The dark side of the Force, called Bogan by ancient Force-sensitives, was an aspect of the Force. Those who used the dark side were known as either Darksiders or Dark Jedi when unaffiliated with a dark side organization such as the Sith. Unlike the Jedi, who were famous for using the light side of the Force, dark-siders drew power from raw emotions like pain, hatred, passion, and love.
The dark side was an aspect of the Force, a metaphysical power that bound the galaxy together. The first known users of the dark side were the ancient Rakatans, a species of alien that conquered a large portion of the galaxy around 49,000 BBY. These aliens were able to harness the dark side to create engineering feats unheard of in their time, such as the hyperdrive and the Star Forge. However, the Rakatan Infinite Empire eventually collapsed and the Rakatans lost their connection to the Force.
In 25,053 BBY, long after the fall of the Infinite Empire, the galaxy was building a new government, the Galactic Republic. Prior to the dawn of this new era scientists, philosophers, priests, and warriors gathered on the planet Tython to discuss and investigate an anomalous energy present throughout the galaxy. The group was able to discover Ashla, what became known as the light side of the force. Eventually however, members of the group discovered and began to advocate the use of Bogan, or what would later become known as the dark side. These two groups clashed on the planet in a century-long conflict known as the Force Wars of Tython. In the aftermath of the war, the followers of Ashla developed the Jedi Order, while the followers of Bogan seemingly faded from history.
The dark side would not present a significant threat again until 24,500 BBY, in the First Great Schism of the Jedi Order. Once again however, the followers of the dark side, including Lettow General Xendor, the first known Dark Jedi, were defeated by the members of the Jedi Order. Those who followed Xendor came to be known as the Legions of Lettow, and embraced combat in place of meditation, and focused their emotions on battle rather than calm. Several members of the Jedi Order would once again take up these teachings and embrace the dark side in 7,000 BBY sparking the Second Great Schism, also known as the Hundred-Year Darkness. Although the Dark Jedi were again defeated and eventually exiled, it was this conflict that allowed for the creation of an enduring dark side organization, as the Exiles would be the predecessors to the Sith.
The dark side was seen as having been used for selfish purposes, although many dark-siders who were accused of such selfishness claimed that their dark side was simply a means to achieve an end. One of the most notable examples was Anakin Skywalker, who embraced the dark side with the intentions of saving his wife, at the expense of the Jedi Order. Many found the dark side to be addictive, being unable to resist its pull the more they subjected themselves to it. Dark side users became more powerful as their physical bodies slowly decayed. However, some users like Mara Jade noted that the use of the dark side was a practical matter, as the power it granted was more efficient when performing destructive Force powers like telekinesis. Like the light side, the dark side was often treated as though a semi-sentient entity with purposeful designs.
It has been theorized by some that there is no such thing as the dark side but only malevolent intent in the user, since most dark side users already had negative intentions in their being or fell victim to the temptations of absolute power and domination. This Potentium theory was fervently opposed by the Jedi Master Yoda, and while Luke Skywalker briefly accepted it as a valid philosophy following the Yuuzhan Vong War, he later felt uncomfortable with the decision and ultimately rejected it towards the end of the Swarm War.
The Sith would call it enlightenment, but no records show exactly how a conversion to the dark side transpired. The dark side was extremely addictive, and almost impossible to renounce. Every time a person in tune with the Force called on the dark side, they became more and more addicted to the power it brought them. The dark side's corruptive influences could take control in moments. Although the Jedi primarily characterized the dark side as little more than a dangerous shortcut to power, those who embraced the dark side did so for many different reasons.
Some believed the dark side to be a more generous than the light, as it provided power, strength, and determination. Many of the original Dark Jedi in the Great Schisms of the Jedi Order held this idea, and believed it foolish of the Jedi to restrict themselves to a lesser interpretation of the Force. Some fell to the dark side for the sake of knowledge, such as Anakin Skywalker in his fight to discover a way to save the life of his wife and children.
Others believed that it was a necessary evil in dire times, such as Darth Caedus and Darth Revan, while Darth Traya embraced it so she might be able to find a way to destroy the Force as a whole. Some embraced the dark side not out of personal desire, but as a means to battle the Jedi, as Aurra Sing did. For many, like Darth Talon, Irek Ismaren, Vestara Khai, and Mara Jade the dark side was the first side of the Force they were introduced to, and thus they never truly "fell" into it. Often the call of the dark side was felt following a personal tragedy, as Shaela Nuur and Obi-Wan Kenobi experienced following the death of loved ones. Others turned to it in times of need or distress, such as Exar Kun, Darth Krayt, and Komari Vosa.
