Increasingly, I find it hard to really identify my motives. Probably, they were never clear to me, but I used to believe the reasons I gave myself for doing things.
As for learning Latin, there are a few reasons I started. The reason I present others is to be a better teacher of languages. To that end, I’d like to build up a collection of tips along the lines of ‘this worked for me’ that I can give the people I teaching English to. (And, lets be honest, there are way more resources in English than there are in Latin, if I can do it in Latin, you can do it in English.)
Another reason is that I like to think of myself as a language person. I picked up German pretty quickly. Do I still have what it takes?
Still another reason is that it’s something other than fitness that I can use to test my own willpower. Do I have what it takes to make new habits? Do something even when it’s difficult?
But, the reason I want to believe in my heart is this: I’m learning Latin to better speak with the Gods. I have been asking Proserpina to assist me in ritual as my Gatekeeper in a move toward the Roman Gods and it certainly has been nice to begin and end my prayers with ‘Salve’ and ‘Vale.’
In fact, one of the reasons I moved away from the Celtic pantheon was that I just wasn’t into learning Gaelic. There were probably complicated reasons for that, too, but I rationalized that, if speaking to the Gods wasn’t motivation enough, maybe I was meant to speak to other Gods. But, again, my motives may have been more complicated (I speak pretty good German, and find it frustrating to be on the periphery of German life here, I really didn’t want to have another language group simply tolerate me).
Naturally, it seems an insult to imply the Gods wouldn’t understand me in English — or that I’d be able to better to speak to them in Latin at any point — but I feel that having this secular activity and secular knowledge with which I can occupy myself is a sort of devotion. Is it an offering? Probably not, I benefit too much from it. But, it’s something I can do in order to feel closer to them and to the culture of Rome, like playing video games with my brother — too much fun to be a ‘sacrifice’ but not something I would do if it didn’t bring me closer.
What do you think? Is anybody out there learning a language to draw closer to Gods or a specific culture? What are other secular activities that can bring us closer to our Gods?