Bene Gesserit

The Brotherhood Bene Gesserit , in the fictional universe of the saga of Dune is an orderly organization in the style monastic western, a key faction social, level political and religious . It is described as a female order whose members follow a physical and mental conditioning to obtain powers and abilities that can easily appear magical to strangers . Because of their secrecy and incomprehensible abilities they are often called witches .

Its origins are set at the end of the so-called Butlerian Jihad period, as is the case with most factions of the Dune Universe. Formed in the Mother School of Whallach IX , in the last two books of the original saga they are rooted in a world hidden to the strangers known like House Chapter . The Bene Gesserit are only loyal to themselves, however, to achieve their goals and avoid interference from others are often masked by the illusion of loyalty to other groups or individuals. The Bene Gesserit order is scattered throughout the empire. Expert professionals, spies or concubines, each assignment is a sign of the versatility of the order to accommodate their environment and take advantage, especially for their human genetic improvement program.


Origins of the name

The name Bene Gesserit must have been adopted from the Latin phrase quamdiu se bene gesserit , which means for all the time that it behaves well . 1

Considering both terms separately, Bene is also an alternative form of the Hebrew B’nei (בני), meaning people of or children of , which is also applicable in the case of Bene Tleilax . And Gesserit is a form of the Latin verb gerere (third person singular, either in the future perfect indicative asset or the perfect active subjunctive), whose meanings include driving , dressing , handling , behaving or simply doing .

In Brian Herbert ‘s biography of his father, he speculates that the name gesserit tries to suggest to the reader the word Jesuit , evoking both his high intellectual level and the fame of this religious order to obtain justifications for the unjustifiable.

Birth of the Brotherhood

Settling ten thousand years before the events of Dune , in the first two novels of the trilogy Legends of Dune , Dune: The Butler Jihad and Dune: The crusade of the machines , it is revealed that the Sorceresses of Rossak are a group of women who Possess telekinetic powers with which they can destroy the Thinking Machines. As Sorcerers die by unleashing their telekinetic powers, they sacrifice themselves to destroy some of the Titans and Neo-Cymeks during Butler’s Jihad . That is why Ticia Cenva , leader of the Sorcerers, initiates a birth planning with a view to creating more powerful telepaths.

Subsequently, in Dune: The Battle of Corrin , Thinking Machines develop and deploy an ARN retrovirus that causes a plague that threatens to wipe out humanity. Rossak Sorcerers develop their genetic program to preserve human bloodlines from this threat. Dr. Raquella Berto-Anirul , granddaughter of Vorian Atreides and researcher of the pest, survives the same due to substances that exist in the planet Rossak. Paranoid and jealous, Ticia Cenva poisons her using Rossak ‘s Drug . Raquella survives the attack, being the first capable of internally transforming the poison by making it harmless. This first agony produces a second effect on Raquella, and is the unlocking of Other Memories , thus becoming the first Reverend Mother . Shortly thereafter, Raquella also discovers the new ability to control others through the Voice . After the suicide of the Sorceress leader, Raquella assumes the power over the Rossak Sorcerers and their genetic programs and founds the Bene Gesserit school of thought.

Development of the Bene Gesserit

It should be remembered that the Bene Gesserit arose from the need for replacement of various talents that only Thinking Machines had. After the battle of Corrin, magnificent schools of thought arose, among them are the Mentat , Guild or Spatial Guild , Ginaz Swordsmen , Bene Gesserit School and Suk School of Doctors .

They all had the premise of developing to the utmost of human innate talents: some in pure mathematics , and extrasensory powers like the Brotherhood and their Navegantes able to see the future; Others with surprising minds for the acquisition and manipulation of data like the Mentat ; Others with incredible warlike abilities like Ginaz’s swordsmen; There were also the doctors Suk, conditioned to be incapable of violating their own Hippocratic Oath and with great diagnostic abilities; And finally, Bene Gesserit, politicians, strategists and historians, among other skills.

In the centuries following the events of Butler ‘s Jihad , the Bene Gesserit Brotherhood grows and expands, establishing itself as a semi-mystical school that provides a high education and conditioning to women, serving the Empire as Truth-Deciders or concubines. In reality, they are a power in the shade, subtly controlling the Empire with a view to helping in the process of maturing humanity.

Apart from their superior combat abilities, acquired through Prana-bindu physical and mental conditioning , the Bene Gesserit possess a precise physiological control that gives them the ability to manipulate the conception process and the sex determination of the conceived embryo, control over The processes of aging and even the immunological ability to analyze and manipulate through the chemistry of their bodies all kinds of substances that ingest and neutralize them in case of danger. Their Voice power allows them to control others by modulating their vocal tones. The Sisters who survive the Agony achieve a higher level of consciousness and abilities through the Other Memories , and are thereafter referred to as Reverend Mothers .

