Steven Forrest



 The familiar circle of twelve signs is a useful fiction. Like time, space, gender and money, it helps us organize our particular, parochial sense of reality. We watch our transits or progressions as they speed or plod along this imaginary line in the sky that we call the ecliptic, as if it were a narrow highway with hard curbs in the vastness of starry space. In our ephemerides, for example, we see Mercury zipping merrily along, 1E g, then 2Eg then 3Eg. We see Pluto passing the same mileposts—little knowing that Pluto might actually lie thirty degrees from Mercury, way above or below it in the sky, even though we say they are “in conjunction.” In actuality, the only moving astrological point that sticks exactly to the ecliptic is the Sun. Its path, in fact, is what defines the term. Everything else follows it only approximately.

            Ever wonder why we don’t have a total solar eclipse every month? Sure enough, there on your computer screen you plainly see the transiting Sun and the transiting Moon aligned in 15Ed 24'—but no total eclipse of the Sun. The reason is that the Moon is usually a little above the Sun or a little below it. They are “conjunct,” but only in the context of our imaginary celestial railroad track, the zodiac. They are lined up in the two-dimensional framework of the ecliptic, but not in the three dimensional framework of the heavens as they actually meet our eyes. (1)

            When a planet gets far enough from the ecliptic, it begins to produce some very curious effects. It is said to be “Out of Bounds.” The fact that it is behaving strangely in the sky gives us a broad hint as to its astrological meaning. We will get to that very soon. The point is that looking at the zodiac in the familiar sign-and-degree way, we would not even notice this condition. The planet’s position would just seem to be a normal zodiacal degree, nothing more. But, conventional astrology aside, we would definitely notice the practical impact of this Out of Bounds planet on our lives.

            Of all the planets, the Moon is most dramatic in it effects when Out of Bounds, in my experience. In fact of all the astronomical loose ends  that are basically ignored in mainstream astrological practice, this Out of Bounds Moon is one of the most astonishing in its repercussions. But to understand it precisely, we need to think outside the box—rather literally—of our fiction that planets all move along one narrow track in the sky. And to escape that trap we must begin with a meditation upon the four seasons.                                                       

            Back in school, most of us learned about why Earth has seasons. In summer, our planet is tilted toward the Sun. The visual effect is that the Sun rises higher in the sky and the days last longer. The opposite happens in winter—Earth is tilted away, so the Sun is lower and the daylight is briefer—and the weather cools down.

            Earth’s angle of tilt varies over very long scales of time, but it is currently at about 23E28' according to the Solar Fire Help files. Wikipedia gives  23E26'. (2). In this article, I am going to go with Solar Fire’s value. Visualize it like this: say you are sitting in spaceship about a zillion miles above the Earth’s equator—you are way off to the “side” of the Earth, so to speak. You are far enough out in space that you can see the Sun too, with Earth orbiting it. From your point of view, at one moment the top of the Earth seems to be tilted 23E28' to the left. Six months later, with Earth halfway around the Sun, it is still tilted 23E28' to the left.  So at first, with the top half the Earth pointed sunward, the northern hemisphere would be getting most of the sunlight. Six months later, with Earth still tilted the same way but on the other side of the Sun, the top half of the Earth is now tilted away from the Sun.  It’s Australia’s turn for a suntan. (3)

            That is the first critical link in our chain of understanding. Here is the second one.

            If you are in the northern hemisphere, you are always looking a bit “down” on the Sun. That’s why “southern exposure” sells houses—in the north, the Sun always arcs across the southern sky. In the southern hemisphere, it is the opposite situation. There the Sun sticks to the northern sky.

            In the noon-day heat of summer, we might be tempted to say that the Sun is right overhead. But it really isn’t. Up here in the northern hemisphere, the Sun will always be just a little bit to the south, even at the summer solstice when the seasonal tilt is at maximum and the Sun is highest in the sky. Only down near  the equator can the Sun ever be truly overhead. Another way to say it is that, with the Sun truly overhead, a vertical stick would cast no shadow. To experience that sight, you have got to be south of 23E28' North Latitude or north of 23E28' South Latitude—pretty close to the equator, in other words. Otherwise, the Sun will always be at least a small angle away from vertical.

