The meaning of the dream symbol: Honey

Honey may symbolize sweetness, nutrition - that is, something within you offering you happiness or personal growth.

It may symbolize the power of life or the force of nature within you. (In mythology, honey - like milk or the Hindu soma - is the lifegiving fluid in all things: sap in trees, milk in mothers' breasts, blood, etc.)

Mythologically, honey is the food of gods. Eating it in a dream may therefore mean participating in divine consciousness - which in psychological terms means that total awareness that results from assimilating the unconscious; the total psyche's (or self) awareness.


Celtic tradition as strongly sings the praises of mead as the beverage of immortality, as does an archaic source, the ‘Food of the House with two Goblets’ which probably antedates the spread of Christianity. This speaks of milk tasting like honey as all that Eithne had as food.

Greek tradition maintained that, like the Celtic hero, Pythagoras only ate honey throughout his life.

According to the Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, God’s teachings may be compared with honey ‘for their purifying and saving virtues’. The honey of knowledge is the foundation of social and individual happiness. Here again Eastern and Western mystical thought coincides. In the mystical Shi‘ite brotherhood of BektashI Dervishes, honey denotes haqq, transcendental reality, the goal of all spiritual pilgrimage where the individual melts into the godhead. This takes place in fana, a state of anaesthesia in which even the notion of pain is annihilated. According to the Hadiths of al-Bukhari, the Prophet and Islamic tradition regarded honey as the pre-eminent panacea able to restore sight to the blind, preserve the health and even restore the dead to life. Honey was part of the medicine ceremonies of the North American Indians, playing a major role in these rites and rituals. The Hopi chief from Arizona, Don C. Talayesva, records that during the medicine ceremonies at the time of the feast of the Winter solstice (Soyal), the priest poured libations of flour and honey. His description of the ritual shows that the Hopi endowed this use of honey with the twofold property of purifying and fertilizing, something absolutely concordant with the foregoing. By its association with ritual purification, honey defines its initiatory qualities. In his work on The Cave of the Nymphs, Porphyry states that when candidates were initiated into the Leontica (Mithras in the form of a lion) ‘honey, not water was poured over their hands, to wash them Furthermore, honey cleanses the tongue from all sin.’ Similarly worshippers of Mithras in other shapes were given honey to eat and candidates washed their hands in honey.

The traditions of the Mediterranean peoples, and especially of the Greeks, give full expression to this rich symbolism in its entirety. As food which inspires, it gave the gift of poetry to Pindar as it had given the gift of learning to Pythagoras. Both were initiates in the fullest sense of the word. The Eleusinian Mysteries confirm this hypothesis, since honey was given ‘to the higher grade of initiate as a sign of new life’. Honey therefore played its part in the initiatory awakening of Spring. It was linked to immortality by its yellow-gold colour and by the eternal cycle of death and rebirth.

Being the product of the transformation of short-lived pollen-powder into the succulent food of immortality, honey symbolizes the transformation effected by initiation, the conversion of the soul and the ultimate integration of personality. This, in fact, reduces to the oneness of a balanced individual a multitude of disparate elements. Similarly, we remain as ignorant of the processes of that biochemical mutation as we do of the very real but hidden workings of mystic grace and spiritual exercises, which take the soul from worldly dissipation (flitting from flower to flower) to mystic concentration (honey). Similarly, the processes whereby the ego becomes integrated on the road to individuation remain unclear, and this is also true of the transformation achieved by initiation.

Photo Gallery: