Kamis, 26 Mei 2011




My research into the Bee has revealed that this omnipresent creature has been held sacred since the year dot. Along the way I’ve chronicled how the diminutive insect has been incorporated into religion, government, art and literature, as well as how its symbolism – still prevalent in modern times - has largely been forgotten or misinterpreted as something else altogether. In this, the final part of the trilogy, I will review the events that have led to the Bee’s present condition, and contemplate its fate in the light of its most formidable adversary yet; 21st century man.

Hieroglyphic of the Bee from ancient Egypt

Forefathers of the American Revolution incorporated the symbolism of the Bee into the very fabric of their government. This should not be regarded as unusual, however, for early American statesmen shared a bond with other more time-honoured nations that enabled Bee symbolism to be transmitted across the globe and into a new era. And that conduit was Freemasonry. The Bee remains an important symbol in Freemasonry and was especially pervasive in Masonic drawings and documents of the 18th and 19th centuries. At the heart of the Masonic tradition are the concepts of industry and stability, virtues that were important to the Egyptians - as well as other ancient civilisations - before being adopted by the United States of America. The recurring theme stems from the stable, regular and orderly society exhibited in a Beehive. In Freemasonry, the Beehive represents all that is proper in society and could arguably be the organisation's most enduring symbol.

The Beehive – one of Freemasonry’s most important symbols

Bee symbolism is a vital component of Masonic ideals, although its application within the craft is not without paradox. For instance, the ‘Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry’ informs us that the Bee is important to Freemasonry for the same reason it was important to the Egyptians, because of all insects; “only the Bee has a King.” The quote is peculiar for reasons already discussed; namely because the Bees society is matriarchal. Are Masons refereeing to the King Bee – as in the Egyptian pharaoh who bore the title of ‘Beekeeper’, or do they know something we don’t?  Could the ‘male only’ tradition of Freemasonry be an extension of the movement that appears to have suppressed or at least tempered goddess worship back in pre-dynastic Egypt? The notion is speculative, but intriguing nonetheless.
The ‘Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry’ provides many references to the Bee, including the fact that honey is used to illustrate moral teachings. In this regard, the Masonic initiate is instructed to;
“Go to the bee, and learn how diligent she is, and what a noble work she produces; whose labour kings and private men use for their health. She is desired and honoured by all, and, though weak in strength, yet since she values wisdom she prevails.”
Similarly, we are told that;
"The bee hive is an emblem of industry, and recommends the practice of that virtue of all created beings…Thus was man formed for social and active life, the noblest part of the work of God; and he that will so demean himself, as not to be endeavouring to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding, may be deemed a drone in the hive of nature, a useless member of society, and unworthy of our protection as masons.”

The Masonic Trophonius of Ledadia, which commemorates two famous architects

Clearly, Freemasonry is an important reminder of the virtues that early society valued most. And this accounts for the fact that many early American Presidents were Freemasons, such as George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk and James Buchanan – to name a few. In fact, most Masonic presidents were Grand Masters of their lodges at one time or another, and as such, would have been installed into the symbolic chair of King Solomon, the historically evasive king who is said to have secured the love of the Queen of Sheba after consulting with a Bee. The Masonic regalia of early American presidents reflects the craft's admiration of the Bee and include a Masonic apron with a prominently positioned Beehive that signified the wisdom and industry of man. The Beehive is positioned directly above an image of a coffin, a vital element of the Masonic 3rd degree ritual, and appears to allude to the Bee's association with resurrection.

George Washington’s Masonic Apron, with a Beehive located top centre

So, the forefathers of American government were stimulated by the ideals of Freemasonry, an institution that incorporated Bee symbolism into its philosophy and maintained an invisible hand in the politics of most nations. Historians inform us that French Freemasonry was particularly influential in guiding the ideals of early American statesmen, such as the political philosopher Thomas Jefferson, who shared a peculiar bond with Marquis de Lafayette, a French military officer with strong Masonic affiliations and who served in both the American and French Revolutions.
Masonic ideals permeated the genesis of American society, as they did the French Revolution, and in each instance the symbolism of the Bee was chosen to illustrate the ethos and vision of the nation. In fact, just five years after the death of George Washington, France would crown a new leader who would restore the long and illustrious legacy of the Bee in his country. I speak of Napoleon Bonaparte, who in 1804 was crowned Emperor of France in a coronation robe decorated with 300 gold Bees.