            This shadow-less region of truly vertical sunlight is called the tropics, and they are defined precisely in this astronomical fashion. Only within the tropics, and even there only a certain days of years, can the Sun can physically be straight overhead. Outside the tropics, it can never rise that high. (4)

            Here is the third link in our chain: we can extend Earth’s equator out into space and visualize it projected onto the imaginary  “celestial sphere” that surrounds us. Similarly, projected out onto starry space, the “celestial tropics” extend from 23E28' north of the celestial equator to 23E28' south of it, the same as on Earth. The Sun in its annual cycle ranges between these extremes. Thus, at the northern summer solstice, the Sun’s declination is 23E28' North—that is how far it is from the celestial equator. It is as high as it can get in the northern hemisphere. At the northern winter solstice, the Sun’s declination is 23E28' South—even at high noon, it lies way down low near the southern horizon. Thus, the ecliptic weaves seasonally between the boundaries of the tropics, crossing the celestial equator twice at the Equinoxes, but also reaching 23E28' above it and, six months later, 23E28' below it at the Solstices. (5)

             In the southern hemisphere, the timing is the same, except six months out of phase.

            This maximum limit of  23E28' declination, south or north, applies rigidly to the Sun. But not to the Moon or the planets. They can go beyond it. Mercury and Mars can reach 27E and Venus can, occasionally, go a degree further. The rest tend to stay within the tropics.

            Okay, end of science class. When a planet’s declination exceeds 23E28' North or South, it is described as being Out of Bounds.  There are no shades of gray here, nothing gradual or subtle. Right at that point, something clicks.

            The term Out of Bounds originated with the late astrologer Kt (say “Kay Tee”) Boeher in her now-rare book, Declinations, The Other Dimension. (6) A decade ago, NCGR’s Geocosmic magazine published an entire edition strictly on declination (Spring, 1998). It was edited by the late, great Frances McEvoy, with whom I had many valuable discussions on the subject.(7). The issue contains articles by Charles Jayne, Leigh Westin, Karen Christino, Martha Ramsey, Ken Gillman,, Barbara Koval, Richard Nelson, Valerie Vaughan, Bruce Scofield, Kris Brandt Riske, Charles and Lois Hannon, Edward Dearborn and Kt Boeher herself. (8) Still, despite that burst of fanfare, not many astrologers today employ this Out of Bounds technique.

            I suspect that a hundred years from now we all will, for reasons I am about to demonstrate.

            What does it mean astrologcally for the Moon to be Out of Bounds? Start with one merrily anarchic notion: when the Moon’s declination exceeds 23E28' North or 23E28' South, it has escaped the physical space dominated by the gravitational “boss” of the solar system, the Sun.

            Let the metaphors free-associate.         

            The Moon is then, in other words, out of the King’s sight. No longer under Daddy’s thumb. We might say that has moved beyond the Pale. Gone out of control. Or gone wild.  It has broken the rules. It has shattered the boundaries, broken the mold, crossed the Rubicon. Bravely, or drunkenly, the Moon has said, “Roll the dice.” 

            The Out of Bounds Moon is spontaneous, emancipated, liberated, released in its own recognizance,  and utterly on its own. It has loudly proclaimed, “You can take this job (. . .  marriage, church, obligation, moral principle, town, duty . . .)  and shove it.” The Moon has claimed its genius, its passion, and its right to be itself. No need to obfuscate, to be diplomatic, or to lie to anyone anymore—unless you feel like it. No more coprophagious grin. No need to worry about staying in anyone’s good graces. Out of Bounds, the Moon no longer plays the game. It rejects all rules that are not of its own making. “Free at last, free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are finally free at last!,” said Martin Luther King, Jr.  

            The words stir the blood. But we need to let them stir the mind as well. ‘

            Structure, discipline, and a world in which our actions have consequences—these are not purely negative things. Society and its values can have a steadying effect upon us, even when we feel frustrated by them. The Out of Bounds Moon, like everything else in astrology, has an unpleasant, dangerous side as well as a divine purpose. Its dark side is sociopathic, even criminal—or merely selfish and insensitive to others. It can be cold, even inhuman.

