Friday, May 24, 2013

An Unlimited Supply of Whiskey!

 As a response to the last entry, I am drawing up resources on bees and how they entwine with ideas about the dead (particularly in Greece and Rome) for something that Melitta and I will be working on together for a bit. However, I doubt I can find a reason to thrust this quote into it (which is not to say that I won't decide to try to do so, anyway):
“Like cunning folk and witches, shamans can also employ their helping spirits in a wide variety of pursuits above and beyond the core matters of healing and divining. Almost anything of human concern, from agriculture and hunting to love or war, can be resolved with the help of a powerful spirit. Among the North American Maidu it is believed that 'Every shaman must have one or more of these [ku'kini] as his guardian spirit or spirits, and they aid him in all that he does [my italics] – which North American Ojibwa chief Charles Kawbawgam claimed that '[a novice shaman] sees the spirit before him in the shape of a man, saying: “Whenever you need help, you will see me.” Such flexibility on the part of the helping spirit means that, like the early modern familiar, it is sometimes employed to perform mundane or frivolous activities. The anthropologist Roland Dixon recounts how one North American Maidu shaman 'resolved to acquire the spirit of the honey-bee. This he did, and then was able to secure whiskey in unlimited quantities, as the bee could insert its probiscis through the corks of bottles, or through the closed bung-holes of barrels, and suck out the liquor, which it afterward put into other receptacles for the Indian's use. The bee could also enter anywhere, as it could all doors by inserting its proboscis.”
- Emma Wilby, Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits (P. 138 – 139. )
Just hear me out on this? Should you ever stumble across a spirit manifesting as a bee? Talk to it. They are fucking cool. I'm also of the mind, while Wilby refers to the activity of the Shaman as 'frivilous', that they are heavily linked with intoxication. But I will probably get to talking about that very shortly with a bit of help, won't I?


Gordon said...

Bees. Nice.

Hi from Manchester, by the way:

Brother Christopher said...

I found some book once about the Shamanic path of the Bee. I'm pretty sure most of it was new age invention, but it was an interesting read.

I do know that one of the Kouretes was named Melisseus, as he was a spirit who taught about beekeeping.

Jack Faust said...

Gordon: Bwahahaha! Most excellent! I enjoyed both of those links and learning about Manchester immensely. Actually: I have an Uncle, on my Peruvian stepfather's side, who lives in Manchester.

Bro. Chris: I saw that guy in the documentary I'm about to blog about. He was... interesting.

As for the Kouretes: they are heavily associated with bees and bee husbandry, in addition to having Melisseus as part of their number. Don't worry. I fully intend to talk about it. LOL.

But in a moment, I'll have something else up that might catch your eye.

ginandjack said...

Sorry to self plug, but I've been on about bees quite a bit myself recently as well!

Jack Faust said...

Gin&Jack: That is precisely the sort've self-plugging I enjoy! Thank you very much for the link.

I love it! Good stuff, good sir! (... I am assuming you are a 'sir.' If not, my apologies!)