Sunday, May 25, 2008


In researching "wild woman" as the latest art entry for "The 12" (my Women's Archetype collage art group) I found out more about my own name!!!I always nknew my name meant honeybee in Greek and was the begininng of the latin name for Bee balm, but that was all.

From The Blue Roebuck:"Bees are prevalent in the myths of many cultures worldwide. As pollinators they are essential to all life, and seen spiritually as faithful servants of the Goddess, and exemplified in individual colonies by dedication to their queen. They are virtually icons of androgyny, and along with their delicious, healing, and preserving honey are symbolic of eroticism and sensuality, love, death, and lastly, immortality.

At the temple of Aphrodite, priestesses were called "Melissae", which means "bees," and Aphrodite herself was called Melissa, the queen bee. At the Ephesian temple of Artemis, the melissae were accompanied by transgendered priests called "Essenes", which means drones.

Scientifically, bees are classified as members of the hymenopteran order, meaning "veil-winged," recalling the hymen or veil that covered the inner shrine of the Goddess's temple, and the high priestess who bore the title of Hymen, presiding over marriage rituals and the Honey Moon."

And then from the Greek Myth Index:

That is, the soother or propitiator (from melissô or meilissô), occurs,

1. As the name of a nymph who discovered and taught the use of honey, and from whom bees were believed to have received their name, melissai (Schol. ad Pind. Pyth. iv. 104.) Bees seem to have been the symbol of nymphs, whence they themselves are sometimes called Melissae, and are sometimes said to have been metamorphosed into bees. (Schol. ad Pind. 1. c. ; Hesych. s. v. Orodemniades; Columell. ix. 2; Schol. (ad Theocrit. iii. 13.) Hence also nymphs in the form of bees are said to have guided the colonists that went to Ephesus (Philostr. Icon. ii. 8) ; and the nymphs who nursed the infant Zeus are called Melissae, or Meliae. (Anton. Lib. 19; Callim. Hymn. in Jov. 47; Apollod. i. 1. § 3.)

2. From the nymphs the name Melissae was transferred to priestesses in general, but more especially to those of Demeter (Schol. ad Pind. l.c.; Callim. Hymn. in Apoll. 110; Hesych. s. v. Melissai), Persephone (Schol. ad Theocrit. xv. 94), and to the priestess of the Delphian Apollo. (Pind. Pyth. iv. 106; Schol. ad Eurip. Hippol. 72.) According to the scholiasts of Pindar and Euripides, priestesses received the name Melissae from the purity of the bee. Comp. a story about the origin of bees in Serv. ad Aen. i. 434.

3. Melissa is also a surname of Artemis as the goddess of the moon, in which capacity she alleviates the suffering of women in childbed. (Porphyr. De Antr. Nymp,. p. 261.)

4. A daughter of Epidamnus, became by Poseidon the mother of Dyrrhachius, from whom the town of Dyrrhachium derived its name. (Steph. Byz. s. v. Durhrhachion."

So, the soother??? I have been that for that for more than one friend. And I have always had quite an affinity for honeybees. I have wanted to tend bees for a ong time but never owning my own property long enough to warrant keeping hives.... well it just hasn't happened. My brother Joe has tended bees for a bee keeper friend when he went out of town. He said it was very relaxing, almost zenlike work. My mother named me. My father wanted a different name but she won I guess. I am glad. I have always loved my name.

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