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Page 1
T
HE KEEPER OF THE BEES, by natu-
ralist Gene Stratton-Porter, is not a new
release (copyright 1925); yet it is still in
print and available through Indiana
University Press. I felt impelled to search
for this book, while all the memory I had of it was a
sense of something ethereal, which I now perceive as
an inhalation of pure
Taurean essence.
T h i s i s i m p a r t e d
through descriptive pas-
sages of flower and bee,
earth and sea, and salt-sea
air from the Pacific Ocean
a l o n g t h e C a l i f o r n i a n
coast. I received the book
only days before begin-
ning a journey to California and so was bemused to
see it described on the back cover as an “ode to [...]
California, and its natural beauty.”
Taurus is the sign of physical form, of beauty as per-
ceived by the physical senses. The importance of
physical beauty is not one that should be overlooked
by the spiritual aspirant. Beauty is harmony in mani-
festation, and color is generated by harmonic tones.
Striving to build an environment in and around the
home which pleases the eye and soothes the spirit is
not something to be neglected in the pursuit of a spir-
itual life.
The story is set in the era following WWI where
right and wrong are not questions, transgressions can
be cruelly dealt with, the enemy is clear, racial and
ethnic groups are yet distinct, and patriotism is taught
in schools to blend the varied multitude into one coun-
try.
It tells the story of a soldier of Scottish descent, a
son of a minister of the Church who, when called to
war, had forgotten the God of his forbears, “...From
whence cometh my help,” and answered the call
instead of the race spirit in his blood, as he sought
revenge against ‘the enemy’.
There were atrocities that had been committed
against men of his race
and blood in the begin-
ning of the war that
drove all men of Scottish
ancestry and sympathies
a trifle wild.
Religions of old were
“race religions,” each race
spirit being an archangel
who would lead his people into battle. The bodies of
these beings are made of desire stuff, and they still
influence us through our desires, as they are manifest
in the blood. It was the purpose of Christ to end race
religions, to free man from the influence of the race
spirits and inaugurate a period of Universal Love. Yet
the struggle continues, as in the case of this young
man, who still responded to the ancestral “call to
arms” coursing through the blood in his veins.
The story opens following this war, with ‘our hero’
suffering from a shrapnel wound that will not heal,
fleeing from a medical facility into the California
countryside. There was also another wound that would
not heal, one in his heart “which the world could not
see.”
So he begins his ‘Great Adventure’, which the
author uses to explore many points of moral or ethical
consideration, through the reflections of the young
man as he finds God again, on a journey where his
RAYS 04
47
Keeper of the Bees
BOOK REVIEWS
The bee garden is blue because blue is the ‘perfect colour’ and bees are the most perfect of any insect in the way
they live, and the most valuable on account of the work they do, so blue would be the colour they love best, and it is!
Beauty is essential to the natural unfoldment of
the human soul. The Mysteries held that man, in
part at least, was the product of his environment.
Therefore they found it imperative that every per-
son be surrounded by objects that would evoke the
highest and noblest sentiments. They proved that it
was possible to produce beauty in life by surround-
ing life with beauty.
—Manly P Hall, Secret Teachings of all Ages

Page 2
welfare rests on the grace of God. He finds himself
reverting to the language of his grandfathers in
expressing his gratitude “It’s unco gude ‘o you God.”
In moral reflections even the “wee people” are to be
considered: “the father in him said ‘Leave what
remains for the wee folk as you found it.’ And the
mother in him said ‘Take with you every crumb that
remains against the morrow.’”
Here “the father” represents the conscience, the
spiritual side, doing what is right by others, with little
thought of self, and “the mother” represents concern
for one’s material welfare, the pragmatic view or
aspect of self-interest. So here, as in occult literature
generally, the positive forces, of "right," are represent-
ed by the male, while the negative, earthly forces by
the female. We know, however, that the gender of men
and women is given by their outer, or physical body.
While their vehicles are four in number, only the dense
physical and vital bodies are gendered: In the male the
physical body is positive, the vital body is negative,
with the reverse for the female.
The question of gender roles, a question of the
times, is brought forth to intrigue us again later when
we meet the “little Scout,” a ten year old child whose
gender is not yet clear. According to the little Scout, if
you can’t tell, then it makes no difference.
In the pre-pubescent child, where the desire body is
yet unborn, sex as passion is not yet apparent, and
truly, it would seem, “makes no difference.” It is not
until we are to fulfill the roles of male and female in
life, as providers of form for incoming egos, that sure-
ly we “can tell.”
The story takes us to the home of the Bee Master in
the Sierra Madres along the seacoast. There, our for-
lorn soldier moves from contemplation of his death to
encompassing life, from weakness to strength, from
self-pity to selflessness. He arrives as a homeless
unemployed and becomes a respected Keeper of the
Bees.
He does not make this transformation alone but with
the help of the loving embrace of neighbors as he set-
tles into his new home, tending the bees in the Bee
Master’s absence.
Foremost among his new acquaintances is one
called the ‘little Scout’ the Bee Master’s partner. The
‘business’ of the little Scout, when not fulfilling the
role of partner to the Bee Master, is playing the role of
Scout Master, organizing play for a motley group of
children. Leading the Scouts, and ultimately besting
them, the Scout Master is called “The Limit.”
The little Scout is a most vivacious and mercurial
persona, whose physical machinations and mental
reflections add much in the way of delight to this
book. For example, when accused of “burning the can-
dles at the both ends,” the small person replies: “But
ah! my foes and my friends! It makes a lovely light!”
