.: WASP :.
Species: Eastern Yellowjacket ~Vespula maculifrons and Western Yellowjacket ~ Vespula pensylvanica
Secured: Spring/Summer of 2019 through 2021 - Taos, New Mexico
Parts Used: Female Workers, Early Spring Queen Specimens, Larvae, Pupae
Method of Extraction: Advanced Alchemical lab processes combining Plant, Animal, and Mineral works to achieve the secretive Animal Alchemy
Highlights: Transformation, Metamorphosis, Development, Great Changes, Assertiveness/Taking Charge, Fertility, Order, Personal and Social Responsibilities, Community/Ability to Cooperate, Organization, Awareness, Independence, New Beginnings, Caring for the Home and Family/Friends/Resources, Truth/Honesty, Motivation, Clear Focus, Adventure, Building, Progress, Efficiency, Intelligence.
We know them as nuances throughout the summer and never hesitate to, mistakenly, swat at them when they're minding their business and are out doing their jobs. The wasp is notorious for their sting, and unlike honeybees, they won't die after stinging. No. Once you're stung, they usually come at you again, especially if your reaction is to swat again. Although it's been very misunderstood, the wasp has been under the spotlight in leu of the conservation of bees as pollinators. We don't know a whole lot about them, but new studies are showing that they are more than your BBQ crashers.
The Wasp has it's story intermingled with those of bees and hornets in cultural references. When looking at the spiritual connotations of Wasp, it's very easy to find correlations with it's relatives and cross-referencing is unavoidable and useful. Keep this in mind when doing research on Wasp or any other animal guide or totem.
The wasps/yellowjackets used in this Spagyric are native to North America and are found in excess throughout the Northern New Mexico region. V. maculifrons and V. pensylvanica are in the small genus of social wasps called Vespula. Although they build terrestrial paper nests, they're usually found in subterranean nests. This is where the story of a queen begins after being nurtured during the winter.
In some wasp species, like yellow jackets, the difference between a queen and her worker siblings is apparent and common with advanced social insects. The queen is larger than her workers and she is raised in a different part of the nest. All of the wasps look alike when they're born, with no differentiations in caste until later in their development. The belief that worker wasps are altruistic and choose to be workers during early development was popularized in the 1970's by the father of biodiversity Edward O. Wilson, but has recently been shown that the sterile worker/reproductive queen model to be untrue. Workers are born with their reproductive organs turned on while queens are born with theirs turned off.
A worker's job is maternal care, even though they cannot lay eggs themselves, and this work requires their reproductive organs to be switched on; think of this as allowing the workers to tap into the maternal instincts of a mother without having to be one but this influences them to care for offspring that isn't theirs and these reproductive genes are kept off in a queen. While this gene expression is turned off in the queen, she has a specific group of proteins in her that allow survival throughout the winter, with the genes being turned on in early spring so that she can begin to reproduce after finding a nesting spot to build her future colony. - Advanced social insects.
A queen begins her journey in early spring after her winter hibernation. Cold winters aren't what kills queens, it's usually when hunted by other insects while in their deep sleep, although premature awakening during warm winters do kill many queens because of a lack of food sources.
While in her deep sleep, the queen lays down in a secure place for the winter, tucking her antennas and wings under her body. Her antennae are important because its how she feels her world, including probing over the nest cells and deciding where to lay her eggs. The wings are a no brainer. On average, the worker's lifespan is between 12 to 24 days while a queen's can be anywhere between 10 to 12 months, with the colony's number of residents dwindling as temperatures drop and food becomes scarce.
Here is the queen with her wings and antennae tucked away
Flip her over, and she seems dead. She's fine though
Wasps and yellow jackets craft their nests out of paper, either underground, trees, or somewhere inside or out of our homes. The queen seeks out trees, plant fibers, and even cardboard, and with a mouth full of fiber she patiently chews. Flying to her selected location with a mouthful of pulp, she begins to construct hexagonal cells where she will place the eggs of the first generation of construction workers, caretakers, future queens, and some drones.
Underground nest with extensive chambers
These are the more commonly found nests
.:The Venom Conversation:.
The experience from a wasp's sting is the reason behind their notoriously negative reputation and for those of us who know this first hand know the agony. Why wasps are equipped with this arsenal is interesting; Venom isn't only a means for a wasp to protect itself and the colony from a threat, it can also avoid a future confrontation with that same threat.
