Symbolism of the Bee: “The Deseret Connection” by Hugh W. Nibley

Mar 25, 2013
59 min read

In response to an email question about the meaning of beehives sent in by Cameron to, I dug up some information that I had read several years ago. I located the article I was looking for here, which contains a really great history of what the beehive meant to the Egyptians. This is pretty significant to Latter-day Saints who also use the beehive as a primary symbol of the faith as well as the culture and people of Utah.

Why should what the Egyptians believed be of any significance to Latter-day Saints today? Perhaps it is because the Egyptians, while practicing beliefs that on the surface seem foreign to modern people, had many core principles tied into truth obtained from an earlier time. Abraham 1:26 states:

Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.

I find it interesting that some people conclude that that Latter-day Saints hijacked temple ceremonies from the Masons and that Christianity hijacked teachings from the Jews who hijacked their temple rights and beliefs from the Egyptians who hijacked them from…well, maybe the guys who had it right in the first place. I believe that everything goes back to the beginning anyway, and that the “doctrinal debris” left behind can be “restored” or “reconstituted” into a form where truth and light can come to us from it.

The Latter-day Saints rejected the Christian creeds but adopted the use of church buildings, architectural motifs, the singing of hymns, the manner of Sunday dress, the pulpit, and a host of other features. This idea of adoption seems to be a historically consistent practice throughout the generations.

Prophets like Isaiah invoked the myths of the day to encode his prophetic statements regarding his day and the end of the world. Jesus taught principles using what he had around him and the traditions and practices of the people of his day. In the same way, I think we see that in the restoration where Heber C. Kimball said this in reference to Masonry:

We have received some precious things through the Prophet on the Priesthood which would cause your soul to rejoice. I cannot give them to you on paper for they are not to be written so you must come and get them for yourself…There is a similarity of Priesthood in Masonry. Brother Joseph says Masonry was taken from Priesthood but has become degenerated. But many things are perfect. (Heber C. Kimball to Parley P. Pratt, 17 June 1842, Parley P. Pratt Papers, LDS Church Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah, spelling and punctuation standardized.)

In this light, I think we can look to the wisdom of the Egyptians and their perspective on the symbol of the bee and say in our day, ‘Many of their ideas of what the beehive symbolizes may not be doctrinally correct, but many things are perfect‘.

Below is the entirety of the article by Hugh W. Nibley:


Min the Beekeeper

Our concern with Min and his mistress leads to a theme that cannot be evaded, namely, the association or identity of the two with the honeybee. I had thought to spare the reader a somewhat involved discourse, because there is no mention of beekeeping in the Book of Abraham; yet it presents such a remarkable control over Joseph Smith’s accounts of what is supposed to have happened away back in the days of what the Jews call “the Separation,” i.e., the great migrations from the tower, that to ignore it once detected would be a dereliction of duty.

The garden (hsp) before Min’s beehive house at Coptos1 hummed with the sound of busy bees, for Min of Coptos, the first ruler of Egypt, was “fond of honey”2 and was “a god of bees,”3 whose priests were called aftiu, “Bees,”4and whose number two priest was the ‘aft n byt, “Keeper of the Bees.” The mountain behind Coptos was the Egyptian Hymettus, an important source of that wild honey which the Egyptians always favored.5

In Egypt the bee is, before all else, a sign of royalty. Everyone knows that the oldest title placed before the name of a king was the “insibya,” the combined signs of “the sedge and the bee”;6 but the sedge is a later addition, an emblem of temporal political power, according to recent studies, while the bee sign originally stood alone as the supreme symbol of sacral primal kingship in Egypt.7 Queen Hatshepsut still thinks of herself as leader of the bee people.8 Why the bee? Professor Otto confesses himself entirely at a loss to explain it. It makes no sense whatever, he writes; “I fear that its real meaning, its etymological, temporal, geographical or ethnic origin, will forever remain unknown.”9

Since the bee symbol is constantly associated with the king of Lower Egypt in the records, it is important, as Hugo Müller cautions, not to suppose it so localized in the beginning;10 even in later times, Otto reminds us, the bee does not refer to Lower Egypt alone.11 In hieroglyphic the bee is constantly equated with the Red Crown worn by the first king of Lower Egypt at Sais;12 but the fact that the oldest representation of that crown comes not from Sais in the Delta, but from Naqada (fig. 99), being “characteristic of the first prehistoric civilization”13in the domain of “Min, who was the chief god of Panopolis (Ekhmim), also of Koptos nearly opposite Nakadeh, and was the original form of Amun of Thebes,”14 led Wainwright to conclude that “our symbol does not represent the king of Sais himself but only Neith worship, it . . . merely indicates the presence of a primitive Libyan population of Neith worshippers at Nakadeh, just as at Sais.”15 Every indication is that it was not the king himself, but the Lady Neith who was the Bee. It was early recognized that the words for bee, Red Crown, and honey, all of which were read the same way, whether as n.tbi.t or b.t,16 all had feminine endings, the crown itself being “personified as a goddess” and at the same time identical with the Bee.17 “The word bj.t,” Kurt H. Sethe noted, “is to be read as a feminine, with the general meaning of ‘the Bee,'”18 while “the male rulers of Lower Egypt in a later age of development as successors and descendants of this royal Bee were given the name of bi-ty, ‘he who belongs to the Bee,’ ‘the descendant of the Bee.'”19 Likewise the bee symbol of Min = Horusdoes not tell us that Min is a bee, but that “Min is he who belongs to the Bee, who stands in relationship to the bee,” which greatly puzzles Gauthier.20 In the Leiden Book of Breathings, the succession to the crown is assured when Horus marries the queen bee and takes over the land.21 “It is noteworthy,” wrote Sethe, “that the masculine god Geb wears in representations of his prehistoric form the Red Crown which properly belongs to his wife.”22 In an important formula, Min “unites the power of Horus with that of Seth, who reposes in Thebes and Coptos, and belongs to the Bee.”23

The bee title and bee crown are par excellence the possession of Neith of Sais, where stood her palace, “the House of the Bee,”24 but as the Bee Lady she may not be separated from Nut—both women are called the Bee in the Pyramid Texts as mothers of the king.25 “Tracing the royal bee-title back to them as queen bees” strongly suggests to Sethe a prehistoric matriarchal rule, an idea that he rejects on the grounds that the ancients thought the ruler of the hives was a king.26 This misunderstanding comes from rhetorical passages of late writers dedicated to asserting the victory of Zeus over the old matriarchal order.27 Sethe himself insists that “Neith always passed, regardless of all other theological speculations, as the oldest of all gods and the greatest—the Mother of the Gods.”28 At the time of the Pyramid Texts, her counterpart “Nut was completely dominant over her husband the Earth-god as well as over Shu and Tefnut. . . . As in the case of Neith, we are confronted with the idea of a female rule.”29 It is as the Bee that Nut rules as “the queen schlechthin (supreme),” without regard to a defined territory.30 “O Nut,” says a Pyramid Text, “thou hast appeared at bi.t, the Bee, because thou hast power over the gods and their Ka’s.”31

Peter Le Page Renouf found that the N.t crown of the Lady was worn by the high priest of Coptos as well as the king, the crown being inseparable and interchangeable with the Bee.32 The king wore the crown in the role of the Bee, Müller observed.33 We have already seen him wearing the horned Hathor mask or her robe and the mask of Maat or the Maat-feather to identify himself with those ladies and lay claim to a share of their authority.34

It was in the marsh of Khemmis that Horus = Min was born and nursed by the Two Ladies, Khemmis being Akhmim-Panopolis, Min’s town or Ham’s town, as noted above.35 Sethe derived the word Khemmis (a Greek derivative) from the Egyptian name for place, ḫb.t meaning bee or honey,36 the place-name being written with a combination of papyrus and bee glyphs. We have already mentioned the possibility that Khb.t could be related to “Egypt,” and certainly denotes “that which is forbidden.” In the initiation mystery of Her Weben, that damsel calls Isis “her mother of the Bee-swamp—Chemmis.”37 It is significant that besides Horus-Min and the women, only two other characters appear in the primordial bee-swamp drama: “Shu and Tefnut as the ‘royal couple of the king’ were also born there.”38 Their presence on the scene brings up another important office of the Bee.

