What Spiritual Science tells us about BEES.

From selected works of Rudolf Steiner.

Nine Lectures on Bees

Life in a beehive is established with the extraordinary wisdom behind it. Cosmic influences have a tremendous effect upon the beehive.

Since love life – which is, above all, a matter concerning the soul- is held back in all the bees except a single queen, the sexual life of the beehive is transformed into all the activity that the bees develop among themselves. Bees are completely open to the planet Venus influence and develop the love life throughout the entire bee colony. That which we experience within ourselves only at a time when our hearts develop love is actually the very same thing that is present as a substance in the entire beehive. The whole beehive is permeated with life based on love. But the thing that a bee profits from the most is that it derives its sustenance from the very parts of a plant that are pervaded by the plant’s love life. The bee brings love life from the flowers into the beehive, so we need to study the life of bees from the standpoint of the soul. The living element of the thriving, germinating love that is spread out over the flowers is also contained in the honey the bees make. At the moment when we eat honey, it creates the proper connection and relationship between the airy and fluid elements in the human being. There is nothing better for a human being than to add a little honey to food. In a very wonderful way, the bee sees to it that a person learns to work on the internal organs by means of the soul element. In honey the bee colony returns to humans the amount of effort the soul needs to expend in their bodies. Beekeeping is a great aid to human culture; it makes human beings strong. By way of the beehive, the entire cosmos can find its way into human being and help to make them sound in mind and body.

Honey has an extraordinarily beneficial effect on humans, particularly when we grow old- with a child, it is milk that acts in this way. Honey assists in maintaining the form of our bodies. However, if you overeat the honey then you will develop too much form. Then the body form will become brittle, and you will contract many diseases. For older people, honey is extraordinarily healthy form of nourishment, because it gives the body a solidness, a real power of resistance.

Bee flies out and collects honey nectar. In its own body it transforms this honey nectar into honey and creates from it its own powers of life. After the bee has transformed the food in its digestive system into wax, it creates hexagonal cells to deposit eggs and store its provision. This six-cornered little case has energies within it. The larva internalizes these forms. Out of this same energy it will, as an adult, produce such a cell out of itself. In it resides the energies that help the bee do all other kind of work as well. The environment is the cause for everything the bee does externally. The bee is formed by the same hexagonal force that resides in the Earth and can construct a quartz crystal. It’s the finely distributed silicic acid that has this effect. Human beings need the same things bees do. Bee is that creature that can best of all create this force of having a hexagonal effect on other things, the bee collects from everything available in nature the very form of nourishment that can carry over into our bodies this same hexagonally acting force, a force that produces a six-sided effect.

If you have become too week to develop within yourself this six-sided force that must flow from your head to the rest of the body, if you don’t have any longer the power to give your blood a certain degree of solidity so that this hexagonal force is continually present, then honey must step in to make up for the loss, or, in the case of children, milk will be necessary. Children don’t have this force as yet- they still must obtain it through that which a woman produces in herself in the form of milk. If you have a person too enervated, too emaciated that in order to help such person you would have to give so much honey that the stomach would be spoiled in this process. Honey is something that demands moderation. You can begin with giving such person, as a medication, a drastically diluted solution containing a powered quartz, which is silicic asid. After a certain amount of time this person will regain the capability of absorbing the beneficial effect of small quantities of honey. This very thinly dissolved silicic acid will have stimulated within the person the power to make use of the hexagonal formative force. So the silicic acid can prepare the way for the honey.

