If Honeybees Could Speak, Would We Listen? (Part IV)

By Jessie Ayani

For this, our final look at the honeybee, the focus will be on soul, magic, and higher consciousness. These are excellent follow-ups to community, which the last article explored. My most difficult task was finding the right place to begin explaining the holy depths of these magical, miracles of nature that have been traveling with us and Mother Earth through our cosmic evolution. What continually comes to mind is the honeybees’ co-creative partnership with the life manifest on this planet, and the quintessential expression of that partnership.


When Bee Meets Flower

Flowers offer their nectar to pollinating insects. In this way the flowers spread themselves around the earth whilst remaining anchored in place. Pollination assures that the plant will have offspring in the form of seed. When a honeybee visits a male flower to collect nectar or pollen (the source of protein in their diets), the pollen sticks all over its electrostatic bee “fur”. Most of the pollen is groomed from the fur to the pollen bags on their rear legs, but plenty remains attached to the “fur”. This, coupled with the honeybee habit of visiting one kind of flower during a single forage flight, ensures the transfer of pollen containing sperm cells to the female blossoms.


The flower has no use for its nectar other than to attract the pollinator to her with its scent. Conversely, the bee can eat only that which the flower has prepared for her. In the nectar, the plant has instilled the hexagonal, formative forces of quartz crystal, which the visiting bee takes into itself and carries into the hive. These forces are used to create their hexagon comb from the bee’s wax glands to house their brood and store honey (nectar that is concentrated and cured) and pollen for the hive’s food supply.


While the bee is taking the nectar, the plant is having a very pleasant experience. In response, the plant sends more nectar to feed the bee and the bee reciprocates in a magical way. Rudolf Steiner described how the bee is delivering a homeopathic dose of bee venom to the flower. In response to this gift of the bee, nature creates more beautiful flowers. What we have in this story is a win-win-win situation, earth, plant and animal in harmonious action. All of this co-creativity is easily visible to those who consciously garden. Honeybees cause the raspberry plant to produce and reproduce at its highest potential. Honeybees greatly enhance vegetable and fruit production whilst creating healthier growth for the following year. For example, apples without pollination will have a yield of 25 per tree whilst with pollination the yield is 1200 apples per tree.


As magical as this interaction is, we are unable to appreciate it fully without stretching ourselves into the supersensible worlds. If we are able to do this, as was Steiner, we become aware of spiritual beings involved when bee meets flower. These spiritual beings are the elementals. The elemental spiritual beings were group soul members who became cut off from normal evolution. They exist independent of their group soul. The process that creates them has continued through all of evolution so the spiritual world around us is filled with these beings - the sylphs, salamanders, gnomes and lemurs.


These beings come and linger at those special places where the animal and plant world meet but only under certain circumstances, like those that exist with the bee, who is part of a “bien” (the soul of the hive which has an equivalent “I”) and the flowers who give freely of nectar for the preservation of nature. The common denominator, opening the door to the spiritual world, appears to be selfless service - the bees’ to the “bien” and the flowers’ to earthly life. We see in this the interface between our world, the elemental world and the world of the “bien” the highest consciousness in the animal world (and far exceeding our own).


Steiner referenced his book, How To Know Higher Worlds, as the handbook for training ourselves to see into the supersensible worlds. The exercises in this book are well practiced in one’s garden. He specifically refers to meditation with the bees as the entry point of becoming a bee and in this becoming a bee to be welcome into the hive, into the “bien”. This is the difference between being a beekeeper and “living with the bees”. Only when one knows, first hand, the soul of the hive and experiences its sense of individuation held in the collective “I”, is one known as the bee master. We are otherwise, ego-centered humans pretending to know the art of beekeeping or conscious beekeepers striving to connect on this level in awe of beekeeping.


One additional gift we can give to this otherworldly union between bee, flower, elemental and the earth is a biodynamic preparation called The Three Kings. It is applied at Christmas-time to land that is already biodynamically farmed or gardened as an offering, to create a protective bubble for the elemental spiritual beings. Right now on the planet the elemental spiritual beings feel very threatened by humanity’s lack of respect for the earth. Not commonly known in Australia, this preparation of gold, frankincense and myrrh, can be researched and prepared from articles available online.


The Truth about Swarming

Within the hive, the bees live in a kind of twilight, guided more by scent and taste than sight. In addition to their two obvious eyes, they have three little eyes on the top of their head, which contain a bit of bee venom. When the new queen is metamorphosing and nearly mature, she emits a light that scares them. This light affects the three eyes of the bees, taking away the bit of venom the eyes contain – as if a veil falls over them – and they feel they are losing the power of the venom. The new queen is taking away the power of the venom and a fear develops within the hive. 