The Bee and the Migrations

The bee is before all creatures the sponsor, inspiration, and guide of the Great Trek. As a creature of the preexistent or prediluvian world, and all but sole survivor of the great catastrophes that desolated the earth,39the bee is first to arrive on the scene and start things going again in the new world.40 In the first of all migrations, Adam and Eve were accompanied and guided by the bees as they moved from the Garden into the dark outer world.41 The bees brought with them “the primordial creative divine power”;42 their honey, “made by the bees of Paradise,” is the food of heaven.43 When our first ancestors were allowed to bring some of their original blessings from Eden with them, Adam bore the olive, vine, date, pomegranate, and nard, but to Eve was given the greatest blessing, for she was accompanied by her friends from the Garden with their honey44—the busy bees whose beneficent labors among the plants and trees made it possible to renew the verdure of the former world in their new one. According to one of the oldest Egyptian ritual sources, when they found the earth barren of life after the flood, the bees got to work restoring the fertility of the woods and fields while busily producing their honey and wax for the benefit of man.45 They were especially qualified to conduct Adam and Eve into a strange world, because they knew the place from its older times, themselves being the survivors from the other and better age.46

The bees led the migration to Egypt in a time of cosmic upheaval: “Re wept again; the water of his Eye fell to the earth, and there she (the Sun’s Eye) was changed into a bee.”47 Much is said in the Egyptian mythological texts of this falling of strange liquid substances from the sky, putting one strongly in mind of Immanuel Velikovsky’s speculations on such phenomena at a time of world catastrophe,48 for this was during the tempest of the Bitiw, the Bee people.49 While Re’s sweat was the water of the flood, his tears became the bees, “the flies that build.”50 The time of the great weeping that we mentioned earlier51 was a time of penitence and atonement, for the substances that descended to the afflicted earth were all of a purifying and healing nature. Thus when Horus wept, the water of his eye, on falling to earth, bloomed as myrrh, both sweet-smelling and medicinal, while Geb’s nose bled aromatic cedar.52 The “mighty weeping” of Shu and Tefnut, the flood pair, became the source, the sap or pitch (sfy), of divine incense (sntr) upon the earth.53 In the Book of the Cow, various effusions from the ailing Re form precious mineral substances;54 he coughed and spat bitumen (mrh.t) of which Nut made healing ointment.55 Even Isis and Nephthys became sick, and their sweat fell to earth as precious tshpsointment.56 When Re became sick again, he drooled tfwy, which became papyrus,57 while his sweat produced linen.58 Are we to conclude from this that at a time of great upheavals of nature, civilization was preserved or reestablished by a migrating “culture-hero”? Egyptian ritual texts have a great deal to say about the Wen-nefer, the “Agathos Daimon,” who in the beginning brought the blessings of civilized living to benighted humanity.59 But the wandering hero is always a youth of status inferior to that of the Great Mother; it was the tears of Nut that brought the human race itself into existence or rather revived it upon the earth.60 In the Hittite version, the Bee revives the human race after the flood, under the guidance and rule of the Great Mother: When the youthful hero Telepinu lay dead, and all nature with him, the eagle was sent to find him but failed; so the Bee took his place, seeking through the great floods under a dark and tempestuous sky until he found him, brought him to life by stinging his hands and feet, and so revived all life on earth and restored the dominion of the royal pair.61

The best-known version of this strange drama is the story of King Solomon and Queen Bilqis, in which the perennial survivors of world catastrophe are not the bees but the ants, the only serious rivals of the bees in nature.62 Ants living near Los Alamos covered their trails with tunnels of leaves and litter and so shielded themselves from the deadly radiation from above, and the Hopis say that the ants have known the secret of surviving the great destructions by going underground until the dangers from the sky have passed, when they emerge again as first on the spot to greet any newcomers to the new world.63 In the cycle of Solomon, he and the queen of Sheba both migrate through the terrible deserts of a desolate and blighted world. Their romantic rivalry and marriage is really a duel of male versus female for the throne, as well as a long search for water and a promised land: when the Lady finally arrives at her destination, like the princess who discovered the Nile, she pulls up her skirt and wades in.64 We must content ourselves with this later version of the “Egyptus” story by observing that it is the ant people rather than the bee people who help out there, but the fundamental plot is the same. It will be recalled that the first wandering tribes of Greeks to enter the land were the Myrmidons, the ant people, “whose tribal emblem was the ant” and who “claimed to be autochthonous, as ants are.”65

In the story of the Sun’s Eye, the Lady on the way to Egypt gives instructions on how the land is to be purified after the great afflictions. “Has the Bee no esteem?” she asks, and compares it to the khpr-beetle (the sacred scarab) as the great source and originator of life cycles (fig. 100). “Its proper name is Honey-fly, . . . and the bee keeper summons it with the reed flute, which the goddess had in the beginning. To write the word for honey, picture Nut with the reed in her hand. It is she who purifies the temples of Upper and Lower Egypt when they are founded anew. For the gods will not rest (htp—settle down) in their shrines unless they are purified.” The god can take many forms, the Lady explains, “but as the King of Egypt, he is called the Honey-fly. It was he who founded the house of the King of Lower Egypt, which is called the First Chapel of Nut.”66 But in this story it is the Lady herself who is the Bee, and her honey is the healing and forgiveness that preceded the settling and building up of the land.67 As Hathor who discovered the land, she is “the Eye of Re in Letopolis, . . . she of great favor in the chamber of the Bee.”68 The first thing the royal couple beheld upon arriving in Egypt, according to the Book of the Cow, was the Bee, which had preceded them.69 A venerable Pyramid Text recalls that “in every beautiful place where Re goes, he finds N[eith] there,” already awaiting him.70 The king enters the land as Hathor-Tefnut once did, welcomed by all nature: “The Two daughters of the Bee have born thee, . . . the palms serve thee, the fig-trees bow down to thee.”71

As usual, the Leiden Book of Breathings is particularly instructive, telling how that Sokar, after crossing the desert with Her Majesty (in the role of Shu = Horus), next crossed the river to Thebes just at dawn of the festival of Mn-b.t, the Establishing of the Bee on the “Day of Apportioning the Islands.”72 “You see the Bee-ceremony of the Leading in of the Two Lady Companions on the night of the Hkr-feast”—feasting following famine.73 Thoth heralds her arrival as she dons the crown of fresh hbite-blossoms from the bee marshes in honor of “Hathor-Mut the Mistress of Karnak. Art thou not the daughter of the Master-builder who built the Tower of Hathor? Hast thou not taken the cymbal to rejoice with the (goddess) at Panopolis [Akhmim = Khemmis = Min’s City]? . . . Hast thou not caused men and women to shake [or let down] their hair for her who is in Sistrum-town (Diospolis Parva, [Coptos])?” This last refers to the Lady Tefnut, according to Spiegelberg.74 The sound of cymbal and sistrum, like the beating of tin pans today, would cause the bees to move. The name of the major road of the West by which the immigrants travel is “the Bee Shines (d = is white) when the White Crown is radiant.”75

Cave paintings from Altimira show Paleolithic man going after honey, his indispensable source of sweets, to which the ancients at all times paid close attention, marking carefully the swarming and migratory habits of the bees.76 Min or his priest as bi.ti was a cultivator of bees, or perhaps it was his duty to gather wild honey in the desert.77 He could have started out as “a god of bees” in his desert home, his popularity explained, Gauthier suggests, by the Egyptian preference for wild honey.78 In a prolonged experiment in bee raising in Palestine, Philip J. Baldensperger discovered one hundred years ago that the bee man must be in a constant state of migration,79 “traveling like a Beduin through the land, to find a feeding place now in one spot, then in another,” success being possible “only by virtue of ceaseless migration (Wandern).”80 The Beduin he describes is ever following the swarms in their search for little garden spots—promised lands in the desert.81 The ever-perceptive brethren of Basra inform us that all the animals in their journeys through the world seeking livelihood have the Bee for their spokesman; having been on the scene from the beginning, the Bee is in a position to brief and enlighten all the others beginning with an eyewitness account of how God created the earth—for the bees were there even before Adam and Eve.82 Without them, no garden.

The traditions of the Old World are closely matched by the oldest record of the New, the Maya Book of Chilam Balam, which begins with the settling of the land by bee swarms of the four directions, each of a different color, under the direction of “two gods in the form of large bees who govern all the bees.”83 Coming up from the south, they stirred honey and drank it on the route, and “they swarmed . . . in great numbers” among the trees and plants of their new land.84 The Bacabs, hailing from the four directions,85 “were the representatives of the gods. They were the advocates or patrons of the bee-keepers, and it has been thought their name was in some way connected with bees or honey.”86

Why No Bee Standard?

