The Mayan’s were Bee Keepers

Mayan history originates in the Yucatan around 2600 B.C. where the Mayan culture grew to bee quite advanced. Along with all their skills in astronomy, architecture, cylindrical systems, and hieroglyphic writing they were also farmers and yes even Bee Keepers. They thought of their bees as pets and as part of nature. Bees were treated as gods with all the powers of Mother Earth. The word for bees is “CAB” which means land, bee-hive, or bee honey. The Mayan deity, Muzen Cab, was The Great Guardian of Honey or the great Lord of Bees. There was also a Bee God, Mok Chi, who could transformed into Bees. The Mayan apiculture is very spiritual and complex and was strongly related to the days of the calendar, as explained in the Madrid Codex.

The beehives in Mayan culture were positioned towards the four cardinal points that hold the universe. Each cardinal point or “Bacab” had its importance. For example the eastern Bacab was in the direction they believed was where honey was produced. The Mayan apiculturists were experts in bee husbandry and collected honey from many of the 500 species of stingless bees. They favored the Melipona Beechei Bonnet, a bee they knew as Xunan Kab. translated as Royal Lady.

The Royal Lady is a stingless bee, whose honey is known for its high nutritional and medicinal values. This honey was used as a sweetener, an antibiotic, and to make the fermented honey drink called ‘balche’ an alcoholic drink used in ritual practices. Today their descendants keep their stingless bees in hollow logs just as their ancestors did before them.

According to ancient Mayan myths, the first inhabitants; called Zayawinicoub, ate up all the royal honey they were harvesting. To avoid facing death as punishment from their gods, Hobin (god of the beehive) turned them into stingless bees so they could restock the honey.
So, you see beekeeping has a long history in many cultures across the world and throughout time. Many people today think of bees as a small group of honey producers that came from Europe. The scientists of today seem to only be concerned with these few bees. I think these are the same scientists, who in the 70’s, said they could prove that a bumble can’t fly. Talk about reveling in one’s ignorance…WOW!!

White Man’s Flies, Mayans, and Beekeeping: Part one

Honey Kissed Skincare uses Raw Honey in all of our products. Raw Honey is the key ingredient, well one of them anyway. So you might be wondering, where does honey come from? A better question might bee where does the honey bee come from?

First, let’s talk about the BEE; there are about 20,000 species of bees in the world. The bee has been around for some 130 million years when Pangaea was breaking up into the land masses we know today. Now, some historian’s claim that the European honey bee was brought to the new world and that was how the native people got a taste of honey and the new crops could be pollinated.
 
Now isn’t that sweet!?

Umm…there is something missing here.

Let’s not forget that much of the food that we eat came from the Americas. Tomato in your spaghetti sauce, they were imported to Italy. The Irish love of the potato which was also imported. There is also corn, pineapple, sweet potato, pumpkin, squashes, green beans, lima beans, pinto beans (most beans we know), bell pepper, avocado, Brazil nuts, cashews, hickory nuts, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, and the cocoa bean. These and many more all came from the new world. Take a look at: http://topics.info.com/_2531 for more on foods of the new world.

As you can see, a large percentage of the food crops we enjoy today came from the America’s and were first farmed, not by savages, head hunters, or soulless heathens, but by a spiritual native population. With much history dating back thousands of years. It is clear to see that their crops were pollinated by bee’s whose history goes back millions of years. So by that logic Columbus did not discover America, nor did the native peoples. The Bees did!

For me beeing part Cherokee and Apache, I don’t always believe what is in the history books.

When the settlers first arrived, it was the native people who showed them how to grow crops and to survive. How can I say this you might ask? In a word….Thanksgiving! Native American’s raised crops and they enjoyed honey when they found a wild hive. There were wild bees, some 2,000 different species and yes, some of these bees stored extra honey in combs. It was all part of nature’s plan. I think the biggest difference between European honey culture and the new world was that the native people lived as part of nature and did not try to profit from nature.

The Native American’s referred to the European honey bee, as WHITE MANS FLIES and I wonder if it is not because this was their first experience with bees, but perhaps it was their first experience with beekeepers.

Let me share with you a Cherokee story about how the bees got their stingers.
Please Take a moment and try the link below:
http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/HowTheHoneyBeeGotTheirStinger-Cherokee.html

Next Post: Part II with Mayan Beekeeping!