I have found that so many books, articles, blogs and other forms of communication offer advice on how to spot a “dabbler” or a “fluffy bunny”: Essentially, avoid those who do not seem serious about the Craft. This bothers me on so many levels, as I’m sure it bothers others. In the spirit of such bothering, I give you the levels on which this type of attitude bothers me.
Level 1: Don’t insult my intelligence. I did not begin practicing Witchcraft in order to become ignorant.
Level 2: Don’t assume we have the same definition of “dabbler”. A ‘’waste to one person, may be a treasure to someone else.
Level 3: Do not presume to tell me who I should or should not spend my time with. It is my business who I allow into my life. This kind of overlaps with the first and second levels but this is why I have entitled them “levels” and not “points”. They build on each other. My levels have teamwork. Moving on…
Level 4: Finding the Goddess within does not a Goddess make. This goes for the Gods as well. I am still determining my destiny. I highly doubt you know it better than I do.
Level 5: “Live you must and let to live, freely take and freely give”. An amateur has the right to live without professional intervention, unless they seek it, which I guess would then make them a novice. As far as I can ascertain, the great and knowledgeable anti-dabbler authors think novices are peachy keen. After all, whom are they writing their books and such for? Be wary the labels that get bandied around.
Were we not all “dabblers” at some point? Some of us may still be. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I doubt that every currently “serious” or “true” Witch began as such esteemed individuals. We dabble to learn new things. We try out different experiences. For many on the Pagan path, we followed our intuition and found a spirituality that has become home. But it wasn’t an immediate and perfect fit.
Anything worth learning or doing takes time. Finding a spiritual path can be harrowing, exhausting, frustrating, fulfilling, joyous, and so much more. It is not, however, easy. At least, not if one is trying to make lasting changes. And not every new experience will initiate change.
Every advanced, expert, grand poomba Witch began as, well, beginners. Life is an ongoing lesson. I think a truly “serious” Witch, Wiccan, Pagan, Heathen or whoever ought not shy away from “dabblers”. Yes, some people try out the Craft and find it is not for them for various reasons. Those people will eventually move on of their own accord as they do not find here what it is they’re seeking. Yet, some of those whom you might prematurely be advised to run away from could be those you are meant to learn from.
Have you ever learned a lesson from a child or someone younger than you? A less experienced person is not, by default, less serious, less committed or less worthy of time. Teaching increases learning so it is reasonable to think that a less expert individual will retain their own lessons more if they teach others.
How boring and useless it would be to start something if you already knew everything about it! Our spiritual journey is no different. If we are perfect at the onset, we have nothing to learn and no incentive to change. If we have nothing to learn, there really isn’t any point in continuing on. Let me embrace my inner fortune cookie and say, the journey is the prize.
I am a Priestess and I am not perfect. (Don’t tell anyone.) I am continuing to grow and change. I ever strive to hone my skill and develop my Craft. I hope never to become so “advanced” that I cannot learn from a mere “beginner”. When my journey is complete, it will be the end of this lifetime and I am in no rush to get there.
I will join the rank of advice authors! I advise we not become judgmental of the person who has a ‘Blessed Be’ bumper sticker on their car and just gave the finger to that Hummer that cut them off. Maybe they’re having a bad day. Maybe someone else is using the car. Maybe they are from a culture where saluting fellow drivers with an upraised middle finder is considered to be a friendly greeting. Or maybe the driver of the Hummer deserved such a gesture. Who can say for sure? Don’t judge a Witch until you have spent a day on her (or his) broom.
This is not to say that you should run up to everyone wearing pretty Pagan jewelry and invite him/her home to join your coven. When dealing with any stranger, use your common sense and trust your intuition. You will not always be right, but as you learn to trust that inner guidance, your success rate will definitely improve.
This is not advice regarding abusive relationships. That is an entirely different subject and is not being addressed here. No one deserves to be abused. Ever. Enough said. Other, less harmful but not good relationships are often put in our way to teach us something.
A common goal, it seems, among Witches (and all Pagans, really) is to find balance in their lives and unity with the Divine. We seek to be connected to the Universe. We commune with Nature, realizing that Nature is not always pleasant. I hope never to become that annoyingly perky person spouting such eloquent sayings as “Turn that frown upside down!” I am that person who will say “Look at the whole picture and see what you might learn from it”.
We are but threads in a great tapestry. If we all start picking at the looser threads, the whole article unravels. A loose thread can be woven back into the piece but no mortal on this plane is skilled enough to weave such a Divine craft. Maybe Clotho will plait that loose thread with yours and enhance the beauty of that Universal cloth. Maybe Lachesis will move that thread someplace else. Maybe Atropos will cut the thread. Such decisions are not ours to make.
We should ever strive to avoid those who would do us harm. But not every “fluffy bunny” with a pent and a bumper sticker should be treated like the plague. If that newly Paganized furry rabbit remains fluffy, learning nothing and progressing no further, it is not another’s responsibility to force them along or become/remain attached to them. Still, that dabbler may be in need of a teacher or role model before they become the “serious” Witch so many authors claim to be.
Instead of “How to Avoid the Dabbler”, maybe we should be learning “How to Spot Potential”.