Regardless of their reasons and excuses, almost all who fell to the dark side did so because they had been faced with challenges and difficulties they felt the light side was incapable of fixing. Whatever changes they had undergone were clear results of the lives they had led and the experiences they had survived.
The dark side, much like a strong, addictive narcotic, affected not only the mind of the user but the appearance as well. As one immersed themselves deeper within the dark side of the Force, its malevolent power would take a toll on the body.
Many dark-siders experienced a change in the pigmentation of their eyes, as their normal eye color would transform into a luminous, sulfuric yellow. Often the skin would also lose pigmentation, becoming pale and mottled while veins became increasingly visible. The hair would also lose color, making it appear as though the dark-sider was aging rapidly. The user's voice would also be altered, becoming a few pitches lower and raspier.
The effects generally progressed over time and immersion in the dark side, and would not immediately affect one's appearance. Darth Tyranus, for example, did not experience any of these effects during his tenure as a dark-sider. Luke Skywalker suffered none of these effects during his brief bout of intense anger that allowed him to disarm Darth Vader, nor did Kyle Katarn during either of the times that he was (at least partially) driven by the dark side against Jerec and later Desann. In contrast, Teneniel Djo, after calling on the Dark Side to kill a Nightsister in the Battle of Dathomir, instantly acquired a burst blood vessel in her face, something common to the Nightsisters. Of those that embraced the dark side, different individuals would experience different symptoms: Darth Malak, for example, experienced a change in eye color, but no other effects that could be explained naturally (although he required a vocabulator after his jaw was severed). Only those that devoted almost all of their being to the dark side, such as Darth Sidious, would have their appearance radically altered.
In time, the corruption could go beyond mere cosmetic details and directly impair physical abilities. King Ommin of Onderon was a proficient Sith sorcerer for most of his life, and the dark side held him under its decaying influence until he eventually became incapable of movement and needed support from a cyborg exoskeleton in order to survive. The worst case of this transformation would be Darth Nihilus, who not only was completely consumed by the dark side mentally but also physically. He had become a living entity of the dark side of the Force and uncaring of all life.
The dark side would have an even greater effect on the mind, as the user would become increasingly untrusting and quick to anger. Following Anakin Skywalker's transformation into Darth Vader, he believed his wife was plotting to kill him with Obi-Wan Kenobi. His paranoia and anger lead him to strangle her through the Force. Continued immersion in the dark side could even result in insanity, as in the case of Dark Jedi Boc Aseca, Alema Rar, and Joruus C'baoth.It was possible for these corruptive powers to be potent enough to effect those who were simply in close proximity to a nexus of dark side energy.
While the dark side could destroy a body, it was also capable of sustaining one. The hateful, passionate, determined energies of the dark side were so powerful that it could prevent death for a body that was far past the point of death for a normal being. King Adas of Korriban survived for almost three centuries. Darth Sion, who suffered grievously in the Great Sith War and the Jedi Civil War had the appearance of a walking corpse. His flesh was "cracked and scarred" and he had "several thousand fractures in his skeleton," according to a Republic medical officer. He survived through the power of hate, according to Darth Traya, and called upon the dark side to make him near-immortal. Darth Vader had his legs and arms amputated shortly before having his lungs seared as he was burned alive on Mustafar. His life was saved only after intervention by his master, Darth Sidious, and his dark side healing abilities. After his transformation into a cyborg, Vader called heavily upon the dark side to marginalize his wounds so he could again be self-sufficient.
As the dark side was often associated with darker emotions, dark-siders were portrayed to the galaxy as savage and evil. The Jedi Order disagreed so strongly with the purpose of the dark side of the Force that they distanced themselves from anything possibly related to the dark side. After the Ruusan Reformation, the order placed many limitations on Jedi to protect order members from temptation by dark side influences. The Jedi Order forbade members romantic attachments, relationships with their families, and any type of action based on anger. These limits came from the belief that those Jedi who had deep personal attachments with loved ones also had motivation to use the power of the Force selfishly for protection, personal enrichment, or the pursuit of more power. Anakin Skywalker fell to the dark side in large part because then-Chancellor Palpatine knew of his secret marriage to Padmé Amidala, and he was able to prey upon that vulnerable emotional connection.
