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Bioscope of Marquis DeSade

“It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure.” Francois De Sade

Various illustrations, top, above, from "Justine", at right, Sade in prison, aged 50. Credit


Francois Sade—later the infamous Marquis de Sade—was a disappointment to his parents, with a Pluto square Juno; in spite of the privileges of wealth and blue blood, Sade couldn't make anything happen for himself, he was uncommitted. As was customary for the aristocracy, idle sons were sent off to war, as a way to get rid of them. So it was that Sade was sent off as an army officer to the Seven Years war—a senseless and brutal struggle between the incestuous European aristocracy that cost almost 1.4 million lives.

This is where he experienced his Saturn Square Saturn in 1762, utter compulsion by the army—the state at its worst incarnation. He returned with the undeserved rank of Colonel in 1763, and quickly, as per his father's wishes, entered into an arranged marriage and had 3 kids. However, even as he sealed his marriage, he was already under the spell of a Uranus square Venus transit which drove him wild, ultimately disrupting his boring "normal" relationships—and his marriage— to find the illicit excitement and sexual freedom that he craved with prostitutes. He built a private theatre in his château in Lascote in order to create pornographic montages starring himself. He activities were the talk of the small village.

He moved closer to Paris to be closer to the source of prostitutes. He pursued these activities to the exclusion of everything else. A lucky trine with a Uranus Transit of Jupiter made him a very rich man when his father died in 1767, and he inherited the family estate. However, his licentious lifestyle had caught up with him, and he was convicted of sexual battery of his victims. The scandal forced him out of Paris, and he was exiled to Lacoste to keep him out of trouble. Transiting Saturn conjuncted his Neptune, during this time, and he was cut off from other people. He may have felt at this point that his life was a failure and he suffered a sense of "overwhelming hopelessness". However, by the end of the transit he may have seen his sexual escapades as some form of protest—toward a social liberation of sorts. He began at this time to process his desires into a libertarian philosophy of free will and individuality—protesting the life of subservience to family, class, church, regiment and state in favor of personal and political freedom. He was no friend of the church: he wrote: “Religions are the cradles of despotism.”

At the same time transiting Saturn trined his Pluto to convince him to write about as well as perform the "painful prelude to pleasure" in which he found beauty and satiation. “One must do violence to the object of one's desire; when it surrenders, the pleasure is greater.” he wrote. Unfortunately, the more a symbol of sexual abandonment he became, the more he was regarded as a freak and a maniac by his neighbors, the church and the police. The number of young girls and women who had enjoyed his attentions, subsequently complained to the authorities and became too many to ignore, and he was lured to Paris, arrested and sentenced to death.

Sade managed to buy his way out of public execution, but he spend 10 years in prison, and there started writing his first book, "Les 120 Journees de Sodome". In prison, Sade experienced his Uranus opposition Uranus transit, a very significant time, when the astrological equivalent of yearning for complete independence occurs. "If you have lived your life trying to please other people rather than follow your own instincts, then it is likely that you will experience this transit as quite disturbing. You want to break out from restrictions and may act in ways that are quite out of character. You are likely to startle other people, and may even surprise yourself. (Solar Fire)" Neptune was also squaring his natal Uranus, which served to further erode away his sense of freedom and identity.

Sex was never so exciting, his partners never so beautiful as when pain had released them from the normal bounds of sexual reaction to experience true pleasure. This was the Sade philosophy in a nutshell. It might be also a characteristic of the Taurus archetype, of the fearless love of, and complete reverence for the body for which the Taurus is famous. “Your body is the church where Nature asks to be reverenced.” he wrote. To this sign, there are no perversions—just preferences. Or so Sade believed, and he was doomed to spend 32 years in jails and asylums altogether, atoning for his sexual proclivities—and the physical harm he caused while liberating children in the ways of sexual freedom. Sade, a Taurus with a Leo Moon, was an animal in bed, he knew it and wanted his partners to share the limits with him in the "biting, growling and scratching" of unadulterated physical interaction with no physical restraints or moral bounds. “The only way to a woman's heart is along the path of torment.” he believed.

