Part 1: Bedazzled
History is rife with lost knowledge and traditions whose meaning has blurred with the passage of time. I believe the ‘Bee’ is one such tradition, and that its symbolism was important to civilizationsof all ages. Inexplicably, the Bee is dying and nobody is quite sure why. Legend asserts that whenthe Bee dies out, man will shortly follow. We will review the implications of the Bee’s apparentdemise in due course, however in this - our first instalment, we will examine the genesis of theBee’s symbolism in the mist of prehistory.
The Bee in PrehistoryAnatomy of a female Honey Bee
Thanks to fossilisation, Bees over 100 million years old have been discovered inamber, frozen in time, as if immortalised in their own honey. The Greeks calledamber
, and associated it with the Sun God
who was known as the
. Honey, which resembles amber, was also known as an awakener, aregenerative substance that was revered across the ancient world. The resemblance of honey with amber led to the Bees exalted status amongst ancient man and secured itsfavor over other fossilized insects. Marcus Valerius Martialis, the first century Latin poet renowned for his twelve books of
commemorates the symbolism:
"The bee inclos'd, and through the amber shewn,Seems buried in the juice, which was his own.