One particular circumstance has long arrested the attention of scholars, namely, that though banners, standards, and totems are conspicuous at the head of the marching and migrating tribes of old, the standard of the bee is somehow never found among them.87 “It is a striking thing,” writes Otto, “that the ‘Bee’ is not to be grasped as a numinous entity or even as a ‘Symbol.'”88 Why not? The bee is not the symbol of the people, the land, or the leader because it always remains itself: if others want to identify with it, that can be arranged, but it must always retain its real nature in order to perform its real function. The best-known standard borne by the king on the march is the Wep-wawet emblem of the jackal or hunting dog (the one held by figure 2 in Facsimile 2 of the Book of Abraham), who goes ahead of the host in strange terrain sniffing out the way and scouting ahead.89 In this capacity he is not the leader but a dependent, specifically designated as the shms-bi.t,90 “the Follower or Attendant of the Bee.” As the real leader, the Bee cannot be reduced to a mere emblem of his Upper Egyptian entourage.91 From the earliest times the most common occurrence of the Bee was in the title śd wtj bjtj, whose pronunciation has never been settled, and whose meaning Grapow found “unreadable.”92 The real significance of the whole thing is exceedingly ancient and, in the opinion of Otto, ever guarded by the Egyptians as one of their deepest secrets.93 That we may be dealing with a specific migration of Egyptians and not with some universal “nature myth” is indicated by the conspicuous absence of the bee from extensive lists of fauna preserved in the Babylonian texts, implying, according to Elizabeth D. Van Buren, that bees had to be imported into Babylonia from Egypt, along with “the meaning which the insect had for the Egyptians.”94 “There was never any real apiculture” in Mesopotamia, according to a recent study, and “wild honey or apiculture do not form a part of ancient Chinese civilisation.”95 Hence, incidentally, the prominence of the bee in Maya migration legends suggests Mediterranean rather than Asiatic origins (fig. 101).

Among the hives in Min’s garden stood the bullhead standard on its pole. The ancients often observed that apes nascuntur ex bubulo corpore putrefacto, “bees are brought forth from the decayed carcass of an ox,” irresistibly suggesting to the Romans the association of the bee (apis) with the Apis-bull of the Egyptians.96 Let us recall that the primitive shrine of Min was a beehive-shaped house with a bull’s skull on a pole standing before the door,97and that the Lady on the way to Egypt discoursed on the importance of the Bee: “Has the Bee then, no esteem?” she asks, because she builds her honeycomb in a cave that smells of “the manure of the Cow from which she came forth, which is really the Goddess.” Hathor = Tefnut the Cow is herself the Bee Lady.98 In the tomb of Seti I, the soul is revived by bees that come from the sacred skin of an ox.99 With the hundreds of golden bees found in the grave of Childerich, king of the Franks, was also found a golden bucranium or ox skull (fig. 102).100Though the ancient Germans and Celts thought of themselves on the march as swarming bees, they nonetheless marched not with the Bee, but with the bull standard at their head.101 The latest study of ancient bees unites the Great Mother as queen bee par excellence with the Bull as her paredros (companion) who represents “the prehellenic Zeus or [the] primitive Dionysus referred to in the Mycenaean tablettes,” confirming the strange but immemorial wedding of the life-giving pair in Egypt.102

The Bee and Rites of Resurrection

The issuing of the most tempting and invigorating of food from putrefying corpses was more than a symbol in the mysteries—it was an actual proof of the resurrection. The Bee, “born from the ox” in sacred caves, sets the scene for the mysteries.103 An inscription from the temple at Denderah, near Coptos, says, “Osiris emulates the Bee in the temple,” giving instructions “for knowing the hsp (sacred garden) of the Bee in the Other World, in the House of Snhty,” the last being written with the bee hieroglyph.104 Osiris appears in both the Pyramid Texts and the Coffin Texts as bi.ti, the resurrected crown and Bee, especially apparent in the tomb of Seti I, with Osiris of the Bee (fig. 103).105

Alexandre Moret has written extensively about the important part the sacred skin, or meskhent, plays in the Egyptian resurrection rites, in which the skin and the bee go together: The bee born from the skin of the animal is the sign of the resurrection.106 In the mysteries of Asia Minor, slain victims were revived by the blood of bees, even as the king’s son Telepinus was restored to life by bee stings on his hands and feet.107 Glaucus, the son of Minos, was drowned in a great jar of honey and restored to life.108 Jakob Grimm collected a long list of youthful princes and pretenders drowned in mead or honey, with the idea of resurrection in mind.109 The Babylonians and Persians embalmed the noble dead in honey, “with about the same lamentation rites as the Egyptians,” as Herodotus explains.110 Everywhere the Bee is the preserver and restorer of life.111

But the earlier reports of the power of the Bee to restore life are Egyptian. “You are the daughter mighty with her mother, who appeared as a bee,” says a Pyramid Text addressed to Nut; “make the King a spirit within yourself, for he has not died.”112 Here the Lady, the King, and the Bee are fused into one. “O Nut, you have appeared as a bee; you have power over the gods. . . . O Nut, cause the King to be restored, that he may live!”113 During the awesome “Sem-sleep” of the initiate at the beginning of the mysteries, the candidate calls out that he is “transformed into a bee, in which nothing perishable remains.”114 Those who come to awaken him into a new phase of existence first utter the enigmatic cry of “Bees!”115 and then say, “Going around [as] a bee, . . . thou seest all the goings round about thy father, . . . the bees (or hornets) giving protection they make him to exist.”116 Commenting on this, Budge remarks, “The beetle [scarab], the mantis, and the bee certainly played a very important part in connection with the resurrection of the deceased.”117

These themes invaded the Christian church from the first, and Erwin Goodenough has shown how they dominate Jewish symbolism. If Christian legends attribute the building of the first pyx to house the sacred host, symbol of death and resurrection, to the industry of the pious bees,118 the original shrine of the mysteries at Delphi was also constructed of beeswax by those devoted insects.119 St. Jerome was puzzled and disturbed by the way the bees invaded the Easter service of the church. “Nothing is harder,” he commented in A.D. 384, than to explain why at Easter the Christian congregation must be regaled by bee stories. It is all right for pagan poets to romance about the creatures, he says, “but what has it to do with the deacon, the sacraments of the church, the Easter time, when the Bishop sits silent while the priests carry on a sort of sideshow with the common people, talking to them about the bee?” What is it all about, he asks—you won’t find a hint of it in the Old Testament or the New—no mention of bees, or honey, or wax—where does it all come from?120 As one who had lived in the East, he makes a very good guess at the answer, pointing to Egypt, where the monks of the desert emulated the bees, singing their hymns all day long, gathering the sweets of religion from every bloom of scripture, coming off conquerors in the manner of Denderah, the Bee Lady, and preparing honey for Christ.121 To support his theory that the Eleusinian mysteries came from Crete, Axel W. Persson observed that the Greeks to this day hold their most solemn Easter rites in the very bee cave in Crete in which Rhea gave birth to Zeus,122 and where Amalthea fed him with milk and honey even as Amitla fed the infant Abraham.123

The most remarkable thesis on the sacred offices of the bee is found in that minor epic that is an integral part of the Abraham cycle, the story of Joseph and Asenath, the wedding of Israel and Egypt. The angel who comes to marry Asenath, the daughter of the high priest of Heliopolis, to Joseph the son of Jacob, a king and a priest in his own right, first asks her for a honeycomb, which she orders brought from the family estate near the temple.124Then he has her go to the pantry and fetch a comb of honey, “white honey like the dew of heaven.”125 Taking the form of Joseph, the angel sits on the bed with Asenath while he shares bits of honeycomb with her,126 saying, “Blessed are they who will eat of this honey, made by the bees of Paradise. . . . Whoso eateth thereof will never die. It is the food of heaven.”127 Having eaten, the bride is told, “The flowers of life will now spring from thy flesh, thy limbs will flourish, . . . fresh strength will fill you, and you will never grow old.”128 Then the angel rubbed the honeycomb and vast numbers of bees issued forth from it, all white as snow;129 they alighted on Asenath, the queen bees gathering on her face and making a honeycomb in her mouth,130 of which all the bees ate until the angel dismissed them and they all flew off to heaven.131 There were some bees that would have harmed Asenath, but they had all fallen dead, until the angel stretched his rod over them and said, “Arise and return to your place!” Then all the dead bees were resurrected and “flew to the court of the House of Asenath and lived in the garden there.”132 When the angel touched the northern corner of the honeycomb with his forefinger, the mark left by the finger turned to blood.133

The Matriarchal Queen Bee

Pierre Somville has pursued the Mediterranean bee cult to its Neolithic hive, which he equates with an archaic matriarchal order in which the bee, always feminine, figures as “the avatar of [the] Goddess” herself.134

