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Astrology and Sadism - Healing Dark Dynamics

Waning Half Moon

We are in Sagittarius season and it is the perfect time to look at higher knowledge and wisdom, particularly in regard to the themes of ethics, morality, astrology, philosophy and higher education. I am writing this post during the waning half moon, a good time to observe polarities. Recently, on the 4th, the moon was conjunct with Black Moon Lilith in Virgo which is when I received the downloads for this post - these are messages from my higher Self which I am sharing and it is quite a sensitive topic. Please be open-minded if you feel triggered and question if there is any resistance or conditioning which has been seen and can anything be released or transformed?

In this post we will be looking at healing in regard to sadism on this planet and how we can find more loving and moral connections of the heart and with integrity rather than egoic-based connections which involve power abuse, domination, cruelty and control. These are pervasive themes we are witnessing on the planet right now in our systems, governments, work, schooling and relationships. It is vital that we gain awareness of these dynamics (the shadow) so that we can transmute these ancestral energies and create empowering systems and connections of the higher self and the heart.

Sadism in Conflict

Sadism is still a strong component in conflicts today - in military activities and in politics and although conflict is rife at present, a new earth is being birthed in which many individuals are remembering themselves. Being aware of these dynamics is helpful so that we can ensure of what we are co-creating in the subconscious and that we don't co-create situations in our systems, government or relationships which involve abuse of power or cruelty. Pluto (ruler of the underworld) is still retrograde in Capricorn (systems, work, government, father) until the 21st of January 2024 so we are still in an uncomfortable collective purging and transformational phase right now and more revelations are coming to the surface about our systems.

Violence in Video Games

In this post we will be looking at the collective issue of sadism - this psychological trait involves a need to harm others either physically or emotionally and the individual takes enjoyment from it. There has been a link in psychological research between sadism and violent video games and a large proportion of video games contain violence; psychological research is showing the link between these games and increased aggression and there is the concern that many young and impressionable people are being exposed to this violence. Many school 'shooters' have been found to have engaged extensively with violent video games. Research has also shown that there is a link with boredom and that people are more likely to engage in sadistic behaviour if they are bored (i.e. lacking purpose in life and feeling disconnected.)

Sadism in the Military

"In a study of US military personnel, the team found that sadistic behaviour towards other soldiers was linked to more boredom during military service. Similarly, a study of internet behaviour revealed online trolling was associated with more boredom in everyday life. Finally, in a study on child care, parents living in the US, Canada and the UK were asked whether they sometimes enjoyed making jokes at the expense of their child, or had even enjoyed physically hurting their child. The team found that when sadism did happen during child care, it was more likely to be reported by parents who felt bored while caring for their children...In a final study, the team explored why bored people behaved in this way, and concluded that it was down to a desire for novelty and excitement....even people who aren’t normally sadistic become more willing to punish others, apparently just for the minor thrill of it — the results suggest that strategies to reduce boredom in these settings might reduce sadistic behaviour, too." From the following article.

There is a need to be aware that some malignant individuals 'get off' on abusing power and not only dominating others but seeing them suffer to feel superior - this boosts the ego and gives the individual a false sense of power. Conversely, a masochist gets enjoyment from being hurt and feeling inferior - the ego gets fed on 'feeling bad' and being disrespected or dominated and going into shame, unworthiness or victim-mode. And yet a new world is emerging in which people find enjoyment instead from seeing things grow, from their hobbies or from building trusting and loving connections with others. We cannot act for others but we can ensure that we examine our shadow fully and take responsibility for any ancestral patterns so that we can keep raising our vibration and create situations that bring us positive emotions.

Healing the Sacral

It is vital that we heal these energies in the nervous system since we may have been carrying these patterns or programming for a long time. Being aware of where our sexual energy goes is key - our creative energy or erotic fantasies can reveal many clues about healthy or unhealthy dynamics and what we manifest in our life. If we keep attracting dominating or unloving situations, then we may wish to examine how our sexual energy and sacral chakra (creative centre) is wired - it is all interconnected. Finding loving and trusting situations erotic may be challenging for those who have been wired to find power abuse sexually arousing. Yet finding true and empowering change requires being willing to examine these aspects in the psyche and being patient with the body as it readjusts and spends time with the subtle for example, rather than any familiar overly-stimulating sensations which drive lust. This can allow for new neural pathways to open up and deeper secrets of the body to unfold which require trust and a feeling of respect and love.

