Happy Valentines Day!
St Valentines Day as we know it is a day for celebrating love, partnership and romance.
It is unclear who St Valentine was, as there are 3 possible 'Valentines' the day was named after. One was a Roman priest, one a bishop and one who there was very little known about. All of them were martyred under the Roman empire. There are threads of fact in each story, so it is hard to know which St Valentine our current celebration is named after. One thing is for sure, they were all martyred, and within the church, the day is associated with martyrdom. Martyrdom means 'death that is imposed because of the person's adherence of a religious faith or cause' and 'any experience that causes intense suffering'. Red is the colour associated with martyrdom and also, love.
Sending a card/letter on Valentines Day originates from the Middle Ages, and the first mass produced cards were made in 1847. This saw the beginning of the commercial 'spend a fortune' nature of Valentines Day.
St Valentines is also the patron saint of engaged couples, happy marriages, bee keepers, love, and more strangely, plague and fainting. The name 'Valentine' is derived from valens meaning worthy, strong and powerful.
It seems to me to be fitting that the same saint associated with love and romance is also associated with matrydom. What we forget in our fluffy celebrations of red hearts and champagne is that love is both the most exhilarating and the most painful experience we can have on earth. Hearts and flowers as a representation of love are just skimming the surface, for what is real love if not dedication, devotion and adhering to a 'cause'. Going the distance against all odds. Having a faith and trust in another person that is strong, worthy and powerful.
The relationship between the bee keeper and their bees are that of a mutual understanding, or harmony. The bee keeper must show respect and work with the bees to collect their precious honey. They both benefit from the relationship. The sweet sticky honey is the product of both parties being able to fulfill their own roles and live in support of one another. The same relationship can be seen between the bees and the flowers, the flowers and the earth, the Earth and the Universe. All living beings can feel the sting when things go wrong, when there is misunderstanding or miscommunication, a bee will die, a body will feel pain, but there needs to be understanding and trust can then be rebuilt.
A bee, sits on the top of a hive, surrounded by a sacred hexagon and sticky honey. The 6 points representing harmony and balance. The honeycomb, the treasure is guarded. Hearts, representing love and romance. The bees dance in heart shaped patterns around the flowers under a blue sky. A dozen red roses encircle the centre. ♥
Cat Hawkins 2013