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Author Topic: Children and Your Altar.  (Read 12281 times)
Satsekhem
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« Topic Start: September 01, 2010, 05:33:25 pm »

We've all heard the pet-related horror stories when it comes to your altar. However, what are the horror stories with small children? And how did you enforce the "sacred space-don't touch" rule on your altar?

Story Yesterday, I got my two and a half year old drinking my water libation before dumping it all over my sacred box, I mean altar, the table it is on and my pillow. There was quite the argument later. Don't get me wrong: I love the fact that he wants to help me wake the goddess ("Mommy, time to wake in peace now?" He says.) with me, but I would prefer it if he didn't try to scatter the libations without Mommy's permission.

Advice I've got none. I have no idea. Actually, I take that back. I just saw a wall-mounted cabinet at Wal-mart for a decent price. If I put it up high enough, the baby will not reach it!
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« Reply #1: September 01, 2010, 08:58:36 pm »


This is where being BTW makes it easy.

Altars are temporary structures, erected for ritual and taken down when we are done.
Shrines can be permanent, but shrines are not generally part of BTW practice.

Children never see an altar; no non-initiate does.

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« Reply #2: September 01, 2010, 09:03:29 pm »

We've all heard the pet-related horror stories when it comes to your altar. However, what are the horror stories with small children? And how did you enforce the "sacred space-don't touch" rule on your altar?

Story Yesterday, I got my two and a half year old drinking my water libation before dumping it all over my sacred box, I mean altar, the table it is on and my pillow. There was quite the argument later. Don't get me wrong: I love the fact that he wants to help me wake the goddess ("Mommy, time to wake in peace now?" He says.) with me, but I would prefer it if he didn't try to scatter the libations without Mommy's permission.

Advice I've got none. I have no idea. Actually, I take that back. I just saw a wall-mounted cabinet at Wal-mart for a decent price. If I put it up high enough, the baby will not reach it!

How frustrating!! I've got 5 kids under the age of 8 now, so I've pretty much just always am dealing with a toddler. It can be maddening.

It's like anything else with small children -- at two they really are simply incapable of controlling their impulses. It's not uncommon for them to be touching something of mama's and saying to themselves, "No, no, musn't touch, mama's things, might break..." but still being unable to STOP THEIR CURIOUS HANDS. They're doing the best they can, and want to do right, but they also are compelled to do a lot of hands on learning that overrides cause-and-effect and common sense. It's so frustrating. But there comes a time that they are more and more able to put the thought with the action, to actually "know better." Fighting them until that point is just ...well, a fight. So, like anything else, I just resign myself to keeping my altar out of reach for now. Life with toddlers is so much different than life with big kids and life with teens. If I told my girls (now 6 and 7 1/2) not to fiddle around with my altar, they would be able to respect that. My 4 yo would try, and sometimes succeed. My 2 yo, it would be like explaining something to a cat. The fact that my baby will be a toddler in about a year is the reason my husband is getting a vasectomy LOL  - they're all wonderful, and it's bittersweet to see my baby getting so big, so fast... but I'm at a point now where I've gotten a glimpse of the freedoms of having older children, children who are able to understand, predict, communicate, and put on their own pants.  Grin

His asking if it's time to wake in peace now is so flipping cute!! We've called my 2 yo "Seven Dimples of Death" because he will be doing something that is psychotically messy, and then look up and just be so cute you can't even stand it. My 6 yo once said, "Don't fall for it, Mom! He uses his cuteness to do evil!" Which was the end of my ability not to laugh out loud.
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« Reply #3: September 02, 2010, 08:00:30 am »

We've all heard the pet-related horror stories when it comes to your altar. However, what are the horror stories with small children? And how did you enforce the "sacred space-don't touch" rule on your altar?

I don't have any horror stories.  How I enforce it, though, is...  Well, pretty much "what they said".  I have two permanent shrines; one is out of my three-year-old's reach, and the other is in our bedroom where she's not supposed to go.  My altar isn't a permanent setup, but if it were, again, it's in a place she's not supposed to be.  I haven't had a lot of issues with her not being able to keep from handling things (sacred or otherwise) that she's been told not to, and she certainly does well enough with the concept of "I should not go in that room without permission", but when in doubt...  remove temptation by keeping it out of reach and out of sight.
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« Reply #4: September 02, 2010, 09:00:21 am »

We've all heard the pet-related horror stories when it comes to your altar. However, what are the horror stories with small children? And how did you enforce the "sacred space-don't touch" rule on your altar?



