Merry we meet  -  Merry we meet  -  Merry we meet


Welcome to





Animals and Witchcraft

(The Witches Familiar)

The Honeybee

Written and compiled by George Knowles 

The common Honeybee is a subset of bees belonging to the insect order Hymenoptera (of the genus group Apis mellifera) and represents just a small fraction of approximately 20,000 known species of bees.  Honeybees are distinguished from other bees by their production of honey and the construction of colony nests (hives) out of beeswax.  While there are other types of bees that also produce honey, only members of the genus group Apis are true Honeybees. 

The Honeybee is a highly social insect that survives only as a member of a colony.  A colony is typically made up of three types of bees called castes, which include:  Queen bees (the reproductive females), Worker bees (sterile female bees) and Drones (the male bees).  Each caste or type of bee is associated with a different function within the colony, and each possesses unique differences geared to maintaining the needs and structure of the colony. 

The Queen bee is the only sexually productive female in the colony.  After mating with the Drones, sperm finds its way into a small sac-like organ located in her abdomen called the ‘spermatheca’.  From this her capacity for laying eggs becomes quite prolific, producing in excess of 1,500 eggs in a day.  She can also control the sex of her offspring, for when an egg passes from the ovary to the oviduct, depending on the needs of the colony, she may or may not choose to fertilise it with sperm.  Those that do get fertilised develop into female bees, either as Queen bees or Workers bees, while unfertilised eggs develop as the male Drone bees. 

Eggs are laid in individual cells of the hive and hatch within three days, after which the larvae is fed on ‘royal jelly’ for two days (a substance secreted by the worker bees that is high in protein), and then on pollen, nectar or honey.  Each of the hundreds of larvae must be fed many times a day, and to achieve this the Queen bee and her Worker bees operate as a team.  The development of Queen bees from egg to larvae to adult, takes 16 days, while Worker bees take 21 days, and Drones 24 days. 

The Queen bee has a longer body and larger abdomen than other bees in the colony and can measure up to 20mm.  She also has a curved, smooth stinger that can be used repeatedly throughout her life.  In contrast, the Worker bees have a straight, barbed stinger that when used remains firmly anchored in the flesh of its victim.  When trying to withdraw the stinger from its victim, the Worker bee in effect tears away part of its abdomen and as a result dies shortly afterwards. 

Within the colony, Worker bees far outnumber the Drones, which typically during the spring can number from 8,000 to 15,000, by the early summer however, this number can grow to as many as 80,000.  Worker bees born early in the spring season usually live for about 6 weeks, while those born in the late autumn will survive through the winter until the following spring.  Unlike many other species of bees, Honeybees do not hibernate through the winter.  The average lifespan of a Queen bee can range from one to eight years. 

Young Worker bees are called ‘house bees’ and are employed mainly in constructing the hive.  While lacking the ability to mate and reproduce, they secrete wax, which is used to build and maintain the honeycomb structure of the hive.  They are also kept busy converting nectar and pollen into honey, rearing the brood, tending to the Queen and Drones, cleaning and when necessary defending the hive. 

As the young develop, the older Worker bees become known as ‘field bees’, and leave the hive to forage outside gathering nectar, pollen and water needed to sustain the colony.  Worker bees measure up to about 12 mm and are highly adapted for the work they do.  They have a structure called a pollen basket (or corbiculum) on each hind leg, an extra stomach for storing and transporting nectar and pollen, and four pairs of special glands that secrete wax on the underside of their abdomen. 

The field bees bring in nectar from many flowers and on entering the hive with a full honey sac, regurgitate the contents into the mouths of the young Worker bees who then deposit the nectar in a cell and carry out the tasks necessary to convert it to honey.  When the honey is fully ripened or thickened, the cell is sealed with an airtight wax capping and stored for winter supplies. 

Pollen is the principal source of protein, fat, minerals and vitamins, and is essential for the growth and development of the colony.  Besides gathering and storing food for the colony, the Worker bees are also responsible for maintaining the hive at 34° C (93° F), the optimum temperature required for hatching the Queen’s eggs and rearing the brood.  When a hive becomes too hot they collectively ventilate it by fanning their wings, and during cool weather will cluster tightly together in the hive to generate heat. 

