By Dayna Winters
Well, the New Year is off to a great start, and I hope everyone is working hard on recording dreams and learning how to interpret them. In fact, last month’s posting was about just that: We explored short and long-term benefits of keeping a dream journal. Since it’s February and the month so many of us associate with passion, this month we are going to explore abduction imagery in dreams. Of course, I know anyone reading this right now just said to themselves, “What the heck does abduction have to do with passion?” I hope you’ll stick with me, as soon all will be made clear!
Defining the term
At first, the sheer word “abduction” is likely to make a person cringe. The term “abduction” can stir up anxiety and evoke emotions like fear, helplessness, and even anger. In the most general and commonly understood sense, “abduction” means to take something or someone away from a situation or location, typically against the individual’s will. According to The Free Dictionary Online, the word “abduction” originates from the Latin abdūcere, a term that breaks down into ab– meaning “away” and dūcere meaning” to lead.” There is a really seedy element to abduction as well in that such an act can involve someone young, innocent, inexperienced, and perhaps trusting; in this case, the individual might not even be initially aware of the abduction taking place until it is too late: For example, in the event a parent abducts a child. Alternatively, the use of the term “abduction” in a physiological sense means to move away or draw away from the midline of the body or to move one limb away from the other.
With the above-mentioned definitions of abduction in mind, let’s dig deeper into what this kind of imagery might mean in dreams. When thinking about the most common meaning of abduction, you need to consider what role one played in the dream to gain greater understanding into what the dream means. You will either be a perpetrator, victim or witness to an abduction in the dream. Each assumed role will illicit different dream symbolism.
Perpetrator: As the perpetrator of abduction, you should consider the give and take elements of your relationships in waking hours. Good questions to ask one’s self include, “Am I taking more than I’m giving,” or “Am I taking someone for granted and perhaps stealing away with their valuable time?” “Is there an uneven level of give in take in any relationships?”
Victim: If you are the victim of abduction in your dream scenario, your dream may be trying to reveal subconscious fears you may not be addressing. It’s time to ask yourself if you have unaddressed anxiety issues, if you are feeling out of control and helpless, or if you are faced with a situation in your waking hours you might not really want to have to deal with or perhaps you are completely ill equipped to handle.
Witness: If you are witnessing abduction, you’re reaction to the scene can reveal much. Are you terrified, worried, anxious, or scared? It’s a dream so anything goes and maybe you were happy about it. Think about the dream imagery in this context. If upset, do you fear unexpected change or feel like the hand of fate is sweeping in and taking over your life? If you were happy, do you wish something would happen so you can get out of a situation that is less than positive?
Physiological sense: If we consider the definition of abduction meaning moving away from the midline of the body or the separation of one limb from the other, abduction imagery takes on different connotations. If moving away from your body, perhaps you are exposing yourself to emotional hurt or you are moving away from your core values. The separation of limbs suggests a part of pairings: this separation may be positive or negative, depending upon the situation in question.
Myth is abundant with stories of abduction; two examples right off the top of my head include the story of Helen and Troy or the story of Persephone and Hades from the Greek pantheon. In brief, Hades, so desirous of the young maiden Persephone, gets permission from his brother Zeus to steal away with his daughter. Hades abducts Persephone while she is picking flowers in the field and takes her to the Underworld. Demeter, Persephone’s mother, finds out about what happens and grieves the loss of her daughter, so much so, she refused to let anything grow on the earth. Eventually, Zeus relents and allows Persephone to leave the realm of the Underworld, provided she did not consume anything before she left. Zeus sends Hermes to guide Persephone back to the world of the living, but on her way out of the Underworld, she consumes a pomegranate. The consumption of the fruit eventually results in her having to spend a third part of the year in the Underworld with Hades and the remaining months on earth with her mother Demeter. The later story is often referred to as the Rape of Persephone or The Rape of Proserpina (Roman pantheon).
Now, at this point you probably think I’ve strayed extremely far away from my attempt to connect dream imagery of abduction with passion. However, some scholars suggest the myth of Persephone and Hades has some clearly identifiable elements of passion. First, Hades is so desirous of Persephone; he abducts her and takes her away from her mother and the world of the living. While this may seem terrible for Persephone, Jean Shinoda Bolen M.D. in “Goddesses in Everywoman: A New Psychology of Women,” asserts “Persephone is the Underworld aspect of Aphrodite: the Goddess of Love… and both goddesses share the pomegranate as a symbol.” Bolen also explains her belief that once Persephone accepted the pomegranate for consumption, she was volunteering to return to Hades every year. In fact, some scholars suggest the pomegranate represents the woman’s womb and the seeds within. Thus, a relationship that started out with abduction ultimately resulted in a lasting relationship with two willing participants: Hades and Persephone. The story of Hades and Persephone is one representing undesirable, abrupt change, birthing into something new and unexpected. It is also a story representing the transition from innocence to experience. Ironically, the pomegranate is a symbol of abundance, the seeds inside the fruit represent unity, and the fruit is a symbol of unbreakable bonds.
Myth turned into dream interpretation
If you feel the story of Hades and Persephone resonates with you, particularly because you have dreamt about abduction, you should consider the role fate is playing in your life. Just as Persephone had no control over Zeus, who gave permission to Hades to abduct her, it seemed fate was influencing the events in her life. The role of fate might not be negative and perhaps in your waking life you are about to enter into a situation or relationship that you are fated to encounter. The story is symbolic of seasonal changes, cyclical events, spring, and new beginnings followed by a period of chaos. The myth is also a metaphor for the loss of innocence, sexual initiation, and uncontrollable passions.
About Dayna Winters:
Dayna Winters is a solitary Witch, author, and artist. She is the co-author of three books written with Patricia Gardner and Angela Kaufman including, “Wicca: What’s The Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions,” “Sacred Objects, Sacred Space: Everyday Tools for The Modern Day Witch,” and “The Esoteric Dream Book: Mastering the Magickal Symbolism of the Subconscious Mind”, all of which are published by Schiffer Publishing. You can find out more about Dayna and her work at her blog: http://daynawinters.blogspot.com/.