The Shamanic Way of the Bee: Ancient Wisdom and Healing Practices of the Bee Masters by Simon Buxton
Reveals for the first time the ancient tradition of bee shamanism and its secret practices and teachings
• Examines the healing and ceremonial powers of the honeybee and the hive
• Reveals bee shamanism’s system of acupuncture, which predates the Chinese systems
• Imparts teachings from the female tradition and explores the transformative powers of the magico-sexual elixirs they produce
Bee shamanism may well be the most ancient and enigmatic branch of shamanism, yet it exists throughout the worldwherever in fact the honeybee exists. Its medicinal tools are now in common usagesuch as honey, pollen, propolis, and royal jellyand even the origins of Chinese acupuncture can be traced back to the ancient practice of applying bee stings to the body’s meridians.
In this authoritative ethnography and spiritual memoir, Simon Buxtonan elder of the Path of Pollenreveals for the first time the richness of this tradition: its subtle intelligence; its sights, sounds, and smells; and its unique ceremonies, which until now have been known only to initiates. Buxton’s footsteps were first put on the Path of Pollen at age nine when an Austrian bee shaman cured him of a near fatal bout of encephalitits. This early contact prepared him for his later meeting with an elder of the tradition who took him on as an apprentice. Following an intense initiation that opened him to the mysteries of the hive mind, the author learned over the next 13 years the practices, rituals, and tools of bee shamanism. He experienced the healing and spiritual powers of honey and other bee products, including the flying ointment used by medieval witches, as well as ritual initiations with the female members of the traditionthe Mellisaeand the application of magico-sexual “nectars” that promote longevity and ecstasy. The Shamanic Way of the Bee is a rare view into the secret wisdom of this age-old tradition.
Simon Buxton is a beekeeper, the British faculty for the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, and the founder/director of The Sacred Trust in England.
Read an Excerpt
From Chapter One:
Last Night, As I Was Sleeping
Last night, as I was sleeping, I dreamtmarvellous error! that I had a beehive here inside my heart. And the golden bees were making white combs and sweet honey from my past mistakes. Antonio Machado
No clear sounds. Just the distant white noise hum of blood in my ears, a signal of sorts that I am still alive, at least. Sometimes, the sense of a song. No vision and no images coming in from the outside world. Just me, alone here, small and frightened, lost in a snowstorm of white light against the black sky of my eyelids.
I don’t know how long I have been here. I am nine years old and I have been in and out of this for days. Only years later will I come to know the name we give to this condition; encephalitis, a virus which attacks the brain. For now, the names and labels are meaningless. All I know is darkness. Nothing moves.
And then, something. A face I think I recognise. An old man who smiles at me as I drift here in the dreamscape, crying the silent, fearful tears of a small boy standing at the edge of a vast drop into the abyss of death. “Nothing to be afraid of, little one,” he says. The words are spoken in German. He takes my hand. Together, we leap into the abyss.
We never land, though. I open my eyes and look into his. They are no longer those of a human being. I am looking into eyes comprised of 26,000 magnificent hexagonal lenses, each one of them able to see deep into my soul. They are the eyes of a bee. And we are flying.
Effortlessly, we arrive at the other side of the abyss and gently float to the earth. I look into those eyes again, and now they are human. They are eyes I recognise, the eyes of a friend. They are the eyes of Herr Professor.
He looks at me and smiles. Kleine bubbe, ales gehst gut. Habst keine angst, he whispers. “Little one, all is well now. Nothing to be afraid of.”
Two days after this “dream,” I am fully conscious and well enough to eat. A week later, I am out of bed and back to being a life-filled little boy.
And so, I decide to visit my friend Herr Professor, after so long away from him. I walk through the woods which separate our two isolated houses, past the beehives he keeps in his garden, up to the dark wood door. Before I can even knock, the door is opened and Herr Professor stands smiling down at me.
“Ah, little one,” he says. “How lovely to see you. There, I told you there was nothing to be afraid of.”
I had met Herr Professor two years before this, when my family had moved from the north of England, to the forests of Vienna Austria. His was the only other house within a mile of our property, if you could call it a house. It was more a marriage between a wooden Tyrollean chalet and a jungle hut. It stood in its forest home, shrouded in creeping undergrowth that he maintained with precise care so that it remained as wild as possible, cultivated to the minimum. He was always a part of his surroundings rather than a master of them. He preferred it that way.
I had first met Herr Professor when my parents had befriended him after we moved into our home. Recognising him as a learned man, they had asked if he would teach me the German language. He had been happy to agree, though in reality we studied little German. Instead, we had adventures together where we would explore the wild forest places of this strange new territory. Or he would allow me to play the many drums he had at his home; huge flat drums from strange-sounding faraway places like Tuva and Lapland. Sometimes, too, he would hold me spellbound with stories of his adventures in the real jungles of Mexico and Peru, illustrating his talk of jaguars and snakes and dug-out canoes, ecstatic rituals and full-moon rites with the exotic curios and “objects of power” he had returned with: spears and shields, stones and vines and, most fascinating to me, a shrunken head brought back from a mysterious Amazonian tribe.
We became immediate friends. In the isolation of the woods, I was glad to have someone to talk to and take walks with. This wise man shared with me his knowledge of both the woods and the world, and exposed the richness of the strange gifts contained therein. Having lived in solitude for so long, the exuberance of youth was a joy to Herr Professor, and my company delivered a source of gentle amusement.
Of course, then I did not know him as Herr Professor (though I always referred to him by this title); I knew him more than anything as a friend. It was later that I learned his “true” identity. He had been a university professor, an extremely well respected man who had lectured to thousands of students for nearly half a century, as well as travelling the world in search of a personal truth. His travels had taken him to the five inhabited continents and the furthest corners of the world. He had lived with indigenous peoples, becoming one with their simple lifestyles until objective scientific study had given way to personal belief and immense respect as he had watched the shamans and wise men and women of these tribes perform their daily miracles which defied the laws of the Western science he had been educated in.
“A fascinating story of one man's journey into the shamanic realm and ancient wisdom.”
"Simon Buxton’s unusually wondrous tale combined with his exquisite use of words brings radiant life to an ancient shamanic path: the Way of the Bee. Delve into the mystery with Buxtonthe story and teachings are brilliant!”
“. . . offers ancient wisdom for the modern spirit. A truly remarkable book.”
“Simon Buxton is a man with genuine miracles to impart, taking us inside a remarkable hidden world of wonders and magic. If you buy only one book this year to help you on your path toward Truth, make sure it’s this one.”
"This book is like having a backstage-pass into the actual secret life of bees. Bee Master, Simon Buxton, takes us on his shaman's journey that unveils a tradition that has been held sacred for thousands of years. After reading this book, I felt I had been initiated into the ancient feminine mystery of sacred sexuality.
“Every now and then there is a book that is not only well thought out but well thought of, one that dares to offer ancient wisdom for the modern spirit. Simon Buxton's The Shamanic Way of the Bee is such a book. It offers a brilliant and timeless perspective while tantalizing the reader with a splendid, eloquent, and comprehensible presentation. A leading voice in shamanism, Simon Buxton has given us a truly remarkable book, one that is destined to withstand the test of time and lead us further down an ancient path in contemporary times.”
“Simon Buxton's much-awaited debut is set to revolutionize the way we see European native traditions. This is a compelling read with elegantly chosen words that convey complex spiritual truths in a beautifully simple way. The Shamanic Way of the Bee promises to become a shamanic classic.”
"As Simon remarks in his fascinating and inspirational book, sometimes we have no choice but to lie still, so that we may become a speck in the universe and drink in the nature of the world. I call my soul to be present, to witness the power of European shamanism and my friend’s journey with the honeybee. Ometeotl."
“Written in a beautiful, lyrical and poetic way, with personal vignettes, anecdote and sacred teachings which, in a way, are reminiscent of the Sufi tradition but with the hard edge of realism characteristic of the Keltic Waythe Way of the Herothis book is an absolute must-have addition to any serious collection of shamanic wisdom.”
“We search the exotic and distant for transformative secrets, well-being and healing. But are we perceptive enough to receive the gifts from the humblest of our own gardens? No matter. Simon Buxton has walked this path, from the primordial to the present, and freely grants us the exquisite treasures contained within The Shamanic Way of the Bee.”