Shonagh HomeShonagh Home is an author, teacher and shamanic practitioner. Her offerings focus on the shamanic mysteries of the spirit realms and the world of nature. She assists her students in the development of their intrinsic abilities that include the faculties of intuition, creativity and multi-dimensional awareness. Shonagh is a loving steward to 4 beehives that hum with magic. She is author of the books, Ix Chel Wisdom: 7 Teachings from the Mayan Sacred Feminine, Love and Spirit Medicine, and the upcoming Saving the Bees: A Modern Melissae Speaks. She gave this talk at the 2014 Women’s Visionary Congress in Petaluma, CA.


Thank you, Annie. Thank you so much, everyone. It’s wonderful to be here. I like how this morning has progressed from Leary to this beautiful study, which opens up so much of the human heart and now to the bee, which is really the embodiment of love. The bees are playing a starring role right now as clarion, as canary in the coalmine for the mess that we are in on this planet, and it is global. I have been stewarding bees now for, I think I’m actually into my fourth year now, and yes, I work with them shamanically. It makes perfect sense and when I do my mushroom medicine they come to me and they don’t actually speak in English but they are all around me. The Greeks thought of them as messengers of the gods and mellisa or mellisae is the Greek word for honeybee, and the priestesses of the temples in the Mediterranean were called, “melissaes” and those temples were modeled after the beehive.

So, I’m going to touch on a lot of things here in a very short amount of time. Before I get fully into the honeybee, I just want to give props to the other pollinators. They are not the only pollinators. So we have the hummingbird and we have the butterfly and we have the gorgeous bats and the bumblebees and mason bees and even flying foxes are pollinators in some parts of the world. And they all play a massive role in what I think of as creating and maintaining beauty, and as a child that’s what I always used to say. I said, “I love bees so much because they create and maintain beauty.” I was always very touched by them and then of course they give us our food source as well.

Okay, so this is an old coin and that is a skepSkep Beehive Coin beehive, which has been used for a long, long time through the centuries. I chose this because the bee is really a symbol of the feminine, and the bee is about roundness. And the ancients observed. That was one thing they were very good at. They didn’t have too many diversions and they observed, and they observed that bees would choose trees or hollow logs and it was all about a round container. So, when they did come up with hives they created a skep. The bummer about that was that they would destroy the whole colony when they got the honey. In any case, before that, the Greeks, the Minoans, the other cultures also had circular containers for the bees so bear that in mind because we will see that play out in the hive.

Queen Bee

Image courtesy of honeypondfarm.com

So, I’m just going to get to the queen bee. We’ll start with her. There she is, a much longer bee. So she is the queen bee and she is the oldest symbol, by the way, of the divine mother goddess that we know. There are other symbols but she’s a pretty big one. So she rules the roost as it were. She lays 1500 to 2000 eggs per day. She does not leave the hive. Now as I tell you this, by the way, bear in mind the priestesshoods. So she’s surrounded by attendants always who cater to her every need. They feed her, they clean her, they remove her waste, and her sole job is to lay these eggs and I’ll speak later to what happens when she leaves the hive. She sends out pheromones and those pheromones go throughout the hive and they send the signals for the bees for what needs to be done. She is the only female in the hive who mates and we’ll discuss that at length later as well. So she is this extraordinary creature.

And you’ll see they are on honeycomb and those are hexagonal-shaped cells and the eggs are laid in those cells. Now, when a queen bee, when her cell is laid, it’s not one of those. It actually is a separate cell. It’s like a peanut almost, like a protruding finger. It’s longer because she has a longer body. So what happens is the workers will choose specific cells and they’re going to grow a queen there. So they’re going to feed her a different food than the younger brood is fed, and it’s royal jelly. So, I’m sure some of you have heard about it because the entire hive is a medicine chest. Talk about medicine. This is big stuff. So she is fed royal jelly and the constituents in royal jelly inform the pupae hormonally so it will transform into a queen.

Bee Queen Pod InsideHere’s what it looks like if you cut a queen cell open. There is the developing pupae and she’s in this gorgeous liquid and it is secreted from glands within the worker bee’s head. They grow in this liquid and their body grows to accommodate this queen cell. I will say, royal jelly is one of the medicines that comes from the hive. I actually don’t use it because the bees are so imperiled and that’s a tough one. So I kind of leave that alone, there is other bee medicine that I can use.

