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Deities

A List of 4 Deities Associated with Bees [With Stories]

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Written by: Tina Caro

A bee is an insect that, unique among its peers, spends its entire existence collecting pollen, building combs, and producing honey, so that since ancient times it has been taken as a symbol of industriousness.

At the same time, however, given the high number of unique aspects that characterize this insect, a bee has assumed over time a vast symbolic polyvalence, which is found in various areas such as mythology, religion, and, of course, esotericism.

Bee is the emblem of the eternal rebirth and renewal of nature. This is due to its disappearance in the winter months and its return in the spring. What are the deities associated with bees?

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Bees hold significance in various cultures and mythologies, and several deities are associated with them or bee-related symbolism:

  1. Demeter (Greek Mythology): Demeter, the Greek goddess of agriculture and fertility, was often symbolized by bees due to their role in pollination and honey production. Bees were linked to the growth of crops and the abundance of the harvest.
  2. Aphrodite (Greek Mythology): In some traditions, Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was connected to bees and honey. Honey was seen as a symbol of sensuality and pleasure.
  3. Melissa (Greek Mythology): Melissa was a nymph who nursed the infant Zeus with honey, and her name means “bee” in Greek. She was later deified as the goddess of bees and honey.
  4. Bee Goddesses (Minoan and Anatolian Cultures): The ancient Minoans and Anatolian cultures revered bee goddesses who were believed to protect and nurture bee colonies. These goddesses symbolized the importance of bees in pollination and honey production.
  5. Ra (Egyptian Mythology): In ancient Egypt, bees were associated with the sun god Ra. Honey and beeswax were used in religious rituals and offerings to the gods.
  6. Bhramari (Hindu Mythology): Bhramari is a Hindu goddess associated with bees. Her name means “the goddess of black bees,” and she is often invoked for protection and healing.
  7. Mellona (Roman Mythology): Mellona was a Roman goddess of bees and beekeeping. She was honored for her role in honey production and the protection of bees.

These deities and associations reflect the cultural and mythological significance of bees in various civilizations throughout history, highlighting their roles in agriculture, pollination, and the production of honey, wax, and other bee-related products.

4 Powerful Deities That are Associated with Bees

Melissa, goddess of bees

Melissa by Lea Bradovich

The figure of Melissa as a nymph or demigod/priestess, in addition to administering honey as sacred nectar, symbolizes femininity. The Greek term Nymphai is often translated as a new bride, who is pure, industrious, and does her utmost to care for and nourish her own family, just like a bee manages the hive.

The myth tells that Rhea, to save her son from her husband Cronos, whom it was predicted that one of her sons would have ousted, gave birth to Zeus on the island of Crete, in the Ideo cave, a cave sacred to bees and home to initiation rituals in which gods or men could not enter, so he was entrusted to the care of the nymphs Almatea, who fed him with her own goat’s milk, and Melissa, with the sweetest honey distilled for him from the flowers by the bees who guarded the entrance to the cave. Once he became a man, to thank Melissa for her care, Zeus decided to free her from her mortal body and turn her into a bee.

 

A further myth tells of Melissa the Priestess dedicated to Demeter, who was the only custodian of the secret knowledge and sacred mystery rites of the Goddess and about whom she had sworn to keep absolute silence. She faced a group of onlookers, who insisted on making her reveal her knowledge, so she forcefully denied without ever yielding, until the women, disappointed and angry, killed her by tearing her to pieces.

The Goddess, troubled by the miserable fate of Melissa, intervened and transformed her mangled body into a shining swarm of bees, which rose lightly and flew towards infinity to rejoin Her. From the sanctuaries of Eleusis and Corinth dedicated to the great mother goddess Demeter, we can in fact discover that priestesses and nymphs of the great goddess were called “bees”.

Aristaeus

Aristée, dieu des jardins (Aristaeus, god of the gardens). Marble, exhibited at the Salon of 1817 (the plaster model was exhibited in the Salon of 1812). François-Joseph Bosio (French, 1768–1845)

Aristaeus was a shepherd, a very passionate beekeeper, and an avid suitor of the nymph Eurydice. One day the nymph, while trying to escape an ambush by Aristaeus, trampled a snake hidden in the grass with an unwary foot.

The snake bit the nymph’s foot and sent the woman to the Underworld. All the other nymphs mourned their mate with loud cries and, driven by anger, completely destroyed Aristaeus’ swarms of bees.

Aristaeus, gripped by great pain, went to the banks of the river, where his mother’s home was; from all sides, the valleys and mountains continued to resound with cries. The mother emerged from the waters and taught her son an atoning sacrifice of the nymphs and the reconstitution of the swarm of bees.

On the basis of his mother’s advice, the shepherd sprinkled the altars of the nymphs with the blood of four rams and four sheep. Then, when the ninth morning shone, a thick cloud of bees flew out of the entrails of the sheep. So Aristaeus restored the swarm of bees and repopulated the hive.

Cupid

cupid and psyche
Cupid and Psyche

Mythology also tells that Cupid’s divine arrows, to have an effect, had to first be dipped in honey. There is also another connection between Cupid and bees in Teocritus’ poem. The poem tells of Cupid being stung by a bee while stealing honey from a tree trunk.

Venus seems to reject little Cupid with her right hand, saying that the love wounds he inflicts can do more harm than a bee sting.

Ra and his honey tears

Ra-Horakhty is a combined deity of Horus and Ra, and is usually depicted as a falcon-headed man wearing a sun disk on his head.

An ancient legend, written on an Egyptian papyrus preserved in the British Museum in London, tells that when the sun god, Ra, cried for love, his tears fell to the ground and turned into honey: “And the bees built their home filling it of flowers of all kinds of plants; thus wax and honey were born, all originating from Ra’s tears.”

So honey has always been and universally is, an evocative word of sweetness.

Here they are! The main deities associated with bees. Do you feel a connection with one of these deities? Do you feel a deep bond with bees like they were a spirit guide for you? Work with them and unveil a world of meaningful messages and guidance for you and your craft!

About
Tina Caro

Tina Caro is a witch with more than 10 years of experience, a yogi, an astrologer, and a passionate supporter of all things holistic! She’s also an owner of the website Magickal Spot where she discusses a variety of her favorite topics.

Magickal Spot has helped thousands of readers worldwide, and she’s personally worked with hundreds of clients and helped them manifest desires to have a happier and more abundant life.

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