New Bee Hive at the Ashram

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How wonderful that the ashram has decided to become guardians of the honey bee. There has been much written about the bee in yoga. In the Vedas and Upanishads there are many references to the honey bee as they are a symbol to define our transcendental longings and experiences. The bee (Apis Mellifica) offers a bridge between this physical ordinary existence and a more other worldly, spiritual plane. The bee represents the sweetness of our endeavours and fruits of our practices, the discipline and commitment we give to our sadhana. But they also have sting and venom and represent the challenges of our path; attachments to beliefs and preferences that need purification, understanding and even renouncing.

There is much in the media about the plight of the honey bee so it is great that the ashram can help, not as farmers focused on the potential honey yield but as an ally who respects and wants to watch and learn about these beautiful winged creatures. In turn they will pollinate our gardens and our beings, offering us the primordial sound in their Hum and a meditative presence. We intend to be natural bee keepers who take our lead as much as possible from the bees. The Top Bar bee hive now situated in the ashram gardens looks a little unusual but it lends itself to natural organic beekeeping.  The bees make their own comb so can adapt size, shape and heat modulation as needed. It is also easier to carry out checks and manage the comb if one chooses to.

In some traditions it is customary to paint the bee hive and this is what I have done.  This sacred art is an offering to the bee and the land. We approach the bee hive as we would enter a temple; likewise the artwork is a mirror of beautification and gratitude to the relationship that I hope will be born. The sacred art is given to me as a knowing of what intuitively feels right for this hive at this time in this place.

The front of the hive is a triptych, typical of many spiritual artworks. Firstly the Shiva lingam, representing the masculine, with the serpent Kundalini beginning to ascend. As she awakens we move towards our spiritual unfolding.  The second is the Yoni, the Goddess, the feminine: that which brings into beeing. The yoni ascends to the heart chakra where the blue pearl may be experienced; the Self.  Beyond is the Sahasrara, the thousand petalled lotus and union beyond the duality of physical existence. The third image is the Golden Chalice, the nectar of Amrita that drips to quench our longing.

On the back of the hive is the Lemniscate Voltus or Dance of Infinite Flight, commonly recognised as the infinity symbol. It is depicted in Tulsi or Holy Basil. In Hinduism it is said that bee keepers hold a spring of tulsi when tending to their bees. It is also linked to Lord Vishnu. In the orb on the left the moon is depicted, the feminine or Goddess, the sea, the ebb and flow of emotion and thought, Ida. On the right is the sun, the masculine, Pingala, the mountain of form and matter. The mountain that we climb in our sadhana. The two orbs balance and when integrated we stand at the knot of the lemniscate and experience the freedom from polarities and duality. The lemnicate is also the waggle dance, the movements that the bees use to communicate to one another using the sun as their compass.

At the time of writing the hive is waiting for colony of bees to move in. When they do I would invite visitors to just be with the hive, the art work and the bees, to dream, to tell your story and enjoy.

Thanks to Hamsa for making the roof and legs for the hive; thanks to the donator of the top bar body; gratitude to the Path of Pollen for the sacred bee teachings. For more information about natural bee keeping see: http://www.biobees.com/ and http://www.naturalbeekeepingtrust.org/

Reva, April 2017