Thinking About – Light and Shadow
I have seen over the years the occasionally derisive use of the term fluffy bunny to describe some Pagans, but I’ve completely missed that there is also negative talk the other way, deriding those who relish the darker aspects of magic. My thoughts on this have once more been prodded by a discussion on the excellent Down at the Crossroads podcast hosted by Chris Orapello. This month’s interview is with Juniper Jeni, who also used to host a podcast called Standing Stone and Garden Gate. At a point during the interview this topic came up and it was dealt with beautifully by Chris and Juniper but it got me thinking.
Fluffy Bunny seems to be associated with love and light, communing with nature, meditation, contemplative activities, crystals, new agey stuff.
I’m not sure there is a term for the other extreme but for that sake of this article let’s call it Well ‘ard Paganism. Here we’ll find the skulls and bones, stripped down magic, blood, mud, curses, poppet dolls, dark moon work, that kind of thing.
I’m sure there are Pagans who stay in the Light. And it is obvious that there are also those who hang around in the Shadows too. I confess I loved the dangerous and edgy magic of the Shadows when I was a wee bit younger. In fact that is what drew me to all of this is the first place. I still love it when the time is right, but not all the time. Likewise I can’t stay completely in the Light either. I tend to move with intent from one to the other.
To me it’s like swearing.
If I was to use the f word in every sentence, when I really needed that expletive, the energy just wouldn’t be there. I tend to only swear when there is no other word that fully sums up the depth of my feeling. When that word comes out of my mouth I can literally feel a release. So to spend too much time at either end of the fluffy/well ‘ard spectrum would probably do the same thing. There are times I need to relax, to open to the Wonders of the Universe, to feel at one with all that is. I sit and watch a beautiful sunrise, or the flowing of a river, listen to the gentle whisper of the wind through green leaves. I cherish those times. But if I did that all the time I wouldn’t be able to operate in our modern world. Likewise if I spent all of my time working with death, bones, and shadows, the same would be true.
It’s all about balance.
I’m reminded of the words “The brighter the light, the darker the shadow”. One cannot exist without the other. Both deserve our attention and respect.
I wrote a song some years ago called Green and Grey and people occasionally ask what that title means. It’s this exact topic. In the song the Horned God says he is “Neither black nor white, priest hear what I say, I’m green and grey.” He is green, the unfurling leaf of Spring and Summer, and the evergreen during the Winter. And magic is neither black nor white, it is grey. It is the way the magician works with magic that directs it into those diverse places we label black and white.
So I guess I’m a grey magician. I love the light and those so-called fluffy moments, I also know I have the tools to let rip with a very effective well ‘ard curse, should the need occur. But I’m not in any real rush to direct my wand in that direction. I’ll stay happily on the fence and drop down either side when needed.