Bees, as symbolism in literature, represent social creatures as they live and work together, perfectly synced. Bees symbolize hard work, and the term ‘busy bee’ is used to describe a person who is dedicated to working continuously. Thus bees are important symbols of generosity, luck, and power. In mythologies, the Hindus consider Bees as a symbol of love god, and Greeks attribute Demeter, goddess of agriculture, and Persephone, daughter of Zeus, and Demeter, also the wife of Hades. Persephone is linked to the Bees with the honeyed One as a nickname. Thus are sacred in Greek culture. The word ‘Bees’ is borrowed from the Old English word ‘beo’ means ‘bee’, which is derived from the Proto-Germanic ‘bion’ and rooted in the Old High Germanic word ‘bia’ and Middle Dutch word ‘bie’.
Good luck and prosperity
Bees are considered a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Bee charms, thus, symbolize good luck to the person who wears them, especially for attracting wealth. If a bee land on your hand, it symbolizes funds in the form of cash or property is on its way. Also, if a bee lands on a person’s head, it represents success. Bees flying into a home is a symbol of visitors’ arrival who can bring good luck. In Christian mythology from Roman Catholicism, bees are a symbol of good luck and prosperity and also mean bringing the good news of Jesus’ birth. Bumblebees especially symbolize good luck and prosperity. Ancient Greeks believed bees were a symbol of prosperity Also, in ancient Judaism, bees were associated with good luck and prosperity for a peaceful and wealthy society.
The bees are a symbol of true love. According to ancient Indian mythology, bees are also a symbol of love that is used as a representation of the Hindu God of love, Kama. In Celtic mythologies, bees are believed to be travelers between the spirit and the natural world to carry messages romantic messages. Thus, here the bees symbolize love.
Bees, despite being small insects, symbolize great power. The tattoo of the killer bee represents the fierceness and deadly power of the queen bee, which are also used to describe strong feminine power and leadership. In Shamanic culture, bees are a representation of power as they live a mighty life and work hard. Bee spirit animals have powerful messages about the need to balance work, play, devotion, service, and socialization. Bee, as a power animal, appears in a variety of shamanic traditions. In Christianity, bees are symbols of the power of community and also traits portrayed by Jesus. Bees are powerful symbols of attraction, and it is based on numerology; they’re shown as hexagon shapes. It symbolizes the power of imagination. Especially Bees know one power of stopping to smell the flowers.
Bees in dreams are a symbol of community, busyness, and prosperity. In Hindu tradition dreaming about bees symbolize rebirth. They are also symbols of gods Vishnu and Krishna, who are often shown with a Bee to represent psychic energy. Dreaming of bees also represents the vitality and prosperity in a person’s life. In Western culture, bees in a dream also signify attention to life. If a person dreams about the stung by a bee, it is a symbol of confusion in a relationship or a warning of an oncoming disaster. In English tradition, dreaming of the Queen bee is a symbol of radiating power and sensuality.
In both pop and ancient cultures, bees have been a symbol of hard work, as their entire lives are devoted to pollinating. Native Americans considered bees ass spirit guides and symbols of hard work and resilience. Also, a working bee represents a hardworking person as the bees work together and contribute to the hive for 16 hours a day. Manchester, an industrial city in England, uses the honey bee as a symbol of hard work and growth. According to the Chinese, bees symbolize ambition and success a person earns through hard work.
In western mythology, bees also symbolize death as well as good occasions such as weddings. In Celtic countries like England, Wales, and Ireland, including European countries Germany, Netherlands, Bohemia, Switzerland, France, as well as the United States, the members of the family would go to the bees to share important news such as arrival, departures, weddings or deaths. This is done to avoid making bees leave the hive, be upset or die. According to ancient Egyptian philosophy, the symbol of the king of Lower Egypt was a bee which was god Ra’s tries, symbolizing messages to mankind. In Celtic mythology, bees were revered as a symbol of wisdom and a messenger between the two worlds. The Chinese consider bees as messengers between the living and spirit worlds. Also, as per Chinese folklore, bees would turn away from their hives once they passed away, and they considered bee swarms to bring good luck.
In Hindu mythology, the goddess Parvati reincarnates into Bhramari, a goddess of bees and hornets, to destroy a demon. Thus honey is a sacred nectar symbolizing health, happiness, and prosperity. Additionally, honey is a symbol for the god Krishna called as he is called Madhava, which means honey. According to Islam, the bee symbolizes godliness, as per Chapter 16 of the Quran. They are also called Allah’s miracles. The holy Quran also considers bees as hardworking and dedicated, and generous. According to St. John Chrysostom, a 4th-century Catholic bishop, the bee is more honorable than other animals. Christians, especially Catholics, decorate the Altar of Confession at St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City with honeybees, leaves, and flowers. As per the Roman tradition at Brittany, beehives were decorated with scarlet cloth at weddings to include them in the celebration.
Examples of Bee as Symbolism in Literature
Bees and Morning Glories By John Ciardi
Morning glories, pale as a mist drying,
fade from the heat of the day, but already
hunchback bees in pirate pants and with peg-leg
hooks have found and are boarding them.
This could do for the sack of the imaginary
fleet. The raiders loot the galleons even as they
one by one vanish and leave still real
only what has been snatched out of the spell.
I’ve never seen bees more purposeful except
when the hive is threatened. They know
the good of it must be grabbed and hauled
before the whole feast wisps off.
In this poem, the bees are symbols of joy, adventure, and imagination as the author personifies bees as pirates wearing pants and having a hook similar to The Hook from Peter Pan’s story.
Tell the Bees By Sarah Lindsay
Tell the bees. They require news of the house;
they must know, lest they sicken
from the gap between their ignorance and our grief.
Speak in a whisper. Tie a black swatch
to a stick and attach the stick to their hive.
From the fortress of casseroles and desserts
built in the kitchen these past few weeks
as though hunger were the enemy, remove
a slice of cake and lay it where they can
slowly draw it in, making a mournful sound.
The above poem is a good example of the continuance of ancient European mythology of ‘telling the bees’. The family members would go to the bees to share any major news that happened in their family to keep them happy. Thus in this example, bees are symbols of happiness, grief, and mystery.
Telling the Bees By Lizette Woodworth Reese
A Colonial Custom
Bathsheba came out to the sun,
Out to our wallèd cherry-trees;
The tears adown her cheek did run,
Bathsheba standing in the sun,
Telling the bees.
My Mother had that moment died;
Unknowing, sped I to the trees,
And plucked Bathsheba’s hand aside;
Then caught the name that there she cried
Telling the bees.
Her look I never can forget,
I that held sobbing to her knees;
The cherry-boughs above us met;
I think I see Bathsheba yet
Telling the bees.
The heart-touching poem describes the tradition of European countries to share their happiness or grief with the bees. Here, the narrator observes that Bathsheba has been sharing the loss of her mother with the bees in an effort to find some comfort. Here bees symbolize grief and pain.
Fame is a Bee By Emily Dickinson
Fame is a Bee.
It has a song—
It has a sting—
Ah, too, it has a wing.
In this short poem, the author symbolizes the bee as freedom as well as popularity.
Dandelion Wine By Ray Bradbury
Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.
In this example, the bees are symbols of hard work, beauty, and passion, as the author uses wonderful imagery to describe bees working to pollinate flowers.
The Life of the Bee By Maurice Maeterlinck,
If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.
In this example, the bees symbolize life and warning as the author uses scientific proof that bees are essential to continue pollination and keep the earth greener.
Christy Lefteri By The Beekeeper of Aleppo
Where there are bees there are flowers, and wherever there are flowers there is new life and hope.
The above example mentions bees’ relationship with flowers and also uses them as metaphor for second chances. Here bees symbolize hope, happiness, and comfort.
The Secret Life of Bees By Sue Monk Kidd
Place a beehive on my grave
And let the honey soak through.
When I’m dead and gone,
That’s what I want from you.
The streets of heaven are gold and sunny,
But I’ll stick with my plot and a pot of honey.
The above poem expresses the narrator’s wish to have a beehive on her grave to continue the sweetness she desires. Here the bees signify messenger, dream, and continuity.
Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem by Suzy Kassem
To be successful, one has to be one of three bees – the queen bee, the hardest working bee, or the bee that does not fit in.
In the above example, the author takes inspiration from the bees’ life to be successful. Here the bees symbolize dedication, hard work, passion, and sincerity.