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Andrew Gough's Arcadia: The Bee


Hieroglyphic of the Bee from ancient Egypt

Forefathers of the American Revolution incorporated the symbolism of the Bee into the very fabric of their government. This should not be regarded as unusual, however, for early American statesmen shared a bond with other more time-honoured nations that enabled Bee symbolism to be transmitted across the globe and into a new era. And that conduit was Freemasonry. The Bee remains an important symbol in Freemasonry and was especially pervasive in Masonic drawings and documents of the 18th and 19th centuries. At the heart of the Masonic tradition are the concepts of industry and stability, virtues that were important to the Egyptians - as well as other ancient civilisations - before being adopted by the United States of America. The recurring theme stems from the stable, regular and orderly society exhibited in a Beehive. In Freemasonry, the Beehive represents all that is proper in society and could arguably be the organisation’s most enduring symbol.


The Beehive – one of Freemasonry’s most important symbols

Bee symbolism is a vital component of Masonic ideals, although its application within the craft is not without paradox. For instance, the ‘Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry’ informs us that the Bee is important to Freemasonry for the same reason it was important to the Egyptians, because of all insects; “only the Bee has a King.” The quote is peculiar for reasons already discussed; namely because the Bees society is matriarchal. Are Masons refereeing to the King Bee – as in the Egyptian pharaoh who bore the title of ‘Beekeeper’, or do they know something we don’t?  Could the ‘male only’ tradition of Freemasonry be an extension of the movement that appears to have suppressed or at least tempered goddess worship back in pre-dynastic Egypt? The notion is speculative, but intriguing nonetheless.

The ‘Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry’ provides many references to the Bee, including the fact that honey is used to illustrate moral teachings. In this regard, the Masonic initiate is instructed to;

“Go to the bee, and learn how diligent she is, and what a noble work she produces; whose labour kings and private men use for their health. She is desired and honoured by all, and, though weak in strength, yet since she values wisdom she prevails.”

Similarly, we are told that;

"The bee hive is an emblem of industry, and recommends the practice of that virtue of all created beings…Thus was man formed for social and active life, the noblest part of the work of God; and he that will so demean himself, as not to be endeavouring to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding, may be deemed a drone in the hive of nature, a useless member of society, and unworthy of our protection as masons.”


The Masonic Trophonius of Ledadia, which commemorates two famous architects

Clearly, Freemasonry is an important reminder of the virtues that early society valued most. And this accounts for the fact that many early American Presidents were Freemasons, such as George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk and James Buchanan – to name a few. In fact, most Masonic presidents were Grand Masters of their lodges at one time or another, and as such, would have been installed into the symbolic chair of King Solomon, the historically evasive king who is said to have secured the love of the Queen of Sheba after consulting with a Bee. The Masonic regalia of early American presidents reflects the craft’s admiration of the Bee and include a Masonic apron with a prominently positioned Beehive that signified the wisdom and industry of man. The Beehive is positioned directly above an image of a coffin, a vital element of the Masonic 3rd degree ritual, and appears to allude to the Bee’s association with resurrection.


George Washington’s Masonic Apron, with a Beehive located top centre

So, the forefathers of American government were stimulated by the ideals of Freemasonry, an institution that incorporated Bee symbolism into its philosophy and maintained an invisible hand in the politics of most nations. Historians inform us that French Freemasonry was particularly influential in guiding the ideals of early American statesmen, such as the political philosopher Thomas Jefferson, who shared a peculiar bond with Marquis de Lafayette, a French military officer with strong Masonic affiliations and who served in both the American and French Revolutions.

Masonic ideals permeated the genesis of American society, as they did the French Revolution, and in each instance the symbolism of the Bee was chosen to illustrate the ethos and vision of the nation. In fact, just five years after the death of George Washington, France would crown a new leader who would restore the long and illustrious legacy of the Bee in his country. I speak of Napoleon Bonaparte, who in 1804 was crowned Emperor of France in a coronation robe decorated with 300 gold Bees.


Napoleons at his Coronation, wearing a robe adorned with Bees

The Bee was a hugely important icon of Napoleon’s reign, and his obsession with its symbolism led to his inevitable nickname;The Bee. Napoleon would have grown up with the symbolism of the Bee ingrained in his psyche, for his homeland of Corsica was required to pay the Romans an annual tax equivalent of £200,000 in Beeswax. The young emperor ensured that the Bee was widely adopted in his court as well as on clothing, draperies, carpets and furniture all across France. By choosing the Bee as the emblem of his reign, Napoleon was paying homage to Childeric (436 - 481), one of the ‘long haired’ Merovingian Kings of the region known as Gaul. When Childeric’s tomb was uncovered in 1653, it was found to contain 300 golden jewels, styled in the image of a Bee. And of course, these are the same Bees that Napoleon had affixed to his coronation robe. Sadly, of the 300 Bees only two have survived.


Bee’s from the Tomb of Childeric I

Fortuitously, the tomb of Childeric contained other artefacts that help put the golden amulets into a broader ritualistic context. In addition to Bees, it contained items of divination such as a crystal ball and a bull’s head made of gold, amongst other unusual objects, such as a severed horse’s head. Childeric’s hoard was entrusted to Leopold Wilhelm von Habsburg, a military governor of the Austrian Netherlands who was believed to have been a descendent of the Merovingian dynasty. Six years after his coronation, Napoleon married Marie-Louise, the daughter of Francis II, the last Habsburg to sit on the throne of the Holy Roman Empire.

Napoleon’s choice of the Bee as the national emblem of his imperial rule speaks volumes about his desire to be associated with the Carolingians and Merovingian’s; the early French kings whose funeral furniture featured Bee and cicada symbolism as a metaphor for resurrection and immortality. And as we reviewed in Part 2, the Bee and cicada represent dualism, with the Bee producing the sound of day and the cicada the sound of the night. The Bee was also a vital symbol of French industry and one of the most prominent emblems of the French Revolution (1789–1799).


The Bee / Beehive – a popular emblem of the French Revolution

Dr. Benjamin Lynch talks MTHFR and Methylation | The ND Update

Pronounced as if you are spelling it, MTHFR is one gene that is responsible for converting folate into the active form methyl folate. Mutations of this gene are found in a wide portion of our population. It’s an important enzyme because methyl folate is a major part of the methylation pathway that is responsible for turning certain genes on and off, making neurotransmitters and more. Dr. Lynch has been researching this gene mutation since seeking more information for a patient on bipolar disorder.

There are actually 3 different types of folate, it’s an umbrella term with an ambiguous meaning. The types are folic acid, folinic acid, and methyl folate. The type that is supplemented in food is folic acid because it has a long shelf life. The active form in the body is methyl folate. The MTHFR enzyme (coded for by the MTHFR gene) is a key part of the process that converts folic acid to methyl folate. If a person has deficits in this or a few other genes there is the potential that the folic acid they are getting in their diet is not being converted into methyl folate, the active form. Uncooked leafy greens contain the active form of folate, methyl folate.
Some laboratory indicators that methylation might not be happening well include high homocysteine (9+ in an adult and 6+ in a kid), and an elevated b12 and or serum folate without supplementation (suggesting they are building up when they should be getting used up).

It’s not always clear cut when to supplement with the methylated form of folate (we talk about the nuances of this in the podcast). Sometimes patients may get worse. If this happens 50mg of nicotinic acid repeated every 30 minutes usually quenches the negative effects.

Dr. Lynch graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Cell and Molecular Biology and got his Naturopathic Doctorate from Bastyr University. He runs the websites and

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