There are some people who can’t tolerate any honey as they immediately suffer from heartburn and indigestion. Those people usually tend toward getting sclerosis, an inclination toward hardening throughout the entire body, which causes the body’s metabolic rate to be quite slow. This is why they can’t tolerate honey, the primary effect of which is to increase the metabolic rate. Within their bodies a split in their metabolism occurs when their bodies want an abnormally slow metabolism and the honey makes it faster. As a result, they get indigestion, which manifest itself in a number of different ways. Every person should be able to enjoy eating some honey and to have the inner ability to digest it properly. If you have before you people who can’t tolerate honey, you should determine the origins of these conditions, how a person came to develop such a sclerotic condition and then base the cure upon this knowledge. For instance, individual tends toward hardening of the arteries, veins, and blood vessels in the head, which is called a head sclerosis. It is possible that at the certain age, such a person will not be able to tolerate honey. In such case the cure will be effected by giving a preparation containing phosphorus. Then the person will begin tolerating honey. It can happen that you’ll notice that the sclerotic condition is in the lungs. Then you will need to use a preparation containing sulfur. If someone can’t tolerate honey at a given age, it is evidence of illness. You must seek the nature of the illness and cure it. A healthy person can tolerate honey without any problems. It is necessary that people gain a thorough insight how terribly important honey is as a food. If it were possible to exert more influence on the “social” medicine, it would be extremely favorable influence if couples, during the time of their engagement, would eat honey as a preparatory activity before having children. For in this way they would not have rickety children, because there is in honey a force that can affect the reproductive power in human beings, who then, in turn, transform this honey power further so as to give the offspring a proper bodily form. The parents’- more specifically, the mother’s- consumption of honey has a beneficial effect that extends itself to the bony, skeletal frame of the child.

To reach full maturity, the queen needs only 16 days, a worker needs 21, the drones need 23-24 days.

Twenty -one days is the approximate time span the Sun needs to revolve once on its axis and return to the point where it can begin a new cycle. The queen remains forever a Sun child. The worker bee’s development is just barely completed at the same time that the Sun has completed a single revolution on its axis. By following this cycle the worker bee has experienced every different effect the Sun can have on it, and all of these effects are now within the bee. The worker bee is a Sun animal containing the results of all the possible effects the Sun can have upon such a form of animal life. The drone continues into the Earth development phase to mature, it is definitely an Earth animal. The fertilization capability of drones comes from the Earth, whereas the female capability of the queen to develop eggs derives from the Sun’s energies. Because the workers belong to the same Sun development, they feel related and tied to the queen. The drones are traitors; they have already split away from the group and have fallen to Earth. They no longer belong with them. They are just tolerated because bees need them for a nuptial flight.

Whenever a new queen is created, a nuptial flight must have preceded this birth. A new queen comes out into the Sun. All the worker bees feel related to the old queen. Their tiny three eyes on the forehead begin to see, at the time when a new queen is born. The strongest radiation appears when she is still an embryo or a larva. This is something that bees can not stand. Three tiny eyes of the workers on the forehead originate from deep within their bodies and are permeated with their inner blood, among other things. These eyes have not been exposed to the external effects of the Sun’s influence. Because the new queen, having been “born of the Sun”, brings new sunlight into the beehive with her own body, the workers with their tiny eyes suddenly begin to “see”. They become clairvoyant and can’t stand to see the light emanating from the new queen. The entire horde begins swarming. It is as if they are afraid of the new queen because she seems to blind them. It would be as though you were looking directly at the Sun. Why do the bees become so overly sensitive to the new influence of the Sun that the new queen brings into the hive? The bee has difficulty tolerating all types of external influences. It wants to remain within itself. The bee’s world is its own beehive; every influence from outside disturbs it. It defends itself against this foreign influences with its poison. This poison is present within the bee in such a way that only tiny amounts are absorbed into the bee’s body. The reason for that worker’s tiny eyes can’t see is that poison constantly enters them. When the new queen’s Sun effect is present, the poison loses its effectiveness. The young queen is taking away the power of the bee poison that the old queen possesses.

The bee actually owes to the poison it carries the fact that it lives in a continual twilight. It feels its way around by means of a sense midway between smell and taste. The bee needs to be shut off the world with the twilight barrier. This barrier is carried along with itself when it flies out, because the poison can help the bee remain within itself. It needs the poison whenever it becomes afraid that something external might attempt to influence it. Swarm that leaves its hive is afraid that it is no longer possesses bee poison and can’t defend itself anymore.

