Meditation: At the Bottom of the Faerie Pool

The past couple of days I’ve been struggling with a quick, sharp stomach bug. It’s nearly gone now, but it was rough: I lost ten pounds in less than a week. Yesterday evening, I was over the worst of it, and soaking in the tub; and I slipped into the following dream/meditation:

The Pool

ire15I was walking through tall grass in warm sunlight — golden grass, waist-height. Suddenly I came upon a pond that had been hidden by the grass, perhaps a dozen yards across; it was deep and green and somehow radiated coolness. On the other side of the pool was a forest, also deep and green, and I caught glimpses of fairies darting here and there among the trees.

It came to me that I should dive into the pool, and I did. It was dark, murky, and cold, but I had no trouble breathing, and the primary impression I had was womblike: that I was returning to a source, an origin. The water was thick and syrupy, surrounding me, holding me…

At the bottom of the pool was a hole. It was hard to see how big it was — certainly big enough for a person to fall into, and certainly big enough that the entire pool should have been long since drained away; but it seemed instead that water was flowing out of the hole. I swam as close as I dared and looked in.

It was full of stars. Here was a window on the universe: the swirls of galaxies, the hard sharp stars of vacuum, and the drifting nebulae, all visible in the hole at the bottom of the pool. It was cold and beautiful, and took my breath away.

But that wasn’t all that was at the bottom of the pool. There was also — I kid you not — an ape.

The Ape

The ape — perhaps a chimpanzee? — was drifting in the current at the edge of the hole. It had large yellow eyes, and smiled very gently. It beckoned me closer, and indicated to me through gestures that it had something it wanted to give me. I nodded as gratefully as I could, and it reached one of its long arms into the hole and pulled something out.

I couldn’t see what it was at first, even though he held it out to me cupped in his hands. It glittered and shimmered in the dim light from the stars and galaxies below. I had to focus on it for several seconds before it resolved into a sculpture of glass, jewels, and filigree; its primary colors were yellow and black, but there were also parts that were clear crystal. I still couldn’t make out its shape. Then it twitched, as if it were alive, and I saw it raise filmy wings; and suddenly it was flying out of the ape’s hands toward me — and I could see what it was: a fantastic living sculpture of a honey bee, about the size of a robin.

The bee came and landed on my shoulder, quite comfortably, as if it intended to stay. I didn’t feel threatened or worried by the bee, but I was so suprised that it shocked me out of the meditation before I could try to ask the ape what it was for, or explore my feelings about it.

Interpretation

I immediately was able to relate the ape at the bottom of the pool to the “monkey-fish” image in my wife’s Tarot storyboard reading last month. To me, the ape felt like some kind of guardian — the guardian of the hole, the source — but also like a sort of precursor, a first draft, an older version, of ourselves. He stands closer to the origin than we do.

And the bee is a solar symbol, isn’t it? Certainly the colors put me in mind of the sun-symbol I recently put on this site to honor Apollo. But why a bee? And why is it a sculpture of a bee, a simulacrum, rather than a real bee? Why is it so big? And what is it for?…

I’m at a loss. Does anyone have any ideas?

Comments

  1. Jeff,

    Ideas: I see the Ape as you interpreted — a precursor to humanity, an earlier biological form (very 2001: A Space Odyssey).

    The Bee (comes up for me as a personal symbol, constantly) — I interpret the Bee as godsparks, individual human expressions of spiritual consciousness — God is the Honey, we are the bees. The Bee machina — technology. Adam’s task.

    Bee 2.0 — the first version was God’s/Nature; now the Bee/the Ape is creating lifeforms. Consider the term “lifeform” very openly, and include artificial intelligence, as well as bio-tech.

  2. Jeff,

    It must ‘bee’ one of those weeks for our community – my latest post also came to me while seeking sanctuary in the watery warmth of the tub 🙂

    Man – I wish I had the imagination you have – those visualisations are so vibrant and colourful – thanks for sharing.

    The bee in heraldic terms represents efficient industry, and to this day the bee is often used as a shorthand emblem of Manchester in the UK (my home town) and can be see on many street bollards around the city centre.

    Bees feed on nectar and gather pollen to feed their young – are YOU the bee gathering knowledgs from the source and ‘feeding’ it to your audience? Bees are also social creatures – which fits in well with the blogging community.

    Bees fly which brings to mind Air – Air in the tarot relates to Spirit. Bees also work on behalf of the Queen – the Queen to me always signifies the Goddess – another link to the Bee being YOU in service to the Goddess which fits nicely with your Druidry and ‘Brigid’.