            You may detect some of the underlying spirit of the planet Uranus and the sign Aquarius in these words. That is quite accurate. In my experience, an Out of Bounds Moon has distinctly Aquarian quality. We see the familiar Uranian “holy trinity” at work—the Genius, the Revolutionary and the Criminal.  All three of them stand outside the normal structure of society, applying leverage to it—and meeting resistance, condemnation, and consequences for it. 

            As with Aquarian or Uranian influences, the Out of Bounds Moon often thrusts alienating circumstances upon a person from outside. This is of course the classic working of synchronicity—what we meet (or fail to face) in our inner world is encountered in the “random” realities of our outer lives.

            Inwardly, the Out of Bounds Moon often correlates with feelings of being an outsider, of not fitting in, of not having a place in this world. This can be painful—and it can also lead to an  attitude of not giving a damn. Or to passivity. Or to resentment. And to radical forms of existential creativity.

            That question is easily answered, given modern astrological technology. (See Sidebar)  Most astrological software allows you to calculate declinations. Just set up your birth chart and look for the Moon’s declination. If it is greater than 23E28' north or south, it is Out of Bounds. 

            Most of the popular forms of software offer many different kinds of on-screen or printed charts. Typically, there are more technical versions, along with the simpler ones that an astrologer might give to a client. You will very likely find declination listed in the techie version. Similarly, many ephemerides list declination as well.
            More broadly, there are some years in which many babies are born with Out of Bounds Moons, and some years in which none at all are. This is related to the 18.6 year retrograde cycle of the Moon’s orbital plane—what creates the lunar nodes. (9) We will spare you the details, but here is the bottom line. Every 18.6 years, the Moon reaches its maximum possible declination of 28.5E, a full five degrees outside the tropics. In the years halfway between, we get a kind of “low tide” effect, with the Moon never getting more than 18.5E from the celestial equator. Under those latter conditions the Out of Bounds Moon cannot exist at all. No one born in those years has one.

            Thus, over the time-scale of 18.6 years, about half the people born might have an Out of Bounds Moon and about half them could not possibly have one. Furthermore, some of the “good” years for Out of Bounds Moons are more productive than others. That is because times when the Moon goes further Out of Bounds, it stays that way for longer as well. The odds improve.

            Even in the “good” years, every couple of weeks the Moon’s monthly orbit brings it back “within bounds” as it passes through the neutral ground between maximum northern and maximum southern declination. It may, in other words, be wildly Out of Bounds in one person’s natal chart—but in the chart of a person born just a week later, the Moon is in 0E declination, as normal as vanilla ice cream. But then a week after that, it is wildly Out of Bounds again.

            You really have to calculate it, is the bottom line.

            Remembering all our caveats, here are the absolute peak years for Out of Bounds Moon births in living memory: 1913, 1931-32, 1950, 1969, 1987-88, 2006. We will have another one in 2024-25. Remember to give it at least a couple of years on either side. During those years a lot of kids were born with Out of Bounds Moons. But they were mixed in with a large population of more steady, conventional types. Looking at those years, note how the correlations with periods of social unrest and social creativity are rather unmistakable. As ever in astrology, what is “in the air” at given moment lives on for decades longer in holographic form in the children. 

