by Tony Howard
When Steven asked me to write this month’s newsletter, the first idea that popped into my head was “Venus Out of Bounds.” I’d spent the last month editing and preparing his Moon Out of Bounds video and audio programs, so the subject was fresh on my mind. I thought, “If the out of bounds Moon is so dramatic in people’s charts, what about the other planets?” How would Mercury, Venus or Mars express when outside the “normal influence” of the sun?
If the out of bounds concept is new to you, start by reading Steven’s Out of Bounds Moon article, originally published in The Mountain Astrologer, which will lay out both the technical and theoretical framework. After that, if you’re hungry for more, you might revisit the Out of Bounds section in Chapter 3 of The Book of the Moon, or check out the newly released video or audio programs on the subject.
The extremely short version of the technical part of the story is that planets that are “out of bounds” are those in high declination – technically 23°28’ (+ or -). We’re calling those planets temporarily “outside the domain of the sun.” If the astronomy seems challenging to “get,” you’re not alone! Just let it go and instead take a look at the list of folks with out of bounds Moons and the concept should really start to sink in.
(Technical note: I’ve found that people can get confused when first looking at planetary declination, which is a number most of us don’t use much. We’re not talking about a Venus that is 23° Sagittarius or higher, for example. We’re talking about the declination number, which will usually have a + or – in front of it, and will be found in your computer program under declination. Click here for software instructions on how to look up your declinations.)
As I started looking at Venus out of bounds, I approached it with Steven’s hypothesis that all out of bounds planets might have a distinctly Uranian quality in their expression. Think of Venus in strong aspect with Uranus. I thought I’d take Steven’s “nine qualities” of out of bounds moon’s as starting categories for the out of bounds Venus, and see if people’s charts naturally sorted into those categories.
After about an hour of research, I realized that I’d have to adjust those categories and create new ones. The more I studied the charts of folks with the out of bounds Venus, the more I learned about BOTH out of bounds signatures and the way they differentiate according to the basic planetary meaning of each symbol. The categories began to create themselves, and to differentiate from the Moon categories based on distinctly Venusian expressions such as relating, marriage, dating, and artistic expression.
For instance, if we hold that the moon is, among other things, related to our emotional expression informed by our early-life conditioning, then out of bounds Moon folks will display outside-the-box expression in that arena – most predominantly through their feelings. We often describe the astrological moon as an internal process. But feelings are, of course, powerful motivators in terms of our outward actions. Which is why we find a who’s who list of influential and well known people with out of bounds Moons. Their strong and “unusual” feelings compel them to take actions that others find unusual, strange, ahead of their time, and for that reason, leave a mark.
Venus has a feeling component too. But with Venus we enter more into the territory of “likes” and desires. Venus relates to our cravings. It’s our sorting function. I like the example Steven often uses of how Venus helps us pick out our next date at a party: “Not you, not you, not you… hmmm….nope, not you…YOU, yes you!” We all have our personal preferences. And looking at those takes us right into the heart of our Venus placement. Some folks with an out of bounds Venus will have tastes that seem unusual to “normal” people. I’m using “normal” here as an entirely contextual word – complex and based on culture, upbringing, current social context, etc. The point is that an out of bound Venus person may be compelled to take action in the world based on their “unusual” likes and dislikes (relative to others), and for that reason, they’ll stand out in a way that we can clearly see and measure.
But not all out of bounds planets express as unusual, odd or groundbreaking. Some manifest as “unbounded” or “unchecked” in terms of their reach, and seem to have more freedom for personal expression. Perhaps this has to do with them operating “outside the Sun’s governing authority.” So while someone with an out of bounds Venus may appear to have a perfectly “normal” likes and dislikes – say, a love of chocolate for example – on closer look, we find that their desire for chocolate is extreme relative to the average person. Maybe they have an entire room of their house dedicated to collecting every flavor of chocolate they can find, and eat it with every meal! I’m being silly of course, but the idea is that with Venus out of bounds, one’s desires are potentially expressed without limits, and the person is less likely to be curbed by “normal” checks and balances (Saturn oppositions aside!).
I had so much fun watching the patterns emerge as I studied these charts. I have found such a wealth of information that I’ve decided to study it further and write a longer piece on the subject. But I wanted to give you all a small sample of it here, and hopefully you’ll share my excitement.
Of the categories that are emerging (and there are several), these are a few that have stood out so far. I won’t set these category names in stone, and the lists of names below aren’t comprehensive as I’m still researching, but this will give you a taste of what’s to come.
Let that term breathe a little. In our email exchanges about it, Steven jokingly pointed out that saying someone has had multiple marriages these days is a little like saying someone "breathes air and expels CO2." Divorce may be increasingly common in the modern world, but I think it’s safe to say that there are average numbers, and there are numbers that draw our attention. This is not in any way a judgment about the high numbers! An out of bounds Venus has a reason for being, and such a person may have a karmic need to experience the relationship-sorting process in a more visceral and unbounded way in this lifetime.
It’s my guess that if we look at a sample of (legally) married folks with Venus out of bounds over the last 400 years, we’ll find that many more fall into the multiple marriages category in the last 100 years. Because there is less stigma today in Western culture around divorce, that gives someone with an “unchecked” Venus free reign to follow his or her fickle whimsies without the repercussions or obstacles to divorce one may have faced in the past.
Let’s start by looking at those who have been legally married more than 4 times. This is a somewhat arbitrary number based on the number that starts to get my attention! Your number might be different. We have: Joan Fontaine (Venus in Sagittarius), Tony Curtis (Venus in Gemini), Sheena Easton (Venus in Gemini), Glenn Ford ( Venus in Gemini), Judy Garland (Venus in Cancer), Hedy Lamarr (Venus in Sagittarius), and Bela Lugosi (Venus in Sagittarius), Gregg Allman (Venus in Capricorn), Josephine Baker (Venus in Cancer), and Johnny Carson (Venus in Sagittarius).
I have to share my favorite anecdote from this category. In her 6th (and final) try at marriage, Hedy Lamarr married her divorce lawyer! Unfortunately that one didn’t fare any better than the previous ones…but hey, it was worth a shot. All humor aside, it’s these kinds of extreme or unusually pronounced stories that are prominent among folks with out of bounds planets.
Now I’d also put “serial monogamists” with 4 or more primary longer-term relationships in this category, but it’s harder to track those without getting into the realm of second-hand accounts, especially when folks aren’t public about their affairs. So for now, I’m putting them in a separate broader category called “Choosing Not to Marry,” which includes (homo- and heterosexual) serial monogamists and serial non-monogamists, as well as folks who decide that the institution of legal marriage just isn’t for them for one reason or another. In that category we find Al Pacino, Nico, Björk, Naomi Campbell, Andre Gide, Liberace, Harvey Milk, Daryl Hannah, Erik Satie, Rita Mae Brown, Rajneesh, and many more.
In this category we find folks who choose celibacy, or choose to not have romantic relationships – and not necessarily for religious reasons. Some of these folks let go of the idea of romantic partnership after having had one difficult ending, so I’m including them here along with those who choose celibacy intentionally from the start. Some of us decide that there are many more fruitful ways to spend our time than in the tumultuous throws of relationship, so let’s affirm and celebrate that choice to abstain, because culturally, we don’t! Here we have Florence Nightingale, Krishnamurti (disputed), Padre Pio, Louisa May Alcott, Coretta Scott King, Erik Satie.
While we still may not have a telltale way to see homosexuality in the birth chart, we can certainly say that with Venus Out of Bounds, you have a better chance at becoming a gay icon! Check out this impressive lineup: Judy Garland, Harvey Milk, Rock Hudson, Rita Mae Brown, Jean Genet, Robert Mapplethorpe, Noel Coward, and Liberace.
