Michel and Francoise Gauquelin
The Truth About Astrology
and Science - leading to Truth and Medicine - was the topic of the last
eletter. Comments on Truth came in from readers in New York and Texas
to Scotland, Brazil and Argentina. Wow! They are posted below the
article at http://theportableschool.com
After I sent out the
enote, I decided that a book had been sitting in my To Be Read pile
long enough. So, I read The Truth About Astrology by Michel
The French psychologist, Gauquelin, studied
astrology as scientifically as he could for over 30 years. He came up
with changing conclusions and his own Neo-Astrology by the 80s.
The following paragraph derives from the last page of the book and gives a sense of the man and his experiments:
"Here, astrology has always remained enigmatic and, to the perfectly proper question,
"'Should I believe it?'
can only answer by rejecting both the unconditional opponents and the
confirmed upholders. Of course, I am aware that I have presented in
these pages an astrology 'a la Gauquelin', a neo-doctrine for my own
person use. That is because the truth, the whole truth and nothing but
the truth, does not exist in astrology -- not yet, anyway. This is the
only thing I am pretty sure of. My ideas on astral influence have
changed continually, swinging back and forth like a pendulum. I deserve
the double reproach of excessive credulity and extreme skepticism."
read gave me fodder for an article-review which may be worthy of your
quick study and/or comment at http://rockymountainastrologer.com. I
have also posted several pages of extracts from the book which
partially explain Gauquelin’s inclinations, ideas, and research.
My basic takes on Gauquelin’s book:
• Michel tackled a big subject.
• He seemed to think that truth can be obtained by application of modern scientific methods.
So, he approached astrology piece by piece comparing birth data of
famous people with single planets or signs, also studied birth
information in respect to “planet profiles”, and used surveys of
astrologers and clients.
• Gauquelin had several successes and quite a few failures.
• He convinced few astrologers in his failures and got little respect from scientists in his successes.
• But can The Truth About Astrology, like life itself, be quantified, verified or validated by experiments and calculations?
Monsieur Gauquelin deserves credit for tackling the subject of the
validity of astrology, but neither his successes nor failures have had
much effect on science or astrology.
Can a human being be separated into its pieces to find the whole. How about a horoscope?
suspect that most astrologers believe their work is really an art -
intuitive and symbolic, expansive and sympathetic - with bits of
science and mathematics in supporting roles.
Potential astrology clients should look for purveyors with those qualities in their charts and in their beings.
NOTES from The Truth About Astrology by Michel Gauquelin
Prelude - Astrology Judged
A manifesto was published in The Humanist by 192 ‘leading scientists’ in 1975:
"Those who wish to believe in astrology should realize that there is no scientific foundation for its tenets....
believe that the time has come to challenge directly and forcefully the
pretentious claim of astrological charlatans. It should be apparent
that those individuals who continue to have faith in astrology do so in
spite of the fact that there is no verified scientific basis for their
beliefs and, indeed, that there is strong evidence to the contrary."
Other scientists, recent and past, have disagreed:
Sagan: "To discuss the psychological motivation of those who believe in
astrology seems to me quite peripheral to the issue of its validity.
That we can think of no mechanism for astrology is relevant but
unconvincing. No mechanism was known, for example, for the continental
drift when it was proposed by Wegener. Nevertheless, we see that
Wegener was right, and those who objected on the grounds of unavailable
mechanism were wrong. Statements contradicting borderline, fold or
pseudo-science, that appear to have an authoritarian tone, can do more
damage than good. They never convince those who are flirting with
pseudo-science, but merely seem to confirm their impression that
scientist are rigid and close-minded."
Carl Jung: "The cultural
Philistines believed until recently that astrology had been disposed of
long since and was something that could safely be laughed at. But
today, rising out of the social deeps, it knows at the doors of the
universities from which it was banished some 300 years ago."
Baptiste Biot (1774-1862): "It is always the case, when there is a
controversial question, that the ignorant believe naively and the
semi-schooled come to a decision; but one who has any real
understanding examines the facts, because he does not have the temerity
to set limits on the capacity of nature."
The behaviour of the
signatories of the 'Objections to Astrology' seems to have confirmed
[UCB Professor] Feyerabend's view, that science is much closer to myth
than scientific philosophy would readily allow. Science, he argues, is
one of the many modes of thinking developed by man, but not necessarily
the best. And what certain is that science is tactless, noisy and
Marcello Truzzi: "… some have suggested that Newton
may have been untroubled by the action-at-a-distance problem, largely
because of his own involvement with astrology."
Popper is right
because, however venerable the astrological idea might be, there is no
denying that in the distant past its very essence was allied to magic,
which is not compatible with modern scientific thinking.
could apply a physical or palpably measurable proof of the role played
by planets or constellations at birth in the destiny of a newborn child.
