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The Study of Life of Bees from the Standpoint of the Soul

April 11, 2012

By Michael Thiele, The Melissa Garden

From The Melissa Garden’s “April Greetings” (Apr. 10, 2012)


Anise Swallowtail on Echium (©The Melissa Garden)

Historically, living with bees was ritualized, ensuring harmony between bees and apiculturists. In our de-ritualized world, we face the challenge of finding the means to reconnect with core aspects of life and of finding guidance for being with the bees. In his bee lectures, the Austrian philosopher and spiritual scientist Rudolf Steiner describes the bien (a term defining the bee colony as one being) as being permeated with life based on love. To meet the bien on that level and be touched by it will bring forth a new way of living with bees. The bien can become a metaphor for our interconnectedness with the world and it can make the oneness of our life palpable. Infused by a radical different sense of self, it resonates within the depths of our own hearts. The bees can change our sense of who we think we are and instill in us a wish to serve.

In this pivotal time when life on earth is in transition on so many levels, the bees enter our awareness worldwide through their struggles. They can become an inspiration for a change in our cultural, emotional, and agricultural landscape.  Steiner emphasizes that “we need to study the life of bees from the standpoint of the soul”. In the end, the world shows us whenever the soul element is missing in our lives. The current plight of the bees shows us the repercussions of our limitations. As our life-long allies, the bees mirror our own struggle to live in this world. Their encouraging message is to wake up – to wake up to this fragile, wonderful and precious world, to wake up to a heart-centered reality. May we all wake up!


Michael Thiele grew up on a farm in a tiny village in central Germany. He has been deeply influenced by the German biodynamic beekeeping movement and now teaches classes on natural and holistic apiculture in the United States. He lived and practiced for almost a decade at San Francisco Zen Center and tended the monastic hives. Michael founded GaiaBees as a platform and resource for a new approach to living with bees. He lives with his wife and children in Sonoma County, CA.

The Melissa Garden is a honeybee, native pollinator (there are 1700 species of native bees in California) and habitat garden sanctuary in Healdsburg, California, at the western edge of the Russian River Valley, on top of a ridge at 850 feet in elevation. Four gardens planted with many exuberant flowers for nectar and pollen forage are situated in the center of a pristine 40-acre ranch that is lush with native vegetation.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2012 2:50 am

    I was very much inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s book on bees. It is amazing to notice what he was challenging and teaching years back, the side effect of industrialised world, now we could see it manifesting as one of the problem for bees’ and other species.

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  1. Waking Times : Waking Times
  2. The Study of Life of Bees from the Standpoint of the Soul | Northern Berkshire Beekeepers Association

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