Tales of the Honeybee

For our next project at Unurth we are centering the design around the magic of the honeybee. Purveyors of sweet honey, aromatic and useful wax, and pollinators of the earth, we are enthralled with the fuzzy little gals (yes most are girls).  In our research we have come across several books that are delightfully enriching to the story of the bee, its mythology, and to the amazing visual micro world of the bee.

Sweetness and Light by Hattie Ellis explores the history of the bee and its relationship to humans throughout time.  A foodie, she has focused on the honey and its role as both a healing tincture.  This book fun read filled with nuggets from a variety of resources.

“This year the purple spread to the horizons. Clouds of pollen puffed up at every step, whitening animals’ muzzles. The nectar flowed and the bees massed on the flowers, drinking deep. …Man makes use of bees, but only by respecting their nature.”

On the other side of the spectrum, The Shamanic Way of the Bee by Simon Buxton is an initation into Shamanic rituals with the honey bee. It is a tale of his discover of the ” Path of Pollen” and a detailing of some of the initiation rites of the Bee Masters.  Like a Don Juan book for the honeybee, this read is poetic, wonderfully strange and altogether magical.  The book draws you in and like the Don Juan books, shows you another vision of the world. How much truth is involved is up to the reader, but this is definitely a delight! The magic of the tale has informed the design process with a touch of the otherworldly.

“True,” he continued, “the Path of Pollen has its dangers, for before there is birth there is labor—if honey, then also sting. But at its completion, it confers upon those who attain it extraordinary control over physical conditions. These include the ability to transmute matter, to heal all diseases, and to prolong the span of human incarnation. The Path of Pollen is our yoga, our means of union and communion with the incredible hidden universe and this beautiful blue-green jewel that is our Earth.”

Last, but definitely not least, Bee by Rose-Lynn Fisher is a photographic tribute to the bio-mechanical complexity of the honeybee. Fisher has partnered with the scienctific community to take stunning photographs of the body of the honey bee at microscopic levels. Beautiful and alluring these photographs provide a view into a microscopic world the imagination would be pressed to replicate.

“The first time I looked at a bee’s eye magnified I was amazed to see a field of hexagons, just like honeycomb. I wondered, is this a coincidence or a clue? Is it simply that hexagons are ubiquitous in nature, or is there a deeper correspondence between the structure of the bee’s vision and the structure she builds – in other words, similar frequencies being expressed in similar form? This got me pondering on the connection between vision and action at a more abstract, metaphoric level. Is there a parallel kind of encoding relevant to humanity? At a refined level of our own nature, does our deeper capacity to see and to do correspond with an intrinsic structuring?”


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