Tag: mercury

Notes on Mercury’s July 2019 Retrograde

Mercury’s retrograde from July 7th to the 31st joins the signs of Leo and Cancer, and includes a Full Moon/lunar eclipse in Capricorn (July 16th) and a Leo New Moon just hours before the retrograde ceases. Earth will also be receiving impactful energies from Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus.

I’ve put together some notes to help us meet these energies and support our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health:

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The Astrology of Kevin Barnes and Mercury Out of Bounds

Perhaps you are familiar with Kevin Barnes and Of Montreal, the art-rock/funk/indie band formed by Barnes in Athens, Georgia, in 1996.

Perhaps not.


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.

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Out of Bounds Planets

The Mechanics

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.

The Meaning

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.

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Life on a Paran: Mercury Rising and Pluto Rising

In locational astrology, a paran is a line that circles the earth latitudinally. Each paran has an origin point: a location where two rising, setting, MC or IC lines intersect. It is from this parallel that the paran line emerges east and west, like a ribbon around the globe. Any paran’s orb of influence is up to 2 degrees north or south of the line.

I recently left Minneapolis, MN, on the 44th parallel North, where I lived for 18 months. I have a Mercury rising/Pluto rising paran passing right through Minneapolis, and learned a good deal about what this meant for me by living there and observing its influence.

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