Napoleons at his Coronation, wearing a robe adorned with Bees

The Bee was a hugely important icon of Napoleon’s reign, and his obsession with its symbolism led to his inevitable nickname; The Bee. Napoleon would have grown up with the symbolism of the Bee ingrained in his psyche, for his homeland of Corsica was required to pay the Romans an annual tax equivalent of £200,000 in Beeswax. The young emperor ensured that the Bee was widely adopted in his court as well as on clothing, draperies, carpets and furniture all across France. By choosing the Bee as the emblem of his reign, Napoleon was paying homage to Childeric (436 - 481), one of the ‘long haired’ Merovingian Kings of the region known as Gaul. When Childeric’s tomb was uncovered in 1653, it was found to contain 300 golden jewels, styled in the image of a Bee. And of course, these are the same Bees that Napoleon had affixed to his coronation robe. Sadly, of the 300 Bees only two have survived.

Bee’s from the Tomb of Childeric I

Fortuitously, the tomb of Childeric contained other artefacts that help put the golden amulets into a broader ritualistic context. In addition to Bees, it contained items of divination such as a crystal ball and a bull's head made of gold, amongst other unusual objects, such as a severed horse's head. Childeric’s hoard was entrusted to Leopold Wilhelm von Habsburg, a military governor of the Austrian Netherlands who was believed to have been a descendent of the Merovingian dynasty. Six years after his coronation, Napoleon married Marie-Louise, the daughter of Francis II, the last Habsburg to sit on the throne of the Holy Roman Empire.
Napoleon’s choice of the Bee as the national emblem of his imperial rule speaks volumes about his desire to be associated with the Carolingians and Merovingian’s; the early French kings whose funeral furniture featured Bee and cicada symbolism as a metaphor for resurrection and immortality. And as we reviewed in Part 2, the Bee and cicada represent dualism, with the Bee producing the sound of day and the cicada the sound of the night. The Bee was also a vital symbol of French industry and one of the most prominent emblems of the French Revolution (1789–1799).

The Bee / Beehive – a popular emblem of the French Revolution

From a civic perspective the Bee was a popular emblem of Napoleon’s rule, and more than 60 cities throughout France and Europe selected an officially approved heraldic shield that included three Bees as part of its template.

Two examples of French heraldry Bee shields: Mazamet and La Meilleraye de Bretagne © www.ngw.nl

Of his many impressive feats, Napoleon is probably best remembered for a campaign he led prior to his coronation; his 1798 invasion of Egypt, a country that was a province of the Ottoman Empire at the time. One can only muse at the irony of the man they called The Bee riding horsebackin the land of the Bee, staring at an image that may have been named after the Minoans word for Bee; ‘Sphex’.

Napoleon and the Sphinx, by Jean Gerome, 1862

Astonishingly, it is thought that the Bee was the precursor to the Fleur-de-lys; the national emblem of France to this day. The theory is supported by many, including the French physician, antiquary and archaeologist Jean-Jacques Chifflet. In fact Louis XII, the 35th King of France, was known as ‘the father of the pope’ and featured a Beehive in his Coat of Arms. Disappointingly, his efforts to have the Bee adopted as the Republic’s official emblem were rejected by the National Convention due to their belief that “Bees have Queens. Nevertheless, the Bee remained a prominent element of French culture throughout the First and Second Empire (1804 to 1814, and 1852-1870) due to the enthusiastic patronage it had previously received.
The Bee as precursor to the Fleur-de-lys

As an aside, the researcher Robert Lawlor studied the design of the Bee and Fleur-de-lys in his book; ‘Sacred Geometry’ and concluded that the 1:√ proportion of the Fleur-de-lys is also found in the design of the Islamic Mosque. Intriguingly, the mystical dimension of Islam known as Sufism maintained a secret brotherhood called Sarmoung, or Sarman, meaning Bee. Members of the organization viewed their role as collecting the precious 'honey' of wisdom and preserving it for future generations.

Logo of the secret Sufi society with a Bee near the flame of a candle

The Fleur-de-lys is not unique to France and has in fact appeared in Egypt, Rome and Israel, amongst other places. However in France, the Bee and the Fleur-de-lys were iconic and embodied the essence of the Merovingian dynasty. And not only are the Merovingian’s purported to be decendants of Jesus Christ, they also linked with a popular modern day mystery involving treasure and heretical secrets in the South of France. I speak of the mystery of Rennes-Le-Château, a curious story that has inspired hundreds of books, including Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’. The legend of Rennes-Le-Château is largely beyond the scope of our discussion, but for a few exceptions – and needless to say they are peculiar.
The Tour Magdela in Rennes-Le-Château; an icon of the mystery

Rennes-Le-Château is an unassuming yet sombre hilltop hamlet in the shadow of the French Pyrenees. Here, at the turn of the 20th century, a group of priests – most famously Berenger Saunière - aroused suspicion with their curious behaviour and apparent wealth, leading many to speculate that they had discovered a great heretical secret – possibly involving Mary Magdalene, the treasure of Solomon, hoards of the Visigoth’s, or a cache hidden during the French Revolution.
Although the legend of Rennes-Le-Château has struck a chord with modern audiences, its roots stem from the Merovingian kings so revered by Napoleon. And the origins of the legend go something like this: Childeric I fathered Clovis I, who succeeded his father in 481 as king of the region that now borders Belgium and France, and in the process became the first ruler to unite the previously hostile and independent Frankish tribes. A line of descendants leads to Dagobert I, king of the Franks from 629–634, who fathered Sigelbert III, who in turn fathered Dagobert II, who married Giselle de Razes, the daughter of the Count of Razes and the niece of the king of the Visigoths. The two were said to have married at Rhedae, a stronghold widely believed to be Rennes-Le-Château, although the association remains unconfirmed. Years later, in 754 AD, Childeric III died childless, marking the end of a dynasty that had been in decline since Dagobert II was assassinated near Stenay-sur-Meuse on December 23rd, 679 AD.
The long haired Merovingian Kings: Childeric I and III

The belief that the Merovingians were special, and that they represented a royal bloodline, led Napoleon to commission an extensive analysis of their lineage. Fascination with the mysterious line of kings continued into the 20th century when a Frenchman by the name of Louis Vazart founded an organization based in Stenay-sur-Meuse called ‘Cercle Saint Dagobert II’, that specialized in the study of the Merovingians and Dagobert II in particular. For its logo, Vazart chose an image of a Bee inside of a 6-sided cone, or Hexagon – the shape of a Beehive cell, surrounded by a circle. The design recalls the Mayan deity Hu-Nab-Ku, whose name means ‘magical body’ and whose symbol was a square / pyramid shape within a circle.

Logo of Cercle Saint Dagobert II; A Bee in a Hexagon

Vazart’s selection of the Bee is entirely consistent with the subject matter his organisation was studying, for France is known as l'Hexagone, due to its natural 6-sided shape. Coincidently, the centre line of l’Hexagone closely mirrors the old Paris Meridian, passing near Paris in the north and Rennes-Le-Château in the south. The Paris Meridian - an imaginary arc that measures the hours of the day – was later replaced by London’s Greenwich Meridian as the international standard for time keeping. However, in recent years the Paris Meridian has been romanticized and somewhat merged with the notion of the Rose-Line, a mythical sort of ley-line that allegedly connects esoterically significant sites from Roslyn Chapel in Scotland to Saint Sulpice in Paris, and on to Rennes-Le-Château in the South of France. Despite its spurious invention, it is worth mentioning that the two sites that top and tail the Rose-Line; Roslyn Chapel and Rennes-Le-Château, each feature Bee symbolism in rather bizarre ways. And while we have only begun to unravel Rennes-Le-Château’s connection with Bees, it would be a shame if we did not pause long enough to first discuss its Rose-Line counterpart in the north.

France – believed to be in the shape of a natural Hexagon
© www.sacrednumber.co.uk

Roslyn Chapel was founded by William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness, in the 15th century and is renowned for what many believe to be an elaborate display of Masonic symbolism. In fact, some believe that the chapel contains treasures of the Knights Templar or even the Holy Grail itself. Hyperbole aside, Roslyn Chapel does in fact contain a splendidly carved column known as the Apprentice Pillar, or the Princes Pillar as it was called in more ancient accounts. The pillar, which stands to the right of the church altar, is adorned with what is generally regarded as Tree of Life symbolism; two dragons of Yggdrasil – the World Tree according to Norse Mythology - reside at its base while a masonry vine spirals vertically around the column, drawing our attention to the ceiling. The Tree of Life symbolism has its roots – no pun intended – in the Jewish Cabala, a discipline that has much to say about the Bee, as we shall soon see.

