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So here's the thing. I am considering moving into a house with my mother. It's not for sure a good idea because we have HUGE differences, but we were discussing it, at any rate. One of the things we were talking about is the problem of religion. She is Catholic and I am Pagan. I was 15 when I started being interested; she was very upset and forbid me to have anything to do with Paganism, wouldn't let me have books or spiritual items. Fine, sure. I respected that and eventually moved out and started my own household where I am freely and openly Pagan.<br><br>
Since both my mother and I are quite religious and have items all over the house from our spiritual traditions, this was something that I brought up as a potential difficulty in living together. I can definitely respect her religious "things" (like holy water fonts, crucifixes, pictures of saints, etc.) while she is less accepting of my "things" (a broom by the door, some pentacle candle holders, a charity cauldron on the hearth, a wooden pentacle in the kitchen, etc.). We talked it over and she said she wouldn't have a problem with most of these things (although I had to explain the pentacle to her; after all these years she STILL thought it was a Satanic symbol).<br><br>
The one thing that she said she could NOT live with because she found it "absolutely repulsive" is the figure we have on our hearth, the Mother. It is a representation of the Venus of Willendorf and practically the holiest item I can think of. It represents the Divine. (I am monotheistic Pagan so I can't just substitute a different goddess image really.) I was shocked when she said that. She said that was not something she could tolerate seeing because it was just so ugly.<br><br>
Now... I was speechless. First of all, it's just an image of a nude woman. It's not grotesque in any way that I can think of. I wouldn't dream of saying "hey you know what, please don't put a crucifix in my eyesight because the image of a murdered man is really a turnoff to me." That would be... I mean, I just wouldn't say that to her! So why is it OK to say that the way I view my Creator is repulsive? And when it's just the figure of a woman, at that? Maybe if I had a photo of Kali or Ganesh or something "unnatural" I could see her point - not that I think those images are "ugly" at all and I know they are perfectly sacred to many people - but they are not quite "human" - so they might be a little hard to swallow for someone who is not used to them. But the Venus of Willendorf? Really?<br><br>
A) Was she being insensitive or am I being *TOO* sensitive?<br><br>
B) For those of you who are Christian and/or other, would you be "repulsed" by that image? Is it "gross" or something? Am I just that far off the batty loop that I'm not seeing what is ugly about her?
 

