Diving a little deeper from the post last week on aspects, reception is a critical tool in analyzing and understanding the outcomes of aspects. Reception is the reason why some squares succeed and some squares fail to manifest their outcomes.
A brief definition of reception is when a planet aspects any of its lords. An example would be Mars in Aquarius in any aspect to Saturn; Saturn would be said to receive Mars and would have certain functions to fulfill within this aspectual relationship. This isn’t just constrained to domicile lords (though they are the most powerful and obvious) as any planet who has dignity the degree of another can receive (barring some exceptions).
The purpose of reception is to show willingness to work together, cooperation, or permission. The exact meaning is going to depend on the context of the chart, but it’s typically going to be one of those three things. If the Moon were in Aries and aspecting Mars, then Mars would receive her and would be more willing to cooperate with the Moon. Not only that, but his nature as a malefic planet would be constrained towards the Moon and he wouldn’t be damaging towards her and what she signifies. This is even the case through harsh aspects like Squares or Oppositions. This alone should show why this technique is invaluable; it can completely change the dynamic of an aspect.
The practical application of reception in horary is most clearly seen in Bonatti’s section on perfection. Essentially different aspects will naturally have more success in bringing about events, but reception makes it more likely. Reading the section constructs a mental picture of a table that looks something like this:
- Conjunctions and Trines with reception show perfection easily without anyone really having to do anything to make it happen
- Trines without reception and Sextiles with reception show things that come quickly.
- Sextiles without reception and Squares with reception show that some work will be involved to bring it to pass.
- Squares without reception and Oppositions with reception show things that only come about with difficulty.
- Oppositions without reception shows things that may never happen or require great amounts of effort to bring about.
The table shows how more difficult aspects can be made easier to work with if there is reception involved, but by itself, the table isn’t very helpful in determining if a particular reception is going to be useful to our querent. Not every reception is going to be equally advantageous to work with, and we tell the advantageous from the disadvantageous by seeing which planet is receiving who and what they signify within the context of our question.
A general rule of thumb for this is that we want other planets in the chart to receive our querent. This shows forces outside of the querent that are open to assisting them. In a perfect chart we would see the querent being received by the queisted, as this would show the thing that the querent is seeking is open to working with it or allowing them to have what they want. Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen, but is always useful when it does. This situation reversed (querent receiving other planets) isn’t usually very helpful. It can be in certain questions, but generally we know what the querent wants, that’s why they ask a horary.
Reception can be quite game changing when it comes to figuring out what aspects are going to be more positive and what planets are going to be more helpful, but a lot of the decision making still rests of the strength of planets involved. Being received by a weak or debilitated planet isn’t going to be as helpful as it would be if the planet were more strongly fortified. This can lead to situations where someone is cooperative but ultimately unable to assist, or to where things look like they’re going well only to end up falling through midway.
Mutual reception is a subset of reception wherein two planets in aspect are in each other’s dignities (such as Mars in Leo and the Sun in Aries). This is wonderfully powerful and shows the cooperation of both parties to arrive at a goal. Like reception in general, mutual reception can occur at any level of dignity (by term and face for example) and the two planets do not have to be in equal dignities (planet A can be in planet B’s exaltation while planet B is in planet A’s triplicity). Mutual reception by domicile is the most desirable and powerful, but other forms can still be useful.
Finally on the subject of reception there is the concept known as generosity where a planet is in the dignities of another but does not aspect its lord (let’s say Jupiter is in Cancer and the Moon is in Leo. No aspect is occurring between them). This is a much weaker form of cooperation as it removes the engagement an aspect brings and as a result, the planets aren’t able to work directly together, but it can still be useful in showing intent or a supporter from the sidelines. Many people dismiss generosity and do not consider aspects necessary for reception, but this is a classically inaccurate view of the technique. To be fair, there is hardly a functional difference between reception and generosity. The difference lies in the twos’ ability to get things done with reception being the more powerful of the pair, but consistent terminology is important.
Next week we’ll be covering reception’s evil twin; non-reception or rejection.