MOON out of bounds

Astronomical context

“Out of bounds”1 is a term coined by KT Boehrer to describe celestial bodies found beyond the maximum ecliptic limit (currently 23°26‘)2 by declination. This limit is based on the Earth’s tilt on its axis, called obliquity. Instead of measuring along the ecliptic where we find degrees like 0° Aries, 15° Cancer, etc; declination measures the distance of a planet from the celestial equator which is Earth’s equator extended out to space.

During the equinoxes the Sun’s path through the sky (ecliptic/Earth’s orbit) is aligned with the celestial equator. That means the Sun’s declination on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes is 0° north and south respectively because it is 0° away from the celestial equator. At these times of year the length of night and day is equal and seasons are more mild.

During the summer and winter solstices, the ecliptic is at it’s furthest distance from the celestial equator, 23°26′ north and south respectively. This is why the Sun appears to travel further up in the sky during the summer and much lower in the sky in the winter3. This is also why days are longer than nights in the summer and why nights are longer than days in the winter. During the solstices seasons are more extreme.

The out of bounds condition

The Sun’s declination never exceeds the limit as defined by Earth’s obliquity. It will always be right on the celestial equator during the equinoxes and no more than 22-24° away from the celestial equator during the solstices4. This is where we get the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn5. Leigh Westin, author of Beyond the Solstice by Declination, refers to this region of the sky as the “Nucleus of Life”6 because it outlines the Sun’s never-changing path through the sky each and every year, our seasons, and our general realm of normalcy.

Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn on a map from Wikipedia.

While the Sun never exceeds the limit of 22-24° (currently 23°26′) by declination, other celestial bodies in the solar system do. Anything found beyond the limit of 23°26′ north or south of the celestial equator is “out of bounds”. When a planet is out of bounds, it is beyond the reach of the organizing principle and big boss of the solar system – the Sun7. Planets out of bounds manifest in a more extreme, unusual, and extraordinary way. They are unconcerned with normalcy, societal expectations, or the rules. Out of bounds planets tend to become highly energized8 and this energy can be channeled into remarkably great or awful ways depending on the choices and circumstances of the person with the out of bounds planet. The common denominator being the increased energy that manifests, “beyond the realm of reason”9 (Boehrer p3).

How to find out if you have Moon out of bounds in your chart

The easiest way to see if you have an out of bounds Moon or other celestial body in your chart is through an app called AstroGold. Pull up your chart, click “reports” then “basic details”. Then look for the numbers in the “Declin.” column. Anything beyond 23°26′ north or south is out of bounds. Make sure you aren’t looking at the “Longitude” column, which measures zodiacal longitude – a totally different set of coordinates.

If you don’t have AstroGold, the next easiest way to look this up is on astro-seek.com. Pull up your chart, click the “positions” tab, then look for the numbers under the “Decl” column. Anything with a declination exceeding 23°26′ will have “(oob)” next to the number, which will make it easier to spot quickly.

Astrodienst will show declination positions as well, but not on mobile. To see if you have any out of bounds planets here, pull up your chart and click on “PDF Additional tables” which will download a pdf with all the positional details of your chart including declination.

The out of bounds Moon cycle

The Moon has a distinct rhythm to how often it goes out of bounds. In Declination Boehrer noted how for a period of about 10 years the Moon never goes out of bounds followed by another period of 9-10 years where the Moon goes out of bounds every 8-12 days13. This cycle is based off the Moon’s nodal cycle. When the Moon’s north node is at 0° Aries in the tropical zodiac, the Moon is at major lunar standstill14 – when the Moon goes out of bounds most frequently, for the longest amount of time, and it’s declination reaches its most extreme. The next major lunar standstill will be in 202515. The last major lunar standstill was 2006.

Graphic ephemeris printout from Kepler astrology software showing Moon’s declination from 2020-2029. Light grey horizontal bars indicate out of bounds declination. From the spring of 2020 through 2029 the Moon went out of bounds regularly.

At the other end of the cycle when the Moon’s north node is at 0° Libra, we get the minor lunar standstill where the Moon only reaches a maximum declination of about 18° north or south of the celestial equator, never going out of bounds. The most recent minor lunar standstill was in 201616. This was right in between the late 2011 to early 2020 period when the Moon never went out of bounds. The next minor lunar standstill will be in 2034.

Graphic ephemeris printout from Kepler astrology software showing Moon’s declination from 2010-2019. Light grey horizontal bars indicate out of bounds declination. From the end of 2011 through 2019 the Moon never out of bounds.
Graphic ephemeris printout showing Moon’s declination along with the north node from 2015 – 2026. When the north node is at 0° Libra we have the minor lunar standstill, when the Moon does not go out of bounds at all. When the north node is at 0° Aries we have the major lunar standstill, when the Moon goes out of bounds most often.

