Spiritual Meaning of the Honeybee, Beehive, & Bumblebee
I’d like to put a lot of buzz words here but that would be too silly, don’t you think? Get it…buzz words? But seriously, lately I’ve been seeing bumblebees, honeybees, honey, and beehives everywhere I go. So I figured there must be some sort of strong message being sent my way. Maybe that’s why you’re here. To figure out the spiritual meaning of a honeybee and bumblebee, beehive symbolism, or what it means to keep seeing honeybees. Whatever your reason, let’s explore the world of bee symbolism together.
We know there’s many types of bees including the honeybee, bumblebee, and carpenter bee. And often the bee is confused with the wasp. Please note, they are two different creatures. They are part of the same order of species, but a hornet is NOT a type of bee. But let’s get down to it. What do bees symbolize overall? Let’s say you’re seeing a mixture of bumbles, honeys, and carpenters. What could this mean? Here are a few interpretations:
What Do Bees Symbolize, Overall?
- Goddess energy
- Feminine Empowerment
- Ancestral messages
- Team work
- Death and the afterlife
The Sacred Honeybee’s Meaning in Ancient Times
Bees have been alive and doing their thang (collecting pollen, pollinatig plants, making beeswax and honey, and reproducing) for millions of years. 130 million years ago, to be exact. They are resilient, productive, sacred little creatures. Creatures that we absolutely need on this planet in order for human beings to survive. In fact, bees pollinate 80% of the world’s plants, including 75% of fruits, nuts, and vegetables in the U.S. The ancients knew the bee’s importance and held this beautiful being as sacred. Many ancient cultures kept bees in temples, groves, and other sanctified places including the Celts, Greeks, Egyptians, Norse and others. Bees were frequently thought to be deities in shifted form, sometimes elementals, and often also thought to be the souls of the dead. Honey is mentioned time and again in ancient texts including in the Biblical texts, the Quran, and the Upanishads.
Prehistoric Honey Hunting and Ra’s Tears
Honey hunting and harvesting has been a human activity for thousands of years, since at least Mesolithic times. We have painted evidence on cave walls dating to approximately 8000 BCE on the Cueva de la Arana rock in Spain. In this painting, we see a woman climbing a ladder, collecting honey from a hive with honeybees in flight around her. Actual beekeeping didn’t occur until later, in the Bronze Age around 3500 BCE in Egypt. Bees were kept in or near Ancient Egyptian temples, as honeybees were thought to have been created from the sun god Ra’s tears. The honey collected from Ra’s bees was referred to as “liquid gold”, and we have numerous carvings on temple and tomb walls dedicated to this sacred practice.
Greek Goddesses Linked to the Honeybee
In Ancient Greece, Persephone, Demeter, Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite and the nymphs were intertwined with the honeybee. Bees were kept in temples by priests and priestesses. We have evidence to suggest that bees were kept in temples for Athena, Persephone, Aphrodite, and Demeter. Aphrodite was called the Melissa herself, the Queen Bee, and her priestesses were the Melissae. Demeter was called the Mother Bee, as she nurtured and nourished all life itself. And one of Persephone’s names, Melitodos, meant the Honeyed-One.
According to BeeLore.com, “at the Ephesian temple of Artemis, the melissae were accompanied by transgendered priests called ‘essenes‘, meaning drones. Bees are classified as members of the hymenopteran order, meaning ‘veil-winged,’ recalling the hymen or veil that covered the inner shrine of the Goddess’s temple, and the high priestess who bore the title of Hymen, presiding over marriage rituals and the Honey Moon.” In addition, the bee priestesses of ancient Greece were known to guard various temples including that of the Oracle of Delphi, Zeus, and Artemis.
Bees, Chthonic Deities, and Ancestors
Chthonic deities and ancestors are inextricably connected to the honeybee spiritually. Throughout the ancient world, people discovered wild beehives in the cracks of stone walls and at the entrances of caves and caverns. These cracks and crevices were believed to be the portal or doorway to the Underworld. Therefore, honeybees were psychopomps or guides for the dead from this world to the afterlife. Sometimes honeybees were even thought to be the souls of the dead OR goddesses of the dead in shifted form. This is probably why chthonic deities and ancestors love offerings of honey.
Honey Symbolism: The Liquid Gold of Inspiration
- Eloquent speaking
- A talent for writing
- Sweetening a situation
- Love and lust
- A food of the dead
- The Sacral Chakra
Let’s also dive into the element of honey and bees being inspiration for artists and writers. In Ancient Greece, the speakers, philosophers, and poets were all said to be blessed by bees and have “honey on the lips”. We could also liken this to the mead of poetry of Norse mythology. Whereas mead is wine made from honey, this adds to the idea of eloquent speaking and writing being influened by the golden liquid. According to the Prose Edda, honey and the blood of a wise god named Kvasir were blended together by two dwarves. And whomever should drink of this concoction, called the mead of poetry, would become a skald or a scholar:
“they blended honey with the blood, and the outcome was that mead by the virtue of which he who drinks becomes a skald or scholar.”
The MAGIC of Honey
An interesting fact about honey that I always found fascinating…it NEVER expires. When the famous King Tut’s tomb was opened and archaeologists began their research, they discovered a jar of honey. The honey was STILL EDIBLE after three thousand years! According to the Local Hive Honey website, this boils down to three things: bee bellies block bacteria, honey is acidic, and honey lacks moisture.
In modern times, honey is used to sweeten a person’s interest towards you in conjure and witchcraft. It’s also used to sweeten a situation. It is employed in love spells, lust spells, and to draw prosperity. Like in ancient times, witches use honey as offerings to deities claiming they are carrying on a tradition of their ancestors. Honey-cakes, a traditional Greek dish, are made in a triangular shape and given to the Queen Bee herself – Aphrodite. They are also offered to deities of the moon like Diana and Artemis. As well as Hecate.
The Spiritual Meaning of a Bumblebee
- Self defense
- Hard work
- Team work
- Feminine Empowerment
- Goddess Energy
We covered the spiritual meaning of a honeybee but what is the spiritual meaning of the bumblebee? Bumblebees are such cute, chunky things, aren’t they? Don’t mistake their cuteness for naivete. They will sting you if you get too close or if they feel threatened. And they are more vicious than their cousin the honeybee. The bumblebee is similar to the honeybee in that they reside and work in colonies and have a single Queen. But they are different in ways, too. One thing is the female bumblebee can sting multiple times, whereas the female honeybee can sting only once.
To bumble means to buzz or drone. The name for the bumblebee was first recorded in 1530. Bumblebees come in different colors including black and yellow, red, orange, white, and pink. Sometimes they’re completely black or solid colors. Sometimes they are black with another color. Consider the color of the creature that is visiting you to figure out your spiritual meaning of a bumblebee. All black = time to think of protecting yourself. Black with yellow = focus on your work. Orange = energy. White = purity. Pink = work on your relationship.
Beehive Symbolism and the Sacred 6
- Sacred Number 6
The beehive is the bee’s humble abode. Have you ever looked at a beehive up close? Meditated on its intricate design? Each cell is made of beeswax and is in the shape of a six-sided polygon called a Hexagon. Because of this, the number 6 has long been associated with bees. In numerology and occult symbolism, the number 6 means complete love. This is also why it’s associated with love deities like Aphrodite, and why these deities are linked to bees in turn. The hexagonal shape proves to be one of the strongest and therefore the beehive symbolism first and foremost means strength and protection.
What do you do if you keep seeing bee symbolism, honey, and beehives everywhere?
I am currently in this boat. Depending on how many signs are sent your way, there’s a couple things the bee could be saying to you. One, that it’s time to focus on your work. Two, there’s an ancestor trying to get your attention. Or three, there’s a deity trying to get your attention. I typically think if the sign comes up a few times in a day and then that’s it, it’s usually something like a quick message. But if it continually pops up over a week or longer, it’s a spirit trying to get your attention.
If you’ve determined it’s a spirit trying to get your attention, ask for clarity on who and why. You can use divination to speak with the deity/ancestor. Or ask them to make an appearance in meditation or in a dream. In addition, here’s a few ways to honor that BEE energy:
- Study the BEE’s behavior, habitat, etc.
- Sit outside near a patch of flowers or garden where bees tend to gather pollen and watch them.
- Set up a small space in your home or on your altar to honor the BEE with a picture or figurine of the bee.
- Burn beeswax candles.
- Cook and bake with honey, specifically local honey is best.
- If it’s a spirit calling you, create sacred space for it and give it offerings of honey, honey-cakes, mead, etc.
- Identify your personal qualities that are in alignment with the honeybee or bumblee. Then capitalize on that.
- Consider learning how to keep bees.