The Princes Pillar – Roslyn Chapel, Scotland

Recent theories put forth by Alan Butler and John Ritchie in their book; ‘Rosslyn Revealed: A Library in Stone’, suggest that the ceiling above the Princes Pillar represents “paradise” on earth. And serendipitously – or allegedly by design - on the roof of chapel we find a curious stone Beehive with a lone flower petal entrance that was home to Bees for as long as anyone can remember – as least until they were removed in the 1990’s. However, the existence of the Beehive in the proximity of the vine recalls a biblical account of a staff that grows into a great tree, with; “a vine twisted around it and honey coming from above." As is often the case, hundreds of years on the original intent of such symbolism is often forgotten. And in this instance, one is forgiven for speculating that the design of the roof, ceiling and Princes Pillar were intended to reflect the role of Bees and honey in the greater context of Paradise and the World Tree of Life.
Roslyn Chapel and the entrance to the stone Beehive. © Filip Coppens

Curiously, the association of the Tee of Life with hexagonal Beehive symbolism is not unique. In fact, it is featured on the new Euro coin, reinforcing the importance of the ancient symbolism to this day.

The new Euro Coin: Tree of Life Symbolism within a hexagon
© www.sacrednumber.co.uk

From Roslyn Chapel in the north, the mythical Rose-Line reunites with Rennes-Le-Château in the south, the village with alleged Merovingian origins. History informs us that the Merovingian dynasty died out with Dagobert II. However, this has not prevented others from claiming descent, such as Pierre Plantard, a Frenchman who in the later half of 20th century promoted his association with the Merovingians - as well as with Rennes-Le-Château, and was regarded by some as the last direct descendant of Jesus Christ. Plantard also claimed to have been a Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, a controversial society with considerable interests in the Merovingian lineages commissioned by Napoleon. Curiously, Plantard’s family crest featured both the Fleur-de-lys and the Bee - eleven Bees in fact – an important number in Rennes-Le-Château mythology.
Plantard Family Crest

The Plantard family crest is strangely reminiscent of images of Jesus Christ crucified on a 6-sided Fleur-de-lys cross, complete with 11 stars – similar to Plantard’s 11 Bees. The artistry recalls the hexagonal symbolism of the Beehive as well as the Bee itself, the very image that the Fleur-de-lys is thought to conceal in the first place. Does Plantard’s family crest hint at a bloodline leading back to Jesus Christ, as symbolised by the Bee and the Fleur-de-lys - a hidden bloodline that the man himself promoted throughout his lifetime? To this day, as many believe this to be true as do not.

Christ crucified on a Fleur-de-lys shaped cross

One of the more interesting links between the Bee and Rennes-Le-Château involves Henry Lincoln, co-author of the 1982 book ‘Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ – the international bestseller that put Rennes-Le-Château on the map with English speaking audiences around the world. Back in the early days of the mystery, Lincoln had been in contact with the French author Gerard de Sède, whose 1967 book ‘The Accursed Treasure of Rennes-Le-Château’, had catapulted the story to national prominence. The story goes that Lincoln purchased de Sède’s book while on holiday in France and succeeded in deciphering one of it’s peculiar parchments, giving spark to the flame of the mystery that still burns today; that is, just what - if anything - do the coded parchments conceal?  Lincoln later came across a ‘Book Club’ version with a strange photograph of Bees that was not referenced anywhere in the text. Curiously, the title beneath the photo simply stated ‘Rennes-les-Bains – Thermes Romains’, and no other reference to the photograph was made.

The anomaly is recounted in Lincoln’s book, ‘The Key to the Sacred Pattern’. Essentially, the photo depicts a wooden panel on a dining room door with four Bees, one in each corner, and in the middle, a winged female standing on a globe holding a wreath above her head like an Egyptian dancing goddess – a motif we now associate with Bee goddesses, as identified by scholars. Later, de Sède provided Lincoln with material for his BBC television special about Rennes-Le-Château, including photos taken by Plantard that de Sède’s had used in his book.
In his book, Lincoln recounts how the back of the photos were simply stamped with a seal saying “PLANTARD”, along with notation that revealed that the woman in the centre of the photograph was named Europa – the legendary priestess who was seduced by Zeus while in the form of a bull, and that the images of Bees represented apiculture. However, it is said that the notation on the back of the photographs also included the phrase; “We are the Beekeepers” - a detail not revealed by Lincoln in his book. The expression recalls the ‘Beekeeper’ title held by Egyptian Pharaohs and begs the question, was Pierre Plantard inferring the he was a Beekeeper – and if so, of what?

