Michel Gauquelin
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
Images and Physiognomic Interpretation

to Volume 3 Table of Contents


Michel Gauquelin—Scientist, Statistician, Astrological Researcher

November 13, 1928, Paris, France, 10:15 PM, GMT. (Source: from himself—“between 10:15 and 10:20 PM.”

(Ascendant, Leo; MC, Taurus with Jupiter conjunct the MC; Sun and Mercury in Scorpio; Moon, Venus and Saturn in Sagittarius with Venus and Saturn loosely conjunct; Mars in Cancer; Uranus in Aries, H9; Neptune in Virgo; Pluto in Cancer)

Degrees in statistics and psychology from the Sorbonne. Examined astrological data from 1950 to determine the degree of statistical evidence. A respect researcher who has compiled six massive volumes of data. Books include Cosmic Clocks.

French psychologist and statistician with degrees from the Sorbonne.  A highly respected researcher, he began to examine astrological evidence in 1950 to determine the degree of statistical weight against chance.  He and his wife, Françoise, compiled six massive volumes of data from birth records in France, Belgium and Italy.  His many books include "Cosmic Clocks," 1967.         

Michel Gauquelin was awarded the Marc Edmund Jones award in 1989.

Divorced in 1982, he took a second wife from whom he was separated when he overdosed on sleeping pills sometime between May 18 and 21.     

His body was found in his Paris apartment on 6/06/1991.

BIRTH AND DEATH DATA: AstroDatabank gives the following data, rated AA, BC in hand. He was born on November 13, 1928, at 10:15 PM GMT in Paris, France. He died in May, 1991.


"In our research we found Mars prominent at the birth of military men and sports champions, Jupiter prominent for actors, Saturn for scientists and the Moon for poets." (Francoise Gauquelin, Psychology of the planets. The quote is from the foreword by Michel Gauquelin)
(Venus conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius)

After decades of work, Gauquelin concluded that "our positive observations do not justify the current use of horoscopes" in that neither traditional Greek planetary symbolism, sign position, nor house interpretations appeared to correlate to the thousands of lives he studied. But there is that weak and persistent Mars Effect. . .

Gauquelin was suspicious of what he called "the charlatans and quacks of popular astrology," and "the commercial use and abuse of public gullibility by popular astrologers and their vast horoscope business").

"... Those who believe in astrology will probably consider the conclusions of this study terribly obvious. The skeptics, on the other hand, will probably think that Francoise finally succumbed to the charms of astrological traditions. Opinions do not matter. For the first time, scientific proof of the existence of the astrological reality of some planetary symbols has been clearly demonstrated. The fact that astrologers continue to misinterpret the horoscope is another issue. Francoise has brought to light the cold, hard statistical data that holds out to us, the scientistis, a somewhat "different" universe. The planetary symbolism described twenty centuries ago by Claudius Ptolemy, is not an image, but a reality. People born under Saturn really are saturnine, under Mars, really martial, under Jupiter really jovial. Who can explain how ancient people possessed these strange clues to the universe? Possibly, in a later book, Francoise?"

"At the end of our second study," writes Gauquelin on page 156 of The Cosmic Clocks, "the evidence reproduced itself with stubborn insistence: as in the first group, the birth dates of the famous physicians clustered after the rise or the culmination of Mars and Saturn. An undeniable statistical correlation appeared between the rise and culmination of these planets at the child's birth and his future success as a doctor."

Gauquelin collected more than 25,000 birthdates. "Eventually, a more and more precise statistical relationship appeared between time of birth and professional career," he continued.


Michel Gauquelin (November 13, 1928 – May 20, 1991) was a French psychologist and statistician who, along with his first wife Françoise Schneider-Gauquelin (born June 19, 1929), conducted very important statistical research on astrology, from the beginning of the 1950s to the present day.

Although he was highly critical of certain areas of the art, Gauquelin showed an interest in astrology from an early age; it is said that he could calculate a birth chart at the age of ten and earned the nickname of Nostradamus at school because of his astrological readings. After studying psychology and statistics at the Sorbonne, he devoted his life to the attempt to demonstrate the validity of certain fundamentals of astrology. However, he did not define himself as an astrologer and opposed the practice of astrology. Up to his death, he tried first and foremost to show the inanity of astrology, in reaction to his father, who was an enthusiastic defender of the practice.

