Books referring to the history of the craft
The Feminine Monarchie is an early and remarkable work of English natural history, first published in 1609, and written by a scholarly country parson of wide ranging interests. Like the later Gilbert White of Selborne, a distant relation, Charles Butler had a deep curiosity about the natural world and recorded his discoveries methodically, in keeping with the growing scientific mood of the seventeenth century.
Butler was the author of several books on subjects as diverse as music, grammar, logic, and church law. He was also a noted beekeeper and The Feminine Monarchie is the classic English beekeeping text, earning Butler the title ‘father of English bee-keeping’. The book explores the world of the honey bee with a keen intelligence, and makes implicit reference to Elizabeth I’s long reign as England’s female monarch.
This is the first new edition of The Feminine Monarchie to be published for over three hundred years, and contains a new introduction, as well as annotations and a glossary of the more obscure words used by Butler. The spelling and grammar have been modernised throughout. This edition has been prepared from the 1623 edition, which includes Butler’s famous ‘Bees Madrigal’.
John Owen is vicar of two rural parishes in Hampshire, in the South Downs National Park, thirty miles from Butler’s parish of Wootton St Lawrence in the same country. He keeps bees, poultry and goats and is rural advisor in the Diocese of Portsmouth.
Thomas Bates Blow was from a working class background and leading a life with little direction until he was befriended by a member of a leading British family: with his patronage and much hard work, Thomas laid the foundation of what was to become the largest business in Europe supplying the requirements of beekeepers. This volume charts the history of Welwyn, from its birth through the challenging changes and large expansion in the last two decades of the nineteenth century through to the Company being put into liquidation after more than a century of trading. From zero to zero in three acts, with three leading men, changing scenery and a large supporting cast involving conflict, changed of ownership, fires, World wars, no inflation, high inflation, but mostly about bees, beekeeping and beekeepers and the vagaries that come with that fascinating mix.
Following the Wild Bees is a delightful foray into the pastime of bee hunting, an exhilarating outdoor activity that used to be practiced widely but which few people know about today. Thomas Seeley, a world authority on honey bees, vividly describes the history and science behind this lost pastime and how anyone can do it. Following the Wild Bees is both a unique meditation on the pleasures of the natural world and a guide to the ingenious methods that compose the craft of the bee hunter.
Seeley explains how one finds a patch of flowers humming with honey bees, captures and sumptuously feeds the bees, and then releases and follows them, step-by-step in whatever direction they fly, back to their secret residence in a hollow tree, old building, or abandoned hive. The bee hunter’s reward is a thrilling encounter with nature that challenges mind and body while also giving new insights into the remarkable behavior of honey bees living in the wild.
Drawing on decades of experience as a bee hunter and bee biologist, Seeley weaves informative discussions of the biology of wild honey bees with colorful historical anecdotes, personal insights, and beautiful photos. Whether you’re a bee enthusiast or just curious about the natural world, Following the Wild Bees is the ideal companion for newcomers to bee hunting and a rare treat for armchair naturalists,
This is a tale, punctuated with short myth-like stories, which describes a honey-hunting episode in darkest Africa at the dawn of civilisation. The prose is magnificent, the stories delightful, a book to take you far, far away from the despoiled world in which we live today.
Winner of the 2005 Ashé Journal Book Award.
“After reading this book I felt I had been initiated into the ancient feminine mystery of sacred sexuality” Tori Amos, singer/songwriter.
Bee shamanism may well be the most ancient and enigmatic branch of shamanism. It exists throughout the world – wherever in fact the honeybee exists. Its medicinal tools – such as honey, pollen, propolis, and royal jelly – are now in common usage, and 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 Buxton, an elder of the Path of Pollen, reveals 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 unknowingly took his first steps on the Path of Pollen at age nine, when a neighbour – an Austrian bee shaman – cured him of a near-fatal bour of encephalitis. 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, Buxton learned over the next thirteen 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” once used by medieval witches, as well as ritual initiations with the female members of the tradition – the Melissae – and the application of magico-sexual “nektars” that promote longevity and ecstacy. ‘The Shamanic Way of the Bee’ is a unique view into the secret wisdom of this age-old tradition.
Simon Buxton is a beekeeper, the British faculty for Dr. Michael Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies, and the founder / director of The Sacred Trust, a UK-based educational organisation dedicated to the teaching of practical shamanism for the modern world. He lives in England and teaches internationally.
This is a story of a journey that includes joy, disappointment, experimentation, discovery, destruction, devastation, and satisfaction, played out to a backdrop of religious differences and intolerances, political upheaval, plague, pestilence, civil war and regicide: but mostly it is about 17th century beekeeping. In this volume, for the very first time the author details the methods used by one English beekeeper as recorded in his manuscript of 1644 – 1658. The bee-hive he devised and management techniques he employed are described, analysed and compared with those previously considered to have been at the forefront of the craft at that time. Also, the author is able to confidently reveal the identity of the hitherto unknown Northumberland beekeeper.
‘In this year of commemoration of the First World War this book gives us a timely insight into how great events affect people in all walks of life and I commend it to you. It will by turn sadden and amuse you, inform and even irritate you but for us as beekeepers, to read about our craft is to understand it better.’ (Nottingham Beekeepers Newsletter Sep 2014)
This influential guide by the Reverend L. L. Langstroth, ‘the father of modern beekeeping.” revolutionised the practice of beekeeping. Originally published in 1853, his work constitutes the first descriptive treatise of modern bee management – its innovations allowed people to engage in actual beekeeping, rather than simply handling bee domiciles and extracting the honey. This book explains and illustrates techniques still employed 150 years later – including the author’s patented invention, a movable frame hive that quickly spread into common use around the world [..] This version of Langstroth’s ever-popular manual is the fourth and final edition; it incorporates the author’s own revisions and remains an unsurpassed resource for beekeepers.A facsimile (2014) of the 3rd edition – originally published in 1860 under the title of A Practical Treatise on the Hive and the Honey Bee.