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They lived throughout most of the First Empire and saw the birth of several saviors throughout the ages. Eventually they were divided in northern and southern groups until geopolitical changes brought them together again. Machinations of their male saviors who became aristocrats and rulers also saw to this end.
From women within the hareems and women within the northern Bene Gesserat was established the Bene Gesserrette.
Origin[edit | edit source]
A mystical Terran group carried the genetic capacity for group consciousness within the family type. This group migrated from the central plains east and south around a sea through Harappa and Mesopotamia. After millennia of migration men lost this ability (perhaps by psychological repression; see Miraculous Voices at Raids) but continued to carry latent genes for the trait.
The women in whom the trait remained active also decreased, and the group developed rituals, traditions and religious structures to perpetuate the memory of group consciousness. As a result the active females only retained the memories of past active females and was born the need to breed also an active male strain to regain complete memory and consciousness.
Obviously the culture was dominated by the active-trait females. Mother Goddess religious structures supported a breeding program with detailed mnemonic records, and an extensive training and indoctrination program for active females. Both programs were embedded within their religious and political structure even through tribal migration and interracial marriage. As a result, this culture dominated two continents.
Rituals perpetuated the desire for the whole or gave a tantalizing past through the memories of active females. The attitude toward death was an axiom still found in Bene Gesserit texts: Do not count a human dead until you've seen the body. And even then you can make a mistake.
Archives were established in places such as Nippur, for records of the breeding lines and of the mythos dissemination and also became training centers for gene carriers. These were sent as ambassadors, historians, scribes, educators, and concubines. Later these centers became schools for aristocracy of both sexes.
A new doctrine established in one of these units: an activated male consciousness would be able to understand the future as well as the past, which openly challenged the "permanence" doctrine of a Goddess- or God-directed fate. Some tribes used a son/husband resurrection figure, "saved" by the mother/wife, figures like Au Set and Au Sar.
Interaction with other patriarchal religions produced other traditions such as: the harem system, licensed and religious promiscuity of women, tightly censored sexual activities, and religious inhibitions against association with menstruating women.
The gene-carriers were trained through tribal units. Within each tribe, the leading gene-carrier was designated the Great Mother who represented the tribe in the ruling intertribal group called The Mothers.
The Savior[edit | edit source]
In all the tribes the Mothers longingly proclaimed this savior, the Hdarak, as a superhero who would protect the pregnant women and provide a cultural reminder of a "better" past. The period when the Bene Gesserat was active seems unusually well populated by tribal "saviors."
After 12 centuries of careful breeding, a near savior emerged from northeast of the Great Sea. He conquered much of the lands around it and reunited gene-carriers separated for centuries. He established a great library staffed by southern women trained for mnemonic breeding-chart retrieval. They integrated the lost charts into their own, forming the earliest Bene Gesserit Summa.
The empire collapsed with the death of its emperor, but communication survived among a core of Mothers, who continued to direct the reestablished breeding charts. This core was eventually directed by a unit from a northwestern territory, a unit originally outside of the coalition but a part of the power structure which would later dominate the same geographical area.
The society was a republican form of government granting citizenship to aristocratic women, as these gene-carriers were able to organize a cohesive and lasting structure. This group was named the Bene Gesserat which meant "(women who) bear well" who strive to breed a savior, a power which would eliminate both internal and external threats to their nation, although it publicly labeled them a service group, devoted to bearing and rearing good citizens.
The Bene Gesserat had an elaborate training program for women who, with their military husbands, would colonize conquered territory. These contacted a northern family unit which had retained active consciousness within selected men as well as within women and enslaved them; their bloodlines' were introduced into the breeding charts.
There was a potential, and probable, active-trait male in that territory who declared himself a living god-emperor, and through marriage to Bene Gesserat Livia produced several generations of active-trait males. One of them appears to have been the first known Abomination, a man who heard "voices" and claimed to be both male and female. The Bene Gesserat then prohibited certain memory-transference practices and began new training procedures to safeguard active females against the possibility of personality "possession."
From the southern unit came a savior who produced disciples who proselytized deep into the northern territories. The Holy Church impounded all references made to this figure. Another active male is reported to have known both the ancient past and the distant future. His lineage shows a conjunction of the Bene Gesserat lines with the newer northern family lines. He rejected the role of savior, choosing to be an adviser to "The Once and Future King" rather than the king himself (there were social prohibitions against his taking power, being outside the regularized marriage lines of either group). There are strange stories disputing this man's "death". His powers were transferred through folk myth to the leader whom he served.
