Ancient Wisdom and Healing Practices
of the Bee Masters
author: Simon Buxton
Shamanism comes in many forms. When I think of shamanism in relation to bees, I think of the Melissae - the High Priestesses associated with the Temple of Aphrodite. The Shamanic Way of the Bee speaks of a similar tradition - the Keltic Path of Pollen. The story begins with author Simon Buxton's death and rebirth - when at the age of nine he was brought back from near death (due to encephalitis) by an Austrian bee shaman. Near death experience is a traditional shamanic gateway - one which is seldom recognized at the time that it occurs.
The relationship between Buxton and the bee shaman, a gentleman that he refers to as Herr Professor, lasted over a period of two years. He was a neighbor to the Buxton family, a retired academic in his eighties, and often walked the woods with the young boy. From his studies over five continents, he brought back the knowledge of a shaman. During their walks, the wisdom of the bee community was relayed to the young boy, in terms that he would understand. Upon saying good-bye, Herr Professor gifted young Buxton with three things, one of which was a piece of wood with a simple carving, which was later revealed to be a plurba (a healing stick used in Tibetan shamanism).
During one of his walks in early adulthood, Buxton came upon a gateway with a Latin inscription carved into it: Hic Habitat Felicitas - Happiness Dwells Here. On the other side he found an orchard, alive with bees. In the middle stood the bee keeper, looking directly at him. The short version of what happened is that Buxton was stung on the top of his head and his hand, and this became his introduction to the bee keeper. He proceeded to tell the bee keeper, Bridge, about his experiences with bees, and about the time he spent with Herr Professor a decade past.
Buxton was invited to come back and learn more about the bees from the bee keeper, Bridge (who was the same age as Herr Professor when they first met). Bridge taught Buxton how to talk to the bees, how to enter their world and become one with them. The time came when Buxton was offered the chance to become an initiate into the Path of Pollen, of which Bridge was Bee Master and Elder.
The experiences that Buxton has as an initiate are many, intense and diverse. He spends 23 days (the time that it takes for a drone to emerge fully formed from a cell) in a cocoon of Bridge's making, during which he became one with the hive. He emerges from this experience transformed, and on the Path of Pollen.
He meets the Bee Mistress, and her six helpers, the Melissae. (I found it very interesting that the Melissae are of two distinct and different types, and that each Melissae represents one of these two specific types - the maternal type and the magnetic type.)
He takes a wild night journey over water, to visit an island that will come to represent a definitive point in his initiatory experience, for this island is the epicenter for those who walk the Way of the Bee. It is here that he experiences the flying ointment.
There are many avenues in which the shamanism of the bee presents itself in today's world. Honey, pollen, propolis, and royal jelly are accepted as "health foods" - the hidden reality being that they fall actually fall under the category of medicinal tools. The system of acupuncture is thought to have perhaps originated from the application of bee stings to specific meridians on the body. The shamanistic world of the bee is being accessed by both men and women as a living wisdom tradition, a spiritual tradition of well being and connectedness.
The Shamanic Way of the Bee acts as a gateway into this magickal world. Buxton is a fine story teller, and the stories that he tells come from the depth of his own experiences. Through him, the reader experiences initiation into the world of the bee. Time spent reading this book is time well spent.