            I have identified nine qualities that are related to the Out of Bounds Moon. They are arbitrary and they overlap. Undoubtedly there are other categories waiting to be discovered. I would like first briefly to introduce these categories at a theoretical level, then follow with some well-known living examples that bring the theory into the practical realm.
CHOOSING TO LEAVE: Often people born under the Out of Bounds Moon display a tendency to walk away from situations which more conventional individuals might consider prestigious or desirable. Voluntarily, they exile themselves from success as it would be defined at the tribal level.
BOLD, GROUNDBREAKING GENIUS The classic definition of genius is the ability to “think outside the box,” and people born under the Out of Bounds Moon often display that quality abundantly. Of course they are not all necessarily “geniuses” who will be remembered in history. Far more often they are more normal people who simply display unique talents and quirkish interests. I believe that historical geniuses tend more than average to have Out of Bounds Moons, but it is also significant to note that many recognized geniuses do not have it.
BREAKING OUT OF SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS. We are all heavily programmed from childhood by the forces of sociology and demography. A soul born into the ghetto and a soul born into the Country Club would naturally be expected to go down different roads in life. Yet with the Out of Bounds Moon, we often see a pattern of escaping these constraints of social training and expectation.
SOCIOPATHY AND CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR. On the dark side of the equation, the Out of Bounds Moon can indicate an indifference to consensual and universal laws of moral and ethical behavior. Cold-hearted destructiveness and amorality can arise—what we might call “criminal behavior” in an absolute sense rather than in a legalistic one.
ALLEGED SOCIOPATHY AND CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR. Of course criminality is to some extent in the eye of the beholder. Those who simply follow their own path in accord with natural law might sometimes be accused of such deviations. Jesus was duly tried and convicted, for example. And then there are situations of crimes alleged but not proven, where the truth remains murky. Out of Bounds Moon people are often implicated in all of these kinds of circumstances.
“NICE” OUTLAWS . Where would we be without people who experiment with the boundaries of morality, normalcy, and risk? The “naughty” part of ourselves identifies with them and celebrates them. We might not be brave enough to follow in their footsteps, but part of us goes there vicariously and experiences an emotional lift. Out of Bounds Moon people often fit this description..
THEOLOGICAL OUTLAWS. Every society has its religion, in some sense of the word—a set of beliefs by which both reality and moral behavior are defined. The Out of Bounds Moon is often present in thinkers and spiritual teachers who stand outside that framework. They may illuminate us, or offend us, or simply encourage us to ask paradigm-challenging questions.
ZANY CHARACTERS. Every town has its eccentrics. They may seem edgy and dangerous, or entertaining, or delightful, or funny, or just weird. Each eccentric tends to be eccentric in his or her own way—that’s really the point! In whatever style or fashion these eccentrics may go about stretching the limits of the expected, there is an elevated tendency to find the Out of Bounds Moon in their natal charts.
LITERALLY, OUT OF THIS WORLD. Sometimes symbolism is very concrete. The Out of Bounds Moon is found in the charts of many who leave the boundaries of this world in more-or-less concrete ways.
            Those are my theoretical impressions of the Out of Bounds Moon, fleshed out by my experience in the astrological counseling room.  Please remember that, as ever, astrology is multi-factorial. There are many people who fit the above descriptions, but who do not have Out of Bounds Moons. Various other astrological configurations, mostly in the Uranian-Aquarian categories, can produce similar effects. The key is that we often encounter someone whom these shoes fit, but who from a more mainstream astrological perspective should be more conventional. That is where the Out of Bounds Moon proves itself.

            With a similar caveat about “everything else being equal,” the lack of an Out of Bounds Moon also has discernable meaning. It implies, not a dull person, but a steadier one. There is an even-keeled, eye-on-the-prize quality. Generally one would expect more stability over the long haul in life’s major categories: career, marriage, geographic location, spiritual orientation, and so on. 