Gauquelin set himself the task of analyzing astrology statistically by studying various correlations using very large samples of birth data. An example from one of his earlier books in 1967 is what he called the "test of opposed destinies" which entailed astrologers being asked to separate the birth charts of twenty well-known criminals from twenty non-criminals. They did no better than chance. (The Cosmic Clocks, 1967)

The Gauquelins concentrated on the analysis of a basic tenet of astrological doctrine, which affirmed the existence of a correlation between the positions of the planets, the day of an individual’s birth, the psychological character and the effect of this character upon their destiny. This line of research explores astrology--not to attempt to empirically prove the astrology handed down by tradition--but rather to test an astrology reformulated by science.

A first account of the Gauquelins’ work was published in 1951 in The influence of the Stars, in which Gauquelin began a critical analysis of the work of his predecessors in statistical astrology, Choisnard and Krafft. The conclusions of this first attempt at synthesis seemed to show that for a cross-section of personalities well-known for their success in a given profession, the position of the stars in the sky would be found in a distribution that is not accidental. In his first studies, statistically abnormal positions of the planet Mars were detected in athletes, and similar abnormalities were found with Jupiter for actors, and with Saturn for scientists.

In the 1950s, the Gauquelins successively published Methods for Studying the Allocation of the Planets in Diurnal Motion (Méthodes pour étudier la répartition des astres dans le mouvement diurne) (1957) and Men and Stars (Les Hommes et les Astres) (1960), in which they developed their analyses and conclusions.

These statistical observations created a lively polemic, notably with the scientific community. Gauquelin had his calculations and assumptions verified in 1960 by the Belgian Committee PARA, whose conclusions were published 16 years later in the Bulletin of the Committee NOUVELLES BREVES no. 43, in September 1976, pp. 327-343, under the title Critical Considerations on the Research done by M. and Mme. Gauquelin in the area of planetary influences. (Considérations critiques sur une recherche faite par M. M. Gauquelin dans le domaine des influences planétaires.)

There was perfect agreement, as is emphasized by the Belgian Committee PARA[1], between the Gauquelins and the group of scientists concerning the establishment of an experimental protocol, as well as concerning the calculation of standards and statistical formulas for the sampling. The Committee arrived at the same findings for the positions of Mars in sectors I and IV, which seemed abnormally elevated statistically. Nevertheless, the Committee rejected the Gauquelins' interpretation of the results, considering that the calculations of the theoretical distribution of Mars wasn’t sufficiently confirmed by the Gauquelins. Gauquelin noted his disagreement with the objections of the Committee.

Subsequently, Gauquelin and Science & Life asked the French Committee for the Study of Paranormal Phenomena (Comité Français pour l’Étude des Phénomènes Paranormaux) to take charge of a new research initiative. An experimental protocol was elaborated in 1982. A new sample of 1,066 French athletes was created. The initiative--which at the outset anticipated the establishment of a control group sample of 10,000 individuals--was changed, and the comparison was done with a randomly-generated cross-section. Gauquelin, who followed the progress of the study, had suggested additions and deletions of athletes in the sample with the major goal of recentering the study on major champions, and removing athletes having a weak reputation or mediocre results. His proposals, which focused on the test protocol’s original intentions (it stipulated that the champions selected must have had eminent reputations) were not considered justified and rejected by the CFEPP. In the end, the comparison of the two samples showed no significant statistical differences.

If this last verification of the Gauquelin’s work has convinced a wide sector of the scientific community of the non-existence of the Mars effect, the objections of the CFEPP to Gauquelin’s suggestions on the constitution of the sample of athletes did not convince his partisans.

