Adios to Michel Gauquelin
The astrological community was shocked to learn of Michel Gauquelin’s suicide in late May, 1991. The people who were closest to him, Michael Lutin who planned to let him stay in his home and Eysenck who shared his involvement in astrological research, had no inkling of the depths of depression which must have been there to lead to such an act. We still have few details. We just know that he left a suicide note and that his neighbor called his sister in Paris when she did not see him for some days. Firemen were called when his sister’s key failed to open the door because a key was in the lock on the inside. They were forced to break down the door and found his body. His family handled the burial and have not communicated the method of his suicide or the contents of the note. (An educated guess would imply pills since Michel had Neptune rising square his fourth house south node and Moon). Francoise Gauquelin, Michel’s first wife, was notified by the neighbor and passed the information on to the astrological community. She was deeply shocked but is determined to carry on the research which they did together for so many years.
Michel’s devotion to the search for knowledge is clearly shown in his horoscope. Jupiter and Chiron reinforce each other with a conjunction and in the tenth house are connected to career, status, and role in society. The nodes of the Moon in Gemini-Sagittarius mark the perpetual student, teacher, writer and traveler, and the Moon, Saturn and Venus in Sagittarius repeat the message. Note the repeated theme connecting work (letters six and ten) to letter nine. Jupiter and Chiron (which I think is like Jupiter) are in the tenth house. Saturn, doubly a career key since it is the natural ruler of the tenth and in this case rules Capricorn on the sixth cusp, is in the ninth sign. Venus, ruler of the MC, is in Sagittarius. Uranus, ruling the Aquarius in the sixth house, is in the ninth house. Vesta, a Virgo asteroid, is in the ninth house. Letter nine jobs may involve higher education, writing, traveling, etc. Michel did them all.
Neptune in the first house hints at the mystical undertone which led Michel to look at an area disdained by his scientific peers, and his strong Scorpio stellium including Juno, Mercury and Sun certainly contributed to the tenacity with which he pursued his search for hidden understanding. But despite his lifetime effort to discover factors which would provide statistical support for astrology, Michel never fully escaped the limits set by the materialistic theories of science. To the end, he tried to find an explanation for astrology in material forces, a futile effort as far as I am concerned. All the factors listed above which connect one’s work to the quest for knowledge of the Absolute can also indicate the danger of limiting one’s view of the Absolute to the material realm. And to the mixtures of six-ten with nine, we can add the six-ten-twelve combinations; Neptune in Virgo and Ceres, a partially Virgo asteroid, in Pisces. Letter twelve marks our unconscious faith where letter nine is our conscious search for meaning in life, for a set of theories about the world on which we can base our value hierarchy, can make choices and set goals. Combinations of earth factors with nine or twelve factors may show a tendency toward atheism or agnosticism, the effort to reduce the spiritual reality to material forces or particles. Alternately, (and potentially more successfully), the individual may seek to bring spiritual values and goals into form in the material world.
The chart is strongly fire and water, marking a deeply emotional nature which Michel concealed to some extent from all except the people who were close to him. He was strongly identified with water. The Sun and Mercury, both rulers of the first house signs, were in Scorpio in the Cancer house, while Mars, the natural ruler of the first house was in Cancer on the Antivertex (another key to identity) in the same sign. The East Point, another auxiliary Ascendant, was in Cancer in the Pisces house. The water planet, Neptune, was in the first house of the chart. The tendency of water is to feel deeply but to hold the emotion in for security, whether one’s own or to protect others. Mars and the Antivertex were in the Aquarius house and if the birth time is accurate, the Ascendant was in the Aquarius dwad, adding to the attraction to unconventional knowledge, but air was clearly the weakest element. Michel appeared to take things lightly, but behind the facade lay an intense nature. His good friend, Dr. Hans Eysenck, described him as witty, sociable, never losing his temper and always seeming eminently stable. I saw him from time to time over the past 20 years and he always appeared good natured and easygoing. But his competitive nature, indicated in the chart by the fixed cross which was filled in by the East Point in late Cancer, showed in his tennis and in his struggles with the scientific or pseudo-scientific establishment. CSICOP fit the latter description, especially their star performer “the amazing Randi.”
