I’ve never been overly fond of insects and arachnids. Maybe it’s the fact that they have exoskeletons that makes me feel a little queasy. I like beings hairy and cuddly, and preferably of the feline or canine persuasion. But life has a way of presenting us with opportunities to grow beyond our restrictions, above our fears, likes and dislikes. To learn and gain insight through compassion. For me it was bees.
Some years ago, when it was already becoming big news that the bees, and therefore the planet were in trouble, I found a bee in distress on the windowsill of my upstairs bedroom. It had crawled into a little space and I had nearly mistaken it for a dust ball and removed it (and so nearly squashed it). I halted in time, noticing it was a living creature. Oops. A bee. An insect. And they do sting when cornered.
I have a fear of wasps, maybe because one got into my clothes as a baby and stung me badly. But my mind told me no, this is a bee, it is in trouble, help it. Its predicament made the hint of revulsion melt way into compassion. I rushed downstairs to get some honey for the bee because it looked exhausted and tired. I left some for it on the sill. And sure enough, after I returned an hour later, it had eaten the honey and flown away through the open window. Bye bye, little bee!
“Where there is compassion, there can be no fear.”
For some reason, this incident stuck into my mind. For an empathic being, it is impossible to feel revulsion for a fellow being in distress. To feel compassion and align with another creatures feelings, to help it, is to accept it for what it is. It is to feel that we are connected, parts of the same Whole. Bees lost their sting for me.
Then, a couple of years later I found a centuries old little gold bee pendant at an antiques dealer’s. An ancient Greek symbolic bee. Tiny as it was, it sparked recognition within. I was reminded of the priestesses I have been in past lives. One of them was called Mélissa. I was sure I had worn a pendant just like this, maybe many times. So I researched a little further and found that Greek priestesses of ancient goddess religions were often called Mélissae: bees.
The bee as a symbol of the messenger from the gods, traveling between the divine, this world and the underworld, bringing nectar and honey, or inspiration, to the human race. Sacred bees and divine honey. How wonderful. How apt. My affinity with bees grew.
Then, as I was on my favourite Greek Island that has inspired me to write my books and where I have many past lives, I visited my favourite silver-and goldsmith. I love the work he does with silver and Shiva eyes, so I asked if had done any new ones. He hadn’t. But he had something else for me: he pulled out a drawer with some former work.
And there it was, I recognized it immediately. A silver replica of the double bee pendant from the necropolis of Malia (Crete). Again, a deep sense of meaning and recognition. Of course I had to have it. Now I wear two bee pendants day and night!
So this summer, just back from Greece, on my way through the neighbourhood I passed a lavender patch. It was hot and the bees were humming, doing their work of collecting the honey of inspiration. I couldn’t keep myself from taking a few pictures.
I kneeled down between the bees, unencumbered by their buzzing. Then I realized: I wasn’t afraid. They accepted my presence without flicking a wing, as I dove head first into the flowers. And I photographed them up close, totally at ease as they went buzzing around my ears.
There is so much we can learn from bees. They are highly sensitive, intelligent creatures. They live in harmony with each other and the world, bringing inspiration and nourishment, working together for the whole. They set an example for us all. We need to protect them; not only for them, but for our own survival. Literally.
© Wendy Gillissen, M.A. 2019
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