“Slight though the poet’s theme, not slight the praise. Of air-born honey, gift of heaven, I now take up the tale.” ~ Virgil Georgics Book IV
Consider the mythic tale of Aristaeus. Aristaeus, the son of Apollo, was a beekeeper among other things. He treasured his bees and taught the art of the management of the hive. Upon finding one day that all of his bees had perished, he went to seek help from his mother. She advised him to consult Proteus, an old prophet who lived in the sea. After a struggle to gain his cooperation, Aristaeus asked Proteus to tell him the nature of the bees demise and what he could do to remedy it. Proteus replied, “Make a sacrifice of four bulls and four cows, for you have angered the nymphs, companions of Eurydice, for whose death you are to blame.” Aristaeus obeyed and when he returned nine days later, he discovered that a swarm of bees had made their hive in the carcass of one of the animals. Aristaeus happily returned to his beekeeping.
Throughout all mythologies bees can be found dripping with meaning and coated with symbolism. Honey – the drink of the gods of Mt. Olympus – gave Pindar the gift of poetry and Pythagoras the gift of science. The bees themselves gave Apollo the gift of prophecy. Egyptian mythology tells of the origins of bees from the tears of the sun god, Ra. The story goes that when his tears hit the earth, they were transformed into bees and began producing honey. Could the association of bees with the sun gods have something to do with the golden sun-like honey they produce?
The tiny bee is huge in its symbolism. There are two that come to mind most readily. One is industry, the other is communication. Bees are always working – collecting pollen , taking care of the hive, protecting the queen – and labor tirelessly until their death. They are extremely productive and so can indicate an increase of productivity in our own work and lives or the need to pay more attention to that part of us to work harder to get things done. Many people have heard of the “dance of the bees”. Bees “dance” to communicate whether it’s the most abundant and accessible source of pollen or the ideal location at which to build a new hive. Bees can indicate a need for more communication with people in our lives or tell us the time is right to communicate our ideas to others.
To dream of the bee is to encounter a wealth of symbolism. Take your pick while interpreting this dream, but in most cases, I can assure you, the meaning will be nothing but positive.
I had a wonderful dream one night
Of silvery bees and skep
Metal reflecting sky and light
And beauty while I slept.
And while in stillness there I lay
My dreams spun honey-gold
Enough to keep my fears at bay
Through winter’s dark and cold.
Until I wake to morning-spring
And winter’s work revealed,
I’ll wait to see what day will bring
And pray what’s torn is healed.
I had a wonderful dream last night
Of silvery bees and skep
A place of fantasies and light
Where winter’s gold is kept.