Many—especially those who had embraced the dark side—believed this to be a result of fear. Often those who held this belief looked down upon the Jedi and other light-siders, criticizing them for cowardice and inaction.
As the dark side was often associated with infamous historical figures, such as Freedon Nadd, Darth Revan, and Emperor Palpatine, it is unsurprising that many throughout the galaxy would harbor such animosity to its users. Many expletives were also associated with the dark side, including "By the Dark Side!", "Chaos take me!", "Holy Sith!, and "Minions of Xendor!".
Certain dark side users, upon being killed, would explode in a blast of blue energy. Emperor Palpatine exploded in this way in 4 ABY after being thrown down a reactor core shaft in the second Death Star by a redeemed Anakin Skywalker. In 9 ABY, Joruus C'baoth also exploded in a blast of blue energy after being stabbed by Mara Jade's lightsaber. Other Dark Jedi, such as Darth Nihilus and Jerec did not explode, but rather dissolved into dark side energy upon their death, leaving no remains of their bodies. It remains a mystery why these individuals died in this manner while other dark side users, such as Count Dooku, did not.
Mysteriously, when Shaak Ti was struck down by Galen Marek and thrown into the mouth of a giant sarlacc, she died in a way similar to the explosions mentioned above, but was in no way a dark side user. The reason her death occurred in the manner it did has yet to be clarified. It may be that this occurs when a more powerful force-user is killed and thus force "side" affiliation may be irrelevant.
The Four Stages of the Dark Side was a thesis presented by the Jedi Master Tolaris Shim that outlined her beliefs on what constitutes a complete fall to the dark side. Based on the events surrounding the fall of Ulic Qel-Droma, Master Shim studied deep into the histories of those Jedi whose personal motivations drove them to the dark side for one reason or another. Sometime shortly after the end of the Great Sith War, Master Shim presented her findings to the Jedi assembly. These findings would be the standard by which Masters identified the signs of one's potential corruption by the dark side.
Tolaris Shim believed that because a Jedi was in tune with the Force and could use it to whatever ends they saw fit, situations would arise that tempted the Jedi toward selfish applications of the Force. Rushing to help friends, facing obvious perils, and ending disputes quickly were all acts of haste that according to Master Shim would result in steps onto the dark path should the individual act first and contemplate later.
Knights like the charismatic Exar Kun were less "honor-bound". Intrigued with tales of the dark side told by Master Vodo-Siosk Baas, Kun was easily seduced by what he perceived as unrestrained power—power that was his for the taking. This power was that of the dark side, and it did not hesitate in coercing other young Jedi to follow.
According to Master Shim, a hasty, indecisive Jedi can be quite a catastrophe to himself. Also, any Jedi who believes that a "shortcut" through the path of the dark side will be lined with signs redirecting him back toward the light is only deluding himself. Shim felt that a Jedi cannot be blinded by the idea of doing what they perceive to be right, by any means necessary. She also believed that if one accepts the darkness by which he is surrounded as a means to power, then the next stage has no bearing on their concerns. Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker was conflicted in this manner. To save his wife from impending death, Skywalker believed that he could do so through the power of the dark side, while remaining uncorrupted by it. Because he accepted the dark side as the power necessary to bring about good, he was completely given over to it. He too, like Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma before him, succumbed fully to the wiles of the dark side, yet as Darth Vader, Anakin did not realize that he may have had to turn in order to bring balance to the Force.
Master Shim believed that once a Jedi accepts the dark path, having to justify the end by the means is of no more concern. Situations like attempting to destroy the Sith through infiltration, or trying to save loved ones from death have caused several famous Jedi to explain away their actions based on the desired outcomes. At this point, their fall to the dark side is nearly complete.
On occasion, Jedi who wander away from the light suddenly become aware of their poor decisions. According to Master Shim, these Jedi are not so far beyond redemption. Jedi Master Atris, having succumbed to the dark side influence of Sith Holocrons in her possession, was restored to the light following a fierce confrontation with the Jedi Exile. Some Jedi, such as Exar Kun, found the power of the dark side intoxicating and so fully surrendered themselves to it. To Master Shim, these individuals are no longer orthodox Jedi but twisted perversions of their former selves. It is then the responsibility of the Jedi to either bring the dissenter back into the fold, or eliminate them.