Today, Gauquelin’s thesis has had a greater effect across the Atlantic than in France. His work, initiating a new scientific approach to astrology, was taken up by his followers, among which can certainly be counted his first wife, Françoise Schneider-Gauquelin, André Barbault, as well as others who emulate him, such as Hervé Delboy, Didier Castille or Suitbert Ertel, Professor at the University of Göttingen, who disassociated himself from the conclusions of the CFEPP and agreed with Gauqulin’s insistence on taking into account a hierarchy of value in the different athletes in order to obtain significant results.

His own conclusions were subject to change throughout the course of his life due to his research over several decades, and in the beginning after his initial studies he was very critical of certain widely accepted beliefs in astrology, particularly the zodiacal signs, which he extensively tested without finding results:

"It is now quite certain that the signs in the sky which presided over our births have no power whatever to decide our fates, to affect our hereditary characteristics, or to play any part, however humble, in the totality of effects, random or otherwise, which form the fabric of our lives and mould our impulses to action." (The Scientific Basis for Astrology, 1970)
Although he always remained highly critical of astrology in general, his attitude towards its existence changed as his studies progressed in the study of the diurnal cycle, which is related to the astrological houses.

"Subsequent results only confirmed and amplified my initial discovery about the physicians. On the whole, it emerged that there was an increasingly solid statistical link between the time of birth of great men and their occupational success. ... Having collected over 20,000 dates of birth of professional celebrities from various European countries and from the United States, I had to draw the unavoidable conclusion that the position of the planets at birth is linked to one's destiny. What a challenge to the rational mind!"[2] (Neo-Astrology, 1991)
The computerized analysis of the natal charts of the famous and less renown in various career fields was done on the computers of Neil Michelsen's Astro Computing Service, in the late '70s, in San Diego, California.

Towards the end of his life he tried to reform astrology by suggesting that astrologers should cast aside the majority of their tradition and build a new astrology based only upon the foundation of that which could be proven to be statistically accurate and testable. He called this 'Neo-Astrology', which was also the name of his last book in which he summarized his previous statistical studies and proposed this new system. He is often cited by astrologers as having provided evidence in favour of astrology.

The Mars effect: relative frequency of the diurnal position of Mars in the birth chart of eminent athletes.The most famous result of Gauquelin's studies was the controversial Mars effect, wherein there is an apparent correlation between the rising and culminating of the planet Mars at the birth of eminent athletes in various fields. If true this would provide scientific evidence for an astrological correlation between the positions of certain heavenly bodies and human affairs. While some claim that the Mars effect is unknown within astrology (i.e. prior to the statistical finding), there is actually a long tradition that goes back to the earliest strata of horoscopic astrology which holds that planets in the angles (i.e. rising, culminating, setting, and anti-culminating) are said to be more active and signify the prominence of the specific archetype which is associated with the planet in question.

Away from astrology, Michel Gauquelin was an accomplished cyclist and was ranked among the top 50 tennis players in France, reaching the semifinals of the French over-50s championship. Following his divorce from Françoise, he married Marie Cadilhac in 1986. His death was the result of suicide.

Michel Gauquelin and the New Scientific Paradigm
By Janice Barsky (written June 25, 2001)

Although many astrologers would define astrology as a science, most of today’s mainstream scientists would disagree. Today’s scientific community demands empirical evidence in order to regard something as a proven and established fact. Yet even when statistical and other proof is provided, modern scientists and academicians continue to exclude serious discussions of astrology from their journals and classrooms. The primary reason there has been no marriage between science and astrology is simply that astrology does not fit within the existing paradigm (or shared belief system) of modern science. Some astrologers and researchers have challenged this paradigm, and through their untiring efforts several have left a lasting impression on both astrology and science. One such man, Michel Gauquelin, was a major change agent in the current paradigm shift taking place in the scientific community with regard to astrology.

Scratching for a “Golden Nugget”

Michel Gauquelin was born in Paris on November 13, 1928, at 10:15 p.m. Although no one else in his family was interested in astrology, his curiosity about the subject emerged very early in life. By the age of seven he knew all of the dates for the astrological signs; at age 10 he asked his father to teach him how to calculate the ascendant for birth charts. At age 15, he began skipping school to visit the astrology bookstore, where he read over 100 books by the age of 17. As he learned astrology, he interpreted his schoolmates’ charts, and they nicknamed him Nostradamus.