What might be called the patriarchal takeover was by Jupiter Melissaeus, his name a dead giveaway. It was he who circulated from land to land, establishing kings and princes in whichever region would receive him and his cult in a covenant of hospitality and friendship, ordering “a hospitable throne to be erected in every place in which he rested, to preserve his memory.”135 Jupiter Melissaeus is obviously the wanderer, stranger, interloper, invader—the types with which he himself always has the most sympathy; and his name means not that he wasthe bee, but that he belonged to it or was connected with it. So Erechtheus, who had the male lead in the mysteries, acts only as “the husband of the ‘Active Goddess’ the Queen-bee.”136 Another missionary for the cause of male rule was Melissaeus the father of Adrasteia and Io, but it turns out that he was really the “Mother—Melissa, the goddess as Queen-bee.”137 It was rank usurpation, but even such chauvinists as Xenophon and Horapollo or the champions of the Emperor of the East, hard-pressed by the female members of his family, never go farther than making a metaphor of the “King-bee”: the king is not a bee, but we should compare him with the leader of a hive and respect him as if he were such.138

We are dealing here with far more than a bit of antiquarian oddity. Among the oldest and holiest shrines found throughout the ancient world and still flourishing far and wide are the cult centers—holy caves, tombs, and springs—of the black virgins. Émile Saillens was able to study upwards of 200 such shrines in France alone, 190 existing as late as the sixteenth century.139 He traces their origin back to the pre-Roman cults established by merchants and other migrants from the East, deriving the cult ultimately from the Egyptian Isis. One example must suffice: “Apollo, the brother of Diana, entered Gaule with the Romans, but the Celts had an Abellio, and Abellion was the god of the Sun among the Cretans. We have today at the eastern extremity of the Pyrenees a Cape Abeille [bee], near to Banyuls where the image of Our Lady of the Bees reigns. Is this conjunction fortuitous? The bees were the favorite symbol of Diana of the Ephesians,” and “this Bee headland faces the rising sun and the distant home of the Phocaeans,” those merchants who came from the East long ago.140

The bee, by its strange manner of life, is the supreme exponent of both the interdependence and the independence of the sexes, resulting in a perfect deadlock; the ancients were at a loss to determine the sex of the bees,141 while the church fathers viewed them as an edifying example of total sexlessness.142 Yet traditions describe the creatures as sex mad.143

Aristaeus the Bee Man and the Great Migrations

The earliest traditions of bee wanderings center around the figure of Aristaeus, probably the oldest of all Greek culture heroes.144 Bacchylides puts him in the Jaredite or even the Enoch tradition, describing him as the son of Uranos and Gaia (e.g., Nut and Geb, respectively), “the Righteous Aristeaus,” the only one of all his brethren to escape the great destruction of the human race.145 In the beginning he traveled through the earth bringing the civilizing blessings of horticulture, and especially bee culture, to a benighted humanity. On the way from the northeast down to Africa, he passed through lands smitten by terrible drought attributed to the dire influence of the Dog Star, Sirius. To bring relief to the blasted lands, Aristaeus sacrificed with all the people on an altar built upon a mountain, to Zeus Ikmaios and to Sirius, thereby functioning as “an atoning priest.”146 Aristaeus traveled with his mother, Cyrene, daughter of the Most High Zeus (Re, if you will), who was ravaged by Apollo, the sun-god, but gained immortal fame by overcoming a great lion that plagued the land.147 Arriving in Africa, Aristaeus bestowed there his gifts of honey and olive oil; he also celebrated a super drinking bout with Dionysus, a contest in which the god of wine was the victor.148 And there at the end of his journey he founded a city and a dynasty: the land was named Cyrene after his mother, and the dynasty was that of the Battids, the original possessors, H. R. Hall would believe, of the bat or bi.t titles of the rulers of Egypt.149

With Dionysus, Aristaeus shares the introduction of the mysteries. The nurse of the babe Dionysus taught Aristaeus the cultivation of honey (the milk and honey motif again); on the other hand, Aristaeus is supposed to have given the gift of honey to his daughter Makris, who herself fed it to the babe Dionysus in a cave on Corcyra, thus inciting the wrath of the great matriarch Hera, who forced her to flee: the “royal jelly,” we might say, was not for the male! Later that same cave became the scene of the marriage of Jason and Medaea, the dire confrontation of clashing race and culture, implacable royal ambition, and rampant male and female chauvinism.150

But it is resurrection, the basic teaching of the mysteries in which Aristaeus is most involved, as his story is told by Virgil in the Georgics, the entire fourth book of which is devoted to the subject.

The reader may recognize our oldest flood motifs there—Aristaeus as Lamech or Gilgamesh visiting the seer at the end of the world to learn why the earth is being destroyed; the blighting of the land by Sirius and the Sun, the strange placing of a flood hero (Proteus, Oceanus, Utnapishtim, Enoch) on a desolate mountain range at the ends of the earth (the Carpathians, the Caucasus), and above all the dominant theme, the quest for resurrection, which takes Aristaeus into the heart of the Orphic mysteries. On ancient coins Aristaeus is shown accompanied by the Dog Star, Sirius, and in his images he usually carries a ram or ram’s skin.151

Lactantius, discoursing on the false priesthood of the ancients, notes that the first mortal to sacrifice to the gods was Melissaeus, the king of Crete, whose name means not “bee” but belonging to the bee, and whose two daughters, Amalthea and Melissa, fed the infant Jove with goat’s milk and honey. Melissa was installed by her father as the first priest (!) of the Great Mother, for which reason the devotees of the Great Mother are called bees (Melissai) to this day. Then Jove traveled through all the earth establishing kings and princes over the people among those who accepted his rule and worship. This he did either as Jupiter Melissaeus, or else there was an earlier Melissaeus (Jove’s teacher) who wandered over all the world, setting up the false kingship and priesthood of Jupiter.152 Scholars see in this myth the obvious supplanting of the old matriarchal rule of Crete by the male dominion of Zeus, the former represented by the bee and the goat,153 both of which point to the Book of Abraham.

Where Abraham Comes In . . . The Two Migrations

It will be recalled that Abraham’s mother was Amitla, long equated by scholars with Amalthea, and that Abraham as a newborn babe was fed milk and honey in a cave, the strange manner of feeding, from two white stones, being paralleled in the case of the infant Horus.154 Horus’s mother, however, was Hathor, the Cow; and Abraham’s rivals, both as Pharaoh and Nimrod, sacrifice bulls, while Abraham by divine intervention sacrifices the ram in the thicket as an earnest of redemption and resurrection. All of which is apparently a rich complex of associations that binds the Joseph Smith Abraham to the ancient traditions. Is the Book of Abraham a pagan book, then? On the contrary, the Book of Abraham places the hero in a highly adverse situation vis-à-vis the world, completely surrounded and threatened by the decadent cults of his time, to which his own family subscribes, and from which he struggles to break free. He is trapped in the system and involved in its rites; we read of the prominence of the cult of Sirius and the Sun (Abraham 1:9), of the hierodules and the suffering virgins, of the great drought that dogs Abraham all his days, of the human sacrifices practiced to combat it, of the tension between matriarchy and the patriarchal order with which he has to deal on more than one occasion, of rival claims of priesthood and kingship, with the sacrificial substitutes for the king, and formal dramas of death and resurrection. Even the bees get into the Abraham picture, for the penalty of giving water to a stranger in the cities of the plain was to be covered with honey and stung to death by bees.155

If the earliest traditions of migrations of peoples insist on harping on the bees—and even the Hebrew word for the migrating of the hordes is “Bee swarms,” zibariah156—then Joseph Smith puts us right into the picture. For he has told us not of one but of two separate migrations taking place shortly after the flood, starting from about the same place, from the Tower, but moving in opposite directions. Both parties toiled through the deserts of a blighted earth under dark and violent skies, moving toward promised lands. And the intimate and peculiar link between the two migrations is the friendly bee. The account of the Jaredite trek makes the bee explicitly a significant item in the baggage of the host: “And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honeybee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees” (Ether 2:3). Why the odd name, why used in the singular, if they took swarms? Here the bee is representative and symbolic as well as real and recalls the bee leaders and migrating swarms of the Maya migrations in the book of Chumayel. The Latter-day Saints, ever settling and ever on the move, adopted the bee symbol from the beginning. It caught their imagination, and they saw in it exactly what the ancients did, the example of a society in which “men lived together like bees,”157 of the authority and order by which they were ruled, and of the industry and organization with which they gathered the sweets of the field and enhanced their growth: in the State of Deseret, “our lovely Deseret,” the beehive symbol was everywhere.