So there’s the queen – mama – and she’s surrounded by all her attendants. She’s elusive when you’re looking for her in the hive, she scrambles around and she’s not always so easy to find. So this gives you and idea. There’s three, and by the way,  I’m way into numbers. They’re very esoteric and there is very, very high esoteric symbolism going on with the bee and the hive.  So, we have the queen, “mama.” We have the worker bee there, and the much bigger drone. I’m going to speak to Rudolf Steiner. I am dedicating my book to that beautiful man. He spoke to the bees saying these are like the organs within the hive. The hive itself is really like an organism, a single organism. So these are our organs. So she lays the eggs, and I’ll get into the role of the worker bees and the drones.

Worker BeeThe next star on our list is the worker bee. There you are, darling. She started as an egg and then a pupa and then at a certain point in her development there is a thin wax sheath that covers her cell and she grows to her full development. She then chews her way out of that cell and cleans up after herself. They are meticulous housecleaners. Then she goes to work right away and starts patrolling the hive, So, she’s all furry. She’s the cutest darn thing, if she didn’t have that stinger… So they have a number of chores. The worker bees are female bees. The hive at the height of the season will swell to fifty, sixty thousand bees. So, you’ll have the queen, “mama” and then you have these workers and when I get to the drones, which are the male bees, you might have just five hundred to a thousand male drones.

There are a lot of female bees so it’s really like a sisterhood. They will feed the pupae. They live for about six weeks. The first three weeks of their lives are spent within the hive and they will take nectar from the foraging bees. They’ll pass it from mouth to mouth and then they’ll spit it into the cells and create the honey. They will feed the brood. They’ll clean the hive. They’ll hang out in front of the entrance and be guard bees and make sure no “unfamiliars” get in. They also build the honeycomb and they do that – check this out. They secrete wax from their abdomen and this is way cool. They put it in their mouth and they chew it to soften it and then they pass it to their back legs and then they manipulate it into the honeycomb, which is a mathematical, geometric wonder. I’ll get to that in a bit. So, they mix that wax with a bit of propolis, which is resin collected from the trees. I’ll also cover that. I’m squeezing in a lot in forty-five minutes, just FYI.

So they create this gorgeous, pure white honeycomb and then the queen will lay her eggs. So that is a feat and when they do it you can see the bees hang like a chain, and by the way, there’s the roundness again. They hang this way. It’s almost heart-shaped, and they create their comb. It’s really amazing and the comb would be considered the bones of the organism, of the hive. No comb, no hive.

Bee ProboscisAnd so this is their tongue, their “proboscis.” When they go out foraging those last three weeks of their life, well of course, the bee is thought of as the feminine and the great mother bee because she was pollinating the flowers. On the fur of their body they will collect the pollen from the male flowers and then go on the female flowers and everything gets pollinated. They use their proboscis to suckle out the nectar, and it’s the nectar from the flowers that creates the honey.

Bee Pollen Sacs

Image courtesy of http://www.bee-magic.com

So, those are the pollen sacks. I think it’s a hilarious picture. It looks like she’s ready for take-off. Well, they hit all these different flowers and the hairs on their legs are particularly long and they collect all the pollen.

Bee Pollen Sacs - Orange

Image courtesy of David Cappaert – Michigan State University

Here’s another picture of a bee in a flower and you’ll see different colors, from deep orange to deep yellow, of that gorgeous pollen. It will cover their entire body and they’ll return to the hive and the pollen is the food for the brood. It’s an amazing food for the bee – 40% protein. It has absolutely everything they need. So, that’s our worker bees – the girls. I call them “my girls.”

Drone BeeHere’s the drone and you can see, well, let’s go back if I can. Okay, you can see the eyes on the worker bee, they’re very different on the drones. And they are so cute. They do not have stingers. The worker bees, as I think many of us know, do. And by the way, real quick. The queen bee has a stinger and she can sting as often as she needs to. She doesn’t really use it but the worker bees, they sting once and it’s game over. They really don’t want to sting you. So the drones, these are the male bees, and in conventional beekeeping, which I don’t do – a lot of beekeepers don’t want those bees in the hive and they think of them as kind of superfluous. The drones do not collect honey. They don’t forage. They have to be fed. So you think, well what the hell are they doing? They’re taking up all this room in the hive and they’re eating all the honey and yada yada yada. But no, no, of course not. They are waiting for the queen to take what’s called her “nuptial flight” and I’ll get to that in a minute. They’ll fly up and she’ll fly six hundred feet into the air and they will follow her. They live for this so they can mate with the queen. They also maintain the heat of the hive and Steiner felt also, because the drones are more connected to the earth, that they’re like the sense organs of the hive. And listen, nature doesn’t make mistakes. I wish we would get that through our thick heads. So, I don’t remove my drones. I let the hive produce as much drone as they feel they need.

So, let’s talk about a swarm. That is a swarm and it’s extraordinary. Again, Bee Swarmconventional beekeepers don’t want their bees to swarm so they’ll use a queen excluder in the hive so she can’t walk through the entire hive and she can’t swarm when she wants to swarm. So, I said that the hive is a single organism so swarming is a way that they perpetuate themselves. So, in the spring, if they’ve survived the winter, the nectar stores are there, the queen is laying. It starts to swell and gets to a point where the queen decides, “All right, it is time to leave and find a new place.” You would think, well, why? You’ve got everything you need. You’ve got all this honey and all these new bees and all of this is happening. Why would you leave when it’s all so perfect? So here is this act of love and also an act of faith, I think. So, she sends the signal and three quarters of the hive will gorge themselves on honey and then thousands of them will leave the hive. It’s this incredible black cloud of bees, and they will fly to a nearby branch. It’s very chaotic because the queen is in the center and they want to keep her protected so they keep it really chaotic.

So, they’ll go to a nearby branch and they will alight and this is what you get. It’s SO awesome, and again, there’s that beautiful shape, that round shape and they’re all around the queen. Now, the uninitiated who don’t know bees will kind of freak out if they see this in their yard but they will not sting you. They’re gorged on honey, they actually cannot sting you. They also have bigger and better things to do because they have three – interesting number – especially if you study law. It’s the ultimate esoteric study – but in any case – and I swear it goes back to the bees. But in any case, three days to find a home, otherwise they will perish. So they send scout bees out to find a home and eventually they do. And I’ll tell you, one of my hives didn’t make it over the winter and it stood empty and a swarm showed up out of nowhere and found my hive and it was awesome. I didn’t even have to catch it. If you do catch these you can catch them with your bare hands, they won’t sting you.

You have a box underneath and you just put them in the box. It’s so amazing and then you put the box under and leave the rest of the bees and they’ll find their way to it. The bees will come outside of the box and they’ll wave their little bottoms, which is a signal to say, “Hey, we’ve got a home. We’re good to go.” And so, you leave it till nightfall and then you get the other scouts back and then the next day, you can hive your new bees, which I’ve done.

So, meanwhile, back at the ranch, at the hive itself, you’ve got about a quarter of the bees. Well, what happens is as soon as they know the queen is going to swarm, they will pick certain cells and they will start feeding them the royal jelly, right? So, you’ve got these queens cells and the first queen to hatch will sting to death the other queens. This doesn’t sound very nice but it’s the wisdom of nature because you want the strongest – now this is key – you want the strongest queen, right? You want a healthy hive because she determines the kind of bees you’re going to get. If you have a weak queen you’re going to have weak bees. And if you have a mean queen, by the way, you’re going to have mean bees, so good to know. But in any case, eventually she hatches and a couple of days later she takes her nuptial flight. So, she flies from the hive five to six hundred feet into the air. Into the sun by the way, which I’ll discuss. And then the drones who have been waiting for this moment, and there will be drones from other places as well, fly up to meet her. So, the drone will – and only the strongest ones will reach her – and insert his endophallus, which then rips off and the drone falls to his death. And then the next drone to reach her will pull that out and then insert his endophallus and so again, the wisdom of nature to get as much differing DNA as she can so she creates a healthy colony.

Beehive HairdoSo, now I just want to speak to the beehive itself. Oh and not that beehive! Just a little bee humor for you. But interesting and I also think of like the wigs of the French court and whatnot. What were they doing? I wonder!

