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Editorial: The Foremothers Speak
by Sage Starwalker
Beltane 2002, Vol 1-3
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Bee Goddess, after Buffie johnson, Laldy of the Beasts, Copyright © 2002 Sage Starwalker. All rights reserved.

(Who is our featured foremother?)

Barbara Ardinger, in her new column, The Interactive Scholar, asks us to work with The Blessed Bees as we think about creation and deity. She asked me to find some bee graphics for her article, and specifically asked for a graphic from Buffie Johnson's book, Lady of the Beasts. I did my usual Internet searches for this graphic and came up empty-handed. What was I to do?

I took Johnson's book, some felt pens, and sketch paper with me the day I took my partner to the hospital for out-patient surgery. My intention was to send energy to my partner and the medical team while I was in the waiting room, and I focused that energy through the Bee Goddess, calling on Her help as I made a sketch of her for Barbara's article.

About the time surgery should have been done, a nurse came out to tell me the doctor was having a hard time, but he hadn't given up hope of a successful laparoscopy (where they make tiny incisions for surgery instead of the huge cuts that go through muscle and take weeks of recovery time). When the nurse left, I went back to my sketch, pumping even more energy as I sketched. When I finally got the Bee Goddess right, I had a sense that everything was right in the surgery. A little later, the nurse came to tell me that the surgery was finished and that my partner was waking slowly from the anesthetic. She also told me the doctor had been able to remove the gall bladder using the laparoscope.

In addition to the hard work of the medical team and all the work my partner did preparing for the surgery -- letting go of fear; drinking plenty of liquids; eating carefully; getting healing massages beforehand -- I think Barbara, Buffie, and the Bee Goddess played some part in the successful outcome of the surgery. May the Fates be Praised!

Buffie Johnson, our featured foremother, writes about the Bee Goddess in her book, Lady of the Beasts:

"A fantastic little figure, drawn on the leg of a splendid Minoan offering table, dug up at Phaistos in Crete, dates from the Proto-Palatial period (2000 - 1700 B.C.E.). The figure, sometimes called a bee goddess, has a dewdrop form that suggests a dew or bee cult may have been a feature of Minoan religion and combines several other aspects of the Goddess as well. The Medusa-like head is crowned with five snakelike tresses, connecting this figure to Medusa and Athena, and has the short, blunk beak of a dove. Heavily drawn arms ending in feathery fingers or claws contrast with the lightly drawn feet. Several drawings in Arthur Evans's The Palace of Knossos and work by Marija Gimbutas corroborate that the bee goddess had a place in ancient Crete."


"In myth, Athena's attendants were the two (sometimes three) daughters of the male serpent-king Cecrops. Their names were Herse, which means "dew," and Pandrossos, which means "the one completely bedewed." It is fundamental to our understanding of Athena as a vegetation goddess to know that her attendants were called dew maidens. Dew provides moisture for growth, yet its origin is mysterious. It was thought that the moon, since it was a symbol of richness, fertility, and renewal, and thus often regarded as a source of moisture, was responsible for the dew's sudden, gentle, yet magical appearance. When Olympian Zeus became the father of the much older Athena, he assumed her attributes, and dew was called "the daugher of Zeus."

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