The swarm leaves the hive driven by this fear that they cannot defend themselves or protect the present queen, even though the loss of venom power has occurred only in the three eyes. The swarm, with the old queen, moves away from the new queen much as our souls move away from our bodies in death when we no longer possess our formic acid (bee venom constituent). The swarm is trying to find its way to Spirit world but it cannot because it has been caught up in the material world. The bees press themselves together as if they could disappear. With compassion, we must take the swarm to a new home where it experiences reincarnation (or they will find a new home on their own, or perish). The mystery of the resurrection of Christ can be re-enacted with the swarm if they are kept in a dark cool place for two nights before being housed in their new hive.


Kiss of the Venom, the Magic of Life

Ants, bees and wasps all have venom containing transformed formic acid (the simplest carbon-based acid). We need formic acid. Plants need formic acid. All of life needs formic acid and Steiner stated that the cosmos itself runs on formic acid. The bees and wasps fill the air with formic acid as they fly around and we are able to inhale this life-sustaining substance. When an ant crawls on a plant it allows formic acid to flow into it and combine with other plant juices. The bees deliver the transformed formic acid in their venom in very small amounts to the flowers when they are gathering nectar. It is as if they have been cultivating the plants for the last thousands of years. Without the formic acid, the plants would not have the possibility of remaining alive. In fact, Steiner stated that if the stinging insects were to disappear from the Earth, all of nature would turn to dust. The insects that make formic acid are constantly restoring the Earth. It is the only way to continue existence on Earth.


Formic acid sounds like the principle ingredient in nature’s magic potion. The ants, bees and wasps are able to make formic acid as part of their venom. The ants distribute transformed formic acid to the plants. The plants uptake the minute doses of formic acid from the insects and convert it to oxalic acid. We eat the plants and convert the oxalic acid back into formic acid in our spleens, releasing carbon dioxide as a byproduct from our lungs. The plants utilize the carbon dioxide in their respiration and cycle oxygen back to Earth. Our saturation with formic acid attracts and mobilizes soul and spirit within us. The cosmic formic acid is also the basis for Earth’s soul and spirit. These beautiful cycles of life continue and earth avoids dying off. We, however, grow old and our ability to retain formic acid diminishes until our bodies die and the soul and spirit enter the supersensible world.


The Bee Pharmacy

The regenerative relationship between the bees and nature makes it possible for us to draw on the bees for yet another magical gift to humanity – apitherapy. Conditions of the human body, like gout, rheumatism and osteoarthritis are age-related degenerative diseases due to formic acid loss. Therapies have been developed that administer gradually increasing amounts of bee venom, either by injection or controlled sting, to tolerant, robust individuals with these disorders. Remarkable success is attributed to these therapies, which restore formic acid to the body helping to reestablish balance and dissolve calcium deposits within the joints.


Steiner stated: “Poisons, though they stimulate continuous inflammations or similar conditions also function as chemicals that have continuous curative powers that stave off the process of dying.” Because poisons, like venom and nightshade, collect spiritual elements present in the cosmos, they are suitable in remedies to affect a cure.


We see now that the formic acid within the bee (wasp and ant) venom drives certain forces within the cosmos and within us. These forces within us, the “I” forces, circulate our blood, which causes the heart to respond by beating. Steiner tried to get the medical establishment to understand the heart in this way rather than to assume that it is a pump. This understanding, however, requires an acceptance of non-material forces, a limitation of material science.


It is this power of the “I” forces that moves the blood when the bee stings us. Our circulation increases rapidly, bringing on an inflammatory response and in the case of gout dislodges the uric acid crystals that have built up on the wall of the vascular system. The force of this increase means that those who have serious heart conditions can have their hearts dangerously over-stimulated when the sting of the bee, wasp or ant increases the “I” force. On the other hand, those who have gout and rheumatism, conditions of weakened “I” organization, benefit as the stimulation brings healing through increased circulation and the inflammatory response - this typically through administration of venom containing medicines (some homeopathic), not venom alone.


The Fig and the Gall Wasp

Like to eat figs? Here is a great story of how they became such a sweet treat. Fig pollination is completely dependent on a tiny gall wasp. In its two-day life, the fertile female gall wasp, released from a nearby fig, must burrow its way into another fig to lay its eggs in the center of the fig. In doing so, the wasp pollinates the fig, which is inflorescent – meaning the flower is within the fruit. The fig and the wasp are completely dependent upon each other for survival (obligate mutualism). The male wasps fertilize the females within the fig and die there. In the natural world, very few female wasps survive the journey from one fig to another to complete their life cycle.


Mediterranean native wild figs are not as sweet as the cultivated fruit we have available at the market today. Why? In the past, Mediterranean fig growers found they could pick a pair of ripening figs, hang them over a branch of the fig tree near to more ripening figs and wait for the gall wasps to pierce the picked figs at the apexes, burrow within, and lay their eggs. This accelerated the ripening process considerably, even more so as they were cut off from the tree and hung over the branch. Thus the first generation of wasps emerged early and they pierced the skins of the remaining fruit, laying their eggs within. This enhanced the natural process by increasing the likelihood of more wasps surviving to pierce more figs. Having more wasp eggs laid within the fig flower sweetens the fruit immensely and produces a great number of gall wasps with a greater probability of surviving to pollinate. This technique led to generational increases in wasp populations and the sweeter fruit cultivated today.


