Blast From the Past – Circa 2004 – Newbie Bashing

BrokenThis article is inspired by the many emerging conversations where the claim has been made that those more knowledgeable in the Pagan Community have turned to Newbies for sport – deriding and cruelly ridiculing them for their lack of experience and knowledge just about anything Pagan related.

This complaint is not totally without merit. I have seen the same sort of rabid fundamentalism that is the bane of Christianity pop up in popular Pagan faiths. Claiming the label of Pagan doesn’t automatically make someone into the nature-loving, soft hearted stereotype that the media has perpetuated in recent years.

There in lies part of the problem. Many newbies are often so shocked to find out that even Pagans are regular people (and yes, some of them are jerks), that they either write off the spirituality entirely or congregate to ‘fluff bunny havens’ where no one has a harsh word to say about anyone or anything. There they insulate themselves from anyone with real practical knowledge about the mysteries.

Another part of this problem lies with the newbies themselves. Many don’t seem to understand how very different Pagan paths are mainstream religions. Nearly 99% of the time there is no one to spoon feed you what you need to know in nice, bite-sized, easy to understand pieces.

Many paths have no guides, no preachers to outline the ‘right’ way to do this or that, and those knowledgeable (I’ll refrain from using the term ‘elder’ as many would not accept the title) and able to teach their paths are tired of continuous requests for them to a) tell all they know in no more than three paragraphs, or b) teach about the ‘glamorous’ aspects of their craft alone.

Part of this ‘tell me everything you know’ attitude can be blamed on the way educators have taken to teaching students in the mainstream world – where school has simply become about passing the test rather than learning anything. You take this form of learning and apply it to the rest of your life and you get generations of youths wanting to be able to do advanced magickal stuff without having to learn the groundwork first.

Many now claim that the use of the term ‘fluffy bunny’ is derogatory and unbefitting a follower of the Rede (leaving aside that not all Pagans follow the rede). I think that the term came into existence for a reason. No one is branded a fluff bunny for life. Everyone expects that those to whom the label applies will grow out of it eventually – and many people are willing to wait quite patiently.

Even those whose patience has been worn thin (or worn out entirely) do the service of making willfully blind ignorance something to be ashamed of. They force the uneducated to step out of their comfort zone and learn something – to reevaluate their beliefs.

This is not a bad thing. Always remember that this is a lifelong journey. You cannot learn it all in a few months or even a few years. You only know you are moving forward when every new skill and spiritual illumination teaches you how much you have yet to learn. Don’t let your path stagnate because someone online says something to you that you don’t like.

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