            Below you will find a list of well-known people with Out of Bounds Moons in their natal charts. I have listed them in these broad behavioral categories, described above. Some of the people appear more than once since they illustrate more than one feature of the Out of Bounds Moon. (10)
Choosing to leave . . .  1960's music star Cat Stevens, who left his stardom behind to follow his Muslim faith. Henry David Thoreau giving up the normal comforts of life and society and choosing to live at Waldon Pond. Kurt Cobain, a musician who committed suicide at the height of his fame. Al Gore, who left the American political world and choose instead to operate as an “outsider” environmental crusader. Queen Victoria, who withdrew from the public for forty years after her husband Albert died.
Bold, groundbreaking  genius . . .  The luminous Italian novelist, Umberto Eco. The endlessly brilliant British musician, Peter Gabriel. The avant-garde composer John Cage. The mind-twisting graphic artist, M.C. Escher. .Billie Holiday, the blues singer who made being Afro-American sexy and relevant in white society. Louis Pasteur, who first understood bacterial infection. Paradigm-shattering physicist Albert Einstein. Babe Ruth, often considered the greatest baseball player who ever lived. Wilhelm Reich, Austrian-American psychoanalyst and advocate of sexual liberation.
Breaking out of social constructs . . . Oprah Winfrey, who transformed the face and purpose of televison. Jesse Ventura, the pro wrestler who became a governor. Arnold Schwarzeneggar, the action movie star who became a governor.  Edgar Mitchell, lunar astronaut turned psychic researcher. Freddie Mercury, openly-gay singer with the band, Queen, who was among the first make being gay “cool.” Amelia Earhart, who pioneered the female role in aviation. Christopher Reeve, actor who played Superman and who became paraplegic. Bob Geldof, punk rocker knighted by the Queen. And again, Billie Holiday, the blues singer who made being Afro-American sexy and relevant in a white society.
Sociopathy and criminal behavior . . .  Carlos the Jackal, the international assassin. Mike Tyson, Heavyweight boxing champion often in legal trouble. Legs Diamond, famous American gangster. Peter Sutcliffe, The Yorkshire Ripper. Josef Dietrich, Head of the Nazi S.S. Augusto Pinochet, brutal Chilean dictator.  Roman Polanski, film director and convicted pedophile. Manuel Noriega, corrupt Central American dictator. Lucky Luciano, early American Mafia figure. Squeaky Fromm, attempted assassin of U.S. President Gerald Ford. John Wilkes Booth, assassin of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Paul Joseph Goebbels, propaganda leader for the Nazi Party.
Alleged sociopathy and criminal behavior . . .  Mary Queen of Scots, beheaded for allegedly  plotting against the Crown. Salman Rushdie, victim of a Fatwa for his irreverent writing. Jimmy Hoffa, murdered union organizer with alleged Mafia connections. Alleged tax-evader Rupert Murdoch, media mogul who has become a bete noir for the political left.  Edith Piaf, French cabaret singer addicted to drugs. Catherine The Great, who allegedly had her husband murdered in order to become Empress of Russia.
“Nice” outlaws . . . American Frontiersman, Davy Crockett. Female sharpshooter, Annie Oakley. “Outlaw” musicians, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffet, and Tom Waits. Camilla Parker Bowles, lover of Prince Charles.
Theological outlaws . . .  Spiritual teacher Ram Dass,  Pagan visionary Starhawk. Cat Stevens, who espoused a religious faith unpopular in his own culture. Stephen King, who has brought the occult into the mainstream. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, iconoclastic, controversial  guru.
Jeddu Krishnamurti, anti-guru guru. Werner Erhard, founder of est training. Albert Einstein bears mentioning here too, given the way Relativity has re-shaped our collective view of reality itself.
Zany Characters . . .  Russian president Boris Yeltsin. Activist and politician Al Sharpton, Amelia Earhart, who eschewed the “feminine” requirements of her time and thus looked zany in that social context.  Jesse Ventura, the say-anything former pro wrestler turned governor of Minnesota. Akbar The Great, Turkish-Persian mogul with 5000 wives. Giovanni Casanova, the “greatest lover in history.” Isadora Duncan, Roaring Twenties iconoclast. Yoko Ono, artist and provocative wife of John Lennon.
Literally, Out of this World . . .  Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. Edgar Mitchell who visited the Moon, and later took up psychic research. Leonard Nimoy, as Mister Spock, possibly the world’s most familiar alien. Again, Amelia Earhart who disappeared from this world while trying to fly around it in 1937.
            Naturally, one must weave an Out-of-Bounds Moon into the warp and weft of the larger astrological framework. But thinking of the Moon simply in terms of conventional sign, house and aspects actually leaves out quite a number of potentially potent modifying factors, many of which I cover in the book from which this article is extracted. Here I am just focusing on one of them.  I look forward to the day when I ask someone about her Moon and I hear, “It’s in Libra in the fourth house, fast, in Waning Gibbous phase, and Out-of-Bounds.”

            The Moon can go Out of Bounds by secondary progression, with extraordinary effect. If we reflect for a moment on how secondary progressions are calculated, however, we soon realize that there are many people who will never experience this situation. The idea is simple: to know where your planets are by secondary progression on your thirtieth birthday, you count exactly thirty days forward in the ephemeris. Those planetary positions are your secondary progressions. Days become years, in other words. It follows that the transits of the first three months or so of infancy are the secondary progressions for the rest of your life.

            But maybe you were born in one of the years in which the Moon’s declination was never so extreme—say in 1978, for example. The Moon didn’t begin to reach the critical 23E28' of declination until December 1982. If you were born in January 1978, you would have to reach the ripe old age of about eighteen hundred years before your Moon ever progressed Out of Bounds!

