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.
Honey has long been the only cheap source of sugar, which is why a bee that produces it also symbolizes abundance and wealth.
From honey, according to Greek, Celtic, and Germanic myths, ambrosia was obtained, which is the food of the gods (or drink, according to other versions), because only the immortals could drink it. Because of their sensitivity to sounds, the Greeks also believed that bees were messengers of the Muses. One of the main characteristics of bees is loyalty.
This animal is very faithful to the hive and to its queen. They show honor, duty, and consistency in the performance of their duties. They travel to pollinate the flowers, then return to the hive. Once done, they will come back to do it again.
It has a symbolic value linked to its industriousness. The ability of bees to transform pollen into honey can be associated with slow initiatory work. A great esoteric value is attributed to the fruit of their work.
This is because of the honey used in ragweed preparation, a sacred drink among the Celts, Germans, and Greeks. But wax also comes from their work, for the composition of the candles, ritual, and sacred objects.
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?
Let’s find out!
4 Poweful Deities That are Associated with Bees
Melissa, goddess of bees
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 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.
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
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!