Tolaris believed that a Jedi who is only slightly tainted by the dark side could atone for their actions through meditation, reflection, and absolution. She also believed that a Dark Jedi was beyond atonement, and therefore only eligible for redemption. According to Master Shim, a redeemed Jedi is one who has performed a selfless act of heroism without using the dark side to obtain results. Such acts include saving the life of another through completely selfless action (such as Darth Vader saving his son from death by destroying Emperor Palpatine), or helping to right a wrong one has helped to create (such as Ulic Qel-Droma assisting in the defeat of Exar Kun). This happens from time to time, but on many occasions Dark Jedi were beyond enlightenment, some outright refusing to be restored. To this effect Master Shim noted that a Dark Jedi who does not want to relinquish his powers cannot be saved.
While pondering the ideas behind Master Shim's dissertation, Tionne Solusar was interested in how Tolaris would view certain Jedi of more recent times, Jedi who were corrupted, restored, and believed redeemed by their colleagues. Tionne provided an account of the dark side journeys of Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, and Kyp Durron, but Tolaris' interactive holorecording passed the same judgments on all three: that any Jedi who kills innocents while succumbing to the dark side cannot be redeemed.
The Valley of the Dark Lords on Korriban became a nexus of dark side power as a result of the long-term presence of the Sith, as well as their lingering spirits. The tombs within the Valley were especially saturated with dark side energy, causing the relics within to have a permanent dark side aura. Within these tombs, as well as Freedon Nadd's on Dxun, the dark side was known to coagulate into visible pools of energy. These pools would tempt passersby to bathe in the dark energies, pulling them closer to the dark side.
Other dark side nexuses include the planet Vjun, which was the result of horrors attributed to the widespread insanity that gripped the planet in 29 BBY. After research into Midi-chlorian manipulation resulted in their madness, the populace of Vjun proceeded to slaughter one another, tainting the planet. Byss became a dark side nexus due to the presence of the clones of Darth Sidious and his alchemical experimentations. Jedi Master Yoda used the Dark Side Cave on Dagobah to test Luke Skywalker, as the dark energies would produce visions of possible dark futures.
The dark side could also center itself around people and objects. The Sith Lord Darth Sidious was so powerful in the dark side that a nexus of darkness followed him wherever he went. Indeed this was true for many Sith, such as Darth Malak, who's dark energy was felt by Bastila Shan as he approached the Leviathan. Sith artifacts carried with them potent dark power as well, such as Sith holocrons and the Scepter of Ragnos.
A wound in the Force was the result of a massive and sudden loss of life. As the Force is derived from life, it would become traumatized and wounded, affecting the places and people involved. The wound would never heal, and always hunger for life to fill the hole where life once existed. Such wounds could cause great harm to any life that came in contact, corrupting it or devouring it. Proximity to these wounds could often cause a rapid fall to the dark side or worse. Well known Force wounds included Malachor V, the Jedi Exile, and Darth Nihilus.
Malachor V was once an agricultural world in the possession of the old Sith Empire. During the Mandalorian Wars, Jedi General Revan massed his fleet of Republic warships over the planet, which was a taboo world for the Mandalorians. Unable to resist battle, the Mandalorian fleet attacked, and fought savagely. However, the Jedi General in charge of the Mass Shadow Generator, a superweapon designed by Bao-Dur, gave the order to activate it, crushing both fleets in the gravitational forces of the planet, and sending thousands of vessels crashing into the surface of the planet. The world's crust shattered, leaving a dead planetoid floating in space, surrounded by wreckage.
The same Jedi General, unable to bear experiencing thousands of deaths through the Force—deaths that she caused—shut herself off from the Force, and thus created a wound within herself. When later standing trial before the Jedi Council, the Masters would comment on how empty she felt, as if they were staring into the death of the Force.
Darth Nihilus, yet another product of Malachor, would become such a powerful wound that the dark side would completely devour his mind and body. He would roam the galaxy, hunting Jedi and other Force-sensitives to feed on. He was able to wipe all life off the planet of Katarr, and cause anyone in close proximity to him to be slowly drained of life. His constant pursuit of Force-sensitives to consume earned him the title "Lord of Hunger".
