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Offline Libby

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The Bene Gesserit Factbook
« on: August 30, 2017, 08:57:53 PM »
THE BENE GESSERIT SISTERHOOD
[1]


The Bene Gesserit (sometimes called the Sisterhood) faith is based on a belief that the Gods created certain humans with some attributes of the Gods. It also believes that one day it will be necessary for a supreme being to be born which will be a man that has all the power of the Gods. This man is referred to as the Kwisatz Haderach. This man shall lead the whole of humanity against a threat that would wipe out all life in the world, once successful he would reveal a new set of laws to humanity to lead them into a paradise upon Earth and ensure each person a place in the afterlife.

The Bene Gesserit faith believes that four families have been granted special insight into the Gods powers, these families are known as the Four Holy Houses and are the Atreides, Harkonnen, Corrino and Fremen families. The Bene Gesserit faith seeks to help these families realise their potential and bring about the creation of the Kwisatz Haderach. To do this the Bene Gesserit leadership has controlled the bloodlines of these families through inter-marriage in an attempt to breed a more godlike individual. They have also used the fact that all marriages in Kaitaine must be approved by the Sisterhood to ensure that any individual outside the four families who is believed to be favoured by the Gods is matched as perfectly as possible.

The Sisterhood is a lifelong commitment and people may join at any point, however many lower class families push daughters towards the Sisterhood as a way of increasing the families prestige as it opens many oppurtunities.

ORGANISATION OF THE FAITH


The faith is governed by the Reverend Mother, the faithful believe she is embodied with the power to identify traits given to people by the Gods. She is also the nations figurehead, and while having no political power she is highly influential. The Reverend Mother also is the person to appoint people to the various elements of the faith and approve marriages for the four families believed to be blessed by the Gods. She is based at Chapterhouse which is the central administration centre of the faith.

Girls are recruited into the Sisterhood from the age of four onwards and are educated at Chapterhouse in the mysterious, history and rituals of the faith. A person may join later but would then be expected to never be able to join certain aspects of the Sisterhood. The Sisterhood actively seeks girls to join who are believed in some way to be blessed by the Gods. The Sisterhood has four main bodies.

1. THE MOTHERS

The Mothers are the Priestesses, their role is to preach, teach and educate people about the faith. They also carry out rituals and lead congregations in prayers as well as organising festivals. The Mothers are educated for sixteen years and then become an Apprentice under an established Mother. Mother's can marry and have children but only with permission of the Reverend Mother, usually this is granted unless it is believed the candidate has the potential to one day be the Reverend Mother.

2. MISSIONARIA PROTECTIVA

These are a form of research body, they keep detailed family histories of important families beyond the Four Holy Houses as well as exploring the background of candidates for the Sisterhood. They also publish the faiths religious texts, journals and carry out much of the religious teaching at Chapterhouse. They are usually educated themselves at Chapterhouse for at least twelve years and are often consulted extensively before arranged marriages.

3. HONORED MATRES

These are members of the Sisterhood who have been viewed as being exceptionally blessed by the Gods. They are women who are expected to give birth to and raise the next generation of the Sisterhood. They act as concubines to The Four Holy Houses and have historically sometimes become wives in these families. More often they are granted as Concubines in order to breed exceptionally gifted Priestesses. The Reverened Mother arranges relationships between Honored Matres and the Four Holy Families when she believes a son is exceptionally blessed. They also act as pastoral carers to those girls being trained at Chapterhouse.

