Tag: out of bounds planets

Mars Out of Bounds

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.

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Venus Out of Bounds

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 norms surrounding relationship, art (creation of and taste in), or pleasure.

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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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