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Hmm. Well, I wouldn't be repulsed, actually I think it's quite beautiful in it's own way.<br><br>
It is hard to know why your mom feels this way, and I would not be suprised if she doesn't really know either. It could be related to body image, to what it seems to suggest to her about the role of women. It could be that it seems somehow to earthy to her. Or perhaps she has some strange, incorrect idea about what it is supposed to mean to you.<br><br>
The crucifix in a way is a good comparison, as many people do find it makes them uncomfortable. I suppose a lot of that is about it being alien. It isn't really alien to you, but the Venus of Willendorf is to her.<br><br>
I guess you need to think about how important it is to you to have it in a shared space in the house. Also, do you want to discuss it more with your mom? If so, I would just be non-confrontational, and approach it as looking for understanding. But keep in mind it may be an emotional reaction and as such is valid in its own way, even if she can't explain it. You might point out that there are parts of Christianity that make people uncomfortable at first too.<br><br>
Whether you can talk about this in a way that doesn't become ugly may say a lot about how you would fare living together.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>honey-lilac</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15376147"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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B) For those of you who are Christian and/or other, would you be "repulsed" by that image? Is it "gross" or something? Am I just that far off the batty loop that I'm not seeing what is ugly about her?</div>
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Well, here goes...<br><br>
I am Christian and I don't have any graven images or representations of my God in my house or as jewelry.<br>
I am not repulsed by your special woman statue, but I am saddened by it. From my Christian point of view, your god is a distraction from the One True God. I just want to remind everyone before I get attacked that Honey lilac asked for a Christian view. My Christian view is not every one's Christian view. I am more fundamental and conservative, which is probably obvious.<br><br>
Honestly, if it's your mom's house, she gets the final word. Even if she sucks it up and lets you put all of your worshipping items out, there may still be an undercurrent of awkwardness. And I do think she was being insensitive, which is a big red flag.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I know it's not going to change your opinion - and I'm not trying to change it! - but one of the key points is that the Venus figure doesn't have any facial features. That is because she represents (to me, and to some others) the Unknowable - basically if she had a face she would be a "graven image" - without a face she just represents fertility/Creation/our Source/etc.<br><br>
Just wanted to point that out in case you didn't know. I know it sounds like it's quibbling, sorry. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
Thanks for the opinions. I think I didn't quite make it clear; it wouldn't be completely "her" house - we would be getting a house to share together. So not quite the same as us just moving into her house and setting up shop.<br><br>
More opinions welcome! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Bluegoat</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15376380"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It is hard to know why your mom feels this way, and I would not be suprised if she doesn't really know either. It could be related to body image, to what it seems to suggest to her about the role of women. It could be that it seems somehow to earthy to her. Or perhaps she has some strange, incorrect idea about what it is supposed to mean to you.</div>
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You know... now that I think about it, her body looks quite like that of Venus. Not trying to be insulting or anything, obviously it's not a diss in my opinion. She hates her body though, always is trying to exercise it away (and it's not gonna happen) and she used to love her old, pre-having-me body, when she was thin and a model. She does know the statue represents fertility/the Great Mother/ etc. So maybe it's some hang-up about that, not spirituality itself? Huh, something to think about.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>honey-lilac</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15376673"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I know it's not going to change your opinion - and I'm not trying to change it! - but one of the key points is that the Venus figure doesn't have any facial features. That is because she represents (to me, and to some others) the Unknowable - basically if she had a face she would be a "graven image" - without a face she just represents fertility/Creation/our Source/etc.<br><br>
Just wanted to point that out in case you didn't know. I know it sounds like it's quibbling, sorry. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
Thanks for the opinions. I think I didn't quite make it clear; it wouldn't be completely "her" house - we would be getting a house to share together. So not quite the same as us just moving into her house and setting up shop.<br><br>
More opinions welcome! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"></div>
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Not quibbling at all. I am happy to learn about others' beliefs and ways of worship. Education about it is always a good thing. I am pretty clueless about the Venus of Willendorf. I completely respect that it is meaningful and beautiful to you.<br>
In real life I would never tell people how I feel about their statues, crosses, pictures and such because it might be very hurtful. And I'm still unsure if I should even say it on these forums, but I figure if someone asks and others read it, maybe its okay. Hopefully I didn't hurt anyone by my frankness.<br><br>
If the house is really 50/50 then it's fair game. However, I still think that if there is a history of friction and she has already made a hurtful comment, even if it was unintentional, it's a recipe for disaster. I'm not sure how your worship looks on a daily basis, but will you be in the main part of the house during your worship? I would let her know how your worship looks and sounds before you move in so that it's really out in the open.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hm, I didn't find your comment offensive in the least, fwiw. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Worship. Basically it consists of lighting a candle at the hearth, sometimes with incense if it's a special day, at morning and before bed, and saying a short prayer. Saying a grace before meals (right now with our toddlers it's "Thank you Great Mother for our food" - pretty basic. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> ) and some other minor graces here and there (like if someone gets hurt or if we hear a siren in the distance).<br><br>
Other worship wouldl be to make a festive meal and decorate for our holidays - i.e. bring in seasonal decorations or flowers, and make a nice dinner. Nothing crazy. Maybe say a few words before dinner. Kind of like a Thanksgiving meal but 8 times a year. I also say the rosary and pray before bed and on full moons I take a purification bath and meditate. I wouldn't be asking my mom to join me in the bathtub. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"> The rosary etc too is a private thing.<br><br>
Oh, and we have a charity container that we put coins and such in and then donate it on the holidays.<br><br>
Um.<br><br>
Other worship would be like rites of passage (like weddings or baby namings or such) but those don't occur regularly at all and would probably happen out of the house anyway.<br><br>
That's pretty much it, really...
 

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I'm a Catholic, and I love the Venus of Willendorf from a historical and anthropological point of view. It's a beautiful and fascinatng part of human history.
 

