It’s “Deity and Divine” week again at The Pagan Experience, and this week is, “tell us about your favourite Deity of Learning or Harvest this week!” As the Pagan Experience is northern hemispheric run (I fixed the spelling of ‘favourite’ by the way!) it’s summer, the time of harvest, and it’s back-to-school time.
I’m beginning year three of six, a third of the way through my degree as I study part time and off campus. I work full time as a) I’m not giving up my job; b) it’s too expensive to try and live in Sydney on one wage; and c) no way in hell am I doing four units a semester!
Naturally, as I would, I turn to Herne for assistance in study. He’s associated with study and learning through his connection with the oak, which we both tend to laugh at since his connection comes from hanging himself on the oak! I associate him with fields of learning as he learnt to read the forest from a young age. But study isn’t just about learning – to study, you need focus (again, he’s laughing, as I’m writing this blog post rather than working on a Toxicology assignment!)
Herne is someone I ask for help with focus, a lot. To meet your mark, to aim the bow when hunting, you need focus. You need to be able to clear your mind, step lightly, be one with the environment.
I also found myself calling upon Diana a lot in that first semester. Diana is the Roman Goddess of the Hunt, and is somewhat British as the Romans introduced her to London where she became a localised Deity (much like Herne was). As I was working in the city, I would stop by Archebald Fountain in Hyde Park on the walk to work and ask and continually thank her for her assistance in helping me focus my mind and my attention on my study. Then I’d continue my walk, and talk with Herne through our forest.
(NB: Diana is NOT the “Roman equivalent” of Artemis. Nothing annoys me more when people insult the Gods like that. They may be similar in regards to their associations, but they are two very individual people. It’s like saying two twins are the same person because they look alike. Not the case! The same goes with the Gods.)
With thanks to Diana and Herne, in my first semester I got two Distinctions (75-84% total final grade). To celebrate that, I got a new tattoo to honour my strength of will, and for “focused attention”.
This was inked by the amazing artist Helen Wells. We turned the tattoo session into a beautiful ritual to honour focused attention and study, and it’s placement allowed me to let go of much of my past. After getting this done arrow’s became a fad, but just the arrow. Having the arrow knocked in the bow symbolises the attention needed before the arrow can be released. The arrowhead is based of a hunting design so once it has pierced it’s target, it is hard to release.
Along with Herne and Diana for their assistance, I’ve also asked for help from my Oma and Opa. Opa, when he resided in this world in the Netherlands, was a carpenter. During the second world war the family stopped creating tables and cabinets and the like and began making coffins.
I swear, Opa helping me is the only reason I was able to pass Quantitative Thinking (statistical mathematics!) I called on him a great deal as I did the subject over summer (14 weeks crammed into 4, not recommended for stats!) and I’m so thankful as I just passed!
Who you turn to for assistance for study and learning can surprise you, as it’s not always solely to the “God of Learning”. They each had to learn and perfect their abilities to earn such an association. And sometimes, it’s your ancestors that you turn to. There is no right or wrong way to approach them, no right or wrong way about who you approach. If you make the commitment to your study, you might find someone putting their hand up to assist you, like my Opa did for me (well, I think Oma had a hand in getting him to assist me, but I’m forever thankful either way!)