A common point of debate among Jedi and their dark counterparts was the strength that lie behind the dark side. A major claim of darksiders was that the stronger, darker emotions that fueled their power also lent them an edge over other Force users. The Jedi, and other groups who held to the light often claimed that the dark side was a shortcut to power, but also to suffering and destruction. It is true that many darksiders noticeably advanced in their command of the Force following their conversion, like Darth Caedus. Many were in fact capable of incredible feats of destruction, such as the Devastation of Katarr and Force Storms, powers that seemed incomprehensible for a single being to wield.
Indeed, these powers did not come without their price, as Darth Nihilus lost his humanity and his body as a result of his dark side prowess, and one of Darth Sidious' deaths was the result of his inability to control one of his storms. It seemed that once a darksider reached the pinnacle of their power, they would axiomatically lose control of it.
It was also noted by Jedi Master Yoda that the dark side was quick to aid a force-user in combat, and indeed it had great effect. Asajj Ventress, a young Dark Jedi, was able to fend off three Jedi, kill one, and pull another to the dark side during the Deception on Ruul. During her rescue of Viceroy Nute Gunray from Republic custody, Ventress was able to kill numerous clone troopers, cripple the Tranquility, and escape both Luminara Unduli and Ahsoka Tano. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine called upon the dark side and was able to quickly slay three Jedi Council members and persuade Anakin Skywalker to assist him in killing the fourth. Skywalker himself, as Darth Vader, was able to kill many Jedi single-handedly during Operation: Knightfall and the subsequent Great Jedi Purge. The combat prowess exhibited by these individuals may have been the result of a lack of moral restrictions darksiders placed on themselves when in battle, however the dark side itself lent to their ferocity and determination.
One weakness that apparently lay in the dark side, which could be seen as giving the Jedi the upper hand, was the strife inescapably associated with it. The Sith Lords, despite their individual superiority over the Jedi, could never ultimately destroy their foes, because they were bound to, sooner or later, turn upon each other, with each one constantly striving for more power at the expense of others, and seeking to dominate everything around him. The Rule of Two, introduced by Darth Bane, while drastically limiting the number of true Sith, was an attempt to turn this weakness into benefit, with the apprentice through strife eventually replacing the master. This too however caused a problem with the Sith as the Rule of Two never made note of the possibility that one of the two could turn back to the light as Vader while killing his Master turned to the light just before death. But the One Sith changed this when they adopted the Rule of One.
Another fatal weakness that has been repeatedly illustrated in the dark side is a lack of focus that seems to stem from a reliance on emotions such a pride, anger, and fear, which heighten powers but also lead to clouded judgment. Thus dark-siders are often defeated by their own hubris, when victory would seem assured. Obi-Wan Kenobi defeated both Darth Maul and Darth Vader, despite being pushed back for the majority of both battles. Darth Malak was similarly defeated by Revan despite drawing on the massive dark power of the Star Forge. Darth Tyranus felt threatened by Anakin Skywalker and allowed his pride to blind him to Skywalker's true power. Thus it would seem that the dark side offers a more tangible sort of power: one that is direct and physical, while the light side provides a more subtle kind of power, that of focus and understanding, one which dark-siders often fail to understand and tend to underestimate, usually fatally.
It should be noted that the training methods of dark-siders were often brutal, as exemplified by the Sith. This means that the weaker dark-siders often died before ever getting the chance to fight a Jedi, which helps explain their high success rate against Jedi–more weak Jedi survived their training to fight the strongest of the Sith.
Those who wielded the dark side found many abilities of the Force easier to use, with some Force powers available only to Dark Jedi. Light side Jedi could use some dark side abilities, but most preferred not to since dark side abilities had aggressive, destructive, or perversely manipulative tendencies. Luke Skywalker, for example, used Force Choke at Jabba's Palace, which was almost unheard of for a Jedi to use, unless unarmed. The powers commonly associated with the dark side of the Force as listed below are:
As the Sith were a cult not only devoted to the dark side, but the accumulation of power by way of the dark side, many dark side powers were known exclusively to them. Their ancient and infamous practices of Sith Alchemy allowed for the creation of monsters and other terrors, while Sith magic focused more on mental manipulations and physical manifestations of the dark side.
