Monday, 16 September 2013

in the hum of the hive 'we are stardust' is set to song

I am lucky, my mother has always believed in me, and these days she sees the deep of what I am attempting in stitching small otherworldly beings. Within this light, at the beginning of the summer she said to me that she felt it would be valuable to make some beings in honour of, and in response to, the bees and those less visible who fly with them.
To my initial surprise these bee beings did not come quickly, nor did they come easy, nor simply. Rather over the warm months they birthed in a complexity of pockets of time of intense exactitude.. of pauses between...of secrets that had to be both materialised and hidden, barely hinted at, yet still within. 

The little boy came very first, his face bearing a rainbow and the cells of gold honeycomb, my daughter though saw the eyes, which I had not really noticed, saying in her wisdom 'one sparkly one dreamy, just right for a bee.' 

The mothering bee fey grew wings of rubbed gold but was strangely empty until the flowers blossomed on her skirt, and yet she remained still unsatisfied until her arms could cradle twin baby bees and her solar plexus became a heart pocket with a rainbow pillow of lavender - lavender from the expanse along the wall of our front garden which has been blessed with more bees than ever before, every day of this summer. 

The male bee lay naked and wrapped in a patchwork of indian silk for a long time, he lay where the other gnomes and fairies gathered and at times had a wand of tomato stars and several branches of aquilegia seeds placed over him, he rested so long without indication that I wondered if he might perhaps not be destined to be. 

Then I saw the inside of a physalis husk, a fine shine of gold transperacy as the wings of insects, and on the other side green tree threads lacing intricate messages across the papery yellow. This was his headress, as feathers and honeycomb and therefrom the drone prince became in pervasive peace.

In the evening while my young daughter silk painted bright flowery colour rounds for her poems, I found myself painting his cloak, and in following what came, stars above the bees on the lavender, and with these I caught a wondering thought... in the hum of the hive 'we are stardust' is set to song.

In my hands this prince seemed to touch on my sense of the prince in Ben Okri's Starbook 
'Long ago, in the time when the imagination ruled the world, there was a prince in this kingdom who grew up in the serenity of all things. He was my mother's ancestor, and he alone of all the people in that village loved playing in the forest. He was very handsome and fair and bright and the elders suspected that he was a child of heaven, one of those children from another place, who was not destined to live long.' 
And he brought to mind a painting of rhythm of seed sewing from Carl Larsson's picture book, Our Farm. This image became the seed bag, which in its fields of harvest also reflects the patchwork of colours in which the prince had rested. 

I found my personal story of bees encircled by these impressions and I realised that my story of bees is woven through mystery with my story of universe and in that with my story of being and of loving creation. 

As a child I didn't like honey...perhaps that was to be expected as I also spat out my first sweet, hated jam and never ate deserts. My relationship with bees was not through their mana although I remember the dizzying pleasure of sucking tip after tip of nectar form armfuls of french cowslip bells. My sense of bees was in their collective hum, which is also how I encountered them in stories...Winnie the Pooh with his balloon and Dear Mrs Apple and her beehive. 

I knew of bees through their sting with its accompanying sorriness for the panicked death I had caused. But the first gift of the mystery of bees was for me in the possibility of their wax. I spent hours warming and moulding beeswax, this was perhaps my first awareness of my hand's creative delicacy - Blue Mary and her baby wrapped in transparent yello, gnomes, flowers, farmers with curly shoes... in beeswax I formed from the unbounded cosmos of my fingertip's dreams. 

The first time I found honey delicious was when I was fifteen doing work experience with a steiner school kindergarten teacher named Marigold, who conincidentally always reminded me a little of Mrs Apple. Sitting down at break time in the company of children and eating half slices of fresh bread with honey was wonderfully sweet.

Since then I have discovered the joy of eating honeycomb with a spoon, a mesh of the bees second sweet gift to me with the wax of their first.....And when I had my first baby I came to using this magic mixed with calendula marigold flowers in pultises for mastitis .....And when my second little girl was born, her first darling name was honey, both for its warmth and for its vast mana, which fitted with my sense of her.

At the moment my digestion struggles with the richness of honey and I my tasting is reduced to an occasional lick. Yet I find myself once again dizzyingly joyfully greedily tasting flowers alongside the bees, picking lavender straight into my warm cup of green tea day after day and being thrilled that the bees are there touching the purple blossom that I drink. 

And now as I write this I search to find some writing about bees to add in closing and this is what resonates, from Bees, lectures by Rudolf Steiner 
The whole beehive is permeated with life based on love. In many ways the bees renounce love, and thereby this love develops within the entire beehive. You will begin to understand the life of bees once you are clear about the fact that the bee lives as if it were in an atmosphere pervaded thoroughly by love.
Through this summer's endeavour I have recognised the third gift offered to me by the bees, that of loving attentiveness to love
and so I ask 
for love, 
pray tell 
your stories 
of bees 


  1. Just wonderful, cheers from New Zealand. Marie

    1. Thank you Marie, it always feels a little strange to write so much from the heart, so its especially nice when its meaningful to others in some way xs