Bene Gesserit develops a large-scale genetic program aimed at creating a super-being, the Kwisatz Haderach , that can help them manipulate the empire more effectively. For this, they have been millennia sending Sisters to conceive with those whose genes are considered optimal, following a pre-established reproductive scheme, thus manipulating the main bloodlines for generations.

Towards the Kwisatz Haderach

In the first novel of the trilogy Prelude to Dune , Dune: The House Atreides , the Bene Gesserit are three generations to reach their great grail: the birth of the Kwisatz Haderach , the male Bene Gesserit who will arrive where they do not arrive, which must Be able to see in the genetic memories of father and mother. This being, according to its plan, will be the masculine equivalent of a Reverend Mother. You can manipulate its interior, its internal chemistry and its organs like a Reverend Mother. However, his most attractive feature will be his foreknowledge , his ability to see the future. The Bene Gesserit hope to be able to control this man, and use his prescient vision to take the reins of human destiny and finally control the humanity and manipulate the events to his measure.

Anirul , the future wife of Emperor Paddishah Shaddam IV , is finally revealed as Mother Kwisatz, a very special Bene Gesserit dedicated solely to keeping the count of the generations necessary to produce the Kwisatz Haderach and its details. Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam is sent to conceive a daughter of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen . After a first failed attempt, Reverend Mother Mohiam 2 gives birth to Jessica .

Destined to be the grandmother of the Kwisatz Haderach, Jessica must conceive a daughter with the heir of the House Atreides , Leto Atreides . This daughter in turn will conceive with the heir of the house Harkonnen to the Kwisatz Haderach.

In Dune: The Harkonnen House Jessica is sent as a present to Duke Leto. But this one stays faithful to its concubine and mother of its first son Victor. The death of the child in an attempt prepared by his own concubine, and the subsequent suicide of this one add to the Duke in a depression of which is rescued by Jessica. Becoming the Duke’s concubine, Jessica is ordered to conceive a daughter. But the pain of the Duke and the love of Jessica towards him lead him to disobey the Brotherhood, and conceives a man.

At the conclusion of the trilogy, Jessica keeps the sex of her future son secret, and is called by Anirul, Mother Kwisatz and wife of the emperor, to Kaitain where Paul is born. Anirul dies at the hands of the Mentat Piter de Vries , while preventing the child Paul Atreides from being kidnapped by the Harkonnen. This becomes a mystery for the Bene Gesserit, who have Paul as a failure in his scheme to create the Kwisatz Haderach. They can not understand why Mother Kwisatz came to make this decision, although the book explains that Anirul’s special sensitivity to the genetic scheme since her Other Memories had warned her of the possibility that the Kwisatz Haderach might be born a generation earlier.

Success and failure of the Kwisatz project

Due to the infatuation and disobedience of Jessica Atreides , she gives birth to a child instead of the girl ordered by the Bene Gesserit, who hoped to marry this girl with the heir of the Harkonnen House, and to seal the rancor between the two Houses since The ancient Battle of Corrin. The child born of this sought union would seize the imperial throne by force using the religious forces planted by the Protective Missionary , Bene Gesserit religious engineers charged with planting superstitions and spreading religions for their convenience in primitive worlds. In a feudal empire such worlds are the majority and therefore the Kwisatz Haderach Bene Gesserit would be a political as well as a religious figure in full, and would do the will of his sisters.

In the first novel of the original saga, Dune , an adolescent Paul Atreides lands in Arrakis , a primitive planet crucial in the economy of the empire for being the only known source of spice melange . The Bene Gesserit, expectant towards what may be this error of its genetic program, watches, but they can not avoid the betrayal of the emperor and the Baron Harkonnen. Paul disappears in the desert, but the manipulations of the Protective Missionary and his own qualities lead him to try to achieve religious and political leadership among the fremen . To do this, he submits to the Agony of the spice and surpasses it, becoming the Kwisatz Haderach, but not in the service of the Brotherhood. Paul defeats the emperor and ascends to the power, initiating a holy war that expands by the empire cementing its power.

In The Messiah of Dune the Space Guild , the Tleilaxu and the Bene Gesserit conspire to try to regain control over the empire and retake the Kwisatz bloodline. Their conspiracies lead to death Chani , concubine and beloved of Paul, and this one to the blindness after an attack. The march of Paul to the desert following the old fremen tradition makes that the princess Irulan , consort of Paul, daughter of Anirul and infiltrated Bene Gesserit in the imperial structure betrays to the Brotherhood and becomes an adept of the Atreides family, protecting Leto II and Ghanima , sons of Paul and Chani.

Along Children of Dune , the Bene Gesserit tries to regain Atreides bloodline arranging the marriage of Ghanima with Farad’n Corrino , heir of the former Imperial House. But the young Leto II dares to carry out what his father refused to do, follow the Golden Path and assume the divine role that allows him to lead humanity to its maturation, becoming the God Emperor and exercising a power Even more absolute than his father.

