Bees, Beehives

Humanity has always had a close relationship with bees, whose honey has have been a food staple since before the dawn of civilization. As a symbol, the bees’ lifestyle mimics that of the human social order- a cooperative, productive social hierarchy.

In fact, beekeeping is one of the earliest markers of civilized society- bees provided many of the necessities of advancement, providing not only food, but wax for metalworking, cosmetics, and medicines, as well as the ever-important pollinization of fruit trees and other food crops.

Hieroglyphic Bee symbolising the Kingdom of Lower Egypt

The cultivation of honey was a sacred charge often imbued with ritual symbolism and associated with the mother goddess, whose nurturing protection of mankind was symbolized by the the abundance of honey provided to bee society under the reign of the queen bee.

As it was widely believed that bees were born spontaneously, they were widely viewed as symbols of chastity and purity. The Bee’s never-flagging labors made them an emblem of hard work, industriousness, teamwork, perseverance, charity, selflessness, and constancy. These virtues are recalled in many heraldic emblems and personal seals, as well as in the emblems of Freemasonry, the Church of Latter-Day Saints, and in countless trademarks.

Masonic Beehive emblem

Observances of the annual hibernation of the hives also resulted in the belief that bees died and were reborn annually, and this, along with their coloring, made them a natural solar symbol- and later, an emblem of Christ in to Christian believers. Greek followers of the goddess Demeter believed her priestesses would be reincarnated as bees; the priestesses of the Ephesian Diana wre called melissae- bees.

Minoan Bee Goddess

Bee-headed Goddess medallion, from Knossos, Crete, 1500 BCE

Related Symbols:

Labrys, sacred axeSkull and Bones (crossbones)Minoan Bee Goddess

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Related resources:

  • Bee, Beehive View more artist’s renderings of the Bee, Beehive.

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Religious Symbol Dictionary | symboldictionary.net
October 9, 2009 at 11:27 am
¿Simbología illuminati?
January 13, 2014 at 9:28 pm

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Patrick January 13, 2016 at 8:29 pm

Thank you for the explanation! I was skimming through a book earlier today on paper money printed in Virginia during the 18th Century, and many of the bills had the beehive printed on them (similar to the Masonic emblem in your article, and on a small table/stand). I figured it had some deeper implied meaning beyond “just looking kind of neat.”

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Kirk Westwood April 25, 2014 at 6:58 am

Thanks for your page, LOVING it. Just a quick note: It is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” not “Church of Latter-day Saints”. Its a pretty critical difference…. at least to them.

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Anonymous December 28, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Thank you! I was about to bring that up! It’s a major difference for sure! Many people don’t consider us Christians because of that error, as well as calling us by our nickname Mormons because of our belief in the Book of Mormon (which, btw, is ALL about Jesus Christ – also, we believe in the Bible just as much). Again, thank you! :)

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Isabella April 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Great website! I just wanted to bring to your attention that the following links are broken:
 Da Vinci Code Research Guide
 Bee, Beehive and the planning of temples (Offsite)

Also, on the page “Symbols of Disbelief” are no graphs.
On the “Tribal and Shamanic Symbols” page the Eagle and Kahuna graphs are missing.

Reply

Jennifer April 2, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Thanks Isabella. Both pages are no longer active. The DVC guide was mine and hosted elsewhere, so I may just host that here.

Reply

Hoagie February 20, 2012 at 8:55 am

I see this symbol on the sign for The Providance Bank.

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