The ‘BEE”…an Ancient History & Legacy @

“Since at least the times when humans scratched on rocks to create images, the bee and the beehive have played central roles in human spiritual interest and worship. Bees and honey are present in the creation myths, cosmologies and sacred places of many diverse ancient cultures. African, Australian, South American, European, and Hindu-Indian creation myths and sacred stories feature the bee as a symbol of reverence. Archaeological evidence from almost every corner of the world demonstrates this. Bees and the hive life were powerful symbols of community, continuance, regeneration and a connection to the otherworld for our ancestors. As the source of honey, they also represented sweetness, healing and magic.

Many scholars believe early cultures of the Mediterranean region worshiped a mother goddess. These cultures offer us our earliest archaeological evidence of organized apiculture centers. Central religious themes of these regions often depict the bull, the bee and goddess imagery. This triad of themes is believed to have centered around concepts of birth, death and rebirth; the ultimate mysteries of our human lives and those of the natural world around us, regardless of our time in human history. The works of Marija Gimbutas are a rich source for these interpretations.

Minoan culture, of the Neolithic period around Crete, depicted some of it’s many goddess images with bee-like stripes, wings and antennae. Apiculture was a prominent part of the Minoan culture, and bee- hives and other bee images feature prominently in it’s engraved imagery. Later Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures inherited these patterns and beliefs and transmuted them into their own later myths and legends.

Honey and the bee were also prominent in the cosmology of the early Egyptians. They were principles of the Egyptian diet, medicine and ritual magic. The typical black and gold striping and winged insect imagery seen on many Egyptian god and goddess figures, sarcophagi and other engraved imagery also referenced the bee. The Egyptian Sun God, Ra, cried tears that became bees that then created honey in the world. The Egyptian God, Apis, took the form of a Sacred Bull. The Latin name for our modern day honey-bee is Apis Mellifera. King Menes of Egypt was referred to as ‘The Beekeeper’ and his domain in Lower Egypt was known as the ‘Place of the Bee’. The Great Mother Goddess Neith, was worshiped at Sais and her temple was called ‘The House of the Bee’…cont’d @