In any case, we’ll get to the beehive itself. So, honey – we all know honey. Honey is extremely healing. Bees are alchemists and there’s a guy in the UK who is part of the Steiner college there and he’s a speaker and a writer, Patrick Dixon, and he calls bees, “monastic alchemists.” And so they create this extraordinary substance called honey, which is from nectar and nectar from the flowers is oxygen, hydrogen, and blah, blah, blah, and light from the sun. That’s what it is. So honey is light. You’re eating light. It was used by the Egyptians who used it as medicine, who took medicine to a high art, they really did, and the Greeks. So formulas regularly consisted of honey along with herbs and vinegar and that kind of thing. So, extremely healing for your body. You can use it as a salve. You can use it for burns and I’m sure some of you have heard of Manuka honey out of New Zealand, which you can put on an open wound and it will heal it. And I don’t have time to get into everything about this but it is a profound healing substance.

Then there’s mead and I’m not a drinker but I will sip a bit of mead, which I say is the drink of faeries and kings. And old, old, old, it comes out of Africa originally, because check this out. The bees in Africa would hive in a hollow log because some elephant would knock off a big branch and they’d be in there. And then the monsoon would come with the rains and the bees would get out of dodge, but all their honey was left and this natural yeast would occur in there and you’d end up with mead, which I would love to taste that mead. I mean…made by nature… In any case, the ancients got their hands on that and made it a high art form for a long, long, long time. So, it’s honey wine, fermented honey wine. And it’s made quite a comeback now and there are some delicious versions of it.

They also have wax of course, that is created in the hive and of course wax was used for candles and the monks of old were big beekeepers because they wanted that wax for their candles. And also it can be made into balms and salves and lotions, which I do with my beeswax. Amazing stuff.

PropolisThis is propolis. So the bees when they forage, it’s not just for nectar. They will go to the trees and they will take the resin from the tree and mix it with their enzymes and create this sticky substance and they use it to line the walls of the hive and to fill in every nook and cranny so that there is no draft and they’ll put it around the entrance as well and it is incredible. It’s antimicrobial, antibiotic, antibacterial, antifungal. It’s just amazing and you can make tinctures out of it. It really is the immune system of the colony. It’s really amazing and it’s amazing for your own immune system and I make my own propolis tincture.

And then of course the bee pollen, which is thought of as nature’s perfect food. It has everything actually, that our bodies require. I mean, you could live on it. I wouldn’t want to but if you had to…It’s amazing and it’s incredibly vitalizing and good for endurance and on and on. So the hive is a medicine chest and the bees create all of this. They are extraordinary beings and we can understand why they were revered so long ago.

Painted Beehive

Image courtesy of http://themelissagarden.com

So, this is just a gorgeous painted beehive from a place called, ‘The Melissa Garden,’ which is in California somewhere in this neck of the woods. So the beehive was thought of as the adytum of the temple and the bee was like the initiate entering the temple, which is this place of great mystery. And it’s dark and it’s a place where alchemy occurs. And I wanted to give you this quote by Jonathon Swift who wrote,

“We have rather chose to fill our hives with honey and wax, thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light.”

So the hive is the embodiment of love and light, which gives new meaning to those love and light types, and the bees definitely are. Also, it is a symbol of resurrection and transmutation. So, deep esoteric stuff. The Greeks called them the “birds of the muses” and they were thought to be the souls of the dead coming back as bees. Now in terms of the transmutation and resurrection, I just want to read you a quote by this guy, Samuel Purchase, who was a cleric in the 1700’s, and he said about this – which is just so perfect:

“The larva of a bee is scarcely worthy to be called a life but after it is transformed by death it appears in a more excellent and glorious condition. It lies dead and entombed in the cell wherein it was bred but wait with patience a score of days and you shall see it revive and appear a far more noble creature than what it was before. What is this but an emblem of the resurrection?”

I mean, think about that because you can think of the cell as almost tomb-like and the egg is laid and you get this pupa and then the cell or the tomb is covered and then it emerges and you get this very different being. So anyway…very profound.

