From the Wise Master (July 2019)

posted Jul 8, 2019, 11:37 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite
Dear Brethren,

As a beekeeper or an apiarist, I have always been fascinated with honey bees and continue to learn about them every day. There are many connections between Masonry, Honey Bees and Bee Hives. This month, I would like to share with you some thoughts about Freemasonry and Bees.

If you research for Bees and Freemasons, you will read many references for bees being symbols of industry and regeneration, wisdom and obedience, with a place in Egyptian, Roman and Christian symbolism. I believe there is much more than that.

First, bees know one another through various indicators if they belong to their hive or not. Only bees who can produce the correct credentials are admitted to a regular bee hive. Otherwise the guard bees will not allow them to enter the hive. This also includes other critters don’t belong to a hive.

The Queen bee uses the frames in the center of the hive for brood and generation of the new members of their colony. They are born and initiated in the center of the hive where freemasons have their altar. New born bees (entered apprentices) have the job to clean the cells, and they start with the one they were born in. They also keep the brood warm while they learn to subdue their passions, live within the due bounds for the harmony and strength of the hive. Next, they feed the older larvae then the youngest larvae, the candidates. As they get older and wiser, they are initiated to next level responsibilities, as fellow crafts. Their responsibility is to produce wax, carry food, and build combs that are traced by older bees on their tracing board. At this stage they are given the wisdom on construction, structure, material, geometry, math, chemistry, physics and many other disciplines similar to Fellow Craft Masons in order to build the perfect combs with the right cells (size for female, drone/male and queen cells are different), regulate the temperature of the hive through controlling water evaporation and regulate water content of the honey to prevent fermentation. Also, later, they are tasked with the guard duties (tyler) to protect the hive entrance. During this entire time since birth, they have not yet left the hive, stayed in the hive and attended their duties.

Once they achieve the necessary age and wisdom, they are initiated to the next level, Master Masons. Now they can travel. They can fly from the hive to collect pollen, nectar, water, propolis, etc. They map the area around the hive, determine and communicate where the resources are, construct the hive structure on their tracing board and attend the Queen’s needs and her success with productivity and longevity of the hive, also replace the Queen if/when it becomes necessary for the good of the hive.

When resources (food and water) are inadequate, instead of fighting for what little they have, bees help the weak and support the hive, and the last resort voluntarily leave the hive to allow the remaining bees to survive. Honey Bees (except the Queen) die when they sting due to the barbed stinger they have. Therefore, bees rarely sting for self-preservation but the preservation of the colony or to protect what belongs to the colony.

I hope you find the honey bees as fascinating as I do and notice the similarities between their wisdom and our lodges.