            U2's singer, Bono, for example, was born in a quiet year. His Moon will not progress Out of Bounds in his lifetime. The same goes for the famously unflappable Barack Obama, born in 1961. Like Bono, he is immune to the Out of Bounds condition. But Kurt Cobain, born just six years later tells a different story. (11)  In summer 1991, his Moon progressed Out of Bounds—and he shot to superstardom with his band’s major label debut album, Nevermind.  His Moon reached its impressive maximum declination of 27E 48' toward the end of 1993. Four months later, locked in his expensive home, drugged, alienated, and in hiding, Cobain committed suicide with a shotgun.

            As I write these words, the country is horribly captivated by the nightmare mass murder which occurred on November 5, 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas. Military psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killed thirteen people and wounded twenty-eight others in an insane explosion of frustration over the possibility of being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. The only birth data I have on him is that he was born September 8, 1970 in Arlington, Virginia. (12)  Fortunately, for  determining whether someone has an Out of Bounds Moon, either natally or by progression, just knowing the date of birth is enough. When the killings happened, Hasan’s Moon had just recently progressed Out of Bounds. It did so in May 2009, just six months earlier. On the day of the shootings, it was in 25E 14'.

            In Kurt Cobain’s story we see tragedy, alienation—and a classic example of “choosing to leave.” With Nidal Malik Hasan, obviously there is “sociopathy and criminal behavior.” We can, in broader terms, apply the logic we explored about the natal Out of Bounds Moon to the progressed one. With progressions, instead of a fundamental, relatively stable condition of the psyche, we see a more transitory one. By the way, with both Cobain and Hasan, their natal Moons were also Out of Bounds, and the interaction between the innate natal condition and the progression which exaggerates it is of course acute.

            Arnold Schwarzeneggar was elected governor of California on October 2003. His Moon had progressed Out of Bounds in Spring 2000 and remained in that condition until late 2004. In the improbably reality of being a heavily-accented Austrian action film star turned governor, he nicely illustrates “breaking out of social constructs.” He does pretty well as a “zany character” too. In an earlier experience of a prgressed Out of Bounds Moon, starting in Spring 1960, Schwarzeneggar would literally break into a closed gym on the weekends so he could train as a bodybuilder. (13)  I think we could fairly call that “alleged sociopathy and criminal behavior.” He was breaking the rules, but harming no one. Maybe he qualifies for “nice outlaw” too.

            In 1517, Martin Luther published his famous Ninety-Five Theses disputing the Church doctrine that the forgiveness of sins could be purchased for money. The nailing of these theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg is often seen as the critical moment of ignition in the Protestant Reformation. At that time, Luther’s progressed Moon had just passed its peak, reaching a declination of 28E01' North—wildly Out of Bounds. Here we have perhaps our finest illustration of the “theological outlaw.” (14)

            In September 1905, six months after his Moon had progressed Out of Bounds, Albert Einstein published the paradigm-shattering Special Theory of Relativity. He thus clinches our “bold, groundbreaking genius” award. Fourteen years later, his Moon again progressed Out of Bounds. Just as it was doing so, the Theory of Relativity was essentially proven when starlight was seen to be deflected by the Sun’s gravity during a total solar eclipse. Instantly, Einstein was catapulted into the strange “Out of Bounds” world of fame which his legendary name still occupies. Finally, with his progressed Moon Out of Bounds again between late 1946 and late 1950, Einstein espoused unpopular socialist beliefs and campaigned against nuclear proliferation. (15)  For that, let’s give him a “nice outlaw” award. He deserves a mention for “zany character” too, given his wonderful hair and wise-bumbling affect, which was the inspiration for Yoda in the Star Wars films.

