|A Bee's Knee from "Bee" by Rose-Lynn Fisher|
In her book "BEE", photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher blends art and science in sixty extraordinary photographs of honeybee anatomy in magnifications ranging from 10x to 5000x. The stunning detail reveals the honeybee's pattern, form and structure. Comprising 6,900 hexagonal lenses, their eyes resemble the structure of a honeycomb.
|Bee's Eye - Visuals Unlimited|
"The honeycomb is absolutely perfect in economizing labor and wax."
- Charles Darwin
|Charente Bees - La Petite Ferme Galloise|
After a morning of preliminary slides, history & factoids, e.g. 25 to 30,000 bees to a colony; life span of a Queen about 6 years; making royal jelly; all about propolis (which is basically the glue the bees collect from tree buds to seal and varnish the honeycomb), and lots o' cautionary bee sting tales...off to the hives we went, deep into the forest. The day was skillet hot and I was crisped around the edges already, so the rubber Wellies, kitchen gloves, netting, & bee costume with extra layer below made me angry as a hornet.
|Off to the Hives|
The Bee Goddess of Rhodes looks so much more comfortable & posh
Some people were quite nervous about having hundreds of bees buzzing around their heads and crawling all over their bee apparel, but it didn't bother me. As I child of 9 or 10, I remember when my younger brother, five or six at the time was stung over 90 times by a swarm of bees at our front door. His face swelled up like a gigantic, burnt orange Jack O' Lantern, his eyes like slits, his mouth a gash. But he survived & maybe that is where my original fascination began.
Remember Gloria Swanson from the classic 1950 film, "Sunset Boulevard"? The faded movie star, Norma Desmond (a turban for every occasion) falls in love with a younger man, William Holden. This film has one of my all time favorite movie characters, her butler Max, played by Erich Von Stroheim. And some of the best lines: "I am big; it's the pictures that got small"; "We didn't need dialogue, we had faces"; and "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." She should have won the Oscar instead of Judy Holliday, who cares about her now? She's so "Born Yesterday".
Twenty four years later, Gloria staged a real come-back in her last film, "The Killer Bees", where she plays Madame von Bohlen, a strong willed matriarch, who not only runs her family wine business, but also has a mysterious power; she has psychic control over a swarm of bees that reside in her vineyard. Actually beekeepers are an amazing lot, deeply connected to their bees in mystical ways. To participate in their rituals is to enter into and share a sacred tradition.***
|Pulling out the frames (cadres)|
|Searching for the Queen|
|Still searching for the Queen|
|Scraping the propolis|
|Beekeeping 1568 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder|
|Someone found the Queen|
|14th c. Beekeeping|
|Medieval Apiary - Sainte Suzanne, France|
|Sainte Suzanne France, Chateau fortifications|
|Illustration Mounted in the Jardin|
|Medieval Garden - Sainte Suzanne|
|Squash - Medieval Garden|
One of my other favorite hive hangouts is Les Jardins du Luxemboug in Paris. The hives there remind me of little pagodas.
|Luxembourg Gardens Apiary in Autumn|
|Beekeepers at apiary school, Rucher du Luxembourg (looking like stylish Klu Klux Klanners)|
|More Beekeepers Luxembourg Gardens|
BEES -- spiritual pathfinders and communicators. They collect the pollen of poetry, honeyed words, sacred inspiration. They nourish our souls & we can't live without them.
|Lipari 4th c. BCE|
***If you really want to learn more about bees from true Bee Priestesses go to Layne Redmond's & Debra Roberts 6 part series, live on-line video course: The Sacred Path of the Bee -- Ancient Traditions of the Bee Priestesses awakening in our lives today. http://www.youtube.com/hatnofer
You can also listen to music made with the bees, Hymns from the Hive - http://www.layneredmond.com/Hymns_from_the_Hive.html
Take earth with your right hand and throw it under your right foot, saying:
I've got it, I've found it:
Lo, earth masters all creatures,
it masters evil, it masters deceit,
it masters humanity's greedy tongue.
Throw light soil over them [the bees] as they swarm, saying:
Sit, wise women, settle on earth:
never in fear fly to the woods.
Please be mindful of my welfare
as all men are of food and land.
|Les Abeilles - Tuileries|
I was put here by Seikilos
Where I will remain forever
the symbol of deathless remembrance
As long as you live, shine, be radiant
Let nothing grieve you beyond measure
for your life is only too short and time will call for you.
Epitaph of Seikilos from Layne Redmond's recording: INVOKING APHRODITE