When Sirius and the Sun combined their heat to destroy the world, the wandering Aristaeus sought out the all-wise Proteus at the ends of the earth, “seeking an oracle concerning the exhausted state of things,”158 and was told to make certain chthonian sacrifices, after which vast swarms of bees came forth and restored fertility in the lands.159 In Greece, as elsewhere, the oldest of all religious centers was established when the Bee maidens, the daughters of Melissaeus and nurses of Zeus, swarmed at the sacred oak of Dodona,160 while sacred doves brought the oracular cult of Ammon from Egypt.161 The first oracular shrine in Israel was founded by Deborah the Bee, where she died on the migration from Egypt at the sacred Oak of Deborah.162 The procession that opened the celebration of the mysteries of Eleusis was led by a sacred wagon along the Sacred Way (of the Migration) by priestesses called the Melissai—the Bee maidens or the Swarm.163

The serving maidens at Delphi were a chorus of Bees, and the high priestess was called “the Bee.” A recent archaeological discovery strikingly confirms the many legends that trace the bee shrines to Egypt. It is the statuette of a singing girl, found in the Temple of Delos, brought directly from Neith’s cult center at Sais, and inscribed with a supplication by the girl to be remembered by the maidens “who have been admitted to the temple of the Bee, . . . who have entered the sanctuary of Neith.” “At Delos,” write the discoverers, “the importance of the Egyptian cults thoroughly justifies the presence of the statuette.”164

The Word Deseret

The Jaredite story gives us the code name of the migrating bee host in one direction; the Egyptian record gives us the same name for the operation in the other direction. It is the name Deseret. Abraham S. Yahuda saw in the word a definite tie between Egypt and Israel. He notes that “tesheret” in Egyptian means “the red one,” i.e., the sterile barren land, and that in Genesis 3:19 Adam is made from “red earth,” while in Genesis 3:23 “he was expelled from the ‘garden’ to till the ‘red earth,'”165 i.e., his first migration was really from the red land to the “black earth” of the land of Egypt, which was “like the garden of the Lord,” recalling Eden. Deseret designates the land as the goal of migration—the promised land, quite literally, “the Holy Land.”

What did the Egyptians mean by Deseret? We need only take the definitions in the order in which they occur in the Wörterbuch.166 First, (speaking of countries and of bees) is anything red by nature?167 The feminine formDsr.t designates “Isis as a black-red woman,”168 the prototype of the black virgins which still sit in the bee caves all over the Old World; it is also blood or wine and the red jars that contain them;169 it is the red and angry Eye of Horus; it is the red color of the land, the uniquely red land of Egypt and its deserts;170 it is the red hair of certain divinities171 and the red rage of the Lady who protects her son;172 it is a vengeful goddess;173 it is the sickness, the redness of the eye or of the sky, that afflicts mankind;174 and it is blood and the drinking of blood.175 The “nisbe” form, dsr.ty (cf. bi.ti), means “belonging to the Red One,” and denotes the sun-god;176 in a bloodthirsty sense it can apply both to the Sun and the Red Crown,177 and dsr.t can mean “the wrath of the Red Crown,” while dsr denotes also defilement of the waters.178 Dsr.t denotes red vessels of water or wine, the former for ritual cleansing, the latter for breaking and pouring out the wine of wrath of Hathor, who for the celebration goes by the name of Dsr.t, “Mistress of the Two Red Jars”—one of purification, the other of vengeance.179 All of which most forcefully suggests or recalls the coming of the Lady to Egypt, as we have described it above.

As early as the Pyramid Texts, dsr.t is the name of the Lady who rests at the mouth of the canyon,180 and of the Red Crown, the bee crown of Neith, here called “the crown on the head of Re,” the mane being also applied to the king who wore it.181 The crown itself is “personified as a Goddess (Buto)” having the name of Dsr.t, a name also borne by the “priest both of the crown and the goddess.”182 Finally, dsr.t is the Red Land, the desert country as well as the holy Red Land of Lower Egypt itself, or simply Egypt, which is a red-rock country from one end to the other.183

Dsr written with a strong d—though often not to be distinguished in writing from the other—has the basic meaning of “opening the way” for someone,184 be it the god’s way to the temple or a migration through the desert or a waterway for the sacred bark on its cruise.185 Dsr is also a special epithet of Ammon-Re as the sun or as a star, and any deity holding his scepter of power is dsr. For the commonest meaning of the root is glorious, holy, exalted,186 either in general or applied to sacred edifices or the Way of the Initiate.187 The adyton where the Lady spent her first night in Egypt was called dsr.t; the name is applied to sacred books, the secret archives,188 but especially to the holy land, and the land of the gods.189 It can be applied to persons, especially the king as the sacred image or representation of god, tj.t dsr.t.190 It denotes kings and gods, “especially with reference to their position in the Temple, or their seat in the Ship.”191 As an intransitive verb it means to be holy or glorious,192 designating places as “set apart,” “special,” and images as removed from vulgar contact, “removed to a sacred place,” “concealed in the shrine,” e.g., as the concealing of the image of Maat in one’s breast from profane eyes193—reminding us of the meaning of Egyptus as “that which is forbidden.” In this connection it means to honor, praise, exalt, adorn, protect, purify.194 Of temples it means to make glorious and beautiful, sanctify, dedicate.195 In the Middle Kingdom it was applied rarely to persons, often to places, and most naturally to a land or country, closely allied to the idea of purity;196 thus the necropolis of Thebes was called Ta-dsr.t, the Land Deseret, not as a graveyard but as a name of good omen, the best possible name.197 The name was applied to wine, honey (mead), and milk as used in ritual.198 As a goddess, dsr.t is the Moon’s Eye, also a scepter, an offering table, and a gate to the beyond.199

In hieroglyphic writing the pictures of the Bee and the Red Crown are often exchanged for each other and are pronounced just alike, whether as bi.t, n.t, or khb.t, though it is important to note that none of these titles has as yet been determined with absolute certainty.200

While the commonest name for the Red Crown is dsr.t, “the Red One,” that is the only one of its names notapplied to the Bee as well. Why not, since the epithet seems particularly fitted to the sacred bee as holy, glorious, and red? Gardiner gives a hint when he explains that in the titles, the crown has been “substituted for the bee for superstitious reasons.”201 Otto takes us further, noting with wonder “the absence of the bee among the sacred creatures of ancient Egypt,” and that in the bee cult of the Delta “the Bee itself never appears.”202 In the mysteries of Abydos, Osiris himself is the bity who “keeps secret that which is to be concealed in the Holy of Holies.”203 The true nature of the bee sign “could no longer be grasped” in historic times.204 The brother-and-sister pair of the bity were Shu and Tefnut, originally anonymous, and in the Pyramid Texts their title is a cryptogram concealing “the Hidden one, the most hidden one of the land.”205 Originally the bee title designated a sacred, prehistoric kingship, “a spiritual entity” existing “before the creation of the cosmos, . . . a holy kingdom stretching back even to the preexistence,” etc.206 If the king as niswt was always holy, as bity he was super-holy, a condition requiring concealment from the world.

For some such reason the sacred name of the Bee has been withheld from common knowledge. The fact that Pharaoh had “a monopoly on the collection and production of honey,” and that a gift of honey was a royal prerogative reserved as the highest honor for high officials, suggests that dsr.t as the royal and ritual word for bee was taboo to the vulgar. That bee culture could be not only a monopoly but a trade secret appears in the surprising fact that bee lore, for all its great antiquity, was not worldwide: “There was never any real apiculture” in Mesopotamia, according to Robert J. Forbes’s study, and “wild honey or apiculture do not form a part of ancient Chinese civilization.”207 That anything as ancient and elementary as bee culture should be limited to one sector of the ancient world, in which definite contact and exchange between the various peoples practicing it can be clearly established, is definite indication that we are dealing with a single religious tradition and not with a universal primitive expression of biological necessity.

The long researches of Elise Baumgartel (1975) make her conclusions on the subject of Min, the Mother, and the Bee the safest to follow, as well as the latest. The Red Crown was, according to her, “the most ancient and the most exalted, the one that was venerated as a goddess,” the only crown worn by predynastic kings long before it became the property of the North.208 “The ancient titles and insignia, all . . . had their origin in Upper Egypt, while nothing comparable is known from Lower Egypt during the early period.”209 That crown was worn by Min, who from the beginning was “bit, ‘the beekeeper,'” and at the same time “‘the bull of his mother,'” and “‘the king of the gods.'”210 “He resides at Coptos, and the country east of Egypt to the Red Sea is his kingdom.”211 The first inhabitants of Egypt, the people of Naqada I, who seem to have been matriarchal, “venerated the great goddess and also a young male god who is generally associated with her. He is her son and lover.”212 “Min, on the other hand, is the exponent of a patriarchal society. . . . While the great goddess has a young lover and is the first of the cows, Min is the god of the corn” and, so Baumgartel suggests, would not need the Lady in his rites.213 Yet it is he who introduces the title “bull of His Mother,” from which we assume that he is that same Min. His “still unidentified fetish” (the double-arrow of the migration [fig. 104]—Liahona)214 appears first in the boat pictures on the decorated Naqada II ware (see fig. 94, p. 595),215 when “the Horus title” also appears, “closely connected with the First Dynasty, the kings of which were called later ‘the followers of Horus.'”216 The various names of the youthful son and consort merely confirm the story at various levels, from Naqada I to full dynastic times.