4. TRUTHSAYERS

This is the military order of the Sisterhood, while not traditional combat soldiers they serve as bodyguards to the Sisterhood, ensure the safety of Chapterhouse and actively defend the organisation from threats. In recent times this has seen them become active in cyber warfare as a way of protecting the Sisterhood's management systems. In the past they have fought alongside the nations military should the nation be threatened and rumours of a mysterious organisation within the Truthsayers known as the Swordsmasters who are rumoured to be spies and commandos.
 1. Not 100% sticking to the Frank Herbert Dune version

Offline Libby

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Re: The Bene Gesserit Factbook
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2017, 09:18:21 PM »
THE FOUR BRANCHES OF THE SISTERHOOD

The faith's trained Sister's are split into four branches, each has their own unique role and duties, additionally they have different uniforms. The Sister's within each branch have the same basic theological, mental and physical training but each area specialises, for example the Missionara Protectiva are the intellectual elite, while the Mother's are theological experts. Hierachy wise there is not formal structure, however the Mother's are clearly the leaders of the Sisterhood. Each Lifeboat school has a "Head Teacher" who is infact a Mother of high esteem.


THE MOTHERS


The Priesthood is referred to as Mothers. They usually enter Chapterhouse before the age of six and spend their lives until the age of 18 studying and in prayer. They are taught linguistics, History, Theology, Literature, Maths, Biology and focus on learning the teachings of previous Reverend Mothers

At the age of 18 each Mother drinks the "Water of Life" a mix of plant extracts that send the drinker into a hallucinogenic trance. They are observed during this trance and those deemed to be in the favor of the Gods are passed onto further study under the tutorship of a fully fledged Mother. Anyone deemed truly exceptional is tutored by the Reverend Mother and known as a Reverend Sister. Those failing the right of passage are either offered a position in the Missionaria Protectiva or Honored Matres, any unwilling to enter those trades leave the Sisterhood but may still be considered a graduate of Chapterhouse, something highly respected amongst the Bene Gesserit.

Most Mothers once qualified shave their head and dependent on their place of worship and own culture they wear an ornate head-dress. They often wear black and gold dresses, however the Reverend Mother is the exception, she wears green and grows her hair long.


MISSIONARA PROTECTIVA

These ladies enter Chapterhouse between the ages of 4-8, they act as a combination of a civil service and research arm of the Sisterhood. They are considered highly intelligent and have studied a wide range of subjects but a focus on Theology, History, Biology and Literature are key. They research the major houses, all noble's prior to marriage as well as carrying out archealogical and preservation works on artefacts.

At the age of 18 all potential Missionra Protectiva sit an extensive exam which they must pass, those failing are often offered positions within the Honored Matres or leave the order. Occasionally they are permitted to resit at the will of the Reverend Mother. The group also provide the majority of the teaching staff at Chapterhouse.

They wear a dark blue military style uniform while inside Chapterhouse or travelling on official business, often it is enough to get them access to the most sensitive of materials.



THE TRUTHSAYERS

The Paramilitary Wing of the Order they are highly trained soldiers, many would consider them commando's. Most enter Chapterhouse aged between 4-10. While at Chapterhouse they learn Theology, Maths, Geography, History, Science and Physical Education. From the age of eight they begin learning military subjects such as first aid, unarmed combat and map reading this progresses until by the age of 16 they would be considered competent soldiers. Like the military they wear uniform and have a rank structure. Anyone not deemed to have reached a sufficient standard of fitness or competency is offered a position in the Honored Matres or leaves the Sisterhood.

They serve as guards for Chapterhouse and other religious sites as well as provide security for the Reverend Mother.

There is a Top Secret element of the Truthsayers called the Swordmasters who receive extra training and serve as spies and assassins for the Sisterhood. They number less than 50 and not even they know who is a member.



THE HONORED MATRES

The Honored Matres are usually admitted to Chapterhouse at later ages than the other branches, the oldest usually being around 10 years of age. Often they are "gifted" to the Sisterhood by poorer families who know this presents an opportunity to exit poverty.

These girls are educated in Maths, Biology, Theology, Physical Education, Music and Art. They also receive training in child care and "domestic sciences". They are essentially conditioned to accept their roles as concubines to noble men. At the age of 18 they are often "gifted" to a noble whom the Reverned Mother believes is a good genetic match for them. Those being unpaired may be matched later or serve as pastoral carers for younger girls at Chapterhouse. They also receive advice on keeping their assigned nobleman happy both physically and mentally and are said to be exceptional lovers.