So now we get to Rudolf Steiner, who I adore and he was really a multi-faceted genius. Born in Austria in 1861, died in 1924. In 1923 he gave a series of lectures on the bees and you can read the book online. He explores not only the esoteric nature but what Rudolf was was a spiritual scientist who wove together the esoteric wisdom of the ancients with science and made it, I think accessible, I do. So he said of the bees, which I think of as the embodiment of love,

“I’ve already told you about the reproductive process and the unconscious wisdom contained in it. This unconscious wisdom is unfolded by the bees in their external activity. What we only experience when love arises in our hearts is to be felt by the bees in the whole hive as substance. The whole hive is reality permeated with love. The individual bees renounce love in manifold ways and thus develop love throughout the whole hive. One only begins to understand the life of the bees when one understands that the bee resides in an atmosphere completely pervaded by love. On the other hand the bee is quite especially favored in that in its turn, the bee feeds upon just those parts of the plants that are also wholly pervaded by love. The bees suck out their food, which they then turn into honey exclusively from those parts of the plants that are centered in love. They bring, so to speak, the love life of the flowers into the hive.”

(Annie Sprinkle pipes from the audience) “They’re eco-sexuals!!”

Yes, well I was gonna say… ANNIE! That’s for you, my friend!

So, Steiner spoke to how bees are the embodiment of light and of the sun. There’s a fabulous documentary called, ‘Queen of the Sun.’ Watch it. And here’s why they called it, “Queen of the Sun.” Check this out. So the sun revolves on its own axis every twenty-one days. Well, guess what the gestation time of the bee is? Twenty-one days. So, Steiner explained it this way. Okay, first of all, he was into the science of Goethe. So, unlike material science that brings it down to the parts and examines the parts and it’s all separate, Goethe saw that it was about the whole. And so the celestial realms, the sky, the stars – it’s magnetic, guys. So, when you took your first breath and the constellations were in a specific configuration and you were born, you are the physical manifestation of where those stars were aligned. You are, and those patterns were struck at your birth.  So that is the case for every living thing. So the worker bee, its gestation time is twenty-one days and so it carries the energy of the full revolution of the sun to the very end. So it is a creature of the sun.

Now the queen, her gestation is 16 days. So she never completed the revolution of the sun. She is fully a creature of the sun and this is also, Steiner said, why she can lay eggs because she is closer to her larval state and she is closer to the sun. In other words, that ability to lay eggs comes from, well, the sun is a major star, is it not? It comes from the stars. Humans would be a different deal and we won’t go into that right now. So the worker has gone to the very end of that cycle and maybe just a moment past. So, this is also why the queen is the embodiment of the sun. She stays within the hive and she’s really the light of that hive. And then the workers can go out.

Then the drone – his gestation is twenty-four days. Three – we’re back to three – three days beyond the worker bee. So the drones have essentially fallen to earth in a sense. And when you think of earth you think of fertility, don’t you? So they are fertile. They are able now to fertilize the queen. And they are earth beings. So, I just think that is very interesting and you can get way, way deep into that but we have to move on.

So, onto the comb itself. This is extraordinary. It’s hexagonal-shaped. The bees need to utilize every inch of space. It wouldn’t work with circles. It wouldn’t work with squares. They meet at exactly 120-degree angles and this gave the bees their status as masters of sacred order and beauty and geometry. And the Pythagoreans were all over this and studied the bees quite extensively. Also, conventional beekeepers, when they have their frames in the hive, they would have man-made comb that the bees would then build their comb out from.  The problem is bees make comb. Why are you doing that? I know it’s easier and they make the cells a bit bigger so you get a bigger bee and blah, blah, blah, and more honey.

Heart Bee CombSo, here it is, if the bees are allowed to make their own comb and you can see it is more rounded though it’s in a frame. Now, if left to their own devices… and this picture will be the top of the hive but with no frames and the bees were allowed to do what they wanted, and they lifted the top and flipped it over. So, check that out! How feminine and it’s heart-shaped and it just makes you go like this (gestures), you know? It’s just amazing. So there they are, doing what they do.

Now I will speak briefly to the hive as womb because it’s also a symbol of the womb. And so the womb, again, it’s like alchemy. It’s its own little hive and it’s dark and it’s warm and mysterious and this exquisite alchemy occurs, and something is created, birthed, shall we say, in this womb. And so the hive is a very potent symbol of the feminine and the womb.

