Greek Bee Fibula, 4th century BC
The bee, found in the artifacts of Ancient Near East and Aegean cultures, was believed to be the sacred insect that bridged the natural world to the underworld.
Potnia, the Minoan-Mycenaean “mistress” goddess, was referred to as “The Pure Mother Bee”. Her priestesses received the name of “Melissa” (“bee”). It is interesting to note that Mycenaean tholos tombs were shaped like beehives.
In another myth, the Homeric Hymn to Apollo acknowledges that Apollo’s gift of prophecy first came to him from three bee maidens, usually identified with the Thriae. The Thriae was a trinity of pre-Hellenic Aegean bee goddesses.