Honeybeeteacher.com—I know, it sounds so “anthropocentric,” so human-centered. Something called that must be all about some “enlightened” human teaching other humans about the honeybees, right?
Well, in truth, teaching others about beekeeping is a good part of it, but that is not the heart of it.
Honeybeeteacher.com is, first of all, about the honeybee herself as teacher, not the human being as teacher. This endeavor is bee-centric, not anthropocentric. Humans are important, but the bees come first.
Ironically, or perhaps appropriately, it was a human being who first taught me about the honeybee as teacher. This man was my first beekeeping mentor, Les Crowder. A humble man, Les always told beginning beekeepers to remember that the bees themselves are the best teachers. Learn from the bees directly, he said. Another esteemed beekeeper, Brother Adam, creator of the Buckfast bee, said something similar: “listen to the bees.” I have taken this way of thinking and doing to heart.
So the heart of honeybeeteacher.com is about learning from the bees themselves, about who they are, about what they need, and about how we as humans can best be in relationship with the bees and with the rest of Nature. As indigenous peoples the world over have shown us, humans belong to and are part of Nature, not apart from Nature. When we really listen to and learn from the bees, we know these truths to be self-evident.
As an educational, small-scale economic enterprise, honeybeeteacher.com begins with learning from the bees by observing and by doing—by becoming and being beekeepers who are in conscious relationship with the sacred Feminine Divine: the all-important pollinating honeybee. Indigenous to Africa and Europe, the honeybee is the Fourth Sister; she has crossed the Atlantic Ocean to join her three indigenous American sisters: corn, squash, and beans.
A “power trio” in one single, intelligent being, the honeybee also belongs to the flowering plants, to the complex insect societies, and to the warm-blooded animals (her body temperature=96 degrees). Insect, plant, and animal, the honeybee is neither wild nor domesticated, but both. She is incredibly sweet and loving, but, when threatened, she can also express the “fierce green fire” of the wild that ecologist Aldo Leopold once saw burning in a dying female wolf’s eyes. The honeybee is sacred; she brings us both life (especially!) and death, the two being inextricably intertwined, one being impossible without the other.
As the founder and proprietor of Honeybeeteacher LLC, I teach small hands-on top bar beekeeping workshops, based in organic, treatment-free apicultural practices. I also give public presentations about beekeeping and honeybee ecology, catch swarms, do occasional colony removals, and work in community with others on behalf of the “health and well-being of the honeybee,” in my role as founder and President of NAOBA, the Northern Arizona Organic Beekeepers’ Association, a non-profit group. In addition, I also sell raw local honey, if the bees happen to make a surplus. (Thankfully in 2014, they did!).
If you are also interested in honeybees, in beekeeping, in flowering plants, and in learning from the bees, please contact me. Thanks for visiting this website, y Viva Las Abejas!