Sunday, November 18, 2012

Various Gods of Beekeeping

I thought this was interesting.

Mayans have been beekeepers for centuries.  Their god of Beekeeping was Ah-Muzen-Cab or Ah-Mucen-Cab.  National  The Mayan bees were stingless, but they are being superceded by Africanized European honey bees.

Apparently this is the Mayan god of bees.  "The traditional way to gather bees, still favored amongst the locals, is find a wild hive; then the branch is cut around the hive to create a portable log, enclosing the colony. This log is then capped on both ends with another piece of wood or pottery and sealed with mud."

Also the Mayan god Mok Chi.

According to Austin Cline, "Honey was an important part of the diet in most Mesoamerican cultures... a vital trade product...Ah Mucen Cab was an important deity in the Mayan pantheon. The Mayan word for "honey" was also the same as the word for "world," so the honey god Ah Mucen Cab was also involved with the creation of the world".

Also " in Mayan Codices...ceremonies worshipping Ah Mucen Cab, the god of honey, where a honey wine called balchï was consumed in excess by men only, while women drank sac honey wine of a lower alcohol content. In addition, the byproducts, wax and vinegar, were among the most valued trading commodities throughout Mesoamerica. "  and  "“To the beautiful lady foreign divine queen lord, I wash her wings, I give strength to her wings’, while intermixing the chant with sounds of a bee humming.”

Bee worship was enshrined in ancient art (Image: Ckirie/Chris Irie/Flickr)
Image from

Bees have been worshiped in other cultures as well, Minoan, Egyptian, Greek, and others.  Also in he ancient Hebrew bible with many verses discussing honey and bees. "The Bible refers to Israel as "a land flowing with milk and honey".  also "The Christians ate honey before fast-days, especially on Holy Thursday. On the eve of the Jewish New Year an apple dipped in honey was eaten; fruit and honey symbolized prosperity and peace."  Then there is this, "To the ancient Germanic god, Neckar, there was yearly sacrificed a man, a sheep, a loaf of bread and a beehive."

Bhramari Devi Goddess of the Black Bees
from  Bhramari Devi is the Hindu goddess of black bees.  She created innumerable bees, which stung and killed the demon Arunaasura, who ruled the world and could not be killed by any creature with 2 or 4 legs.  

Bee goddess of the Ephesians.
coin with bee and first letters of Ephesus

Interesting illustration:
Image from here.

Last night I went to a 3 hour beekeeping class.  I haven't made the "final commitment" yet and built or bought a hive, but I think I will.  It was very interesting.  I've been reading up on beekeeping, and it seems like a perfect fit to our kitchen garden and little orchard.  The Linden trees are reputed to make wonderful honey, which I mentioned before.  Also, Ning wants a wildflower meadow, which will also provide nectar and pollen.

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