Animals have a very fine sensitivity for invisible things. If you are walking into a swarm of bees and you are extremely afraid, the bees can feel that you have fear. With the fear you become pale and your blood is held back. When a bee approaches a person who is afraid, it senses in him this force that affects things in a six-sided manner, more than it normally does when the blood is properly distributed in the skin. And it wants to obtain from you honey or wax. If a person calmly approaches the bee, the bee then notices that the person’s blood has the same amount of hexagonal power as it has. If you are angry while approaching the bees, anger will make you red. A lot of blood suffuses the skin, and this blood wants to receive more of hexagonal force. The bee notices this and believes that you want to take away from it this six-sided power- so it stings you.

That which we have as an “I”-force circulating in our blood is also present in a very mysterious way in bee poison. Bee needs this poison in its body because it requires the same power to circulate fluids as a human being does to circulate blood.

When your blood is energized by the bee poison, it sets into greater motion than under normal circumstances. This will cause some irritation and possibly inflammation somewhere, but your heart will be able to withstand it. If, however, the heart is diseased, then the I is strengthened and increased dangerously by the effect of the additional bee poison entering the bloodstream. This poison will push hard against a somewhat diseased heart valve, the result being that a person may become unconscious or even die.

If someone has rheumatism or even gout or other deposits in the body, in this case you will need to strengthen the I organization, for it is too week. It is unable to influence the blood to move properly, it needs a special stimulus. If you give such a person the proper dose of bee or wasp poison, the I will be strengthened. But it is very important not to give too much, otherwise the I will not be able to take over control. If you give just the right amount, so that the I-organization is strengthened, then you can make a very good medicine from bee or wasp poison. But it is important to mix it with other medicines. For example, the old Tartarus remedy was made in a similar way; however, it contained other substances. To apply such a medication, you really need to know the patient in question. It is dangerous to say generally that a specific medicine should be used for this or that illness. You need to consider whether the patient can tolerate the medication based upon the general organic condition of the person’s health. In the body where gout and rheumatism are already present, the heart might remains quite strong for a long time. For such a person a bee sting can provide true benefit.

Back in the Moon -formation stage of the Earth there was a “plant-hood”, a single living covering of plants. And this living plant cover was fertilized everywhere by the surrounding environment. There were also no animals fixed in definite forms. Our Earth was once in condition that might be described this way. It was surrounded by clouds that contained plant life, and approaching these clouds from the periphery were other clouds; these other clouds, which were of an animal nature, fertilized the plant life clouds. The animal-hood came from the cosmos, whereas the plant-hood came out of the Earth. The plants of that early time have become our flowers with their definite shapes and forms. But something remained with these flowers- the fact that they want to experience an influence that comes to them from the environment. These flowers require a chemical substance that also plays an important role in the human body- formic acid. This formic acid fills your entire body. When you are ill and don’t have sufficient formic acid, then your body will tend to show signs of gout or rheumatism. The body is creating too much uric acid and not enough formic acid.

Body must make formic acid all over, but particularly in spleen. If a person produces insufficient amount of formic acid, he needs to be given a remedy to help externally to create enough formic acid within a body.

In the case of those patients whom formic acid administration helped, you will find that they show evidence of a mucous obstruction in the lungs. Patients, who derive no benefit from formic acid as a medication, are those in whom you will discover mucous obstruction in the liver, kidney or spleen. These patients will need oxalic acid and after a certain time they will begin to produce formic acid within. In this case the human organism really wants to have oxalic acid, so that it can transform it into formic acid on its own.

