Ep#5 Beekeeping: Protecting Our Pollinators with Jasmine Joy
In this episode of Your Story Medicine, I welcome Pollinator Protector, Activist, and Owner of Beelieve Hawaii, Jasmine Joy. As a young girl, Jasmine knew her purpose on this planet was to protect it and inspire an awakening in others to reverently connect with the natural world. She shares the story of her ancestry while telling us how she was called to move to Hawaii and become a beekeeper and protector of pollinators. She details why we should strive to save the bees and offers insight into what we can do to make an impact in this movement. Jasmine then shares words of wisdom through a lovely reading of a poem she wrote called “Somewhere Here”.
As Jasmine says, we all begin somewhere… and your connection to nature is a great place to begin. Without pollinators, we wouldn’t exist, so it’s essential that we treat these divine creatures with the reverence that they deserve.
How would you describe your medicine?
Throughout my life, there are three main medicines that I have. Nature as my muse has always been my medicine, as well as art and dance, specifically writing and performing poetry, and my most recent medicine has been working with the honeybees. The honeybee helps heal me, therefore I am able to share their wisdom and help heal others.
What is your ancestral lineage and how has that influenced your medicine today?
Both of my parents are immigrants, my mother comes from the Philippines and my father comes from Nicaragua. Since I was born out of wedlock, I was raised by two generations on my mother’s side of the family, which has been one of the biggest influences on my life because I grew up bilingual. It has instilled so much culture within me and I’ve never felt truly American even though I grew up in California. I am able to perpetuate our culture throughout my life and I’m proud to be Filipina.
I’ve been to Nicaragua, to immerse myself in that side of my lineage, and the Spanish language is different than the Spanish spoken in Mexico and California that I learned growing up. I’ve also been to the Philippines and to smell the soil and the air that my parents grew up in is intense and beautiful at the same time.
What led you to Hawaii?
In 1999 my auntie got married here and I didn’t feel the connection yet… there was a lot of spiritual growth that needed to happen for me to really feel a belonging here. I came here again in 2004 and my friend who I came here with, who’s also Filipina, took the bus to a local beach and everywhere we went, people thought we were locals. That’s when I started to open up my heart to his place. I was at college in Santa Monica and I was over it. In order for me to grow spiritually and mentally, I needed to get myself out of where I grew up. I moved here in 2006 and I’ve been here for 14 years.
How did you feel called to become a beekeeper?
It’s actually in my lineage. One of my youngest memories was around 4 years old, with my abuelito, my father’s father, who was a beekeeper. He looked like an astronaut with his white suit and took me to the bottom of a hill and left me there. Before he climbed the hill he said, “Don’t be afraid,” and I remember him opening up the cover to the hives.
The thing is, I disowned my father at 8 years old, so there’s a bit of brokenness in me knowing more of my lineage on that side. The bees came into my life naturally, I didn’t force anything. In 2011, I started working for Honey Girl Organics and I was one of the original employees to learn their skincare formulas and concoct their whole skincare line. That’s truly when my healing journey started. I saw so much symbolism and beauty in these creatures. What a perfect way to live my dharma out, helping to feed my communities by caring and saving these wild colonies of bees.
Bees need peace, just like us!
In the current political climate, why should caring for bees be a priority?
The symbolism inside a beehive is called the hive mind or superorganism. If everybody has a role and does their best, that’s where the superpowers can be utilized as a team to make beautiful things together. Regarding all the racial issues and uprising we’re experiencing, the biodiversity of this planet, including all the pollinators and sentient beings, is so important and crucial. There are many creatures that are threatened and going extinct and that makes me sad. That’s what I do what I do and I bee what I bee.
Do these honeybees know that they’re feeding us? I question that all the time.
There’s also symbolism of reincarnation. Just as a bee is passing away, there’s 2,000 eggs that are being laid each day if the queen bee has space to. The idea of scarcity doesn’t exist in a healthy, harmonious beehive.
What would you say to people about how we can show reverence for these pollinators, especially since they’re in our own backyards?
City dwellers can grow pollinator gardens. Get rid of your lawns and grow organic, pesticide-free, heirloom gardens! If people want suggestions, look into Botanical Interests out of Colorado. Support local before you support global. If you’re not helping your community and utilizing your local medicine, how can you help the world? By growing our own food, we can reclaim our own sovereignty. If you don’t have the space, volunteer with a local farm or apiary!
What are you doing to stay grounded in these times and what are you learning to release?
Gratitude is an attitude of ascension that I practice on daily. I get triggered sometimes too but I’m aware of it, let it come in through my emotions, and then my emotions will pass. Community and all the work I do in service of my community keeps me grounded, rooted, and woven into the reality of it all. There’s so much I can write and share, but I’ve chosen to be active through staying focused in my business and what I do already. Silence, listening, and grace through all of that speaks volumes. Everyone just wants to be heard!
If you could envision yourself as a future ancestor, what would you say to Jasmine who was still figuring it out?
I would say call on me as your ancestor to help guide and protect you. Be open to the signs and synchronicities that I show you through nature and all your connections.
Conclusion: Nature provides us sustenance and vitality, so we must respect it and work to nurture and preserve it. Bees and beehives have incredible symbolism which shows that they are just as sacred as we are. Support local before you support global. Gratitude and listening to each other is what this world needs more of right now.
Homework: Find a local farm or farmer’s market near you and connect with a local farmer or beekeeper. Purchase something from them and introduce yourself. Learn about their practices and what they’re doing for your community. These relationships keep our communities strong and nourished, so it’s important to choose them over farms and food sources from hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Learn more about Jasmine and her work:
Email: [email protected]