Anne Desclos and the Secret ” Story of O “

Other people are often not what they seem. For some strange reason this upsets the rest of us. When something happens that doesn’t fit the image we have built of them, we accuse them of pretence, of trying to deliberately mask their real motivations in an attempt to control and manipulate us.

There are so many misconceptions here. Why should we expect people to be consistent anyway ? If we choose to perceive only one part of a person’s character, how can we resent them for revealing a different part ?

We often trot out trite little phrases like ” each to his own ” and ” it would be boring if we were all the same “, but our range of allowed personalities and behaviour is very narrow. Once someone strays beyond that we are very quick to make judgements in terms of right and wrong.

Astrology is the one subject that overcomes this narrowness of conception. In fact astrology expects people to appear to be one thing but for that to be only a small part of their total personality.

The Ascendant is the window through which other people see us. The image we see is symbolised by the rising degree and any planets that happen to be aspected to it. But of course the whole chart is so much more than this.

Even with astrology on board it is easy for us to be mislead. We can find ourselves dismissing the Ascendant as being a mere projected image and say that our real self is the Sun. But this is just as much a mistake as only seeing the Ascendant.

The whole personality is the whole chart. Even this could be unnecessarily limiting. It is the whole chart and also how that chart responds to the stimulus of the many transits that affect it during the person’s life.

Some charts, it is true have more consistency than others. Capricorn Research has the Sun, Moon and Ascendant in a sign noted for its monotonous pursuit of a particularly narrow and focused path. Other charts are incredibly varied and the people who wear them have to express their energies in the most diverse ways imaginable.

Other people have two very distinct different paths that they have to follow equally. One such person was the French journalist and novelist Anne Desclos. In fact her two paths were so distinctly different that she had to go by two different names for most of her life.

 

Anne Desclos

Desclos had a quite unusual chart. Its most notable feature is that it had two Grand Cross patterns.

The Grand Cross is a very powerful aspect. It consists of 4 planets pulling in very different directions creating an enormous amount of tension and the person’s life would be constantly challenged to deal with the conflicting energies that arise. To have one in a life is demanding enough.

In order to cope with two, Desclos had to use two different names. Her journalistic work was carried out under the name of Dominique Aury.

Aury’s writings displayed a demure, intellectual, and almost prudish persona. This undoubtedly came from the Grand Cross that involved her Sun, Ascendant, Saturn and Pluto.

The Sun is in Virgo, a cool analytical sign that is naturally restrained in expression. This would become even more so as her Sun was opposed to Saturn.

As the Sun / Saturn opposition was square to the Ascendant this is the personna that people saw and assumed was Desclos.

However the Grand Cross also included Pluto. Pluto was opposite the Ascendant, a strong clue that there was something very different operating underneath and away from the cultivated image.

Because Anne Desclos had another writing personna.

Desclos’ lover and employer Jean Paulhan, a fervent admirer of the Marquis de Sade, had made the remark to her that no woman was capable of writing an erotic novel. To prove him wrong, Desclos wrote a graphic, sadomasochistic novel that was published under the pseudonym Pauline Réage titled The Story of O. The book was extremely controversial, but an enormous commercial success.

Obscenity charges were brought against the publisher although they were thrown out by the courts. A publicity ban was put in place which was eventually lifted in 1967. In the late 60s a sequel to the book was published called Retour du Roissy. Pluto was conjunct Desclos’ Sun at the time.

The Story of O is seen in Desclos’ chart through the other Grand Cross where the Moon in Aries in the 3rd house is opposite Mercury in Libra with squares to Mars rising in Capricorn and Neptune in the 7th house.

The Moon, Mercury and Mars placings pointed to the powerfully erotic nature of the novel. Neptune’s role was in part to do with the secrecy of the author.

The Story of O was published in 1954 when Neptune was opposite and Uranus square to Desclos’ Moon. It caused much speculation as to the true identity of the author but it wasn’t until 1994, forty years later that Desclos revealed that she was the writer. In 1994 Neptune was in square to her Moon.

It may seem like there were two different personalities operating here, but the truth was that they were two sides of the same coin.

In fact O is a tale of female submission about a beautiful Parisian fashion photographer who is taught to be constantly available sexually to any male she encounters, unless her master directs otherwise. She is regularly stripped, blindfolded, chained and whipped. O is presented as a sexual slave.

The novel was strongly criticised by many feminists, who felt it glorified the abuse of women.

And there is nothing that symbolises submission as clearly as the Sun in Virgo opposite Saturn and the fact that O was enslaved is shown by the square of both of these to Pluto in the 6th house.

Ultimately the individual has to express their whole chart one way or another and Anne Desclos’ complex chart found its expression through the character of O.

We can react negatively to the depiction of women in the novel whilst at the same time defending the right of the author to publish it. But astrology does not do good and bad, right and wrong. It just points to links between planetary positions and human behaviour.

 

DOES THIS PROVE ASTROLOGY ?

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