The key to doing better, I feel, is to not only acknowledge the messages I get, but to actually follow them! So when I finally worked out that honey seemed to be trying to get my attention in every way it could, (I noticed I was eating honey instead of jam, using honey shampoo, checking out books on bee shamanism although not actually buying them, investigating better gardening for bees, and have always burned beeswax candles when possible) I decided that I would try and find out what lessons bees and honey had for me.
I started out by reading ‘The Shamanic Way of the Bee’ by Simon Buxton. This was a truly fascinating account of his initiation as a bee shaman, and my respect for what it means to be a shaman, chosen by and dedicating your life to the spirits, increased enormously. It was amazing to discover that this was a native tradition, going back centuries, yet still relevant today and still practised in this country by those who are called to it. I also loved learning about the origins of the ‘flying ointment’, so often attributed to witches, but here shown to be fully part of the bee tradition – the three relevant herbs, henbane, deadly nightshade and thorn apple, all growing in the same island location and coming together in the form of honey which does indeed help the initiate to fly. On something very like a broomstick…
Reading this book helped me fully understand that a shamanic path is not for me in this lifetime! I am very happy as a witch who journeys, but who has a family life and interests outside of witchcraft.
I then investigated beekeeping. This has never been something I wished to pursue personally, and still isn’t, but I now have a better understanding of how the honey I eat was made and gathered and how the flavour is affected depending on the time of year and types of pollen gathered. And related to that, how I can garden better for bees.
By this stage I was getting a little frustrated that I didn’t seem to be able to work out the answer to all the messages I was getting. What was I missing? What did I still need to know about bees or honey, and where could I find out?
Since I generally try to learn through books in the first instance, I then did a library search on honey and then wrote down the Dewey decimal number for every book that came up in the local area. The next time I visited the library I was armed with my list of numbers, no idea what section most of them were in, and went round to see what was in stock. Now at this point intuition had to take over again, because I mentally rejected the book I actually needed. My hand picked it up regardless, my brain told it to put it back. My hand didn’t. After a few minutes of still firmly holding the book, I accepted the inevitable and put it in the pushchair. This is a technique I have used in bookshops – buy only the books my hand refuses to put back on the shelf. They always have something to teach me. I don’t usually argue that hard in a library, because I can always bring it back the next week, but since on this occasion I had argued quite hard against it I decided to read it first when I got home. The book was ‘The Honey Diet’ by Mike McInnes.
What did I learn? That honey is processed and stored by the body in a very different way to sugar because it has partly digested by bees. This means you avoid the peaks and troughs that come from eating sugary foods, the brain doesn’t have to shut down to protect itself from too much sugar – when it will frequently send out a ‘still hungry’ message because it can’t access the sugar you just ate, meaning that the average person eats another biscuit or chocolate bar and perpetuates the cycle. I also learned how after honey is eaten, the body stores its particular sugars in the liver for use as brain food rather than as fat like other sugars are. So I need to give up eating sugar and just eat honey. Hmmm. Giving up wheat was bad, finding honey recipes that also avoid all the other things I am allergic to could be seriously challenging! No wonder I didn’t want to know… But it probably is the next step I need to take to be truly healthy and to be more balanced in my sugar levels – especially while still feeding M and being unable to predict how much milk she will want each day and night. The cure for “baby brain” at last!
Then finally another book that if I needed any more convincing would give me the push I needed to make the changes. Tanis Helliwell, ‘Hybrids: So You Think You Are Human?’ Apparently bees came to our planet from Venus to ‘hold’ the Earth when it was sinking into darkness. They helped to raise the level of vibration of the Earth, and everything on it. I can only assume that all the plants pollinated by bees came as a result of bees being here, and it is strange to try and imagine a world in which they are entirely absent. We can, she suggests, learn many lessons from bee behaviour: honeybees working together, queen bees being in charge of huge organisations and solitary bees being individuals, and more seriously Colony Collapse Disorder when there are not enough able bodies bees looking after the dependants in the hive. But we can also benefit from being around bees and raising our own vibrations. Enjoying the many colourful flowers they pollinate, and eating honey will help to do this. Honey is one of the favourite foods of Elementals; I feel it brings me closer to their world.