I am not even sure where to begin to help to share the message of the Learning from the Bees conference in Holland, but it is too important to not share, so I will try to do as best as I can.
My journey began by saying goodbye to my animal family and friends and land on a hill in western Massachusetts that I call DragonFly Hill. I let the bees know where I was going; both the honeybees and the native bees that live in tiny holes in the logs in the garden. For me, it is important to balance both the communal bees and the individual bees in my life. You can read more about that here.
I find myself looking out the window on the overnight plane ride from Boston to Amsterdam and wanting to take a picture of the full moon as it seemed to represent how I feel. However, I can not take a picture, regardless of the light outside, without seeing small dots around the moon, like bees flying around the entrance of a hive or around a swarm. I realize, the moon is reflecting exactly as I was feeling; full and bursting from the seams into tiny bits of light. I feel like a swarm of bees, moving through the air, an imme, as the german language puts it so sweetly.
I feel the shifting inside of myself, mirroring the shifting that is happening in the world as well. This conference is big. From my perspective, the more gatherings of people who are filled with love, the more bits of light are available for all. When I visualize the universe, I see bits of light, swirling and spiraling together from a central source. When I see the entire earth in my mind, I see an egg, lovingly wrapped in a shawl made up of bits of light. When I see the omphalos from Delphi, I see an egg, wrapped in a net of bits of light. When I see a beehive, I see a heart, sending out bits of light, or bees, to engage with the beings and environment around itself, so as to join the environment. In this sense, the bees, or bits of light, carry the “blood,” or what is necessary for the rest of the environment to live. This conference is a gathering of a lot of swarming “hearts” with bits of light to share. Holland, is an omphalos in the present times for this conference.
If the flight over the ocean was dreamy, then the last 30 minute walk from Maarn to Zonheuvel, was out of this world! I walked through the woods, carrying my backpack, to the conference. I wish I could walk through the woods at home to end up where I need to go! I mean, I walk through the woods all of the time, but it only gets me somewhere in my own world, not in the world outside of myself. Seriously. If we all had to walk through the woods like this to get to work, or the grocery store, or what seemed like a magical conference center in the middle of nowhere, we would all be much healthier and our world would have more peace. Here are two different views of the path along the way.
The conference began with some inspiring words from Jonathan Powell of the Natural Beekeeping Trust about creating the “new wild,” or “apis mellifera novus,” after which, Astrid Schools led us in a few songs to build to our harmony. My favorite was the building of the “cathedral.” This is how I feel when I am connected to myself. It really filled the space with such beautiful vibration and set the tone of the weekend. Beautiful.
Tom Seely, bee guardian and professor at Cornell University, also spoke and mentioned that it is our appreciation, admiration and fascination that connects us to and with the bees. First, we understand that bees provide the heartbeat of our planet’s natural cycles and learn from that. Then, bees tell us how well we have managed the world. Are we willing to listen to their messages? Next, bees are an important source of information about how nature works; their communication between each other, orientation by sun and collective intelligence fascinates us. Then, we are hooked and we become ambassadors to the bees, who are themselves ambassadors of the environment. Heather Swan, bee guardian and author, showed us how her fascination with bees has lead her to be an ambassador for the bees. In fact, she had an art project made for her by artist Nancy Judd, which was a bee cape made from pieces of yellow material that all of the bee guardians at the conference were asked to write their thoughts on what the bees are trying to tell us.
Johannes Wirz, professor at the Research Laboratory at the Goetheanum, spoke about how bees connect us to something that is not of the senses and that whatever we sense, is connected to something not of the senses.
It is easy to see how just during this opening of the Learning from the Bees conference, it will be “more than an event but a living impulse, a force for change towards a true culture of the Bee,” as the Natural Beekeeping Trust states in the Welcome of the program.