I would like to share a personal experience here from a few years back in case it is helpful since I have had many readings recently of people walking away from dynamics with unhealthy patterns. I had stayed at a monastery for a while in accommodation and after I had left and moved away, I sensed that one of the monastery residents (who was an adept at meditation and who had studied tantra) was sending sexual energy towards my body. He had managed to activate me sexually inside and it was powerful and overwhelming - I observed the sudden feelings without responding or reacting to them, since I did not wish to give my power away to this individual and did not trust it. I soon felt the fire transmute and the energy subsided. I never felt him in my aura again.

Soul Tests

These 'downward' forces can be intense, passionate and overwhelming and are designed to test us - we can lose our identity if we get lost in them and become a shell of ourselves, lost in entanglement. Finding connection with the soul and the upward energies allows for different kinds of experiences to emerge (which may be unfamiliar and therefore scary for the ego) - bliss and ecstasy from being truly seen and feeling respected for our true power rather than the false power of the ego, which can involve domination or control. Yet where do these sadistic ancestral patterns come from in the collective? We will look at the history and astrology of this subject now and how it is playing out in our systems.

Marquis de Sade

Portrait by Charles Amédée Philippe van Loo of the Marquis de Sade when he was 19 years old.

The word sadism comes from the Marquis de Sade who was born on the 2nd of June, 1740 in Paris to a noble family; his father was the Count de Sade. He was involved in scandalous affairs at the time and wrote various books with sadistic content including The 120 Days of Sodom, Justine, Juliette and Philosophy in the Bedroom which contained content on graphic sex acts, rape, murder, child abuse, torture and discussions of philosophy, pornography, atheism, politics and sexuality. He wrote many books over the years, including in prison, covering rape, paedophilia, bestiality, torture and necrophilia. He was imprisoned many times throughout his life for his writings and acts and was eventually locked up in a lunatic (luna) asylum where he died on the 2nd of December 1814 from gangrenous fever - the 2nd of December was the date of his long-suffering ex-wife's birthday. Something for the soul to reflect upon.

Sadism in Military Forces

The following research paper from Canada examined how the writings of Marquis de Sade revealed sadistic patterns of behaviour which are still practised in the military today "in order to impose an asymmetric and gendered social order within the institution." The research examined the violence and sexual abuse imposed on women in particular in the Canadian military through strong indoctrination regarding "a structure of patriarchy, misogyny, and contempt for the female body" using forms of violence, rape or molestation using excrement for example to humiliate females in particular.

Other military practises include 'hazing' for both men and women which involve humiliating or abusing a new member and these rituals can involve excrement, vomit or urine-soaked bread for example. The paper investigated Sade's understanding of violence as a "visceral expression of power" and therefore violent sexual acts as means to access this 'power.' The research spoke about the apathy in these environments and lack of empathy towards the abused by seeing a lack of subjectivity regarding the victim and treating them as an object. The paper discussed "male indifference to punishment" regarding harassment of poor treatment of women: "I knew male military police who made a game out of seeing how many new recruits they could nail in bed. They'd talk about it right at the front counter. What if they got caught? They didn't care." (O'Hara et al, May 25 1998.)

Examples were discussed where witnesses to rape of a colleague had feared speaking up due to possible consequences from the sadistic abuser - this reason is why some people remained silent, out of fear:

"Observers will not act if they do not know what to do, feel powerless and helpless themselves, don‟t see any reward, or fear punishment if they help.... Bystanders, like perpetrators, are gradually drawn into accepting as normal actions which are initially repugnant. They deny the significance of what they see by avoiding or minimizing information about victims' suffering (Cohen, 2001, 16)."

Creating a Monster

Other research suggests that sadistic torturers in the military are trained to become like this psychologically and that young and nice boys were turned into "sadistic monsters" who tortured or even killed suspects in obtaining information. Techniques for the battlefield have involved sleep deprivation, drugs and alcohol and insomnia and sleep disorders are connected with poor mental health. The following research article on soldiers from the first world war described how recruits overcame their initial and inherent resistance to killing through 'training' and once they had been turned into "effective soldiers" they even experienced "feelings of pleasure" in killing.

In spiritual circles, there is the understanding here that this 'training' has involved the individual losing access to their authentic self and being 'taken over' by an entity or programming (whatever term you feel comfortable using.) Allowing an entity or programming to take over one's life is irresponsible and the individual should never blame their behaviour on programming; there is a need to look at why they are not being responsible and sovereign.