They wear a red trousered uniform with long shirt however upon being gifted they tend to only wear uniform on official occasions.

Their children take the surname Matres and are considered to be worthy of honour. Male children often are brought up within the noble family and join the military, female children are sent to Chapterhouse at the age of four.

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Re: The Bene Gesserit Factbook
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2017, 09:34:59 PM »
Litany Against Fear

The Sisterhood mediate in order to connect with their concept of spirtuality. During meditation the faithful repeat various Litany, which are teachings of famous Bene Gesserit scholars. The most common one is the Litany Against Fear.

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

The story behind this one atests that a Reverned Mother who being chased by religious persecuted was caught in a wounding trap and began repeating these words, she feigned death as her chases came close and as they removed what they thought was her lifeless body from the trap she struck with a concealed dagger killing those chasing her and removing the threat to her people. There have been other versions along similar lines develop as the faith has hidden itself across Mundus

""I will not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
I will face my fear.
I will let it pass through me.
When the fear has gone,
there shall be nothing.
Only I will remain."

Offline Libby

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Re: The Bene Gesserit Factbook
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2017, 09:35:54 PM »
THE SPICE

The nation of Kaitaine contains a small desert in which a unique species of sandworm exists. This sandworm is part of the Bene Gesserit mythology and legend tells of how once the desert consumed much of Mundus and giant sandworms, hundreds of meters long roamed beneth the surface. It was also rumoured that on man, Selim Wormrider, taught the Bene Gesserit how to communicate with these worms and ride them.

The worms today measure no bigger than 20cm however unlike earthworms they are covered in a hard protective shell. Each year at several points this is shed as the worms grow, the cast of shells are collected and ground up to make a red spice called Melange. To the Bene Gesserit it has special powers and it is believed those blessed by Gods can use it to enhance powers. Many claim that it tastes of cinnamon however one scholar who visited Kaitaine before the banning of the faith wrote that it "never tasted twice the same .. It's like life - it presents a different face each time you take it. Some hold that the spice produces a learned-flavour reaction. The body, learning a thing is good for it, interprets the flavour as pleasurable -; slightly euphoric. And, like life, never to be truly synthesized."

The Spice has some fabled properties and the proclaimed effects on those who consume melange are outlined below:

Mind altering: it could awaken dormant parts of the human mind and encourage expanded sensory perceptions. In some humans Bene Gesserit , heavy doses led to powerful abilities that include prescience.

Health benefits: taken regularly it increased life expectancy and fortified over all health levels (in many cases life expectancy was tripled)

Addictiveness: the spice had narcotic properties, thus increasing demand and creating a large and hungry market for it. An individual's addiction to the spice would worsen the more they consumed it.

Physical effects: sustained use of the spice led to human eyes being discolored so that the entire eye would be stained blue - so called Eyes of Ibad. Extensive exposure to the spice created a huge physical dependency that could radically alter the entire body.

These effects however have never been independently witnessed or tested leading many non-Bene Gesserit to claim they are just a myth. Since Kiatine's occupation commercial Spice Harvesting has stopped and those faithful living abroad struggle to get what little spice can be smuggled. The Corrino family had a large monopoly on the spice however ensured that it was fully avaliable to the Sisterhood, Spice was so important to the faith that an annual Blessing ceremony took place at Seitch on the edge of the desert

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Re: The Bene Gesserit Factbook
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2017, 09:37:33 PM »
COMBINATION OF RELIGIONS

The Bene Gesserit faith is ambigious about the true nature of God, this is because of a belief that during great disasters humanity lost significant knowledge about the true nature of spirituality and as such life is a search to discover the truth. As such the Bene Gesserit study all religions and as such have at times formed what in the Sisterhood is known as "Combligions"[1].

Many of these Comblingions merge existing faiths however are very fluid as people learn more about new faiths and adapt their teachings to fit their own personal beliefs, each Combligion however explains in their own way how the Kwizach Hadarch would be created. It is unlikly anyone would go through their whole life following a single Combligion, this however has seen some significant groups form within the faith.