But formic acid is something that is needed throughout all of nature, it is present in all living things in just the appropriate dilution. Something related to formic acid is what wasps and bees have within themselves, a chemical substance that they transform in bee poison. Poisons of the bees, wasps and ants have been left over from that which used to be in the environment of the old Moon. Very finally distributed, these poisons originated in the cosmos and came down over the plants. While the bee is sitting on the flower and obtaining nectar, the flower is having such a pleasant experience that it sends its own plant juice toward the place where the bee is sucking out. And in this same stream of flowing juice bee poison also flows in the opposite direction from the bee to the flower. And while the gall wasp is stinging, wasp poison flows into the plant. When an ant crawls over the plant, it allows formic acid to flow into it. If there were no any bees, wasps and ants, which continually come into contact with the world of flowers and nibble at them, then the necessary formic acid and other necessary poison wouldn’t flow toward these flowers, and the flowers would have to die out after a certain period of time. Only such substances as formic acid are the true substances of life. Poisons generally are collectors of a spiritual element present in the cosmic environment. For this very reason, poisons can also serve as remedies used to effect a cure. And understood on a very basic level, flowers are continually getting sicker and sicker, and these little bees, wasps and ants continually play the role of doctor, bringing formic acid to the flowers, which they need in order to be healed completely again. They bring to the flowers the possibility of remaining alive. Originating from anthills, formic acid finds its way into the forest soil and also penetrates the living plants. Poisons, even though they create inflammations or similar conditions, also function as chemicals that have continuous curative powers that stave off the process of dying. This maintenance of life become evident every time insects move about and the Earth has had its store of poison replenished, which means that death has been prevented and life has been maintained. The power of mind, or intelligence is present around us in nature.

The great breath of air that surrounds the entire Earth is saturated with the formic acid that is created from the oxalic acid present in plants. In the human body this continuous transformation is going in stomach, liver, kidney, spleen and intestines. The entire body of the bee possesses transformed to a higher degree formic acid. And so the little insects flutter about the plants and are the reason why the oxalic acid in plants is changed into the formic acid or undergoes a metamorphosis. Wherever something is alive, there is oxalic acid, etheric body is immediately renewing it. Astral body transforms the oxalic acid into formic acid. The formic acid created in humans and by insects is alive, and it appears wherever sensations and feelings arise and the soul element is present. We have it as the foundation for soul and spirit. Also it provides the foundation for the presence of the Earth’s spiritual and soul element. And when a human being becomes old and can’t develop enough formic acid anymore, the soul and spirit leave. In the same way the older bees also leave the hive with swarm when there is insufficient amount of altered formic acid- bee poison- present. By looking at the escaping swarm of bees, you can really see an image of the human soul flying away from the body. The swarm press themselves together in order to disappear, because they want to gain entrance into the spirit world. But it has become so caught up in the material world, so physical, that it can no longer fulfill this desire. They can’t find their way into the spirit world. We have to take them to an empty beehive to bring about a rebirth, or reincarnation, of these bees. This is very directly a picture of the reincarnating human being.

Foundations of Esotericism. Lecture I.

In a stock of bees, for example, there are three kinds of beings which have a soul in common. Seemingly quite separated beings carry out a common work. In the future this will also be the case with man; he will separate off his organs. He will have to control consciously from outside all the single molecules of his brain. Then he will have become a higher being. This will also be so with his stages of consciousness.

We have spoken about the consciousness of the different kingdoms of nature. Man's organs have an organ-consciousness; this consciousness develops an abnormal condition in idiots. It is the consciousness possessed by nocturnal insects, ants, spiders and so on. We find a totally different consciousness in the case of bees. We will use the example of bees in order to show how one arrives at such truths and then can make use of them to find one's bearings in the world.

