Udo Becker, writing in the Continuum Encyclopedia of Symbols (2000), endorses the bee theory of the fleur-de-lis, but most other experts in symbols do not, except for the cranks who write about Merovingian conspiracies, citing Chifflet. The bee had been an early Mediterranean symbol of the female divinity in the Mycenaean period (Potnia) and was associated with death and resurrection among the Mycenaeans (tholos tombs) and the Hittites (Telepinu myth), and prophecy as well for the Greeks (Homeric Hymn to Hermes 555f.) and Hebrews (Josephus, Antiquities 5.205). But this seems to have fallen out of favor before the end of the Classical period, and certainly after Childreric, not to be revived in France until Napoleon struck upon the bee as a substitute for the fleur-de-lis upon his assumption of the imperial dignity, though prominent on the arms of the Barberini in Italy.
Wolter says that the fleur-de-lis “does kinda look like” a bee when thinking of a bee facing head downward, and St. Clair vocalizes a “mm-hmmm” in agreement, followed by a “very much.” I don’t see it myself. It looks a lot like a lily to me.
Following this Wolter points to a statue on the cathedral of Bernard de Clairvaux, who the on-screen graphics bluntly and falsely claim “founded the Templars to keep the secret of Jesus’s bloodline.” Not only is this the most explicitly false statement that the show has yet made—no facetious qualifiers here!—it also flagrantly violates the old publishing rule that classical and biblical names ending in “s” do not take an extra “s” after the apostrophe in the possessive.
Wolter claims that Bernard used the beehive as his symbol and thus ties it to the fictitious beehive of the fleur-de-lis. The beehive had been a metaphor for all monks and for the church itself since the time of St. John Chysostom in the fourth century CE (see Homilies on the Statues 12). As far as I know, the beehive symbol was applied to Bernard after the fact, as a visual reminder of the Latin adjective used to describe his rhetoric--mellificuus, or honey-sweet. Steve St. Clair asserts that the “queen bee” of Bernard’s hive was Mary Magdalene, which goes against the explicit medieval identification of the beehive with the sweetness of the Virgin Mary, the heavenly queen—as, for example, in the fourteenth century writings of St. Bridget of Sweden, who in the years after the Templar suppression explicitly has Mary say “when you greeted me, you compared me to a beehive” and call Jesus the “Blessed Bee” (Liber Caelestis 6.12, trans. Denis Searby). So, if the bee is a “secret” symbol of Jesus, the Church certainly failed to “suppress” it since its saints wouldn’t shut up about it. But sorry Mary Magdalene, the beehive isn’t your symbol.
This leads to a discussion of Rosslyn Chapel (“of Da Vinci Code fame,” Wolter helpfully reminds us) in which St. Clair asserts that the top of the chapel contains the “oldest known example of a manmade beehive” which the bees entered through a hole in the center of a decorative stone rose. This is only partially true. As the BBC reported in 2010, the beehive itself was constructed by bees, but the tiny space they filled had been thoughtfully carved for them by stonemasons in an inaccessible part of the chapel’s roof. As the article itself reported, beekeeping had been going on for centuries. (The Egyptians had the first known artificial beehives around 2500 BCE, according to Egyptian wall art depictions, though the combs within were built by the bees. Similarly, actual remains of clay and straw artificial hives were found in the Levant dating back to 900 BCE.) What made this hive different was the fact that the space for the bees was inaccessible and impractical—it was for the bees, not for humans. For the record, the first artificial honeycomb, which I think is what Steve was getting at, was invented in the 1700s.
Wolter says that the Rosslyn five-petal rose represents a five-ray star and thus is the symbol of “the goddess, i.e. Mary Magdalene.” Wolter then asserts that the fleur-de-lis ties into this as an “important” symbol, despite not being a bee and despite the ancient goddesses not using a five pointed star. Ishtar and Astarte, for example, had an eight-pointed star—the famed Star of Venus—which was only stylized into a five-pointed star relatively late in the Islamic period, where it appears alongside the crescent moon as a symbol of Islam. The eight-pointed version was still current as late as 1963, when it still appeared on the Iraqi flag.
Frankly, he should have stopped while he was ahead—real research rather than reading conspiracy books would have uncovered the old Mediterranean goddesses like Potnia and the Thriai and the priestesses of Apollo, Artemis, and Demeter who were all associated with bees, a much stronger connection to Wolter’s imaginary Magdalene-goddess conspiracy than a fanciful carving of a rose atop Rosslyn Chapel.
Of course, the rest of the episode might well make mention of these things, but H2 chose not to include them in its clip to promote the supposed truth the show is uncovering.