The most joyful emanation produced by a colony of bees is known as the "song of increase"—declaring that the hive is flourishing and the bees are happy in its abundance. Song of Increase takes us inside the world of the honeybee to glean the wisdom of these fascinating creatures with whom humanity has shared a sacred bond for millennia.
Within these pages is a bee-centric approach to living with honeybees, rather than advice for simply maximizing the products they provide. Jacqueline Freeman takes us beyond traditional beekeeping and offers a way to work in harmony with honeybees for both their good and ours. "Our way is one of kind observation," she explains, "where we create supportive homes and fields for bees to live in, as well as tend the heartfelt relationships we form by being together."
Song of Increase focuses on hidden aspects of apiculture that lead us naturally to more sustainable practices. Freeman illuminates the unity consciousness that guides every action in the colony and how this profound awareness can influence the way we see both the natural world and ourselves. Each chapter presents a wealth of information about the life of bees, including Freeman’s personal insights and direct teachings received from the bees themselves.
I. The Song of Unity: How Bees See Themselves, Their Colony, and the World
II. The Song of Belonging: The Sacred Work of the Queen, Drones, Maidens, and Pips
III. The Song of Communion: How Bees Create a Perfect Home
IV. The Song of the World: The Communion of Bees and Flowers
V. The Song of Increase: The Blessings of the Swarm and the Ascension of a New Queen
VI. The Song of Abundance: The Generosity of Bees
VII. The Song of Sharing: How We Can Help Our Bee Friends
About the Author
Jacqueline Freeman is a biodynamic farmer and natural beekeeper who speaks at national events including the Organic Beekeepers Conference, Women in Agriculture, and permaculture and nature conferences. She lives in Washington state. For more, visit spiritbee.com.
Susan Chernak McElroy is the author of the national bestselling book Animals as Teachers and Healers; and Animals as Guides for the Soul. Diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1987, she survived - by following the dignified, joyful example of her dog Keesha, who had died ten years earlier of the same type of cancer.McElroy and her husband live in Oregon, where they share their farm with miniature donkeys, llamas, chickens, geese, cats, dogs, and a cockatoo.
“Song of Increase opens up a mystical realm of deep communication with nature. Learn the wisdom of the bees, and you will never look at the world the same way again.” —Starhawk, author of The Spiral Dance and The Fifth Sacred Thing
“I have been deeply moved by this book. Jacqueline’s work with bees is truly extraordinary. This book has the potential to transform beekeeping and transform the world.” —Susan Chernak McElroy, author of Animals as Teachers and Healers
“This book is a treasure of honeybee philosophy. Jacqueline profiles the many ways bees connect within the hive, with the world outside the hive, with agriculture, and with the beekeeper. Spend time watching your hives. What the bees say in this book is right.” —Nathan Rausch, biodynamic beekeeper, Snoqualmie Valley Beekeepers
“This book is a jewel. I am having a total can’t-put-the-book-down/don’t-want-it-ever-to-end experience. This is holy bee communion. This book is one of the great bee books of our times. It speaks to the relationship with the sacred that is so precious. The book is divinely timed, eloquent, honest, compassionate, and completely full of love. And probably brave, too, because this work is clearly the result of a deep and intimate dive into the divine. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this.” —Debra Roberts, master beekeeper, natural beekeeping educator, The Center for Honeybee Research
“Beekeeping is a sacred occupation. This book grounds that intuitive knowing and informs my work with my bees . . . the drones singing the song of creation to the babies, the joy of the maiden bees when they find nectar and flowers, the search for the sun as the virgin queen begins her marriage flight. All these images live within me as I interact with the bees, opening my heart and mind to the beauty of life in the hive. Quite literally, this book has changed my life.” —Patti Pitcher, biodynamic farmer and educator, The Farm Wife Mystery School
“Jacqueline is on the cutting edge of apiculture with her intuitive, compassionate, and intelligent work. She has the rare ability (and courage!) to take us into the bee’s world. We can learn so much from this deeply sensitive book.” —Laura Bee Ferguson, director, College of the Melissae Center for Sacred Beekeeping
“It is time for the voice of the bee to be heard. That voice speaks to each of us in its own way. To understand it requires us to change our perceptions and paradigms. Jacqueline’s conversation with the bee is a unique contribution to the growing movement of bee-centered beekeeping.” —Gareth John, trustee, Natural Beekeeping Trust
“A gem of a book: a deep reflection and meditation on honeybees, celebrating the sacredness and holiness of the hive. Song of Increase blends spiritual, practical and scientific insights into a beautiful anthem for the honeybee. Jacqueline shares the inner workings of the hive, to the tragic implications of Colony Collapse Disorder. She navigates us out of the darkness, into the light to help create a healthier relationship with this most sacred animal.” —Taggart Siegel, award-winning documentary filmmaker of The Real Dirt on Farmer John, Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?, and SEED: The Untold Story
“Jacqueline takes you on a bee-keeping journey to new (or perhaps ancient) levels of interconnectedness. This book is a stunning revelation of deep spirituality that can be found in the simple act of caring for bees.” —Marjory Wildcraft, founder, The Grow Network
“The principles of White Buffalo Woman are expressed in the wholeness and holiness offered in this wondrous book. Whether or not you ever keep bees, this amazingly profound and fascinating book is a deep lesson in the intelligence, wisdom, harmony and robust vitality of Creation. This book offers an intimate look into a stunningly effective society, where its members all give 100 percent to their part of the humming whole. There are joyous lessons and healing ways here for each of us as individuals, and perhaps more importantly in this time, for the well-being of the whole. A honeycomb of sweetness awaits you!” —Brooke Medicine Eagle, author of Buffalo Woman Comes Singing and The Last Ghost Dance
“Song of Increase is a manual for listening. Jacqueline Freeman starts her book with the sentence: ‘When bees speak, I listen.’ It is an apt beginning that sums up her approach to bees and the crisis they are in.
Today this crisis has reached alarming dimensions. The call for help is desperate, loud and clear. And yet we are helpless as hive after hive collapses: we can hear the message but don’t understand its meaning. Jacqueline’s book suggests that we don’t listen deeply enough to understand the nature of this call. To understand this call—to make sense of the bee crisis and remedy it—we need different ways of responding, thinking, seeing, listening.
We need every voice to be heard: the voice of science and of common sense, of professional and lay-bee-keepers, of artists and intuitives. We need a choir of approaches rather the soloist of science. Above all we need every kind listening in order to understand what the bees are telling us through their demise.
Jacqueline’s book suggests such new and unusual ways of listening, and in doing so calls for a wider, broader, more diversified approach to a crisis that we can only solve through a diverse community of researchers and practitioners. With Song of Increase, Jacqueline joins the global choir of those concerned about bees with a unique contribution gleaned from her unique form of listening. ” —Horst Kornberger, author of Global Hive: Bee Crisis and Compassionate Ecology
“This is the most apicentric book on natural beekeeping that I have read. Freeman firmly rejects the utilitarian ethic that underpins most modern beekeeping and presents her intuitions, rich in poetic style and imaginative metaphor, on the life of the honeybee. Throughout the book she lets the bees speak for themselves as they tell us about things hitherto hidden from us—things which could provide a source of inspiration for research far into the future. Readers with a spiritual worldview will easily empathize with Freeman's obvious reverence and respect for the nature of the bee and its intrinsic rather than instrumental value.” —Dr. David Heaf, The Bee-Friendly Beekeeper and Natural Beekeeping with the Warre Hive
“Jacqueline Freeman weaves two stories here, both compelling and exquisitely told. One is hers—a beekeeper who, through attention, stumbles onto an open channel of communication with the bees; and the other is the wisdom of the bees . . . in their own voice. Reading both stories reminds me how well other species know how to read and heed every subtle cue of their environment, how well they know what we humans must relearn: cooperation as the path to personal survival, surrender as freedom, separation as an illusion in the tapestry of life. I feel like I can now cock my ear and consult the bees, and that they and others can guide us home.” —Vicki Robin, author of Your Money or Your Life and Blessing the Hands that Feed Us
“Beekeeping practices are undergoing serious transformations—so that we can really keep the bees. Song of Increase takes you into realms not found in traditional beekeeping books, realms that require an open mind and also an open heart. The book encourages you to look with new eyes, listen with new ears, and develop the understanding of honeybees required for having the right to say, ‘I love them.’ The future of our relationship with the natural world is tangible!” —Gunther Hauk, author of Toward Saving the Honeybee; cofounder, Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary
“It is rare to find someone acutely tuned in to the natural world and the many beings that inhabit this web of life. Jacqueline Freeman is one of those special persons. Her ability to not only understand the life of bees but to go beyond surface noticing to actually be guided by the vast wisdom found in the world of bees is phenomenal. Being a plant person myself I fell in love with bees through the deep insights in Song of Increase. While reading this very accessible book, a whole other level of depth perception unfolded as the plant/pollinator relationship took on new meaning. My relationship with plants is broadening to include their intimate partners, the bees. Everyone needs to read this book to understand why it is so important for the bees to not only survive but thrive.” —Pam Montgomery, author of Plant Spirit Healing: A Guide to Working with Plant Consciousness and Partner Earth: A Spiritual Ecology
“Jacqueline Freeman presents a biodynamic philosophy of beekeeping where the science of the sun, the plant, and the soil is woven together with life force, form, and unseen realms of nature. Her story shows us how deeply we can know and care for these small creatures known as the honeybee. Freeman is a farmer and an experienced beekeeper who brings both an intellectual understanding and a poetic outlook to her work. Many answers to a healthy future for our bees are to be found in her writings.” —Christy Korrow, editor of LILIPOH magazine
“Jacqueline takes the reader on a journey into the world of honeybees and the hidden aspects of apiculture through immersion into a deeply sensitive and perceptive communication with bees. She reveals the wisdom aspects of bees and their emotional integrity, and encourages us to venture further into new territory within the multidimensional landscape of honeybees. It is an inspiration for a holistic approach to apiculture and a timely book in a transitional time for bees and the entire biosphere.” —Michael Joshin Thiele, founder, Gaia Bees
“Enjoying a totemic relationship with the honey bees, Jacqueline Freeman shares her spiritual journey of communing with the soul of the hive. If you ever wondered what dreams bees have, what secret role the drones may play, or what the queens sing about, you will discover here a unique perspective as well as a heartfelt plea to adopt bee-friendly ways in beekeeping and agriculture at large.” —Dr. Leo Sharashkin, editor of Keeping Bees With a Smile: A Vision and Practice of Natural Apiculture