In Search of Planetary Effects at Birth
started with birth data from 576 Members of the French Academy of
Medicine - My doctors were not born under the same skies as the common
run of humanity. They had chosen to come into the world much more often
during roughly the tow hours following the rise [ascendant] and
culmination [midheaven] of the two planets, Mars and Saturn. Moreover,
they tended to 'avoid' being born following the rise and culmination of
the planet Jupiter.
The Mars Effect
emerged that it was not only outstanding doctors who were born under a
different sky from the ordinary run of mortals. The planet Mars, when
positioned at birth in the section following its rise and culmination,
favoured the success of sports champions and exceptional military
leaders; Jupiter, in the same sectors, featured most frequently at the
birth of actors and politicians. Where scientists were concerned - that
is, members of the Academie des Sciences Francaise - it was Saturn
which was dominant; on the other hand, artists - painters and musicians
- presented an entirely opposite picture, since they 'avoided' being
born when that planed occupied the key sectors of rise and culmination.
For more information, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_effect
1950 … I reluctantly came to the conclusion - verified several times
since - that there did not exist any sort of zodiacal similarity
between the horoscopes of parents and of their children.
So I did, in fact, take up the idea, but gave it an entirely new slant by linking it with my observations on the professions.
- with records of 60,000 births - 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. only
observed with Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn
most interesting discovery was the way in which all planetary effects
on heredity disappeared in children whose births did not occur
Planetary typology - In short, the list of character
traits defining the champion as 'iron-willed', the actor as 'outgoing',
the scientist as 'introspective', and the writer as 'sensitive'
provided a ready-made description of the four planetary personality
factors - that is, of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon. It was this
which I had hoped to demonstrate.
And Gauquelin did.
question he posed but did not deal with - There are, in theory,
'complex' temperaments when not one but tow or three planets occupy the
key sectors of rise and culmination at the birth of child. What happens
then? To what extent do the influences of these planets combine?
Eysenck used Gauquelin's studies to show - The 'introverts' were born
far more often than chance would allow with Saturn in the key sectors
of rise and culmination; the 'extroverts' chose to come into the world
when Jupiter and Mars were in those zones of the sky. By contrast, the
'introverts' 'avoided' being born when Jupiter or Mars were at the rise
of culmination, and the 'extroverts' 'avoided' being born when Saturn
was going through those zones of the sky.
Failure - the Mars,
Jupiter, Saturn and Moon subjects did not choose the type of activity
or vocational interest which, according of our results with outstanding
professional people, they should have found particularly attractive….
Psychologists have actually shown that the relationship between
professional interest and psychobiological temperaments is fairly weak.
This raises the whole issue of self-evaluation as it relates to questionnaires, and needs to be considered in some depth.
Bromley believes that, because of the increasingly obvious failure of
some methods in the psychology of the personality, we shall necessarily
resort to what he calls the 'psychological case-study' or the
'psychological life study'. He explains: 'A psychological "case-study"
is a scientific account, in ordinary language, of an individual person
in normal or problematical circumstances. A psychological "life-study",
by contrast, is a comprehensive account of the person's tendencies and
characteristics revealed through an analysis of the principal episodes
making up that person's life…. A psychological "case-study" provides us
with an objective account of a real person as seen from the outside.'
Science and Proof
had managed to penetrate the outer walls of the Castle [Belgian
Paranormal] Committee, only to have the heavy doors of the keep slammed
shut in my face. A strange phenomenon is never recognized by science
unless independent researchers have rediscovered it by working through
new data from beginning end; and yet the committee refused to undertake
The existence of a biological clock - or
rather, several biological clocks - in living beings was accepted by
other researchers. But what made Frank Brown's school 'suspect' was the
fact that he attributed changes in biological behaviour not solely to
known physical factors such as light and heat, but also to much more
subtle influences linked to the cosmos - infinitesimal variations in
magnetic field, for instance, or the presence of extremely weak
radiation or what are called very long frequency waves.
Bertrand Russell: "Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things about rationality."
Triumph of the Astrological Idea
So, I have not confirmed the horoscope, but simply the effect of some planets during the course of their diurnal movement.
may find a ray of hope in the area of planetary symbolism, probably the
most ancient of all astrological systems. In rudimentary form, it can
be traced back to the Chaldeans some 4,000 years ago. It would seem
that the code for each planet, or its symbolism, was based quite simply
on its appearance.