1. Budislam - Combination of Buddhist and Islamic thoughts, the Kwisatz Haderach is thought to be Buddha who will come to the world again if people follow the teachings of his prophets.

2. Mahayana Christianity - A hybrid of Mahayana Buddhism and Christianity, which presumably interpreted Jesus Christ as a Buddha, and therefore in turn the first incarnation of Kwisatz Haderach

3. Navachristianity - A hybrid between religions similar to that of the native American's and Christianity. They believe Mundus itself is a living breathing creature and that we should live in tune with nature and that Jesus was sent as the first incarnation of the Kwisatz Haderach to ensure this happened.

4. The Cult of Kwisatz Haderach - A combination of the Cult of Helus and Bene Gesserit teachings. This branch believe that when called upon to defeat evil the Kwisatz Haderach was split into eight personalities and that following a great battle they were spread in spirit form into humanity. The selective breeding programme will merge them back into the Kwisatz Haderach.
 1. A group of followers who have combined two religions to form their own ideology

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Re: The Bene Gesserit Factbook
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2017, 09:38:21 PM »
Prana-bindu

"“The mind can go either direction under stress—toward positive or toward negative: on or off. Think of it as a spectrum whose extremes are unconsciousness at the negative end and hyperconsciousness at the positive end. The way the mind will lean under stress is strongly influenced by training.” - Bene Gesserit teaching

The art of Prana-bindu is defined as "supreme control of nerve and muscles.". It is a belief that supreme control of your mind can lead to your body being capable of anything. As such the Bene Gesserit sisterhood use a variety of techniques to try and improve their mind and body co-ordination. This can include a form of yoga while chanting sacred texts, extreme endurance challenges for their body and also allowing the body to experience pain. It is believed that with the right training the body can be conditioned to block out physical pain.

Many of the Truthsayers are experts in this practice and are mythically considered able to enter an ultra serene state during the midst of battle. However with much of the sisterhood myths surround the practice.

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Re: The Bene Gesserit Factbook
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2017, 10:16:24 PM »
LIFEBOAT SCHOOLS


Chapterhouse Island, Kaitaine

Throughout history there have been two Holy sites for the Bene Gesserit, one is the desert city of Seitch, the other is an island known as Chapterhouse which sits just 1km off the East coast of Kaitaine. Traditionally Chapterhouse was the centre of the Bene Gesserit faiths educational programme where they trained the members of the four different branches. It also houses a large collection of religious documents and research. When the nation fell to the Communists there was a great battle for the island and again in various uprisings, the last being in the 1970's which saw 100 Truthsayers publically executed in the aftermath.

When Kaitaine fell the Four Holy Houses were instructed by Reverned Mother Giaus Moriam to head into exile in Cantabria, Achkaerin, Aosta and Ui Cenneslaig, additionally many Bene Gesserit fled to these nations following their family loyalties. The faith had always been wealthy thanks to families trying to ingratiate themselves with the Sisterhood, and as such purchased land for four schools in the new nations. These schools were established to appear like normal girls bordering schools however as well as teaching everyday subjects they prepare the girls for a path within the Sisterhood.

Each of the four schools are known as Lifeboats and are on the surface run as a private boarding school including appearing to collect fees for students, which in fact are donations from wealthy families. The Schools are run by an experienced Mother and between the four of them they are the leadership of the Sisterhood, occasionally they may feel one is more senior in terms of the God/Gods favour and name them Reverned Mother meaning they are in charge of the whole faith.

Spoiler:  Lifeboat Claith • show




The school sits in its own grounds surrounded by a wall. It is around 10km from the centre of the city in a leafy suburb. It is home to around 800 students aged between 4 & 18, additionally around 100 Missionara Protectiva conduct research from there. It is also home to the main archive of the faith.


Spoiler:  Lifeboat Aosta • show


The school is surrounded by a wall to provide secrecy and security. The school is around 2km from the edge of the main urban area. It is home to around 450 students aged between 4 & 18, additionally around 50 Missionara Protectiva conduct research from there.


