Happy new year everyone from the mountains of western North Carolina. It has been especially cold here this winter and the bees are tucked in, singing their winter songs. I continue to put my ear to each hive daily: listening, expressing my love and recalibrating … to the key of B(ee).
Layne and the bees commune in my bee yard.
Many of you know I have been working on The Sacred Path of Bee webinar, a project my beloved friend Layne (Redmond) and I were planning to launch in the summer of 2013. She and I discovered, in our unfolding friendship over the years, that many of the experiences I was having in my sacred-in-the-ordinary bee-tending life were resonant with some of the ancient ways of the bee priestesses that Layne had been exploring while researching what later became her seminal book, When the Drummers Were Women. Neither of us called ourselves bee priestesses, but nevertheless, those words help describe a sacred territory that was so enlivened in our lives. Last April, we stepped out with a free webinar, which was going to be followed by a multi-part series beginning last July. Many of you know that Layne’s health started to seriously slip and slide not long after the summer solstice. By late October, she laid down her sweet body, continuing her indigenous soul journey towards her Sacred Next.
With her blessing and the blessing of her company, Goldenseed Productions, I have been working on The Sacred Path of Bee with the intent to launch the series this winter (during this very week, in fact). But the series got bigger, as good things sometimes do. I am also about to continue my own sacred path of bee: teaching (and learning) blessed-bee in Turkey, Malta and various destinations in the U.S. So this series will now be born in August, when I return from my travels. I know in my bones that some of my coming adventures will also inform and bless the content of this webinar, hopefully making it even more of service to participants (and to the precious honeybee).
About the getting bigger thing … I have invited ten spectacular guests from around the world to join me for the series. Each are and have a world to share. We are almost done recording all their interviews. I was so personally inspired by each person that the webinar content expanded another couple of bee suit sizes. You are going to love spending time with these people.
Also, the launch date got tai-chi’d because of the mysterious way that life sometimes (wo)manifests. A group of us (nicknamed The Hive) had gathered across last year to take care of Layne as her health started to go out with the tide. I was with her during the last twelve hours of her life, including as she passed. Someone asked me later about a favorite time with Layne. It was this: spending most of that last night, holding hands (a sort of precious girls’ sleep-over, with a serious sacred undertow). There are many things that happened and got expressed by Layne that night as her spirit started to straddle the worlds. One of them was this: Layne knew that I was going back to Turkey this year. She also knew that she was dying and would not be alive by the time I left. At one point in the middle of the night, she sat bolt upright and looked me in the eye and said, “Debra, you are going to see me in Turkey, right?” And I answered, not missing a beat, “Yes, Layne, I am.”
Recently, I woke up in the night, recalling that moment. It wasn’t like Layne’s spirit was in my bedroom; it felt more like her spiritual breath. I realized I needed to postpone the launch of the series until I returned from my travels, so I could “meet” Layne in Turkey and then let whatever-that-means inform and infuse my offerings to the webinar. I will be bringing a little bit of her ashes to Ephesus, Turkey and also to an ancient temple in Malta. Somewhere on the road, I know we have a date, and from that will come something more for you, too.
In April of 2010, Layne birthed a lovely CD called Hymns from the Hive, Music Made With The Bees. The sound of bees (sacred technicians of sound as Layne called them) weaves through every track. Layne asked me to write something for the CD liner and I want to share a little of that with you:
The sounds of bees that find a home in every track were recorded in my apiary two summers ago. Most of those hives perished the following winter and most of the reasons why were mysterious. It was a time of immense heartbreak. These are the voices of colonies that were lost and of one hardy lineage that survived and still proliferates in my bee yard into its own seven generations … a hive I have come to call Old Faithful. Apis mellifera, the honey bearers, the honeybees, these sustainers of life … are struggling. We are living in a time that will determine whether our music will be a requiem for the bees or a celebration of the continued life of these precious winged beings. Hymns From The Hive is a vote for Life.
Since then, Old Faithful passed away … as has Layne. So I ask myself, is this Sacred Path of Bee series a requiem for or a celebration of the bees and of Layne? I think the answer is, both. That Layne and Old Faithful have died is still something I feel very tender-hearted about. That this webinar will see the light of day, with her blessing, is a continued celebration of life, love and the sweet honeybees.
I want to give a nod to the amazing Daniel Sabio, someone I met through Layne. He is a young, free-range genius and the man who is completing the film Axe Orixa: Dreaming Awake the Gods & Goddesses of Brazil which Layne began many moons ago. She entrusted the completion of this work into his care and he hopes to premiere the film in the late spring or early summer of this year. Daniel is also blessing me with his genius by guiding me through the mysteries of webinars, editing guest interviews, and creating the architecture (the techy bones, if you will) of this experience. I am infinitely grateful to him.
If you want to follow some of my bee-ish travels, you can find me on Facebook. When The Sacred Path of Bee launches in August, I will let you know through Facebook and also by way of this blog. If you haven’t done so already (and are inclined), you can subscribe in the right hand column of the blog / home page.
These coming months will ever-change us all. By the time Joe and I return from our travels, I will have talked-and-listened-bee for months in places like Turkey and Malta (my idea of heaven); we will have spent spring equinox in the temples and ancient places of Malta; and we will have distributed some of Layne’s ashes with our full hearts. The first maple pollen will have primed the spring pump in western NC (great news for the pollinators). Joe’s gardens will be waking up, then jumping. The bees will prepare for May’s burst of blossoms, then the spring and summer honey flows that follow. It is in this holy field of time – the wild, full fat summer – that I will humbly offer this Sacred Path of Bee webinar to all of you who have so patiently waited.
Til then, my friends. Blessed be, blessed bees … and blessed Layne.
PS Infinite thanks to The Hive (you know who you are).