La Paz de Leto

When God the Emperor of Dune begins , the fourth novel of the original saga, the Bene Gesserit goes through bad moments. After three thousand five hundred years of mandate of the God Emperor , the worms of Arrakis have disappeared due to the ecological transformation of Arrakis, the melange scarce and Leto II maintains a tight control in the annual allocations of spice. The emperor’s Pez Talkers crush any revolt and help maintain an empire in forced peace, without conflict. Social customs have been standardized, following the Fremen model, and religious construction around the Emperor God provokes the envy of the Bene Gesserit Protective Missionary , whose primary objective however is to regain absolute control of its genetic program. But the prescience of Leto II is powerful, and the Bene Gesserit survives folded at his orders and desires, always investigating about him and his designs. “Let us know if our action constitutes a threat to give up on it” and also: “Show us your great plan so that we collaborate” are the invocations with which they address the God Emperor. 3

The return of heretics

The plan of Leto II is fulfilled after his death: the humanity compressed by his reign of forced peace explodes in the chaos, arrives times of famine that push the humanity to look for new borders in a diaspora that was called the Dispersion . And in the next novel of the saga, Herejes de Dune , the descendants of the dispersed return . Alma Mavis Taraza , Mother Superior of the Bene Gesserit, plans to create a new religion around Sheanna , an orphan fremen with the innate ability to communicate with the sandworms of Arrakis, descendants of the God Emperor and each bearing a pearl of his Consciousness. At the same time the Honored Matres , an extremely strong and violent female organization, fleeing from an unknown Enemy attempt to create a solid base from the remains of the ancient Empire of the Million Worlds with which to regain their lost empire in The Dispersion. Reverend Mother Darwi Odrade is sent to Arrakis to protect Little Sheanna, and there she discovers the reason why the Emperor God allowed the Bene Gesserit to survive during his reign: his foreknowledge had seen the problems hidden behind the Dispersion and urged them To join him in his Golden Path . In his first contact with the Honored Matres in Gammu , the Bashar Miles Teg makes a display of new abilities, he can see the invisible ships to the prescient ones, and he has a speed that is out of sight. The terror provoked in his flight of Gammu provokes in the Matres an instinctive and furious answer: the total annihilation of Arrakis and the sandworms.

Towards a new Brotherhood

With the sandworms missing, fear that the oracle of Leto II overruled the humanity disappears from the Bene Gesserit. In Chapter House Dune , dead Taraza in Arrakis, the new Mother Superior Darwi Odrade and her advisers maintain the plan to unleash a religious Jihad to unite humanity against the danger that they distinguish in the unknown Enemy of the Honored Matres . These have annihilated the Bene Tleilax , and chase the Bene Gesserit in order to snatch their knowledge and skills.

Thanks to the knowledge acquired through the captured Honored Matre Murbella about the origins of the Honored Matres, Odrade outlines a plan that will lead to the survival of the Brotherhood. With the help of a ghola from Duncan Idaho , a reborn Ghola of Miles Teg with his new abilities and a Murbella reconverted into Reverend Mother, they organize a feint-attack on Gammu that leads them to a negotiation in the main base of the Honored Matres in Connection . During the negotiation, the true attack of the troops Bene Gesserit defeats to the bulk of the forces of the Honored Matres. Logno, assistant of the Great Honored Matre, takes advantage of the confusion to eliminate it and to assume the power. In defeat, Murbella fulfills his part of the plan by challenging the new Great Honored Matre Logno and killing her, thus assuming the leadership of the Honored Matres. But Odrade also dies, at the hands of a guardian Honored Matre, and Murbella is forced to carry out Odrade’s plan to the end: the reconversion of the Honored Matres in Bene Gesserit under the double charge of Mother Superior Bene Gesserit and Gran Honored Matre.

In the continuation of the original saga by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson , Hunters of Dune , Murbella struggles to hold together the opposing factions of his New Brotherhood, and adopts a new title, Mother Commander. A Bene Gesserit faction wishes to join with the Honored Matres to fight the incoming Unknown Enemy , while another faction finds it fundamentally wrong to join the Matres, whom they consider their enemies. Sheena leads about 150 dissidents to escape the Chapter House aboard a non-ship that will later be called Ithaca .

Among the Honored Matres also appear factions against recognizing Murbella as their leader. The largest of these rebel groups is led by the Upper Matrix Hellica in the Tleilax system . Among the Honored Matres of the Chapter House, some coincide with Murbella’s vision, while others resist being assimilated. After a bloody confrontation between acolytes in the schoolyard, with several dead as a result, Murbella imposes a strict dress code forcing everyone to wear a simple black suit.

While gathering weapons for the approaching battle against the unknown Enemy , Murbella forms an elite force to crush the Honored Rebels on the planets who still refuse to acknowledge their leadership. These Walkirias are trained in the combined battle talents of Bene Gesserit, Honored Matres and even Ginaz Swordsmen . Murbella and his troops finally manage to defeat Hellica in Tleilax, getting many dissidents to finally join their cause.