Sade was a precursor of generations to come who have, and still, find personal actualization in the search for sexual freedom. His craving for personal freedom is highlighted by his Uranus-Mercury trine, connected to his Moon's Nodes. Unfortunately, it's the south node in Sagittarius that's connected to his wild and impulsive Uranus. The Uranus bound up in the animal ecstasy of an "revolutionary" experiment of pleasure/pain and orgasm. Uranus would arouse his sexual appetites in a physical, even brutal manner. He had a relentless sense of his own entitlement, as a nobleman and a man, which also gave him the birthright to force prostitutes to indulge his whims. As a Taurus man, he physical and sexual needs came first. Like Taurus rapper Biggy Smalls, who invoked his partners to "do [it to] me" with little or no reciprocity, and ate until he was a blimp. Sade required his prostitutes to prime the pump until he was fully aroused, until the wild beast in him emerges—and then, anything goes. For Sade, morality holds no place in sex. “True happiness lies in the senses, and virtue gratifies none of them.” he wrote.

Compare Sade the Taurus to another man who later also formed a philosophy around men's sexual fantasies: Hugh Hefner, a Pisces man. Hefner, a glorified pimp, is more a woman's man, can empathize and manipulate them. Hefner didn't want to whip or have sex with girls, he wanted them to be his backdrop, occupants of his sex theme park, like Caesar Augustus. He found that he would rather have many women, hundreds of them, at his fingertips, doting on him and fulfilling his emotional needs. With his Moon and Venus in Aquarius, women are interchangeable, and this passion is more like the bee to the flower. Hefner's Playboy empire was a fantasy machine based on glorifying the queen bee--Hefner himself. His Mars in Capricorn transfers his sexual interest in these women into a practical, money making way to use their sexuality to titillate the general male population, and turn himself into a billionaire.

Sade's life was no so sanguine. The 18th Century was not ready for his openness about sex, regardless of fancy philosophy. All proper French society wanted to do was bury Sade, he was way too brutally honest about their secret perversions. Like a true Taurus, in the spirit of other tough bulls Malcolm X and Jack Kevorkian, Sade represented unpopular ideas and was stubbornly ready to die for them.

Sade suffered greatly in jail, and later in the mental institutions where he was imprisoned. This was not to say that he was unable to participate in sex while locked up. A nobleman's wealth enabled Sade to have access to a large pool of hapless girls—and boys—with whom he could do whatever he wished, short of murdering them, as long as he kept it within the bounds of the prison walls. With few restraints on his imagination, prison was an awakening for Sade, since he came to the conclusion around this time that his life's work was to journal his fantasies into sexual tableau that would represent the most secret carnal lusts, graphically described in detail—pornography, that is. The aristocracy hated him, but he was less abhorrent to the revolutionaries. In the heady days of the French revolution, this type of radical cultural expression was tolerated, sexual rights were respected along with all the other rights that had been denied the people under the King.

He was let out of prison in 1784. "Citizen" Sade (he dropped the Marquis fast) opted to serve the radical politics of the French revolution, as its sexual vanguard. The overthrow of the monarchy was also Sade's overthrow of his structured childhood and the bourgeois ethics and sexual standards of the Catholic church. Although the original manuscript to Sodome was destroyed in prison, Sade rewrote it and published it. The book became a cultural sensation and shock therapy for the salacious appetites of the salons of Paris. The revolutionaries not only let him out of jail, but they accepted him, freaky sex and all. He enjoyed the company of his other radical thinkers, and became friends with another Taurus, Jean Marat, who also had given up his bourgeois trappings to join with the revolution.

Beginning in 1790, he published several of his books anonymously, including "Justine" and "Juliette", still the reference standard for sado-machoism erotica. "Philosophy in the Bedroom" was was an erotic book by the Marquis de Sade written in the form of a socio-political drama, that makes the argument that the "only moral system that reinforces the recent political revolution is libertinism, and that if the people of France fail to adopt the libertine philosophy, France will be destined to return to a monarchic state."

The same year, redeemed from the aristocracy, he was elected to the National Convention, where he represented the far left—"left opportunism" as it was later to be called. The only way that an aristocrat could support the revolution was to see it as not going far enough in the defense of freedom—i.e., restricting HIS particular freedom to sexually abuse people however he wanted. “Social order at the expense of liberty is hardly a bargain” was Sade's slogan.

He also met Marie-Constance Quesnet, a 33-year old actress, who apparently became a non-sexual but loyal companion in Sade's lifestyle. Sade, in spite of his many adulterous ventures, like a true Taurus, stayed with her until his death.