Seriously Younger Lovers
In this category we see folks who are attracted to partners who are either under the age of 18, or 30+ years younger than themselves: Liberace (partner 40 years younger), Dennis Kucinich (wife 31 years younger), Andre Gide (15-year-old lover), Bela Lugosi (First wife was 16, him 34, 4th wife was 19, him 51), Dean Martin (53, spouse 23).
Boundary-Pushing Artistic Expressions
I’ll leave you with a fun category that’s still bearing fruit the more I research. With Venus out of bounds, we’d expect to see artists and musicians who push the boundaries of what is acceptable in ways that might be described as either “ahead of their time,” “genius,” “controversial,” or all of the above. We might also see female artists who push the boundaries of socially accepted territory for women. Here we find: Björk, Renee Magritte, Erik Satie, Robert Mapplethorpe, Nico, Ezra Pound (poetry, modernist), Siouxsie Sioux, Dory Previn (uncomfortable song lyrics, incest etc., feminist issues), Josephine Baker, Nico (Femme Fatale), Bonnie Raitt, Helen Reddy (I Am Woman!), and Maria Callas.
As a teaser, here are a few more categories that are emerging from the research: Male Casanovas/Sex Symbols, Notorious Love Affairs, Unusual/Exotic Beauty, Zany Art, Quirky Looks, Pioneering Women, Sexually Open Relationships.
What if My Venus is Out of Bounds?
As I meditate further on the Venus out of bounds experience, I’ll share more thoughts about how to best work with this energy in your own chart. But without doubt, start by accepting and respecting your out of bounds placement. If you notice unusual or extreme behavior in the Venusian domain of your life, take stock of what you’ve learned so far. Notice your attachments to certain likes or dislikes and look a little deeper to see what’s informing them. If there is imbalance, take a look at that, and notice if it’s causing you harm, or effecting you in a negative way, and start making adjustments if necessary.
If you’ve been judged by others for your behaviors, take a serious look at the criticisms, but then evaluate their “truth” by running them through your own filters. It’s important for an out of bounds person to take stock of what people are saying rather than flat-out ignore everyone, but then to choose their actions consciously, even if they go against the grain. No one else can walk in your shoes and it’s up to you to make the final decision about what’s best for you. You’re marching to the beat of a different drummer for a reason. Conformity is probably not the end game.
Some of us are meant to upset the apple cart or be trailblazers. It’s how the rest of us grow and evolve. It’s not always comfortable if you’re the one playing that role, but in your darker hours, remind yourself that the world needs it. You might be the only person at the Academy Awards wearing a swan dress, but if that’s your thing, wear it proudly like Björk did, and let the other people laugh if they want. Your creativity is a gift to the world.
You can be sure I’ll keep up with this research so stay tuned for more to come – on Mercury, Venus and Mars out of bounds…
P.S. You can read a little bit more about Björk in my recent blog post.
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Learn even more about Venus out of bounds in the birth chart in this informative and engaging webinar. Venus out of bounds stories can be dramatic, so these chart examples will keep you engaged for sure! Tony covers several charts and many variations of the Venus out of bounds dynamic and experience to look at what this unusual placement has to teach us.
The Moon Out of Bounds Workshop
In this insightful program you’ll learn how to begin working with the moon’s declination as Steven explores the “Out of Bounds Moon”. Steven explains the meaning of the out of bounds moon and provides several expressions of this chart signature with examples to illustrate the pattern. Even if your moon is not natally out of bounds, it may progress out of bounds. In the second half of this program, Steven covers the rare topic of the progressed moon out of bounds period.
2013. mp3 format. 1 hr 50 min. Includes handouts.
Tony Howard graduated Summa Cum Laude in history and film from the University of Colorado. His degree turned out to be the perfect precursor to his career in astrology, where his focus includes historical research and chart analysis. His writing has been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and in two Flare anthologies: Astrology, the Next Generation and The Book of Music Horoscopes.
Tony has been researching declination since 2011 and specializes in “out of bounds” planets. He also loves working with and studying aspects, which forms the core of his work with clients. He is the founder of Astrology University.