    She was, and continues to be, known by many names. Referred to as Bride, Bridey, Brighid, Brigit, Briggidda, Brigantia and As a solar deity Her attributes are light, inspiration and all skills associated with fire. Although She might not be identified with the physical Sun, She is certainly the benefactress of inner healing and vital energy.

    Was your last post entitled ‘Thanks MR Sun’, maybe this is your recognition and confirmation – a gift from Brigid – but with a little hint as to HER gender!

    I’ll leave you with this:-

    I am She
    that is the natural
    mother of all things,
    mistress and governess
    of all the elements,
    the initial progeny of worlds,
    chief of the powers divine,
    Queen of all that are in the otherworld,
    the principal of them
    that dwell above,
    manifested alone
    and under one form
    of all the Gods and Goddesses.

    – Lucius Apuleius

    So was your Bee YOU acting as a Messenger to your Community, or was the Bee a Messenger from one of your deities to YOU?

    Love, Light, Peace and Understanding,

    Damian

  3. Jeff Lilly says:

    Slade, — You’ve definitely hit close to the mark; something inside me resonates strongly with what you’re saying. The bee is a wonderful symbol for what you’re describing, since it is at once an individual thing and part of a greater multitude/whole. It also gives a sense of fragility, as well as danger (from the sting). For me, too, they’re also directly associated with language (and thus Adam’s Task), because it was in linguistics courses that I learned about the honey bee’s dance, a language used by bee scouts to communicate the location of pollen to the hive.

  4. Jeff Lilly says:

    Damian, I think you’re on the right track, as well! While I’ve established a strong connection with solar energy through the masculine Apollo / Lugh, it’s important for me to remember that the energy’s manifestation can be female, as well.

    The “bee as efficient worker” is also a good reminder — particularly in the way the bee works. It doesn’t go out and get everything the hive needs all by itself. Instead, each bee brings back a tiny amount, but there are hundreds of bees… it recalls the kind of financial models frequently found on the internet, doesn’t it?

    I also suspect there’s a correspondence between the Ape and computer technology. Computers have a much simpler, more constrained version of our own intelligence, and in that sense are both precursors of and children of ourselves…

    Amazing how much meaning can be packed into such a simple image!

  5. When I read about the bee I was immediately struck because of the trouble honey bees are having right now.

    It also seems important (from my perspective) that the honey bee’s hive mind reflects that of the fey. The ape is saying, “I am where you come from.” The bee is saying, “I am where you are going.” There is a lot to be said about the idea that Faerie is our sister race. They exist on the causal plane while we on the “effective,” so to speak. Perhaps this is, in part, a signal that their way of thinking is beginning to manifest in us.

    Okay, that was a little off the deep end, but I hope you get my point! In any case, the bee acted “as if it intended to stay.” That means she is probably still there, sitting on your shoulder, and can go back into meditation and ask her yourself.

    Peace,
    Jonah

  6. This is an interesting puzzle…

    The bee… Einstein once said that if all of the bees died, humanity would only exist for another four years. I’m not sure how accurate the four year part of that prediction is, but for a man who wrestled with the fabric of time and space as thoroughly as he did to turn around and put such great importance on such a small and feared creature seems significant.

    The idea which comes to my mind is that of self-sufficient, carbon neutral machines that tend our crops, produce our goods, and free us from life sustaining work so that we can work on more creative pursuits.

    So, what is the bee machina?

  7. I just realized I forgot to put in the links I had intended about the bees, so here are the addresses:

    http://gospelpagan.wordpress.com/2007/02/12/praying-for-honeybees/
    http://www.grist.org/news/daily/2007/04/17/1/

  8. sweetpea says:

    just a thought really – perhaps the bee is a representation of/a message to you of apollo’s bright blessings. I think I see it this way because of the bee’s association with the warmth of the sun (you can freeze a bee and bring it back to life with sunlight – apollo has surely blessed the bee), the dance of infinity (the never ending cycle of the seasons – especially prolific now due to the current changing of the season), and the plain ol fact that the bee is a messenger of the gods in general. The statue aspect of it reminds me very much of pinnochio – wooden puppet into a boy/wooden hopes into beautiful blessings kind of thing. The fact that you were so astonished leads me to think you didn’t expect such a quick answer/sign/acknowledgement, or one at all. Anyway, I’d ramble on but… yeah. As I said, just a thought.