Although Gauquelin by now felt he had “absorbed all the mysteries of the horoscope,” he finally asked himself, “Is all of this true?” He ultimately discovered skepticism,

[N]ot only in others, but also deep within myself. I could quote Descartes’ first principle: Never accept anything as true unless I clearly and obviously know it to be true. … I had at the very most a feeling that perhaps the astrological tree was concealing a forest of emptiness. Assurances from the astrologers I met were unrelated to the complex nature of the problem. It is true that for them there was no problem, and I found it increasingly difficult to tolerate their palaver. Was their proof only in their imaginations?

In an effort to verify what was true and false about astrology, Gauquelin began gathering birth data.(1)

During his school years, Gauquelin had studied the work of the German astronomer Johannes Kepler (born 1571), who was also an astrologer. He was struck by Kepler’s belief that it was possible to create a true astrology which would be an exact empirical science.(2) In many of his books Gauquelin quotes Kepler:

No man should hold it to be incredible that out of the astrologers’ foolishness and blasphemies some useful and sacred knowledge may come, … that in the evil-smelling dung a busy hen may find a decent corn, nay, a pearl or a golden nugget if she but searches and scratches long enough.(3)

At about age 20, Gauquelin began scratching. Realizing he needed to understand how to do statistical research, he enrolled at the Sorbonne.(4) He believed there were two things standing in the way of establishing astrology as a science: there had been insufficient experiments conducted with large samples to test astrological laws; and there had not yet been established a truly scientific method that could be applied to astrology. He decided to do his best to fill this void.(5) Gauquelin began collecting dates and places of birth for famous people, and he decided to look for correlations with traditional astrological principles in three main areas: occupations, heredity and personality traits.

At first he only used charts for which he had no birth times, but he failed to find any correlations:

I had already set up some real statistics about the thousands of cases without an hour of birth, in an attempt to verify some of the rules of traditional astrology, including the influence of the signs of the zodiac or particular planetary aspects. The results were less than encouraging and I should, in all logic, have abandoned the whole enterprise then. But I decided to continue and to concentrate on increasing my collection of famous figures with their hours of birth.

Gauquelin’s breakthrough came when a friend gave him a directory listing the dates and places of birth of every French doctor who had been elected to the Academie de Medecine from 1820 to 1939. He wrote away for the time of birth on each of them. By the end of 1951 he had collected information for 576 French doctors and scientists, and he began his research into correlations between planetary positions and occupations.(6)

When Gauquelin plotted the location of the planets Saturn and Mars in the charts of these doctors and scientists, he found that they appeared more often in certain key sectors of their charts. Saturn and Mars were most often located in the rising (twelfth house) or culminating (ninth house) in the birth charts. When Gauquelin assembled a sample group of charts, however, Saturn and Mars were randomly distributed around the wheel, as would be expected under the laws of chance. In disbelief, he collected another group of 508 eminent doctors and repeated the experiment. Again, Saturn and Mars fell most often in the same “Gauquelin sectors” of the charts. Statistically, the results were highly significant, and they could not be ignored:

This happened in 1950; I was twenty at the time, an age when youthful enthusiasm forbids an admission that anything is impossible. Perhaps, I thought, I have put my finger on a new scientific fact. Why should unprecedented prospects not be born from the ashes of astrology, but this time according to the procedures of contemporary science?

Would I have agreed to embark on this dangerous road if I had been less young? I hardly imagined how long and how far from the beaten track this journey would be, for as the investigations increased the results became even more surprising.(7)

After examining charts of 3,647 famous doctors and scientists, he found that 724 were born after the rise or culmination of Mars (probability of chance being 1 in 500,000); 704 were born with Saturn in the Gauquelin sectors (probability of chance being 1 in 300,000). Subsequent research by Gauquelin showed that, in the case of actors or writers, Jupiter appeared more frequently in these sectors (and Saturn seemed to avoid them). In the case of champion athletes, Mars was most commonly found in the Gauquelin sectors. The Mars Effect was the strongest of all (with a probability of chance of 1 in 5,000,000), and the one most often attacked by critics.(8) Although his results were very promising, Gauquelin remained skeptical and continued to question his own work:

I scratched for a long time and eventually I found the gold nugget. At least I believed I had. But at the same time, I was very much aware how unlikely it was that this was true. Could my pearl be an artificial one, a slip of my thoughts, or a mirage conjured up by my subconscious? I was alone with my problem.