Minoan Bee Goddess -Mellisa

Minoan Bee Goddess, golden plaque, British Museum. Found at Camiros, Rhodes, 7th century BCE.

And so to the ancients, the Minoans preceded the Greeks in the Bronze Age, 2000BC to 1500BC, and many of these have been found, these amulets and whatnot, of this figure that is half bee, half woman. And the Minoans referred to the mother, well they had a word called, “Potnia.” That means, “pure mother bee” and that was reserved for sacred women and goddesses, and these goddesses were called, “Potnia.” And so there were these temples composed of priestesses and they would serve a specific goddess and there were goddesses that were thought of as the queen bee like Demeter, Artemis and Persephone. So you had these groups of women who came together to serve in this temple. Now the worker bees don’t mate so these women were very chaste and they maintained and created beauty and they participated in these exquisite rituals and served their communities as the bees do.

The bees are a symbol for community and beauty and mystery and the sacred and these women endeavored to be the embodiment of that, which brings us to Delphi.

Now bees are associated with prophecy and again, the ancients were observing them and the bees always seemed to know. They wouldn’t leave their hive on a particular day and sure enough a big wind would come or there would be rain, because of course, you know that bees are highly sensitive to electromagnetic waves. So they were associated with prophecy, so we’re emulating the bees, and prophecy has long been the domain of women. We’re kind of naturally good at that, and Delphi was created a long, long time ago and it lasted a long time.

Interestingly, these women would imbibe some kind of an entheogen. It was the gasses that emitted from a crevice in the rock cave but also they were given a specific something to drink. Interestingly, one of those was a honey mead, and there is a Rhododendron ponticum and Azalea pontica and they produce a flower that creates a psychoactive honey. If you have too much it will make you good and sick, but these guys back then, they were alchemists so I’m sure they knew just the right amount of that, and then mixed it with this herb and this herb, and it was given to the priestess, who would then go into this altered state and connect to these realms and bring through information. And these weren’t scheisters, you know. That temple was around for fifteen hundred years or longer and there were warlords and emperors and all these different people coming from all around to get information from these women. So I can assure you, if they were full of shit that place would have closed down in a couple of months.

They were in touch with very profound wisdom and at one point – it was said the temple of Delphi went through several incarnations and it was said that the walls were once lined with beeswax and feathers. I couldn’t imagine. Can you imagine how that must have smelled? Incredible. The priestesses there were called the “Delphic bees,” and “melissas” and there were coins made with the honeybee on them in honor of the priestesses.

So another thing is this is a bee doing a waggle dance, which it does when it finds a good location for nectar. It will come back to the hive and it will do this dance and it’s directing the bees where to go. So again, they were observing these creatures so dance became a big part of what these women were doing in these temples.

Bee Priestess DanceAnd so there are old pictures such as this and you can see that these are women but you can see that is layered like a bee abdomen so again, part bee, part woman, dancing together and we know dancing is a way of achieving altered states. So is drumming and the majority of people depicted in the Greek statuary and whatnot, it’s mostly women who have frame drums. And Gunther Hauk, who is a biodynamic beekeeper has said that bees are attracted to the drum. He said that it reminds them of the human heart and it calms them. And the ancients would actually attract them by drumming and using cymbals. So here’s an image of priestesses who are doing just that – dancing and drumming and whatnot, and killing two birds with one stone and going into a good old altered state as well and maybe catching some bees.

Omphalos StoneIn any case, this is an omphalos stone. This was contained within the adytum at Delphi and it looks very much like a beehive, doesn’t it? The bees were thought of as messengers of the gods and they would deliver all this wisdom. And the legend of the omphalos is that Zeus sent two eagles out in opposite directions and said, “wherever they meet is the navel of the world.” Omphalos means “navel” and it was said they met at Delphi. So this omphalos stone was there and you see this in a lot of ancient statuary.

Persephone OmphalosAnd here’s something interesting. This is Persephone with an omphalos on her head. So again, a very beehive-shaped deal telling you she is receiving information from the gods through this beehive. So here is another one to reiterate my point.

