Journeys with bees
From Southern Portugal
Honey bees have called me for a long time. They seem to be alchemists of a great order. Their hum and song inspired much of my sound work – taking me to connect with the hum that is the greater deeper sound – that in some of the ancient traditions is named as the OM or AUM, the sound of creation – the silent roar –creating and maintaining Universes and Galaxies.
I became a beginner bee carer when I was stewarding a beautiful mill house property for many years and read : ‘The Serpent Flight of the Honeybee’, which reveals an ancient shamanic medicine path including the bees and their teachings and ways as teachers and allies.
When I had my first bees on the land – looking back at it now – I made so many mistakes – following the advice of the conventional beekeepers, which felt completely wrong but I didn’t know better.
So I fumbled and stumbled the best I could – trying to be in relationship with them – and wow they taught and gifted me much!!! – until I needed to leave them behind when the property was sold and I started travelling again.
So when earlier this year the bee ladies came to one of our workshops in Portugal and we learnt of how they worked with the bees in a completely different co-creative way, there was a spark of wonder of what more could be possible if we allied again. These last years bees had shown up in our work – guiding us to work with the vibration of gold – sounding the inner and outer energy-lines of the planet to vitalise and enliven….
Here an excerpt from my blog ‘The Golden Floes’ from Feb 2019:
‘Heather was taken to fissures in the Earth cracking splitting, cold …. And then became aware of a large gathering of people in Bulgaria celebrating the festival of honouring the bees with ceremonies and lighting fires. ( we had seen a facebook post about this festival happening earlier in the day.) Heather saw on the inner planes how the fires and energy of the many people honouring the bees allowed the energy of the bees and the golden nectars to flow into the Earth and warm the fissures and cracks – softening what had hardened – enlivening , energising, warming and allowing beings and energies that had frozen, hardened and gone into stasis, to waken….; It even assisted the Earth energies themselves to awaken; bringing currents, pathways, dragon lines, dragon energies waking from a period of dreaming.
This is showing us that we are invited to reactivate, in-spire, breathe fire, warmth, sapphric sounds together with the bees – facilitating the flows…
‘The encrusted layers are being broken up… Something is emerging now that has a larger rhythm. An eonic rhythm… Something that was hardened is becoming fluid again… Breathe gently with force. Awaken the inner fire.
Come together , look to the bees, the flower, pollination, communion – gifting and receiving – sexual fluids….. nectars flowing… gifting, enlivening.’
During the summer back in the UK, a strong impulse asked me to return to Portugal in the autumn to learn what I could about this different way of being with, learning from and creating with the honeybees. The opportunity opened up with ease and so I found myself in Portugal on land that is stewarded by dear friends in ways that are restorative and regenerative for land and people.
On this journey of the Bee-Ship guided by Sandira Belia co-founder of ‘Bee wisdom network’ https://beewisdom.earth/ my perspectives have widened and changed, horizons and ways of thinking being expanded into an even bigger viewpoint beyond the humanised versions of how we often think about bees or animal species.
I have been stretched to expand my thinking wider into the wholeness of all the interconnectedness and the hands-on experiences have changed how I live and ‘consume’.
Sitting in front of a beehive to witness the activity of pollen laden maidens coming back to the hive, having a bee land on my hand and be in communion, listening to the hum and joining it is taking me into a world of greater interconnectedness and wonder.
The bees have re-connected me more deeply to the ‘hum of creation’ from where I can create, sound, weave in ever greater wholeness.
Learning from the bees as maintainers of life and creators of alchemy in their natural form opens so many new ways of seeing and looking, hearing and perceiving.
Through inner journeying we learn from them, that their joy is in the vitalising and maintaining of the vital energy-fields of plants and landscapes. Each visit to a flower creates a spiral vortex of vital energy above that flower, each flightpath weaves the vital field of the land.
When bees are pushed to make honey for us and their homes are expanded so that they have to create more brood, honey and pollen to fill and maintain the space, they stay on the level of ‘survival.
When we free them from that demand, their attention can expand to other areas, which allows thrival and evolution
One is that they can swarm, which revitalises and regenerates both the queen and the colony,
Second, they begin to pay more attention to what is called ‘hygiene behaviour’ – grooming, cleaning, developing new ways of dealing with illnesses, parasites and invaders like the varroa mite, lice – and now the challenge of the Asian hornet invasion.
Only the bee colonies that are allowed to be wild are able to evolve new strategies of adapting to the growing environmental challenges. These new strategies can then be made available to the greater field of all bees, to any colonies who have the capacity to receive them and to the greater field of consciousness.
Listening to the communications from the bees received by Jaqueline Freeman ’The Song of Increase’, I am so moved by the unique gift that the honeybees are wishing to gift to the evolution of the Earth. Their alchemy occurs on so many levels.
So far – (at the time of this writing in November 2019) we have received small quantities of different honeys left behind by colonies that died or left at the end of this very hot dry summer (3 months of draught in Portugal). Receiving / tasting journeying with the honeys we perceived that one kind , which was a very light honey had an enlivening, uplifting, invigorating effect, while the other kind, which was darker was perceived by us as warming, embracing and soothing like medicine when one feels in need….
The pollen-bread left behind is an incredible gift of medicine and vitalising food.
And we all know the amazing medicinal properties of propolis, which we find plenty of…. we made propolis tincture and a propolis saltwater concoction for sore throats, which has already assisted me hugely.