The outcome [of a 1977 study] was enough to
convince us: astrological symbolism seems to be statistically
demonstrated, at least for planets we had previously observed as having
some influence on personality, that is, the Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter
and Saturn. The majority of character traits which astrologers
attribute to these planets can be found in the type-lists, compiled
before we had thought of testing the claims of astrology. And it cannot
be denied that the character traits described by astrologers occur most
often when the 'appropriate' planet is rising, passing the meridian, or
In short, the experiment demonstrated in the clearest
possible way that the symbolism of the Moon, Venus, Mars and Saturn
corresponds to a scientifically observable, and even to some extent
On the whole, astrologers have accurately
observed the antagonism between externalized Jupiter and inward-turned
Saturn. But they trail along with them all sorts of wrong notions,
principally centred on Jovian benevolence and Saturnine malevolence,
which nothing seems to confirm. Nevertheless, it should be remembered
that our research has by no means exhausted the subject.
influence is extremely strong on the Earth and on ourselves, physically
speaking; yet its 'astrological' role is strangely dumb compared with
the planets, even though these relatively nil in terms of energy
Astrology is a game of mirrors: you look at a mystery,
it reflects another. Its status is unique in the scale of scientific
values. A large part of its planetary symbolism has been demonstrated
to be incontrovertibly, statistically true. But, at the same time, the
zones of daily movement of the planets to which astrologers attribute
most influence are not necessarily the correct ones.
The Horoscope Falls Down
time [in a study of the 12 signs], the results which comes out of the
computer were completely unfavourable to astrological tradition. This
inquiry into character-traits and the signs of the zodiac led to the
same results as those carried out into the professions and heredity and
the zodiac: it ended in total failure for the astrology of the signs of
the zodiac. … to put it crudely, the signs of the zodiac are valueless.
more skilful researcher may find a method of demonstrating
scientifically the signs of the zodiac, but is more a pious hope than
an expectation. And the astrologer's sense of duty should spur him to
an agonizing revision of his ideas: a horoscope with the zodiac is
surely like a day with the sun.
There has also been a revolution
in the style of astrological writing, a switch to a scientific style of
presentation in dry, factual language, with figures, graphs and
If astrology is potentially a science, then it demands extra caution in field research.
most astrologers … placing little confidence in what are, to them,
frequently disappointing reports of statistical inquires. In their
view, the horoscope is a whole, a gestalt. As the well-known American
astrologer, Zipporah Dobyns, has written: 'He (Gauquelin) commits some
of the same errors of oversimplification by refuting various factors
singly. Thus he considers signs alone, aspects alone, houses alone,
etc.., and finds no meaning in them. But the one primary rule in
astrology is that no factor can be taken out of contest without a real
danger of losing the meaningful gestalt.'
Nevertheless, tests have
been devised to measure the astrologer's ability interpret the whole
horoscope, an expression of the 'meaningful gestalt'. It is a question
of whether this skill which the practitioner genuinely believes himself
to possess, actually exists.
Mixed results in testing
demonstration [of a generic psychological portrait supposed to be
unique for students was given high ratings by them] does not apply to
astrology alone, but it is convincing. The satisfaction which people
feel in reading their horoscopes does not prove the validity of
don't know whether I will live long enough myself to see the mystery of
astral influence dispelled. The explanation is doubtless much simpler
and much stranger than we can imagine, and perhaps I am making a
mistake in trying to rid the planetary effect of all 'absurdity', The
desire to substitute a rational and convincing argument for the
astrologers' explanations is laudable, but I have not forgotten that
the road to hell, even the scientific road, is paved with good
In the end, the facts are always right: the planets
have an effect on us, otherwise, we would not see them…. Personally, I
would welcome a little more curiosity from scientists and a little more
reverence for nature, which, has held plenty of surprises since the
famous Big Bang. Planetary effects at birth might be one more surprise,
the drama comes form our ignorance, after all. When we have greater
knowledge, we will be able to judge the concept of 'midwife planets',
and either dismiss it as crazy or formulate some better explanation.
For another view of the Gauquelin work, go to http://www.astrology-and-science.com/g-hist2.htm
George in Texas says - I have a couple of thoughts on astrology:
1. The science side of it (plotting the chart) doesn't hold up for several reasons.
A. The convenience of the timing to the change of the sign around the
22 - 23 of each month doesn't line up with the actual position of the
change and Scorpio is definitely longer than a month
B. Needs to be 13 not 12 signs
C. The magnetic fields of the hospital staff are stronger than the
magnetic fields of the planets in the delivery room, but are never
D. Double blind test of charts have not proven the accuracy of the testing.
2. However, I am always amazed at how accurate what you get out of the books can be sometimes.
Personally, I feel the positions of the planets are like tumblers on a
lock. The planets have to be in that specific position for the
characteristics of that individual soul to pass between the infinite
(no where) to the finite (now here).
As Wayne Dyer points out, the difference between the no where and the now here is where you put the space.
Dorothy in Kansas writes - If you have read the book, "The Disapperance of the Universe", by Gary Renard
you will find answers
as to why Nothing in the Universe is real
Scientists today know this but are wary about telling it to the public, as they would probably lose their jobs.
Alden in Colorado says - What is wrong with astrology?? Huh??
So the question is; should astrology be classified or treated as a science......hmm.......tricky.
not a scientist but it often looks like it to me that you are only
doing scientific stuff if you take the spiritual aspect out of it so, I