In the mid-Nineties, a crime story out of Toronto horrified the rest of Canada. Paul Bernardo, a clean-cut boyish-looking accountant was arrested and charged with the sexual assault and murder of two teenage girls. The key Crown witness against Bernardo was his attractive young spouse Karla Homolka who’d participated in the two rape/murders but negotiated a plea deal to get off with a light sentence in exchange for her damning testimony.

The two had met in June 1990 and fallen in love when he was 23 and she was 17. Independent of Homolka, Bernardo had spent the previous three years stalking and raping at least 19 young women throughout the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. In December of 1990 he pressured Homolka to steal sleeping pills from the animal clinic where she worked, and two days before Christmas, used them to drug Karla’s 15-year-old sister Tammy. In an upstairs bedroom of Homolka’s own home, he raped Tammy, and coerced Karla to perform oral sex on her own sister. By the morning, Tammy had choked to death on her own vomit, and yet the incident was accepted as an accident by the authorities.

In June 1991, Bernardo picked up 14-year Leslie Mahaffy and brought her home for two days of sexual torture videotaped by Homolka. After he’d strangled the girl, they hid her in his basement, and hosted Homolka’s parents the next day for a Father’s Day dinner. The following day, he cut the victim’s body into eight pieces, encased them in cement, and dumped them in a nearby lake. Two weeks later, Bernardo and Homolka got married.

In April 1992, Bernardo picked up 15-year-old Kristen French and repeated the whole gruesome business — three days of sexual torture videotaped by Homolka, death by strangulation, and the subsequent disposal of the victim’s body. After this episode, and her constant subjugation to his brain-washing and perverted sex routines, Homolka began to fear she might be his next victim, and in 1993 she left him.

Already a person of interest in the Scarborough Rapist investigation, Bernardo was arrested in February 1993. After some lengthy negotiations, Homolka’s lawyer managed to get her a plea deal with a reduced sentence in exchange for her testimony and, critically, information on the whereabouts of the videotapes showing Bernardo sexually torturing and killing Mahaffy and French. Bernardo was tried in 1995 for two counts of sexual assault and first-degree murder, and sentenced to prison without parole for 25 years. Homolka got off with a 12-year sentence for manslaughter, an outcome widely criticized because of her complicity in the crimes.

In Bernardo’s chart, his ascendant lord Mercury has gone to the 12th house where it joins the strong 12th lord Sun, thus establishing the prospect for both his sexual obsessions and his ultimate incarceration. The sole aspect of a double-strength Saturn from the 6th house — upon both his Sun and Moon — renders him cold and calculating, with a modus operandi that included coercion, captivity, sadism and strangulation.

Mars and Venus are in planetary war, conjunct within less than one degree of longitude in the 10th house. Their coupling constitutes a classic passion combination, wherein “bad boy” Mars is associated with “good girl” Venus, while both are in exaggerated condition by virtue of their planetary war. The sexual nature of the association is accentuated because Mars is lord of the 8th. In addition, this passionate pair’s association with Rahu adds yet another “bad boy” to the mix, albeit one with a twisted sense of sexuality.

For the record, exaggerated condition includes any avastha (dignity) that represents a significant strength or weakness, other than swa-rashi or digbala. Exaggeration arises from exaltation and debilitation, retrogression and combustion, new and full moon, eclipses and planetary war. A planet in exaggerated condition creates a bias for that planet to act out in extremes, either above or below the average baseline of human behavior.

In Homolka’s chart, her ascendant lord Jupiter has gone to the 11th house where it’s in mutual aspect with natural malefics, the Sun and Saturn, and functional malefics, the Moon and Mercury. If nothing else, this bestowed upon her a somewhat dark and troubled personality.

She too has a passion combination involving “bad boy” Mars associated with “good girl” Venus, her combo occurring in the 6th house. Since both Mars and Venus are trik lords, and under no influence from any other graha, they also form a Viparita Raja yoga, a pattern that’s often found among those manifesting pronounced sexual behavior. In addition, she has a second passion combination in the 5th house wherein “good girl” Moon associates with “bad boy” Saturn. Both grahas are in exaggerated condition, since the Moon is dark while Saturn is especially weak, being both debilitated and totally combust.

Bernardo’s campaign of rapes had begun in the tail end of his Venus dasha, and escalated into sexual torture and murder in his Sun dasha. As noted earlier, both grahas can be linked to extreme sexual behaviors. Homolka’s participation in Bernardo’s perverted sex life also occurred in the tail end of her Venus dasha. Although both of their charts have Venus associated with Mars in a classic passion combination, it is perhaps thanks to her Viparita yoga that she escaped with a lighter sentence.

While incarcerated, Bernardo was subjected to psychological analysis, scoring 35/40 on the Psychopathy Checklist, and judged to be a narcissist, psychopath, and sexual sadist. Homolka was likewise evaluated by numerous mental health officers and psychiatrists, although apparently remained a diagnostic mystery. One psychiatrist said she appeared to be a classic example of hybristophilia, an individual who is sexually aroused by a partner’s violent sexual behavior.

Although Bernardo remains to this day in prison with little chance of ever being paroled, Homolka was released after serving her 12-year sentence. She had a child, lived briefly in Guatemala, and after legally changing her name, now lives as anonymously as possible in a South Shore community outside Montreal.


Alan Annand is a longstanding student of Hart de Fouw. He’s a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. Currently he provides private tutoring to intermediate- and advanced-level students who have already mastered the basics of jyotisha.

He’s also the author of several books. Kala Sarpa is a first-of-its-kind reference text on a unique pattern in jyotisha that is not discussed in shastra yet is part of India’s rich oral tradition. Stellar Astrology, Volumes 1-3 offer a wealth of time-tested techniques via biographical profiles, analyses of world events, and technical essays. Parivartana Yoga is a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in jyotisha.

Aside from his Montreal-based crime novels, his New Age Noir crime series (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) feature astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”


You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.