Of recent years the hitherto exotic name Essene has come into common usage, thanks to the Dead Sea Scrolls, which have brought to light the existence of a pious community of desert sectaries whose general way of life can be designated by the generic name of Essene. Many such societies were found throughout the ancient Near East, and the name has been expressly applied to groups in Egypt, Palestine, and Greece, all having in common requirements of chastity and charity in service to God and man.

The word Essene first appears in the works of a poet who served at the court of a Ptolemid pharaoh, who remarks in his Hymn to Zeus that the god did not become the “Essene” or supreme ruler of the gods by chance, but by merit.217 Origen, another Alexandrian, informs us that “Essene” means the leader of bees, or, as Geoffrey W. H. Lampe puts it, “king (i.e., queen) bee.”218 Members of the society that performed the rites of the ever-virgin Artemis (Paul’s “Diana of the Ephesians”) had to keep pure and unspotted from the world during their year of service, but the high priest and priestess were vowed to perpetual chastity: “The people of Ephesus call them Essenes,” writes Pausanius.219 That is not surprising in view of the fact that Artemis was a bee-goddess, whose emblem of the bee was stamped on all the coins of the city.

Philo compares the Essene societies of Palestine to other such communities in Greece and Persia,220 and Josephus notes that the Essene community to which he once belonged followed the same order as did the Pythagoreans of the West.221 Jerome, puzzled by the dedication of Christian congregations to the Easter cult of the bee, can only justify it by appealing to the Essenes of Egypt who imitate Deborah (the name means “bee”) in their zeal and gather the honey of Christ.222 Somville has very recently shown that the cult of the Bee mother was flourishing all around the Mediterranean in prehistoric times,223 and Saillens has argued that trade alone could account for the presence of the same cult all over Europe,224 though the legends speak of bee-led immigrations at the dawn of history, seeking not commerce but refuge from storm and starvation—survival.

What ties it all together is Asenath, the queen of the Deseret hive, then and now, as the mother of Ephraim and Manasseh by Joseph, whom she married in the midst of a swarm of bees, bringing her honey and covering her person to do her reverence. Her name is generally explained today as “meaning in Egyptian ‘she belongs to, or is the servant of, [the goddess] Neith,'”225 Neith being the primal Bee mother of the Egyptians. There are other derivations, but since the root meaning of Essen is unknown [Syriac asan, to gather food supplies, Aramaic asya,asyyna, etc., all meaning to cure, heal, revive, associated by Brockelman with “Essene, Therapeut?”],226 it is not too much to suggest a connection between EssenAsse, and Asen-ath, the final -ath being the universal Semitic (and Egyptian) feminine singular ending; Asenath herself was undeniably the queen bee when she married Joseph.

Why has the bee been brought back to our consciousness among the more exotic baggage of the restored gospel? The most likely explanation is the least appealing one. Repeated echoes from the remote past keep reminding us that the office and calling of the bee was to bring about the stirrings of life, reviving the biological cycle in a world that had been totally ravaged by cosmic forces of destruction. Is, then, Deseret waiting in the wings, held in reserve against the day, soon to come, when its salutary services will be required again?

From the first the symbol of the bee captivated the imagination of the Latter-day Saints in their migrations and their settlements; the emblematic hive became the seal of the territory and state and adorned every important edifice within the vast expanse of “our lovely Deseret.” Finally, by what strange coincidence does the History of the Church end with the sign of the bee? After the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, “the bodies . . . were removed . . . at Emma’s request, to near the Mansion, and buried side by side, and the bee house then moved and placed over their graves.”227

1.   Henri Gauthier, Les fêtes du dieu Min (Cairo: BIFAO, 1931), 142.

2.   Pierre Montet, “Le fruit défendu,” Kemi 11 (1950): 105.

3.   Gauthier, Fêtes du dieu Min, 247; see also Eugène Lefébure, “L’abeille en Égypte,” Sphinx 11 (1908): 1—25.

4.   Eugène Lefébure, “Les huttes de Cham,” BE 36 (1915): 224.

5.   Pierre Montet, “Études sur quelques prêtres et fonctionnaires du dieu Min,” JNES 9 (1950): 24—25.

6.   Alan H. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957), 51, 73.

7.   Eberhard Otto, “Der Gebrauch des Königstitels bjtj,” ZÄS 85 (1960): 145, 152.

8.   Adriaan de Buck, The Egyptian Readingbook (Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, 1963), 50, 53.

9.   Otto, “Gebrauch des Königstitels bjtj,” 143.

10.   Hugo Müller, Die Formale Entwicklung der Titulatur der ägyptischen Könige (Glückstadt: Augustin, 1938), 44.

11.   Otto, “Gebrauch des Königstitels bjtj,” 146—47.

12.   Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 477, 504.

13.   Gerald A. Wainwright, “The Red Crown in Early Prehistoric Times,” JEA 9 (1923): 26.

14.   Ibid., 29.

15.   Ibid., 32.

16.   Peter Le Page Renouf, “A Second Note on the Royal Title ‘Bee,'” Proceedings of the Biblical Archaeology Society 14 (1892): 396—402; Peter Le Page Renouf, “Book of the Dead,” Proceedings of the Biblical Archaeology Society 15 (1893): 227 n. 1; and The Life-Work of Sir Peter Le Page Renouf, 4 vols. (Paris: Leroux, 1902—5), 2:442—54. Kurt H. Sethe, “Der Name des Königs von Unterägypten,” ZÄS 28 (1890): 125—26. W. Max Müller, “Der Name des Königs von Unterägypten,” ZÄS 30 (1892): 57—59. Eugéne Lefébure, “Un des noms de la royauté septentrionale,” BE 35 (1912): 321—26. Karl Piehl, “Varia V,” ZÄS 25 (1887): 39—41. W. Pleyte, “La Guêpe,” ZÄS4 (1866): 14—15. Some insisted that the creature was a wasp, Le Page Renouf, “Second Note on the Royal Title ‘Bee,'” 396—402; Pleyte, “Guêpe,” 14—15; Pierre Lacau, “Suppressions et modifications de signes dans les textes funéraires,” ZÄS 51 (1913): 57, in spite of the epithet of Melissa’s—”honey-bearing.”  Since there are over 20,000 species of bees, even experts are not clear on the point.

17.   Wb, 1:435.

18.   Kurt H. Sethe, Urgeschichte und älteste Religion der Ägypter (Leipzig: Deutsch-Morgenländische Gesellschaft, 1930), 69—70.

19.   Ibid., 70, 6; Otto, “Gebrauch des Königstitels bjtj,” 143.

20.   Henri Gauthier, Le personnel du dieu Min (Cairo: BIFAO, 1931), 86.

21.   Pap. Leiden T 32, 6/23—25, in Bruno H. Stricker, ed., “De Egyptische Mysteriën: Pap. Leiden T32 (slot),”OMRO 37 (1956): 57.

22.   Sethe, Urgeschichte und älteste Religion der Ägypter, 70.

23.   Gauthier, Fêtes du dieu Min, 244, 246.

24.   Sethe, Urgeschichte und älteste Religion der Ägypter, 67.

25.   Otto, “Gebrauch des Königstitels bjtj,” 143; Sethe, Urgeschichte und älteste Religion der Ägypter, 69.

26.   Sethe, Urgeschichte und älteste Religion der Ägypter, 69.

27.   See below, note 136. It is noteworthy that they compare the king to the leader of the hive metaphorically, without actually calling him the bee. Thus, according to Chaeremon, “The Egyptians draw a bee to represent the king.” Wilhelm Spiegelberg, Der ägyptische Mythus vom Sonnenauge (Strassburg: Schultz, 1917), 25 n. 16. “The Egyptians indicate the King by a species of honey-making bee,” Ammianus Marcellinus, Constantius et GallusXVII, 4, 11, in Theodor Hopfner, Fontes Historiae Religionis Aegyptiacae (Bonn: Marcus and Weber, 1922), 548. Of Cyrus, the model king, Xenophon says, “You seem to me to be a king by nature, no less than the king in a hive of bees.” Xenophon, Cyropaedia V, 1, 24. See above, pp. 626—28.

28.   Sethe, Urgeschichte und älteste Religion der Ägypter, 68.

29.   Ibid., 69.

30.   Adolf Rusch, Die Entwicklung der Himmelsgöttin Nut zu einer Totengottheit, Mitteilungen der Vorderasiatisch-Aegyptischen Gesellschaft, vol. 27 (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1922), 15.