Whether in animals, microbes, or plants, venom exists as a means of protection and the securing of food/prey. Venoms are mixtures made up of complex bioactive proteins, small molecules, and peptides. Usually found in animal venom, these peptides are the most aggressive, abundant, and deleterious of the cocktail's ingredient list because of their specific ability to target the vital receptors of their prey that can lead to heart failure, paralysis, and tissue damage and have evolved to be delivered via intramuscular, intravenous, or subcutaneous routes and is the reason why venomous animals bite or sting.
Isolated peptides can be controlled in concentrations that allow scientists to utilize them in pharmacology for useful drugs and can be used as anti-venoms. Venomous animals have been associated with pain-infliction and distress. These venoms, which trigger an onslaught of firings in pain receptors, are being used to treat other forms of chronic pain, leading to promising drugs that can replace the use of potentially dangerous and addictive drugs like opioids. Their has been successful use of venoms for skin applications where they stimulate the production of elastin and collagen, circulation, partial immobilization of facial muscles (without injections), hydration and locking in moisture. The cure lies within the poison.
Because of their skill and craftsmanship, it's important to note that when Wasp shows up in your life; synchronicities, dreams, psychedelics, or stings you, you know it's time to pay attention! Let's bring up some key points to keep in mind and meditate on. You're being communicated with.
One key note is that the (social) Wasp brings intelligence into cooperation with it's group/family/society. You must know your placement in the grander scheme of things because you play a role which is part of a larger system of operations. Being able to Mind Your Own Business is crucial. When you know what your job is, or what role you play, go do that. If you cannot, then stepping away to address yourself is needed and this way you don't throw off the intricate systems at play. We all need some time to ourselves, to figure out, and to regulate before returning back to the social structures. The ability to know when to step back and away is a skill within itself. If Wasp is sick, it can bring that back into the hive and could harm others. There is a sense of independence that comes with being able to make a choice to go within instead of projecting your mind onto others.
Strategy, skill, study, and intelligence are of importance and tune to the masculine aspect of Wasp. Although we speak of masculine and feminine, we do not mean gender in any way. Knowing this requires the use of intellectual faculties which derive from the masculine energy of the Divine. Knowing this is behind Wasp energy. In one aspect, she is a Mason. A builder and craftsman who assists in building massive structures that both house and protect the colony. The world is Chaos, pure potential, and the masculine energies are necessary in order to... well... ORDER. Structure out of infinite potentialities.
Caring, nurturing, and tending to necessities - whether with yourself and/or other - fertility, the home, and birth/creation are all in the feminine aspect of Wasp. With her job in mind, Wasp knows to venture out and find nourishment for the ferociously hungry larvae that await their arrival. She cannot digest the food she has chewed for the larvae, but the babies do have the mouth part to gobble up the pulp and in exchange, the liquid excreted by the larvae's mouth is sustenance for the Wasp.
I'll list some questions that come with Wasp. Whatever your answer, ask yourself why. If you feel discomfort or triggered, then we can safely say EUREKA! Here you go:
Where in your life is this energy lacking or being imposed too strongly onto yourself or others?
Are you able to make decisions on your own?
Do you know how to lead your own story?
Are you balancing the masculine and feminine energies within?
Have you, unknowingly, given your independence and power away to someone, something, or immature mental processes?
Are you able to cooperate with others?
Are you nurturing things in my life that require it?
With your tools of defense and protection; Are they being used in a senseless manner?
The manner in which Wasp present it's power through the warrior spirit in important to take note of. A true warrior has practiced in the healing arts. A true healer has practiced in the martial arts. They need each other and you'll need these for your life and the lives of those closest to you. Discipline is calling. knowing when enough is enough is healthy for all of us. This is Wasp. To know when to be open and gentle and when it's time to draw a line in the sand and set things in their place. Discernment. When it's time to play and work or when it's time to get shit done. It's all out of Love and it's not your job to make anyone feel anything. It's your job to do your job with full awareness that it's not just you that's here and affected. There's a larger picture at play, intricate mechanics behind your life and story. If you found yourself here, Wasp may very well be calling up you to get up, shake it off, and prepare yourself for this adventure.