Sith Alchemy was the source of monsters and other creatures that terrorized the galaxy for millennia. Pioneered by some of the first Dark Jedi to leave the Jedi Order, such as Xoxaan, Karness Muur, and Ajunta Pall, Sith Alchemy resulted in the creation of the Behemoth from the World Below, Leviathan monsters, battle hydras, rakghouls, and Sith war behemoths. This ancient knowledge was later used to create the Technobeast, monsters that brought Belia Darzu to fame and characterized the Sictis Wars. Exar Kun was also a master of this power, using it to mutate the remaining Massassi warriors on Yavin 4 and create the terentatek. Thousands of years later, Darth Plagueis mastered this ability and was able to create life. His apprentice, Darth Sidious, was also extremely proficient in Sith Alchemy, creating the Chrysalide and authoring The Creation of Monsters, the third manuscript of the Dark Side Compendium.
Sith Magic was used throughout the ages as a way to manipulate and intimidate opponents. Unlike regular Force powers, Sith Magic required incantations or rituals, and the individual powers were referred to as "spells". These spells were often employed to create illusions, used to confuse or attack an enemy. Aleema Keto was extremely capable in this aspect, and used it to create an entire herd of space grazers to attack a republic fleet at Koros Major. Zannah was also a practitioner of Sith Magic, and often summoned her victims' worst fears to torture them. Sith magic also involved the use of amulets and talismans to enhance the power of the caster. Sith magic may have been involved in the creation of the Muur Talisman, which housed the spirit of Karness Muur for many millennia. This magic also aided in the summoning of ancient dark side spirits, such as Freedon Nadd's ghost.
The oldest dark side cult, Dark Jedi were considered unholy for giving in to the dark side of the Force. The earliest of these unholy knights were the Legions of Lettow, formed by ex-Jedi Xendor. The Legions were exterminated by the Jedi Order 500 years after the formation of the Republic. Millennia later, the Dark Jedi arose again to fight the order in the Hundred-Year Darkness, armed with alchemic knowledge this time. The conflict ensued for a full century, resulting in the last of them becoming exiles of the Holy Order. A second resurgence occurred when a gang of Dark Jedi attempted to gain control of an ancient superweapon called the Cosmic Turbine. The incident resulted in the destruction of the Vultar system. During the Jedi Civil War, Dark Jedi joined Revan's empire as Sith-in-training. Throughout the post-Ruusan galaxy, Dark Jedi continued to be a problem, some trying to claim themselves as Sith, though they were merely pretenders seeking greater power. The true Sith made their presence known hundreds of years later, though the pretenders continued their claims. A group of Dark Jedi, called the Dark Acolytes, served the Order of the Sith Lords during the Clone Wars as a counter to the Jedi Order. An amalgamation of Dark Jedi, called the Dark Side Adepts, served the same Sith order as the replacement of the Jedi during the reign of the Galactic Empire. Dark Jedi would later serve Lumiya's Sith in Lord Caedus's takeover of the Galactic Alliance.
The most infamous dark side cult, the Sith were a sect of Force-sensitives bent upon the destruction of the Jedi and domination of the galaxy. Originally a species native to the planet Korriban, the cult was formed from the Dark Jedi survivors of the Hundred-Year Darkness. Following their exile from known space, these Dark Jedi landed upon the uncharted world and were worshipped by the Sith species for their powers and "magic". They were proclaimed the Lords of the Sith, and established an expanding Empire. The Empire would eventually fall but the Sith religion would survive, taking on numerous forms over the years. These included the Sith Triumvirate, the Order of the Sith Lords, and the One Sith.
The Sith were also seen as the masters of the dark side, and the pinnacle of dark side power. They perfected the art of dark side mutations, allowing for the use of Sith Alchemy and other Sith magic. The leader of the cult, the Dark Lord of the Sith, was considered the embodiment of the dark side itself, and all power of the dark side would flow from him or her.
With such great influence, the Sith religion inspired many cults that weren't technically part of the Sith Order, nor were they comprised of actual Sith. Instead, they were founded and made up of Sith devotees and other Force-sensitives dedicated to prolonging the teachings and the memory of the Sith. Such cults included the Naddists, the Disciples of Ragnos, and the Krath.
