Ariella Daly answers the question:

What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?


I've been lucky in my life to have a lot of wonderful non-family members gift very incredible things to me, but the one that stands out is the relationship to the bees, of course. Way back in 2008, a dear friend of mine gave me a book called The Shamanic Way of the Bee, by Simon Buxton. It's about an old European shamanic tradition, known today as the Path of Pollen or sometimes called the Lyceum.

And I devoured this book. I had one of those Neverending Story moments where that kid is at the end of the book, and he's reading it, and he sees that he's in the book, and he throws it across the room. I had one of those. The book was so personal and so profound and spoke to me on such a deep level that there was a point where I actually picked it up, chucked it across the room, ran out of the house, and went on a hike, because I couldn't handle it. It was just hitting too close to home. I felt like I was reading about myself in a way. I think in some ways I was. I think something was resonating. Something was being remembered. As it's true for so many of us as we find threads in our heritage, and ancestry, and relationship to the land.

So at that point I wasn't a beekeeper. I was very interested in folklore and I was very interested in finding out more about this book and these teachings. So I hunted down a little bit more about Simon Buxton and found that he had a school called The Sacred Trust, in England and that there was a program called The Way of the Melissae. Melissae means honey bee or bee priestess. And that program was taught by his wife Naomi Lewis, my current teacher, and a woman named Sheila, who's an incredible dance teacher of five rhythms.

I wanted to sign up right away, but I didn't have the money, I didn't have a way to do it. And so I gave it up to Spirit and said, "Look, spirit, we've negotiated before, I want to go here, find a way, send me, I'll follow the threads." And then I let it go. And a year went by, and the following February I got a phone call. See I passed this book on to one person, to this incredible woman named Cheyenna Bone, who's a dear friend of mine living in Colorado, and she was a mead-maker and she makes honey wine, which is so delicious — honey wine mixed with strawberries or elderberries or blackberries. I thought maybe because she makes honey wine, she'd like this book. Turns out she devoured it as well. And when I picked up the phone that day in February, it was both her and her husband, her husband is a well-known bluegrass musician in a pretty fantastic band and… a very fantastic band...

And he had the means to send her to England to do this training, but she had never traveled outside of the country alone. Whereas I had been a tour guide actually in a different life, throughout Europe and I knew my way around Europe really well. So they asked would I be willing to be a traveling companion — an exchange gift really — to do the program and to be flown to Europe and also visit sacred sites in England and France. And I burst out laughing, which was probably the most rude thing to do. But I was so overcome that I was laugh-crying and I dropped the phone... like, “Hello, are you there?”... I couldn't take it because it was so synchronistic and so beyond anything I thought I could accept in myself. But I had to say yes, because that's what was bubbling out of me.

I was laughing so hard and what I realized was that was one of those moments where we get claimed. I think there are places and people and even traditions that claim us at times. Moments in our life where it comes rushing at us... Spirit comes rushing at us and says, "I choose... I want you. This is for you. This moment is for you. This time is for you. This place is for you. This whatever it is..." And you have to bypass all reason and logic and just say yes to that because you're in relationship with the cosmos, and some part of you recognizes that it's a yes. And in that moment, even though it felt really odd to say yes to such a big gift, I knew I had to. There was no question because the bees are... they're synchronistic, they bring things together. That's part of the weave.

So I said yes and we went to go book our flights to England, to get onto the training and still we were not in the training. We were 13th and 14th on the waiting list. I said, “Look, okay, let's say yes anyway, let's go to England, let's go to France, and let's leave that week of this shamanic training for women around women and honey bees. Let's leave this open. I bet we're going to get in.” And then I decided it was time to find bees. At that time I wasn't a beekeeper. She wasn't a beekeeper. We both are now. I'd never really been around honey bees. And so I tracked down a beekeeper here in Sonoma County, and I'm going to make a very long story short, but on a beautiful spring day in April, I accidentally got covered head to toe in bees.

I had never been around bees. And suddenly I've got honey bees with all their tiny little stingers crawling all over me and I couldn't do anything but again say yes to the moment and say yes to the experience and surrender to feeling all the hundreds of tiny legs crawling over me and trusting that I was safe. And indeed I was, and in that moment I also recognized that of course we would be going to this program because the bees were orchestrating it. And sure enough, the volcano in Iceland went off. I don't remember exactly when that was. It must have been 2010 and a lot of flights got grounded. A lot of people canceled their trips and within a week or two we were in the program and that began the next 10 years of my life. So I really have Cheyenna Bone and her husband Ben to thank for helping me, for gifting me, for starting the journey within this tradition.

At this point, I've gone almost every year to England for the last 10 years, and this November I'll be completing a 6-part, 3-year training called The Return of the Pythoness, and now I'll have completed the most advanced training they have. And I've been teaching this work and it's become my life's work, combining beekeeping and dreamwork and intuitive work together in the service of the earth, in the service of bringing more of the feminine into the world for both men and women and in the service to the honey bee. And it all started with that trip.

And just to really add a little bit more of that magic that the bee brings in... At the very end of the trip, I came home, and while I had been in the training, a wild hive of honey bees had moved into a crevice and outer wall of my house just behind my bed. And so I came home and literally went to sleep dreaming with bees. That's my story.

Ariella Daly is a dream weaver and bee tender. Devoted to the bee in both the physical world and the spirit world, she beautifully synthesizes natural beekeeping, shamanism, dreamwork, and activism through writing, workshops, and teaching. Ariella has over 25 years of experience designing, leading, and participating in Celtic and earth-based workshops and ceremonies. Working within a European shamanic tradition, the Path of Pollen, she teaches dreamwork with the understanding that bees readily inhabit the mythic landscape of the Dream Weave.

Her work combines firsthand knowledge of the honey bee species with an intimate understanding of bee shamanism. She is known for helping people connect to the wild and sacred through relationship with bees, nature relationship, the feminine, and body as intuitive source.

Click here to visit Ariella’s website, Honey Bee Wild.

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This article appears in: 2019 Catalyst, Issue 20: The Dreamwork Summit