Pollination in a Time of Crisis

Bees around the world are dying off. In many cases it’s due to man’s use of pesticides with no thought for the effects on the land and creatures.   The Spirit world has noticed and taken steps to help the bees and plants. Those that have spoken to humans on the matter, tell of the need for balance because the world’s species are intricately interconnected. When a species declines or goes extinct, everyone else must work all the harder to keep the balance and survive together. The yokai are willing to work hard to help, but insist we must too. For without pollinators, there will be no crops--a bleak future.  

Kodama

Kodama
Kodama by Amy Winters-Voss
The most notable of these spirits is the Kodama, who tether to the trees that sustain their life. They pollinate the surrounding plants, taking care to not cross the pollen from one plant with another. They will see to the needs of their type of trees first, but seem happy to help out any plants with in their reach. Bold kodama may also appear to humans who are using pesticides and communicate with them. Though the humans may not understand the tree spirit’s language, they often get the point through the gestures used. Humans who refuse to listen or care are never to be heard from again.   Kodama will allow pollinators who are not harmful to nest in their tree by creating a cavity for a hive or home. Species they might allow include bees, beneficial wasps, beetles, small birds, butterflies, moths, ants (not carpenter ants though), bats, flies, and small lizards.   Tree spirits who are older and sensing their tree’s demise awaken the spirits of the surrounding plants to help with the pollination of the local area’s plants.    

Furutsubaki no Rei

Camellia
Camellia by Freepik
Legends say the tsubaki bush (camellia japonica) can turn men into bees and poison the man-bees. Because of the current pollination crisis, the tsubaki bushes have been lenient toward the bees they create. If the human-bee cares to help the plants in the area by spending a short time as a bee and swear not to use insecticides, they will be returned to human form. This allows the humans to see the bee’s point of view. If they remain selfish, they will be poisoned and discarded.  

Toumorokoshi no Obake

Corn plants may let thier ears take on terrifying ghostly faces if they are treated with insecticide. They’ve started doing this to fight back against the use of the chemicals that damage the bees and other pollinators. It will affect the whole field, since the corn plants grow fast and need each other for protection to stand against the wind. They stand together in all things, figuratively and literally. Farmers tend to take notice when the whole harvest is ruined.  

Inari

Inari Ookami the Kami of the harvest has been distressed to see all the pesticides on the crops. Their blessing is being withdrawn from the harvest of those who continue to those chemicals.    

Human Response

Farmers in the Nonogawa River Valley region are using more natural methods, such as:
  • spraying fruit bearing plants with vinegar introducing beneficial insects instead of insecticides
  • chop and drop style harvesting (where the plant isn’t removed, but tilled under to return the nutrients to the soil)
  • providing homes for all types of bees--honeybees, mason, leaf cutters, etc.
  • These methods allow the plants to redevelop their natural resistance to harmful pests, and make it more friendly for beneficial insects. Ants and others are sensing it may be safe to help pollinate again.   Researchers have developed drones to pollinate plants mimicking bees and and ones that deliver pollenized soap bubbles. In these areas, the yokai are a bit concerned about rough treatment of plants and soap contamination. Though they applaud the effort.   The yokai community in the Nonogawa area holds hope that humans might learn to care for the earth and all that dwells in it.
    Localization
    Japan, particularly the forested regions.
    Type
    Metaphysical, Supernatural

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    Cover image: Japanese Honeybee Apis Cerana Japonica ニホンミツバチ Pollinating Plum Blossoms by Greg Peterson

    Comments

    Author's Notes

    References

  • Making the Impossible Possible -- "Miracle Apples" and Natural Cultivation
  • Corn Monsters
  • Camellia and Bees legend
  • Drone delivered bubbles for pollinating
  • Drone to pollinate flowers

  • Please Login in order to comment!
    28 Aug, 2020 22:26

    Just like always, this is fascinating and breathtaking to look at. This is art. I love this!   Are there any myths of say the corn themselves getting upset and taking stronger action if further treated?

    — The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
    30 Aug, 2020 16:09

    Considering the whole harvest is ruined, I'm not sure there's a need. Thanks much for reading! <3

    Author of the upcoming book Rise: Liminal Chronicles |
    Grandmaster Serukis
    Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
    22 Sep, 2020 00:32

    I love all the details in this - the way nature has begun to fight back (the corn faces sound terrifying) and the response of the humans that have started to farm in a much more sustainable fashion. Really amazing article.   The little pictures are so cute!

    Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
    23 Sep, 2020 21:39

    Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!

    Author of the upcoming book Rise: Liminal Chronicles |
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