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OP here - May I ask why it's being moved? The conversation has veered a little but the original question was more suited to the more general forum. I think. Not trying to be rude. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>honey-lilac</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15376820"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">OP here - May I ask why it's being moved? The conversation has veered a little but the original question was more suited to the more general forum. I think. Not trying to be rude. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"></div>
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I think it has to do with debate and discussion vs. support only, which is the rule in Spirituality. Because you asked for thoughts on all sides, it rules out support only. I think. I don't mod this forum. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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Also, I'm not repulsed by the image, although it's not my favorite, and I do think she was a bit indelicate in how she put it. I have mother-images from other cultures and traditions, and it's not something I would take offense at. But if it's going to cause drama, could you maybe keep it in your room?
 

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Ah, OK, that does make sense. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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Yes, I could and would keep it in the bedroom. That's one of two places to put it, ideally - either in the center of the house (hearth, fireplace, etc.) or above your bed. I would have no problem with moving it there. (Well, a little in theory I guess cos she already said she will put a crucifix in all the common rooms... but overall I would move it without a fuss.) It was just the whole "repulsive" comment that threw me.
 

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Yeah, I think calling anyone's object of religious devotion "repulsive" is really not good manners. People should be secure enough in their own faith walk without putting others' down. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I'm sorry she hurt your feelings. It would really hurt mine if someone said something similar about an object of religious devotion in my home. Although I've said the same thing about Thomas Kinkaid paintings. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>honey-lilac</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15376811"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">OK we're veering here a bit but I don't mind if ya'll don't. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> In your Christian path is there still a Trinity? As in, if one prays to the Father or Holy Spirit instead of Jesus, is that... a distraction? I hope I'm making sense, because I'm genuinely curious. Like, I know it would be totally weird for a Christian to downplay Christ, but if said person "only" (or mostly) prayed to the Father or Holy Spirit (which is, one and the same, sort of kind of), would that be less... correct? than praying directly to Jesus?</div>
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In essence, they are all one in the same to me. But in function they are distinct, not separate, Persons. Triune, 3-1. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus. The Holy Spirit is just the Spirit of the Father and the Son. So many places in the Bible say that the Father and Jesus are One. Especially in John, I think 14 and 17, if anyone is interested. The Bible also says that Jesus leads the praise to the Father, can't remember where that one is, but it has to do with the Lord's Table meeting when we take the bread and the cup.<br><br>
Most of my prayers I am calling on the Lord Jesus and I get all three because they are One. Sometimes I am led to say Father, as well. Hope that's not too confusing. We can start another thread if we need to.
 

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Well, as a Christian, I don't find it attractive as such but I think it's like Blue Goat said - it's not familiar to me. I don't think it's 'gross' or 'ugly', or dislike it because she's naked. Honestly, it doesn't have meaning to me other than as a historical artifact, and that's not my 'style' for 'decorating' my home.<br><br>
I think the beauty you see in it is because of what it represents to you, which is good and to be expected. My Bible is amazing to me - the words are beauty and instruction to me. It is my most prized possession because it is a place were I connect with my God, and my God means everything to me. But I don't expect you to share that. Also, even for me before I came to know Christ that same Bible was nothing except a dry, poorly written book.<br><br>
I think it might be rude to say that your Creator figure is 'absolutely repulsive', but perhaps she's just being honest? I think she's quite accepting otherwise; it says a lot to me that she would accept your other things. Yes, I think she was insensitive about the figure, but I think you are also sensitive (in a good way) because that figure represents 'Everything' to you.<br><br>
I think this is misunderstanding, and I would expect many more because of the religious differences. I like Blue Goat's idea of speaking about this more with your mom. I think it's wonderful that you can even have these kinds of conversations with your mom, and that she listens while you describe your things and what they mean. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Hello!<br><br>
I removed some posts that were offtopic from the thread.<br><br>
Please do not post to negatively characterize or generalize against another belief.<br><br>
Thank you!
 