Today he might be known as a "progressive" anarchist or libertarian. He did support some of the aims of the common people, including one-man-one-vote, but he never was comfortable with the revolutionaries of lower class. He was shocked at the ruthless extermination of the remaining aristocracy that Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins were committing as public policy. Even his friend Marat was famously quoted as saying that he "liked cutting heads off", and felt that the sacrifice of "five or six hundred lopped off heads" of the parasite class would assure the freedom of the French people forever.

At this stage, Sade was becoming publicly critical of Robespierre, and he was put back in jail for almost a year. This experience presumably confirmed his lifelong detestation of state tyranny and especially of the death penalty. He was released in 1794, after the overthrow and execution of Robespierre had effectively ended the Reign of Terror.

1796 was another watershed year for Sade. Broke and busted, Sade had to sell off his inheritance and land. Transiting Saturn cast a shadow over Sade's Sun:

"This transit forces you to face up to your responsibilities. Your ability to remain calm and strong is tested. You find that you are more restricted than usual in your life through an extra work load or it may be that you will be dealing with the consequences of past events or decisions." (Solar Fire)

Transiting Saturn was also Quincunx his natal Pluto:
"Life is challenging during this transit, as you are required to move out of your comfort zone and incorporate change. As a result you may be forced to take a deep look at yourself and those around you. You feel as though you are stepping into unknown territory, and this can be frightening. However, take comfort in the thought that by the end of this period you will have been stripped of a lot of excess baggage, which actually can be quite rejuvenating." (Solar Fire)

Significantly, too, transiting Neptune paid a once-in-a-millennium conjunction call on Pluto, a real bummer for any reformer or radical. This long-term transit which may have had the effect of dissipating the staying power of the French revolution, like acid, eating away at the newly born state. The triumph of these communist-inspired ideas had the life sucked out of it as one trifling "social democrat" after another sold out to the new, emerging imperialist class, and the power was returned to their hands.

Citizen Sade now truly was in no better shape than the Paris mob that had overthrown the monarch—and liberated him. He and the revolution had been used by the new banking class to help them dislodge the old decrepit Bourbon landowning class. However, Sade was not enshrined for his efforts. In 1801 A prudish Napoleon, on his way to betraying the French revolution and declaring himself Emperor, found the time to issue a death warrant for Sade for his anonymous writings. His wife Constance helped him to avoid the guillotine, and stayed with him, even living with him in his prison quarters when she could.

Sade was beset by two separate transits of Mercury—Saturn Square and Neptune opposite—which assured he would be completely misunderstood, suppressed and persecuted for his writings and published books. He was put in prison for indecency, and then, insanity. At no point, in spite of many opportunities given to him because of his class and connections, did he ever consider changing his ways. “Either kill me or take me as I am, because I'll be damned if I ever change.” he declared, as if personifying his Taurus heritage. He died a reprobate, an inmate in the mental ward, with a 13-year old girl who sexually attended him, in 1814.

Sade's natal chart; Taurus with Leo Moon makes him quite the beast, and with Pisces Mars, some women willingly gave themselves to him. With the Grand Trine of Moon, Mercury and Uranus, he was way ahead of his time!

Comparison of the Zodiac systems





Aries Mar 21 - April 20 April 15 - May 15 April 19 - May 13
Taurus April 21 - May 20 May 16 - June 15 May 14 - June 19
Gemini May 21 - June 20 June 16 - July 15 June 20 - July 20
Cancer June 21 - July 21 July 16 - Aug 15 July 21 - Aug 9
Leo July 22 Aug 22 Aug 16 - Sep 15 Aug 10 – Sep 15
Virgo Aug 23 - Sep 22 Sep 16 - Oct 15 Sept 16 – Oct 30
Libra Sep 23 - Oct 22 Oct 16 - Nov 15 Oct 31– Nov 22
Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21 Nov 16 - Dec 15 Nov 23 – Nov 29
Ophiuchus NA NA Nov 30 – Dec 17
Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21 Dec 16 - Jan 14 Dec 18– Jan 18
Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 20 Jan 15 - Feb 14 Jan 19 – Feb 15
Aquarius Jan 21 - Feb 19 Feb 15 - Mar 14 Feb 16– Mar 11
Pisces Feb 20 - Mar 20 Mar 15 - April 14 Mar 12 – April 18


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