Bees and the lwa

At the suggestion of my friend Angel, I’ve done a little research on bees. And I learned some interesting things.

One Llewellyn article states that “Mande people consider bees to be harbingers of blessing; they associate bees with longevity, and getting stung is considered lucky.” The Mande are an ethnic group in West Africa. When I googled “Mande and bees” I found a Wikipedia article about the Yalunka people who gather honey by suspending large water-tight baskets in trees. The bees use the baskets as hives and the people harvest between four and six gallons of honey from each basket.

I also discovered a connection between bees and the lwa Azaka, who is sometimes syncretized with St. Isidore of Seville. Some images of St. Isidore show him standing near a beehive or admidst a swarm of bees. Traditionally, Azaka (or Cousin Azaka as he is sometimes affectionately called) is the lwa of agriculture. In the contemporary world, he has also become the patron of working class people. According to this article on Tribe.net, Azaka may be related to Orisha-Oko, who uses bees as his messengers. Maya Deren thought that Azaka might have originated with the Arawak or Taino people of Haiti. Azaka is thought to be Ogoun’s cousin.

Back in November, when I went to Mambo C’s house for a tarot reading, Houngan D suggested that Azaka could be my met tet. I mentally dismissed that suggestion at the time, feeling no real connection to agriculture. However, I certainly have working class connections (I worked in manufacturing and food service for many years). I still think it’s more likely that Ogoun or Agwe rule my head, but I could be wrong. The bee sting was on my ring finger; Angel thought this might indicate that a commitment needs to be made on my part.

I have definitely decided to go ahead with the met tet reading from  Mambo Racine. On Thursday, I purchased a package of 5-inch white candles and a money order. Today I bought a padded envelope. I plan to get them in the mail early next week.

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