Author Topic: Spirituality of houseguests  (Read 5688 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8855
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #60 on: January 07, 2013, 10:25:48 AM »
I know a number of neopagans who do not have permanent altars up, so that may not be an issue. I recall reading about one person in boot camp who had drawn an altar on paper and would use that when he wanted a moment of reflection. So there doesn't have to be a permanent altar, so long as he's allowed to keep his sacred objects.

Second, the live flame issue is one college kids have been dealing with for years. Battery operated candles, electric burners, sage oil spray rather than smudging with smoke- heck, I went to a ritual in a hotel last year where they used glowsticks instead of candles and it worked just fine.

I think you need to sit down with Kyle and determin what his needs are and what you can accomodate.

I used to keep all my stuff in a small box in the closet when I lived with my mom for a year, and only got it out when I was actively using it. And I didn't have all that much stuff anyway--I didn't start going hog wild with big chalices and things until I had my own place and some money.  ;D (At this point I look like I'm starting my own New Age shop! But this was about fifteen years ago.) I would joke that my religion wasn't just in the metaphorical closet, but the literal one too.

Firecat

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2543
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #61 on: January 07, 2013, 11:52:20 AM »
One more question: would your DH be uncomfortable simply knowing that there was an altar to other gods in your home, or would it only be an issue if he saw something that was obviously an altar (rather than something like few shells on a dresser)? Neither is the wrong answer, but it's relevant to what approaches are workable here.

This is exactly what I was trying to ask - thank you for stating it much better than I did!

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5273
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #62 on: January 07, 2013, 01:08:13 PM »
One more question: would your DH be uncomfortable simply knowing that there was an altar to other gods in your home, or would it only be an issue if he saw something that was obviously an altar (rather than something like few shells on a dresser)? Neither is the wrong answer, but it's relevant to what approaches are workable here.

This is exactly what I was trying to ask - thank you for stating it much better than I did!

I, too, think this is a very important question.

Also, why not ask Kyle (I think another mentioned this) what he wants to be able to do so that you can use that information to talk to DH and hash out an action plan of what is permissible and with what you're willing to flexible.  That way, everyone knows what to expect and can accommodate that.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21421
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #63 on: January 07, 2013, 01:16:11 PM »
I do think I would talk to your spiritual limits about your own spiritual obilgations, how those might fit (or not) with hosting, what that might look like, etc.

Dorrie78

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1287
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #64 on: January 07, 2013, 01:28:37 PM »
I strongly believe that homeowners can prohibit spirtual practices in their own home that they find objectionable for whatever reason. It would be fair to spell out to potential visitors, especially someone planning to stay with you for a long period of time, what the restrictions are prior to arrival.

peach2play

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 963
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #65 on: January 07, 2013, 02:08:14 PM »
I would like to address the altar issue.  When her DH hears alter, he might be thinking full stone altar with sacrificial animals, candles, and dancing around with very little clothing.  I am in no way saying that it's accurate, but that's often the perception.  An "altar" can be as simple as a cross with a candle or the Virgin Mary with a candle or a few rocks and a feather.  I would suggest that the OP sits down with her husband and ask him what "altar" means to him and then work with that. 

doodlemor

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2193
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #66 on: January 07, 2013, 02:10:09 PM »
This burning stuff in the house thing actually happened to us several times. 

One of my son's high school friends was a member of the Longhouse Religion, and burned sweet grass [I think] to purify himself in the mornings when he had stayed here overnight.

The first time he did this I was unaware of his religion, and went to my son's door and asked if they were smoking.  I felt badly when my son informed me that this was part of his friend's religion, and apologized for my assumption that they would smoke in the house.  I think that I gave him an old plate or something fireproof to use after that.

You and DH are kind people to take this young man in, OP, and let him enjoy some normal family life.   I think that you should have a talk with him about his religion, and his use of herbs and fire.  Once you know what his religious practices are you and DH can come up with a plan that will work for everyone.

I think that simple communication will work here.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21421
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #67 on: January 07, 2013, 02:12:31 PM »
I think for some people alter, anywhere would potentially be problematic. Assuming that it is about size or style might be way off track.

Firecat

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2543
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #68 on: January 07, 2013, 02:17:28 PM »
I think for some people alter, anywhere would potentially be problematic. Assuming that it is about size or style might be way off track.

It might be; but then again, it might not. But the OP won't know that until or unless she actually has the conversation with her DH.

turnip

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 535
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #69 on: January 07, 2013, 02:37:42 PM »
Purely as an etiquette issue, I'm guessing most experts would not be OK with restricting a guests private religions practices as long as they had no impact on the hosts.  So I think we can all agree that prohibiting fire/burning is fine, but trying to prevent other sorts of prayer would probably be too much.

My best comparison is that I believe Miss Manners says a host cannot ban married guests from 'playing scrabble' while under a host's roof.  As long as the host cannot detect what the guest is doing short of spy cams, what goes on inside the guests's room is the guests's business.   If a host does not want scrabble going on then the host needs to not invite married guests - or only guests who share their views.

