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Hecate and Bee Fairies at Beltane

Updated: 6 days ago

“Have I not reason, beldams as you are?

Saucy and overbold, how did you dare

To trade and traffic with Macbeth

In riddles and affairs of death,

And I, the mistress of your charms,

The close contriver of all harms,

Was never called to bear my part,

Or show the glory of our art?”

Hecate speaking to the three witches in Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Macbeth, act III, scene 5


Halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice, we have a middle-season here in the Northern Hemisphere that some refer to as Beltane. It’s a time for honoring the Earth’s fertile energy and to celebrate the birth of all living things, but it’s also a time when the veil between our world and the otherworlds is thinnest. While communing with the dead is what is typical at Samhain when the veil is also thinnest, it’s common to commune with fairies and nature spirits at Beltane. Some ancient traditions mention leaving offerings for the fairies (the Fae) in hopes to receive protection for their crops and herds and some people see Hecate as a Mistress of the Fae (Fates/Morai) who travel between the worlds as Her messengers. However you understand the Fae to be, we can all agree they are a complex community who sometimes retaliate if they are offended, just like you and me. Nevertheless, Beltane is a great time to begin communing with the Fae, as long as you do so with respect. So let’s take a dive down this rabbit hole real quick. 

Queen of Faeries

“Like Diana, who in one capacity was denominated Hecate, the Fairy Queen is identified in popular tradition with the Gyre-Carline, Gay Carline, or mother witch, of the Scottish peasantry … She is sometimes termed Nicneven.” - Scot, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, 1869:449

The above quote was copied from a blog titled Diana’s Moon Rays, where author Sorita d’Este explores how Hecate may be seen as a Queen of Faeries through Her association with Diana: “In the tradition of conflating Hekate with Diana and giving these two goddesses the same attributes and shared myths, Scottish folklore does not disappoint. In his epic work Albion’s England (1586) William Warner describes Hekate as the queen of hell, or possibly the otherworld and links her with faeries and elves who act as her servants, which seems to imply that they are her servants and therefore that she might also be considered to be a faerie queen in this context.” - Sorita d’Este, Adamantine Muse, Patheos 

In Britain and Ireland, there’s a bit of folklore connecting faeries to bees as nature spirits. One Irish tale from the mid 17th century tells us that bees were thought to be faeries carrying the souls of dead loved ones, like little psychopomps. Another belief was that bees were faeries who misbehaved and got transformed into bees as punishment by their community. There’s several tales from across the world describing faery sightings as “buzzing swarms of bees” too. Also, in ancient Greece Hermes was given three prophetic faery nymphs, the Thriae, that were said to have the heads and breasts of women and the bodies of bees; they were thought to be related to Melissae, the Greek Goddess of Bees. In ancient Turkey, they found a statue of Artemis of Ephesus wearing bees on Her gown and Artemis has always been closely associated with Hecate. And we already know that the Roman Goddess Diana, often called the Queen of Faeries in folklore, has been regularly conflated with Hecate. So it’s not too surprising to see that faeries and Hecate are connected, making Hecate a Goddess of Faeries. Shakespeare saw it too!

“And we fairies, that do run

By the triple Hecate's team,

From the presence of the sun,

Following darkness like a dream,

Now are frolic: not a mouse

Shall disturb this hallow'd house:

I am sent with broom before,

To sweep the dust behind the door.”

Excerpt from A Midsummer’s Night Dream, act V, scene 2

Connecting with Bee Fairies

There are many names for the Fae, many Fae types and categories, and many tales of Fae folklore from different cultures across the globe. So welcoming them into your space should be done as you would welcome any foreign stranger from a foreign land. Be polite but be clear with your intentions to establish mutual respect, trust, and understanding. Offer your guests some nourishment like a cup of warm milk and honey with a small pinch of cinnamon. Let them know you’d like to collaborate with them for spell-work and welcome them to share your home as their own. Inform them that you’d like to build an ongoing, harmonious relationship. You can communicate with the Fae using various methods and tools of divination such as: meditation, witch runes, oracle cards, crystal scrying, pendulums. Or simply talk to them. Just don't do anything that binds or confines the Fae, for they may fight back. They are the guardians of Earth after all, not your Nanny. 

Nature’s sugar faeries (bees) work hard pollinating our crops and producing the nectar of the Gods, so leaving them offerings and providing a safe environment in return only seems fair. A simple way to do both is to plant a bee-friendly, organic garden and leave a shallow dish of fresh water nearby. The Fae can also help energize your spell-work for manifesting things like prosperity, transformation, and personal growth if you protect their natural habitat to ensure they will always have a safe home. Making them feel welcome is most important so crafting, singing, dancing, painting, and having fun will have to become regular habits. They are attracted to bright colours, colourful lights, sweet flowers and herbs, beautiful crystals, and anything that raises your vibrations by bringing you happiness and joy. Welcoming the Fae with offerings of herbs and flowers at Beltane and learning how to help bees thrive in your community, are good places to start connecting and forming relationships. They are Hecate’s messengers after all, so they should be treated with respect, love, trust, and kindness at all times.

One of the simplest ways of connecting with the Fae at Beltane is through an ancient Celtic practice called The Dawn Welcome Ritual. You simply greet the sunrise on Beltane morning and welcome the Fae with offerings of rosemary, lavender, thyme, and basil sprinkled in each of the four directions of North, South, East, and West. As you make your offerings, ask the Fae to join you in your festivities for the day, or invite them in your garden to stay. Here’s a faery friendly, rhyming spell to help you out:

Inviting Fairies to Your Garden

Fair fairies from near and far, 

I invite you to dance in my yard.

Please stay awhile, 

And brighten my garden with your smiles.

Bless these herbs and flowers,

And fill them with magical powers.

Use your magic to help them grow,

By the light of the moon's [sun’s] glow.

Accept these gifts I give to thee,

By my will, so mote it be.

Until there comes a time that I ask you to leave.

By Willow, Flying the Hedge

Word of Caution

The Fae can stay to help give energy to your rituals and they can help make your crops grow abundant. Never take from them without asking or ask anything of them without giving something in return though. That would be considered greedy and selfish. The Fae don’t want your thanks, however they do want your appreciation and respect. So if you have no gifts to offer, apologize, and at least do your part in maintaining a balanced relationship with nature so they can continue to thrive. If you take from the plant world, for example, only take what you need and leave enough behind so it can go back to seed. 

“Fairies are fickle and mischievous. Upsetting them can result in problems for you and anyone who steps foot on your property. Do not use pesticides in your garden. This will scare them off and keep them from coming back. Be good to the environment and animals. Fairies are creatures of the Earth; if you disrespect Her, fairies won't come to your garden, no matter how much milk and honey you offer them.” - Inviting Fairies to Your Garden by Willow, Flying the Hedge

The Fae appreciate a give-and-take relationship. Always ensure you’re showing them your gratitude, even if you’re not sure they heard your call …because they most surely did. You can learn to watch for signs in nature that show you they are listening: you might notice certain plants growing near your home, or dandelion seeds suddenly blowing your way, sometimes there will be shiny things going missing, or a bird coming to sing on your window sill, or bees start coming to your flowers in droves and some may even land on you, and if you have pets or children you may notice them glancing at something that’s not there, or jumping around and playing with the Fae in the air. Whichever way they choose to come to you, leaving regular offerings for them and apologizing when you don’t, will help maintain an ongoing relationship. 

If you do any ritual work with the Fae, always be sure to close the ritual afterwards and politely ask them to leave. Don’t forget to ground yourself by drinking or eating something, especially if you’re doing a ritual on Beltane when the spiritual energy is high. If the vibrations run too high for you, seek support from your spiritual community.

May you always deserve everything you receive.

Rabbit Ass Cece 🐇

Devotee @covenantofhekate

Resources for Further Rabbit-Holing:

What is Beltane

Lines for Hecate in Macbeth

The Thriae - prophetic nymphs

A Midsummer’s Night Dream, act V, scene 2, lines 390-405

Clouds of Fairies - evidence of fairy ‘swarms’

Fairies and Bees

Actual Fairy Bees (Genus Perdita)

Goddess as Queen Bee - Artemis of Ephesus

The Veil Thins at Beltane: Connecting with Spirits and Fae by Book of Shadows Print

Diana’s Moon Rays - Part II by Sorita d’Este

Inviting Fairies to your Garden by Willow

Image - Spirit Of The Bee-Hive by  A. Duncan Carse

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