Does Hel have any relationship to bees?

  • There was a very interesting segment on Vikings, (S5/ep3 "Homeland") in which a dying Floki has a vision.

    One of the figures in the vision is a dark robed woman, who opens her mouth to release a swarm of bees.

    The close-up shot of the woman's face gave the distinct impression of necrotic flesh, so my assumption was it was probably Hel. I found this great article on Hel, but no mention of bees, and another great article on bees and the goddess, but no mention of Hel.

    Extra points for any thoughts on the second woman in the vision, who transformed into a murder of crows.

  • solsdottir

    solsdottir Correct answer

    4 years ago

    I don't think Hel is particularly associated with bees, but I am going to guess that the woman who turns into crows is either a valkyrie (a logical association, carrion birds and choosers of the slain) or else a dis, a sort of personal (or familial) protective spirit.

    Bees feed from the honeydew that drips from Yggdrasil, according to the Prose Edda (Gylf 16) and the Norns live by the root of the tree, so perhaps the bees are agents of fate, or psychopomps? (Although the latter is proabably a Mycenean idea, not Norse.)

    Agents of fate is definitely a good call. These were certainly omens, with hidden meaning.

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