Spoiler: Lifeboat Valtheim • show


The newest of the four schools it was built in 2002 following a fire at the old site. It is surrounded by a wall like all Lifeboats to enable the activities to go largely unnoticed. The school sits around 10km from Valtheim and is home to around 500 students aged between 4-18.


Spoiler: Lifeboat Cantabria • show



The school is located in the countryside near the nations capital. The school has the usual protective wall and is home to around 750 students aged between 4-18. It is also home to the Truthsayers Officer Training Centre where the intake serve as "Teaching Assistants"

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Re: The Bene Gesserit Factbook
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2017, 11:20:05 PM »


BENE GESSERIT DOUBLESPEAK


Over hundreds of years the Sisterhood have developed a secret language known as Doublespeak. This is a form of sign language able to be performed discreetly and which may look to the unknowing as someone merely fidgeting or twiddling their thumbs. The language is taught to all students of Chapterhouse from the age of 4 and is rumoured to take around ten years of study to master. The language is also used during the practice of Prana-bindu to communicate with God/Gods.

The more able with the language are able to conduct a verbal conversation alongside a Doublespeak one giving the language its actual name. There are several writen books recording the language but all are presently kept in the libraries of the various Chapterhouses around the world, the books only contain the basics of the language meaning and wouldn't allow a casual reader to access the langauge even if they had access . In total it is expected that less than 100,000 people on Mundus are fluent in the language.

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Re: The Bene Gesserit Factbook
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2021, 10:57:40 PM »
THE SPICE MELANGE, MYTH AND REALITY

The Bene Gesserit faithful, particularly the Sisterhood make use of a spice made from the ground up shells of a "Sandworm" this is called Melange. Myth has it that these creatures were once plentiful in the desert of Kaitaine and could grow to be around 100meters long. It was believed that the closest any human has come to being the Kwisatz Haderach (Supreme Being/Messiah type figure) was a man several thousand years ago called Selim Wormrider and that he was so in tune with the Universe that he could summon the biggest of the Sandworms, one called Shai Halud who is thought to be a servent of God/Gods and carries the souls of the dead. As his strength began to fade he taught the trick of being able to communicate with the worms and therefore God/Gods to the first Reverned Mother, Ghanami who in turn passed on rituals and training to the rest of the Sisterhood. The main ritual involves consuming the disgarded shell of the "worm" and thus the "worm" essentially becoming part of you allowing you to communicate directly with God/Gods. This skill however is not something everyone can do, and therefore only those who have undergone long periods of dedicated training can experience fully the impact of the spice Melange. To many it is merely a sweetish tasting powder that many describe as having the colour, texture and taste similar to cinnamon.

 


Artisist impression of Ghanami facing Shai Halud

The spice is still a central part of the faith's rituals and practices, it being believed the Mothers can use it to see the future, know someones destiny, sense their closeness to God/Gods or even shape the future in a manner suiting the Sisterhood. Today the spice is actively farmed and the "worms" are no longer than 30cm and roughly the same size as a common earthworm. They have adapted to the desert environment by developing a hardened shell which they disgard once a year as they grow. In the city of Seitch merchants have collected and breed these creatures in large sand filled tanks, once a year they sieve the tank and collect the shells. This is then processed into the spice Melange which is then sold, while it is largely purchased by the Sisterhood some suppliers do sell to regular people and even tourists. It has even found its way into Kaitaine culnary circles with Melange Cake being rather popular.

 

As Shai Halud was the biggets and most powerful of the original sandworms it was believed that he carried the soul of Selim Wormrider into whatever awaits us after death, therefore Shai Halud is often mentioned in Bene Gesserit prayers and rituals, especially surrounding life and death. It is believed that one of the signs of the impending disaster that faces mankind will be the return of Shai Halud and that the Kwisatz Haderach would be the only one able to ride him.

 


Modern day "Sandworm" emerging from its old skin. This will now be ground up and turned into Melange. The creature is infact a species of millipede unique to the desert of Kaitaine.