"The Bee, dancing, the scented petal with desire observes"
In this ancient Etruscan inscription, with a few words of great poetic force, all the complex symbolism that concerns the Bee, in Ancient Traditional Spirituality, is described.
Here I can only provide a few brief remarks on this complex symbology.
According to the Ancient Traditions, to which the Traditional Roman Spirituality is connected, the bee has always symbolized the Soul. In particular the bees symbolize the initiated souls that, once left the body, undertake their journey back to the Universe, the Divine sphere. The soul-bee provided with wings (like birds) are freed of the "cage of the body" rejoining the entire system of forces and energies of the cosmos. The wings (supernatural organ) are a symbol of transcendence and overcoming the human material condition. In the funeral urns often it is depicted a bee flying around a vessel or the soul of the deceased began leaving the body to which, however, she could return for the desire of life.
Hence the Bee (soul) is dancing (generation) observing with desire (Eros) the scented petal (life)
These initiated souls are called "Melissae" (bees) and are connected to the underworld Goddesses (Tellus, Ceres/Demeter, Proserpine/Persephone) and Mitra. The initiated and purified soul, symbolized by the bee, it is then initiated into the Great Mysteries (priestess) as a prerequisite for a return to the divine and cosmic dimension.
Not coincidentally the ancient tombs have the appearance of hives (rather than columbaria).
|burials from the Roman era|
The bee is animal protected by the Gods and goddesses because considered pure, wise, sober animal and especially because it produces honey, sacred food involving a very complex symbolism.
The connection between the Bees and Ceres/Demeter is underlined by the presence in many rites of wheat or spelled buns associated with honey: Ceres is a divine "civilizing" force, distracting humans by the consumption of meat toward a vegetarian diet, inspiring in the humankind the decency (symbolically connected to the sober clothing). All attributes symbolically assigned also to the bees (pure souls). The bees are then connected the sober libationes or "libationes of the bees" or sacrifices that imply the use of honey without the shedding of blood or the presence of wine.
The bee is pure and "civil" animal, linked to the Earth, symbol of order and organization, an animal that eats only sweet food and drink only pure water: the bee symbolically born from the bovine body (rebirth of the soul from the body).
Nymphs and priestesses related mystery cults and the great goddesses are said Melissae (bees): the name of the first Magna Mater's priestess was Melissa who, along with her sister Amalthea, raised Zeus when he was a child. The Pythia had the epithet of Melissa to the prophetic power of the bees. The same Magna Mater (venerated in Ephesus in the famous Temple with the name of Artemis) is represented in the form of Queen Bee.
The Moon is called Melissa because it presides over the generation that is the entrance of the souls in the world.
The sober and wise woman, who doesn't not practice any "excess" in food or sex, capable guarantee the order, organization and the respect of the sense of limits and decency in the family and society (Mater Familias), was named Melissa.
In Rome, the Goddess Mellona (or Mellonia) represented the consecration of honey production and was cited in the Indigitamenta.