There will be a magical age at where the kids are capable of keeping their hands off your stuff.  It WILL happen, but when exactly is anyone's guess.  I've had to put up lots of stuff I don't want touched, and then there are some things that it's just not feasible to put up (like the dvd player) that they just HAVE to learn not to touch.  I think it's fine to teach them from a young age not to touch certain things, but you also have to have some common sense and realize that they there's a good possibility they're going to touch it anyway.  So, anything I absolutely can't stand to have broken goes way up high.  There are a few things that they're told not to touch but if they do so, it's not going to be the end of the world.

Another thing I think might be a good idea is to give him an "altar" of his own, or at least a few tools that are his, he can't break them, he can't make a terrible mess, but he can still feel like he's participating.  At that age, they want to mimic everything you do, that's how they learn.  It's a good thing, but it will be a lot easier on both of you if he has his own "stuff".
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« Reply #5: September 02, 2010, 10:52:10 am »

Another thing I think might be a good idea is to give him an "altar" of his own, or at least a few tools that are his, he can't break them, he can't make a terrible mess, but he can still feel like he's participating.  At that age, they want to mimic everything you do, that's how they learn.  It's a good thing, but it will be a lot easier on both of you if he has his own "stuff".

You know those Fischer-Price toy stoves and lawn mowers and such? I just got the image of a similar brightly-colored altar, with big tools that fit into little pegs on the surface. Toddler's First Altar!
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« Reply #6: September 02, 2010, 02:30:16 pm »

You know those Fischer-Price toy stoves and lawn mowers and such? I just got the image of a similar brightly-colored altar, with big tools that fit into little pegs on the surface. Toddler's First Altar!

... I am totally going to ask my Celt to make something like this once the sprog gets old enough to care about it.  This is a fantastic idea.
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« Reply #7: September 02, 2010, 02:37:25 pm »

We've all heard the pet-related horror stories when it comes to your altar. However, what are the horror stories with small children? And how did you enforce the "sacred space-don't touch" rule on your altar?

Story Yesterday, I got my two and a half year old drinking my water libation before dumping it all over my sacred box, I mean altar, the table it is on and my pillow. There was quite the argument later. Don't get me wrong: I love the fact that he wants to help me wake the goddess ("Mommy, time to wake in peace now?" He says.) with me, but I would prefer it if he didn't try to scatter the libations without Mommy's permission.

Advice I've got none. I have no idea. Actually, I take that back. I just saw a wall-mounted cabinet at Wal-mart for a decent price. If I put it up high enough, the baby will not reach it!


I just moved my altar. My story is that back in April of '09 I had surgery and invited my mother down here to help take care of my disabled adult son and while she was here, she decided to re-arrange my altar. Most people don't know exactly what they're looking at unless they're versed in pagan altars, but my mother thought mine was just too messy. In the process, she got rid of certain items from it, placed some in other directions, handled all the shinies....annoying.

So, my altar is now going in a large walk in closet that is never used. No one will see it but myself and my husband, and the door will be fitted with a key lock on the outside. I have 3 altars. 1 personal evotional/ritual, 1 financial and 1 seasonal. The other two stay where they are, no one ever fingers those.

The drawbacks to having an altar no one is really aware of is the touching. I'm tired of, "Please don't handle the decorations. They're fine where they are, look but don't touch."
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« Reply #8: September 02, 2010, 02:45:39 pm »

I just moved my altar. My story is that back in April of '09 I had surgery and invited my mother down here to help take care of my disabled adult son and while she was here, she decided to re-arrange my altar. Most people don't know exactly what they're looking at unless they're versed in pagan altars, but my mother thought mine was just too messy. In the process, she got rid of certain items from it, placed some in other directions, handled all the shinies....annoying.