            Last but not least, for our “literally, out of this world” title, who could be more deserving than the first man ever to orbit the earth? On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin boldly went where no one had gone before—and his progressed Moon was at 27E 26' South declination, every bit as Out of Bounds as he was.
            We modern astrologers have been bombarded by an avalanche of new techniques. Life is too short to learn them all, let alone to use them in any practical context of astrological counsel with the clock ticking and another client due in an hour. All of us must pick and choose among these riches. I hope I have made the case to you that the Out of Bounds Moon, while often overlooked, is a major piece of the astrological puzzle.
{End of article. Below is the sidebar. Below that, all footnotes}

            With so many different kinds of astrological software in use, the simplest suggestion is to just go to the “Help” files in the program you use and look up “Declination.” There you will see how to display it for any chart you calculate. Declination will be given as either North or South, sometimes shown as a + or - . If the value exceeds 23E28', it is Out of Bounds. This will work for both a natal chart or a progressed one.

            In the popular Solar Fire program, here are the steps. Calculate or open a chart. Click on “Reports” in the top line. Click on “Current Chart.” A window opens titled “Chart Reports & Tabulations.” Under “Chart Points,” you will see a column labeled “Decl.” That is declination. Check to see if the Moon’s value is 23E28' or greater. If so, it is Out of Bounds. Again, this will work for both a natal or progressed charts.

            To watch for the Moon progressing Out of Bounds over longer time-scales, open the natal chart, then click on “Dynamic” on the top line. Click on “Graphic Ephemeris.” Open “Saved Selections,” scroll down and click on “Declination of Moon (one year).” Under “Period of Report,” click the “Years” button (unless you want to zoom in on a specific period of your life).
Set your date of birth as the “Start Date.” Under “Period,” enter a number greater than your age in years, depending on how far into the future you want to look. In any case, make its value at  least nineteen so it is long enough to see one whole sweep of the Declination cycle. Under “Ephemeris Selection,” be sure to click “Progressions.” Right under that, you will see a window that says “Longitude.” Open that window, and scroll down to “Declination.” Enable that. “Dynamic Type Progressions” defaults to “secondary.” Leave that in place. Under “Point Selection,” go to “Progs.” I like the visual simplicity of “Sunmoon” rather than ones that show all the planets, but do as you like there. Click “View” and a graphic appears. The Moon’s cycle is the big, obvious wave, like a sine curve. Declination is the vertical dimension. Time is the horizontal one. Use the cursor to trace the Moon’s line. You will see a read-out that gives the date and the Moon’s declination. When (if) the Moon goes beyond 23E28', North or South, it is Out of Bounds.

1. Michael Zeilik, Astronomy: The Evolving Universe, Third Edition, Harper & Row, 1982, p. 19.

2. See, (Accessed November 16, 2009)

3. Michael Zeilik, Astronomy: The Evolving Universe, Third Edition, Harper & Row, 1982, pp.10-12.

4. See, (Accessed November 16, 2009)

5. Martin Seymour-Smith, The New Astrologer, Collier, 1981, p. 45

6. Kt Boeher, Declinations, the Other Dimension. I have never seen this book, nor been able to locate further information about it. I learned about it indirectly through references in other people’s work. Even an Internet search of rare book sites revealed nothing. For an article about declinations by her, see (Accessed November 17, 2009).

7.. Frances McEvoy’s astrological “salon” in Belmont Massachusetts just outside Boston was legendary in the astrological community of the northeastern United States. I would often stay in her home when speaking to the Boston chapter of the NCGR, enjoying delightful and provocative astrological negotiations into the wee hours. R.I.P.,  Frances!

8..For back issue of Geocosmic magazine, Spring 1998,  See:

9. Steven Forrest, Yesterday’s Sky, Seven Paws Press, 2008, pp 105-109

10. All chart data in this section comes from In determining whether someone’s Moon is Out of Bounds, strict birth time accuracy is not necessary, so here I  suspended my usual custom of working only with Rodden A or better data.

11. Again, thanks to AstroDataBank.

12. See

13.   See Retrieved April 18, 2008.

14. See

15. See                           

Steven Forrest is the author of several astrological bestsellers, including THE INNER SKY and YESTERDAY’S SKY. Most recently, working under a generous grant from the Integrative Medicine Foundation, he has completed work on THE BOOK OF THE .MOON.  His work embraces free will, grounded humanistic psychology and ancient metaphysics. He runs two active Apprenticeship Program in California and one in Australia. See his website at or contact him at
Steven Forrest
POB 82
3260 East Star Road
Borrego Springs, CA 92004
760 767-4720

by Steven Forrest - All Rights Reserved