In customs and superstition, bees played an important role in folklore. The roots of beliefs go back to pre-antiquity. Killing a bee, because of its heavenly origin, was a sinful act, certainly followed by misfortune. Many nations consider them the smartest among insects. They are even supposed to be able to predict the future. Nor are they supposed to tolerate cursing; the man who curses in their presence is ruthlessly stung.
There was also a widespread belief that there was a close bond between the beekeeper, his family and the bees. Therefore, bees always had to be told what was going on with the beekeeper’s family. They told them about every major event, entrusted them with every problem, secret, or feat they planned.
In the Baltic areas, there was a widespread belief that witches flew on hive at night – not on a broom. And if witches wanted, they could turn into a bee. If someone in Latvia wanted to become a magician, he had to undress and get dressed again three times at night near the apiary, during Lent and Easter (the outline circumstances are not specifically defined in the recipe), then one should climb on the beehive, whistle three times and wait for the bees to lift one into the air. (Mhm, if anybody survived that, he was definitely a magician).
The bee has always been a powerful symbol to man, most likely because of its fascinating abilities: the bee family always and reliably acts as a superorganism – an admirable connection and synchronicity of all individual 50,000 – 60,000 individuals in the family. A skill that people will probably never master. In addition, with the help of substances found in the environment, they make absolutely everything they need from their body: shelter, medicine, tonics and food for a regular and extremely good winter. With all this, we are aware that the benefits of bees for human health far outweigh the beneficial effects of bee products alone.
Nina Ilič, Institute for the Development of Empathy and Creativity ENEJA
Vice President of the Conference