Omphalos BowlAnd also these are omphalos bowls. So, very interesting. You’ve got that bulge in the center, which is very beehive-like and then this bowl around it. They would put a sacred libation in there and then they would pour it. I saw this and thought, “wait a minute..” Because think of women, and we have our pelvic bowl, right? So, wait a minute. I just think that is very interesting. The uterus is like that bulge within the pelvic bowl. So again, back to that very sacred connection and reverence for the feminine. The bee embodies that.

And then real quick, the pomegranate, which also has that bulge there and all those seeds there are a symbol of fertility and also a symbol of the beehive and the bees love its syrup. Okay, so that’s that gorgeous magical connection that our ancestors had with the bee. And so now, to kill your buzz, so to speak, let’s get into the sad facts.

So, get ready. So this I find, like I can’t even look at it. To me it’s so offensive and upsetting. So this is a laboratory and it is a queen bee being artificially inseminated. So, I title this, “The Rape,” and I think this sort of summarizes everything (click link to view image). And Steiner warned against this. Steiner said if you manipulate the bees – this is modern manipulation. What farmers were doing back at the turn of the century – just as farmers would hybridize plants to get stuff from them, they started breeding the queen, and they were breeding her for specific traits. When you do that you lose other intrinsic traits and you weaken the species. So we’ve had decades of this and now they’ve got it down to a high science. What happens? Well, you lost all those drones who would fertilize the queen and you don’t necessarily have the strongest queen so it’s a mess and it’s big business.

So there are companies that breed queens and you know, on one hand it serves a small…but we’re talking about industry. It’s an industry and another thing Steiner warned was, he said “Do not use the land commercially. Don’t use the land to make money. Don’t do it.” So, hello? Take almond farms, so we’ve got mono-culture and genetic, GMO and all of this. So, we’ve got acres and acres for as far as the eye can see of one thing. And the bees that are schlepped there, they are like us. They need a diversity of foods. So they only have that for three weeks. Not only that but the farmers are spraying pesticides and they can spray willy nilly to their heart’s content at these places while the bees are there trying to do their job.

So, we’re going to get into commercial beekeeping. So, just as factory farming, which is a contradiction in terms – is not farming – industrial beekeeping is not beekeeping. It’s an aberration. They have ginormous trucks and they have like 1.6 million hives that are schlepped like comfort women from end of the country to the other on these ginormous trucks and they wrap plastic wrap around them and netting. The problem is that if you have this dude’s bees from South Dakota and they are infested with, I don’t know, some mite or something, and he brings them to pollinate with all these other bees from all over the country, you just spread that like wildfire. Not only that, I mean, they’re just so weakened. That is not how you keep bees. It’s no different than keeping a pig in a place where she can’t even move around or cramming these animals together. This is not how nature is.

And then of course you get messes like big accidents on a highway and you lose so many bees. So, they’re desperately weakened and this is what they feed them – high fructose corn syrup, which is genetically modified. I have two girls, sixteen and thirteen and they’re not allowed to eat anything with high fructose corn syrup. So, what these guys do is they just pour it in. It’s liquid. They’re bees and that’s what they feed them and then they take their honey and they think that that’s enough.

So, then we have the agricultural spraying of pesticides and Steiner gave a series of talks in 1924, which turned into biodynamics and that was actually a response, a solution, to the chemical spraying. I always thought it was World War 2 but it was World War 1. That’s when it started. So, you’re basically spraying nerve gas all over the place on food that we eat. So there’s another example and this just destroys not only our honeybees but all of our pollinators. You’ve got people in their backyards spraying willy nilly his trees so that’s very bad for us. And this just sort of tells you what pesticides do, and a big piece that we can do is not use the damn pesticides, they’re just brutal on the bees, and GMO’s also. If nature didn’t make it I’m not putting it in my body and I know you guys are scientists (referring to the slides) but that’s more for me to not trust, actually.

So, I’ll come into the solution real quick. For the earth. What I see is a powerful solution and it goes beyond organic. It is biodynamics, and what biodynamics is, is you’re actually giving remedies to the earth. So Steiner came up with these extraordinary remedies. There are two field sprays and then there are these other remedies that get put into your compost. So this is for farms where the farm becomes its own organism and it makes everything itself. It makes its own compost and everything is a part of that organism and you’ve got a wild portion and the animals and whatnot. So you take these horns from cows and you fill them with manure and…I have so little time to go into this. And you bury them into the earth in the fall and winter and they absorb the forces of the earth.