Lecture IV

An occult schooling is something completely different from our usual schooling. It does not start by cramming into the pupils a great deal of educational matter. In a strict occult schooling the pupil receives no educational matter whatever, but is given a pregnant sentence filled with inner power. So it was also in earlier times. The pupil had to meditate on the sentence in a state of complete inner calm, through which eventually he became inwardly suffused with light, completely illuminated. When a person has advanced to the stage of seeing into his inner self, he can sink his consciousness into other beings. For this he must have gained control of the point midway between the eyes and from there direct his consciousness downward into the heart. Then he can transfer his consciousness into other things; for example, he can then investigate what lives in an ant heap. Then he can also perceive the life in a beehive. Here however a phenomenon presents itself which is otherwise not to be experienced on earth. In the way a beehive functions one experiences something which is outside our earthly existence, something which is not found anywhere else on earth. What takes place on the other planets cannot be discovered merely by thinking. One cannot for example experience what is taking place on the Sun or Venus if one is unable to transfer one's consciousness into the life and functioning of a colony of bees. The bee has not gone through the whole course of evolution as we have. From the outset it has not been connected with the same evolutionary sequence as the other animals and man. The consciousness of the beehive, not of the single bee, is immensely lofty. The wisdom of this consciousness will only be attained by man in the Venus existence. Then he will have the consciousness which is necessary in order to build with a substance which he creates out of his own being. The ants build the ant heap out of all sorts of things, but as yet build no cells. The building of cells is on higher planes something absolutely different. Through transferring one's consciousness into the beehive, through taking on the Venus consciousness, one learns something entirely different from anything else on earth, the complete recession of the element of sex. With the bees what is sexual is vested only in the one queen. The kama-sexuality is almost entirely eliminated; the drones are killed. Here we have the prototype of something which will actually be accomplished in a future humanity, when work is the highest principle. It is only through the impulse of the spirit that one gains the faculty of transferring oneself into the community of the bees.

When from the higher planes one studies consciousness as it functions in the beehive, one learns how later on man will produce matter out of himself.

The ant heap also has a much higher consciousness than present-day man. The consciousness of the ant heap is to be found in the higher regions of the Mental Plane. On the other hand the consciousness of the bees is to be found in the higher regions of the Buddhi plane. How then did the ant-consciousness enter into our Earth? This took place through beings who stand higher than we do who had already gone through the process of creating their body for themselves. Males, females and workers, the three members of the ant heap, comprise the body of a higher spiritual being. The human spirit also comes gradually to the point of dividing itself into three parts. Willing, feeling and thinking become separated in the case of the esoteric pupil. The molecules of the brain divide into three groups. The esoteric pupil must then out of himself connect a definite feeling with a mental picture. When he sees suffering, in order to experience pity, he must consciously add this feeling to it. To the front of the head lies the thinking part, above, the part of feeling, to the back of the head that of willing. The esoteric pupil learns to bring these consciously into connection with one another. Later these three parts become completely separated. He must then control the three parts in the same way as an ant heap controls the males, females and workers.

Man as Symphony of the Creative Word. Lecture VII.

And it is these fire-spirits which take the utmost delight in following in the tracks of the insects' flight so that they may bring about the distribution of warmth for the seed buds. In order to carry the concentrated warmth, which must descend into the earth so that it may be united with the ideal form, in order to do this the fire-spirits feel themselves inwardly related to the butterfly-world, and to the insect-creation in general. Everywhere they follow in the tracks of the insects as they buzz from blossom to blossom. And so one really has the feeling, when following the flight of insects, that each of these insects as it buzzes from blossom to blossom, has a quite special aura which cannot be entirely explained from the insect itself. Particularly the luminous, wonderfully radiant, shimmering, aura of bees, as they buzz from blossom to blossom, is unusually difficult to explain. And why? It is because the bee is everywhere accompanied by a fire-spirit which feels so closely related to it that, for spiritual vision, the bee is surrounded by an aura which is actually a fire-spirit. When a bee flies through the air from plant to plant, from tree to tree, it flies with an aura which is actually given to it by a fire-spirit. The fire-spirit does not only gain a feeling of its ego in the presence of the insect, but it wishes to be completely united with the insect.

Lecture XI.

Now a stock of bees is really a head which is open on all sides. What the bees carry out is actually the same as what the head carries out within itself. The hive we give them is at most a support. The bees activity, however, is not enclosed, but produced from outside. In a stock of bees, under external spiritual influence, we have the same thing as we have under spiritual influence inside the head. The stock of bees produces its honey, and when we eat and enjoy honey it gives us the up-building forces, which must now be provided more from outside, with the same strength and power which milk gives us for our head during the years of childhood.

