The Bene Gesserit are a powerful and ancient faction of warrior women trained in the art of combat and manipulation. They have been a critical part of the Dune universe, using their abilities and Machinations to shape the fate of humanity since centuries. Let’s take a look at Dune’s Bene Gesserit’s many hidden abilities.
Can Use the Voice
The Voice is an exclusive Bene Gesserit ability. It gives a member of the sisterhood the power to control a person by commanding them in a certain sound frequency. It is nigh impossible for a person to resist a Bene Gesserit’s orders if she uses The Voice. Only another Bene Gesserit can resist the power of the Voice because they are trained to counter it if need be. Another way to make someone immune to the effects of the Voice is by overusing it. There are worlds where the Bene Gesserit overused this ability and the entire civilization ended up becoming immune to the Bene Gesserit’s Voice commands.
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Complete Control Over Internal Body Chemistry
The Bene Gesserit have total control over their metabolisms. Using the fundamentals of Para Bindu, the Bene Gesserit can control not just their muscles and nerves but also their glandular secretions. By altering their body chemistry, they can render themselves immune any poison injected into their body. This also allows a Bene Gesserit to survive in the harshest of environments. It is also confirmed that they can use this power to stop their bodies from ageing. Lady Jessica’s daughter Alia did it while still a child, calling the attention of the Sisterhood. The Bene Gesserit also use this ability to control their own menstrual cycles and decide the gender of the child they are about to give birth to.
Possess the Power of Hyper Awareness
Trained in the minutiae of observation, the Bene Gesserit can pick up details and cues that would be invisible to the common eye. This level of hyper awareness allows a Bene Gesserit to come at conclusions and discern truths that would not be humanly possible. The power of Hyper Awareness means a Bene Gesserit can detect a spy tunnel in a room via the slight change in air current or use a person’s tone to detect his or her mental state. This is even used in combat. Hyper Awareness allows a Bene Gesserit to predict an opponent’s actions in a one on one fight.
Their Ultimate Goal is a Male Bene Gesserit
The primary goal of the faction of the Bene Gesserit is the creation of a male heir. This mythical and legendary Bene Gesserit will be called the Kwisatz Haderach. In order to achieve this goal, they have partaken in a massive human breeding program that has spanned for countless generations. Using manipulation and breeding sisters to collect the ‘key genes’, they have streamlined many family lines throughout the ages. The Kwisatz Haderach will be a super human even by Bene Gesserit’s standards. He will be able to access a level of prescience and awareness not even the greatest of all Reverend Mothers could.
Are More into Skillful Manipulation That Direct Combat
Despite having incredible powers, the Bene Gesserit refrain from descending into direct combat. They are more into pulling the strings from behind the curtains. The Bene Gesserit believe in the practice of patient and skilful manipulation. The Bene Gesserit believe in the Taoist Principle of “What Rises Must Fall”. So rather than seizing control, they manipulate those in power so that they control the fate of the human race. The Bene Gesserit are in for the long haul. Their goals are never short-term. Their plans usually involve a span of a few centuries at the very least. The Bene Gesserit regularly send their members into royal and noble families as wives and concubines. They would even train the daughters of noble families for a fee. Lady Jessica, mother to Paul Atreides, is a Bene Gesserit.
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Practice Religious Engineering
The Bene Gesserit plants myths, legends, and folklore in different civilizations when they are at their nascent stages. A specially designed faction called the Missionaria Protectiva is responsible for spreading these legends far and wide. This practice, called the Panoplia Prophectica, is exceptionally useful for the Bene Gesserit to exploit religious sentiments of civilizations, making them ripe for manipulation by the Bene Gesserit. They use these myths to seek refuge, hire protection, or conquer worlds by masquerading as the figures of legends in worlds where Bene Gesserit have conducted religious engineering centuries ago.
Access to Genetic Memory
The Bene Gesserit have one asset within their possession they have honed and perfected since eons. Each member of the Bene Gesserit faction could access an ancestral treasure trove of information that is left behind by their forerunners called the Other Memory. The Other Memory consists of the combined egos and personalities of all the ancestors of the Bene Gesserit. A Reverend Mother is only capable of seeing and accessing the genetic memory of the Female ancestors of their line, the male part of the Other Memory remaining forbidden for use. Only a mythical male Bene Gesserit called the Kwisatz Haderach can see both the male and female portions of the Other Memory and thus unlock secrets of history, something no Reverend Mother ever could.
The Power of Simuflow
Simuflow is the power to access multiple threads of consciousness at the same time. To put it simply, the Bene Gesserit are incredible multi-taskers. The power of simuflow complements a Bene Gesserit’s analytical skills. Combine that with the power of accessing their genetic memory called the Other Memory, a Bene Gesserit’s mental abilities are second only to a Mentat. Even an average mind can achieve frightening levels of intelligence by using simuflow. It is possible to practice Simuflow while maintaining a connection with the Other Memory – the most powerful and dangerously double edged ability of the Bene Gesserit.
Their Martial Art Technique – Prana Bindu & The Weirding Way
The Bene Gesserit have their personal form of martial art derived from the deadly technique called the Prana Bindu. In ancient Sanskrit, Prana signifies life and Bindu is the dot or point in the body where all of the body’s chakra integrates and dissipates at the same time. A Bene Gesserit is trained from childhood in the art of Prana Bindu. The martial art technique takes heavy cues from the art of visualization. A Prana Bindu user trains her mind to think as if what she wants to do has already happened and the body will do it automatically. The technique involves precise and accurate strikes to nerve centers in the human body that cause intense pain to the target and minimum expenditure of energy for the user. The Fremen call this technique “The Weirding Way”.
Increased Life Span
The Bene Gesserit, especially the Reverend Mothers, are addicted to the spice Melange. Melange is necessary for the Reverend Mothers to have full access to the Other Memory and their host of different abilities. Anyone who has tasted Melange and has developed an addiction for its effects will forever remain in need of the spice. Since Reverend Motrhers have undergone the ritual of Agony, they have a far greater need for the spice than regular consumers of the spice. Consumption of Melange can give a Bene Gesserit heightened mental powers and an increased life-span. But withdrawal from Melange consumption would lead to a painful death. The spice is very rare and expensive. It is a massive strain on the wealth of the Bene Gesserit.