Love Letters to the Universe #22: The Best of all Nannies- The Governess

24 Apr

Dear Universe,

I won’t mince words. I am guilty of attributing gender to you. I won’t apologize. It has been done over and over again. The hairless monkey sees things in polarities. For a very long time the majority of hairless monkeys have raised up their voices and hands to you in supplication, thanks, and astonishment and attributed a masculine identity to you and your wonders. Some of these, sadly a virulently aggressive some, have imposed a verdict that you shall only be known as ‘He’. This makes me sad because this display of exclusive insanity has led to a number of bad things. They say bad things come in threes, and so it goes. Wherever this monotheistic patriarchal thought meme has reared its ugly head we see 1) rabid misogyny and a disgraceful neglect and scorn-worthy villainization of more than half of our species, 2) a disconnection with and eventual destruction of our sacred home, the Earth, and 3) a disconnection with our own spiritual self, which is also to say with each other, which inevitably leads to the enslavement and death of millions and millions of hairless monkeys.

I won’t say that calling you a ‘she’ is the answer to these problems, except, for me it appears to be. I came from you, as a child comes from their mother. When a soft breeze ruffles the hair on our monkey brows, we would love to imagine that a hand brushes there gently, easing our troubles and helping us sleep. When things become too difficult we like to think that whatever medicine is forced upon us will also come with the spoonful of sugar which will help the medicine go down. We need to act rightly, not out of fear of punishment, but as proud sons and daughters who have had the patient and reflective teacher who has helped to shape us and will continue to proudly admire us as we go out and embody the wisdom we have gained.

Thus, I think I have found an archetype which embodies this wisdom and helps guide hairless monkey kind toward that promising fulfillment that you have always seen in us.

  1. The Governess

Primary Mode of Operation: Control (East)

Secondary Mode of Operation: Reflection (West)

Epithets: The Magical Nanny, The Girl Detective, Lady Justice, The Star Pupil

Mythic Examples: Nancy Drew, Hermione Granger, Mary Poppins, Agent Carter, Nanny Mcphee, Jane Eyre, Clara Oswald (of Doctor Who).

Description: The Governess is marked early in life by her reflective nature. Although she may appear unassuming, she is forever pondering things, even at a very early age. Her secondary or masculine Mode of operation is through reflection, which makes her consider every side of an angle. This instills in the girl governess a moral foundation for thought which is constructed by and maintained vigorously by the Governess’s primary Control Mode. The Governess is, like the rest of the Empress types, concerned with maintaining control, but she (of all the types) is more concerned with a steadfast adherence to a kind of moral common sense. This can lead to a kind of sustained outrage at the injustices done regularly by her fellow mortals. This outrage will often necessitate a kind of dogged campaign against acceptance of a faulty or unjust situation, and can lead the Governess to opposition with those who enjoy power and the fruits of selfish action.

She may also have a hard time coming to a decision easily, and can suffer from a lot of anxiety at an early age, because the self-reflective Governess understands how nearly impossible any exercise of real control actually is. If she is hard on herself, she is often verbally exasperated with her less reflective peers, which often only fosters the alienation that the young governess feels due to her masculine alien self.

The young governess desires to know all the facts, values knowledge and is thus one of the best students in any class. Here the governess stands out as an unusual underdog feminist hero. She is always concerned with propriety, and thus feels much conflict when her earnest desire for rightness comes up against the injustice of patriarchal tyranny.

As the governess grows, so does her knowledge and the confidence she has in that knowledge. She sheds off her anxiety and tunes her uncanny intuition toward solving life’s many mysteries and puzzles (she loves puzzles). It is here that Governess comes into her full mastery and can be the best advocate for rightness, justice, decency and truth.

She is the only Empress with access to the fae-enchanted west and thus her intuition acts as a kind of psychic super-power. She will often accept a wide range of occult possibilities, but never once fails to respect rational common sense above all else.

Literature is rife with Governesses that take to the teaching professions and they make great counsellors, teachers, nannies, guardians, librarians, and supervisors. Their uncanny abilities make them excellent detectives, scientists, record keepers, writers, researchers and journalists. The world will continue to benefit from the good works of these upright caretakers and marvel at the likes of Hermione Granger as she struggles to save the day despite being the accomplished “mudblood”, or Agent Carter, as she doggedly saves the day in her quiet way while living with the masculine disdain of her oafish ‘superiors’.

There is a romantic aspect to the often self-denying governess. When this woman finds someone who is worthy of her attentions, she will bend the world to be with that person and suffer greatly by the side of those who struggle to be the promise of what this magical woman has seen inside of them. She is the perfect match for the Detective, as she will bring form and consistency to the sleuth’s universe, and shine a moral light for him to sleuth by.

Ideal match: The Detective

Challenging types for the Governess: The Priestess, or the Revolutionary

The Shadow Type: The Manipulator- The shadow side of the Governess is one who has sadly embraced that feeling of alienation, and instead of seeing it as a badge of those given responsibility, they find an end in using deceit to achieve the ends of control. They are your scheming and vengeful women who use their intellect and cunning as a secret tool to sabotage those who the shadow governess deems unworthy or counter to the most desirable end. Potboiler Melodramas are full of such dark hearted tricksters who seem to get their kicks out of using their perceptions to corrupt love, endeavors and institutions merely for the sake of venomous spite. In the X-men comics, the White Queen, or Emma Frost, embodies the classic manipulator. She uses her telepathy and her will to blackmail, extort and control those around her to allow her access to wealth and power that would have otherwise been denied to her. She has even taken on students both as a member of the Hellfire Club and as a kind of stand in for Charles Xavier. Her character is fluid, however, and we see her transition into a more positive influence as a true Governess in her later appearances. However, how much her influence has led the robotic Cyclops toward his anti-hero status as Mutant revolutionary, we may never know. This is the nature of the manipulator, a truly shadowy figure which endangers trust and thereby takes away the very thing the governess inspires. Here we see we can be our own worst enemy, and how the dual side of Kali as both creator and destroyer is personified.

This is why it is so important that we celebrate the Governesses among us that decide to nurture, not pervert, to inspire strength and goodwill, not distrust. The glorious stories of such characters have inspired me, greatest Lady Universe, to believe that you will continue to look after me and inspire me toward my ultimate reformation of spirit.

With eternal love,



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