Melissa at the hearth of her hive …..🐝

Today we reach the Winter solstice, and are reminded that we are at the darkest point of our year, and from now we can look forward to the reborn light.  I celebrate this turning of the seasons with a print  of Melissa at the hearth of her hive. For many bee keepers the winter solstice marks a turning point in their hives, as the honey bee queens start to begin again to slowly reproduce their first young for the next year. She sits within the darkness of her hive, but somehow knows that this is a time of importance and growth in the life cycle of her hive. Melissa, the Bee-goddess’s name,  has a long history with roots reaching back to  beyond Ancient Greece. It is probable that the ‘pure mother bee’ deity originated in Crete , and arose from the Minoan culture. There she was called Potnia , the matriarchal bee goddess , so important for the Minoans whose  tombs were shaped like a beehive and honey mead was used produces and used ritually . The myths of ancient Greece link the ‘Melissae’ with their main god Zeus , who was born on the  island of Crete  in a cave of bees and was fed by them. In the time of ancient Greece,  in the temples of Artemis, Aphrodite, Demeter but also of Cybele, Diana and Rhea, priestesses who served The Great Mother were called the ‘Melissae’ meaning ..the bees. The Goddess as the Great Mother was  titled Melissa, translated literally, as ‘the Queen Bee.’ The bee is for many now and in ancient times , a sacred insect  signifing immortality and resurrection ,offering a bridge from the natural world to the underworld. Because a honeycomb is naturally made up of hexagonal prisms, it was considered by philosophers to be the manifestation of divine harmony in nature. Many cultures and religions have deities personifying the bees connecting people to the sacred aspect of the bees.

Beware ! the ‘Queen Bee syndrome’ – the negative archetypal aspect of this most ancient and sacred goddess.

The words at the top of this  print are the first line of Carol Ann Duffy’s poem ..Bees

'Melissa at the hearth of her hive'

‘Melissa at the hearth of her hive’

Bees by Carol Ann Duffy

Here are my bees,
brazen, blurs on paper
besotted: buzzwords, dancing
their flawless, airy maps.

Been deep, my poet bees,
in the parts of flowers
in daffodil, thistle, rose, even
the golden lotus; so glide,
gilded, glad, golden, thus –

wise – and know of us:
how your scent pervades
my shadowed, busy heart,
and honey is art.

Minoan Bee pendant

Minoan Bee pendant










A solid gold Minoan pendant depicting two bees clutching a honeycomb (1800-1700 BCE), found in the Old Palace cemetery at Chrysolakkos near Malia, Crete.

About redseedsgatherer

Linda Hill
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1 Response to Melissa at the hearth of her hive …..🐝

  1. suefjsuefj says:

    Wow! Very interesting. Beautiful images and the pendant is stunning, your print is amazing as ever. X

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