When people say that their ancestors' belief in gnomes, undines, sylphs, salamanders and the like was all nonsense, one would like to make a rather grotesque reply, and say: “Well, go and ask the bees. They could inform you: the sylphs are no superstition to us; we know well enough what we owe to the sylphs.” — Anyone investigating spiritual forces can find out which force it is that draws the bee on towards the flowers; he sees actual beings leading the bee to the flowers: amid the myriads of bees which fly forth in search of nourishment are the beings our predecessors called sylphs.

It is especially where the different kingdoms of nature come in contact with each other that certain elemental beings are able to reveal themselves. Where moss is growing on the rocks, for example, such beings can establish themselves; or again, in the flowers, in the contact of the bee with the flowers, certain beings have the chance to show themselves. Another possibility arises where man himself comes into touch with the animal kingdom. This does not happen, however, in the ordinary run of things, as for example, when a butcher slaughters an ox or when a man eats meat. It does occur, however, in less usual circumstances, where the contact between the two kingdoms is the result of something more than the mere fact of life. It occurs particularly where a man has that kind of relationship to animals which involves his own feelings, his own concern of soul. A shepherd, for example, may sometimes have such a special relationship to his sheep. Connections of this sort were very frequent in more primitive cultures in earlier times; they resembled the relationship which an Arab has to his horse. And such soul-forces as play over from one realm into the other — as they do between the shepherd and his lambs, or when the forces of smell and taste stream over from the flowers to the bees — these give to certain beings the possibility of incarnating themselves. The spiritual investigator perceives something like an aura around the blossoms, which arises as the bees thrust their way into them and taste what they find there. A kind of flower-aura streams out, and this provides nourishment for certain spiritual beings.

The sylphs are bound to the element of air, and lead the bees to the flowers. Now everything science has to say about the life of the bees is riddled with error from top to bottom, and nowadays the beekeepers are often misled by it; in this direction science proves itself unusable and again and again beekeepers have to come back to old practices.

The beehive or that magnificent commonwealth embodied in an ant hill provide bases of such an indication. The collaboration of the various kinds of insects (females, males, workers) proceeds in a completely systematic fashion. The distribution of tasks among the several categories can only be described as an expression of true wisdom. What happens here is just as much the result of a consciousness as the institutions of man in the physical world (technology, art, state, and so forth) are an effect of his consciousness. However, the consciousness at the base of the beehive or the ant society is not to be found in the same physical world in which the ordinary human consciousness exists. In order to describe the situation, one can express oneself somewhat as follows. One finds man in the physical world. His physical organs, his whole structure are such that at first one looks for his consciousness also in this physical world. It is otherwise with the beehive or the ant hill. Here it would be quite wrong to confine oneself to the physical world with respect to the consciousness in question, as was done in the case of man. No, here one must say that to find the ordering principle of the beehive or the ant hill, one cannot confine oneself to the world where the bees or ants live in their physical bodies. In this case, the “conscious mind” must be sought directly in another world. The same conscious mind which in man lives in the physical world, in the case of these animal colonies must be sought in a supersensible world. If with his consciousness man could raise himself into this supersensible world, he would be able to greet the “ant or bee spirit” there in full consciousness as his sister being. The seer can actually do this. Thus, in the examples given above, we are confronted by beings which are conscious in other worlds and which reach into the physical world only through their physical organs — the individual bees and ants. It is quite possible that a consciousness like that of the beehive or of the ant hill existed in the physical world in earlier periods of its development, as that of man does now, but then raised itself and left behind in the physical world only its acting organs, that is, the individual ants and bees. Such a course of development will actually take place in the future with respect to man. In a certain manner it has already taken place among the seers in the present. That the consciousness of contemporary man functions in the physical world is due to the fact that its physical particles — the molecules of brain and nerves — exist in a quite definite relation with one another. What has been discussed in greater detail in another connection in my book. Wie erlangt man Erkentnisse der hoheren Welten? (How Does One Attain Knowledge of Higher Worlds?) will also be indicated briefly here. In the course of the higher development of man the ordinary connection of the brain molecules is dissolved. They are then connected more “loosely,” so that the brain of a seer can really be compared with an ant hill in a certain respect, although the segmentation is not demonstrable anatomically. In different activities of the world these processes occur in quite different ways. At a time long past, the individual molecules of the ant hill — that is, the ants themselves — were firmly connected, just as are the molecules of the human brain today. At that time, the consciousness corresponding to them was in the physical world, as that of man is today. When human consciousness will travel into “higher” worlds in the future, the connection between the material parts in the physical world will be as loose as is that between the individual ants today. What in time will occur physically in all men, already takes place today in the brain of the clairvoyant, but no instrument of the world of the senses is sufficiently delicate to show the loosening which comes about through this anticipatory development. Just as among the bees three categories, queens, drones, workers, are formed, so three categories of molecules are formed in the “seer brain,” molecules which are actually individual, living beings, brought into conscious collaboration by the consciousness of the seer, which is in a higher world.