But fate was watching over me. On the university benches I met Francoise, my future wife. She was my first listener, my first reader and above all, my first critic. She advised me to write a book setting forth all the labor I had performed in secret. It was to be the ‘antiastrological’ summary of my statistics and the nugget of gold. ‘And so,’ she said, ‘people will read you and criticize you. Then you will know if you have truly found something and if it is worth the trouble of continuing.’(9)

In 1955 Gauquelin published his research results in France in his first book, L’Influence des Astres, Etude Critique et Experimentale (or The Influence of the Stars: A Critical and Experimental Study). In response to suggestions by others who examined his work that he repeat it using birth data from other countries, the Gauquelins began gathering such data in 1956:
From year to year it became clearer that this was no mere freak of chance; in every country investigated, the same results appeared. Although they were separated by frontiers and different customs and languages, the newborn who were later to follow a given profession chose to come into the world under the same planet, whether they were French, Italians or Germans. Absurd though it seemed, a closer and closer correlation was revealed between the time when certain great men were born and their professional careers. Doctors were not the only example, and Mars and Saturn were not the only planets to follow this rule. Jupiter and the moon appeared to have an equally large importance for other professions. But the most significant results regularly appeared for each planet just after its rise and its zenith.(10)

Gauquelin had found significant correlations between astrology and his first area of research: occupations.

Like Father, Like Son

Encouraged by these results, Gauquelin began to look for evidence of correlations in the area of heredity. In an effort to test the traditional astrological law that there are more planetary similarities between parents and children than among persons with no blood relationship, he gathered birth data for parents and children. Gauquelin examined this theory from 1959 to 1964, using about 25,000 birth charts. He searched for hereditary correlations in the positions of the Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. To his surprise, he discovered that when a parent has one of these planets (for example, Jupiter) in a key sector, their child is much more likely to have that same planet in a key sector. He further discovered that if both parents had Jupiter in key sectors, their child was twice as likely to have Jupiter in these sectors:

Nothing could be more shocking to a geneticist than this cosmic interference in hereditary matters. Yet the planetary effect is in perfect harmony with the classical laws of genetics. One of these laws states: ‘If both parents of a child have the same hereditary factor, the chances of the child’s inheriting it are doubled.’ This is also true in cosmic genetics.(11)

Gauquelin published his results in 1966 in his book, L’Heredite Planetaire, which was published in America in 1988 under the title, Planetary Heredity. In 1977 he did a second investigation using 30,000 birth dates of parents and children. Again, the results indicated that:

Children have a tendency to be born when a planet has just risen or culminated, if that same planet was in the same regions of the sky at the birth of their parents. … the probability that chance should have produced so many planetary similarities from one generation to the next falls to less than a million to one.(12)

After making 6,691 birth comparisons, he also concluded that: “Planetary similarities at the horizon and meridian are more frequent between siblings than between unrelated children.”(13)

Gauquelin believed that the child’s heredity played a major role in his findings, and he proposed what he referred to as the “midwife planet” theory:

Thus the newborn’s heredity, rather than a sudden action emanating from the planets, might account for our findings. Perhaps, at the time of birth, each child manifests an inherited sensitivity to planetary clocks. … This would mean that the birth of a child when Mars appears over the horizon is not mere chance. The birth occurs at that moment rather than another because his organism is ready to react to the perturbations caused by this particular planet at its passage over the horizon. … The following hypothesis can be proposed: The child inherits from his parents a tendency to be born when Mars rises, in the same way he inherits the color of his hair.(14)