31.   Müller, Formale Entwicklung der Titulatur, 46; Pyramid Text 444 (§824).

32.   Le Page Renouf, “Book of the Dead,” 227 n. 1.

33.   W. Max Müller, “Der Name des Königs von Unterägypten,” ZÄS 30 (1892): 57.

34.   See above, pp. 432—42.

35.   Sethe, “Über einen vermeintlichen Lautwerth,” 115.

36.   Ibid.

37.   Alexandre Piankoff, “Les deux papyrus ‘mythologiques’ de Her-Ouben au Musée du Caire,” ASAE 49 (1949): 129—44.

38.   Hans Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1952), 131.

39.   Otto, “Gebrauch des Königstitels bjtj,” 147—49.

40.   Ibid., 149. The bee was “the primordial creative divine power . . . the most hidden secret of the land.”

41.   Cf. Sylvain Grébaut, trans., Livre des mystères du ciel et de la terre 4, 3, in PO 6:429.

42.   Otto, “Gebrauch des Königstitels bjtj,” 149—51.

43.   Joseph and Asenath 16:14, in Paul Riessler, Altjüdisches Schrifttum ausserhalb der Bibel (Heidelberg: Kerle, 1927), 519. For an English translation, see C. Burchard, trans., Joseph and Aseneth, in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. James H. Charlesworth, 2 vols. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985), 2:230.

44.   Grébaut, Livre des mystères du ciel et de la terre 4, 3, in PO 6:429.

45.   Philippe Derchain, Le Papyrus Salt 825 (British Museum 10051), rituel pour la conservation de la vie en Égypte (Brussels: Academie Royale, 1965), 137, col. 2, lines 5—8.

46.   Jacob Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, ed. J. Sallybrass, 4 vols. (London: Bell, 1882—88), 2:695; Friedrich Dieterici, Thier und Mensch vor dem König der Genien (1879; reprint, Hildesheim: Olms, 1969), 4.

47.   Derchain, Papyrus Salt 825, 137, col. 2, lines 5—6.

48.   Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision (New York: Macmillan 1950), 134—38; Immanuel Velikovsky,Ages in Chaos (New York: Doubleday, 1952).

49.   Albrecht Götze, “Kleinasien,” in Kulturgeschichte des alten Orients (Munich: Beck, 1933), 135. Cf. Otto, “Gebrauch des Königstitels bjtj,” 151.

50.   Derchain, Papyrus Salt 825, 137, col. 2, lines 5—6.

51.   See above, p. 470.

52.   Derchain, Papyrus Salt 825, 137, col. 2, line 2—3.

53.   Ibid., col. 2, line 4.

54.   Edouard Naville, “La destruction des hommes par les dieux,” Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 4 (1875): 1—19.

55.   Derchain, Papyrus Salt 825, 137, col. 3, line 1.

56.   Ibid., col. 3, line 3.

57.   Ibid., col. 3, line 2.

58.   Ibid., col. 2, line 7.

59.   Jane Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion (New York: Meridian, 1959), 356.

60.   See above, p. 470.

61.   Götze, “Kleinasien,” 135—36.

62.   Adolph Jellinek, Bet-ha-Midrasch, 6 vols. (1853—77; reprint, Jerusalem: Wahrmann, 1967), 5:22—26. Best known from Thaʿlabi’s Arabic text in Rudolf-Ernst Brünnow, Chrestomathy of Arabic Prose-Pieces (Berlin: Reuther and Reichard, 1895), 1—22.

63.   Frank Waters, Book of the Hopi (New York: Viking, 1963), 13—16, and various native informants. Another insect with which the Egyptians seem to have associated the royal progress, if not the migrations, is the centipede, represented by the twenty-one litter-bearers of the pharaoh going forth in the land, whose forty-two feet combine to equal those of the questing creature. Victor Loret, “Le mille-pattes et la chaise à porteurs de pharaon,” RdE 6 (1951): 5—20.

64.   Cf. Brünnow, Chrestomathy of Arabic Prose-Pieces, 18—19.

65.   Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, 2 vols. (New York: Braziller, 1959), 1:213.

66.   Spiegelberg, Ägyptische Mythus vom Sonnenauge, 24—25, lines 15—26.

67.   Ibid., 23, 25, e.g., 13—14.

68.   Hermann Junker, Die Onurislegende (Vienna: Hölder, 1917), 44.

69.   Book of the Cow, col. 19, in Charles Maystre, “Le livre de la vache du ciel dans les tombeaux de la Vallée des Rois,” BIFAO 40 (1941): 70.

70.   Pyramid Text 470 (§919). Cf. Émile Massoulard, Préhistoire et protohistoire d’Égypte (Paris: Institut d’Ethnologie, 1949), 482—83.

71.   Pyramid Text 610 (§1719a, 1723c).

72.   Pap. Leiden T 32 6/25, in Stricker, “Egyptische mysteriën (slot),” 57.

73.   Pap. Leiden T 32 7/2, in ibid., 58.

74.   Spiegelberg, Ägyptische Mythus vom Sonnenauge, 55.

75.   Coffin Text 130, in Adriaan de Buck, The Egyptian Coffin Text, 7 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1938), 2:150.

76.   Moritz Mainzer, “Jagd, Fischfang und Bienenzucht bei den Juden in der tannäischen Zeit,” Monatsschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums 53 (1909): 539—40, 549 n. 3; cf. Deuteronomy 32:13.

77.   Cf. Lefébure, “Huttes de Cham,” 224.

78.   Gauthier, Fêtes du dieu Min, 288. See Lefébure,” L’abeille en Égypte,” Sphinx 11 (1908): 1—25.

79.   Philip J. Baldensperger, The Immovable East (Boston: Small, Maynard, 1913), 278—79.

80.   Gustaf H. Dalman, “Das Land, das mit Milch und Honig fließt,” Mitteilungen des deutschen Palästina-Vereins (1905): 27; Gustaf H. Dalman, “Nochmals Milch und Honig Mitteilungen des deutschen Palästina-Vereins  (1906): 82.

81.   Baldensperger, Immovable East, 278—79.

82.   Cf. Dieterici, Thier und Mensch, 4—5.

83.   Ralph L. Roy, trans., The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institute, 1933), 64 n. 4; 65 n. 6: “the word for wild bee . . . has the feminine prefix.”

84.   Ibid., 66.

85.   Ibid., 100.

86.   Ibid., 171.

87.   Victor Loret, “Quelques idées sur la forme primitive de certaines religions égyptiennes,” Revue Égyptologique 11 (1904): 97; and Victor Loret, “Les enseignes militaires des tribus et les symboles hiéroglyphiques des divinités,” Revue Égyptologique 10 (1902): 94—101. Massoulard, Préhistoire et protohistoire d’Égypte, 482, with plates: most of the earliest standards were arrow-standards, the most significant being the crossed arrows of Neith and Min. This suggested the Liahona, and it is striking coincidence that Jonathan Shunary, upon first opening the Book of Mormon, identified the word Liahona with a Jewish gematria designating the leader of a swarm of migrating bees in the desert.

88.   Otto, “Gebrauch des Königstitels bjtj,” 144.

89.   Hugh W. Nibley, The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1975), 188—89.

90.   Hermann Kees, “Zum Ursprung der sog. Horusdiener,” Nachrichten von der Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen 3 (1927): 204.

91.   Ibid., 207.

92.   Otto, “Gebrauch des Königstitels bjtj,” 145; Adolf Erman and Hermann Grapow, Aegyptische Handwörterbuch(Berlin: Reuther and Reichard, 1921), 223.

93.   Otto, “Gebrauch des Königstitels bjtj,” 143—52.

94.   Elizabeth D. Van Buren, “Mesopotamian Fauna in the Light of the Monuments,” Archiv für Orientforschung 11 (1936—37): 30—31.

95.   Robert J. Forbes, Studies in Ancient Technology, 9 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1966), 5:81, 88.

96.   Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, 2:696, citing many authors.

97.   Discussed by Lefébure, “Huttes de Cham,” 220—24; cf. Montet, “Quelques prêtres et fonctionnaires,” 24—25.

98.   Spiegelberg, Ägyptische Mythus vom Sonnenauge, 25.

99.   Alexandre Moret, Mystères égyptiens (Paris: Colin, 1913), 54, fig. 18.

100.   Carl C. Clemen, Religionsgeschichte Europas, 2 vols. (Heidelberg: Winters, 1926), 1:339—40; Grimm,Teutonic Mythology, 2:696.

101.   Clemen, Religionsgeschichte Europas, 1:339—40.

102.   Pierre Somville, “L’abeille et le taureau,” RHR 194 (1978): 135.

103.   Ludwig Preller, Griechische Mythologie, 2 vols., 5th ed. (Berlin: Weidmann, 1964—67), 1:133 (mentioning the bee cave where the pure honey is produced which serves as the first nourishment for the offspring of the gods); Porphyry, De antro Nympharum, 1, 7—8, 13; for an English translation, see Thomas Taylor, trans., On the Cave of the Nymphs in the Thirteenth Book of the Odyssey (London: Watkins, 1917), 7, 20—25, 33.