Strategies and objectives of the Bene Gesserit

Avoiding power

Despite its amazing abilities and abilities, the Bene Gesserit has always opted to use indirect methods to reach its objectives, instead of exercising power openly. They have observed the Taoist principle that “all that rises must come down,” and instead of taking direct control of the human race, they manipulate social and political order with subtlety, often using extraordinarily long-term stratagems spanning generations . They avoid the appearance of wealth or power or, what would reveal the scope of their powers, in order to avoid being considered openly responsible for the rise and fall of empires and governments. In a conversation between Darwi Odrade and Master Tleilaxu Waff , it says:

“They are holding the reins with their bare hands!” – she said-. As power increases, your control of it must increase as well. Everything will be torn apart by its own impulse! ” 4

Genetic program

The origins of Bene Gesserit’s genetic program are revealed in the protosecuelas trilogy Legends of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson . The Rossak Sorcerers had started keeping detailed breeding records around 400 BG, 5 trying to improve the potency and prevalence of their telekinetic powers . In 108 BG, Ticia Cenva directs the Sorceresses in the collection of genetic samples of various blood lines, due to the danger of a catastrophic genetically modified retrovirus and triggered by the Thinking Machines. The Sorceresses later became the Bene Gesserit (see Origins ), and this process marked the beginning of the expansion of the scope of the Brotherhood’s genetic program in the achievement of a specific objective: the Kwisatz Haderach .

As a result of the technological taboos generated by Butlerian Jihad , the births planned by the genetic program must be natural. For this reason, the Bene Gesserit use all their resources to get the conceptions they need, and their abilities to manipulate their physiological processes to condition the sex of the embryo. In the trilogy Prelude to Dune , the figure of Mother Kwisatz is described, an honorific title that identifies the Reverend Mother whose Other Memories allow her to take charge of controlling the genetic scheme that leads to the Kwisatz Haderach.

When Jessica Atreides conceives a male instead of the female required by the Bene Gesserit, the genetic program wobbles. Paul Atreides turns out to be the Kwisatz Haderach, born a generation ahead of time, and out of control of the Bene Gesserit. Paul becomes the messianic figure expected by the Bene Gesserit, and these, despite all efforts to recover it in the first three books of the original saga, lose control over its genetic program.

In God the Emperor of Dune , Leto II has taken the genetic program of the Bene Gesserit, modifying it according to its purpose: a general improvement of the Prana-bindu capacities, and the attainment of a new idea, a human invisible to the prescient powers, of So that their actions can not be predicted by the oracle. This figure takes shape in Siona Atreides , and in a curious parallelism, Siona leads to the disappearance of the God Emperor, attacking his life.

After the disappearance of the Emperor God the Bene Gesserit regains control of its genetic program, and incorporates the invisible genes of Siona to its genetic stock, so that no prescient oracle can perceive them. But the fear of unleashing a new Kwisatz Haderach on the universe leads them to take the general aim of improving the human race and reinforcing or fixing desirable traits, always controlling the emergence of the “wild” Atreides genes. Even so, Reverend Mother Darwi Odrade shows a special prescient sensibility focused on the dangers that haunt the Brotherhood, and her biological father, Bashar Miles Teg , develops superhuman abilities that at one point causes the Bene Gesserit to fear the apparition Of a new Kwisatz Haderach.

Missionary Protective

The knowledge of the history provided by Other Memories includes all known religious movements. Although they are essentially atheists, the power of religion as a social influence does not escape them, and they have a religious appearance. The Protective Missionary is a branch of the Bene Gesserit in charge of religious engineering: the creation of tools of social control through the manipulation of religious impulses, a task that is carried out inculcating certain basic beliefs in the deepest part of a society.

The Panoplia Propheticus is the set of infectious superstitions used by the Bene Gesserit to exploit the primitive regions. These beliefs, based on a monotheistic type of mysticism, can be allowed to rest in a culture for millennia, and then be activated when required.

Due to legends sown by the Protective Missionary in Arrakis, the Reverend Mothers were able to infiltrate the closed Fremen society , unconsciously preparing the way for the creation of the messianic figure of Paul Muad’Dib . The work of the Protective Missionary throughout the Empire for the coming to power of his Kwisatz Haderach was used by him to establish his Empire, and carried beyond his highest expectations by Leto II , the God Emperor .

Later, the project of the Protective Missionary is to unite the old empire around the figure of Sheena , in order to be able to face the dangers that warn in the Dispersion .

