The bee is an important symbol in teachings and mythologies around the world. Ancient Egyptians attached great religious and spiritual significance to the honeybee. Bees were associated with royalty in Egypt, hence the bee headdress; It was associated with the goddess Neith, who was often depicted with a bee on her crown. Bees were also believed to be the tears of the sun god Ra, which symbolized their connection to the divine.
The Hindu gods were often associated with bees. The gods Vishnu, Krishna, and Indra were called Madhava, the nectar-born ones.
One of the most famous Hindu gods associated with bees is Lord Vishnu. In his incarnation as Krishna, he is often depicted with a peacock feather in his hair and a flute in his hand, surrounded by bees. The bees represent the sweet sound of his flute and the devotion of his followers.
Another Hindu goddess associated with bees is Bhramari Devi, who is worshipped as the goddess of bees and the protector of the hive. Bhramari means “the goddess of black bees,” and her name reflects the belief that the sound of the bee is the sound of the goddess herself.
Kama, the deity of love, is often depicted wielding a bow whose string is made of bees. However, bee-related weaponry is not limited to him. The Asvins, who are revered as the lords of light and twin horsemen, possess a whip called Madhukasa that oozes with honey. The chariot they ride in is also named Madhuvahana, meaning “honey-bearing.”
It was believed that by showering honey from their whip, the Asvins could extend people’s lives. Such was the significance of the honey whip that a hymn was dedicated to it in the Atharva-Veda.
In Hindu mythology, bees are also believed to have healing properties. Honey is considered a sacred substance and is often used in religious ceremonies and offerings. The medicinal properties of honey are also emphasized in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is used to treat a variety of ailments.
Around the fourteenth century an elusive mystery school known as the Sarmoung Brotherhood , meaning ‘brotherhood of the bees’ was born. It is believed they were called this because they collected and stored knowledge, holding powerful secrets for the art and science of Human Empowerment. “The Bees” refers to a mysterious power transmitted from the time of Zoroaster and made manifest in the time of Christ.
Echoes of their teachings can be found in the work of George Gurdjieff who had contact with the school and further influenced practitioners such as Osho and Pamela Lyndon Travers who wrote the Mary Poppins books. A less well known book of hers was ‘What the Bee knows’ which had a big influence on The Shamanic Way of the Bee by Simon Buxton.
THE THRIAI (Thriae) were three prophetic nymphs of Mount Parnassos in Phokis (central Greece). They were minor goddesses of the art of divinitation by pebbles and of the birds of omen which were gifted to Hermes by the god Apollon. They were apparently envisaged as nymphs with the heads of women and the bodies of bees.
The Thriai may have been identified with the Korykiai, nymphs of the prophetic springs of Mount Parnassos, or with the Nymphai Themeides, daughters of the oracular goddess Themis. They also appear to be related to the Melissai (Mellissae), bee and honey nymphs
Bees are regarded by some as an example of a divine intellect woven through nature.
“The bee is more honored than other animals, not because it labors, but because it labors for others.”- Saint John Chrysostom