104.   Victor Loret, “Les fêtes d’Osiris au mois de Khoiak,” RT 3 (1881): 43—44 (author’s translation.)

105.   Otto, “Gebrauch des Königstitels bjtj,” 147—48.

106.   Moret, Mystères égyptiens, 54.

107.   Arnobius, Disputation against the Gentiles V, 19, in PL 5:1120.

108.   Apollodorus, The Library III, 3, 1.

109.   Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, 2:696—97.

110.   Herodotus, History I, 198.

111.   Walter H. Robert-Tornow, De Apium Mellisque apud Veteres Significatione (Berlin: Weidmann, 1893), 122—26.

112.   Pyramid Text 431 (§781).

113.   Ibid., 444 (§824).

114.   Moret, Mystères égyptiens, 53.

115.   Eberhard Otto, Das ägyptische Mundöffnungsritual, 2 vols. (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1960), 2:56—57 n. 10.

116.   E. A. Wallis Budge, The Book of Opening of the Mouth, 2 vols. (London: Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1909), 1:31.

117.   Ibid., 1:34.

118.   Heinrich Günther, Die christliche Legende des Abendlandes (Heidelberg: Winter, 1910), 160. Louis M. O. Duchesne, Origines du culte chrétien (Paris: Thorin, 1925), 266—69, a standard sermon on the role of the bee in the Christian mysteries.

119.   Pausanius, Description of Greece X, 5, 9; Graves, Greek Myths, 1:178.

120.   Jerome, Epistle XVIII, “Ad Praesidium, De Cereo Paschali,” 1, in PL 30:182—83.

121.   Ibid., 4, in PL 30:185—86.

122.   Source not found, see preface.

123.   Hugh W. Nibley, “A New Look at the Pearl of Great Price,” IE 72 (January 1969): 30.

124.   Joseph and Asenath 16:4—6, text in Riessler, Altjüdisches Schrifttum ausserhalb der Bibel, 519.

125.   Joseph and Asenath 16:7, in ibid., 518.

126.   Joseph and Asenath 15, in ibid., 519.

127.   Joseph and Asenath 14, in ibid., 519.

128.   Joseph and Asenath 15—16, in ibid., 519.

129.   Joseph and Asenath 17—18, in ibid., 519.

130.   Joseph and Asenath 19, in ibid., 519—20.

131.   Joseph and Asenath 20—21, in ibid., 520.

132.   Joseph and Asenath 23, in ibid., 520.

133.   Joseph and Asenath 17, in ibid., 519.

134.   Somville, “L’abeille et le taureau,” 132.

135.   Lactantius, On False Religion I, 22, in PL 6:248—50.

136.   Kruse, “Melissaios,” takes notes of the male-chauvinist conquest of Melissaeus, in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Enzyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1894—1978), 15:1:528—29. The quotation is from Graves, Greek Myths, 1:169.

137.   Graves, Greek Myths, 1:42.

138.   References by Olck, “Biene,” in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Enzyclopädie, 3:446—50; see Otto, “Gebrauch des Königstitels bjtj,” 143.

139.   Émile Saillens, Nos vierges noires, leurs origines (Paris: Editions Universelles, 1945), 20—23.

140.   Ibid., 77.

141.   “So herrschte eine grosse Unklarheit über die Sexualität der B[iene],” Olck, “Biene,” 432.

142.   Duchesne, Origines du culte chrétien, 266; Jerome, Epistle 13, “Ad Praesidium, De Cereo Paschali,” in PL30:182, “quod sine coitu generatur et generant.”

143.   Eduard Stucken, Astralymythen der Hebräer, Babylonier und Ägypter (Leipzig: Pfeiffer, 1896—1907), 207, recounting in particular the Indian Vasu legend.

144.   Hiller von Gaertringen, “Aristaios,” in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Enzyclopädie, 2:852—56.

145.   Ibid., 856.

146.   Ibid., 853—54, comparing Aristaeus to Epimenides.

147.   Ibid., 853.

148.   Ibid., 855—57.

149.   Ibid., 856. Herodotus, History IV, 155; H. R. Hall, The Ancient History of the Near East (London: Methuen, 1927), 97—98.

150.   Von Gaertringen, “Aristaios,” 854—55.

151.   Ibid., 857—58.

152.   Lactantius, On False Religion I, 22, in PL 6:248—50.

153.   Kruse, “Melissaios,” 528.

154.   Nibley, “A New Look at the Pearl of Great Price,” IE 72 (January 1969): 30.

155.   Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, 7 vols. (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1909—13), 1:250.

156.   Bernhard Beer, Leben Abraham’s nach Auffassung der jüdischen Sage (Leipzig: Leiner, 1859), 133. See Exodus 23:28.

157.   The concept is a favorite with classical writers, listed by Olck, “Biene,” 446—48.

158.   Virgil, Georgics IV, 425—49.

159.   Ibid., lines 548—58.

160.   C. Julius Hyginus, Fabularum Liber (1535; reprint, New York: Garland, 1976), 50 n. 182.

161.   Herodotus, History II, 55.

162.   Genesis 35:8; Jubilees 32:30—31.

163.   Theodorus Hopfner, “Mysterien,” in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Enzyclopädie, 16:2:1226; for other Bee swarms of maidens, ibid., 15:1:524—26.

164.   Jean Leclant and Hermann Meulenaere, “Une statuette égyptienne a Délos,” Kêmi 14 (1957): 34—40 (quotations from 36, 40).

165.   Abraham S. Yahuda, The Accuracy of the Bible (London: Heinemann, 1934), 150—51.

166.   Wb, vol. 5.

167.   Ibid., 5:487—88.

168.   Ibid., 489.

169.   Ibid.

170.   Ibid.

171.   Ibid.

172.   Ibid., 490.

173.   Ibid.

174.   Ibid.

175.   Ibid., 491.

176.   Ibid., 492.

177.   Ibid.

178.   Ibid.

179.   Ibid., 493.

180.   Pyramid Text 470 (§910d—911a).

181.   Wb, 5:493.

182.   Ibid., 494.

183.   Ibid., 489, 493.

184.   Ibid., 609.

185.   Ibid., 609—10.

186.   Ibid., 610.

187.   Ibid., 611.

188.   Ibid.

189.   Ibid.

190.   Ibid.

191.   Ibid., 612.

192.   Ibid., 613.

193.   Ibid., 614.

194.   Ibid.

195.   Ibid.

196.   Ibid., 615.

197.   Ibid., 616.

198.   Ibid.

199.   Ibid., 617.

200.   Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 504.

201.   Ibid.

202.   Otto, “Gebrauch des Königstitels bjtj,” 143—44.

203.   Ibid., 147.

204.   Ibid., 148.

205.   Ibid., 148—49.

206.   Ibid., 149—50.

207.   Forbes, Studies in Ancient Technology, 5:81, 88.

208.   Elise J. Baumgartel, “Some Remarks on the Origins of the Titles of the Archaic Egyptian Kings,” JEA 61 (1975): 28—32, esp. p. 28 (emphasis added).

209.   Ibid., 32.

210.   Ibid., 29.

211.   Ibid.

212.   Ibid. (emphasis added).

213.   Ibid., 30.

214.   See Hugh W. Nibley, Since Cumorah, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988), 251—63.

215.   Ibid., 29.

216.   Ibid., 30.

217.   Callimachus, Hymn to Zeus, lines 65—68.

218.   Geoffrey W. H. Lampe, ed., A Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford: Claredon, 1961), 551, citing Origen,Commentaria in Evangelium Secundum Matthaseum (Commentary on Matthew) X, 7, in PG 13:849. See esp. Hjalmar Frisk, Griechisches etymologisches Wörterbuch (Heidelberg: Winter, 1960), 575.

219.   Pausanius, Description of Greece VIII, 13, 1.

220.   Philo, Quod omnis probus liber sit (Every Good Man Is Free) XII, 75—88.

221.   Josephus, Antiquities XV, 371.

222.   Jerome, Epistle XVIII, “Ad Praesidium, De Cereo Paschali,” 4, in PL 30:185—86.

223.   Somville, “L’abeille et le taureau,” 129—46.

224.   Saillens, Nos vierges noires, leurs origines, 20—23.

225.   Nahum M. Sarna, “Asenath,” in Encyclopaedia Judaica, 3:694.

226.   Carl Brockelmann, Lexicon Syriacum (Halis Saxonum: Niemeyer, 1928), 35; Marcus Jastrow, Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature, 2 vols. (New York: Pardes, 1950), 1:92—93, 95; probably of Asia Minor origin, Frisk, Griechisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, 575.

227.   Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1950), 6:628—29.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *