Friday 19 July 2019

Bee Love -- Lucy Coats

Photograph: (c) Lucy Coats 2019

Right now I am studying bees, both for writing purposes, and because I love them and think they are incredibly important to our world. As some of you here know, I have been involved with shamanism for many years, which has led me, by various convoluted routes, to be currently training on the shamanic bee path. To that end, some time ago I discovered a marvellous book by the shaman, Simon Buxton, called The Shamanic Way of the Bee. It is utterly fascinating (to me at least) to have had the mystical life of bees and beekeepers revealed in this very new and different way, and confirms me in my belief that they are extremely magical beings.
Brahmari the Bee Goddess

Bees are very prevalent in mythology, present in almost every religion from the beginning, and in stories from the Rig-Veda to the Norse Eddas. Athena's mother, Metis, was challenged to a game of shapeshifting by Zeus. Eventually, she turned into a honeybee and flew up his nostril, landing in his brain, where she gave him advice--I tell that story in Atticus the Storyteller's 100 Greek Myths, and it is only one of many in the Greek mythology canon, including the stories which tell that the three Fates are actually three Bee Maidens, and that the sea-god Glaucus was brought back to life when buried in a jar of honey. In Celtic mythology, the bee acts as a psychopomp, travelling with messages between the realms of the living and the dead, and as a guide.
The Bee Goddess of Rhodes

In 2007, edible honey, hives, comb and evidence of a 3000 year-old beekeeping industry was found in Northern Israel, giving weight to the biblical description of 'a land of milk and honey', and there is written testimony to the fact that in Ancient Egypt, Ramses III made an offering of 21,000 jars of honey to the god Hapi. Bees and beekeepers are also present in art from the earliest times, carved on tombs, and jewellery, and found in temples. The tradition of 'Telling the Bees' when someone has died, and involving them in the life and events of the family is still practiced by some beekeepers even today.

On a more practical and educational level, I have also been reading Jacqueline Freeman's beautiful and lyrical book, A Song of Increase, which has taught me so much about a gentler and kinder way of keeping bees. (Do go to her website if you are interested.) Because keeping bees is what I am going to do! There is a long way to go still, and I have a lot to learn, but on Saturday I attend my first meeting at the Oxfordshire Natural Beekeeping Group, and I am VERY excited! I'm sure the bees will have a lot to teach me, and I am certain that they will appear very soon in one of the books I am writing. Watch this space!

OUT NOW: Cleo 2: Chosen and Cleo (UKYA historical fantasy about the teenage Cleopatra VII) '[a] sparkling thriller packed with historical intrigue, humour, loyalty and poison.' Amanda Craig, New Statesman  
Also out:  Beasts of Olympus series "rippingly funny" Publishers Weekly US starred review
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Ness Harbour said...

This was a fascinating post, Lucy, thank you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I love bees so it was wonderful to read more about them and the various myths and history surrounding them.

LuWrites said...

Totally loved the Shamanic Way of the Bee. Great post, Lucy X