This weekend I held a healing workshop at the wellness area at Port Eliot festival called ‘the healing power of bees’ with fellow bee friend Mark. We showed people the empty stardust hive and told them their story. We passed around some of the dead bees, smelt the beautiful comb, ate some bee-bread and talked about the healing properties of propolis. It’s amazing to reflect on how much this colony has to give, even in death.
comb on a top bar (queen cell bottom right)
bee bread in comb
Bee bread – the breast milk of the hive is pollen collected, stored and fermented by the bees to feed the baby bees. It is unsurprisingly very good for us – there is an amazing piece about it by Nordic food lab here. The starving bees left it behind presumably because it isn’t food for them in their mature state.
extracted bee bread for me to eat
Propolis – is collected from tree sap, buds and resin and made by the bees as a glue to fill cracks and openings around the hive. It is a beautiful red, orange colour, soft and sticky with heat but cools hard and brittle. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties and so acts as the hive’s external immune system. It’s the stuff that beekeepers crack open when they inspect a colony. The stardust bees had thick layers of it still in tact because I never opened up the hive. I use propolis to make balms because it’s great for healing our skin and if I have a sore throat, I use it like a boiled sweet to numb the pain.
propolis extracted from the edges of the hive
When we were invited to do the workshop, we went to the bees to ask them for their support. We told the bees what we were doing then drummed and journeyed together for insights, which we distilled into the space we created for folks in the workshop. What they revealed to us in that journey held even more potency for us because two weeks later the colony died.
play cup (preparing for a queen cell) in the centre of some comb
Our workshop manifested as a guided, heart-opening journey to meet a wild colony living in a tree in some ancient woods. Folks were invited into the hive with a question/prayer/intention and we guided them to the queen where they received the healing they needed to the sound of our drums. At the end people shared a word to summarise their experience in the hive; harmony, patience, relaxed, serene, thoughtful, reflective, love, gratitude with a desire to help the bees; all things the bees inspire in us.
Thank you to all who joined us on the journey x