Threads of Pollen

Bee on dandelionOver the past couple of years I have been involved in planting and maintaining a wildflower meadow in Greencroft Valley in Penwortham. One of the reasons is to provide sustenance for bees who are dependent on pollen as their solitary food source.

The importance of bees as pollinators of agricultural crops has been brought to the forefront over the last decade following incidents of Colony Collapse Disorder whereby worker bees disappear leaving behind the queen and her young.

Studies have revealed Colony Collapse Disorder may be caused by neonicotinoids; insecticides of a similar composition to nicotine which are used on flowering crops. This led to the placement of a ban on neonicotinoids by the European Commission.

Neonicotinoid companies have recently been pushing for a lift on the ban. I’ve signed petitions against this put forward by 38 degrees and written a more personal e-mail to South Ribble’s Conservative MP, Seema Kennedy, stating my opposition as a local environmental volunteer.

Seema’s reply was disappointing. She stated that whilst she recognised the importance of bees in pollinating our agricultural produce she does not think ‘the Commission’s response is either safe or proportionate’ and will be supporting further research and a review of the ban.

A debate about this took place in the House of Lords on June 17th and it looks like, following research, the ban will be reviewed.


If the ban is lifted, this will be bad news for bees. It will also be symptomatic of our failure to recognise that pollen and the labour of bees are the currency of life upon which our agricultural society in Britain depends.

That our Celtic and Germanic ancestors saw mead (which is made from honey) as the most sacred of drinks and offered it to the spirits of the land and the gods suggests they held deep knowledge of this.

My deity has signalled his awareness of the effortful drunken labour of the bees, their dizzy ecstasy, the fall of their pollen-coated furred bodies on our roads and waysides whilst drinking from the golden cup.

Our lives and even the lives of the gods depend on others. It is this fundamental reverence, respect for and recognition of others our society has lost.

This can only lead to one thing: Exploitation.

Six of Stones: Exploitation was a card drawn from the Wildwood Tarot in a reading I received last night. Six bee hives stand on stones, abandoned, representing Colony Collapse Disorder. An old man and a young woman wander ragged with empty bowls, the tools of agriculture broken behind them. A distant fire rages through fields of un-pollinated crops.

This card symbolises the fate we face if we do not recognise the true currency of life is not money but pollen and its golden threads woven by bees between the flowers of generations filling the air we breathe sinking slowly in layers with winged bodies and the bones of our ancestors to the halls of our underworld gods.

By threads of pollen and by bees we are united in life and in death with the land, our ancestors and the gods. Break this bond and we are lost.


3 thoughts on “Threads of Pollen

  1. I had not realized the colony collapse disorder was also prevalent in Britain. We’re in a sorry state when we put the pursuit of profit above the continued existence of other beings. I pray the ban continues to be upheld.

  2. Not to be pedantic but they are skeps not hives.
    And why, the Wildwood Tarot should consider the most beautiful of creatures and the most hard working, but still natural lifestyle as exploitation, I have no idea.
    Good Beekeepers in their wisdom will never exploit their skeps and hives, and will ensure that the bees have food, and a plentiful supply of fondant when it’s cold. They look after the hives and never take too much honey off that it leaves the bees short.
    It is natural for the bee to work incredibly hard and for that reason we must celebrate the bee for its doggedness, productivity, perseverance and their hardworking ethics whilst working as a unit in perfect harmony.
    Yes, Colony Collapse is a tragic thing, but this is not down to the keeper or the bee.
    It’s down to bad farming, greed and cruelty on farms that may be up to 4 miles from the bees own home. Until we get these poisons outlawed we will continue to lose them, yes.. but this is not a good subject imo to put in a tarot pack to denote tragedy when the bee itself, has a beautiful life and is nature at it’s best. Sorry, I feel it a shame that colony collapse should be represented in this way, when bees are not just subject to that but other diseases too, I think perhaps exploitation would have been best represented by those on a minimum wage or perhaps a picture of McDonald’s would have suited it better.
    If there is one thing we can gain from the bee, it is promise, hard work for the positive and determination – not exploitation.

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