It is getting to be the time of year to prepare for bee swarming season. Last year I set up two hives. A traditional Langstroth hive in a shared garden and a top bar hive with a viewing window in my little backyard. I got started a little late, but I caught my first swarm in June and placed it in my home hive. Unfortunately the season was cold and wet and my bees never made it through summer. This year I’m buying a nucleus hive for the Langstroth that is now in a different, closer garden and keeping my eyes out for a swarm to catch. It’s still pouring ‘winter’ rains in Portland, but I’m thinking about Spring and buzzing things.
I was inspired today to poke around in Michael Thiele’s blog gaiabees.com .
Apiculture is beginning a transformation towards a wholesome way of living with bees. New voices are emerging. The bien is calling. … Bees gives themselves completely to the wellbeing of the bien. Their physical existence is completely devoted to its prosperity and survival. In the altruistic gesture of self-sacrifice we can see the extent to which bees transcend their individual existence. In fact, their sense of self includes all the other bees, encompassing the entire bien.
The Bien is the German word for the community of bees that makes up a hive. It is a single unit. No individual bee could survive on its own. They work together for the common good. Kind of like the millions of bacteria who live in our bodies and truly make up who we are on one level.
Humans seem to be awakening to this unity consciousness that the bees have always known. To be alive on earth means we are part of one organism. James Lovelock coined the Gaia hypothesis to describe the mechanisms on our planet that work together to assure the continuation of life.
I find myself contemplating the impact of these concepts on my daily life. The choices that I make are deeply influenced by my priorities. Am I heating my home to the most comfortable temperature to satisfy my comfort or do I keep it at a moderate temperature to conserve energy for my own and everyone else’s future? Do I work a job that is easy and pays the bills or do I find a career that is in service to humanity or nature at large?
On a path of Spiritual inquiry I am confronted by the surrender to Divine will. If I am able to open my heart and mind to guidance from the Divine, to answers to the question ” What is the best thing I can do in this situation for my highest Spiritual awakening?”. Am I always going to receive the answers that most appeal to little, independent self? Of course not. And then I am, once again, faced with a choice.
The image of the swarm of bees hanging 50 feet up in a tree helps to bring focus to my choice. If we truly are one life here on earth, then I too am like a single bee in the great Bien. And the draw of the group mind, the divine consciousness, the spiritual guidance to do the right thing is what’s going to keep us all alive. So I may just surrender my individual desires and follow the greater good.
Or are my individual desires also part of the mechanism that makes life on earth work? Right now one of my desires is to have two healthy bee communities in my hives.
In his bee lectures, Rudolf Steiner concludes that ‘…we need to study the life of bees from the standpoint of the soul’. In the end, the world shows us whenever the soul element is missing in our lives. The current plight of the bees is showing us the impact of our limited understanding. The bees are reflecting back to us our own struggle to live in this world. Their encouraging message is to wake up to this fragile, wonderful and precious world, to awaken to a multidimensional world and to the unlimited world of the heart. May we all wake up!”