Book review: Cosmic Influences on Human Behavior

Michel Gauquelin (1928-1991) was a French psychologist and statistician who wrote several books which represent the most important scientific support that astrology has received up to the present. Through his astrological-statistical studies he proved that the position of planets at birth is linked with one’s destiny. During his life, Gauquelin’s researches, especially “The Mars Effect”, stirred up many debates in the scientific community. In 1976 the Belgian Committee PARA confirmed the results obtained by Michel Gauquelin with “The Mars Effect”, but rejected the interpretations of the results, while in 1982 The French Committee for the Study of Paranormal Phenomena took a new research on 1066 French athletes, didn’t accepted Gauquelin’s observation about centering the study to important champions not ordinary athletes, and showed that “The Mars Effect” does not exist. The war between science and astrology generated another episode, but this time astrology was closer than ever.

After 20 may 1991, when he committed suicide, his work was continued by his first wife, Francois Gauquelin, Andre Barbault and other astrologers. He was a pioneer in astrological research, one who let us a valuable legacy which can be used like a model in our way to prove that astrology not only works, but is by herself a science. His most representative book is Cosmic Influences on Human Behavior, published in 1985 by Aurora Press.

Chapter 1. Is the Universe Astrological represents an introduction for the rest of the book which treats the relation between Cosmos and humans.

Chapter 2. The Return of the Planets presents some discoveries made in the mid-1900s about the radio waves and magnetic tails. Also a little story about the life of Louis XVI, the “Sun King”, which ends with the question “Had the planet Jupiter rising at birth an effect on his life?”. The answer in the next chapters!

In Chapter 3. The Gold Nugget the author explains the statistical method he used, how he divided the natal chart in 36 sectors – Gauquelin sectors – and the first anomaly discovered in his studies: in the charts of famous doctors Mars and Saturn is rising or culminating more often than regular. In this chapter we find a principle characteristic for all his research activity: the most important planetary positions in natal charts are the areas between 0-30 degrees before the Ascendant and MC, namely the Gauquelin sector 1-3 and 10-12.

Chapter 4. The Stars and Success begins with two new concepts for astrologers: slack and busy hours. Busy hours are that period of time when a planetary position (for example Mars in near the Ascendant) is found more often that theoretically should be found and slack hours are the reverse. The research made by Gauquelin shows that appear important correlations between the planetary positions and the profession of successful people. The differences appear mainly in Gauquelin sectors 1,2,3 and 10,11,12 which falls in houses 12 and 9(!), if we use the most common house systems, except Whole Sign Houses. This is an important observation.

Planets determines the career

Then we can see the results, which are really interesting: busy hours before Ascendant and MC is found for the Moon on writers and politicians, for Jupiter on politicians, actors, journalists and soldiers, for Mars on soldiers, champions athletes, business executives and doctors, for Saturn on doctors and scientists. Slack hours before angles is found for the Moon on soldiers, sportive champions, for Jupiter on doctors and scientists, for Mars on musicians, painters and writers, for Saturn on doctors, journalists, painters and writers. Those statistical results validates the astrological lore associated with these planets. Another important note by Gauquelin tells that those results are found only on important, well-known people from those professions, not on ordinary people!

In Chapter 5. Success and Character the author shows that the planets revealed by his studies as important for each profession represent in astrology the qualities commonly associated by people to these professions. After that he presents an astrological analyze for Jean-Louis Barrault, Jean Vilar, Marcel Achard and Gustave Nadaud, four actors with different planets rising or culminating and different attitude.

Chapter 6. Planets and Character is an introduction for the next 4 chapters where the author presents his most important theories.

In Chapter 7. The Mars Temperament and Sport Champions Gauquelin analyzes the character of athletes by grouping them in 2 categories: iron-willed and weak-willed. An iron-willed champion is described as:

“tenacious, keen, active, aggressive, lively, eager, bold, adventurous, quarrelsome, rash, rough, brutal, stubborn, spirited, reckless, puts his heart into his work, hard hitting,  quick-tempered, pugnacious, act courageously etc.”,

traits that resemble very well with what astrology tells about Mars. The great difference observed by Gauquelin is that Mars is on a much higher percentage present before the angles, especially Asc and MC, at iron-willed champions and more present after the angles at weak-willed champions. Hmm… Again this shows a much bigger importance of the houses 12, 9 versus 1,10.

In Chapter 8. The Jupiter Temperament and Actors the author analyzes the psychology of actors by grouping them in 2 categories: modest and immodest actors. An immodest actor has traits associated with Jupiter like:

“business sense, airs his opinions loudly, loved by the public, at ease, stylish, lofty, ambitious, expansive, self-assured, bold, authoritarian, adventurous, talkative, acts with vitality, capricious, biting, famous, sense of comical, extroverted, critical, spirited, gesticulating often, proud, passionate etc.”

The results are similar with the precedent study: Jupiter is more present before the Ascendant and MC in case of immodest actors.

