The language of the Black Bead Chronicles
Let’s be honest. Women and men are nothing alike. Our wonderful hormones, from the moment of conception, rewrote the matrices of our brain so that men have these lovely, linear, diamond faceted brains and women have brains that can turn itself inside out and slide sideways around corners unlimited by space-time. Most of the time, all this is going on in the subconscious without the person being aware of it. Some are more in tune with their subconscious than others. Some are more awake than others. Oh, sure. This is a gross generalization and each brain lies somewhere between the extremes of these two ideas, resulting in a lovely rainbow of humanity, but it pretty much describes the current problems we are having in the world.
We are living in a society in which the diamond faceted mind made the rules. The laws are written by men for men to keep the their natures in check. The rules are hierarchical. Power and rule filter down along a pyramid of relationship which men find comforting because of its order. The struggle for women has not been about achieving equality under men’s rule, but being given back our ancient rights to have our own set of rules.
Women wanted autonomy. We were given equal rights under the law. Man’s law. It’s been fifty years since we tried to pass the Equal Right Amendment in the US. Things have change but not always for the better. It is time to take the next step.
Part of the problem is the lack of language to get our ideas across. It is sorta like the current theories on color perception. If a society has no word for the color green, the theory goes, then it will not be able to perceive green as anything more than another shade of brown. It is a form of colorblindness created not by the failure of the cones and rods in the eye but by the lack of brain training. A use-it-or-lose-it kind of skill. The same goes for the intricacies of the female mind and how it must relate to others in order to function at full capacity.
Teach a girl to operate in a man’s world and she will forget how to be a whole woman. The skills and ideas that make her special will atrophy. (Which is why women are our own worst enemies in this up-coming battle.)
One of the reasons I wrote the Black Bead Chronicles was to create the language of women’s autonomy. The domes are governed by a circle of women called the Coven. On one level the Coven is an allegory for the female mind. At the same time it gives a clue about how such a mind, given free-range to explore its power, might operate in a group of equals.
The Coven of Windfall Dome has five Mothers: Mora, Amabel, Sybille, Brigit, and Menolly. They are all archetypes.
Mora is the Speaker for the group. The Outward Face. A synthesist, as defined by Robert A. Heinlein, she is the one who takes the opinions of the many and formulates them into a cohesive, unifying precept. She has the final say in any argument between the diverse voices of the group. She is the dispenser of Justice.
Brigit is the archetypal Divine Mother. Her love is unconditional. She knows exactly how the world works but has no reason to call it anything more complicated than Magic. Things just are. Children are who they need to be. She has only one wish; that they grow up happy, healthy, and whole. She knows all she has to do is love them to make this happen.
Menolly is the archetypal High Priestess. Visionary and Dreamwalker, it is she who walks into the darkness of the Void and listens to the Cosmos. It is she who sits outside the River of Time that she might see where to steer the ship of their lives to keep everyone safe. She is the one who taps into the Hive Mind and listens to the wisdom to be found there.
Amabel is the Maker – Unmaker. Every gardener knows that it takes some judicious weeding to keep the garden in order and at full production. Amabel is the Constant Gardener. Not every sperm is sacred. Not every baby needs to come to term. Not every child born should be allowed to continue living if it has been deemed a danger to the group as a whole. Not every child grows up to be a well-adjusted member of the group. Driven by the song of the Pattern of the Oneverse, Amabel is the embodiment of the forces of Evolution. It is she, more than any of the Coven, who keeps the forces of Chaos at bay.
Sybille is the Warrior Assassin. Probably the most ambiguous of the faces of the Divine Feminine, she is never far from her knives. There is nothing soft about Sybille and yet she is quintessentially female; sensual, sexual, fierce, passionate, her mind as sharp as her knives. She is the lover that all men crave because there is a promise and a threat under that hot exterior that if you mess up, if you offend, if you step beyond the bounds of polite rule, she will kill you without blinking an eye. Men do love a challenge.
This is an over-simplification of some very complex characters but it gives you an idea of what is going on inside of a woman at any moment of the day. Complex, messy, divided, conflicted.
These Mothers meet in a greenhouse atop the Temple, sitting in a circle having the inevitable cup of tea. In my head I call it the Never Ending Tea Party. In the books, you will notice that the Mothers talk as if of one mind. There is no hierarchy. There is just each Mother and the gifts she has brought to the table, none more valuable than the next. They all respect each other and value each other’s opinions. Mora is Speaker by consensus, a job that none of the other Mothers want because it would take away from their own gifts.
Into this world I inserted the Black Bead, Cheobawn, the archetypal Divine Child on a quest to find her hero within. That hero will contain all her Mothers. She has no limits but the ones she gives herself. The Pattern of the Oneverse will take care of the rest.
(Next up: The unlimited power of Fathers in the Black Bead universe.)