Honey Bees as Spiritual Archetypes
by Anaiis Salles
Bee Deva, the archetype of all honey bees, is without doubt a powerful, feminine spiritual teacher. How could this not be so? Her kind are one of the most powerful and ubiquitous, natural organizations of life on the planet. Honey bees are everywhere. They are curious; they touch & explore everything, not just flowers. They can taste with their feet! All while providing a food system for land based animals, just in the act of retrieving essential nourishment for their colonies. Honey bees fly, walk, & dance.
What happens inside a colony? Honey bees are nourished by products of the light yet they bees in the dark most of their lives. This is also true for humans.
Archetype of the Queen Bee
Honey bees barely sleep, so if a queen bee lives to be two or three years old, she will walk many miles traversing the wax comb in which she lays her eggs, and over which she distributes her pheromone marker, sharing it with her family.
The Queen Bee leaves the hive on a solo flight only once, to fly out into the light to mate. She returns to take up her role as mother of the colony. If she leaves the hive again, it will be in a swarm in which she will be accompanied and protected by her family of drones and worker bees, brothers and sisters.
The Queen Bee chooses whether to lay a fertilized egg (female worker/daughter) or an unfertilized egg (drone/male/clone). She has utter control over her reproductive process at the moment she deposits an egg into its cell.
The Archetype of the Queen Bee is one of feminine energy, enduring a selfless life of endless repetition for the good of her family. She is the creative power of her family group, the power to determine the sex of her children. Archetype of the intuitive soul set, the Queen Bee is species memory & the cherished mother, receiving absolute protection and care to the degree she fulfills her life purpose.
The Archetype of the Worker
Worker bees are all daughter bees. They do all the work in the hive. Worker bees make the wax, construct honey comb, polish the hexagonal cells in which eggs are laid, and feed the larvae until larvae transition into pupae. At that time, worker bees cap cells with wax for the metamorphic period of eleven to thirteen days, depending on the sex characteristics of the larvae (drone or worker).
Daughter bees keep the hive sanitary -- they remove dead sisters and brothers, and they fashion propolis, the antibacterial, antiviral substance which is the colony’s externally expressed immune system. The Workers store pollen & nectar in the classic honey bee pattern of storage that is 30 million years in the making.
The Archetypal Worker Bee represents the arc from energetic protection of youth in its constant cycle of learning, to risk-taking behavior embedded in the framework of mature service to the colony. Human beings may find an organic transition taking place in our final stage of life, as our focus shifts from ‘me, my family, my tribe’, to ‘my community, my country, my world.’ A honey bee accomplishes this arc of transformation in six weeks.
Archetype of the Drone Bee
Lastly, we consider the drone and his essential role in colony life.
A drone (male) honey bee is a genetic clone of its mother. Interestingly, the drone bee has no stinger, and is fed solely by the worker bees; it can’t defend its colony and won’t feed itself even when alighting on a blossom full of nectar and pollen. There is some conjecture that drones faffing about in the hive provide ambient heat, and so passively help maintain ideal colony temperature.
The purpose of a drone’s life is to exchange genetic material with the bio-diversity of millions of eggs carried in the ovaries of a virgin queen making a mating flight. Drones are not produced by a colony until and unless a colony is thriving – they are a powerful sign of the well-being of the community.
The Archetypal Drone is masculine energy interacting with the world from the highest perspective, several hundred feet up in the air, taking colony experience to unimagined heights and freedom, the place where drones colonies mingle while waiting for virgin queens to seek them out. Drones are free, exploring energy in yin-yang balance to a queen who remains in a dark confined space for the majority of her life. The drone moves freely in and out of the colony, perhaps providing a unique sense perception/perspective.
Learning from the Spirit of the Honey Bee
In the realm of human experience, we are fortunate if our individual life journey takes us through the ideal of these archetypal energies. From youthful protection, in a safe family setting with an ever-present mother figure, to adult risk-taking, living each day toiling from sun up to sun down. From instinctive altruism, laying down our lives as we bring resources back to those in our care, while allowing a care-free, masculine expression free to play, fly high. To explore beyond family and community, discovering peaceful encounters with ‘others not exactly like us’ before life ends, as we transmit essential memories on how to ‘bee’ in our world.
The spirit of the honey bee leads us away from competition, greed, and mindless individualism, reframing daily choices by asking us to embody cooperation, collaboration, and caring community whenever and wherever possible in our two-legged journey through life.
Anaiis Salles, energy healer, transformation facilitator, ordained minister, inventor and initially very reluctant beekeeper shares how an unexpected and evolving relationship with honey bees opened into a channel of insights of loving self-care and profoundly grounding creative experiences that you, too, can access. For Anaiis, being a hive steward at Green Sanctuary Community Apiary is every bit as rewarding and inspiring as working through clients' most difficult life challenges. Honey bees, those marvelous intelligent creatures that are the invisible foundation of our human food system, are on the verge of extinction. Anaiis is determined to save the European honey bee through education, advocacy and conservation. You can learn more at http://pricelesshoneybees.weebly.com/interview-with-connie-habash.html or at Anaiis’ beekeeping website: http://www.slowbeekeeping.org