Sadism in the System

Sade's book The 120 Days of Sodom was about 46 individuals who entered a castle and four male aristocratic masters who dictated what actions would take place there. These individuals represented the church (one was a misogynist bishop who enjoyed sodomy,) the legal system (one was Président de Curval, a former judge who enjoyed sentencing the innocent to death,) the high finance system (one was a banker who murdered his wife and her family for the inheritance) and the nobility (one was Duc de Blangis who enjoyed murdering women and poisoned his own mother for the inheritance.) The type of sadistic fetishes they enjoyed related to each of the systems - Sade, it could be argued, was writing symbolically here by speaking about four individuals, but also alluding to more collective issues regarding these four systems. The masters were joined by four women (representing the wounded feminine) who shared depraved stories. Their victims included the four daughters of the four masters whom they had been sexually abusing for many years along with four ugly older women and eight boys and eight girls who were chosen for their virginity (representing the destruction of innocence.) Violent acts were scheduled by the masters to happen on certain dates.

The novel was banned in France, the USA and the UK until the 1960s and biographer Neil Schaeffer saw the book's major theme as a rebellion against God. It is vital to be aware of this energy on the planet - there is an active force of discord which denies the presence of a higher intelligence (love, or quantum field, whichever term you wish to use) and seeks to corrupt others to lose their own faith and innocence - this is the 'downward force.' It is egoic and increases feelings of separateness, but its power is false. Since it is not connected with the true power of the universe, this form of ego needs to feed from the energy of others and enjoys feeling either superior, or inferior. Recognising the true power, the divine consciousness in all things and all beings, is the pathway of healing.


It is vital to transmute these energies by understanding them and tracing them to their roots, which can often be in childhood when we may have experienced humiliation, punishment, domination or even abuse. BDSM energies have become prevalent on the dark web in pornography and in popular books such as Fifty Shades of Grey, yet many people may be unconscious of why they are drawn to these dynamics.

This post is not making judgements on exploration between consenting adults and often polarity will naturally be there in certain situations with one person being more dominant (yang) and another being more receptive/passive (yin,) but this post is about the dangers of this going too far in society and becoming violent or abusive or not involving consent. This cruelty is being witnessed at many levels of society (public and private) and yet many may not be conscious of why they enjoy hurting others or, conversely, why they may co-create situations which hurt them. Being aware of the shadow is key for collective healing.

It is thought by biographers that the Marquis de Sade may have experienced caning (punishment) and sodomy at the school he was sent to. He spent his summer holidays with Madame de Raimond, (a former lover of his father) and in 1754 was sent to the Chevaux-légers military academy and became a sub-lieutenant and fought in the Seven Years' War. In 1759 he was promoted to the rank of captain. After the end of the war, Sade was discharged and moved to Paris - during this time, his father was hastily making arrangements for Sade's marriage to be "rid of the boy" since he considered him a financial burden and saw him as a bad character with his gambling and womanising habits.

Sade's father, Jean-Baptiste François Joseph de Sade

Astrology and Sadism

We will now look at significant aspects of the birth-chart of the Marquis de Sade which may have influenced his character and lifestyle. He had strong planetary energy which influenced him in certain areas, however, he had the freewill to choose to follow this path or transmute and transcend these lower energies and close out cycles. Yet Sade chose instead to dedicate his life to writing sadistic and perverse books of hedonistic content. The cause and effect (karma) which he experienced involved constant imprisonment (punishment, a theme we will examine later) and eventually being locked up in an asylum and dying from fever.

The Marquis de Sade was a Gemini and his wife, Renée-Pélagie Cordier de Launay, was a Sagittarius. Renée-Pélagie was born on the 2nd of December 1741. Her marriage to the Marquis was arranged by their two families and had economic advantages. In a letter between the father of the Marquis and the father's brother, the Abbot de Sade, he spoke about the financial advantages of the union:

"The more I reflect on marriage, the better I find it. Yesterday I went to see M. de Montmarcet, who knows the goods of the whole world [...] she told me that Mme. de Launay [mother of Mme. de Montreuil] had more than one hundred and ten thousand pounds of income, which she will not be able to eat.."

Sadistic Scandals

Sade resisted the arrangement proclaiming that he only wanted to marry for love, yet after the marriage arrangement was approved of by the king, Sade eventually agreed and they were married seventeen days afterwards in 1763. Yet months after the marriage he had allegedly locked up a prostitute overnight and tried to get her to do the capital offence of sodomy and asked her to beat him with a cane - he threatened her with a pistol and got her to trample on a crucifix and read her irreligious poetry. He was locked up in prison for a couple of weeks and then exiled to Normandy. The following year, the king revoked the exile and Sade returned to Paris where he took up some mistresses.

