May 28, 2015

"The Honey Month" - Book Excerpt

I thought you’d like to read an excerpt from The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride.  “The Honey Month” appears in the spring issue of Season Magazine...and shares things about the honeymoon that I bet you didnt know! Enjoy.


 The Honey Month
The word “honeymoon,” in use since the sixteenth century as British historian Ann Monsarrat explains, is a derivation of a much older term, “honey-month,” describing the first weeks of the newlyweds’ life together at home, or at the home of friends or family, with the not so subtle intent of ensuring offspring. But these were considered rather “low-class words.” So beginning in the eighteenth century, when it became fashionable for well-to-do couples to take some sort of trip following their wedding festivities, the occasion was called “going away,” thought a more genteel expression. 

There’s a bit of intrigue associating the honey in “honeymoon” and the ancient legend of the honeybee’s luscious nectar with love and sex. In her book, The Hive: The Story of the Honeybee and Us, Bee Wilson muses how human civilization would have barely survived without the honeybee: its wax was used to create light in a dark world and its honey gave nourishment and medicine. But the honeybee also provided poetic mystery and “food for love”—from the devilish to the divine:

It is “sweet, like true love, and delicious, like carnal love, honey can be treacherous and sticky, like false love,” the author asserts. And there’s more. Its thick, syrupy-ness brings up a “dark side of human desire”—like this from Proverbs in the Bible: ‘the lips of an adulteress drip honey and her tongue is smoother than oil’. Yet “pure honey is precious and good, like married love”—as this line from the poem Rob Roy by Andrew Lang suggests: ‘Or will ye be my honey? / Or will ye be my wedded wife?’

Some believe the term “honeymoon” relates to the ancient Viking ritual when, for their aphrodisiac effects, “the bride and groom would eat honeyed cakes and drink mead for the first month of their betrothal”—truly a honey-month! However, the connection to honey and the name honeymoon or its true meaning “cannot be agreed upon.” Like most early rituals there are hazy origin myths, but what we know for sure is that “the use of honey in marriage rites has been a constant throughout the Indo-European world, and beyond.” (As in an age-old Egyptian marriage contract where the husband promised his wife a yearly gift of twelve jars of honey; or in archaic Hindu wedding ceremonies where the bride’s lips, ears “and beyond” were anointed with the nectar.)

Do we really “fall in love” or do we just “fall into a honeypot”? Do we meet our beloved by chance or are we stung by Cupid’s honey-soaked arrow? In stories of mythology, honey certainly plays its delicious part in romance. Becoming known as the young god of love, Cupid—the son of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, and Mars, the god of war—is not only famous for stealing honeycombs, but he also “fires arrows at his victims, sometimes dipped in honey” and they instantly fall in love with the next person they meet.  Honeypot, indeed! ~



[The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride available now on Amazon.com]

1 comment: