Bees and Love within the Hive quotes from Rudolf Steiner Nine Lectures on Bees

the bees surrender themselves entirely to Venus, unfolding a life of love throughout the whole hive. This life will be filled with wisdom; you can well imagine how wise it must be!

I have already told you various things about the reproductive process and the unconscious wisdom contained in it. This unconscious wisdom is unfolded by the bees in their external activity. What we only experience when love arises in our hearts is to be found, as it were, in the whole bee-hive as substance. The whole hive is in reality permeated with love. The individual bees renounce love in manifold ways, and thus develop love throughout the whole hive. One only begins to understand the life of the bees when one knows that the bee lives in an atmosphere completely pervaded by love.

On the other hand the bee is quite especially favoured by the fact that, in its turn, it feeds upon just those parts of the plants which are also wholly pervaded by love. The bees suck out their food — which they then turn into honey — exclusively from those parts of the plants that are centred in love; they bring, so to speak, the love-life of the flowers into the hive.

Hence one must say that the life of the bees must be studied by making use of the soul.

This is much less necessary when we study the ants and the wasps for we shall see that here, though they withdraw themselves to some extent, still they do surrender themselves more to sexual life. With the exception of the Queen, the bees are actually beings which, as I would like to put it, say to themselves “We will renounce the individual sexual life that we make ourselves ‘bearers of love.’” Thus they have been able to bring what lives in the flowers into the hive; and when you begin really to think this out rightly, you will reach the whole mystery of the bee-hive.

The life of this sprouting, budding love which is in the flowers is there too, within the honey. You can also study what honey does, when you eat it yourself. What does the honey do? When honey is eaten it furthers the right connection in man between the airy and the watery elements. Nothing is better for man than to add the right proportion of honey to his food. For in a wonderful way the bees see to it that man learns to work with his soul upon the organs of his body. In the honey the bee gives back again to man what he needs to further the activity of his soul-forces within his body. Thus when man adds some honey to his food, he wishes so to prepare his soul that it may work rightly within his body — breathe rightly.

Bee-keeping is therefore something that greatly helps to advance our civilisation, for it makes men strong.

You see, when one realises that the bees receive very many influences from the starry worlds, one sees also how they can pass on to man what is fitted for him. All that is living, when it is rightly combined, works rightly together. When one stands before a hive of bees one should say quite solemnly to oneself: “By way of the bee-hive the whole Cosmos enters man and makes him strong and able.”

https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA351/English/SGP1975/19230203p01.html

 

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