Pierre Plantard. A Beekeeper – but of what – the Priory of Sion?

Before departing the enigma of Pierre Plantard, it is worth mentioning Philippe de Cherisey, a friend of Plantard’s who many believe created the documents that Plantard used to claim descent from Dagobert II. In any event, de Cherisey founded a magazine called Circuit, whose distribution was said to include the membership of the Priory of Sion. The magazine is of interest, not just for its alluring readership, but for the fact that it featured a hexagon imprinted over an image of France with a sword symbolically piercing its centre, echoing the old Paris Meridian.

The cover of Philippe De Cherisey’s Circut

So the founders of the Rennes-Le-Château mystery – real or imagined - believed that Bees and hexagonal Beehive symbolism were quite important. They may have even considered themselves Beekeepers – but of what exactly remains to be determined. The notion is serendipitous, however, for the keeper of Childric’s Bees after they were unearthed from his tomb was a Habsburg; a ruling dynasty that governed Europe for centuries and which is tied to the mystery of the Rennes-Le-Château. It is said that Saunière was repeatedly visited by a Habsburg, who ultimately informed the priest where he would find his ‘treasure’. In other words, it was no accident that the priest found what he did. The theory purports that he was simply ‘reclaiming’ a previously hidden artefact, aided by a family of great nobility – the Habsburgs.
In ‘The Key to the Sacred Pattern’, Lincoln also draws attention to a series of Beehive inspired stone huts called “Capitelles”, not dissimilar to the Clochán stone huts in Ireland, as discussed in Part 2. The Beehive structures are found near a village called Coustaussa – site of a macabre assassination of a priest, and friend of Saunière’s, who appears to have become fatally entwined in the cover up of his friends discovery. The Beehive huts, which are largely unexcavated, are part of what is known locally as the “Great Camp”. The curious structures are one of the few artefacts that lend credence to the belief that Rennes-Le-Château may in fact have been the ancient and formidable Visigoth settlement of Rhedae. Additionally, the Beehive inspired huts overlook Perch Cardu, a sacred mountain that has long been the playground of zealous treasure hunters, and which only recently has spawned claims that the tombs of Jesus Christ and / or Mary Magdalene have been discovered there and that the ‘Temple of Solomon’ resides nearby.

Beehive styled huts near Rennes-Le-Château – Perch Cardu in the distance

Henry Lincoln is not the only writer to feature Bees in his books on Rennes-Le-Château. Christopher Dawes, author of the superb Rennes-Le-Château adventure yarn ‘Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail’, inexplicably encountered dead Bees throughout his research for the book. There are many instances of Rennes-Le-Château being linked with Bees, one notable example being the infamous Latin expression that hangs over the door of the village church of Saint Mary Magdalene; ‘TERRIBILIS EST LOCUS ISTE’, meaning This Place Is Terrible. The biblical phrase refers to the words that Jacob spoke when he awoke from his dream about a ladder that reached to heaven. To this end, Genesis 35:1 provides the reference;
“And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God.”
So Jacob recounted that the place was called Bethel and he had a stone erected commemorating the spot where he had fallen asleep. The biblical story relates to the Bee in that Bethel, or Bytal in Hebrew, means ‘House of God’, and the letter ‘Y’ and the letter ‘I’ are interchangeable, rendering the translation ‘Bit-al’, and ‘Bit’ in ancient Egyptian means Bee. The translation also suggests that House of God may represent a repository of knowledge – as in the Beehive. Additionally, and somewhat bizarrely, Bethel carries the same numeric value as the word ‘meteorite’, which harkens back to the notion that Bees are related to sacred stones, and stones from heaven in particular, which we will discuss more fully, shortly.

“This Place is Terrible” – above the church in Rennes-Le-Château

Finally, our last association with Rennes-Le-Château and the Bee is even more obtuse than the others, for it involves the Holy Grail, an object of desire long associated with the South of France. The well worn legend of Rennes-Le-Château purports that Saunière discovered a heretical secret and / or treasure of considerable importance while renovating his church. As previously noted, he may have been told where to look by a Habsburg; a dynasty linked with Bees. With his new found riches – apparently as a result of his ‘discovery’ - the priest renovated his village and church in a manner that seems gaudy and sensational to our 21st century eyes. The renovations included the encoding of the number 11 - as in the number of Bees found on Plantard’s family crest, and the number 22 – the feast day of Mary Magdalene, and an important number in the Cabala. As part of his renovation, the priest repositioned the statues of Saints in his church in such a way that when connected in an unbroken line, or ‘M’ shape, the first letter of each saints name spells GRAAL – or Grail in French, i.e. St Germaine, St Roch, St Antoine de Padoue, St Antoine, St Luc.