Previously, the Moon went out of bounds regularly during the following periods:

  • 2001 – 2011
  • 1982 – 1992
  • 1964 – 1974
  • 1945 – 1955
  • 1927 – 1937
  • 1908 – 1918

If you were born during one of the above years you could have an out of bounds Moon! This is especially the case if you were born in the middle of one of those periods; around 2006, 1987, 1969, etc. If you were born during one of these time periods and your natal moon is not out of bounds, it probably progressed out of bounds at some point in the week or so after you were born, depending on where you’re at in the out of bounds cycle17, but this is a whole other article in and of itself.

Out of bounds Moon

The most important celestial body to go out of bounds by declination is the Moon10. KT Boehrer, pioneer of the study of out of bounds planets, discusses several reasons for this in her book Declination. One significant reason being the Moon’s speed through the zodiac as it activates every point in the natal chart once every 28 days. If the Moon’s significations are manifesting in an extreme way, it will be readily apparent in the entire life of an individual on a monthly basis as opposed to the extreme manifestations of a slower moving outer planet that may only transit a few signs and houses over the course of one’s life.

KT Boehrer says the out of bounds Moon, “will indicate conditions related to the emotions, family, home, mother, and material instincts that are unusual, beyond normal expectations and/or conditions.” She relates the out of bounds Moon to difficult or estranged relationships with the mother or circumstances that affect the mother’s ability to nurture the child, such as poverty, illness, or death.11

“Rejection in early life creates some emotional insecurity that they strive to overcome by proving their worth to the world. The lack of good mother-child relations apparently engenders a basic insecurity that drives these people to a high achievement level in their search for love, respect, influence, and security.”

KT Boehrer “Declination” page 15

In general the Moon out of bounds in a natal chart can indicate an extreme or unusual reaction to ones environment, an excessive drive for security manifesting as tireless over-achievement, or highly significant relationships with women that greatly affect the circumstances of ones life12.

Out of bounds Moon by zodiac sign

The Moon can be found out of bounds in Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, and Aquarius. It will be found out of bounds most often in solstice signs or solstice-bordering signs because these signs along the ecliptic correspond with the Sun’s highest declination. The Moon cannot be found out of bounds in Aries, Virgo, Libra, or Pisces because these are equinoctial and equinox-bordering signs.

Moon can be out of bounds in Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius. Moon cannot be out of bounds in Aries, Virgo, Libra, Pisces.

The Moon is most often out of bounds in cardinal (Cancer/Cap) and mutable (Gemini/Sag) signs. The cardinal expression of the out of bounds Moon emphasizes the inclination to act upon something in order to achieve some semblance of a sense of security. The Moon is already constantly scanning its environment for threats, but when it is out of bounds in the Cancer-Capricorn axis there may be an unusual amount of resources put toward the security of ones home, self, or environment. In Capricorn there may be significantly more struggle against the conditions of one’s circumstances, especially earlier in life. Like the initiatory nature of these signs, when the Moon starts going out of bounds for its 10 year “on period”, it will start going out of bounds in these signs.

The mutable expression of the out of bounds Moon (Gemini/Sagittarius) is neither in domicile nor detriment and has a totally different flair due to its separation from the nostalgic, ancestry-oriented solstice axis of Cancer-Capricorn. Here the Moon follows the lead of the flow of consciousness. The out of bounds Moon here seeks comfort through curiosity and understanding. There may be a distinct adventurous streak that can’t be contained by the circumstances of ordinary life. Their body may not always be moving, but their mind is. Like the cardinal axis of Cancer-Capricorn, the Moon in Gemini-Sagittarius can reach its most extreme declination of 28° north and south of the celestial equator, so there is a distinct “untethered” nature to these people. There may be a period of feeling disconnected from the physical side of incarnation until they figure out how to let their true self flow.

Unlike the cardinal and mutable signs, the Moon can be out of bounds in all four fixed signs. The caveat is that this is rare, as these signs are further away from the solstice points of 0° Cancer and Capricorn. When the Sun is in fixed signs, it’s declination will always be between 11°28′ – 20°09′18 north or south of the celestial equator. Therefore, anything exceeding 23°26′ by declination in this part of the zodiac is especially significant. There is a difference of several degrees of declination here whereas the difference in solstice or solstice-bordering signs can be just a few arc minutes. Oak of Oak Astrology School describes out of bounds planets in general as being distinctly “resistant to intervention”19and this is, probably unsurprisingly, especially the case for fixed sign out of bounds Moons.

Out of bounds Moon people by sign

Out of bounds Moon in Taurus people include: River Phoenix and Karine Le Marchande with Moon opposite Neptune, Jimmy Hoffa with Moon conjunct Saturn on Algol, Livio Togni with Moon ruling the MC, and Brendan Fraser with Moon opposite Chiron.

Out of bounds Moon in Gemini people include: Sigmund Freud with Moon ruling his 9th house square Neptune, Alan Bean with Moon at the bendings, Harry Houdini with Moon square Mercury, and Zach Galifianakis with Moon trine Mercury/Uranus/Sun/Jupiter.