So now we’re into Goerthean science, which understands the underlying forces behind everything. And there are specific terrestrial forces as there are specific celestial forces that work together. So, when you dig those horns up in the spring you get this gorgeous hummussy–like – it’s not manure anymore and that gets – a little bit gets put into water and it gets stirred till you create a vortex and then you stir it back the other way and it creates chaos in the water and then the water reorganizes itself. And you do that for an hour and then the water is like a homeopathic treatment. Homeopathy is like, dilute, dilute, dilute, and then it becomes very strong and then you just flick that on the ground. But by the way, you flick it on the ground in the evening because just as we breathe, so does the earth. As above, so below, as within so without, so just as we breath in, guess what? At nighttime the earth breathes in, so you want to put that on the soil at night and it will be absorbed as the earth breathes in. And in the fall and winter, the earth breathes in and in the spring and summer, the earth breathes out and all the plants come out.

So there’s a silica spray, which is crystals and those are crushed and also put in horns but buried in the spring and summer then dug up. And those have absorbed the light forces so that is the foliar spray, which gets sprayed on the plant’s leaves and enhances the plant’s ability to absorb light. And these other homeopathics go into the compost and I have used it. You can do it in your garden. So that’s a biodynamic garden. You don’t need to make these by yourself. Check out the Josephine Porter Institute – they are a ginormous farm and they make these homeopathic remedies and you can buy them and then do this yourself. It transforms the land and your soil will be teeming with worms and beneficial organism. So what you do is, you are affecting the whole ecosystem even if it’s just your backyard garden. So you’re giving the bees and all these pollinators not just great plants but incredibly nourishing plants.

Vegetables and fruits that come from biodynamic farms are amazing and this preceded organics by fourteen years but it’s still relatively unknown and very, very powerful. And it’s out of the box thinking but again you’re also working with the celestial, the positioning of the planets, the sun and moon, all of which has an effect on us. Like it or not, believe it or not, it does. So very, very powerful and I will finish with a poem. I’ll finish with a poem. I run in this woods near my house and I always come home pouring forth poetry and one day, the bees, I mean the trees because I’m good friends with them as well, and they said, “Dear one, don’t you get it? Poe-TREE!” Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. So cute! So, I wrote this poem for the bees and its called, “Pledge to the Bee.”

Thy majesty, our dear queen bee
Thy fate seems sealed if man can’t see
The commercialization of nature’s garden
Has caused the hearts of man to harden
The hubris of man as he splices genes
The spraying of poisons on fields of green
The skies criss-crossed with chemical spray
I fear that there will come a day

When the blossom of fruit tree and scented flower
Lies sterile without the bee’s sweet power
To suckle the nectar with loving care
In a sensual dance that brings to bear
All manner of bounty, a radiant feast
That feeds and delights both man and beast

Thy majesty and maintainer of beauty
I pledge to thee, my solemn duty
To care for the land with a sensitive touch
Guided by nature that teaches me such
That celestial and telluric forces
Respond to certain specific courses
Of actions that don’t follow popular science
But follow a higher cosmic alliance

Oh dear bees, I shall not rest
As long as my heart beats beneath my breast
I’ll write, I’ll speak, I’ll share the magic
Of remedies to prevent the tragic
Loss of you and so many creatures
Whose presence in my garden features
Largely as I hear the song
Of bee and bird, oh how I long

To see the hearts of mankind awaken
And return to nature what has been taken
By working with earth instead of against her
We call back the beauty and cast out the gangster
Whose plunder has caused such harm and disgrace
To the character of the human race

This is our time to save not just the bee
But all creatures and humanity
Our moment is now, the time is here
Take action all and do not fear
For the spirit of man and woman is true
And the Goddess is calling me and you
To summon our authority
And gather our community
To begin to act with sanity
As we recreate with dignity
A planet of people who act with grace
And restore consciousness to the human race
I hold this vision as what can be
When people remember their sovereignty

Oh blessed pollinators, dear
Your warnings we hear loud and clear
I know that we have the power to heal
And hold to ourselves a new ideal
This is my vision-quest in life
May the bees prevail as we end this strife.

~Shonagh Home