In 1768, Sade picked up a lady begging and offered her work as his housekeeper at his home in Arcueil. Yet he locked up her and she claimed he performed sadistic acts on her including caning and using a knife - she escaped out the window and an investigation was conducted. He was arrested without trial, but eventually taken to court with an apology from the king, likely due to the influence of Renée's family. Sade claimed that she was a prostitute and denied the more cruel acts and said she had not complained about the flagellation. He was released on condition that he remained at La Coste, yet the scandal was widely publicised bringing the reputation of Sade and his wife into public scrutiny.

A portrait thought to be Sade's wife, Renée.

Imprisonment - Punishment

Shortly afterwards, Sade's wife Renée gave birth to their second son which the families hoped would subdue Sade. He returned to the military and took commission as Master of Cavalry and a daughter was born. Yet falling into debts, he sold his commission and set up a theatre production in 1772. Yet by June, with his manservant, he engaged in an orgy with four prostitutes involving sodomy. He gave them pastiles laced with spanish fly, an aphrodisiac which can be poisonous if taken internally. Two of the women became seriously ill and one filed a complaint to the police on grounds of sodomy and poisoning. Sade went into hiding but the prosecution continued and sentenced him to death. It was revealed that he was in Italy with Renée's sister which angered Sade's mother-in-law who managed to secure his arrest and imprisonment at a fortress. He eventually escaped and returned to France. After the death of the king, Sade's mother-in-law, Madame de Montreuil, obtained a new lettre de cachet for his arrest, yet Renée sought to repeal the death sentence.

Writing Sadistic Books in Prison

Yet by the winter of 1774, Sade had engaged in another orgy with his servants who were around 15 years of age with the alleged consent of Renée. By January 1775, the families of the girls filed charges of kidnapping and seduction - yet fearing release of damaging testimony (likely in regard to Renée) Sade's mother-in-law falsely accused a servant of theft and she was imprisoned for two years. Avoiding arrest, Sade left for Italy, yet he later returned to La Coste and there were more sandals. Eventually he was arrested under the existing lettre de cachet and was imprisoned in a fortress. He was released but arrested again and placed in Vincennes prison, in 1778, where he wrote a lot of material including beginning The 120 Days of Sodom. He was moved to Bastille prison where he completed this novel. He wrote many other novels but by 1789 was transferred to an insane asylum and eventually released in 1790, after twelve years of imprisonment. Madame de Montreuil had sought to separate her daughter Renée from him for many years and in this same year, Renée finally obtained a legal separation in marriage from Sade (who had just begun a new relationship with Marie-Constance Quesnet, which lasted until his death.)

Sade now focused on his literary works and experienced failure with plays due to public criticism and he got involved in politics. In 1793, he delivered a petition against religion, and was arrested one month later for "moderatism" and other charges. He was eventually released during the ending of the 'Reign of Terror' phase of the French Revolution. He focused on his writing but had many debts. In 1801 he was arrested again after hostile reactions towards his novels Justine and Juliette - he was detained without trial and after attempting to seduce inmates he was declared insane and transferred to an asylum. He continued writing and eventually had an affair with the teenage daughter of an employee at the asylum which must have upset his lover, Quesnet. Sade died shortly afterwards in 1814 from gangrenous fever.

Detail of the original The 120 Days of Sodom.

Astrology & Sadism in the Birth-chart

To look at the shadow of sadism (control, sexual perversity, domination) it is necessary to look at what Black Moon Lilith, Orcus and Nessus are doing in a birth-chart. Noticing what these aspects are doing, especially in regard to another individual, can reveal whether it is a karmic dynamic (the downward force of distraction, lust, power, control etc) or whether it is a true pathway or partnership based on the heart. Karmic dynamics can test us - we may stay stuck in the ego and refuse to grow. Sadistic patterns which feed the ego involve having a false sense of power by dominating or controlling someone or getting adulation from another. Conversely, if we give our power away we build an egoic identity which doesn't feel good about itself and gets fed on punishment or feeling bad and dominated - yet ironically there is a hidden power here since the dominator (or sadist) can become obsessed by the masochist - they have confused love with 'loving to hurt someone.'

This is false power and pulls us further from the true power of the soul. The more we feed into these sadistic egoic patterns, the more lost we can get in these dynamics which can take over the identity - we may form strong attachments, dependence, entanglements or addictions which can be hard to break and require discipline and strong willpower to win back one's freedom.

Black Moon Lilith

Black Moon Lilith can reveal themes of the wounded feminine energy regarding repressed emotions including our forbidden fantasies or sexual perversity such as sadism, eroticism, cruelty, abuse, violence as well as redemption and illumination in terms of transforming this and accessing our hidden power. In astrology, Black Moon Lilith is a theoretical point in space demonstrating the apogee or furthest point in the moon’s orbit and is therefore an aspect of the moon. It could be said to be the shadow of the moon, (the divine feminine or magnetic, yin principle) - more about that can be read here.


