Every year has a topic. Last year, the topic was health - how to become healthier and whole. I lost weight, ran my first 5K, and dedicated a big portion of my time to work out and become fit. This year, the topic has shifted from health to... YES! You guessed it! Chinese! In January, I decided I wanted to study Mandarin, and since I made that decision, many other things have popped up in my life guiding me in the right direction. It was funny to see how much opposition I faced from others when I made my decision. For example, I went to Barnes and Noble to buy some study cards and the lady at the register looked at me and asked "are you going to China soon?" and I responded "no, just studying Mandarin for fun." She looked at me shocked and said "I would be studying Spanish if I were you" so I responded "I have the Spanish covered, now it is Mandarin time." Some of my friends looked at me surprised and questioned why would I study Mandarin instead of other languages and the truth is, I just like it. I find that language fascinating and filled with meaning. It is amazing to see that Chinese is an ancient language that comes from the times when the Chinese people wrote in turtle shells and use sticks and it is still in use today. I also find it interesting that a symbol can convey meaning and that people in China look at the symbols and understand. When I see that, I can't help but think in other ways that symbols convey meaning such as Tarot or Runes. I've always been fascinated by symbolism so it makes sense I would like a language like Mandarin.
As I study Mandarin, I am also learning about the Chinese culture and traditions. It was interesting to find out that Chinese people use a lunar calendar instead of a solar one and as a Priestess I find that fascinating. I also noticed their traditions are filled with magic such as during the New Year, they eat fish because the word of fish also means good fortune and by eating the fish, they believe they will bring about good fortune for the next year. It seems as the Chinese people have traditions that really tune with me.
I have also started learning about the Tao and Confucian wisdom and came about with these phrases that really hit home with me:
"One who knows does not speak; one who speaks does not know." (Laozi)
"Knowing it is not as good as loving it; loving it is not as good as delighting in it." (Analects)
"Knowledge is to know when you know it and when you don't know it." (Analects)
It is interesting to see how many of the concepts in magic tune with this knowledge since one of the withcraft concepts say "To Know, To Dare, To Will, To Keep Silent" It is important to be humble and know that we are always learning and if we stopped learning and believe we know everything, we just know nothing or we are dead.
Chinese is a very complex language but in that complexity I find beauty, and in that beauty I find another path to Goddess, to serve Her, to commune with her. I know I could have studied Italian or French but I decided to study Chinese because complex does not scare me, roadblocks do not make me afraid, and easy does not do it for me. When people look at me with doubt or think I am strange because I am studying Mandarin, I would say that I have searched in my heart and my fire is burning bright with this language. Sometimes we face opposition and those are the times you need to be honest with yourself and keep truth to your heart.