2020’s Venus retrograde is significantly flavored by the planet’s positioning out of bounds. The qualities of our current time show challenges to most conventions that dominant culture depends on, so it should be of no surprise that Venus—who represents our systems of value—has been out of bounds since April 2nd. Alternative value systems are boosted at this time, allowing feminine economies like trade and gift to flourish, and perhaps the most valuable currency of all right now is not the dollar, but relationship (another Venus realm!), as so many find themselves in isolation, without true human contact.
The Star Holds the Key
When Venus and/or Mercury undergo retrograde periods, the central and defining point of these retrogrades are the degrees of the planets’ conjunctions with the Sun. What I call the retrograde star, this degree stands out and provides significant identity to thematic elements of the retrograde. With this Venus retrograde, the retrograde star will occur on June 3rd, at 13 Gemini.
If the declination of Mars in a chart is greater than 23 degrees and 27 minutes north or south, this is considered Mars out of bounds. So what can this tell us about a person?
Mars in Astrology
In astrology, we understand Mars as a representative of energies that are associated with modern masculinity, whether tainted or divine. In Mars we see the light and dark sides of ambition, desire, action, confidence, raw energy, conflict, the assertiveness/aggression spectrum, speed, leadership, advocacy, selfishness, fear/fear-mongering…
The Out of Bounds Mars
When Mars is out of bounds in a birth chart, the martial energies can appear quite evolved if Mars has been properly worked with. Or, when left unaddressed, these energies can appear rather depraved. For better or worse, Mars out of bounds is very empowered by its positioning outside of the ecliptic’s borders.
When Mars out of bounds is further bolstered by a strong placement in the birth chart—on the ascendant, midheaven, or descendent, in a dignified (Capricorn, Aries, Scorpio) sign, or in positive angular relationship to another strong planet—well, watch out, world.
If the declination of Venus in a chart is greater than 23 degrees and 27 minutes north or south, this is considered Venus out of bounds. So what can this tell us about a person?
The Symbology of Venus
In astrology, Venus works as a symbol for a myriad of concepts: personal values, aesthetic tastes, patterns in relating both romantically and in friendship, the divine feminine, nature, women’s rights, financial standing… the list goes on. In the physical realm, Venus can represent women, cats, the kidneys, the arts, sweet foods, parties, certain crystals and flowers. Venus is a benefic planet, and generally brings in positive energies. But Venusian influences can often be over-indulged. Cue Libra, a Venus-ruled sign known for its fixation on balance and harmony. The spoils of Venus are best enjoyed in moderation.
Venus also makes an incredibly beautiful pattern in our sky:
from James Ferguson’s Astronomy Explained Upon Sir Isaac Newton’s Principles, 1799 ed., plate III, opp. p. 67.
The Out of Bounds Signature
So if Venus can show up in so many different avenues of our lives, how can we pinpoint and illustrate the Venus out of bounds signature? Well, to begin, Venus out of bounds simply does not operate within cultural normssurrounding relationship, art (creation of and taste in), or pleasure.
Perhaps you are familiar with Kevin Barnes and Of Montreal, the art-rock/funk/indie band formed by Barnes in Athens, Georgia, in 1996.
I’m here to examine Kevin Barnes, who has been the artistic mainstay of the band for twenty years. According to the INTERNET, he was born on May 30, 1974. We don’t have public data regarding his birth time, but I have a feeling he’s a Libra rising with his Moon in the first house. Here is my presumption of Kevin Barnes’ birth chart:
Mercury is at 1 Cancer, and out of bounds at 25 degrees North
And here is Kevin in human form:
Kevin Barnes in 2012
The focus of this post is Barnes’ Mercury, which you can see in the chart above–right at the top, at 1 degree Cancer. And of course, way out of bounds.
