Fluffy Bunny, or Fluffbunny, is a pejorative expression used since at least 1987 in Wicca (and in Neopaganism generally) to refer to adherents of the religion who are thought to be superficial or faddish. They are considered to dislike darker elements and emphasise goodness, light, eclecticism and elements taken from the New Age movement, or follow it as a fad.
Catherine Noble-Beyer has defined Fluffy Bunnies in the following terms:
The primary definition of a Fluffy Bunny is one who refuses to learn, refuses to think, and refuses to consider the possibility that they could possibly ever be wrong. Generally, they find one book, author or website and follow it as if it were the holy word, frequently denouncing anything that disagrees with it as obviously false. Fluffy Bunnies rarely get past the defense of "Because [insert favorite author here] says so." Sometimes they don't even get that far, responding to any and all criticism with something like, "You're just trying to persecute me!"
Related terms used with similar meaning are "Insta-witches", "McWiccans", "One-Book Witches", "Wicclets", "Playgans", "White light-ers", "Baby Pagans", and "Weekend Witches". In the 1960s, Robert Cochrane used the term "old lady brigade", to describe others overly fixated with sweetness and light.
Anti-Fluffy Bunny Movement
The term was borrowed from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Hush" by the creator of the Why Wiccans Suck website (2001), which "unintentionally started a whole anti-fluffbunny movement in the Wicca subculture." This movement gathered momentum with the appearance of sites such as Wicca for the rest of us (2002) with its tag line "Stop the fluff. Think for yourself. Fight the bunny.".
Bonewits' Fauna Pagans
In a wry commentary on the terminology, Isaac Bonewits extended the metaphor to encompass eight further groups of "fauna pagans": Namely; Stinking Badgers, Golden Geckos, Slippery Eels, Wise Owls, Sly Foxes, Fuzzy Sheep, Furry Coyotes, and Tenacious Turtles. In this analysis, Fluffy Bunnies represent the excessively trusting extreme of a "value spectrum" which has at its opposing extremity, overly cynical Stinking Badgers. He also differentiated a further sub-group of "Dark Bunnies" which he characterised as being as superficial as Fluffy Bunnies, but fixated on the "dark side" of paganism.
Bonewits' commentary above is partly critical of the concept of the Fluffy Bunny, seeing it largely in terms of irritation at newcomers, and remarking:
Certainly "one-book wonders" can be very annoying to the "ten-book wonders" who think they know all there is to know about Paganism.
Jon Hanna's description of what 4 Non-Goths called the "anti-fluffybunny movement" is also partly critical, arguing:
...the concept of fluffiness, and the backlash against it, cannot be considered so much a stream of critical thought within witchcraft, as a fashion for the identity of "non-fluffy". A fashion that indeed reduces the degree of critical thought applied to the issues that provoked it, as surface artefacts become referenced with increasing frequency, most notably in often attacking a publishing house more vehemently than the works it publishes.
And later concluding:
Indeed, the very concept of fluffiness can be a way of policing an identity. Since the rejection of any concept of initiatory lineage allows for no formal means of determining who is, or is not, considered Wiccan ..., those who are seen as claiming to be "us", but as not, or as "us", but of letting "us" down will be rejected by other means.
Use in fiction
The term has appeared in general fiction: In S.M. Stirling's Emberverse series, it is used by Judy Barstow to express disapproval of the incorporation of Laurel Wilson's Eugene group into the Wiccan Mackenzie clan.
- Hanna, Jon (2010). "Chapter Four: Training, Standards and the Anti-fluffy Backlash". What thou wilt: Traditional and Innovative Trends in Post-Gardnerian Witchcraft. Cathair na Mart: Evertype. ISBN 1-904808-43-3.
- Hanna, Jon (2009). "IV — Training, Standards and the Anti-fluffy Backlash". Traditional and Innovative Trends in Post-Gardnerian Witchcraft. Dublin: Hackcraft.Net.
- Noble-Bayer, Catherine (2002). "Fluffy Bunnies". Wicca for the Rest of Us.
- Pathfinder (2004). "Fluff vs. Hardcore". Stuff and Nonsense.
- Howard, Mike (2001). "Chapter One". The Roebuck in the Thicket: An Anthology of the Robert Cochrane Witchcraft Tradition. Capall Bann.
- 4 Non Goths (2001). "Why Wiccans Suck". Archived from the original on 29 November 2001. Retrieved 9 July 2009. Original link broken - this copy held at the Intenet Archive.
- Vera, Diane (2003). "The anti-fluffy movement among pagans".
- Bonewits, Isaac (2005). "Making Fauna Pagans". Nyack, NY: www.neopagan.net.
- Hanna, Jon. "Chapter Eleven: Looking for the Warp and the Weft". What thou wilt: Traditional and Innovative Trends in Post-Gardnerian Witchcraft.
- Stirling, S.M. (2006). "Chapter Eleven". The Protector's War. Roc. ISBN 0-451-46077-4.