Lecture V: Yoga In East and West

Greek imagery compares the soul to a bee and this is much truer to the facts. Just as the bee emerges from the hive and gathers the juice of flowers to distil and make it into honey, so does the soul come forth from the Spirit, penetrates into reality and gathers its essence which is then borne back again to the Spirit.

“If thou takest into thyself honey or wine, thou dost thereby strengthen from within the forces of the cosmos working into thee from outside.” This might be expressed in other terms: “by doing so thou strengthenest the actual forces of the ego”: — the meaning would be the same. This way of putting things makes them very easy to survey. “But if thou dost rub thy body thoroughly with an oily stuff thou dost weaken thereby the harmful action of the forces of earth”: that is to say, of the forces opposed to the actin of the ego, within the organism. And these ancients, these physicians of old, have also said: “If thou findest the right measure between the strengthening by sweetness from within, and the weakening by oil from without, then thou shalt live long.” We might say: “Let the action of oil avert from your organism the harmful influence of earth; and if you are able to do so and not constitutionally too feeble, let the forces of your ego be strengthened with wine or honey; then you strengthen the forces that lead you to a green old age.” Such are the prescriptions and statements in axiomatic form. The aim was to guide mankind aright through facts, not doctrines. And we must return to this method. For among the multitudinous and various materials of the external world we can find our way far better in the light of primary phenomena than by abstract laws of nature, which always let the student down when he has to approach some concrete case.

Now a stock of bees is really a head which is open on all sides. What the bees carry out is actually the same as what the head carries out within itself. The hive we give them is at most a support. The bee’s activity, however, is not enclosed, but produced from outside. In a stock of bees, under external spiritual influence, we have the same thing as we have under spiritual influence inside the head. The stock of bees produces its honey, and when we eat and enjoy honey it gives us the up-building forces, which must now be provided more from outside, with the same strength and power which milk gives us for our head during the years of childhood.

Thus, while we are still children we strengthen through the consumption of milk the formative forces working from the head outwards; if at a later age we still need formative forces we must eat honey. Nor do we need to eat it in tremendous quantities — it is only a question of absorbing its forces.

Thus one learns from external nature how strengthening forces must be brought into human life, if only this external nature is fully understood. And if we would conceive a land where there are beautiful children and beautiful old people, what kind of a land would this be? It would be “a land flowing with milk and honey”. So you see ancient instinctive vision was in no way wrong when it said about lands of promise that they are such as flow with milk and honey.

Many such simple sayings contain the profoundest wisdom, and there is really no more beautiful experience than first to make every possible effort to experience the truth, and then to find some ancient holy saying abounding in deep wisdom such as “a land flowing with milk and honey”. That is indeed a rare land, for in it there are only beautiful children and beautiful old people.

The Origin of Evil

Greek philosophy beautifully compared the human soul with a bee. The world of colour and light offers the soul honey which it brings with it into the higher world. The soul must spiritualise sense experience and carry it up into higher worlds.

Curative Education: Lecture 9

In addition, you will at the same time need to treat such a child therapeutically; he must receive injections with hypophysis cerebri and honey, because, as you saw, the temporal lobes are stunted and we must do all we can to encourage forces of growth that shall counteract this deformation.

