Abomination is the co-existence of many personalaties with the owner of the physical body not having dominant control. The Bene Gesserit/DE use the term to describe an individual's behavior severely "out of character", outside their ethical or moral norm. The actions of a possessed individual can be construed as combinations of classic psychotic behavior, primarily involving schizophrenia, paranoia, and manic depression.
According to Sisterhood this mystic condition involves the "possession" of the host psyche of a "pre-born" by the overwhelming personality of a genetic, ancestral pseudo-life. The premise is that certain individuals have the innate capability to bring the personalities of their ancestors to a conscious level.
The Bene Gesserit (and their myth-dominated subcultures) perform ritualistic forms of trial to determine Possession or Abomination. A guilty verdict brings death, as they believe it to be the most evil within which a person can live.
The Azhar Book/DE outlines the conditions that bring that state:
- When a pregnant Bene Gesserit breeder ingests the Water of Life/DE (a hallucinogenic chemical), it is carried to the womb, activates the fetal psychic awareness and produces a babble of sound and sensory imagery. The un-born is unable to comprehend or assimilate, but when this "awakened" baby is born, it supposedly sees with adult comprehension because of active, intelligent, adult memories carried at a conscious level, and appears as extremely precocious. Precocious lay children are safe from scrutiny as only bright Bene Gesserit children were suspect as possible Abominations.
- When the child "calls" individuals and initiates active communication, the stronger the persona becomes and the pseudo-life gains access and intrudes upon to the child's consciousness at will. At some relatively early stage, the personae can be either malignant (that vie for domination of the host) or benign (which can be persuaded to form a mohalata union).
- The malignant persona first dominates the mind, then the nervous system, and finally the musculature. At that point, the body and mind no longer function at the host's will but are forever in the control of the pseudo-life.
It is not known if only Abominations can be possessed, but it seems the answer is no, since all the Bene Gesserits are trained in prana-bindu to be protected against it (cf. Bene Gesserit Basic Training Manual).
There is a possibility that possession and abomination were umbrella terms used indiscriminately for violent, abnormal or group-threatening behavior, thus avoiding expensive and time-consuming methods of diagnosis and treatment.
Between the Butlerian Jihad/DE and the God Emperor/DE, there were 700 suspected people that were surveyed. 520 of them were executed. Abomination Inquiry folios are part of the Bene Gesserit open files in the library on Wallach IX/DE.
According to a recent hypothesis, the Atreides line carried a defective chromosome introduced by the line, susceptible to the chemical composition of melange and the fluid of the dying "Little Maker" of the Fremen culture. Indeed, the most serious cases (such as the one of the Alia Atreides/DE) arose after thee introduction of the Fremen Water of Life into the Sisterhood's rituals.