Musings on bees, humanity and connections to plants
I wanted to share some random and still in process thinking that arose from the first two books I read about bees and honey. I chose to separate these from the book review because they really aren’t relevant to a review but did arise in reaction to it and my own unusual thought processes, so bear with me…. or not.
Both of the books discussed the massive bee die off (known as CCD or Colony Collapse Disorder) that occurred fairly recently. The triggering mechanism for this was a confluence of different factors including:
- The use rampant use of poisons in agriculture
- Poor nutrition where the bees were given high-fructose corn syrup mixture for the bulk of their diet (by agribusinesses who gave it to them because they were taking too much of their honey to sell) which was devoid of nutrients and essentially junk food
- Climate change
- Stress by the constant movement of hives to ensure profits
- Disease introduced from around the world
I could only think of what a bellwether this is for us in the USA and too much of the rest of the world since these are all things that humanity is doing to itself as well.
I also was thinking that how the bees relationships to plants is what herbalists (or good herbalists) should truly be aspiring to. As well as being a example truly worth exploring in how the bee’s form and very being (no pun intended really) is aligned to connecting with the plants. And the mutually beneficial relationship flowering plants and bees have co-evolved into.
The better herbalists do think of that energy exchange with plants (we gain food and healing from them and should repay it somehow) to a degree but mostly seem to teach it being satisfied by symbolic offerings and asking rather than taking. Somehow, I’m feeling more needs to be done for it to truly feel that exchange is fairer (probably the Libra in me always worrying about balance and fairness!)
It’s certainly something that has been gnawing at me throughout my herbal studies. I don’t have a problem with what I have been taught by different herbalists as good practices and ways of spirit in dealing with harvesting plants including things like:
- Only take at most 1/3 of a stand
- Don’t approach with cutting/digging tools out and ready but talk first and ask permission
- Don’t take mindlessly but with awareness and connection
- Leaving an offering (hair, corn meal, tobacco, etc.)
I’m pondering things such as awareness of supporting efforts to protect the environment. If I harvest this I vow to give this much to United Plant Savers, Wilderness Society, etc. or spend this much time helping or planting. Or instead of symbolic offering technically useless things – bring fertilizer or water that will help the plants you leave in the stand grow.
Not a fully grown throught yet, but something I’ll start pondering.