Fundamentals of Therapy: Chapter XX

Scleron consists of metallic lead, honey and sugar. Lead works upon the organism in such a way as to stimulate the catabolic action of the ego-organization. If we introduce it into the organism where this action is deficient, it will therefore stimulate it, if administered in sufficiently strong doses. If the doses are excessive, hypertrophy of the ego organization results. The body destroys more than it can build up and must disintegrate. In sclerotic illness the ego organization becomes too weak; it is not itself sufficiently catabolic. Therefore destruction only occurs through the astral body. The catabolic products are precipitated out of the organism and cause reinforcement of those organs that exist in salt substances. In appropriate dosage, lead takes back the catabolic process into the ego-organization. The catabolic products are eliminated and do not remain as hardened areas in the body. All healing of sclerosis can only consist of opening up the way out of the organism of salt forming processes which otherwise remain in the body.

Through the lead the direction of the processes of the ego organization is determined. Further it is necessary that these processes in their course, remain transient to a certain extent. This is accomplished by adding honey. Honey brings the ego organization to the state where it can exercise the necessary mastery over the astral body. Therefore, it takes from the astral body its relative autonomy in sclerosis. Sugar works directly on the ego-organization. It strengthens it in itself. Our remedy, therefore, has the following effect: lead works catabolically in the manner of the ego-organization, not the astral body. The honey transfers the catabolic action of the astral body to the ego-organization and the sugar places the ego-organization in a position to fulfill its specific task. It can be observed that the initial stages of sclerosis express themselves in that the quickness of thought and precise command of memory cease. Applied in this early stage of sclerosis, our remedy will prevent the advanced stages. It proves effective, however, in the later stages too.

Plants refine their starches into the sugar found in the blossoms, and then further etherealize substance into scent, color and pollen. The honey stored in blossoms is a very special sub­stance. Though it has still not quite left the life-realm, it also has to do with the salt sphere - the salt we described as possessing wisdom. But honey’s special quality is its closeness to the spirit, for it is produced in the area where plant substance is refined and metamorphosed into spiritual formative forces. It is both a physi­cal and spiritual substance, permeated by salt’s wisdom, which at this stage is closely related to the carrying quality of cosmic thought.

‘Salt’ in this context is not to be confused with root salts. For roots are of the materialization pole, a sphere where life loses its hold on salts and gravity claims them. But the mineralization ( devitalization or falling to ashes) that takes place in the blossom area serves a heavenly, not an earthly end. The spiritual salt process in the plant is not the same thing as earthly, mineral salt, but consists of finely dispersed blossom elements such as nectar, scent, colour and pollen.

The bees carry the nectar they gather into their selfless sphere, where everything is governed by a wise group-ego. People really able to appreciate the wisdom in a beehive’s organization will sense a connection here with the human future. The fact that the temperature in a beehive is exactly that of human blood points to the activity in it of a co-ordinating ego similar to man’s. And the wise will see in the bee’s overcoming of sexuality, the pattern of developments to come.

Bees live in the world’s breathing process. For the blossoms that pour out colour, scent and pollen are the world’s organs of outbreathing, and the wise group-soul of bees has made them carriers of these substances. Honey is therefore a food that sup­ports those human functions that help thinking to be felt and willed, and will and feeling guided by thinking. In the metabolic sphere honey stimulates the kidney action that is vitally tied up with breathing and the nervous system. Indeed, honey has an ego-like capacity to work on man’s organism and charge his blood with ego-like upbuilding impulses. It is an important food for older people, at the time of life when man’s natural endowment of restorative ego forces is about exhausted.

Work with bees makes one receptive to inspiration from the bee’s group spirit. The social forms that must be created before much longer will merge, in an illumined but still distant future, into simple love of our fellow men.

Honey thus has a deep connection with man’s future develop­ment, as milk has with his past. And just as milk prepared us to enter earthly incarnation, honey prepares us to leave the earth when that time comes. Honey helps us to grow old gracefully and to ripen the wise fruits of living.