What Can We Learn From Bees?

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Bees get a lot of attention these days it seems and usually it has to do with death: either our cell phones are going to kill them all (see here) or they are going to kill us all first (as in here). We, as a society, seem to have forgotten that bees are more than just agents of death, they bring us honey (and that makes mead for which I am thankful), they pollinate our flowers and fruits, and they defend our goddess.

There is an old English/Scottish (there is a debate on the true origin) saying, “Ask the wild bee what the Druids knew,” and presumably the bee knows. Why? Because the bees are wise beyond time and they represent the mysticism and magic of the Druids.

Bees make honey. (Insert *duh* here) So what? Well first off honey is magical and I don’t just mean it’s taste, honey is a mixture of pollen, nectar, and other plant material all made by bees. Also, as I said earlier, honey makes mead which is the drink of the gods, literally. Mead is consumed in vast quantities by the gods of the Norse, Greeks and Celts and is often connected with receiving secret knowledge (Odin’s tale is my favorite). Honey is also been proven to be really good for you; from sore throats to flesh wounds honey is a wonder drug made entirely by bees.

Bees are pollinators and are often seen as a blessing on flowers and fruit, an apple tree for instance will most likely not produce an apple without a visit from the bees. They are part of the natural order of things, spreading their secrets from tree to tree and making fruit as they go. Today, many farmers pay big money to have Beekeepers come in and pollinate their crop, so remember, when that wild bee comes into your garden not only is she (all members of the worker caste are female) passing on pollen and blessings but she’s also saving you lots of money too!

Many people shy away from nature’s beandrui (druidesses) because of their potential to sting. Honey bees (Queen bees excluded) have a barbed stinger that are meant to become lodged into an attacker’s skin and continuously release venom. Since a fair amount of their internal organs are either ripped out or shifted in the attack the bee then dies. Further, if an intruder enters, or damages, the hive bees can release a pheromone that causes the entire hive to swarm making collecting honey extremely dangerous. Bees are willing to die to protect their queen and their honey and not just in a quick skirmish, bees have been known to follow attackers for miles (granted this is mostly true in Africanized “killer” bees) but tend to be quite peaceful when just flying about making their distinctive song.

So, what can we learn from bees? We can learn to see the magic of nature and how even the gods need the smallest of creatures for their greatest feats. We can learn the secrets of the trees and flowers, and through them watch the Wheel of the Year go round. And we can learn that, even though peace is always preferred, defending our Queen/Goddess and our beliefs to all ends is sometimes necessary. So next time you happen across a bee, meditate on what she is trying to tell you or, better yet, ask her directly.

Peace and Blessed Be /|\

Michael

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