  9. Jeff Lilly says:

    Jonah, thanks for reminding us of the problems honey bees are facing now. The prayer you link to at Gospel Pagan is especially moving. I also thought the comments of one reader at your Grist link were interesting, i.e., that we (the West) have already pushed aside many other pollinators and replaced them with the honey bee, and now our penchant for monocultures is coming back to haunt us.

    Emerson said that “Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact.” The upheaval now being experienced in nature is, I’m certain, a reflection of a spiritual upheaval. It seems like we’re undergoing two upheavals almost at once, in opposite directions — one, which you mention, is pro-spiritual, and pro-nature, and pro-community; and one which is anti-spiritual, and leads to a devaluation of the Earth on an unprecedented scale, and thus to the plight of the honey bee.

    My impression from further meditation work with the bee is that all the symbolism people have mentioned here is on the right track, particularly the sense of the bee as an industrious worker that is part of a larger whole and representative of creative solar energy. If you think of the way Creation works on a day-to-day basis: things don’t come into being by fiat. (The phrase “by fiat” is a reference to the first statment of God in the Latin Bible: “Fiat lux“: Let there be light.) Regardless of the opinion of Genesis, new things don’t just appear out of nowhere. Instead, they’re created by a multitude of tiny actions, each independent and alone insignificant, but together moving mountains.

    And the buzzing noise. The buzzing noise is very important.

  10. Jeff Lilly says:

    Adam — absolutely, I think you’ve hit the nub of it. As for why the bee is artificial, I think it’s reflecting what Slade mentioned — the artificial “life” we’re now at the edge of creating.

    Put it another way: the Bee is this blog. It’s just one of a multitude of blogs and web sites, each doing its own little thing, making its own little connections for its own personal ends, perhaps finding honey (and perhaps not 🙂 ), — together creating, almost incidentally, the Internet, emergent order, our species’ very own Hive mind.

  11. Jeff Lilly says:

    Sweetpea, thanks for dropping by! I totally agree with you — completely apart from all the other meanings we’re discussing here, I think the appearance of the bee is a sign from the Sun that I’m on the right track with my efforts to channel more solar energy.

  12. Here’s some thoughts for what they’re worth. Yellow and black are clearly significant to you right now since the ape, the bee and your solar symbol all reflect those colors. In Native traditions yellow is the color of the east – sun, illumination, enlightenment, spring (or in some tribes, summer), spirit, vision etc. It’s active, masculine.

    Black is the color the west, and in the west live introspection, intuition, winter, mystery – think cave or womb. It’s about quiet, going-within, it’s feminine.

    So I think you’re looking at the interplay between internal and external, this must be quite significant for you now. You may be finding new ways to tap into the quiet depths of your intuition and bring these insights out into the light and do something active with them.

    In terms of the bee, my first thought is about the honey-bee’s function as a pollinator. This fits with the first point, as well. Are you moving out into the world and planting seeds or catalyzing change for yourself or others? You are through blogging, I would say. Maybe you are doing so in other ways – or maybe you are being called upon to do so even more actively. A honey-bee also reflects a kind of constant activity or effort.

    It’s interesting, too, that the bee is made of crystals – it’s a sculpture come to life. Crystals – like all minerals – also belong to the West. So this echoes, again, the idea of your West energy taking on the spark of life. (West is associate with earth, the east with fire.) The West is also associated with stability and east with movement.

    So it’s as if you’ve had a period of laying a foundation of strength and inner understanding and perhaps a material foundation as well (job, family). No you are able to begin to move out into the world in a different, more energetic way. And, given you’re seeing a bee and not a beaver, it seems you’re way of being active in the world is being a catalyst or spreading ideas rather than being the person who over a long-term builds a house, metaphorically speaking.

    Hope that helps!

  13. Jeff I love reading your meditations, they are so beautiful. And it is such a pleasure to read through everyone’s take on the matter… I don’t feel the need to add anything more to your understanding of it all as I think it’s all already been said.
    One thought – how do bees perceive themselves? Do they sense themselves as separate entities? Or do they have a group consciousness?

  14. If this were my dream, I would immediately recognize it as a shamanic journey. I would see the pool as the deep water of the spiritual, with the hole going to the unknown source. The ape, a power animal of knowledge, offers up a gift from the source, shown by the crystalline form of the bee. Connecting deeply with source we do not get the overt physical forms to which we are accustomed, but the crystalline blueprint which creates those physical forms. This Crystalline Creator Bee, solar powered magical being, brings the sweetness of life to stay with me.

