What would you tell the bees?

Perusing the Interwebs I came across this article from amusingplanet.com about the custom of sharing mourning news with the bees, who would then help to spread the word of someone’s passing. The practice expanded to sharing with the bees anything that you wanted to pass to the spirit world because they were able to pass between worlds.

I seem to be controversial sometimes when talking to other psychics and mediums about whether anyone has the ability to make these connections. My thinking is that anyone can throw a ball. You may not have the skill and accuracy to do it in a way that is generally useful for sports, but if you had a strong desire you could certainly exercise that ability. Of course, there will always be those who due to intense training and natural talent will always throw a ball better than you. Anyone can throw a ball, though.

I try to never discourage people about their own intuition and abilities to connect with spirit. There are many techniques that help people to explore and develop these things. Telling the bees is one of them. While our modern sensibilities may laugh at this as naive superstition, look at all that is going into this. There is an acceptance of death. There is an idea of continuance. There is an acknowledgement that there are forces at work that are bigger than any of us individually. There is a willingness to be open to mysteries. We don’t know how or why the bees carry these messages, but we allow that they will. I think that’s beautiful.

Detail of Charles Napier Hemy’s painting The Widow (1895)

Of course, the bees have been struggling for some time. There are many environmental causes attributing to this decline in bee health and population, but could it also have something to do with our turning away from spirit? Would it make any difference if we were to enlist the bees again as metaphysical messengers? The gist of it all is recorded in this wonderful poem by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892) found in The Poetical Works in Four Volumes. 1892. It is presented here from bartleby.com.

Narrative and Legendary Poems
Telling the Bees

HERE is the place; right over the hill
  Runs the path I took;
You can see the gap in the old wall still,
  And the stepping-stones in the shallow brook.

There is the house, with the gate red-barred,
  And the poplars tall;
And the barn’s brown length, and the cattle-yard,
  And the white horns tossing above the wall.

There are the beehives ranged in the sun;
  And down by the brink
Of the brook are her poor flowers, weed-o’errun,
  Pansy and daffodil, rose and pink.

A year has gone, as the tortoise goes,
  Heavy and slow;
And the same rose blows, and the same sun glows,
And the same brook sings of a year ago.

There ’s the same sweet clover-smell in the breeze;
  And the June sun warm
Tangles his wings of fire in the trees,
  Setting, as then, over Fernside farm.

I mind me how with a lover’s care
  From my Sunday coat
I brushed off the burrs, and smoothed my hair,
  And cooled at the brookside my brow and throat.

Since we parted, a month had passed,—
  To love, a year;
Down through the beeches I looked at last
  On the little red gate and the well-sweep near.

I can see it all now,—the slantwise rain
  Of light through the leaves,
The sundown’s blaze on her window-pane,
  The bloom of her roses under the eaves.

Just the same as a month before,—
  The house and the trees,
The barn’s brown gable, the vine by the door,—
  Nothing changed but the hives of bees.

Before them, under the garden wall,
  Forward and back,
Went drearily singing the chore-girl small,
  Draping each hive with a shred of black.

Trembling, I listened: the summer sun
Had the chill of snow;
For I knew she was telling the bees of one
  Gone on the journey we all must go!

Then I said to myself, “My Mary weeps
  For the dead to-day:
Haply her blind old grandsire sleeps
  The fret and the pain of his age away.”

But her dog whined low; on the doorway sill,
  With his cane to his chin,
The old man sat; and the chore-girl still
  Sung to the bees stealing out and in.

And the song she was singing ever since
  In my ear sounds on:—
“Stay at home, pretty bees, fly not hence!
  Mistress Mary is dead and gone!”


When you are mourning someone, when you want to send a message to one who has crossed, try telling the bees.

Saul Ravencraft's signature

One thought on “What would you tell the bees?

  1. I love this – thanks for bringing it to my attention. I don’t have hives, but I do have trees & shrubs with blooms the bees love. Happily, I therefore have no shortage of bees to talk to.

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