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Amarjah's Musing -Myth, Mysticism & Meaning

Sarmoung Brotherhood -The Beeoney moon Share/Bookmark

Symbolism of the Bee


The Sarmoung Brotherhood, an alleged esoteric Sufi brotherhood, emerged in the writings of George Gurdjieff, a Greek-Armenian spiritual teacher. Some, similar to those who questioned Castaneda's Don Juan, conclude the group was merely a fictional teaching device.

The word 'Sarmoung' uses the Armenian pronunciation of the Persian term 'Sarman', which may mean either 'he who preserves the doctrine of Zoroaster', or 'bee'.

Author John G. Bennett, student, writes:

"The word can be interpreted in three ways. It is the word for bee, which has always been a symbol of those who collect the precious 'honey' of traditional wisdom and preserve it for further generations. A collection of legends, well known in Armenian and Syrian circles with the title of The Bees, was revised by Mar Salamon, a Nestorian Archimandrite in the thirteenth century. The Bees refers to a mysterious power transmitted from the time of Zoroaster and made manifest in the time of Christ.... Man is Persian meaning as the quality transmitted by heredity and hence a distinguished family or race. It can be the repository of an heirloom or tradition. The word sar means head, both literally and in the sense of principal or chief. The combination sarman would thus mean the chief repository of the tradition." Yet another possibility was "those whose heads have been purified", in other words: the enlightened.

The ‘Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry’ emphasizes the Bee's importantance as “only the Bee has a King.” The quote is peculiar because bee society is matriarchal. The Masons may refer to the King Bee from the Egyptian pharaoh who bore the title of ‘Beekeeper.’  Freemasonry may be an extension of goddess worship.

“Go to the bee, and learn how diligent she is, and what a noble work she produces; whose labour kings and private men use for their health. She is desired and honoured by all, and, though weak in strength, yet since she values wisdom she prevails.”

"The bee hive is an emblem of industry, and recommends the practice of that virtue of all created beings…Thus was man formed for social and active life, the noblest part of the work of God; and he that will so demean himself, as not to be endeavouring to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding, may be deemed a drone in the hive of nature, a useless member of society, and unworthy of our protection as masons.”
Mason Apron

Many Masonic presidents were also Grand Masters of their lodges and were installed into the symbolic chair of King Solomon. Soloman, after consulting with a Bee (an oracle), secured the love of the Queen of Sheba . The Masonic regalia expresses the craft's admiration of the Bee and Beehive that signified the wisdom and industry of man. The emblem places the Beehive directly above a coffin, a vital element of the Masonic 3rd degree initiationl, and alludes to the Bee's association with resurrection.

Napoleon & the Bee

The Bee was an important icon of Napoleon’s reign, and led to his inevitable nickname; The Bee. In his homeland of Corsica the annual tax equivalent of £200,000 was paid in beeswax. The young emperor used the Bee as his emblem on clothing, draperies, carpets and furniture. Napoleon was paying homage to Childeric (436 - 481), a ‘long haired’ Merovingian Kings from the region Gaul. When Childeric’s tomb was uncovered in 1653, it contained 300 golden bees Napoleon had affixed to his coronation robe. Sadly, only two have survived.

The tomb of Childeric contained items of divination such as a crystal ball and a bull's head made of gold, amongst other unusual objects, such as a severed horse's head. Childeric’s hoard was entrusted to Leopold Wilhelm von Habsburg, a military governor of the Austrian Netherlands who was believed to have been a descendent of the Merovingian dynasty. Six years after his coronation, Napoleon married Marie-Louise, the daughter of Francis II, the last Habsburg to sit on the throne of the Holy Roman Empire.

Coronation Robe with BeesGold Bees

Napoleon’s choice of the Bee as the national emblem of his imperial rule associates him with the Carolingians and Merovingian’s. These early French kings featured bee and cicada symbolism as a metaphor for resurrection and immortality. .

The Bees


Napoleon's 1798 invasion of Egypt led The Bee riding horseback into the land of the Bee, staring at an image that may have been named after the Minoans word for Bee; ‘Sphex’.


The Fleur De-Lys

The Bee &

Fleur De Lys

Robert Lawlor studied the design of the Bee and Fleur-de-lys in his book; ‘Sacred Geometry’ and concluded that the proportion of the Fleur-de-lys is also found in the design of the Islamic Mosque. The secret brotherhood called Sarmoung, or Sarman, collected the precious 'honey' of wisdom and preserved it for future generations.


bee flame

Logo of Sarmoung Brotherhood with a Bee attracted to the flame of a candle

The Merovingians 

The Fleur-de-lys has appeared in Egypt, Rome, France,and Israel, among other places. However in France, the Bee and the Fleur-de-lys embodied the essence of the Merovingian dynastym purported to be decendants of Jesus. Their mysteries include treasure and heretical secrets encoded in the South of France. Rennes-Le-Château, featured in Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’, is home to esoteric secrets leading back to the Egyptian mysteries.

Gurdjieff's account

The Brotherhood was also sought by Georges Gurdjieff on his journeys through Asia. Gurdjieff states the Brotherhood was known to have existed somewhere in Mesopotamia up to the sixth or seventh century AD. "But," he wrote, "about its further existence one could not obtain anywhere the least information". His sketchy account of his encounter with the Sarmoung Brotherhood, can be found in his autobiography Meetings with Remarkable Men.



In Studies in Comparative Religion (Winter 1974), it is said that according to the Armenian book Merkhavat, the Sarmoung Brotherhood, also referred to as the 'Inner Circle of Humanity', originated in ancient Babylon circa 2500 BC, at around the time the Egyptians built the Great Pyramid of Giza. The Ouspensky Foundation state that the brotherhood was active in the golden Babylonian time of Hammurabi (1728-1686 BC) and is connected with Zoroaster, the teacher of Pythagoras (born c. 580 BC–572 BC, died c. 500 BC–490 BC). According to the Foundation, Pythagoras stayed for twelve years in Babylon.

According to Account of the Sarmoun Brotherhood (1966, 1982) by Major Desmond R. Martin who was an associate of the writer and Sufi teacher, Idries Shah, the contemporary Sarmoun Brotherhood is in the Hindu Kush mountains of northern Afghanistan.

The motto of the Sarmouni is "Work produces a Sweet Essence" (Amal misazad yak zaati shirin), The work being not only work for God and for others but also self-work. Just as the bee accumulates honey, so the Sarmouni accumulate, store and preserve what they term "true knowledge." In times of need, Baraka is released once more into the world through specially trained emissaries.

Mark Sedgwick, the Coordinator, Unit for Arab and Islamic Studies at Aarhus University writes:

Although few commentators in Gurdjief would put it so bluntly, it seems clear to me that the Sarmoung are entirely imaginary. No Sufi tariqa of such a name is known, and in fact "Sarmoung" is a typically Gurdjieffian fantastical name. It is immediately obvious to anyone who knows anything about regular Sufism that there is nothing remotely Sufi about the Sarmoung Order described by Gurdjieff.

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