Mormon Bee Symbolism

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On the walls of Egyptian tombs, bees are portrayed with offerings of honey for important Egyptian deities. Honey was considered the nectar of the gods and used for medicinal purposes, while beeswax was used by medicine men and women to create effigies used in rituals. Ramses III was said to have offered fifteen tons of honey to the Nile god Hapi in the twelfth century BC. Believed to travel with the dead even into the afterlife, sealed jars of honey were placed next to sarcophagi as food for the soul.

Venus and corresponding goddesses were also associated with bees. In the Christian Bible, Melchizedek brought three gifts for communion to the patriarch Abraham, all said to be from the planet Venus. One gift was a beehive. The Pythagoreans also worshipped bees as the sacred creatures of Aphrodite, an association that continued with Roman Venus.

This tradition migrated into Europe with the Frankish Merovingian rulers of Gaul, who embroidered bees on their purple robes and decorated the canopies of their thrones with gigantic figures of these insects. Visitors to the Vatican will even find bees carved into the wooden canopy overarching the tomb of St. Peter in the Basilica as a symbol of everlasting life.

The beehive is also a symbol in the Mormon Church: "The hive and honey bees form our communal coat of arms…. It is a significant representation of the industry, harmony, order and frugality of the people, and of the sweet results of their toil, union and intelligent cooperation." The doorknob in the attached picture is the oldest in the Salt Lake City temple, used to symbolically open the door to Brigham Young's "Beehive House."

In 15th century Rosslyn chapel in Scotland, there are two manmade stone beehives carved into the Meru steeples either side of the feminine Shekinah pillar. Inhabited by bees for centuries, there are stories of honey dripping down the pillars inside the chapel. They represent fertility, resonance and the winged cherub children of Asherah, the Hebrew goddess of Venus.