The Drone bee has only one function in the colony, and that is to mate with the new Queen bees.  Mating takes place out in the open air away from the hive, after which the Drone bee dies.  Recent studies of their mating habits have established that the Queen bee usually mates with six or more Drones in the course of a few days.  Drones are active in the colony during the spring and summer months, but as autumn and the colder weather approaches they are driven out of the hive by the Worker bees and left to die. 

The importance of Honeybees to agriculture is now well established, as more than 50 cultivated food crops require them for pollination.  Crops that are either entirely dependent on insect pollination, or produce more abundantly because of them, include:  fruit crops (such as - almonds, apples, apricots etc.); and seed crops (such as - alfalfa, asparagus, broccoli etc.).  It is estimated that the value of the pollinating service rendered by Honeybees far outweighs that of the Honey and Beeswax they produce. 

Mythology and Symbolism. 

In Egyptian mythology Honeybees were born from the tears of , the Sun God.  When he cried his tears fell onto the soil of the earth and were transformed into bees that built honeycombs and produced honey.  Bees were also associated with the Egyptian Great Mother Goddess Neith who ruled over hunting and warfare.  Her cult was centred in the town of Sais (modern Sa al-Hajar) where her temple was known as per-bit - meaning “the house of bees”. 

Similarly the rulers of ancient Egypt were associated with bees.  Before the union of Upper and Lower Egypt (circa 3200 BC), the ruling Kings of Lower Egypt used the title bit - meaning “he of the bee”, whereby the Kings of Upper Egypt used the title nesw - meaning “he of the sedge”.  Later after the union, the new rulers used the title nesw-bit - meaning “he of the sedge and the bee”, which has been translated as “King of Upper and Lower Egypt”. 

To the Egyptians bees were of great importance.  In domestic use, Honey, the main product of bees, was a principal sweetener in their diets and used as a base for medicinal ointments.  Honey was also regarded as a symbol of resurrection, and thought to give protection against evil spirits.  Small pottery flasks found in the tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamun contained hieroglyphic inscriptions indicating that they originally contained honey.  They also collected beeswax, which was used to make decorative moulds, as well as a paint-varnish. 

In ancient Greece situated on the southern slopes of Mount Parnassus, Delphi was the location of the famous oracle temple of Apollo.  Inside the temple is the “Omphalos”, a decorated beehive shaped stone covered with what look like sculpted engravings of Honeybees.  This was used as a symbol indicating that Delphi in Greece was the centre of the world.  Pythia, Apollo’s chief oracle priestess was also known as the Delphic Bee. 

The Omphalos

In many ancient cultures, Mead made from honey was believed to be the immortal drink of the Gods.  In Greek mythology it was associated with the Gods of Olympus, and a symbol of Knowledge, Learning and Wisdom.  As a food resource, it was reserved only for the elected, the initiated and exceptional people.  It has been reported that Pythagoras ate nothing but honey throughout his entire life. 

Because of their industrious and organized behaviour, Honeybees are seen as a symbol of Perseverance, Unity and Teamwork.  They are also seen as a symbol of sacredness, being associated with the Mother Goddess or Divine Feminine.  Ruled by the Queen bee, the hive is likened to the womb of the Great Mother. 

In Celtic myths, Honeybees are endowed with great wisdom, and thought to be spirit messengers between worlds.  Honey was treated as a magical substance and used in many ancient rituals.  As the food of the Gods, the use of honey, royal jelly, bee pollen and beeswax in ritual was seen as a sacred and magical act connected to the divine blessings of the Goddess and God. 

Today the common term “Blessed Be” can also be written as “Blessed Bee”, which has a strong connection to the ancient Craft of the Wise, and therefore the divine blessing of love, protection and abundance.



Man, Myth and Magic - Edited by Richard Cavendish 

Plus other websites too many to mention.  

Best wishes and Blessed Be


Site Contents - Links to all Pages


Home Page


A Universal Message:


Let there be peace in the world  -   Where have all the flowers gone?


About me:

My Personal PageMy Place in England / My Family Tree (Ancestry)


Wicca & Witchcraft


Wicca/Witchcraft /  What is Wicca What is Magick


Traditional Writings:


The Wiccan Rede Charge of the Goddess Charge of the God  /  The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) /  The Witches Chant The Witches Creed Descent of the Goddess Drawing Down the Moon The Great Rite Invocation Invocation of the Horned GodThe 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief /  The Witches Rede of Chivalry A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality


Correspondence Tables:


IncenseCandlesColours Magickal Days Stones and Gems Elements and Elementals




Traditions Part 1  -  Alexandrian Wicca /  Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) /  Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) /  Blue Star Wicca /  British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) /  Celtic Wicca /  Ceremonial Magic /  Chaos Magic /  Church and School of Wicca /  Circle Sanctuary /  Covenant of the Goddess (COG) /  Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) /  Cyber Wicca /  Dianic Wicca /  Eclectic Wicca /  Feri Wicca /


Traditions Part 2 Gardnerian Wicca /  Georgian Tradition /  Henge of Keltria /  Hereditary Witchcraft /  Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) /  Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) /  Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition /  Nordic Paganism /  Pagan Federation /  Pectic-Wita /  Seax-Wica /  Shamanism /  Solitary /  Strega /  Sylvan Tradition /  Vodoun or Voodoo /  Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /


Other things of interest:


Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology) /  Esbats & Full Moons Links to Personal Friends & Resources Wicca/Witchcraft Resources What's a spell? Circle Casting and Sacred Space  Pentagram - Pentacle Marks of a Witch The Witches Power The Witches Hat An esoteric guide to visiting London SatanismPow-wowThe Unitarian Universalist Association /  Numerology:  Part 1  Part 2  /  Part 3A history of the Malleus Maleficarum:  includes:  Pope Innocent VIII  /  The papal Bull  /   The Malleus Maleficarum  /  An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum  /  The letter of approbation  /  Johann Nider’s Formicarius  /  Jacob Sprenger  /  Heinrich Kramer  /  Stefano Infessura  /  Montague Summers  /  The Waldenses  /  The Albigenses  /  The Hussites /  The Native American Sun DanceShielding (Occult and Psychic Protection)  The History of ThanksgivingAuras  - Part 1 and Part 2 Doreen Valiente Witch” (A Book Review) /   


Sabbats and Festivals:


The Sabbats in History and Mythology /  Samhain (October 31st)  /  Yule (December 21st)  /  Imbolc (February 2nd)  /  Ostara (March 21st)  /  Beltane (April 30th)  /  Litha (June 21st)  /  Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st)  /  Mabon (September 21st)


Rituals contributed by Crone:


Samhain / Yule Imbolc Ostara /  Beltane Litha Lammas Mabon




Tools of a Witch  /  The Besom (Broom) /  Poppets and DollsPendulums / Cauldron Magick Mirror Gazing




Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar and Totem Animals) /  AntelopeBatsCrow Fox Frog and Toads Goat / HoneybeeKangarooLion OwlPhoenix Rabbits and HaresRaven Robin RedbreastSheep Spider SquirrelSwansUnicornWild Boar Wolf /  Serpent /  Pig /  Stag /  Horse /  Mouse /  Cat /  Rats /  Unicorn




In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar.  For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following:  Birch /  Rowan / Ash /  Alder /  Willow Hawthorn /  Oak /  Holly /  Hazel /  Vine /  Ivy /  Reed /  Elder


Sacred Sites:


Mystical Sacred Sites  -  Stonehenge /  Glastonbury Tor /  Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni /  Avebury /  Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant /  Ireland - Newgrange /


Rocks and Stones:


Stones - History, Myths and Lore


Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:


Apophyllite  / Amber Amethyst Aquamarine Aragonite Aventurine Black Tourmaline Bloodstone Calcite Carnelian Celestite Citrine Chrysanthemum StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / Fluorite Garnet /  Hematite Herkimer Diamond Labradorite Lapis Lazuli Malachite Moonstone Obsidian Opal Pyrite Quartz (Rock Crystal) Rose Quartz Ruby Selenite Seraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodalite Sunstone ThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble


Wisdom and Inspiration:


Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakening The Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods I have a Dream by Martin Luther King /


Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:


Murdered by Witchcraft The Fairy Witch of Clonmel A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) /  Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife /  The Story of Jack-O-Lantern The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) /  The Two Brothers - Light and Dark


Old Masters of Academia:


Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagoras





A "Who's Who" of Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)


Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)


Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


Abramelin the Mage /  Agrippa Aidan A KellyAlbertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” /  Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” /  Alison Harlow /   Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda MetteyyaAllan Kardec (Spiritism) /  Alphonsus de SpinaAmber KAnn Moura /  Anna FranklinAnodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey /  Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite /  Austin Osman SpareBalthasar Bekker /  Biddy EarlyBarbara Vickers /  Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel /  Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke Cecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey Leland /   Charles WaltonChristopher PenczakChristina Oakley Harrington Cornelius Loos /  Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" /  Dion Fortune /  Dolores Aschroft-NowickiDonald Michael Kraig Doreen ValienteDorothy MorrisonDr. John Dee & Edward Kelly /  Dr. Leo Louis Martello /  Edain McCoy /  Edward FitchEleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” Eliphas Levi /  Ernest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake /  Fiona Horne /   Frederick McLaren Adams - Feraferia Friedrich von Spee /  Francis Barrett /  Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca /  Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft /  Gwydion Pendderwen Hans HolzerHelen Duncan /   Herman Slater - Horrible Herman /  Heinrich KramerIsaac Bonewits Israel RegardieIvo Domínguez Jr. /  Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick /  James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches /  Janet Farrar and Gavin BoneJean Bodin Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johann Weyer  / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" /   Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim  -  the “Hexenbrenner” (witch burner) /  John Belham-Payne John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" /  John Gerard /  John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred /  John Michael Greer /  John Score /  Joseph “Bearwalker” Wilson /  Joseph John Campbell /  Karl von Eckartshausen Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" /   Laurie Cabot  - "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis SpenceLodovico Maria Sinistrari Ludwig LavaterMadeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star /  Margaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMichael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" /  Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” /  Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMartin Antoine Del Rio Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” /   Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" /  Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set /  Monique WilsonMontague Summers /  Nicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellarsMrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning GloryOld Dorothy Clutterbuck /  Old George PickingillOlivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis /  Paddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsus /  Patricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPaul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school /  Peter Binsfeld /  Philip HeseltonRaven GrimassiRaymond Buckland /  Reginald Scot /  Richard BaxterRobert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" /  Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Rossell Hope Robbins /   Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) /  Rudolf SteinerSabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" /  Scott CunninghamSelena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" /  Silver RavenwolfSir Francis Dashwood /  Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough"S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” /  Starhawk /  Stewart Farrar /  Sybil LeekTed Andrews The Mather Family - (includes:  Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) /   Thomas AdyT. Thorn CoyleVera ChapmanVictor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" /  Vivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWalter Ernest ButlerWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna Budapest /  



Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete.  If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below.  Many thanks for reading  :-)



While I have taken due care and diligence to credit all sources where possible, this website may contain copyrighted material which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.  My use of making such material available here is done so in my efforts to advance our understanding of religious discrimination, the environmental and social justice issues etc.   If you wish to use copyrighted material from this website for purposes of your own then you must obtain permission from the relevant copyright owner yourself.

Any queries please contact me at email -


My online email discussion group:


Dove of Peace

Help send a message of peace around the world!  The Dove of Peace flies from site to site, through as many countries as possible.  It does not belong to ANY belief system.  Please help make a line around the globe by taking it with you to your site, by giving it to someone for their site, by passing it on to another continent or to the conflict areas of the world.  May trouble and strife be vanquished in it's path.