Whether for good luck or godliness, bees and their honey have had a storied role in mythology around the world.
Several Greek myths incorporate bees. It appears as if the Greeks were enamoured by honeybees and greatly valued honey. Naturally, bees were associated strongly with Demeter, the goddess of farming and the earth. They also heavily play into myths of Apollo, Zeus and Orpheus. In fact, honey was considered to be a drink of the gods, as well as symbolic of knowledge and wisdom. As a result, the Greeks reserved honey for a chosen few.
In many Hindu traditions, the Hindu love god, Kamadeva, is depicted with a bowstring made of honeybees. What's more, the gods Vishnu, Indra and Krishna have been depicted as bees sitting on lotus flowers. These gods are said to be madhava or "nectar born." Honey is also associated with the bliss of nirvana.
Tears & Honey
Egyptian myth correlated honeybees with power. It was believed that bees originated from the tears of the sun god, Ra. When these tears hit the earth, they were transformed into bees, which immediately began to produce honey. That the bees were diligent workers only strengthened this perception that bees symbolized royalty. Honey was additionally used in many religious ceremonies and often was buried alongside the dead.
Mead, which is an alcoholic drink made from fermented honey, plays a large role in many Celtic traditions and was considered to be a drink of immortality in Celtic lore. Thus, bees were protected by law. Bees were also thought to bring good luck.
The Big Bee Theory
In some African cultures, bees play a large part in creation myths. The San people of the Kalahari desert believed that the honeybee carried a mantis across a river and placed it on a flower. Within this mantis, the bee planted the seed that became the first human.—The Buzz