Seeing in detail the delicate architecture of the wax-combs –especially when they are allowed to build as the master builders they are – creating the right flow of air, moisture and warmth in their home. And the way they can conceive the shape of the comb before it is built – masters at building and construction.
A comb of wax can hold manifold kilos of honey and is built in such a way that the angle of each cell faces slightly upwards, so honey doesn’t drop out while the cell is being filled. How many millions of flights of nectar does it take to fill one cell of honeycomb?
We learn to appreciate that honey really is medicine, not food in the way we consume it.
We also allowed the last drops of honey left behind in the combs to be soaked into water and it was ferment with natural yeasts to make the yummy honey mead. Looking forward to its coming of age!
Perceiving these bigger ways of our interconnectedness and how each of our choices matter, I stopped being able to buy many consumer items in supermarkets, including almond milk which I loved, – realising that how almonds and other food-items are grown in monocultures as cash crops and so called ‘superfoods’ – replacing sustainable ecosystems using water resources that cause desertification and thousands of bee-colonies that are shipped and used for ‘production’ are really causing a lot of harm to ecosystems. I can hardly bear the energy and atmospheres of our large supermarkets, where we have become so separated from the source of the food we buy and at what cost it was created, as I have now been spoiled by local growers initiatives here in the Alentejo, where so much good organic locally sustainably grown food is available.
It is making me look again at where and how I wish to live and create with my environment. I would like to be part of creating sustainable systems that create win win and more for all involved!
Questions such as: How many bee colonies can any land sustain, so that all wild species of insects can thrive and be in the chain of gifting and receiving?
What kinds of plants, flowers, species of trees, water availability are required to not only give food for bees all year round, but also improve soil fertility and create wholeness in the co-evolving ecosystem for all species.
If one commercial bee keeper keeps 90 or hundreds of hives for honey production, these bees are enslaved pets that are no longer part of or contributing to a healthy balanced ecosystem, but become competition and in some cases agressors towards other wild bees and pollinating insects, especially if too much of their honey is being taken. ( since writing this, the film ‘honeyland’ has come out, which is a powerful demonstration of this – a film of incredible beauty and raw truth)
Like with all domesticated species, the balance of the ecosystem is no longer maintained and has to be artificially fed.
This means taking water from other areas that then might not have enough.
How does building a well or taking / syphoning water from one area into another effect the ecosystem balance of where the water came from – especially in dryer areas?
Worldwide we see so many landscapes that are desertifying / salinating / dying because too much water is being taken to create lush areas elsewhere. What does it take for us to live more in harmony?
Here in this area in Southern Portugal, out of about 35 hives that were tended by the Bee-wisdom team in the wider area of various communities and lands only one third survived the heat and drought of this summer. The bee wisdom team has a very different view to how we normally would respond to this. They have seen the fluctuations, comings and goings of swarms and colonies and see a much more long term picture of those who come for one season, bringing their gift here now, and those who stay strong and develop ways of being with heat and drought and challenges will evolve new ways and experiences that they gift into the future evolution of the bees of this land.
Update later in the year: More colonies have died in late November – an unusually high death count – and we were made aware that it was the same month that the 5G Satellites went into space and 5G got activated. So if there is a connection, there will be more awareness and support required. We will watch and research and tune in as how best to out-create this situation.
We are also continually asking how we can support them and create environments for them to thrive in harmony with the land.
We learnt to create tree hives this autumn. Bees naturally love to live in trees, they like to be up high. A natural tree cavity that has not too large of an entrance is the best place for a hive. The bees will develop a symbiotic relationship with the tree and be completely protected by it – tree walls being much thicker and better insulating from the extremes of the elements and seasons than the thin walls of beekeeping hives that demand a lot of effort for the bees to keep at the right temperature inside. The colony keeps a very precise temperature for optimal functioning that is created and maintained at all times with multiple techniques in which the whole colony moves and acts as one.
Natural hollows are found mainly in ancient woodlands where trees are left standing even when they die.
So what we found here are big cork oak trees – some with big hollows where branches are missing. We cleaned the hollows and filled the entrance gaps which were too large for a bee home with a ‘cob wall’ construction from local clay and dry plant material, leaving a smaller entrance. These tree hollows will now offer new homes to bees in the spring if they wish to choose it. Swarms love to go into trees and prefer to live in tree to being close to the ground.
So when swarms start to emerge in the spring, we will watch!
We perceived bees living high in the trees can really support them energetically with their weaving of space and vitalising fields…
Others have put bee boxes into trees and are making log-hives – hollowing out big tree-trunks to simulate tree-hives. New developments in many bee re-wilding projects, which is such a joy to hear about!
See the natural bee keeping trust in England https://www.naturalbeekeepingtrust.org/
And in Ireland: https://boomtreebees.com/
Later update: See here some wild bees finding homes in trees found by the beewisdom team a few weeks after I left Portugal: Co-creation in progress:
And for me the deepest connection is on the level of how can bee and me/us co-create in the vitalising, generating and regenerating of the Earth, our ecosystems, our way of living and co-evolving.
Having started to weave with sound with the bees is an exciting beginning.
See one of our sound co-creations with bees here: https://beewisdom.earth/a-journey-with-la-cama-de-abejas-bee-bed-la-donaira
I wonder what else is possible in our continued journey?