One of the most fascinating aspects of the Kushiel’s Dart mythology is Eisheth and women’s ability to give birth. If a woman wants to give birth in Terre D’Ange, she has to light a candle to Eisheth. If she doesn’t light a candle to Eisheth, she can’t have children. This also means that women don’t have a menstrual cycle until they perform the ceremony. Imagine having that much control over your reproductive cycle.
Eisheth’s blessing is controlled by the angel herself. Eisheth once roamed the earthly plane of Terre D’Ange, populating the coastline and starting a dynasty. Eisheth, along with the other follow angels, followed Elua through the gates of the Terre D’Ange beyond (heaven). However, the ability of women to control childbirth remained. It extended past the borders of the province she founded. All the women in the kingdom couldn’t have children unless they beseeched Eisheth. It’s magical/mystical birth control at its finest.
I find this topic fascinating because birth control usually has little mention or place in fantasy novels. You have several options that take place in fantasy books. The first is that women in fantasy novels have a normal cycle and usually end up having children. The second option is getting a magical being (usually a witch) to brew a potion or give you some herbs. Another option is that you are magical species that can’t procreate with others. There are many nuances, but birth control is likely not deemed necessary in the fantasy genre.
Urban fantasy addresses this issue more frequently. It makes sense since the heroine is living in the modern world. Mercy Thompson is on birth control. Her coyote shifter status doesn’t protect her. However, she is with someone she can have children with. In many cases, the human (ish) heroine is usually involved with a vampire or other creature that takes care of the birth control issue.
Women in fantasy novels aren’t usually given options like Eisheth gives D’Angeline. I would be so interested in learning Carey’s reasoning and thoughts on this topic. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post.