For me, there is something irresistible about the bee as a symbol. I see them everywhere. In architecture, old book illustrations, and jewelery. I draw them often and put them in my paintings. I have two bee tattoos, vintage style cartoon bees; one is a sexy little queen bee with décolleté, the other an angry little worker bee. Placed on the underside of my upper arms, right where my wings would sprout if I had them. The bee is always Searching, Working, Dancing, Buzzing, Flying. Oh bee, teach me to be like you! I also want to fly, to be transported by flight, to be weightless and unburdened. The bee obsessively dances around a flowering plant, trying to taste every flower, on a pursuit for truth, with a thirst for divine wisdom. The bee uses dance to communicate, a spiral dance, returning again and again to the same spot, yet growing upward. Like the heart sending out love and it coming back again, richer; anything is possible.
I also love the bee’s attraction to pink, yellow, red, and orange; which I equate with the artist, who is searching for Beauty, everywhere and in everything. The bee is also said to symbolize eloquence, poetry, intelligence, and royalty. When you see the bee in heraldry- it signifies tireless effort and diligence. If I want to find the solutions to all my existential problems, I must never stop, I must «bee» obsessive in the quest.
As the bee goes about its duty, there is the unceasing hum. Tesla said we should pay attention to vibrations. I think of the mantra, ohm and how it relates to Humming. When you say Ohmmmmm aloud and maintained, there is a vibration in the area of the nasal cavity and up into the area of the third eye. Humming during meditation, does this change my vibrational frequency? I think so! My tattoo machine makes a similar vibrating and buzzing sound, the needles are like the sting of the bee. Maybe I am already a bee?
When I reflect on the Goddess worship in the bee society. All of the drones devoted to the Queen- (Mother of all), the only fertile female. I think of matriarchal societies, peaceful societies, who were closer to the earth and its cycles. It makes me suspect that the bee has a secret knowledge that could save humanity.
The bee is domesticated, gentle and prolific. Consider how the bees harvest without destruction and give in return. Taking the treasures, it finds but also giving back. Each place I visit leaves its trace on me; I can then transmit this elsewhere. Collecting, gathering, the give and take of pollinating/fertilization. The souvenirs of each destination and touching others, this is the key to planet’s health and the survival of our species. Without the bee as pollinator of all the flowers which then become fruits and vegetables; we are screwed.
In the bee society, there is the fundamental element of Community, a Commune work ethic and intense productivity. What can I learn from this? I tend to work alone, but I see myself as a part of my sister community. At the artist retreat, the Coven, with Gang of Witches and also in the world. But I could do better; must imitate the bee! In the hive there are innumerable members, which could be my «gang», or a revolutionary army; organized, laborious, and disciplined. I also imagine a happy factory in me. Everyone working towards harmony and prosperity.
Amassing wealth all summer long, just in case a raid by a human or a bear. Work hard, stock up, prepare for the winter. In the winter the bee goes into hibernation – there is a time for feeling low/dark/negative, then comes the spring and the resurrection. I’m learning to work with, instead of against, the dark forces within me.
Bees are considered messengers of the dead -psychopomps-, conducting the souls of the recently passed to the underworld or to heaven. Other insects that I adore, the Butterfly and the Dragonfly, also signify the soul in art and literature. Maybe the greatest human mystery, what is the soul, where is it, where does it go? Each person must find the answer for themselves.
I reflect on my artistic manifesto, Cannibal Bonbon, and I ask myself again: what is sweetness? Pleasure, in-toxification, energy, fuel, a boost. Honey, this sweet, sticky, liquid gold has preservative qualities. It is a magical substance, that is anti-allergen and anti-inflammatory. It is used for anointing in many religions. Alchemy, the magic of turning lead into Gold, making value out of different sources. Transforming nectar to honey, sunlight to liquid gold, the tears of the Sun God. The nectar the bee takes is already sacred, but the bee transforms it, purifying the nectar into something healing, fortifying, nourishing, calming, and soothing. Is the sensual act of tasting each flower: Promiscuous? Or Feminine? Is everything about the bee all qualities of the divine feminine?
Look at the cycle of wax- the bee’s waste is transformed, and put to constructive use. It is used to construct the hive. Wax is sunlight transformed and when it is eventually burned in candles, the cycle is complete. I like the idea of making art by recycling. The cycles it takes to make a life, to make a piece of art.
Finally, I must talk about the black and yellow stripes…. Which remind me of my obsession with the tiger…. distinct markings, scars, and tattoos. Black and yellow stripes have been adopted to convey numerous messages, mostly warning signs; an eventual diversion, hazard or possible obstruction. Stripes mean dangerous! The bee may be tiny and fragile but watch out! When they swarm there is power in numbers. They are capable of chasing away very large, very dangerous individuals. The bee sting- the pain, a curse, a protection, a very strong defense.
One last magical formula I found, thanks to the bee. If you take the symbol for Fire
(which are curiously also the symbols for male and female)
you get a Jewish Star
If you add an outside barrier around the star, you get a Hexagon,
6 sides, the honeycomb shape,
add a Y and the third dimension and you get a
I found another key to my obsession with dice!
When I see a bee, I think of all these things. When I need to center myself and remind myself what is important, I think of the bee.