    That is if it were my dream. It is, however, yours, and yours to know for yourself.

  15. Jeff Lilly says:

    Walks the Edge, thanks so much for taking the time to give me so much analysis! It has taken me a while to think about it and absorb it.

    It’s fascinating to hear about the Native American symbolism here. I’ve always felt a deep love of the Native American traditions, as I’ve talked about here. You say:

    You may be finding new ways to tap into the quiet depths of your intuition and bring these insights out into the light and do something active with them.

    This has been something in my mind recently — building a sense of trust in my own intuitions. For most people, I think, and certainly for myself up until recently, trusting your intuition is stigmatized. Reason and science are held up as the gold standards; and intuition is fine as long as it can be explained away as something that comes from the “subconscious”, that little nigh-omniscient black box in our brains. But if you have an intuition about something the subconscious couldn’t know about — say, a future event, or the private details of someone else’s life — then the intuition is labeled as delusion, and you’d better get your head examined. 🙂

    I also find it very interesting to hear about the emphasis on the West. For the past dozen years or so I have been subject to a very deep, very powerful longing for the American West. You can see some of that coming through in the Purpose of the Universe post, I think. At times the longing is so strong it distracts me from everything else… but usually I manage to put it aside and get on with life. I still have not figured out where it comes from. It would b wonderful if I’m finally getting closer to finding the root of this longing.

    I recently did another meditation, and as soon as I dropped into the self-hypnotic state, the bee was there waiting for me. Before I knew what was happening, I found myself riding the bee — I’m not sure if I got small or the bee got big, but either way, it was incredible — it could go at amazing speeds, flitting from place to place like thought itself, and I could direct its flight. This puts me in mind of the other thing you said:

    Now you are able to begin to move out into the world in a different, more energetic way.

  16. Jeff Lilly says:

    Lexi, that’s a fascinating viewpoint! Would the “crystalline blueprint” be something like Plato’s ideal forms?

    As for whether it’s shamanic — I know a lot less about shamanic journeys than I’d like to, so if you say it’s shamanic, I’ll take your word for it. 🙂

  17. Jeff,
    This is an absolutely phenomenal exercise — I’m floored by the responses here. I can’t think of anything quite so interactive/collaborative as this type of shared reading interpretation.

    I saw a smidge of something similar when I posted a message from my guides regarding my questions about war. The response was enigmatic, and my interpretation would only have been a sliver of what everyone gathered.

    What is so AMAZING is how everyone can read YOUR reading and bring their own pollen, nectar, from all these various flowers. Every one of us hunts and gathers and brings a unique piece — and they’re all “right,” but alone there is no honey quite like the synergy of these comments.

    Jeff, you and I have spoke about Beekeeping in a literal way, and in the context of that conversation, it was in the future, and we were together in a hive… Yet here we are, my friend, already honeycombing the web.

    I am chuckling that we stand right in the middle of this phenomenon and wonder about its actually happening somewhere else…

  18. Jeff, you are welcome. I echo all that’s been said about the quality and liveliness of the discussion, and the synergy of bringing all these different views together. This is definitely the coolest “chat” I’ve had with anyone in ages, virtual or otherwise. Plus, since we each happened upon your post at this time, we can see it synchronistically as a message for each of us as well. I’m going to go reflect on my own “inner bee” – thanks for sharing the honey!

  19. Being able to follow your thoughts like you can is a gift that should be applauded. I’m not sure what it means. Fraud always had a good technique of asking questions until his patients came up with what it meant to them.

    Maybe you can ask yourself:
    1. Am I stumbling upon a new perspective from all my personal development?
    2. Why am I on this fantastic journey?
    3. Do I have a fear of bees?
    4. Am I afraid that nature is mad at humans?
    5. Or does nature love humans even though they have self-destructive tendencies?

    By continuing the flushing out process you’ll learn more about what the dream/meditation meant to you. I personally feel like your body was speaking to you and giving you a better view of the beauty that surrounds you life. Keep cultivating your ability to follow your thoughts.

  20. A few book suggestions:

    In the past year I’ve read two incredibly diverse novels that touch on the spirituality of bees.

    For anyone interested in exploring the concept of the Hive Mind (as Kara-Leah mentioned, the bees “awareness of themselves”) read A.S. Byatt’s Angels and Insects.