Conditioning and powers of the Bene Gesserit

The Bene Gesserit initiates the conditioning of its acolytes when they are very young, and the most outstanding ones can initiate it from its birth. The younger a girl becomes an acolyte, the easier it is for that child to become a Reverend Mother . The Bene Gesserit can train older individuals (including men), but only if they show exceptional talent, such as Farad’n , the heir of Casa Corrino , 6 or if they have already received a similar conditioning, such as Murbella , the Honored Matre captured by the Bene Gesserit. 4

Conditioning Prana-bindu and Via Bene Gesserit

Bene Gesserit develops both the physical and mental abilities of the trained individuals. A trained Sister has complete control over every muscle and every nerve connection in her body, this is called Prana-bindu training . The Prana muscles are the muscles of the body considered as a single unit for definitive training, while the Bindu rib refers to the training of the human nervous system . 7

The Prana-bindu training , which allows powerful attacks and movements of extreme precision and speed, along with a martial style of self-struggle, is incorporated into the study of Via Bene Gesserit , which is explained (to a certain extent) accompanying the training of Farad’n Corrino in Hijos de Dune by Dama Jessica. As Farad’n himself discovers throughout the training, the basic principle and first step towards the Via Bene Gesserit can be summed up in the phrase “My mind controls my reality.” Other data and elements of the Via Bene Gesserit are explained in Heretics of Dune during the conditioning of the ghola of Duncan Idaho in Gammu , and later in House Chapter Dune during the conditioning of the Honored Matre Murbella in his conversion to Reverend Mother. 8 4


Part of the Bene Gesserit’s mental training is the practice of simulbulb , literally the simultaneous flow of several lines of consciousness at a given moment, a kind of mental multitasking . The combination of simulflujo with its analytical abilities (see Little perception ) and the Other Memories are responsible for the terrible intelligence of the Bene Gesserit.

Small perception

The Bene Gesserit are trained to exercise the small perception all the time, so that the smallest and insignificant details of any moment are perceived clearly. Combined with their other mental abilities, the Bene Gesserit look like witches in the eyes of others, able to guess the secrets of people and circumstances that are invisible to others. In Heretics of Dune the Reverend Mother Darwi Odrade deduces of small differences in the air currents as well as of the structural design of a room the existence of a conduit through which it is spied. Also, variations in the voice or small reactions of any individual allows them to deeply understand the emotional state of the same, and manipulate it.

Truth Deciders

Another of the abilities that the Bene Gesserit develop in those acolytes that show such talent is to become Truth-Deciders . A Decider of Truth is able to determine when someone is lying, detecting inflections and changes in the subject ‘s voice , observing and interpreting their body language and analyzing physiological signs such as their breathing and heart rate . This perception of the truth of an individual is a skill that in principle all humans have, but requires training extended to develop it to a utilitarian point.

The Bene Gesserit have been from their beginnings providers of Truth-Deciders for all kinds of political and business affairs, precisely this being one of the methods of the Brotherhood to gather useful information and manipulate the events of the empire. The Padishah Emperors of Casa Corrino always used their services. Combined with the use of La Voz , Truth-Tellers have also been used in interrogations and torture .

Bene Gesserit training is very useful for developing this ability, but it is not the only way. It is not an acquired ability, but the development of a latent talent. Throughout the original saga are mentioned several cases of Truth Deciders of men not trained by the Bene Gesserit: in God Emperor of Dune it affirms the existence of several Gholas Duncan Idaho in the three thousand five hundred years of reign of Leto II ; In Chapter House Dune confirms the fact when the ghola Duncan Idaho, that has been created from cells of different previous gholas, shows and confirms to have this ability. There is also talk in the same novel by a Jewish Decider of Truth , husband of the Reverend Rebecca Rebecca, who describes the talent by saying: I read myself, not the person in front of me. I always recognize a lie because I always want to turn my back on the liar . 4

The Voice

By controlling the subtler characteristics of their voice, the Bene Gesserit can direct themselves and control the unconscious mind of other people, in a way that the conscious mind may or may not perceive but is unable to resist. This is called The Voice , and may apply to both an individual and a group of listeners. Somehow, La Voz is an extreme version of the skill oratory .

The control of La Voz is neither magical nor mystical. It is an innate talent, accessible to a greater or lesser extent to any human being after adequate training. A Bene Gesserit does not need to be Reverend Mother to use The Voice, even strangers on order can be trained in its use. In Dune for example, Jessica teaches the use of The Voice to Paul, who uses it to free his mother in his flight to the desert.

Being a manipulation of the unconscious mind, La Voz is of limited utility against goals with an extremely disciplined mind, such as that of a Reverend Mother or a sufficiently strong Mentat . In “The Messiah of Dune”, Paul trains some guards to resist the Voice , being able thus to keep captive to Bene Gesserit. Also in SUNS of Dune Gurney Halleck has been trained by Jessica to resist The Voice altogether. Likewise in Heretic of Dune the Reverend Mother Odrade explains to Sheena that the groups of individuals exposed too long to control by the Voice (or other unconscious means of control) find the way to adapt and finally to escape to the manipulation.

The first Bene Gesserit to use The Voice was Raquella Berto-Anirul , founder of the order, as revealed in Dune: The Battle of Corrin .

