If the declination of Mercury in a chart is greater than 23 degrees and 27 minutes north or south, this is considered Mercury out of bounds. But how does this apply to a human being?

If you have Mercury out of bounds, you probably think and speak in different patterns than dominant culture lays out for us. You might disappear once in a while and require some time not talking. You might enjoy thinking about language abstractly. Or, on the other end, you find yourself talking incessantly, and likely losing the attention of your audience. Mercury is inherently a trickster, and manifests in numerous ways in a given chart, which renders it likely impossible to pin down a singular out of bounds definition.

But I try, nonetheless!

Mercury out of bounds carries undeniable genius. Look at Mercury’s sign for how this might express energetically. For example, Mercury out of bounds in Cancer or Capricorn is a slam poet. But in Gemini or Sagittarius, Mercury out of bounds may prefer associative, “literary” poetry.

Other, more uniformly-distributed traits of people with Mercury out of bounds:

  • They do not communicate within the standards of dominant culture.
    • They will return your texts or e-mails whenever they feel ready.
    • They are not concerned with expressing themselves inoffensively. To them, they speak only truth.
    • They may use obscure diction.
  • They often make surprising statements or observations.
  • They are smart enough to know what you expect from them in a dialogue, but this doesn’t mean they’ll choose to play along.

In an astrology reading, an astrologer can find a lot of information by looking at your Mercury. The planet’s status as in or out-of-bounds is only a small part of its character.

Mercury is always on the move, and so much depends on the movement of Mercury near the day and time of your birth. Did Mercury enter retrograde or go direct near your birthday? It’s the fastest planet in the zodiac… did it change signs? What other planets, stars, or deep space objects were in the neighborhood? If you can’t crack it, an astrologer can help you figure it out.

In my blog post about Mercury out of bounds, I dive into Kevin Barnes, songwriter for the band Of Montreal, to give some insight into how I do it.

Check for Mercury Out of Bounds

If you’re curious about your Mercury or the Mercury of another, you can check your declination measurements with a simple tool on astro.com. Go to your natal chart and click “Additional tables (PDF)” above your birth data, and look for declinations higher than 23°27 north or south in the Planet Positions table.