    I also devoured The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

  21. Jeff Lilly says:

    Karl, thanks! I tend to be pretty good at asking myself questions, but like all of us, I definitely have blind spots — questions it never occurs to me to ask. Thanks for offering me these! I have answers to some of them — I am not afraid of bees at all (they almost never sting me), and I don’t think nature is mad per se — I think Nature is way beyond ever getting angry. But the others are things I’ll definitely be mulling over!

  22. Jeff Lilly says:

    Slade, thanks for the recommendations! As you obliquely hinted at in the earlier comment, we have been planning on becoming beekeepers for several years now (although we have a few prerequisites to acquire first, such as a house and a yard). I’ll be heading to the library to pick up these books and start our training!

  23. Hi Jeff,

    This discussion sparked a (only slightly related) train of thought that led to these two posts on my blog. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Antonym #3: Mutual Exclusivity
    The Unification of Opposites

    And since Slade brought up books regarding bees… that second post on my blog links to The Fifth Sacred Thing, which has a very interesting union between bees and humans going on with one of the main characters.

    Much love,
    Jonah

  24. Hi Jeff: My thought on your bee is, Bees do the impossible by being true to their nature. Aeronautical engineers tell us bees can not/should not be able to fly. Good thing bees don’t have engineering degrees.

    Here is my brief synposis of your meditation. Take it for what it is worth. You went down into a womb like setting (back to where you came from, universal source no less!) met our “ancestor” the ape, again back to origins, and were given a beautiful gift that does the impossible without a second thought. In my house we call it the metaphysical 2 x 4. What aren’t you doing because you think it is impossible right now? My guess is tap into universal source energy from a new angle. Try a totally different way to connect to source, one that would be the LAST thing you ever thought you would do! I am shown you diving into the pool from many different angles to see the power in your true nature.
    Have a lovely day!

  25. Cathy,

    Thanks for your insight! I think you are on to something here — this isn’t the only indication I’ve had that success may come from an unexpected source, or an unconventional direction. It turns out that science has made some progress on figuring out how bees fly, but that doesn’t change the essential point: they fly in a very unconventional manner! Your vision is inspiring: I’ll be going back into that pool and diving back in from different directions, as you suggest. Thank you!!

  26. Wow, it’s fascinating to see the interpretations and parallels to real life.

  27. celestial elf says:

    Amazing dream, interpretation rely on subconscious archetypes that humanity should reconnect with sacred nature would be my suggestion 😀
    thought you might enjoy my machinima film the bee myth
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsVL22dIdKw
    blessed bee!
    elf ~

Trackbacks

  1. […] Recent comments on his post Meditation: At the Bottom of the Faerie Pool are as enjoyable to read as the post itself. And they are also evidence of Jeff’s ability to pull together a diverse community of bloggers to explore the archetypes and imagery of the world we live in. […]

  2. […] I realize this is exTREMEly self-indulgent — but you know what? I love Jeff Lilly’s narrative meditations, and many of you have written me excited about Vera Nadine’s transparent accounts of her mediumship. Wait for me! The best I have to offer the campfire are my own “One Time…” tales. […]

  3. […] I realize this is exTREMEly self-indulgent — but you know what? I love Jeff Lilly’s narrative meditations, and many of you have written me excited about Vera Nadine’s transparent accounts of her mediumship. Wait for me! The best I have to offer the campfire are my own “One Time…” tales. […]

  4. […] in April, I did a meditation in which an animated crystalline honey bee made a prominent appearance. When I learned more about […]

  5. […] The first thought I had when reading this was that I knew I’d seen that light-table before, and I knew what it corresponded to in my own meditation experiences. It was the pool of water I’d seen in the center of the floor of Apollo’s temple, and assumed was just decorative. My sense of its function is that it can show broad overviews of information, or things that are distant in space or time, or generally serve as a direct link to Source chaos energy. I have a feeling that the bottom of it is filled with stars, like the Faerie Pool. […]

  6. […] for thought. It’s not lost on me that Jeff Lilly had a vision he wrote about that involved a mechanical bee. What do I think this bee […]

  7. […] for thought. It’s not lost on me that Jeff Lilly had a vision he wrote about that involved a mechanical bee. What do I think this bee […]

  8. […] landscape and Source (or perhaps primal chaos). I’m going to quote an earlier article of mine, Meditation: at the Bottom of the Faerie Pool, where I describe it more fully: It came to me that I should dive into the pool, and I did. It was […]

  9. […] wonder if there is there a connection to the ape in the Faerie Pool dream? There the ape is both precursor and, in a sense, child of humanity: simplified in some […]

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