maybe just boring that may seem to anybody, not because of any arrogance (not that I’m not arrogant, it’s just not the reason I walk my walk) but because nothing else ever works. Or maybe I’m actually talking about everybody, I don’t know.

    Thanks again.


    Hieronimo

  5. magx says:

    Great post! Same as someone above said, this is the reason i work alone, and work in secret. People just can not accept the fact that everyone is equal. They always look for reasons to divide into groups.

  6. Phillip says:

    This is just my thought on the whole “Fluffy bunny” thing so bear with me.

    More often than not, when the phrase “Fluffy Bunny” pops up, I’ve noticed that it ends up being a statement that someone is somehow using Paganism as a hiding place from reality, rather than as religious viewpoint to help them explore it. In almost all of the cases when it’s applied, there’s either some naivete or outright delusion that appears in someone. Often newbies get painted with this brush due to inexperience, which I feel is unfortunate.

    I think that there is a time when the phrase should be applied, which is when someone is being willfully
    ignorant. While there are many things that folks should (in my opinion) be tolerant of, insincerity isn’t one of them. That’s just me though and I have issues with people that would rather draw people into their BS than deal with it.

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