Aristaeus : Ever Close Follower of the Flocks; The Honey Lord; The Bee King; The Best
Aristaeus, son of the Nymph Cyrene and Apollo, was born in Libya and raised in Thessaly. There are different versions of exactly who raised Aristaeus, but perhaps they collaborated or took turns:
• Gaia and the Horae
• Chiron and the Muses
Chiron had prophesied that Cyrene and Apollo would bear a Divine Child, destined to be the best of deities: a new, improved, undefiled Zeus or Apollo. Chiron taught Aristaeus hunting and warfare, but Aristaeus preferred the pastoral life, especially beekeeping.
Aristaeus is described as inventing beehives and beekeeping; cheese making; and the oil press (and by extension, olive oil). This is not quite true. Aristaeus learned all these arts from Nymphs. However, Aristaeus was the one who took these previously secret, sacred arts and taught them to people. He is responsible for our knowledge, for our ability to spread honey on toast. In addition to the other arts of which he is master, the Muses taught Aristaeus healing and divination.
Aristaeus married the Nymph Autinoë, daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia. They have several children, including two daughters, Makris and Nysa, who helped hide and rear baby Dionysus and a son, Actaeon, famous for his fatal encounter with Artemis.
Aristaeus’ epithet, “Ever Close Follower of the Flocks,” technically refers to his function as guardian of herds. It also describes his relationship with devotees: he keeps an ever-watchful eye for danger. He is a generous, benevolent deity. If you seek to learn any of the arts of which he is master (or if you labour in those fields), he is a spiritual sponsor. He protects women, children, and nature.
ALSO KNOWN AS:
Berber or Greek
Beekeepers; cheese makers; those who grow olives or produce oil; those raising sheep, goats, and cattle (especially on artisanal levels)
In addition to herds and flocks, Aristaeus is the Bee King.
Aristaeus lives in a cave on a mountain on the island of Euboia. He was venerated throughout Sicily. His statue stood within a temple of Dionysus in Syracuse.
The food he loves: honey, Greek cheese; fine olive oil. Cook Greek dishes for him. Serve wine, retsina, and spring water. Sponsor beekeepers.
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by: Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.