While doing his research on heredity, Gauquelin stressed the importance of using charts with natural birth times. He found that planetary correlations between parents and children disappeared when the child’s birth was induced or they were taken by Caesarian-section.(15) He explained that rupturing the membrane, as well as the use of drugs and even forceps can alter the birth time sufficiently enough for the hereditary correlations to be reduced or disappear altogether.(16) Gauquelin only used charts dated before 1945 in his research, and he recommended that “Any experiments on planetary heredity that use births from 1950 onward should include a careful analysis of each case in order to exclude non-spontaneous births. This is an absolute necessity for anyone who aims to replicate the results presented in this book.”(17)

In several of his books Gauquelin refers to research which shows that the fetus secretes a hormone that begins the process of labor, and how “through the intervention of the placental progesterone, the fetus maintains a control over the delivery process which can be retarded at any given moment.” Gauquelin emphasized the importance of allowing the child to choose their own birth time, pointing out that 2,500 years ago Hippocrates declared: “When the time comes, the baby stirs and breaks the membranes containing it and emerges from its mother’s abdomen.”(18) He expressed concern that more and more births are being scheduled for the convenience of the doctor and the hospital rather than allowing the child’s cosmic clock to govern the birth process:

In a sense, the child is able to choose the time at which he will be born. But is the fetus really free? There are some mysterious influences affecting it. Is it possible that throughout the entire labor procedure, it has some invisible contact with the planetary signals? For if the fetus gives orders to the maternal uterus, this is because it is in turn receiving orders. Are there some subtle directives coming from above whose orders modern medicine, with its drugs, is disturbing like an elephant entering a china shop? Do we have the right to cast aside the role of the cosmos in this way and deprive ourselves of natural data on the temperament of the newborn? If the child is born at a time set by the physician, it will no longer keep its appointment with Mars or Jupiter.(19)

* * * *

But now doctors are confusing the orderly relationship between man and the planets. A child who should have been born when Jupiter had just risen or culminated, because both his parents were born under that configuration, now has his time of birth determined by a physician. In contrast, the child may be born as Saturn is rising!(20)

Gauquelin firmly believed that “induction upsets the normal biological processes of delivery” and that we must “be quick to observe and, if possible, explain the effect of the cosmos on normal births, before it is too late.”(21) Recent studies confirm Gauquelin’s prediction that the incidence of “birth by appointment” would increase over the years. In 1998, about 40% of all recorded births in America were induced or by C-section.(22)

Astrology and Personality Traits

In 1967 Gauquelin turned to the third and final area of focus in his research: personality traits. He believed that: “It is not sufficient to establish a global relationship between professional personalities and the planets if this relationship cannot be confirmed on an individual basis.” Using the same charts he had gathered to prove a relationship between the planets and occupations, he searched for a connection between the planets and character traits. He consulted biographies of each famous person to find words which had been used to describe their personality and behavior. After compiling lists of these traits, Gauquelin found that there was a significant correlation between character traits and the location of certain planets within the Gauquelin sectors. It took more than two years to compile information from biographies of sports champions alone. Then he checked to see if Mars was more often rising or culminating in charts of individuals with these specific traits (described as iron-willed, aggressive, competitive, adventurous, untiring, etc.).

Gauquelin discovered that extraverted champions who possessed traits which were more typical of the traditional description of Mars were twice as likely to be born with Mars in the Gauquelin sectors.(23) He concluded that “[t]he position of Mars at birth is very much the expression of a temperament and has relatively little to do with one’s professional destiny.”(24) In describing Gauquelin’s research on personality traits, H. J. Eysenck and D.K.B. Nias remarked:

Regardless of occupation, it was found that personality was associated with the planets being in one of the critical zones. For example, extraverts and tough-minded people tended to be born ‘under’ Mars and Jupiter, while introverts and the tender-minded were born ‘under’ Saturn. It was personality rather than occupation that was related to the planets; and it was only because a particular personality tends to characterise success in given occupations that Gauquelin had obtained his original results.(25) (emphasis provided in original)

Gauquelin eventually found that, in addition to the “plus zones” of the rising and culminating positions, two other zones--when the planet was setting (6th house) or when it was passing its lower culmination (3rd house)--held less powerful yet noteworthy significance.(26) As a result of his work on character traits and planetary positions, Gauquelin published an entire book on the subject which describes each of the planetary personality types he researched in great detail.(27) His wife Francoise also published her own book which examined planetary correlations with personality traits.(28)

“Prostitution” of Astrology

Throughout his career, Gauquelin had little patience for most modern predictive astrologers, claiming that they had “prostituted astrology.”(29) In 1967 Gauquelin published his first book in America, The Cosmic Clocks, in which he explored the seeming contradictions between mystical interpretations of the universe and current scientific thought. He expressed his own strong view about the state of astrology in that book:

Astrology, the ancient universal religion, the primitive majestic effort toward a cosmic synthesis, has fallen completely into the hands of charlatans. A new science has been born in its place. This science should not be scornful of the past; after all, we owe the birth of astronomy to the astrological concern of our predecessors. It is only poetic justice that this science, in its maturity, and after a two-thousand-year detour, should help to discover the true links that tie man to the universe.(30)

Gauquelin’s position did not increase his popularity with astrologers, who insisted that “statistics are irrelevant to astrology” and that “the validity of astrology ought … to be judged only on the basis of forecasts taken from whole charts, with all their components.” Gauquelin replied that “astrology is a collection of apparently very precise laws. We are told that … these laws have been discovered after millions of daily observations. In that case they would be nothing but empirical statistics, and therefore confirmable by mathematical statistics.”(31)

In 1968 Gauquelin conducted a survey by offering free 10-page horoscopes; in exchange the recipients agreed to respond to a questionnaire:

To each one of our 150-odd correspondents we sent the same horoscope. But not just any horoscope. We sent … that of the most infamous evildoer in our collection, Dr. Petiot [a mass murderer]. We reproduced the psychological profile and the yearly rhythm of this horoscope without changing so much as a comma. …

To our first question—“Did you recognize yourself in the psychological portrait sent you? Did you recognize any of your personal problems?”—we received a positive answer in 94 percent of the replies.

* * * *

[N]early all of our ‘clients’—nine out of ten—recognized themselves in the horoscope of someone who murdered several dozens of people and then dissolved their bodies in lime. It is thus not at all incorrect for the astrologer to say that he is ‘successful’ eight times out of ten. (emphasis provided in original)(32)

Gauquelin questioned both science and astrology, and he demanded that each provide proof of their claims.

Atmospheric Influences on Health

Although he remained skeptical about the outrageous claims made by modern astrologers, Gauquelin firmly believed that cosmic and atmospheric changes had a direct influence on humans. He did a great deal of research regarding the effects of the weather and changes in atmospheric conditions on mental and physical health. In How Atmospheric Conditions Affect Your Health (first published in 1971), he described how extreme changes in weather are connected with physical conditions such as heart disease. He also examined the seasonal nature of mental health disorders, such as depression, which peak in the month of May:

Springtime is a period of both physical and mental effervescence. Duhot has termed this phenomenon the “spring hormonal crisis.” The endocrine glands become more active, …[and] the endocrine glands are also closely associated with our behavior and mental state.

* * *

According to psychiatrists, spring is the season when the potentially suicidal subject finally decides to accomplish the fatal act. He buys the lethal poison or opens the gas jets. As a result of the physiological changes it causes in the organism, spring seems to push the desperate toward that final act.(33)

Gauquelin also described the Full Moon’s effect on mentally unstable people:

Does the full moon have such a distinct effect on mentally unbalanced persons? Does its light act as a sort of stimulant for an insane criminal? …

Not long ago, Inspector Wilfred Faust of the Philadelphia Police Department published a report entitled Effects of Full Moon on Human Behavior. This report states: ‘The seventy police officers who deal with telephone complaints claim that they have much more work when the full moon draws near. People whose antisocial behavior has psychotic roots—as firebugs, kleptomaniacs, destructive drivers, and homicidal alcoholics—seem to go on a rampage more often when the moon is waxing than when it wanes.’(34)

Although he was never able to explain it according to the laws of physics, Gauquelin was confident that cosmic forces affect humans in many more ways than science has imagined.

1928 – 1991

How very like the planet Mars to start a war! In this instance, it was a war between the scientific establishment and a pair of French psychologists, Michel and Francoise Gauquelin. The Gauquelins conducted rigorous research over a period of thirty years that demonstrated that certain traditional astrological principles held true to a high degree of statistical validity. Possibly their most striking example was called The Mars Effect, in that they found that overwhelmingly the charts of sports champions tended to have the planet Mars within ten degrees of one of the four angles of the chart.

Imagine that beginning in 1949, this pair of painstaking researchers and statisticians hand-calculated thousands of timed birth charts, though eventually with the development of computers, they were enabled to do more advanced work. In time, their studies included over 60,000 timed charts of notables, and their findings extended to the angular positions of other planets as well.

Still, it was and is to this day the Mars Effect that most stirred up their scientific adversaries. Though these results were first published in the 1970s, if you input the name Gauquelin on your internet search engine, you will still find web pages by skeptics who delight in denouncing them.

Their results inflamed the scientific community to the extent that researchers who would go to any lengths to disprove this threatening notion actually falsified their data and later admitted to it. If you are thinking, "What a great book that would make," read The Tenacious Mars Effect, by Ken Irving and Suitbert Ertel. For a brief chronicle of events, visit Ken's account of the controversy.

The Gauquelins divorced in 1982, and each continued the work separately and with great distinction, becoming highly-respected members of the astrological community. The Matrix Pioneer Award was given to Sorbonne-educated Michel for being the first to achieve real scientific validation and results in the field of astrology. He was also given the prestigious Marc Edmund Jones Award in 1989.

For information on more recent investigations by a variety of astrologers, see Planetos, an on-line journal dedicated to researching the Gauquelin Factors.

"I first met Michel when he spoke at the January, 1969 National Astrological Society conference in New York City that I had organized. Having read his Influence des Astres, which established the Mars effect, I expected to meet a dry statistician. Instead I found him warm, with an original sense of humor. He was open and accessible to anyone seeking information. He surprised me with his uncanny ability to guess people's rising planets. An accomplished tennis player he was ranked among the 50 leading French tennis players.

"Trained at the Sorbonne in psychology and statistics, he devoted his career to investigating a subject that caused his academic colleagues to attack him. Michel demonstrated courage in confronting scientific prejudice and debating his often vicious critics. He provided the first significant validation of the astrological hypothesis that man is connected to the cosmos and that planetary positions correlate to specific personality traits.

"Ironically, while his ground-breaking work provided scientific proof for correlations of planetary effects, his research gave little support to many long-held astrological beliefs. His initial work correlated Mars in the zones of power with famous sportsmen. He later connected the Moon in zones of power with writers, Saturn with scientists, and Jupiter with actors and politicians.

'Michel possessed enormous discipline, impartiality and integrity, always presenting both his positive and negative results. All his initial research (before computers) was undertaken by gathering and calculating extensive horoscope data by hand: he would canvas Europe to collect this data personally paying the requisite fees to registries. During a visit to his laboratory I was overwhelmed viewing thousands of 3 x 5 cards which contained all the data.

"In 1989, he was awarded the National Astrological Society's Marc Edmund Jones Award, in recognition of his lifelong achievements, which provided astrologers with significant data to communicate to a skeptical scientific establishment. His untimely death was a tragedy for the whole astrological community. Astrologers owe Michel Gauquelin an enormous debt. His pioneering research laid the scientific foundation for validating planetary effects."

From Aspects Magazine, 1991:

"Few researchers have done more to enhance the validity and scientific status of Astrology than Michel and Francoise Gauquelin. Michel's passing is a great loss to the astrological community, not only for his 40 plus years of research correlating planetary placements with vocational prominence, but also for his precision and persistence in methodology, and his personal accessibility, charm, and enthusiasm."

A Tribute by John Addey:

"The specific importance of the Gauquelins is not in their direct contribution to the knowledge of astrological principles as such, though this has been valuable in some instances, but in the fact that, confronted by a mountain of prejudice against astrology in an age which demands secure empirical evidence, they have by dint of immense courage, tenacity, and intelligence, provided this on a massive scale and in a form which has never been refuted, despite repeated attempts by hostile critics in the scientific world."


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