Yikes.  I'm always surprised at what people will do with other people's stuff.  I mean, me, if I'm in someone else's home, even if this is a couple of decades from now and it's my daughter's house, I'm going to assume that they've decorated the way they want to and it's not my business to rearrange and especially not my business to discard anything.  If I'm meant to be helping clean I might handle objects that I don't realize are sacred, to dust them (or the surface under them) or something, and when I put them down I might accidentally not quite get everything right.  I can't imagine taking it upon myself to redecorate, though.
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« Reply #9: September 02, 2010, 02:56:06 pm »

Yikes.  I'm always surprised at what people will do with other people's stuff.  I mean, me, if I'm in someone else's home, even if this is a couple of decades from now and it's my daughter's house, I'm going to assume that they've decorated the way they want to and it's not my business to rearrange and especially not my business to discard anything.  If I'm meant to be helping clean I might handle objects that I don't realize are sacred, to dust them (or the surface under them) or something, and when I put them down I might accidentally not quite get everything right.  I can't imagine taking it upon myself to redecorate, though.

I agree 100%. I, personally, view touching anything in other people's spaces without being invited to do so as very rude and uncouth. Weirdly, I was raised, by this same woman, with a "don't touch!" attitude. But, over the years, she's kind of slid down into being someone my brother and I barely recognize anymore. I won't hijack the thread with a full explanation but, I can only be around her for a couple hours at a time, now without spiraling into a haze(she is an energy vampire) and into panic attack. And when she left here after 3 wks. it took me 3 extra wks. to banish the negativity out of my home.
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« Reply #10: September 02, 2010, 03:23:25 pm »

Yikes.  I'm always surprised at what people will do with other people's stuff.  I mean, me, if I'm in someone else's home, even if this is a couple of decades from now and it's my daughter's house, I'm going to assume that they've decorated the way they want to and it's not my business to rearrange and especially not my business to discard anything.  If I'm meant to be helping clean I might handle objects that I don't realize are sacred, to dust them (or the surface under them) or something, and when I put them down I might accidentally not quite get everything right.  I can't imagine taking it upon myself to redecorate, though.

Both my mom and her mom are like this, and it drives me freakin' nuts. I can tell Mom not to touch things, or that things are special and she'll respect it, but my grandma is nuts (and has ADD, with a huge vendetta against medicine and doctors). So I'll tell her, "Hey, please don't touch my things" and she'll go "Okay!" and proceed to rearrange all the books on my shelf according to whether she thinks the title makes for good Christian literature or not. (I wish I were joking. I really, really wish I were.)

This was an episode of "My Relatives Are Freakin' Insane". We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.
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« Reply #11: September 02, 2010, 04:17:54 pm »

You know those Fischer-Price toy stoves and lawn mowers and such? I just got the image of a similar brightly-colored altar, with big tools that fit into little pegs on the surface. Toddler's First Altar!

Gah, marry me.  Grin
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« Reply #12: September 02, 2010, 04:19:07 pm »


I just moved my altar. My story is that back in April of '09 I had surgery and invited my mother down here to help take care of my disabled adult son and while she was here, she decided to re-arrange my altar. Most people don't know exactly what they're looking at unless they're versed in pagan altars, but my mother thought mine was just too messy. In the process, she got rid of certain items from it, placed some in other directions, handled all the shinies....annoying.


I'm sure she thought she was helping.

However, at the same time... even if it wasn't an altar... -removing- things from someone else's house, even someone you've popped out of your lady bits a long time ago, is just not cool.
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« Reply #13: September 02, 2010, 04:25:04 pm »

However, at the same time... even if it wasn't an altar... -removing- things from someone else's house, even someone you've popped out of your lady bits a long time ago, is just not cool.

::points::  I could've saved myself a lot of typing if I'd just said that.  LOL
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« Reply #14: September 02, 2010, 05:22:04 pm »

Both my mom and her mom are like this, and it drives me freakin' nuts. I can tell Mom not to touch things, or that things are special and she'll respect it, but my grandma is nuts (and has ADD, with a huge vendetta against medicine and doctors). So I'll tell her, "Hey, please don't touch my things" and she'll go "Okay!" and proceed to rearrange all the books on my shelf according to whether she thinks the title makes for good Christian literature or not. (I wish I were joking. I really, really wish I were.)

This was an episode of "My Relatives Are Freakin' Insane". We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.

I guess I'm just special? Everyone in my family who is over my home regularly knows that I have an altar, that it is sacred, and that touching it is beyond taboo. So, they look and say, "Oh, that's nice," and move on with their day.

I think I will make my son an altar of his own, though.
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