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As a conservative Christian, I'm not repulsed by the image. I would definitely disagree that it is a representation of the Divine, but that's fairly obvious.<br><br>
However, from the conservative Christian standpoint (and I would assume Catholic standpoint too), it is an idol or graven image. Not something a traditional Christian would want to have in a prominent place in their house, if at all.<br><br>
If you are moving in with your mother (and into <i>her</i> house, I'm assuming), then I would think out of respect for her and her property, you would keep the objects of your faith in your room and behind a closed door. I wouldn't dream of hanging up a cross anywhere but my own room if I was living with someone who was of a different faith.<br><br>
If you are moving in together both putting equal amounts into a new living situation (ie: it's neither yours nor hers), then perhaps both of your religious items should be kept to your individual spaces and leave the common areas clear of all of that. If that's not agreeable to either of you, and she can't be more tolerant of your symbols, than maybe moving in together isn't the best idea?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hmm. It wouldn't be "her" house, but a new house. We would have our living area, she would have her living area, and we would have the common area.<br><br>
She said she would be fine with having expressions from both of our faiths in the main common areas. Unless something was really bothersome to her. So I listed off what I had, and what she had, and neither of us seemed especially bothered by the stuff.<br><br>
OK, maybe we can elaborate a little. The "graven image" - I get that, sort of kind of. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> I agree that it's not everyone's cup of tea. Honestly to me the whole "it's not a graven image because there is no face shown" - that makes sense to ME, and I'm comfortable with that - but I can see how it might be shredding hairs to other people. Just as some Christians are OK with a cross, but not a crucifix, because one is a symbol and the other is a graven image. But, I digress.<br><br>
So what of the other stuff would you find offensive?<br><br>
- Charity box (for us it's a cauldron but it could be any box)<br><br>
- Pentacle (represents the four elements ruled over by Spirit; in other words it (to me) is a pictorial way of saying that God created the earth and everything on it and is in charge of it<br><br>
- Some artwork such as tapestries or paintings - these I would keep in my room, but would you find them offensive? They're mostly just... well, New Agey prints... like a tree of life, Celtic looking thing, some mermaids in the ocean, some moon/celestial themes. I would keep these in my room personally because they're not her style and we have art we do agree on so why bother fussing...<br><br>
- A Wheel of the Year image on our wall - it's bronze and pretty and just has the eight holidays written on it, you turn it as the season passes and each holiday has some pictures representing it (like eggs, leaves, etc.)<br><br>
- A chalice representing the household and marriage (used at rites of passages for family members, and holidays - kind of just a "family communion cup" of sorts but without religious implications, it's not supposed to be holy or anything, just that everyone drinks a sip out of it on special days<br><br>
- A broom by the front door to symbolize only pure energy and intentions coming through the front door (that's a little woo-woo, I admit, I don't believe it literally though)<br><br>
- Some general decorating things... like I have a calendar of herbs that I picked up at Target, or some seasonal decorations like wreaths or whatever, they're not really religious more just seasonal<br><br>
Would any/some/all of those offend you who are Christian? Or perhaps... Would they offend you ONLY because you KNEW they were expressions of a non-Christian faith? Like, if you saw someone with a broom by the door and a cup on their mantle, that it'd be fine - but if you realized they were symbolic of something that wasn't in your faith group, then it would bother you?<br><br>
It's really sort of hard for me to wrap my mind around this because I am so open to other faiths and practices, world religions and the like. So I find it hard to be offended at other people's religious expression. BUT, I know that many/most people are convinced that their religious expression is the right way to do things - which is OK, just hard for me to understand. I also know that some people are merely uncomfortable with the idea of sharing a space with other religious items but other people are, well it'd be almost sinning for them to "put up" with that sort of thing. It's really hard for me to put myself in the shoes of someone like that but I'm trying to be open-minded about being closed-minded. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"> (And then that quote comes to mind about being soooo open-minded your brain falls out, so sometimes closed-minded isn't a horrible thing, lol)
 

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Point of view from an agnostic:<br><br>
I have always thought the Venus of Willendorf was pretty awesome. And I find it less creepy than a dead man hanging on a cross.
 
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