The possibility of an altar does make it more interesting and I think that you get into issues of a longer house guest and what privileges they have to personalize their room.  Hypothetically, if your guest hung a poster for a rock band you disapproved of, or displayed a piece of art you found distasteful, would you ask them to put it away?   Food for though.

I do hope you and your husband can work out an arrangement with this young man.  It sounds like a very kind thing you are doing - and if I advising you differently I would say that perhaps seeing the wonderful generosity of your family up close and seeing your religion as a part of it may have more influence on him than you would suspect.

White Lotus

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 491
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #70 on: January 07, 2013, 02:44:54 PM »
Hoo, boy!  Ms. Zen was, to me, way out of line.  Taking over the house?  We are Buddhists, not Zen, and we don't know any Buddhists, including Zen practitioners, who would do that!  We just pretty much want a quiet and private space to do our practices.
We do a twice a day practice, and we can do it anywhere quiet, where our vocalizing won't disturb others (we can even whisper under our breaths, if we must use a "Cone of Silence" in a public place, but we WILL do it.) We use candles and incense on our altars.  Many of us use electric candles for a variety of reasons -- fire concern certainly being one.  If one cannot use incense, even the smokeless kind, for any reason (allergy, illness, ran out, etc.), well, then, one does not!  If he is a Buddhist, he may be well in the clear, in terms of correct practice, without real candles or any kind of incense.
However -- an altar?  If he is Buddhist, that may be important or even central if it contains a sacred object used as a focus or locus of practice.  I could easily do without candles, incense or a bell (we ring bells as part of the practice) but the altar?  That is very basic.  If I am traveling or in a hotel I may have to do without an altar, but somewhere I lived?  The first question one asks one's self is, "Ok, so where does the altar go?"
I suggest OP needs to think about her family's comfort level with other religions (we extend the same courtesy to others that we would like when visiting -- quiet and private time to do whatever they do) in their household.  If OP can't get behind an altar, and his practice really requires it over the long term, perhaps he could talk to his priest and make arrangements to go to the local temple regularly, or, if that is far, to someone's house for daily practice as often as he can.  We would set a schedule and have someone in Kyle's situation over every day, and I think most other Buddhists would also, if they could.

White Dragon

  • Formerly St Monica
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2532
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #71 on: January 07, 2013, 02:58:05 PM »
I want to thank everyone for their input, it has been very helpful.
I appreciate that their have been advocates for both our spiritual comfort and Kyle's.

I have learned a lot. Initially, I had thought that a neopagan (which describes Kyle) altar would be fairly sizeable and include candles, bowl, sacred knife, herbs etc. That is a bit more than we are comfortable with.

Learning that an altar or sacred space can be quite different is very intersesting.
Although Kyle's form of neopaganism isn't high on DH's list of "alternative paths he's comfortable with", he is okay with 'not seeing it' as long as there is no fire, drumming etc.

The small altar a poster described ie shells, stones, feathers etc reminds me of a 'medicine bundle' type of item and DH is comfortable with that sort of thing.
I can't see that sort of item being an issue.

Kyle is still pretty skittish, so I think any major discussions will have to wait until he's more comfortable.
Yesterday I asked him to come upstairs because I wanted to ask him if he had any laundry that needed washing. He thought I was calling him to tell him he was kicked out.  :-\

DH and I will have a discussion about what we are comfortable offering Kyle in terms of how long we see him staying and then talk to him and see what he wants.

I know that the family is moving in the near future - sis is moving in with her boyfriend and Dad is presumably getting another apartment. Not sure if Kyle plans to stay with Dad or wants to get his own place.
If I could, I'd have him stay with us and finish high school, but that's not my decision.

So all this could be moot, but now I have an idea of what to expect if he stays and how to approach the issue.

ettiquit

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1662
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #72 on: January 07, 2013, 03:14:50 PM »

Yesterday I asked him to come upstairs because I wanted to ask him if he had any laundry that needed washing. He thought I was calling him to tell him he was kicked out.  :-\



Oh, that poor kid.

You're doing a great thing for him.

rashea

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9668
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #73 on: January 07, 2013, 03:16:06 PM »
I think what you're doing sounds great, and that you have a reasonable balance going. Let Kyle know that you're fine with him practicing his religion but that you would ask that he not burn things (essential oils are great for dealing with this restriction) and that he not be too overt with it in your house.

It might also help if you and your DH did a bit of learning about the religion if this becomes a longer term thing. Maybe even ask Kyle for a suggestion (my Mom wanted to learn and grabbed witchcraft for dummies, I had much better book recommendations).

As a pagan, let me know if there's any information I can offer.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

Vermont

MorgnsGrl

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 742
Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #74 on: January 07, 2013, 03:26:37 PM »
Thank you so much for supporting this young man. It sounds like he really needs it.