Sunday, July 11, 2010

Persephone Melitodes

A while back, someone asked me about a brief mention of offering honey to Persephone they had come across in their research. She had been unable to find any primary sources that confirmed it, so she emailed me. I also had never heard anything about offering honey to Persephone, but I was intrigued.

One of Persephone's epithets, Persephone Melitodes, means "Sweet as Honey", which probably has a lot more to do with her role as the goddess of spring renewal than any sort of expected offering. That got me thinking about honey and Persephone and I can't see why she wouldn't like offerings of honey. It is sweet, it is golden like the sun she's missed living in the underworld, and it is made by the labor of the industrious bee.

Just yesterday, I learned about "Good New Bees". I had actually discovered them for the first time over the 4th of July weekend when I was camping in the mountains of Western North Carolina. This strange bee would hover around us while we were working on our tiny cabin in the woods and we just weren't sure what it was. Yesterday, in a random conversation, a friend mentioned Good News Bees. Good News Bees, or Yellowjacket Hover Flies, are not even bees at all. They feature the brilliant black and yellow color of bees, but they don't sting. That means they also don't make honey, since they aren't bees at all. But I felt a connection to the little hover fly and Persephone. To Persephone Melitodes, specifically. This little mimicking insect is known for hovering right in front of a person's face telling us the news. I can just imagine the little guy interacting with Persephone, buzzing at her sweet face with news of how her beloved husband fares in the underworld without her. In the mountains of North Carolina, Good New Bees are in season from May to September, the same season Persephone in is our world. They feed on nectar - honey sweet nectar. Suddenly I felt that the Good News Bees were the messangers of Persephone herself.

I honor Persephone Melitodes, the honey-sweet maid, and all the bees and bee-like creatures that make the sweet honey or bring the good news.

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