Sexual training

Due to its reproductive program, the Bene Gesserit training includes all the necessary resources to ensure the conception of the designated individuals. Thus the Bene Gesserit are notable in terms of seduction, sexual skills and sexual priming, while one of their activities in the empire is to provide the best concubines for the nobility and Great Houses. Apart from Lady Jessica, concubine of Duke Leto Atreides , Lady Margot Fenring is designed to seduce Feyd Rautha to preserve the Harkonnen bloodline, while implanting in her psyche a key word that may stun her temporarily, a common practice in dangerous people who Have been prepared by the Bene Gesserit.

The most talented and highly trained in the Bene Gesserit sexual training are known as Imprimadoras . In Heretics of Dune , Reverend Mother and Imprimadora Lucilla is in charge of the seduction and priming of the ghola Duncan Idaho , thus assuring control of the Brotherhood over him, a primer that Idaho finally avoids. Lucilla also mentions part of her preparation in the same novel:

“Agility?” I can control the genital temperature. I know and can arouse the fifty-one points of excitement. I- “”
Fifty-one? ” But if there is
only- “” Fifty-one! ” Cried Lucilla. And the sequenced plus the combinations total in total two thousand eight. Besides, combining them with the two hundred and five sexual
positions- “” Two hundred five? ” Sirafa was clearly surprised. Surely you do not mean to say …
– Actually more, if we consider the minor variations. I am an Imprimadora, which means that I have mastered the three hundred steps of orgasmic amplification! Referring to Fig.

The Honored Matres refined Bene Gesserit skills on such a level that the objective man ends up enslaved. Murbella tries the primer on Duncan Idaho, but his own priming ability, secretly conditioned by the Tleilaxu in their ghola creation process, suddenly manifests itself, so that they basically print each other, without either getting complete control over the other .

A primer can be successfully resisted if the subject has been psychologically preconditioned. In Chapterhouse Dune the order has learned the methods of the Matres through Murbella, and use them to awaken the memories of the ghola Miles Teg . When the Reverend Mother Sheena tries to impress the ghola child, the preconditioning received from her original mother, a Bene Gesserit, awakens in him a drive of violence that triggers the restoration of his original memories.

Also in Chapterhouse Dune the Bene Gesserit trains men to resist and respond to the Primal as the ghola Duncan Idaho did to Murbella, and are sent to the planets dominated by the Honored Matres following a strategy of provocation.

Organic control of internal chemistry

Just as the Prana-bindu allows control of every muscle and nerve in the body, the Bene Gesserit are also trained in complete conscious control over their physiological functions, their internal organs and body chemistry. A Sister can fully control her breathing and heart rate to the point of seeming dead to most tests even after intense physical exercise. They can control their need for water and food to extreme situations of hunger and thirst, they can even commit suicide simply by stopping their hearts.

Bene Gesserit could, by controlling their metabolism, slow down the aging process dramatically. But none would ever, since he would draw too much attention on the Brotherhood, revealing the scope of his abilities; When in Daunes de Dune Jessica realizes that her daughter Alia is practicing it, this is the first clear sign that her daughter has fallen into the Abomination .

One of the most important applications of his biological abilities is the control of his menstrual cycle, and his ability to control the genus of the embryo during the same conception. Lady Jessica was commissioned to conceive only daughters for the Atreides, an order I challenge for the love of Duke Leto conceived of Paul Atreides. At the same time, the Bene Gesserit conspired against the desire of the Emperor Padishah Shaddam IV to have a male heir allowing only his wife Anirul to conceive daughters, like Princess Irulan.

Another example of the control of body chemistry is found in the trilogy Prelude to Dune , when the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam infects Baron Vladimir Harkonnen with a degenerative disease in revenge for the violation he was subjecting her to.

Bene Gesserit are immune to poisons, simply by changing the chemistry of any harmful substance introduced into your body and transforming it into something harmless. The first to make this kind of change was again Raquella Berto-Anirul, transforming the Drug of Rossak with which it was poisoned (see Origen ).

The Agony

The Agony is an ordeal in which an acolyte Bene Gesserit takes a poisonous Presence Spectrum narcotic and, through the internal change of substance neutralizes its toxicity, awakening at the same time the personalities and memories of all their female ancestors, which is called The Other Memories . Until the discovery of the Water of Life in Arrakis , the Bene Gesserit used a substance derived from the Drugs of Rossak . Water of Life (in itself a concentrated form of melange) is produced by the immersion of a small maker , a small sandworm, in water, which causes it to secrete the liquid at the time of its death. In the fremen version of the ritual, after the ordeal the new Reverend Mother provides the Water of Life changed into a harmless form for the subsequent sietch orgy .

An acolyte who can not effect the change in the ordeal dies. Only the women have survived the Agony , but the Bene Gesserit sought generation after generation through their program of procreation the Kwisatz Haderach man who can effect the change in the enlightening poison, acquiring both the Other feminine Memories as the masculine, and abilities Prescient above those of a Reverend Mother. Until the advent of Paul Atreides, all the men who had attempted the Agony had died.

The origin of the ritual is explained in Dune: The Battle of Corrin when Raquella Berto-Anirul is poisoned by Rossak’s Sorceress Ticia Cenva with Rossak ‘s Drug (see Origins of the Bene Gesserit ).