For a planet to be classified as an out of bounds planet, it must be traveling through our sky at a remarkably high or low angle along the ecliptic–the path created forged by the Sun and Moon, occupied by the zodiacal constellations, that one strip of sky through which the first astrologers noted that stars were moving.
The “bounds” are determined by the Sun’s north-and-south range along the east-to-west ecliptic. Go outside for your next visible sunset and mark where the Sun touches the horizon in the west. Some time later (a week, a month, three months), stand in the same place for sunset, and you will notice that the Sun’s descension point is either further north or south than when you first saw it. For us living on the northern hemisphere, the Sun is at its northernmost on Summer Solstice, and southernmost on Winter Solstice. The path of the Sun on these polar days creates the “bounds” of the ecliptic, measured at 23.3 degrees north or south (+ or -) in a common declination table.
And so, when a planet is traveling along the ecliptic but outside of these bounds, that planet is designated as out of bounds. This tends to occur almost exclusively within the signs of Gemini, Cancer, Sagittarius and Capricorn–the signs bookending the summer and winter solstices.
This is a very surface-level explanation of the mechanics of out of bounds planets. And as much as I enjoy the astronomy realm of astrology, I’m more interested in relaying information about meaning here. So, if you feel the need for a deeper understanding and great visuals, go over to Nick Anthony Fiorenza’s The Lunar Planner and learn more.
You or someone you know has an out of bounds planet, but what does that mean?
Meaning! It’s what makes astrology astrology.
Really, each out of bounds planet shows its quirky characteristics in specific ways, but there are some thematic commonalities from the Moon on out. For instance, the scofflaw trait.
If the declination of the moon in a chart is greater than 23 degrees and 27 minutes north or south, this is considered a moon out of bounds.
But, as I’m often asked, what does that mean?
If you or someone you know has a moon out of bounds–found predominantly in the signs of Gemini, Cancer, Sagittarius, and Capricorn–they are likely to exist emotionally in a realm outside of traditional expectations. The emotional outlaw, one with a moon out of bounds tends to make their own rules concerning how to feel about/react to a given stimulus. If living within the bounds of societal constructs, they often tire of dominant trends and experience a pull to escape to a new or remote place. In a city setting–where most humans dwell these days–these are the people who live on the fringes in some way or another.
A beautiful trait of the out of bounds moon is a wide awareness and vision of what the hell is going on with these humans. Having a moon out of bounds lends to active witnessing and questioning of norms, and ultimately acting outside of them. The further above the declination of 23’27” the moon is, the further along the starting point for this questioning.
A person with a moon declination of 28 N or S might simply be unable to understand why people are like this. At 24 N or S, the out of bounds moon person has a closer understanding of society, and an easier time relating to common people. They exist on the fringe, but can cross this boundary both ways with comfort. A further distant moon, however, may experience extreme discomfort at a traditional event such as a normative straight wedding or a corporate promotional mixer. If forced into these situations, a distant OOB moon may take drastic measures, perhaps drowning their awareness in alcohol/substances, or becoming known for repeated Irish exits.
Of course, unpredictable as the out of bounds moon can be, these people can also transform into the star of the party. Viewership/witnessing is often a back-and-forth trade between out-of-bounds-mooners and society, as common people can develop fascinations with out of bounds personalities. People enjoy watching the wildcard: he or she says or does things that others find questionable and unpermitted, yet also entertaining and sometimes genius. Famous examples of these characters (charts linked) are Ozzy Osbourne, Amy Winehouse, Tracy Morgan, Cher,Albert Einstein, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Kurt Cobain.
The specific shades of a moon out of bounds are shown in the condition of the moon in the context of the chart. How does it relate to other planets energetically? Does it reside near the IC, MC, DC, or ascendant? Is it accompanied by any other planets dwelling out of bounds? A reading from a professional astrologer (hi!) would help you understand and synthesize these factors.
If you’re curious about your moon or the moon 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.
I feel like this song has a few spots that go along with the OOB planet. Enjoy Knox Fortune: