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Symbols of the soul

by Yvonne Artaud


In the course of a long evolution of the concept of soul, man invented a thousand and one symbols to represent the psychic being – from the sphinx, the butterfly, the unicorn, the golden hind, up to the abstract movements of modern art representing modern conceptions of psychic fields, movements of pure consciousness.

One of the happiest of these symbols is the bee.


Minoan honeybees.jpg


The bees which we represent here come from ancient Crete, but the bee itself, that mysterious little bird busily collecting honey, was too striking a symbol to be restricted to one small Mediterranean island. The bee as a symbol of the soul can be found in many lands, from the Pillars of Hercules to Kamchatka.

The ancient Germanic peoples ‘believed’, as we say today, that on the sixth of January the Mother Goddess Brechta, the Shining One, descended with the souls to be born during the coming year, as the queen bee, with all her little workers collecting in the times to come honey from the earth for the immortals in Asgard. And even today the bee is represented on the altar cloth of the Catholic Church on Candlemass Day. The candle, produced by the bees, is another symbol of the aspiration of the soul for its total sacrifice and its total transformation into light.