Other Memories

One of the powers of a Reverend Mother Bene Gesserit is his Other Memories : the combined personalities and memories of all his female ancestors, passed through his genetic memory , from the moment each ancestor was born until physical contact with his descendant breaks. Each combination of personality and memory remains a distinct identity within the Reverend Mother’s mind, and is able to intervene in her consciousness in times of need, although the Reverend Mother’s ego always dominates over others.

A Reverend Mother only has access to her feminine line in the Other Memories ; Their masculine line is unattainable, present as a dark void in their consciousness that terrifies them. Only women have survived the Agony , but the Bene Gesserit sought generation after generation through its program of procreation the Kwisatz Haderach , the man who can make the change in the poison illuminant, acquiring both Other female Memories as masculine, And prescient abilities above those of a Reverend Mother. Until the advent of Paul Atreides , the Kwisatz Haderach, all the men who had attempted the Agony had died. If the male line were given from the moment each ancestor is conceived, when physical contact with the father, through ejaculation , is lost, the emperor God would not remember the death of his ancestors, so this line is Maintains throughout the lives of all ancestors and is not the memory contained in the DNA the only recipient of the experiences that are transmitted.


The preborn are individuals who reach access to their Other Memories during pregnancy, and not having developed an own ego are extremely susceptible to being possessed by one of his ancestors.

As one of the last products of Bene Gesserit’s genetic program , Alia , sister of the Kwisatz Haderach Paul Atreides, showed a certain disposition to access the masculine line of memory, being finally possessed in Hijos de Dune by the personality of his maternal grandfather, The Baron Vladimir Harkonnen . This fact, contrary to the saga in this respect, has not been explained by the author.

The prenacidos Leto II and Ghanima , children of Paul Muad’Dib , also have access to both memory lines.

Share and Extremis Progressiva

Reverend Mothers can also Share , transmit their Other Memories to other Reverend Mothers at will, along with their own combination of personality and memory, with a simple contact between the fronts. Generally, when a Reverend Mother dies in the presence of another, the second can accept the Other Memories of the deceased to prevent the loss of their experiences and ancestral memories, as in Dune between Lady Jessica and fremen Reverend Mother Ramallo .

Sharing is especially important when the Mother Superior perishes, so that her plans and strategies can continue uninterrupted. Both in Heretics of Dune and in Chapter House Dune this case occurs, being the Reverend Mother receiving the following one in assuming the leadership in the Brotherhood; well, Odrade succeeded Taraza when it dies in Arrakis, and Murbella just going to Odrade after her death in connection .

Under extreme conditions, a large community of Bene Gesserit can get to practice Progressive Extremis , a mass sharing of Other Memories among all, so that if one survives, the experiences and memories of all survive. In Capitular House Dune the school Bene Gesserit in Lampadas , under the attack of the Honored Matres realizes the Extremis Progressive . The Reverend Mother Lucilla escapes with all that Horde of Lampadas , hoping to be able to deliver them to the Brotherhood. Finally he has to pass them on to a Reverend Mother Wild from a secret group of Jews in Gammu .

Weaknesses of the Bene Gesserit

Addiction to Melange

Most Reverend Mothers followed the teaching and seldom thought of their spice as an addiction . Odrade knew every morning what his ritual represented. You took your spice during the day as your body demanded it, following a scheme of primary training: minimal dosage, just enough to stimulate the metabolic system and lead to maximum efficiency. 4

Anyone who consumes melange regularly becomes an addict and needs it to survive. For someone who has survived the Agony this need goes further. Although the effects of spice are highly favorable, including a significant lengthening of life expectancy and mental abilities, prolonged abstinence eventually degenerates into death. In Chapter House Dune the Honored Matres use the melange deprivation with the Reverend Mothers they capture to try to crumble them psychologically before interrogating them.

Reverend Mothers are not only addicted individually, but also as Brotherhood. They depend on the spice for the Agony , without spice there are no Reverend Mothers. But the melange is an expensive product, and the melange supply supposes a continuous drainage in the economy of the Brotherhood. From its discovery to the development of synthetic melange by the Bene Tleilax, the production of melange was limited to a single source: the planet Arrakis. The control of this source was separated from the imperial power until the arrival of Muad’Dib, who assuming the power to control this source took control of Bene Gesserit and the rest of political and economic forces of the Empire, being this kind of hydraulic despotism A central theme in the novel series. During God the Emperor of Dune Leto II exercises the same absolute power through total control of the annual assignments of spice; in Heretics of Dune melange produced by the Tleilaxu in their tanks axlotl threatens to destabilize the market melange, and the disappearance of the Bene Tleilax and sandworms on Arrakis hands Honored Matre makes sandworms Of Chapter House in the sole source of melange of the empire in the novels Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune .


The Abomination is the possession of the psyche of a person with access to Other Memories for some extraordinarily strong personality among his ancestors . This is especially true among pregnant women , individuals who gain access to their Other Memories during pregnancy, and not having developed their own ego are extremely susceptible to being possessed by one of their ancestors. Although the concept was known in advance by the Bene Gesserit, the first pregnancy mentioned is Alia Atreides , the daughter of Jessica born after passing through the Agony of spice in the womb of her mother, who is called an Abomination by her own grandmother , The Reverend Mother Mohiam in Dune . In Son of Dune the first signs of possession are manifested in Alia, who in search of prescient visions falls in an excessive consumption of melange and ends up succumbing to the possession of his maternal grandfather , Baron Vladimir Harkonnen , who tries through it to finish With the Atreides.

The children of Paul and Chani, Leto II and Ghanima , are also pregnant, but before they become possessed, they manage to find two alternatives to the Abomination : Leto, subject to consumption of large doses of spice that lead him to pass the Agony , Is forced to create a compromise between the strongest and most benevolent personalities of his past to control his inner lives:

In so doing, I rejected the most evil, and chose a dominant protector to form a nexus between myself, my inner consciousness, and my father. Actually, I am neither my father nor that protector. And I am not Leto II. (…) I am a community dominated by an incredibly ancient and powerful being. 6

Ghanima, as part of their plan to fake the death of Leto, blocks by self- hypnosis in his memory the memories of Leto and his plan in common, inadvertently developing at the same time a discipline capable of protecting his own personality in formation Of the danger of possession by the Other Memories .

Bibliographic reference

  • Frank Herbert , Dune . Barcelona: Ediciones Debolsillo, 2003. ISBN 978-84-9759-682-4
  • Frank Herbert , The Messiah of Dune . Ediciones Debolsillo: Barcelona, ​​2003. ISBN 978-84-9759-667-1
  • Frank Herbert , Sons of Dune . Ediciones Debolsillo: Barcelona, ​​2003. ISBN 978-84-9759-432-5
  • Frank Herbert , God Emperor of Dune . Ediciones Debolsillo: Barcelona, ​​2003. ISBN 978-84-9759-748-7
  • Frank Herbert , Dune Heretics . Ediciones Debolsillo: Barcelona, ​​2003. ISBN 978-84-9759-731-9
  • Frank Herbert , Chapterhouse Dune . Ediciones Debolsillo: Barcelona, ​​2003. ISBN 978-84-9759-770-8
  • Brian Herbert , Kevin J. Anderson Dune Hunters . Plaza & Janés, Barcelona, ​​2008. ISBN 978-84-01-33679-9
  • Brian Herbert , Kevin J. Anderson Dune: The Atreides House . Best Seller Debolsillo: Barcelona, ​​2003. ISBN 978-84-9759-316-8
  • Brian Herbert , Kevin J. Anderson Dune: The Harkonnen House . Best Seller Debolsillo: Barcelona, ​​2003. ISBN 978-84-9759-347-2
  • Brian Herbert , Kevin J. Anderson Dune: The Corrino House . Best Seller Debolsillo: Barcelona, ​​2004. ISBN 978-84-9793-246-2
  • Brian Herbert , Kevin J. Anderson Dune: The Butler Jihad . Best Seller Debolsillo: Barcelona, ​​2005. ISBN 978-84-9793-672-9
  • Brian Herbert , Kevin J. Anderson Dune: The Crusade of Machines . Best Seller Debolsillo: Barcelona, ​​2007. ISBN 978-84-8346-365-9
  • Brian Herbert , Kevin J. Anderson Dune: The Battle of Corrin . Best Seller Debolsillo: Barcelona, ​​2007. ISBN 978-84-01-33636-2

Notes and references

  1. Back to top↑ Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition
  2. Back to top↑ Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson gave a different lineage to Jessica than had originally quoted Frank Herbert in Sons of Dune where in a discussion between Jessica and her grandson Leto it is revealed that Jessica’s mother’s name is Tandidia The Tanidia ) Nerus:

    “They know you’re a Harkonnen!” They have it in their genetic records: Jessica, born of Tandidia Nerus, from her union with Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. This record, made public accidentally, could put you in quite a situation … “.

    The name appears this time only in the novel ” Sons of Dune “, and according to the consulted edition appears either as Tandidia or as Tanidia Nerus.

  3. Back to top↑ Herbert, Frank , God the Emperor of Dune , (1985).
  4. ↑ Jump to:a b c d e Herbert, Frank House Chapter Dune , (1995).
  5. Back to top↑ Herbert, Frank (1965). Dune , “Terminology of the Empire”. BG = acronyms used with a date means Before Guild (before the Guild), and identify the Imperial calendar based on the genesis of the monopoly of the Space Guild.
  6. ↑ Jump to:a b Herbert, Frank Sons of Dune , (1977).
  7. Back to top↑ Herbert, Frank , Dune (1965) “Terminology of the Empire”.
  8. ↑ Jump to:a b Herbert, Frank Herejes de Dune , (1995).