Reception is an astrological term describing the “trends” of a planet to another. This depends on which planet’s Dignities the planet in question is located. Although it is one of the most wonderful and useful tools of astrology it is mostly forgotten today.
It is also usual when this concept is presented to become very difficult to grasp, while at its base is the most common thing we come across in our daily life. The likes we give at the famous Face book, is nothing more than a “reception” of what a person says, as we agree with his opinion/post/ or plainly, like him. To be able to receive we must have a motive; people don’t just go to work every day for example, they have a motive for doing so: they might like the money, or just the creative expression through work.
They like some things while they dislike some others. No one acts if he doesn’t have the motive to do so. Sometimes that motive is love, sometimes hate and when someone just doesn’t care about something he just won’t act. I hope now you get the picture. To receive a planet is to have a motive for doing something for, or to, it. Additionally it shows that specific planet’s interests, feelings, likes and dislikes or its strengths and weaknesses. It is very usual to jump straight to aspects without checking the receptions of the planets: “Look there’s a trine of my significator to his, how lovely, we’ll meet!”, only to realize that this meeting made her feel bad as the other person didn’t even give her a look.
Let’s suppose that you meet your best friend and he happens to fall down. You’ll probably run to help him and see if he is ok. Let’s suppose now that you bump into a person you really hate or for which you don’t care at all. If that person fell, you would look the other way and continue walking or have a good laugh! If you hated that person enough maybe - given the opportunity - you could even trip it to fall!
Considering the tripping and falling stuff, it becomes very clear that skipping Receptions will only bring you trouble!
Gone with the Wind: A confusing Mutual reception?
The nature of Mutual reception becomes perhaps clearer in relationship questions. Of course we have many kinds of relationships: professional, friendly, with colleagues, family etc. It is obvious that we really love some people, hate some others and don’t care about others. Examining receptions will not only reveal how others feel about us and what their influence is on us, but more importantly how we feel, think and behave towards them and why.
Let’s take as an example the lovely Miss Scarlet O’Hara from the famous (and much loved) book, “Gone with the wind”. She spends an entire book only to realize in the end that she loves the irresistible adventurer, the cynical but kind-hearted, Mr. Rhett Butler. Only when she does, it’s too late. I guess that if she had asked a horary astrologer she wouldn’t have to go through all these pages, agony and drama in order to clarify her feelings or motives and we wouldn’t have this masterpiece to read. Still, this makes a great example of how receptions can actually unfold even the most complicated situation of our feelings; even if that situation is plain, wonderfully written, fiction!
Miss Scarlet spends her days and chances in Exalting the intellectual romantic Mr. Ashley as a Head (Lord 1) (Exalting, so she has somehow idealized him). Her Heart (Moon) loves Mr. Rhett from the first time she sees him. As a woman (Venus), almost until the end, she exalts herself. We also find that Venus rules Lord 1- while Lord 1 is in Venus detriment. A tricky mutual reception: her feminine side rules her Head and the Head harms her in return. She demands all the attention, she is vain but more importantly, it is clear that, what she misinterprets as love for Ashley in her Head, is nothing more than satisfying her own ego and also that this “love” can only harm her. But she is stubborn and refuses the possibility to lose a fight.
Miss Melanie becomes her open enemy when she becomes Ashley’s wife -and she really wants to win this fight! Perhaps in this imaginary chart we would also find that her Head is in the Hearts fall – so exalting Mr. Ashley only harmed her emotionally and as we saw above, hurting her at her most sensitive part, her female pride, making her even more eager to get him, in order to reassure herself as a woman. And also that this Exaltation of Ashley, as falling in love usually is, makes her very blind!
We could also find her Head hurting the Second house, the house of our self esteem, moveable possessions and our Supporters. With her attitude, caused by her confused feelings she manages not only to lose every advisor and support, but also to put herself in a situation that constantly makes her feel bad about herself, because she pursues someone that is not willing – or able- to love her as she wants him to, creating a never ending circle of excitement and disappointment. And of course to be so determined to not ever be hungry again that she works like a Man, in order to gain more and more money. Still, her hunger is never satisfied.