A modern-day feature of Orcus at the Gardens of Bomarzo.

In astrology, Orcus is a trans-Neptunian planetoid which is in resonance with Neptune and the orbit is opposite to Pluto meaning that Orcus is at the aphelion when Pluto is at perihelion. This is interesting because there is a connection between Pluto/Hades (ruler of the underworld) in Greek and Roman mythology with Orcus who was also a god of the underworld in Roman mythology and a punisher of broken oaths. Orcus could be said to embody the darker side of Pluto who allows us viscerally to understand karma (cause and effect) in regard to our behaviour. He engaged in punishing people and had a fierce appearance. Astrologically speaking, when this aspect comes up in our birth-chart we may become aware of any patterns regarding punishment or karma (cause and effect) which we are in engaging in - this can allow us to see what is unloving and unhealthy and allow us to transcend it so we don't stay stuck in any dark 'punishment' part of the underworld, lifetime after lifetime.


I wrote about Nessus recently in the following blog and I am including some text from it. In Greek mythology, Nessus was a devious centaur who tried to take Deianeira, the wife of Heracles, sexually - he was eventually killed by a poisoned arrow from Heracles but due to his malice he told Deianeira to take some of his blood saying it would make Heracles true to her forever, knowing that the blood was poisoned. Deianeira took the blood and placed it on a robe of Heracles which eventually burnt his skin and killed him.

Nessus is called 'the abuser' in astrology and can represent intergenerational or ancestral wounds. When Nessus appears it allows us to end generational abuse patterns - understanding what our Nessus is doing allows us to have awareness of abuse patterns including malice, revenge, obsession, manipulation and deviant sexuality.

An antique fresco of Nessus, Heracles and Deianeira from Pompeii.

Sade and his Wife

Seeing the synastry birth-chart between Sade and is wife is quite revealing - something energetic behind the scenes had pulled them into this dysfunctional relationship which was not based on love and served the shadow.

The Black Moon Lilith (sado-masochism, the hidden) of Sade was at 21°1 in Leo.

The Nessus (abuse) of Renée was in conjunction with Sade's Black Moon Lilith at 20°24 in Leo.

The Orcus (punishment) of Renée was at 6°06 in Leo.

The Orcus (punishment) of Sade was at 2°29 in Leo.

The Nessus (abuse) of Sade was conjunct with his Orcus (punishment) at 2°53 in Leo.

The Black Moon Lilith of Renée was at 22°16 in Libra.

Sade (and Renée) were working through the shadow side of Leo quite profoundly examining very strong egoic themes such as wanting to be the centre of attention (jealousy of others who may dim their light,) seeking adulation from others to boost the self-esteem, egocentricity, pride, arrogance, status obsessed, being dominating or bossy, self-centred, selfishness and trying to get needs met through sexual promiscuity.

We can see how these aspects have been heightened (or darkened) through the presence of Black Moon Lilith, Orcus and Nessus in Leo for Sade with Orcus and Nessus conjunct at 2°. Renée had her Nessus and Orcus in Leo with her Nessus (abuse patterns including ancestral abuse cycles) conjunct with the Black Moon Lilith of Sade!

Luna by Evelyn de Morgan.

Scorpio Mysteries

What is also interesting to note is that Sade's Midheaven (public life, status, goals) was at 24°07 in Leo, close to his Black Moon Lilith at 21°1 - it was perhaps inevitable that these hidden desires became public in his life. Sade also had Pluto in his rulership in Scorpio (the Underworld/subconscious/sex/death/transformation) and energetic Mars in his rulership in Aries. He was a Scorpio ascendant with a lot of activity in his eighth house (ruled by Scorpio and Pluto.) His sun, Jupiter, Chiron, Neptune and his true north node could all be found in his eighth house, (associated with transformation, sex, mysteries, death and rebirth.)

Seeing the astrological components is helpful and may help us to have more compassion for individuals such as the Marquis de Sade which may aid in the healing and transmutation of these ancestral energies. Understanding more about what Black Moon Lilith, Orcus and Nessus are doing in a birth-chart can help an individual to see the shadow and integrate these energies to allow for higher states of consciousness to emerge - these aspects can then reveal a hidden power as they awaken to their true nature as consciousness.

I will finish this post with a prayer and blessing for our financial, legal, military, government and religious systems so that they can come back into balance. May relationships between people become kind, loving and respectful. May the highest timeline unfold on this planet and may empowering systems blossom and grow which respect individuals and the consciousness in all. It is already so.

The Sleeping Earth and Wakening Moon by Evelyn de Morgan

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