Living Wisdom presents joyful performance, workshops and ritual that connects people, communities and the natural world by sharing dance and cultural traditions from the Balkans and Asia Minor.
Current programs: BEE LOVE and We Are the Water
Interested in performing with Living Wisdom or helping behind the scenes? Learn more here.
Creative celebrations of our interconnection with bees
BEE LOVE artists are meaning-makers, working along side gardeners, scientists, and community groups to create a new culture in which we celebrate our relationship with pollinators.
Here’s what it looks like to change our relationship to bees
Bees are scary! Bees & all pollinators are essential to our lives
But they sting! Bees are actually the ones facing much bigger threats
Bees are mean! Bees can teach us about cooperation
When we change the sense of importance of bees to our lives, we start to make different choices. This change in relationship to bees happens through learning many fascinating bee facts (which we love!) and just as importantly through engaging the heart.
The role of culture is to make meaning of our relationships with each other. BEE LOVE’s mission is to create public art that engages the community in creating a culture that honors the significance of pollinators in our lives.
There is a Bulgarian tradition for blessing bees that inspired our project. In the springtime a group of girls called Lazarki visit each of the houses in their village and sing and dance.
The Lazarki songs are thought to bring fertility and blessing. They would sing particular songs for the family, barns, fields and woodlands according to each household. In historical accounts of this tradition (See Elizabeth Wayland Barber’s The Dancing Goddesses), if the mistress of the house kept bees, the girls would do a special dance to encourage the bees to stay in the hive and make lots of honey.
Why the special fuss over bees? In the old villages, honey from bees was an essential part of people’s lives. They had very limited access to other forms of sweeteners. Honey also has important anti-microbial properties and continues to be an important part of herbal medicine.
If you are curious about more aspects of this tradition check out this brief introduction to the Lazarki on YouTube.
Wisdom From This Tradition For Today
There is some wisdom in the Lazarki tradition that has sustained it for so many generations. For us there are two key lessons:
We are stronger together.
The power of the Lazarki comes in large part from their connection to each other and the whole of life. They emphasized their trans-personal connection by wearing a matching ritual costume. The sun-like and tree-of-life motifs and flowers also all emphasize our connection with the broader circle of life.
Singing and dancing together are powerful ways to activate a sense of being part of a bigger whole. Scientists are beginning to measure how we really do feel stronger, happier, even have higher pain thresholds, when we sing and dance together.
We can lift each other up, including the bees.
We can share the strength that comes from dancing and singing with others. Our interconnectedness is the source of our power and in the end it is also the focus of our blessing. Remembering the significance of bees in our lives, honoring them, and taking compassionate action for them strengthens the whole web of life.
Join BEE LOVE in celebrating our relationship with bees by writing love notes and dancing for the bees at our next event.
To bring BEE LOVE to your event contact Emily Jarrett Hughes, lead Artist-Healer, at emily _ @ _ wisdomdances.com.