When the Exaltation of Mr. Ashley comes to the inevitable end, disillusionment comes, bringing along with it, harsh realizations and disappointment: Her only true friend was the woman she thought to be her enemy. Ashley does not love her. She does not love Ashley. She is alone and still very hungry although she is rich. Venus leaves her exaltation, so her female ego stops ruling her Head and her motives change fundamentally. Now with a sober Head which probably – finally!- entered the sign of Mr. Rhett’s significator and also gained some dignity, she realizes that all she ever wanted was Rhett, not money or anything else, but she was too proud and blinded by the former situation so that she could not see it.
But she is not the only one that changed receptions leaving the former signs! Rhett also changed. He is no longer willing to fight for her Heart (Moon). He doesn’t care about her cute feminine ways and vanity (Venus). He had enough and he just wants to go away.
And so, we come to the most intense part of the book: Her feelings are now clear as glass and her mistakes too. And so she runs to Rhett to ask for forgiveness and a second chance, only to find that he is not willing to be with her anymore.“-Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” he says and he closes the door behind him, while dear Scarlett is falling apart.
Suddenly, her Head makes a positive Mutual Reception with the benefic Lord of her 4th house: her beloved Tara! She is in Tara’s sign and Tara in Scarlet’s. Furthermore Tara (Lord 4) is very strong essentially (so it is a benefic) while her Head finally has also some dignity to be able to accept the helping hand. And then a trine gives the fact! This is the most fortunate coincidence she could ever ask for!
All is not lost, as Scarlet whispers “Tomorrow is another day!” and gets to Tara just in time to see the Sun rising once again over the golden fields of her beautiful home.
Free mutual receptions!
This was of course just a plain, simplified examination of one person’s significators. We have seen that there are Receptions that are good for us, or bad, depending on the relationships of the planets at hand and of course on the context of the matter in question.
An example of a good motivated reception is Venus in Pisces and Jupiter in Taurus. They see clearly the nature of the other and they still love each other. In this example Jupiter is peregrine, so he unfortunately cannot handle the benefic light of Venus which is strong. So he loves Venus, but he feels powerless or unable to accept Venus’ “love”.
A more fortunate case would be to have for instance, Jupiter and Moon in Cancer: Two happy people that love each other. They have the motive and the power not only to act for the sake of the other but also to receive the other’s feelings.
We commonly say that, one cannot really love another, if he does not love himself first. There is truth in this for people and for planets too, in any case or kind of relationship. If a person is happy with itself it can accept the love of the others and – if lucky- with a Mutual reception to also give it back to these people. In order for it to be happy it has to be in the appropriate place. If not, it is so busy handling its sadness, weakness or mischief that there is no room or desire to give good stuff to others, even if the Mutual reception and an aspect gives the chance. This is described very vividly when we find one planet in the sign of the other and the second in the first planet’s detriment or fall. The one loves and the other harms him through his love.
This is not in any way complex; these are situations that we all have seen or experienced in our lives. But the most important part of the subject is that examining receptions is the most revealing and helpful way to unfold and understand our psyche not only when examining a horary chart but also when looking at our birth chart. This will help us confront our weaknesses and also to discover the way to correct them. Receptions are the answer to all those “Why’s” which come up in our interaction with other people and of course to all those “Why’s” that have to do with our actions and feelings.
So, next time you take a look at the aspects, look first for the dignities of the involved planets, then their reception, and then judge if that trine is actually a good thing or perhaps it provides an extremely easy way to harm yourself or a part of your life. Or maybe after a good studying you’ll discover that the square you have been always complaining about is the only thing that saves you from doing foolish things.
The latter show once again the importance of this stage when working on a chart. Skipping Receptions is missing the most important thing in life and astrology: Motivation. Expanding this idea of motivation, we actually miss the one thing that makes the world go round; love.