Despite all the water which is the most fertile element, Michel and Francoise only had one child, a son. Idealism connected to the fourth and/or fifth houses can either lead to a large family if children are an ultimate value to the individual or it can lead to few or no children since the person does not want to have children unless he or she can do it perfectly. Saturn in either the fourth or fifth house may also limit children because of fear of falling short in some way, or reluctance to take on the responsibility, or because the career takes precedence. The south lunar node tends to be experienced somewhat like Saturn, as a part of life which requires caution, where there may be inhibition.
Looking at the secondary progressions for the approximate date of the suicide, we can see several aspects suggestive of the tensions which led Michel to run away. P Moon was in Pisces in the eighth house trioctile Juno in Scorpio which was natally close to the fourth house cusp. Juno is the marriage asteroid, wanting a lasting committed relationship. It seems very like Pluto in my experience. Michel had married for a second time after separating from Francoise, but he was not happy in the relationship and was living alone at the time of his death. The long conjunction of P Saturn and natal Venus in the fifth house is a key to lessons in love relationships whether with partners or with children. P Venus and P Sun were moving in an octile which lasted for a number of years, repeating the likelihood of friction in the area of love. The long quincunx of P Uranus to Mercury could point to Michel’s intellectual brilliance and ability to break new ground in the world of the mind, but it could also show tensions around home and mate since Uranus ruled the seventh house of partnership and Mercury was in a sign of partnership in the house of home and family. Another aspect with a similar message was P Jupiter opposite Juno for years.
Michel was also disappointed in his professional work since he had not attained any statistical significance in the research projects he had undertaken after the separation from Francoise. Both P Uranus and P Jupiter were in the ninth house and they signify mental activity by their own natures. Juno was in the third house (the mind applied to the world around us) and Mercury is a natural ruler of the house. So, as is commonly the case, the tension aspects could indicate problems in relationships or in mental activity or in both. P Jupiter was also quincunx the south lunar node, repeating the possibility of tensions in the home but also pointing to a possible lesson in faith as is suggested by the presence of both south node and Saturn in Sagittarius. Suicide shows a lack of faith and hope that things will get better if we keep on trying.
Michel’s P Chiron (which I also connect to faith) was in a station, marking a change of some kind this year. His P Ascendant was quincunx P Chiron and P East Point was quincunx natal Chiron while P Antivertex opposed natal Vesta. All three aspects fit personal action that produced a separation from his work. An opposition can involve a separation but the quincunx is more strongly indicative of one. P Mars quincunx natal Sun connecting two fire planets was one of the strongest pointers to major change produced by personal action. P Mars was also octile Chiron and P MC was trioctile natal Sun. P Ceres which can point to work or to our ability to nurture and/or need to be nurtured was octile P Chiron in the tenth house and natal Pallas in the sixth house. The new partnership was not “working.” The research projects were not “working.” Some of Michel’s past successes were even being questioned by attempted replications in a German university. You can see the potential for discouragement.
The Sun is our EGO, our capacity for self-esteem whether we achieve it through our work or through loving and being loved. One of the most dramatic aspects formed by the “new” asteroids was the position of P Michel exactly conjunct the natal Sun of the human Michel when his loss of self-worth led him to run away. P Michel was also exactly conjunct the natal Part of Death using Koch house cusps. P north lunar node had just reached the one-degree-orb quincunx to natal Michel when the human Michel separated from his work and his relationships. P Universitas was on the P node and quincunx natal Michel while P Academia (another asteroid associated with the world of education), P Pallas (partnership) P Amun (sun) and P Frieden (peace) were all clustered in the seventh house in Aquarius forming exact squares to the natal Sun. The asteroids repeat the stress in the areas of both partnership and intellectual endeavors.
Still, as Eysenck pointed out, Michel’s work has made a unique contribution to our view of the cosmos. It will live on, and others will continue to build on his foundation. I hope that he is now at peace.