Bees are integral within lessons and practices of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and a diversity of other religious, spiritual, folkloric and mythological traditions. The recurring theme of bees leads us back to the most ancient of times, illuminates a veritable nexus of positive guiding principles and reveals our potential.
Bees play vital roles in world-creation stories, moral parables, and understandings/appreciations of healing, community, love, beauty, fertility/regeneration, higher spirit and afterlife. Honey and bees sweeten and buzz in the background for religious figures such as Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Zeus, Ra and the Dalai Lamas. Importantly, a myriad of female deities and goddesses have distinctive, fundamental bonds with bees.
The anima of bees within human thought has become oppressed and simplified. It has dissipated and waned as patriarchal religious and philosophical trajectories disregard, discard, and hierarchically marginalize females, animals, plants, and natural balancing principles. It is precisely because bees originally connected humanity with a diversity and depth of core values and vibrantly colored our human ethos that reconceiving our relationships with bees will actively transform us and our participation in environmental and social solutions.
Marija Gimbutas, P.L. Travers, Hilda Ransome, Stephen Buchmann and many other authors have called attention to the compelling sacredness of bees. Scientists and spiritual seekers alike see the human-bee relationship as integral to our well-being. Scientist Dr. Marla Spivak speaks about hungry, pesticide-laden bees holding up a mirror so we can see our true human selves. Bees and their homes, in many languages, have corresponding terms relating to humans and even our internal human anatomy. Martín Prechtel speaks of how Mayan words for bee, village, and earth are synonymous. Harm to a bee is an injury to ourselves. Karl Von Frisch, the Nobel laureate scientist who described the ‘tanzsprache’, or waggle dance language of honey bees wrote, “The bee’s life is like a magic well, the more you draw from it, the more it fills with water.”
Like a human transformed in to a bee by an avadhūta, we can grow eco-consciousness and change our egocentric actions. Bees can provide a context for contemplative/centering prayer to and for the earth and all relatives.
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