Secrets of Women and Bees

By Jackie Rushton

There are great, indefinable gifts exchanged when women teach women and help them to remember.

There is a bonding that occurs when women work together in a bee yard that I believe only women understand.

Some sort of alchemy takes place during this gathering of women, whose focus is the tending to, and nurturing of, a species that tends to, and nurtures others, all for the betterment of the community.

Community, the sharing and caring, the sisterhood and the connection…


As women we share and understand the subtleties of movement and language that are unique to the feminine. For women, the language of tending to bees takes on a different tone. We speak of them as our little sisters, and we tend to them with our gifts of intuition, observation, with understanding that is realized from tending to our children, families and communities. We work with the bees having them tell us what they need and what they want. That is our approach, listening and co-creating, not just what we know, but that we have heard from the hive. A honeybee's sole purpose in life is to serve her community; women understand this purpose and have intimate knowledge of the individual sacrifices made for the betterment of the whole. It is in the bee yard of a woman that knowledge and knowing intersect and merge.

If you happen to have the rare opportunity to observe my community of women working together in the bee yard, at first view you might say there are no differences. They have their smokers going; hive tools in their hands, hats and veils are donned.

Then, with closer observation, you will see the hats have been gussied up with a decoration or two, the veils are thinner, the hive tools bear engravings, the smoke smells sweeter—distinct with herbal aromas, and the clothing is lighter, more suited to the movement of women.

As you watch, the women move though the hives—flowing and graceful, whispering endearments, humming to soothe.

You notice that the ages of the women range into the 70s, that the women work together sharing the heavy physical labor, synchronized in their movements, and savoring each moment. And if you are lucky and the day is right you might be blessed with spontaneous song and laughter as the women tend to their Little Sisters.


I believe the Little Sisters have called to us to help them. It is my dream that within the bee yards of women many answers will be found that will help to heal and nourish our Little Sisters.

Few women will aspire to become commercial beekeepers; the equipment and strength needed to work hundreds of hives has no appeal for most of us. However, there appears to be a growing number of women expressing interest in bees; curious about re-membering, re-claiming, re-building this ancient feminine art and to experience the joy and comfort of knowing, naming and tending a hive.

I made a commitment to the Little Sisters that I would share the Beauty of the Bees, the Holiness of the Hive and the Sweetness of the Sisterhood. My wish is to inspire women to set the candles, lotions, soaps, and packaging aside for a minute and claim a hive of their own to nurture and know, to love and to work.

Tend to your Little Sisters. Find other women with whom to share the secrets of the hive. Expand this community of women, of sisters. Seek out other women beekeepers. There is magic to be made and sweetness to be shared.

And here is the final secret of women and bees....that no matter what size or shape you make to contain us, our spirit shall stay wild, adjusting not conforming, flexible and flowing, and in the end finding a way though community and sisterhood to survive.

  • email