in ,

Homeowner Stirs Drama By Telling Their ‘Witchy’ Friend She Can’t Burn Sage In Their New House

Boogich/Getty Images

Religious beliefs—or lack thereof—is an extremely personal choice and one that should be respected.

When an unbelieving homeowner’s friend wanted to preform a ritual in their house conflict arose.

As a result, the Original Poster (OP) ToilandTroubleXXO asked the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit:

AITA for not letting my friend burn sage in my new house?”

The OP explained:

“Last month I accomplished a lifelong goal of buying a home all on my own. I have been living in a frankly sh*tty apartment for four years while I’ve saved up for my down payment, so the house has been an incredible upgrade.”

”I have a friend Gwyn who is very witchy/spiritual/superstitious. Personally, I am very certain that there is no such thing as the supernatural, which she is aware of, but I give her plenty of space to do her thing and I don’t rain on her parade.”

“Gwyn came to visit me for the first time in the new house over the weekend and I was giving her the tour and everything, like you do. She tells me that the house is amazing (yay!) and she is going to do a quick cleanse for me by burning some sage (huh?)”

“She explains that she burns sage to spiritually/energetically cleanse a space. I say okay, that is fine but this is my space and I don’t really need or want a cleansing ritual performed.”

”She says ‘Well if you don’t believe in it and it’s not real to you then what difference does it make if I do something for myself to feel comfortable.’ I say ‘Because I just don’t want it’ and basically ask her to get comfortable here the same way that she does with any other space where she isn’t allowed to burn sage.”

“Now she is upset because according to her, I should not care about anything that would not affect me as a non-believer. To me that comes too close to the ‘it’s just a splash of water’ argument for baptizing babies against a parent’s will.”

”I just think that since I respect her beliefs as far as her own stuff is concerned, she can respect my space by not insisting on performing rituals there. Part of me knows that I could just prevent an argument by acquiescing, so I’m not sure if I’m being an a**hole here.

Redditors were asked to determine one of four judgements: 

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

OP was found to be NTA while users pointed out their friend is showing lack of respect for their space. 

“NTA. Just because you don’t believe in seemingly any faith does not mean she can impose her on you. You have a belief – a belief that there is not extra or higher power.”

“You are not a blank slate to be imposed upon. If your argument was ‘I’m Catholic and I do not believe in that’ I am sure she would be more willing to back off because she’d see some legitimacy in your argument, but there already is plenty.”~SiameseCats3

”NTA, and White people using sage is actually contributing to its extinction in the wild (see thread) so not only is your friend being appropriative of native tradition, she’s contributing to unethical practices that are wrecking ecosystems.”

“But also even if that weren’t the case, your space, your boundaries, and she is being an utter clot. ‘Because I don’t want it’ is a complete sentence, ditto ‘no’. She’s not respecting your boundaries at all.”~Madanimalscientist

NTA it’s your home not her stage. There was no harm in her asking, you may have liked to participate in her ceremony after all but when you declined, if she still felt uncomfortable she should have removed herself not expected you to accommodate her.”

“Her insistence is the height of self-indulgence and frankly, rudeness!”~LizzyFCB

She can be uncomfortable and deal. How invasive to ask to smoke up someone’s home to chase away boogie men they don’t believe in.”

“And then try to make the homeowner the AH over it for politely declining? The entitlement..NTA.”~Trixlx

“NTA. Remind her that burning sage is appropriation from indigenous cultures, and white sage in particular is endangered.”~arsenal_kate 

NTA. You are correct that this is similar in nature (if not in scale) to the ‘splash of water’/baptism argument. The simple phrase ‘because I don’t want it’ should be enough for anyone to not have any sort of religious/spiritual ritual in your home.”

”It isn’t true that it doesn’t affect you as a non-believer. You are being forced to participate in a ritual that you do not believe in.”

“This has become typical in this country. It seems like the final acceptable prejudice in the country is against non-believers.”~bamf1701

“NTA It’s your house. If you don’t want something done in your house you should not have to explain yourself.”

“She’s being selfish by imposing her beliefs on you. Toxic behavior on her part in my book.”~UseSweet

NTA. It is the same argument as ‘it’s just a splash of water’. The underlying argument is ‘if you don’t believe in it then you should let me do what I want because it won’t harm anything’.”

“The counterargument is, ‘your desire to do this thing is not more important than my autonomy over my child/living space etc’. The issue of belief or disbelief is a red herring; the real issue is one of power over a person or space.”~soayherder

NTA. Are you also required to let a priest come and bless your house, set up a temporary shrine, or sacrifice an animal in the backyard to appease friends of different beliefs?”

“No. I say this as a religious person: she’s TA for demanding to practice her religion in your house.”~JeepersCreepers74

Sounds like the friend needs a lesson on respecting others boundaries. Congratulations on your new home OP!

Written by Heidi Dockery

Heidi Dockery is a Maine artist & nature enthusiast with an affinity for libraries. She studies Criminal Justice with a special focus on psychology & sociology at the University of Maine. When not studying, painting, or re-reading the works of Terry Pratchett, she volunteers & enjoys various activities most would label nerdy.