The Grail - commemorated in the Church in Rennes-Le-Château

The region around Rennes-Le-Château is ripe with Grail legends. In fact history’s most renowned Grail hunter, the German Otto Rahn, explored the province extensively during the early part of the 20th century. Rahn was inspired by his understanding that Grail Romances such as Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival were written by authors who specialized in history – not fiction, and that they portrayed real historical events, places and people. To this end, Rahn believed that the Cathar fortress of Montségur was Eschenbach’s historical Grail castle, the Mountain of Salvation visited by Parzival as part of his initiation into the mysteries of the Grail. While today’s scholars agree that the region is indeed steeped in Grail legend, most support an alternative site to Rahn’s Mountain of Salvation, and that is Montreal de Sos. The archeologically rich cave is nestled in the side of a rocky outcrop in what is known as the ‘Royal Mountain’, in the nearby region of Vicdessos.

Montreal de Sos – A Grail initiation cave in the ‘Royal Mountain’

Much has been written about the evocative drawings on the walls of Montreal de Sos, for they mirror many of objects described in the Grail procession of Chrétien de Troyes provocative but unfinished work; ‘Perceval, the Story of the Grail’ – the first ever Grail Romance (1190).

Recreation of the Grail etchings on the wall at Montreal de Sos |
A Photograph close up of the Lance in the actual cave

A little known fact is that de Troyes was unable to start until he travelled to Spain and studied with a Cabalist, leading scholars to conclude that the Cabala uniquely enables the understanding of esoteric subjects such as the Grail. Some years later, Wolfram von Eschenbach wrote the Grail Romance ‘Parzival’, and in his account we are told that the Grail is a stone from heaven. This is interesting, given that the word ‘meteorite’ carries the same numeric value (443) as ‘Bethel’ – which translates as Bee in Egyptian.
Montreal de Sos is a double entrance cave in the tradition of the Bee goddess cave on the Greek island of Ithaca, and its location is intriguing, for it faces a peculiar looking stone in the distance known as the Dolmen of Sem, meaning the ‘Palace of Samson’. In Part 2, we discussed how the reference to Samson recalls the legend of Bees coming forth from the body of a lion. Might Bees be associated with the Palace of Samson, too? The stone is curious in several respects. Firstly, it only vaguely resembles a dolmen, and secondly it is positioned in such a way as to point directly at two intriguing landmarks - each in opposite directions. To the Northwest, the Palace of Samson points at a tiny village named Orus. And to the Southeast, it points at a nearby mountain range whose summit is called the Forest of the Grail, and whose valley is known as the Pass of the Grail.

The Palace of Samson – marker stone or dolmen?
Montreal de Sos is in the low lying hill in the centre in the distance |
 Orus, or Horus is to the right | the Pass of the Grail is to the left

The researcher André Douzet wrote about the curious stone in his book ‘The Wanderings of the Grail’, and observed that Orus transcribed as Horus – the name of the falcon headed Egyptian god, when spoken in French, and lest we forget, Egyptian Pharaohs were considered the ‘living Horus’ and carried the title of ‘Beekeeper’. When I explored the mountain a couple of years ago, I discovered that at the centre of the Pass of the Grail, in the middle of the Forest of the Grail, at the top of the mountain in a totally secluded path at the precise point where one would be aligned with the Palace of Samson and the village of Orus in the distance, an apiary - a group of Beehives - obstructed the path.

Beehives in the centre of the Pass of the Grail

Although the presence of Bees in the middle of a mountain top path is in itself not significant - as apiaries are frequently positioned in out of the way places such as this - it is serendipitous, for it calls attention to the notion that Bees are not only linked with sacred stones, they are frequently associated with lines; Bee-lines. And as I retreated down the mountain, defeated by my fear of being ‘stung’ should I attempt to manoeuvre past the hives, I reflected on the symbolism of the Bee for the very first time.

Entering the Forest of the Grail | A view of The Pass of the Grail

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