How we meet death, one of many threads running
through this brilliant weave, is a topic introduced to us
through the reminiscences of the little Scout.
On the point of how beautiful death can be, of ‘lit-
tle old Aunt Beth,’ the little Scout said:
She went in the night, you know, in her sleep,
with her hands folded on her breast and the
strangest little mysterious smile on her face. It was
like she knew a beautiful secret that she’d love to
tell and she was smilin’ over it while she decided
whether she would tell or not.
The Bee Master, a revered gentleman whose precar-
ious health has provided the stage for this saga,
inspires much loyalty. On contemplating his death, the
48
RAYS 04
Paracelsus, when describing the substances
which constitute the bodies of the elementals, divid-
ed flesh into two kinds, the first being that which we
have all inherited through Adam. This is the visible,
corporeal flesh. The second was that flesh which
had not descended from Adam and, being more
attenuated, was not subject to the limitations of the
former. The bodies of the elementals were composed
of this transubstantial flesh....“Yet,” he adds, “the
Elementals are not spirits, because they have flesh,
blood, and bones; they live and propagate off-
spring; they eat and talk, act and sleep, etc.”
—Manly P Hall, Secret Teachings of All Ages
Will is the male quality of the soul; imagination
is the female. When will is the strongest attribute,
the soul wears male attire in a certain life, and in
another, where the quality of imagination is
greater, the female garb is taken. Thus under the
Law of Alternation which prevails during the pre-
sent age of the rainbow, the soul wears a different
garment in alternate lives, but whether the gender
is feminine or masculine, the organ of the opposite
sex is present in an undeveloped state. Thus man is
now, and will be so long as the physical body
endures, both male and female.
—Max Heindel Mysteries of the Great Operas

Page 3
little Scout said: “I bet all the harps and all the trum-
pets in heaven would go Zoom! Zoom! and all the angels
would come flocking if the Bee Master came through
the gates!
The Bee Master’s home, and surrounding gardens are
intimated to be a reflection of the Bee Master himself.
There are only a few places where love and arti-
sanship build a house with a welcoming face. There
are only a few places where love and good horse
sense build a garden half of wildings and half of
quaint old-fashioned things that evolved without
the help of crossing and
fertilization and other
makeshifts that produce
growth so rambling and
sizable that it is difficult to believe the blooms are
living things. There are only a few places where the
side of a mountain walks down and slides down
and jumps down and meanders winding, flowering
ways until it reaches the white sands of a brilliant-
ly blue sea, and it is easy to believe that such a
location would naturally be the home of tiny round
white houses with round roofs where millions of
bees make honey to sweeten the food of a world.
Health and healing through natural means is anoth-
er prominent theme. How our ailing soldier heals his
wounds through the discipline of a health regime is
carefully detailed. The value of eating for health, sim-
ple and nutritious foods, and in the right combinations,
is a concern of every spiritual aspirant.
In Occult Principles of Health and Healing, p. 116
we read: “Proper food given at the right time and
under the right conditions will not only cure but pre-
vent disease.” The science of food combining, a little
known aspect of diet, is touched upon here. Of the
neighbor that prepares his own meals he requests a
diet in the combination that will go towards the “mak-
ing of a man” and help to purify his septic blood.
Following his morning routine in the bee garden, he
drinks the juice of two ripe tomatoes and follows this
with a dip in the healing waters of the salt sea, drying
in the rays of the morning sun. Then after his mid-day
meal he rests. Upon waking he drinks one glass of
fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Of fruits it is said in Occult Principles of Health and
Healing, p. 117, that they contain “water of the purest
and best kind, capable of permeating the system in a
marvelous manner....The increased permeability
enables the Spirit to manifest more freely and with
renewed energy.” And in the same book the author
gives an occult explanation for the benefits of
uncooked food:
There is in the skull at the base of the brain a flame.
It burns continually in the medulla oblongata at the
head of the spinal cord, and, like the fire on the
alter of the tabernacle, is of divine origin. This fire
emits a singing sound like the buzz of a bee, which
is the keynote of the physical body, and is sounded
by the archetype. It builds in and cements together
that mass of cells known
as “our body”.
The fire burns high or
low, clear or dim,
according to how we feed it. [...] We replenish this
sacred fire partly from forces from the Sun entering
the vital body through the etheric counterpart of
the spleen and from there to the solar plexus where
it is colored and then carried upward through the
blood. We also feed the fire from the living fire we
absorb from the uncooked food which we eat and
then assimilate.
Note from the above the value of sunlight, in addi-
tion to raw foods, for renewing of the body’s energy.
An additional point to make here is that the etheric
counterpart of the spleen will continue to function
even following the removal of the physical spleen, as
sometimes occurs following injury to this organ.
The art of keeping bees is learned with the help of
the Bee Master’s ‘partner,’ as well as from an exten-
sive library on the subject, which includes writings by
Aristotle and Pliny. The little Scout asks: “Why is the
bee garden blue? And I’ll have to tell you the answer
because you’ll never guess in a thousand years.
Because of God.”
Max Heindel confirms this statement in Rosicrucian
Philosophy in Questions and Answers, Volume 2:
“Blue is the color of the Father who rules over the
whole universe continually from the beginning of man-
ifestation to the end thereof, omnipresent in everything
that lives, breathes, and has it’s being.”
There is more here, much more, to inspire us to live
diligently as the bees and their keepers, leading noble
and courageous lives, embracing the beauty of earth
and sky.
Ë
—Jamis Lopez
RAYS 04
49
The bee is more honored than other animals, not be-
cause she labors, but because she labors for others.
—St. John Chrysostom