You know how witches and other pagans are always saying “Blessed be”? I’m sure someone more scholarly than I am can trace the entire stream of “Blessed be he” from the Roman poet Vergil, who wrote about the blessings of living in the country, to the Beatitudes (Matthew 5), to the 18th-century English poets who, following Vergil, were forever writing about how blessed they were to have their country estates, to modern Wicca. You meet a Pagan or a Witch and you say, “Blessed be.” It’s our all-purpose greeting.
Greetings are nice, but I like the Blessed Bees as little power animals that bring us blessings of all kinds. The Bees were Found some years ago by my friend Elizabeth Cunningham. I think I was writing Finding New Goddesses at the time, so I adopted the Bees for the book. She and I still send emails to each other that end “Bzzzzzz.”
In addition to the 350+ little witches that cover nearly horizontal surface in my home, I also have Bees. Lots of Blessed Bees. I have Bee dolls, Bee toys, Bees in disguise (a teddy bear dressed up in Bee clothing), wind-up Bees, Bees hanging here and there, Bee candles and candleholders. And glittery Bee stickers that I stick on all my electronics, along with other stickers that say “Thank you.” (Gratitude is always good.)
I’ll also recite the Invocation to the Bees to perfect strangers at the drop of a hat. When I was in a gift shop one day and picked up another Bee figure for my windowsill, a man commented that he was trying to learn more about bees. Regular ones. When I recited the invocation to him, he gave me a funny look. Then we got into a conversation about the hive in his back yard, which he wanted to move into something sturdier than a plastic bucket. I brought the owner of the shop into our conversation, and he told the man about services the city offers. We also recommended that the man find a beekeeper. I have no doubt that the Blessed Bees will help this kind man find a proper home for his bees.
Here, adapted from Finding New Goddesses, are the Blessed Bees. (Did I mention that I love puns? You have to be pretty smart to get a pun. I write books for smart people.)
The Blessed Bees: Good Neighbors
The Blessed Bees are modern Good Neighbors. Like the traditional Other Ones—Fairies, Brownies, Elves, and the like—called Good Neighbors by those who (correctly) fear to offend them, the Bees are magical beings. They respond with honey-sweet blessings large and small when we cry out for assistance. Invoke them with these words and in your most mellifluous tones:
Twinkle, twinkle, Blessed Bees,
As I ask you grant it, please.
Wisdom, health, abundancies—
As I will’t, so mote it, Bees.
Slightly larger than the honeybees we’re accustomed to, the Blessed Bees are shining golden insects with crystalline wings. They live in the Golden Hive at the summit of a glass mountain, and Melissa, Their Devoted Beekeeper Priestess (who wears sturdy, non-skid shoes), lives nearby to serve Them. When They fly among us, the Bees carry tiny baskets, and among Their gifts to us are magical venom, pollen, propolis, beeswax, and royal jelly. Blessed Venom is used in “sting therapy” to get our attention in times of crisis, and Blessed Pollen provokes our souls to flower. Both the Blessed Bees and their relations in the mundane world have been traditionally seen as the bearers of peace, harmony, propriety, renewal, fertility, industry, and eloquence, all of which virtues They have since ancient times modeled for humankind.
In the center of the Golden Hive, surrounded by Her dancing swarm of Wonderful Worker Bees, lives the Blessed Queen, one sip of whose intoxicating honey makes the mortal mouth golden with wisdom both eloquent and endless. We’ve heard the granny tales, of course, and what child has not daydreamed of being one of those brave young heroes and heras who journeyed beyond the sun and the moon in order to seek out the Blessed Queen and serve Her for a year and a day? Some have actually gone to the Blessed Lands, and when they come back from the Land of Faerie, they’re always great talkers. Some of them, alas, also write books.
You are no doubt also familiar with the Lesser Magical Hymenoptera, the Blessed Spelling Bees and the Blessed Quilting Bees. Some would tell us that the former invented our alphabets. It’s certainly true that the Overlighting Spirits of Copyediting and Proofreading seem to have dispatched the Spelling Bees to their liturgists [like me], and we can only hope that Spelling Bees will also seek out our computer spell checkers and inject them with Royal Word Jelly. The Quilting Bees, They Who Inspire Craftspersons, possess innumerable talents that inspire all facets of interior design, decoration, and feng shui. Loyal subjects of their queen, Martha Stewart, they create Good Things and are often found in gatherings with the Blessed Arachnids, whose weavings, knittings, crochetings, tattings, macramayings, and embroiderings bedeck our homes.
It has long been known that the Good Neighbors tend to have a skewed sense of humor. It is this fact that has inspired the famous New Age adage, Be careful what you wish for because you may get it. This is good advice indeed. The Blessed Bees may be our friends, but They also have our highest good in mind, even when we don’t. If They disapprove of your request, therefore, They may decide to surprise you. Ask for a million dollars, and you may find yourself facing opportunities to give a million dollars to people whose needs are greater than yours. It is a fact, for example, that numerous petitioners have been forced to watch public television pledge drives until they ante up.