Book Notes: Queen of the Sun

November is Bee Month, apparently, as the Universe initiates me more fully into a life that includes more bees. Anyone who has seen the image above, first introduced to us upon the release of the film “Queen of the Sun” and now, on the cover of the book Queen of the Sun from Clairview Books in the UK, is deeply moved, one way or another. Regardless of one’s insect persuasion, the mind asks, “How can this be?” And that, dearest readers, is precisely what I intend to find out. For intuitively I think I know. Else why do I cry when I see the trailer for the film?

Queen of the Sun is a wonderfully rich anthology compiled by Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz, creators of the award winning film. It serves as an excellent introduction to beekeeping, or as a guide to self-correcting if one has been educated on beekeeping by more traditional guides. Such a volume is critical if we are to save our beloved honeybees. I wept at some of the practices being currently employed. Anyone with an understanding of the wisdom inherent in the natural processes of evolution that took place over millions of years will not find it at all difficult to understand that one should NOT be moving queens into foreign hives, away from her own kin, nor should drones be regarded as superfluous to a hive, as apparently some commercial growers imagine. Can you imagine? I cannot.

Queen of the Sun abounds with lovely photos that only enhance the beauty and wisdom contained therein.

Photo courtesy of Taggart Siegel

The fourteen contributors are a collection of conscious beekeepers, poets, a molecular biologist, a philosopher, academics, artists, authors and farmers. Each brings his own loving perspective on the current state of bees and how we might begin to think more consciously about their contributions, their society, and what we might learn from them. It is a message well worth both heeding and spreading.

I personally am very drawn to the concept that to sustain bees in the most loving way possible that we, as conscious beekeepers, adhere to how bees are found in their natural state, i.e., in Nature. This causes me to feel strongly that rather than imposing the boxes we keep them in that we consider going the Extra Mile and allowing them environments that replicate their preferences. (Why is this so hard to understand?) Here’s what I’m talking about.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Lane

My whole being says YES.

Is it such a stretch to imagine that happy bees, well tended bees, bees that are loved might trust the heart that tends them?

Photo courtesy of Amanda Lane

Last night I was sleeping,
I dreamt–marvelous error!–
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart,
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failure.
~Antonia Machado

Bee Facts:

*To produce just one pound of honey, bees visit approximately two million flowers.
*The honey bee is the only insect that makes a food consumed by humans.
*Without pollinators most vegetative life forms would be condemned to perish.
*The hive wants drones. Unlike worker bees, drones can visit any hive. (WHY??)
*The hive cannot survive without the queen. If the queen dies, the hive dies.
*Honeybees from one colony know their mother intimately and spend most of their time in the company of their sisters.
*The story of worker bees making honey is inseparable from the story of flowering plants…Their bond is inseparable as they are entirely dependent on each other for survival.

Queen of the Sun is for thoughtful people who care about our planet Earth. It is also a doorway for exploring how we are all literally interdependent. The bees work together for the survival and well being of ALL. This is a story worth pondering.

I highly recommend this book. Please secure, read and let me know what you think and how it impacts you. Also, you might consider sponsoring the film in your local community. Go to for more information.

Love and garden blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Book Notes: In keeping with the spirit of the times I am offering free shipping in US for all copies of Plant Whatever Brings You Joy purchased on through December 25th! Please consider this gift for the gardeners in your life! Thank you!

Also, Western North Carolina Woman has kindly published an excerpt from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy in their December issue.

6 Responses to “Book Notes: Queen of the Sun”

  1. Wonderful! This is so timely, and important, mom. I Love the beautiful pictures, and look forward to checking out the book.

    Love you,

  2. Hi, Antonia, It truly is. What a metaphor for Occupy–looking to cooperative bees for harmonious survival! I love this book. Special place on my bookshelf. Love, Mom xoxo

  3. What a wonderful post! We really need to value our bees, for the survival of our food supply. I’m going to be growing my first veggies in my indoor garden this winter, and I am a little nervouse about the prospect of pollinating the beans and peas by hand.

    Beautiful photos!

  4. Welcome, Jessica! What a stunning image–your need to pollinate by hand! Wow. There’s a cautionary tale in that one! Thank you for that! Kathryn xoxo

  5. You are going to be a bee keeper. It’s going to happen. Over the years I have had three close friends who kept/keep bees. One was our dear friend Joe Cooper who when I met him was the president of the Central Ohio Beekeepers Association. He came to be a beloved friend, he and his wife were Susan’s first ceramics teachers and Joe & I made wonderful dill pickles together. I miss him so much. My second friend is Steve Williamson, another geologist, who has been struggling to maintain hives through the hive collapse crisis in Ohio. My third friend is Dan Binder, a retired water chemist and Supervisor of the Franklin Soil & Water Conservation District.. Dan has come to beekeeping in retirement with great enthusium. I hope for his success. These are all amazing and wonderful friends, special people. It is true that you have to be a special person to keep bees, or rather, to be chosen by them to be part of their lives. You should be able to get basic beekeeping training from UC Davis or through a metropolitian park program. Dan took training at the Franklin Park Conservatory on East Broad Street here in Columbus. Once you have the basics, you should be able to find a local association of bee keepers. Your Cooperative Extension or Soil & Water Conservation District or local Farmer’s Market should have leads. We have at least three venders at the Worthington Farmers Market who do honey. Two of them are fairly large orchards who have fruit all season so their bees do not have to be moved. Hugs from here & love, Julie

  6. Hi, Julie! Yes, I AM! Isn’t that exciting? I think I was chosen a long time ago. The Universe has been planting bee seeds in my path for a long time. I’m just now growing into it. Yes, I’m in touch with lots of good bee people. One of the contributors to Queen of the Sun has a workshop in the spring I’m likely to take. I’m blessed there are conscious beekeepers around here so I don’t have UNLEARN so much later. 🙂 And I bring my own Nature awareness which will serve me well. Hugs! Kathryn xoxo

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