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A Reanalysis of Theodor Landscheidt's Findings Regarding Mars-Saturn Angles in Birth Charts of Scientists

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by David Cochrane

In the May-June, 1998 issue (Vol 40, #3) of the Astrological Journal (published by the Astrological Association of England) Theodor Landscheidt presents several findings regarding the distribution of planets in birth charts of famous people. One of his findings is that the angular distance of Mars and Saturn in the birth charst of 16,800 scientists and physicians is more often in a golden ratio aspect than would be expected by chance. Specifically, the following angles were found to occur more often these charts than would be expected by chance: 47.5, 55.6, 68.8, 85, 111.2, 137.5, 145.6, 158.8 and 175 degrees. For an explanation of Landscheidt's golden ratio aspects, see the article Reassessment of the Mars Effect.

Although written over 12 years ago, there appears to be little follow-up on this study. Landscheidt reports that the data analyzed was gathered by Mulller at the University of Cologne in Germany. I added features to Sirius 1.2 astrology software to enable me to obtain improved graphs from earlier versions of Sirius to see how Mars-Saturn angles varied from the expected distribution in six groups of professional groups in the Gauquelin data: scientists, musicians, writers, politicians, military leaders, and painters. This data is included in Sirius and I did not attempt to find out if the data collected by Muller is available. If this data can be obtained an reanalysis of Muller's could be performed.

All six professional groups in the Gauquelin data have birth dates ranging from the 1790's or 1800's to the 1920' to 1940's. The Sirius software allows the user to produce a distribution of a planetary angle over any period of time to represent the random distribution of the planetary period over that time period. I found that the specific dates used had little effect on the distribution as long as a range of 100 or more years was used. I used a range of 1800 to 1930 for this control group in the analysis. Note that creating a control group for astrological research is difficult in that the definition of the population from which the sample is collected is ambiguous given the uneven and non-normal distribution of birth dates through the time period. However, the full distribution of Mars-Saturn angles for 130 years used represents the likely distribution if births were equally spread across this time period and given the stability of this distribution and the deviations with very small orbs found in this study as described below, other definitions of a control group would very likely produce very similar results.

Shown below in Figure 1 is the random distribution of Mars-Saturn angles the distribution of the scientists in the Gauquelin data collection. Angular distances are rounded to the nearest degree from 1 to 180. The average percent of charts at any degree is therefore 100/180, or 0.55. As expected from the much larger number of charts in the random distribution, the random distribution represented by the green line fluctuates less than the distribution of scientists as represented by the blue line. The random distribution is based on 130 years x 365 days, or over 47,000 Mars-Saturn calculations.


Fig. 1: Distribution of Mars-Saturn angles in scientists and the random distribution.

To visualize deviations from the random distribution in another way, a graph of the percent difference between the scientists and the random distribution is shown in Figure 2 below.


Fig. 2: Percent difference of Mars-Saturn angles in scientists from a random distribution.

The Sirius software also lists the values for each degree so that the difference at each degree is known. Referring to this list, I noted the degrees that the graph in Figure 2 indicates that the Mars-Saturn angle occurs more often for scientists than for the random distribution. These angles are 76-78, 80-82, and 85-87 degrees. In this exploratory phase of research hard and fast rules are not used to determine at which angular distances the scientists and control group differ but salient peaks are fairly clear. In general the findings do not confirm Landscheidt's finding. The peak at 85 degrees is confirmed but overall the results do not closely agree with Landscheidt's findings. Of the three peaks identified in the graph, the peak at 76-78 degrees is most impressive to me because the graph stays very high across three degrees whereas the other two peaks extend for only two degrees and are pronounced only at a single degree. Note that in the line graph angular distances vary from 0 to 179 so the range of 76 to 78 degrees is actually a range of greater than or equal 76 to less than 79 degrees. Interestingly, a 3/14 aspect is 77.14 degrees and therefore is approximately in the middle of this range. In earlier research it was found that 14th harmonic aspects involving Saturn are more likely in the charts of scientists in the Gauquelin data (see The Gauquelin Data Revealed) . The current findings suggest that it may be especially the 3/14 aspect that is important for scientists.

Shown in Figure 3, Figure 4, Figure 5, Figure 6, and Figure 7 are the percent difference in the charts of the other five professional groups in the Gauquelin data.


Fig. 3: Percent difference of Mars-Saturn angles in musicians from a random distribution.


Fig. 4: Percent difference of Mars-Saturn angles in writers and journalists from a random distribution.


Fig. 5: Percent difference of Mars-Saturn angles in politicians from a random distribution.


Fig. 6: Percent difference of Mars-Saturn angles in military leaders from a random distribution.


Fig. 7: Percent difference of Mars-Saturn angles in painters from a random distribution.

Interestingly, four of the six professional groups have above average Mars-Saturn angles in the 76-78 degree range, which as mentioned above, is a 3/14 aspect. Painters have average scores in this range, and musicians have a dramatic decrease at 77 (which is 77 to 78 degrees), the center of these 3 degrees. These findings are difficult to interpret, but may be fairly consistent with the early study of the Gauquelin data (see The Gauquelin Data Revealed) which found that harmonics based on 11 occur more often in the charts of musicians. The 11-based harmonics are hypothesized to promote dynamic movement and restlessness. Music may be a natural outlet for people with this restless energy. The 3/14 aspect might represent a quiet and focused energy, almost a stillness. We can imagine children who become very restless thinking about an algebra problem and those who can focus on it very quietly and intently. Nevertheless, achieving excellence in music would presumably require great focus of energies as well but the dynamic movement involved in this concentrated activity may be qualitatively different than in studying science, for example. However, painters have an average distribution of Mars-Saturn at the 3/14 aspect, and one might imagine that painting would benefit from concentration as well. In short, the findings support the idea that some 14th harmonic aspects are important in science, as found in the previous study, and that the 3/14 aspect perhaps promotes quiet and still focused concentration. However, the findings are not unambiguous and may also be random fluctuations that do not represent a consistent astrological variable.

Other researchers may be able to notice other interesting details in these graphs. For the present time I am content to conclude that this study does not confirm the golden ratio aspects but does suggest that particular angular relationships based on harmonics may occur at measurable levels in individuals whose behavior can be distinguished from a random group. As Landscheidt pointed out, if there is validity to the astrological proposition that human behavior is associated with the angular distance between planets, the angular relationship is not likely to be in simple fractions of the circle as as , 1/3. , etc. as most often used by astrologers.

A great amount of additional exploratory research along these lines can be conducted. Using measurements in right ascension and direct distance rather than in zodiac longitude, heliocentric positions, and the analysis of other planets besides Mars and Saturn are among some of the most obvious possible avenues for future research.

As noted earlier, Landscheidt's study, despite the very promising findings which he presents, appears to have remained dormant for over a decade. Perhaps the lack of funding for astrological research and a lack of motivation and interest in this kind of research by astrologers are contributing factors. I suggest that even negative findings are important because the findings provide information regarding the limits of astrological information. At astrological conferences and discussion groups many astrologers voice their disinterest in scientific research in astrology, but even if skeptics within the field of astrology and outside the field of astrology are correct, confirming to what extent astrology may produce measurable results is an important contribution to our understanding of a mysterious subject that continues to be used and supported by a great many people despite its status as a largely fringe subject outside mainstream academia.

As often seems to be the case, the results are intriguing but very far from a validation of astrological principles. I conclude that if astrology is capable of producing measurable results, we have yet to identify a formula for doing so and if a measurable effect of astrology is found, it is not likely to conform to the analytical procedures typically used by astrologers.



David Cochrane AUTHOR: David Cochrane