What we see happening with the wasp and the fig is the same process we see with the bee that gathers nectar from the flower, returns with it to the hive and transforms it into honey. One process requires the bee to forage at a distance from the hive whilst the wasp is right in the tree where it will cause its honey to be stored in the fig.  Both of these processes involve the insect delivering the small doses of formic acid to flowers. Remember, the fig is an inflorescent plant. When you cut a fig in half, you are looking at the fruit beneath the skin surrounding a multitude of flowers in the center. The metamorphosis of the gall wasp larvae into mature wasps that then emerge from the fig through the apex is a honey producing process. Nature is full of surprises.


Beekeepers and the “Bien”

We have previously discussed the “bien”, the soul of the hive. The consciousness within the “bien” is of a very high nature whilst the individual bee, though sweet and hardworking, is merely an insect. The “bien” rises above the normal evolutionary process of the animals. Steiner asked us to think of them as being “cosmically precocious”, well ahead of us at Venus level of consciousness. Humanity will not attain the wisdom of such consciousness until the Earth stage of consciousness has finished, a very long time from now. Yet, we have this consciousness present with us on Earth in the “bien”. How incredible is that!


One way the bees within the “bien” express this advanced consciousness is the making of their comb. Their environment is a product of themselves. The bees excrete the wax from their wax glands and fashion it into hexagonal cells of perfect size and shape. Cells for drones, workers and queens are all different sizes and the queen’s an elongated peanut shell shape. The comb is their communication device, the community center, the pantry and the nursery. When we are able to bring forth our environment from within ourselves, we will be at the Venus stage of evolution.


It is the profound nature of the bee’s consciousness that, in turn, blesses the super-conscious beekeeper, bestowing love in the presence of the hive. This knowledge of the high nature of the “bien” is driving those who understand the importance of honeybees and all stinging insects to the continuation of life forward in their efforts to save the honeybee from industrialization and certain collapse. Many others are joining their ranks simply understanding our dependence on the bees for 30-40% of our food.  In time, the spiritual gifts of the bees will reach them as well.


Bees can help us uplift our consciousness as we assist them with continued survival. They are more adept than humans at reading our emotional state. If you approach a beehive in fear, your blood withdraws. The bees then sense the six-sided silica force within you and are attracted to it as if it were nectar. If you remain calm whilst approaching the hive, they sense that you have the same amount as they do and are not threatened by you. If you come to them in anger, the blood is at the surface and they will sting you thinking you will rob them of their silica forces.


They know the beekeeper by his/her scent, which is brought to them on the breath, perspiration, vapor, etc. A sense of belonging develops between the “bien” and the beekeeper. How can they know their personal beekeeper? How this can be is based on the wisdom within the “bien”. The beehive has a specific soul and personality, its “I”. This allows for a true and profound relationship to exist between the beekeeper and the “bien”.


If the beekeeper falls ill or dies, the hive will go into chaos and disorganization.  It is wise to go to the hive when this occurs and inform them of the beekeepers’ illness or death.  If the beekeeper dies, the “bien” can find it impossible to adapt to a new beekeeper and the hive will die. It is similar with a green thumb. The plants respond to the gifted gardener who consciously approaches the plants. This relationship affects the silicon-forming forces in the plant’s nectar. When the gardener falls ill, the plant’s forces are weakened. Maybe that is why good gardeners make good beekeepers.


In traditional beekeeping the bees must be notified immediately of the beekeeper’s death. Otherwise they will collapse. The hives must be draped in black and the bees must be allowed to keen, which they will if the relationship has been in co-creative mastery. What happens next is up to the “bien”.


I know a bee master who had to leave his hives at the San Francisco Zen Center Farm. He left the bees in the care of a new beekeeper. When he returned not long after, to pick up a few more of his belongings, he stopped to check on the hives. The bees had absconded. In immense sadness he acknowledged the profound intimacy of the relationship he’d had with them. And then, a solitary queen emerged. He extended his hand to her and she crawled within his palm and died.


A Final Note

I am going to leave you with the task of drawing similarities from these stories to our children, those closest to magic in our lives. Instead, I will conclude with a recommendation to beekeepers, and a mandate for the conscious bee master in the making.


On Christmas Eve, at midnight, the beekeeper has the joyful task of approaching the sleeping hive, to tell the bees the story of the Nativity of Jesus. I recommend the story as told by Rudolf Steiner, but whatever version of the story you believe will suffice. Tell it in a whisper, as if you were sharing the greatest truth and blessing to ever reach humanity with a young child still in touch with the wisdom of the stars.