Out of bounds Moon in Cancer people include: Annie Oakley and Teddy Roosevelt with Moon opposite Mars (also out of bounds for both!), David Scott with Moon conjunct Venus (also out of bounds), Upton Sinclair with Moon in an out of sign square with retrograde Saturn, Tom Waits with Moon conjunct Uranus (also out of bounds), Kurt Cobain with Moon in a grand water trine involving half is chart, Gaius Caligula with Moon square Pluto, and David Icke with Moon in a t-square involving Mercury, Saturn, and Uranus.

Out of bounds Moon in Leo people include: Clint Eastwood with Moon in an out of sign square with domiciled Mars, Shia LaBeouf with Moon at the bendings and square Pluto, Queen Isabel de Valois with Moon at the bendings in a t-square with pretty much her entire chart, and Jessie J with Moon trine exalted Sun.

Out of bounds Moon in Scorpio people include: John James Audubon with Moon opposite Mercury on Algol, Shaquille O’Neal with Moon in an out of sign opposition to Saturn, and King George VI with Moon conjunct Uranus and Mars.

Out of bounds Moon in Sagittarius people include: Oprah Winfrey with Moon sextile Venus, Neil Armstrong with Moon square Venus, Victor Hugo with Moon square Mercury, Albert Einstein with Moon ruling his ascendant trine Venus, Jane Goodall with Moon on the ascendant, and Brody Stevens with Moon opposite Venus and Mars (both out of bounds!)

Out of bounds Moon in Capricorn people include: Frank Ocean with Moon in a t-square with Jupiter and Mars, Cher with Moon in mutual reception with Saturn, Lucille Ball with Moon rising and trine Mercury, Matt Damon with Moon in a cadent grand earth trine to both (out of sect) malefics, and Mitch Hedburg with Moon at the bendings trine Pluto.

Out of bounds Moon in Aquarius is pretty rare like the other fixed signs so I only have two charts: one for a person and one for an event. They are Bill Ackman with Moon square Mercury and the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire of 1911 with Moon at the bendings square Venus and Saturn.

Conclusion

The out of bounds Moon is a highly significant signature of any chart, but there are a number of factors that increases its importance dramatically: if the Moon is the chart ruler or conjunct the ascendant, if the Moon is the ruler of or conjunct any other angle, if the Moon is at the bendings, if the Moon is in a fixed sign, if the Moon’s declination exceeds 25° north or south declination (even more extreme manifestations)20, or if the Moon is aspecting another out of bounds planet.

The out of bounds condition seems to have a “chaotic neutral”21 influence on planets in the natal chart and there are many mitigating factors to consider when delineating the out of bounds Moon to get a feel for how positively or negatively it is manifesting for the individual. It absolutely pays to spend the time identifying these rogue weirdos though because their nature tends not to be subtle.22,23 If you were to sum up a chart with one planet, the out of bounds one is likely to be extra representative of the individual moreso than another within bounds. Even the initial recognition that ones unusually extreme life isn’t just some aberration, but fits into an ironically normal celestial rhythm can be extremely validating for the out of bounds Moon person so I implore you to explore these “out there” celestial bodies.

Do you have an out of bounds Moon? Click here to book a consultation where we can explore this placement in depth as it relates to your personal chart. To learn more about out of bounds planets and declination in astrology, including all of the sources listed below and more, click here. To see if the Moon is out of bounds right now or when it will go out of bounds next, click here.


1 Declination: The Other Dimension KT Boehrer 2018
2 Earth’s Axial Tilt – Obliquity by Time & Date 2022
3 Patterns of the Sun by Archaeoastronomy Database 2019
4 Earth’s Axial Tilt – Obliquity by Time & Date 2022
5 Tropic of Cancer by Swinburne Astronomy Online
6 Beyond the Solstice by Declination Leigh Westin
7 Introduction to Declination and Out of Bounds Planets by Maighdlin Kelly 2022
8 Declination: The Other Dimension KT Boehrer 2018
9 Declination: The Other Dimension KT Boehrer 2018
10 Declination: The Other Dimension KT Boehrer 2018
11 Declination: The Other Dimension KT Boehrer 2018
12 Introduction to Declination and Out of Bounds Planets by Maighdlin Kelly 2002
13 Declination: The Other Dimension KT Boehrer 2018
14 Declination Matters Astrid Fallon 2019
15 Greatest Annual Lunar Standstills: 2001-2100 Astropixels.com 2013
16 Greatest Annual Lunar Standstills: 2001-2100 Astropixels.com 2013
17 Declination: The Other Dimension KT Boehrer 2018
18 Declination Matters Astrid Fallon 2019
19 Out of Bounds Planets Oak Astrology School 2022
20 Interpreting Out of Bounds Planets David Cochrane
21 Introduction to Declination and Out of Bounds Planets by Maighdlin Kelly 2002
22 Declination: The Other Dimension KT Boehrer 2018
23 Beyond the Solstice by Declination Leigh Westin


Maighdlin M Kelly 2002

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