In our tradition we divide the year not only by eight solar and agricultural holidays, but also by the Kalends. We celebrate twelve months of the year by the common calendar, plus a special thirteenth month for Samhain. These month cycles are associated with different totemic spirits. Each month is assigned an animal, a bird (or other flying creature), and a tree. May's totems are Cow, Hawthorn, and Bee.
The totemic associations are as follows:
Cow (Tarbh/Bò) – fertility, prosperity, protection, nourishment
Hawthorn (Huathe) – fertility, cleansing, protection, joy
Bee (Beach) – fertility, community, sweetness, celebration, organization
animal is a better example of the power of community than the bee. Each
bee in a hive has a specific function which she will perform even if it
means giving her life for the hive. There are three types of bees:
workers, drones, and queens. The worker bees are the common bees we are
most familiar with. They secrete wax to form combs, and produce honey
to feed the hive.
Bees pollinate all kinds of plants,
and many of our food crops would be useless without them. Because they
are the element that carries the reproductive pollen from one plant to
fertilize another, bees are strongly associated with fertility and
Honey was anciently the only source for a sweetener. Thus, the bee has come to symbolize the sweetness of life.
communicate by dancing, and those who work with bees will find
themselves drawn to dance and rhythm. The bee's dance is indirect
relation to the sun in the sky. Bees are symbolic of solar celebration.
Honeybees will only sting if they feel that the hive is in danger. A honeybee gives its life when it uses its stinger.
queen of a hive is chosen from newly hatched bee larva when the hive
requires a new queen. In summer bees will swarm in search of a new
hive. The chosen queen will be fed royal jelly which will allow her to
become the sole reproducer in the hive. She will be attended by male
drones who give their life for mate with her.
new coven of witches is formed from members of an older group it is said
that the new coven has “hived off”, just as swarming bees would gather
under a new queen.
Druids thought that the bee came
from the world of sun and spirit. They drank mead, a drink made from
fermented honey, to celebrate this connection.
and propolis, a resin which bees smear on their hives, are both
antiseptic and are wonderful would healers and preservatives. Thus,
bees have powerful healing magic.
All bees everywhere
build the combs in their hives at specific intervals of measurement.
This is known as “bee space”. If bees are prevalent in your life you may
need to examine if you are claiming the right amount of personal space
Finally, the bee's droning buzzing can be
compared to the sounds of otherworldly trance. Its hum is commemorated
in many folk names for the creature, including drumbee, drummer,
doombledore, hummabee, and humble-dad. In Welsh the word for harp,
tellinn, is a truncated version of the word for bee, an-tseillean.