I feel that the majority of the fluffy discussion is not about reacting to people who think they shoot laser beams from their hands or believe they are the incarnation of Sailor Moon. IMO, this stuff is a smoke screen for baser human motivations. The underlying issue is conservative vs. liberal, old-school vs. new-school, established-tradition vs. mystical innovation, powers-that-be vs. the next generation. The debate has only briefly lingered in this arena. To really look at this in the face requires fortitude to admit that the world is bigger than the boxes that the conservative Craft establishment has created for itself. Maybe this isn't really necessary though. With human beings being what they are, all of this "fluffy" debate will pass away. The old thinking will expire with its supporters. Beliefs will be reborn into whatever the "new" tradition will be. Then, the fluffy "wars" will begin again with the updated definitions. This is the cycle of the contemplative world.
Carlos Castaneda and the crow transformation, this is a good example of fluffy is as fluffy does.
Castaneda relates that through an indoctrination process totally guided by the shaman-sorcerer Don Juan Matus, who had learned his art from a Diablero, Castaneda's human form gradually gave way to a crow's body, which in turn, as a crow, gave him the ability to fly.
I could repeat every word don Juan had said. I followed each one of his directions. He said that my body was disappearing and that only my head would remain...; the head is what turns into a crow. He ordered me to wink...; I must have winked, because he said I was ready...; . He commanded me to feel the legs and observe that they were coming out slowly. He than said that I was not solid yet, that I had to grow a tail, and that the tail would come out of my neck. He ordered me to extend the tail like a fan, and to feel how it swept the floor...;. There was one last thing I had to change...; to accomplish it I had to be docile and do exactly as he told me. I had to learn to see like a crow...; it was not until don Juan directed me to see laterally that my eyes were actually capable of having a full view to the side."
This reads like a hypnotic guided meditation conducted by a teacher/facilitator. This was not a "wouldn't it be neat if I escaped into my own little reality" type thing. Instead, his teacher led him to the place of transformation. Does the act become "not fluffy" when it is facilitated by a respected teacher/elder/priest(ess)? I find it interesting that the same act, imagining one is a crow, would be instant fodder for fluffiness, but it becomes an expression of metaphysical manifestation when directed by the "right" person.
Maybe it is my imagination, but some of those quickest to use the "fluffy" stamp are those with years of neopaganism under their belt, complete with eldership and priest(ess) status. A trend or individual personalities? I don't know, but this type of non-fluffy pagan believes that they do the research and apply critical thinking to themselves and their charges. It is from this place of assured competence that the harshest labels of fluffy are handed out.
If what I say is true, the irony of the situation is that it can be suicidal to call out the elevated non-fluffy people even as they acting from a place of extreme fluffiness. While our elders and teachers have complete personal integrity in what they do, the overall affect is that inmates are running the asylum and there is no warden to appeal to (smile). Part of the human condition? Probably. I’ve pondered before if experience is a double-edged sword. To learn more is to know less. To see more is to view less. It is little wonder that the fool and child archetype are embraced as the true sources of wisdom. I'll write more about the wiseman and the child another time.