The Infinite Empire, established by the Rakata of Lehon, was the earliest known galactic government. The Rakata were finally able to traverse the galaxy following their invention of the hyperdrive, which utilized the power of the Force. When exploring the stars, they came across several more primitive species, and saw this as an opportunity for domination rather than galactic cooperation. The Rakata conquered many planets and enslaved their native species, including the Duros, Kumumgah, Selkath, Wookiees and Humans. Their influence and reach seemed infinite and their temples could be found on planets such as Honoghr all the way into the Clone Wars. They taught the Sith King Adas to create holocrons and attempted to usurp his control of the planet Korriban. Although they were driven off world, the battle resulted in the death of Adas, who had once seemed invincible. The Rakata also had great influence on the natural history of the galaxy, being the cause of the Wroshyr Trees and other massive flora on Kashyyyk, as well as the Tusken Raiders and Jawas of Tatooine (their violent response to the Kumumgah Rebellion caused a deviation of the species and the transformation of Tatooine into a desert world).
At the pinnacle of their power, the Rakata created the Star Forge, a massive space station-factory that fed off the power of the dark side and churned out fleets of warships and war droids. The Star Forge further corrupted its builders and the Empire began to fracture, straining from huge slave revolts and a plague that killed only the Rakata. Soon the plague robbed them of their sensitivity to the Force and the Infinite Empire crumbled. After retreating to their homeworld, their relics were left throughout the galaxy for a future conqueror to find.
The Prophets of the Dark Side were the leaders and clergymen of the Dark Force religion, which was founded by renegade Sith Lord Darth Millenial on Dromund Kaas. Headquartered in the Dark Force Temple on Dromund Kaas, the Prophets searched deep into the dark side of the Force in order to divine future events. The group was discovered by Palpatine before the Clone Wars and made subservient to him and his future Empire. The Sith Lord installed Kadann as Supreme Prophet, and titled his new servants as the Emperor's Mages. The group became extremely influential following the rise of the Galactic Empire and served as close advisors to Palpatine.
However, the Prophets splintered as a result of their closeness to Palpatine, with some remaining loyal to him and the Empire and others joining Kadann on Bosthirda. The schism occurred after Palpatine dismissed Kadann's visions of the Battle of Endor and the Emperor, along with Imperial Intelligence and several renegade Prophets, created the propaganda religion, the Church of the Dark Side, in direct response. Following Palpatine's death at Endor, former Emperor's Hand Lumiya became the Dark Lady of the Sith. She, along with her apprentice, Carnor Jax wished to eliminate the remaining Prophets, and sent Azrakel to slaughter them on Bosthirda.
The Bando Gora were a cult of dark side worshippers who terrorized the Outer Rim Territories in the time around the Battle of Naboo. Eventually they launched an onslaught against the planet Baltizaar, and were on the verge of victory when the Republic requested aid from the Jedi. A task force soon arrived on planet, but the Jedi mission was ultimately a failure.
During the fighting two Jedi were killed and the Bando Gora was able to capture three Jedi as prisoners of war. One of the hostages was Komari Vosa, the padawan of Jedi Master Dooku who had just been passed over for knighthood. Already on the dark path following her rejection, Vosa succumbed to the dark side during her torture in captivity. She was able to free herself and kill her captors and fellow Jedi captives, gaining control of the Bando Gora. Making her headquarters on the graveyard moon of Kohlma, Vosa set into action a plan for galactic domination. She would use one of the galaxy's most popular narcotics, Death Sticks, to brainwash beings into devotion to the cult. Unfortunately for Vosa, the Bando Gora caught the attention of Darth Sidious, who saw the cult as a threat to his plan for galactic domination. His apprentice, Darth Tyranus, the new identity of Vosa's former master, put a bounty on her head. The bounty hunter Jango Fett was able to defeat Vosa and destroy the Bando Gora, thus proving himself worthy to be the Prime Clone of the Grand Army of the Republic.
The Witches of Dathomir were Force-sensitive women who organized themselves into clans on the planet Dathomir. Although there were many different clans with different rules and laws, all forbade the use of the dark side. Those who utilized the dark side of the Force were banished from their clans, sent into exile in the wilds of Dathomir. In the waning days of the Old Republic, two exiles, Gethzerion and Baritha began to gather other outcasts to form a new clan of Witches devoted to the dark side. This new clan would come to be known as the Nightsisters, a feared sect of female warriors and sorceresses.
Nightsisters in the galaxy were a rarity, as it was unlikely for any to be able to obtain passage off Dathomir, however it was not unheard of. Mighella served Black Sun Vigo Alexi Garyn as a bodyguard, Charal was able to make her way to Endor, and several sisters allied themselves with the CIS during the Clone Wars. During the reign of the Empire, Gethzerion allied herself with Palpatine, in hopes to attain transport off Dathomir. Palpatine, fearing her power, wouldn't allow her or any other Nightsisters to escape the planet, and so began to imprison the witches and quarantine the planet. Although many escaped their prisons, none were able to escape the planet following the blockade. Gethzerion later tried to broker a deal with Imperial Warlord Zsinj, although he double crossed her, resulting in the destruction of the clan.
The Sorcerers of Tund were a sect of Force-sensitives on the planet Tund who were descended from Sith Mages banished there. The Mages were under the belief that all sentient beings were Force-sensitive, as the only other species they had come into contact with as of yet were the Rakata of the Infinite Empire. The Sorcerers rarely left Tund and were recognizable by their all-concealing outfits. They called the Force the "Unity," and although they had contact with the Jedi, they refused to join their order. Their explorations of the Force were known to drive them to madness, but their mastery of Force "magic" was undeniable, as seen in their ability to create intricate illusions and shapeshift.
Eventually the sorcerers came under the leadership of Karnak Tetsu, who unleashed a reign of terror following the Great Sith War. Following this, the Jedi took it as their responsibility to ensure that the sorcerers didn't descend into darkness, however they were forced to abandon their vigil during the Republic's twilight. Rokur Gepta was able to join the group, learn their secrets, and then destroy them, becoming the last of the Sorcerers.
The Dark. (From the audio adaptation of the Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith novel)
Bogan was the name given to the dark side of the Force in early drafts of A New Hope and was established as canon in the Expanded Universe by the The New Essential Chronology. It was also said to be what the ancient Jedi and Sith called the dark side in Darth Bane: Rule of Two and called Boga.
The Potentium view of the Force denies the existence of the dark side of the Force. Some of the fallen Potentium Heretics believe that what others call the dark side of the Force is in fact, the raw unleashed true nature of the Force, which is based on the core Sith belief. The difference between those who believe in the Potentium view of the Force and Dark Jedi/Sith is that the Dark Jedi/Sith embrace the dark side of the Force with full knowledge of its existence, while the Potentium followers embrace the dark side of the Force by thinking that the Force does not have a dark side, becoming twisted and corrupted by their denial. However, none of the original proponents of Potentium philosophy by that name fell to the dark side, and later proponents such as the morally ambiguous (and stated to be Sith) Vergere and gray Sith Lumiya would debate the nature of corruption itself. Furthermore, there is a striking similarity between condemnation of the Potentium and the out-of-universe condemnation of moral relativism. In both cases, those opposed to morally questionable beliefs are quick to paint their opponents as highly susceptible to corruption. While some evidence of this corruption for Potentium thinkers exists, no evidence suggests there is a greater "dark side" turnover rate among Potentium followers than among traditional Jedi and proponents of standard beliefs in moral dichotomy.
The Force was a metaphysical, binding, and ubiquitous power that held enormous importance for both the Jedi and Sith monastic orders. The Force was viewed in many different aspects, including, but not limited to, the light side, the dark side, the Unifying Force, and the Living Force. The first two aspects were concerned with the moral compass of the Force in its various manifestations. The light side of the Force was the facet aligned with compassion, courage, healing, and benevolence, while the dark side of the Force was the element aligned with hatred, fear, aggression, and malevolence. The latter two aspects were defined by prominent Jedi philosophies: The Unifying Force essentially embraced space and time in its entirety while the Living Force dealt with the energy of living things. Though the Force was categorized in this way, there were no specific abilities or powers that were only usable by a follower of a different path of the Force; the Force partially existed inside the life forms that used it, and drew energy from their emotions.
Some beings, particularly the Sith, believed that the dark side of the Force was more powerful than the light, though it was possible that the dark side was just more tempting to those who used it (or desired to use it). Others thought of the Force as an entity capable of intelligent thought, almost as a sort of god. Anakin Skywalker, who was believed to have been conceived by the Force itself, may have; if this belief is correct; lent credit towards the view of the Force as a sentient entity.
Though the Force was thought to flow through every living thing, it could only be harnessed by beings described as "Force-sensitive". This Force-sensitivity was correlated with, and sometimes attributed to, a high count of internal micro-organisms called midi-chlorians that were found in a Force-sensitive's blood: the higher the count, the greater the being's potential Force ability, though there were some exceptions to this rule. Force-sensitive beings were able to tap into the Force to perform acts of great skill and agility as well as control and shape the world around them. Sometimes this ability was described as having a strong Force "aura".