There are writings dating back hundreds of years to modern times,
highlighting lessons from bees that would be useful for humankind to
Bees are indeed wonderful creatures, whether they are the little solitary bees, living their relatively simple lives, or honey bees, thriving in incredibly complex societal structures. Indeed the honey bee colony, believed to be the most widely studied creature after man, and instinctively able to organize itself into a super-efficient society, is perhaps, more than any other creature, held up as setting an example humans may be wise to follow.
Even William Shakespeare wrote about honey bees in Henry V:
The extract goes on to outline the differing roles the bees play within the honey bee colony, as an example of the well ordered society.
One of my favourite references to honey bees, however, is an extract from a poem written by Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese poet (1883 - 1931), when he speaks of 'Pleasure':
And now you ask in your heart, "How shall we distinguish that which is good in pleasure from that which is not good?"
Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
from "The Prophet" - Kahlil Gibran
In a book called Honeybee Democracy, Thomas D. Seeley outlines how honeybees have much to teach us. Honey bees, he says, make decisions collectively and democratically.
Seeley says that every year, faced with the life-or-death problem of choosing and traveling to a new home, honeybees stake everything on a process that includes collective fact-finding, vigorous debate, and consensus building, and that they have much to teach us when it comes to collective wisdom and effective decision making.
Then there are references to the symbolic lessons and meaning of honey bees for humankind. I'd like to thank Celestial Elf for sending me this beautiful and unusual video: "Bee Myth", and for allowing me to share it on my site. It talks about honey symbolising the 'Higher Self', and there follows a little story about the bees.
You can get more information about this video, and read accompanying text here. (opens new window).
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