These reincarnation and resurrection myths reflect a family group within which an active-male strain existed for many centuries.
Division[edit | edit source]
Then there was an extensive period of female subjugation in both northern and southern cultures: The southerns were ruled by a heavily patriarchal family empire, and its women's breeder groups belonged mainly to a hareem system built on communication links within extended families, without any overt influence in their society for millennia. But within the hareem, this group continued an extensive, covert, training and breeding system.
The northern unit failed to maintain a continuity. When their empire collapsed, the northern group was separated from the southern group, and its own internal communication deteriorated. Political strife fragmented the territories held by the empire and made continuity of training north of the Great Sea almost impossible.
Mother Eleanor, accompanying her husband/king on an extensive excursion into the south, used her time while her husband battled and pillaged, to restore some communications with the south for a brief time.
After Eleanor's death however, the northern groups fragmented, losing any union with each other as well as with the south. The only continuity was found in two groups separated by sociopolitical boundaries.
The remnants of the old Bene Gesserat attempted to continue secretly breeding and training within the extended aristocratic families who intermarried. Occasionally an aristocratic breeder would gain public power, such as a woman who briefly held a dominant ecclesiastical position. The order had to work through its members' husbands and sons. A broader and stronger organization developed in the trades and among the peasantry, a religious group called Wicca who followed the programs established by the Bene Gesserat missionaries, practiced the "sciences" of the day, particularly the medical skills.
Meanwhile, political disruptions left pockets of uninitiated and untrained active women who, after centuries of alienation, were forced to interpret the evidence of their abilities within the patriarchal religious mythos of their territory. These women, hearing "voices," often went mad, and in the process were either venerated or executed by their neighbors, their fates dependent on the interpretation of their local priests.
One such woman whose "voices" drove her to become a national hero: she was martyred for defending her prince in battle.
Reunification in the North[edit | edit source]
While the southern branch was in a political stasis, the northern branch conquered and colonized lands newly discovered through more advanced navigational skills and brought both of the northern gene-carrying groups together under social conditions which allowed their reunion. They also became involved with two more family types, each carrying similar genetic traits.
- The family inhabitating the conquered territory was almost annihilated by the conquerors, and the new genes were not successfully integrated into the general breeding pattern for several centuries. (Certain genetic identifiers in this group have raised the possibility that it, in some way, may be part of The Duncan's heritage.
- The second family group, one set in a slave position within the conquering society passed a long and painful period to resolve hostilities between the two groups of women.
The integration of the four groups not only renewed the vigor of the original breeding line but also added genetic characteristics which enhanced this cultures' eventual technological progress.
The Bene Gesserat were rejuvenated by breeders in the northern territories. Women's groups sought openly to produce a savior; eventually the north gained a self-proclaimed savior, a man born out of peasant gene-carriers and educated in the ancient traditions who believed himself a god-emperor and set out to gain an empire. His conquests reunited the northern and southern genecarriers, reopening thus communication through the female espionage agents he planted within the hareem system. He also sought (through intermarriage of the aristocracy of the north) to reunite the two northern lines. From women within the hareems and women within the northern Bene Gesserat was established the Bene Gesserrette.
The old Bene Gesserat training programs were reactivated across the north and sent to the newly occupied territories across the Western Ocean.
Prohibition against Abomination[edit | edit source]
"In the male and female consciousness there reside personalities of such evil and such power that they endanger the species. They stand ready to dominate any untrained soul. When one's soul becomes dominated, possessed by such an ancestral evil, one becomes an Abomination, a fleshly house inhabited by a monster. Immediate death is the only release for such a soul. The order will take precautions to guard a bloodline while extinguishing the power of tile Abomination."
Notes[edit | edit source]
- It must refer to Alexander the Great
- Must be Livia Drusila, grandmother of Nero
- Could be a reference to Jesus
- He must be a reference to Merlin and King Arthur
- Possibly a reference to Queen consort Eleanor of Aquitaine who participated to the Second Crusade
- A reference to Joan of Arc
- Reference to the Age of Exploration
- A possible reference to King Napoleon of France