I got interviewed a few weeks ago by a woman who is writing a book about urban beekeepers. I showed her my hives, showed her where they made a home in the wall of my house and answered her questions about the mechanics of beekeeping. We got to talking about communicating with insects and I told her about how I had invited the bees to come pollinate my vegetable garden last year and a week later 20,000 of them showed up and moved into my house. She sent me an email thanking me for my time and had one more question for me:
Do you think each individual bee has a soul? Or is there one soul per hive?
I loved that question. So gentle.
Here is my answer.
I think that everything has some kind of soul, but I don't know what it is, where it is or why we have one. I guess I believe that everything is connected and made out of the same stuff and that stuff keeps working its way through the universe in different forms. And I think it is possible to recognize these common elements in other beings or objects and to feel connected in that way. I also sometimes think that our physical life is a metaphor for something larger.
As far as the bees...they seem to act as a group with one mind and one purpose and many bodies to carry out that purpose. But the same could be said of humans if we looked at ourselves from a distance. I know that I am sad every time I accidentally squish one bee or cause it to sting me and die, a tiny life extinguished. suffering. pain. I prefer not to cause it. So that makes me think that i am reacting to the soul of the individual bee because I have sensed it there. I feel a very strong presence when one flies into my house or buzzes around me. Whether that is me anthropomorphizing the bee or actually feeling its soul, I do not know. I try not to be arrogant about other creatures and always assume they have their own destiny and life to lead so I try to respect it and make way for them.