Michel Gauquelin

Click here to hear Michel Gauquelin speaking.

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.

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.

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His books include:

The Influence of the Stars
Cosmic Clocks
Planetary Heredity
The Gaquelin Book of American Charts
Cosmic Influences on Human Behavior

NCGR is one source for tapes by Michel Gauquelin. Check our Source Page for places to find books and tapes by this and other memorialized authors.


Barbara Somerfield remembers,

"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."

The Astrology Encyclopedia, p. 221

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CREDITS: Biographical information for this memorial came from AstroDatabank, The Encyclopedia of Astrology, and the sites linked to here on the internet. The photo came from Maria Simms. Most book covers on this site are courtesy of AstroAmerica or the publishers.