Chapter 9. The Saturn Temperament  and Scientists presents another serie of statistical researches, this time relating scientists and the planet Saturn. Scientists are separated in two groups: classical-introverted (Louis Brocq, Jean Martin Charcot etc.) and original-extroverted (Albert Einstein with Jupiter near MC, Maisonneuve with Mars near MC etc.). The results confirm the previous studies and show that for introverted scientists Saturn is found more often before the angles. The chapter ends with an example of a saturnine football player, Andre Lerond.

Chapter 10. The Lunar Temperament and Writers present the traits of the lunar temperament imposed by Moon, especially near the Asc. and MC and give some examples (Gustave Nadaud, Albert Glatigny, Andre Berry, Andre Gide, Paul Jean Toulet) showing that this position is found more often than usual on writers. Then, he gives examples of people with this position and temperament but with other professions: George Carpentier – boxer, Jan Adriansseus and Karel Kaers- cyclist, Henry Lebesque – mathematician. People with a Lunar temperament should be:

“affable, amiable, many friends, talkative, bohemian, simple, decent, charming, good-hearted, good-company, devoted, absent-minded, disorderly, complaining, gentle, idle, generous, nice, easy influenced, unstable, lazy, poetic, dreaming etc.”

In Chapter 11. The Diagnosis of Temperament you will find a list with key-words which define the psychological types characteristic for Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon. Also the author makes some interesting statements about some traits which happen to be common for 2 planets but in reality indicates different states of being, for example:

“Saturnine shyness is quite different from lunar shyness. The former is deep and lasting, while the latter is only ephemeral and disappears after initial contacts have been made”. True!

Chapter 12. The Planet with a Thousand Faces presents the influence of planet Jupiter in 4 different types: the Entertainer (Tristan Bernard, Armand Fallieres etc.), the Immoderate (Alfred Jarry, Lucien Guitry), the Conqueror (Hubert Lathan, Helene Boucher etc.), the Tyrant (Heinrich Himmler and other nazy leaders). I think he caught very well these 4 “scenes” in which Jupiter can “play” apparently so different.

In Chapter 13. Planetary Types and Modern Psychology the author makes a couple of correlations between his planetary temperaments and other psychological typologies. For example, the introversion described by C.G. Jung is associated with Saturn and Mars while the extroversion with Jupiter and Moon.

Chapter 14. Cosmic Genetics shows that statistically children have more chances to have the Moon, Venus, Saturn, Mars or Jupiter on angles if their parents had them. It is an argument which sustain astrological heredity which is more complex and can be observed easily manifesting in other ways like: planets in the same signs, the same planetary aspects etc.

Chapter 15. The Baby’s Role in Timing Birth and Chapter 16. Planetary Effect and Parturition by Appointment gives important proves to show that when births are influenced by modern medicine by planning the moment of birth the hereditary effect on planets disappears! The author thinks that the natal chart will not give any more trustful information because the child will act like he had a natural birth, on another moment of time with another natal chart. He makes an appeal for using the natural way of birth:

“Mothers, if you are anxious to know the temperament of your offspring, avoid that little injection which brings you relief during labor. Do not deprive yourselves of this valuable source of information concerning your child!”

Hmm… It is difficult to judge this situation. It could also be possible that the moment elected for birth to be the right one even we are not aware and think that we chose it. It is hard to believe that if a child is born by Caesarean section the natal chart is not the real one!

Chapter 18. Neo-Astrology is an invitation for an astrology based on statistical studies which can validate or not the old astrological concepts, idea, theories. It is, in fact, the message transmitted by this book from the first to the last page.

In Chapter 19. The Three Astrological Roulette Wheals the author presents more statistical studies which give a surprising conclusion: the zodiacal signs and astrological aspects have no significant influence! Also, how we saw from previous chapters, that houses 12 and 9 are more important than 10 or 1. Those observations are very important. About the zodiacal signs we must remember that his studies are made in relation with professions and temperament, so the conclusion relates mainly with the profession. Probably the importance of the zodiacal signs in ones profession is not so important as we believed. About the importance of 12, 9 houses I think this is a very interesting conclusion which can change our view about houses but, until then, it must be validated by further studies.


Conclusion. Cosmic Influences on Human Behavior is an unusual, original, pioneer work in the astrological field. It is the first important book which brought science and astrology together, proving by statistical studies that astrological principles are valid. The author shows that planets which in astrology are associated with a certain type of behavior are met more often than normal in important positions on people from professions which require their characteristic behavior. Mars on athletes, Saturn on scientists, Moon on writers etc. This is not all. Gauquelin also defines a temperament characteristic for each of those planets and sets the important positions for planets which, surprise!, are not in houses 1, 10, 4, 7, but in houses 12, 9, 3, 6.

Reading this book you’ll find not only his statistical studies but, also the kind of behavior, temperament conferred to people by the planets Mars, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter placed on some precise areas in the natal chart. And this is for general use, everyone can find those information useful and easy to apply.

Of course, this book has not the final word on this kind of studies, further researches must be started in order to validate and complete Gauquelin’s work. My evaluation is 8,3.