As part of my plan to be at home more, I want to build beehives and work with a colony or two of honeybees. My primary motive is not to share their honey and beeswax, though I will be honored to do so, but to get to know the energy and spirit of these fascinating beings.
I used to be terrified of bees, or any flying stinging insect. At Girl Scout Camp when I was fairly young, I stepped on a nest of ground bees while returning from a hike, and ended up rolling down the hill, being stung all over by angry bees. It was a sleepover camp, so I didn’t have the comfort of Mom to soothe me. Being rather shy and sensitive, I took the basic medical treatment that was offered, and suffered the emotional effects on my own. That experience combined with a close run-in with yellow-jackets earlier in life left me fleeing from bees whenever one approached the area I was in.
My friend Luke is a natural friend to bees. He taught me to overcome my fear and panic at the sight of one. He showed me how to calmly and gently tell the bee “there are flowers over there,” and point to the nearest flowering plants. I was fascinated that they almost always understood this message, reading the energy that we sent along with our words.
Several years ago, I had a series of synchronicities about bees, which included finding individual bees lying on the ground on several walks. The 5 of swords in the Motherpeace Tarot deck, which I was using at the time, has a picture of a bee, symbolizing the negativity we associate with a “sting,” “hex” or “curse.” I worked to assimilate the lessons of that card, which at the time meant learning to maintain my equanimity without feeling defeated by every small “failure.” In the process, I realized that bees could be positive messengers, bringing me the reminder to be mindful and release my expectations.
The depiction of bees and beekeepers in Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing has also intrigued me since I first read it. I re-read the book last year, and was again captivated by the magick shared between the bees and the priestesses. Now that I won’t be working outside the home full-time (not to mention commuting) I’ll have time to explore this ancient relationship myself.
LM, BlackLion and I took a 2-hour beekeeping seminar last week. They are going to follow up with a session of bee classes, and I plan to purchase the book and read their notes (my current work schedule means I can’t attend the classes with them). Perhaps as soon as this spring, I’ll be welcoming bees to the homestead.