All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force… We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.
Friday kolam for Laksmi.
The Sri Yantra with 10 mahavidyas.
Agnes Denes, Sun Mathematics.
This is a small gold Mycenaean plaque - correct me if I’m wrong - of the bee goddess. In ancient Greece the word for bee was also the word for priestess. And they believed that bees were the souls of the purest dead.
It is said that two Hyperborean maidens brought offerings to Apollo, at Delphi, in the form of honeycomb temples covered with feathers.
Honey is associated with prophecy, as in the myth of Glaukos who fell into a pot (a pythos, probably) of honey and was then able to solve that riddle - about the cows (?) (I can’t remember it.) And, the head of Bran was kept in a cask of honey from which it gave prophecies.
When I see this image I think of the Lithuanian bee goddess, Austeja. The Lithuanians once had a detailed, firmly observed bee-keeping tradition, which you can learn about in an obscure book called Of Gods and Men by A. Greimas, where there is a chapter on the subject.
St. Haralambos, saint of beekeepers.
On 10th of February Bulgarians celebrate a holiday dedicated to the beekeepers and their patron St. Haralambos, because he was the person who discovered the miraculous benefits of honey. On this day something magical happens in Bulgaria. Thousands of Christians arranged fiery cross of honey jars in a church, because they believe trey will become magical and healing.
Day before the holiday thousands of people bring jars of honey, “bearing heavy prayers” to the church, to take God’s grace. Jars are labeled with the names of each and to them are attached candles.
Thousands of honey jars and burning candles are arranged in the form of the Holy Cross in honor of St. Haralambos.
Eight cloomed wicker skeps.
"These were made in March 2009 for a film company who wanted them for the Robin Hood movie.
In the film Friar Tuck (the beekeeper) throws skeps of bees into a building where people are hiding. That’s why they had to have handles.
Getting all that cow dung dry in cool damp weather was a problem.”
This is from a terrific site on skep-making: http://www.martinatnewton.com/page2.htm
And here, at The Natural Bee-Keeping Forum, is another really good, thorough & detailed demonstration on skep-making: http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13249
Some Bee Lore
The ancient Irish law on bees (Brehon Law) was that bees taking nectar from plants growing on your neighbours land were guilty of grazing trespass in the same way a cow or sheep would be if they were on your neighbours land. They could even be accused of leaping trespass in the same way as poultry. The way this law was observed was that a beekeeper was allowed three years of freedom during which time the bees were allowed free reign, on the fourth year the first swarm to issue from the hive had to be given to your neighbour as payment. On the following years other swarms were given in turn to other neighbours, in this way everyone was happy. From all accounts it seemed to work. Another issue the Bechbretha (Law governing bees) was enacted was in the event of stings. As long as you swore you had not retaliated by killing the bee you would be entitled to a meal of honey from the bee keeper. However if the unfortunate person died from a sting then two hives had to be paid in compensation to their family.
There is an old belief that if the bees heard you quarreling or swearing they would leave so you must talk to them in a gentle manner.
Irish folklore tells us how easily the bees take offence and this will cause them to cease producing honey, desert their hives and die. You must treat them as you would a member of your own family. They must be told all the news, in particular births, deaths and marriages. In the event of a death their hive must be adorned with a black cloth or ribbon and they must be given their share of the funeral food. You may then hear them gently hum in contentment and they will stay with you.
“Telling the Bees” was extremely important, whether good news or bad or just everyday gossip. As stated earlier you had to tell the bees about a death in the family or the bees would die too. Bad news was given before sunrise of the following day for all to be well. You may even formally invite the bees to attend the funeral or you could turn the beehives round as the coffin was carried out of the house and past the hives. In ancient European folklore, bees were regarded as messengers of the gods and so the custom of “Telling the Bees” may be a throwback to the idea of keeping the gods informed of human affairs.
More at: http://irishhedgerows.weebly.com/folklore.html
(Source: Flickr / bumblelady)
Telling the Bees
I started keeping bees about 25 years ago and knew nothing about it, but that didn’t halt my enthusiasm.
Shortly thereafter I read in an old folklore book about Telling the Bees.This means that you must tell the bees the significant events, births deaths and marriages that occur within the family or suffer a consequence when the bees become hurt by neglect.
I didn’t take it seriously, but remember very well when on returning from my mother’s funeral I found my bees had swarmed and the hives were empty.
A friend gave me more bees,( You must not buy them according to folklore),and I set up the hives again, and this time the father of another friend came to rob the hives for me.
We continued this practice for some years because he had excellent equipment for robbing the hives and we traded wax and honey and queens with each other.
Then he became ill and over a period of a few months his health deteriorated and he died.I was very shocked at his death and busied myself with my friend preparing for his funeral.
A day after the funeral I found my hives empty again, the bees had swarmed.
The husband of another friend came to help and he became my bee-partner for a couple of years and then died suddenly in his sleep.
I had now read that as well as informing bees of deaths and births in the family, the beekeeper was also very important to them and they would be devastated if they did not hear of his death.
I decided I would tell them but time got away from me and a couple of days after the funeral I found all my bees in a swarm on the fence post.I lost them.
By now I was convinced that there there is a definite connection between everything that is alive on this earth and we must treat the bees with the respect they deserve as the bringers of life.
But what happened next convinced me like nothing else ever could.
A dear friend lost her 3yr old son very suddenly from a deadly virus and the family was distraught, specially the 5yr old sister of the little boy.
It was a tragic funeral with people weeping and the coffin covered with flowers,the family of the child stunned with grief.
Suddenly as the service was coming to an end a bee flew into the church.It flew to the coffin placed in full view of the mourners in the church.
For a couple of minutes it buzzed around the flowers, and the mourners, one by one, focused their attention on it.
Everyone watched as the bee made larger circles and then slowly, very slowly, flew over to the bereaved family.
It circled the heads of the three family members and hovered for a couple of seconds over the young girl’s head.
She looked up at it unafraid and it flew to about a foot beyond her face and hovered again.
She watched it happen as if hypnotised.The bee then flew out of the church.
Some cultures in olden days said that bees were a young person’s soul and they flew from the mouth of the deceased upon his death.
All cultures treated them with respect and awe and in some cases worshipped them.
I know I love bees and miss them now I no longer live in the country.
One wonders though what JK Rowling was thinking when she named the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Dumbledore.Dumbledore is an old English name for a bee.
Tell Congress to Suspend Bee-toxic Pesticides
On December 2, 2013, the European Union officially began its two-year moratorium on three of the worst neonicotinoid pesticides (“neonics” for short) in order to protect bees and other pollinators. Even though the EU has taken the much needed step of curbing the use of neonics, U.S. regulatory agencies have yet to step up to the plate and take the actions needed to protect pollinators.
Thankfully, Representatives John Conyers (D, MI) and Earl Blumenauer (D, OR) have introduced the Saving America’s Pollinators Act (H.R. 2692), calling for the suspension of neonics until a full review of scientific evidence indicates they are safe and a field study demonstrates no harmful impacts to pollinators.
To support H.R. 2692 and learn more, click here: