Reception occurs when a planet is located in a sign ruled by another planet and is connected to its ruler by a major aspect.

Typically this means being in the domicile, exaltation, triplicity, bounds, or face of another planet, and then being connected to its ruler by one of the five recognized major aspects (conjunction, sextile, square, trine, or opposition).

Reception between planets is often analogized to a guest and host relationship, where one planet receives the other into its domicile or home, and thus is duty-bound to provide support and aid to the visiting planet.

Where two planets are located in each other’s domiciles, it is referred to as mutual reception, and is considered even more beneficial. Mutual reception, a term used by medieval and modern astrologers, is akin to the Hellenistic concept of exchange (enallasō).

There are differences among astrological traditions regarding what qualifies as reception, and the potency of different types of reception. For instance, according to the Medieval astrologer Masha’allah, reception occurred only where a planet was present in the domicile or exaltation of another, a distinction adopted by many modern astrologers. Even those who recognize reception by triplicity, bound, or face, will view those types of reception as weaker or lesser, and sometimes will require a doubling up of two lesser dignities for it to count as reception.

Additionally, many astrologers only recognize reception where it is accompanied by an un-interrupted degree-based aspect, while others, such as medieval astrologer Abu Ma’shar, believed a sign-based aspect to be sufficient. Similarly, William Lilly stated that a mutual reception occurred where planets exchanged signs, even in the absence of a connecting aspect.

While reception is often considered advantageous to the planet being received, the condition of the host planet must be considered as well. An afflicted planet that is itself in poor condition, such as a planet in the sign of its depression or fall, may not have much to offer its “guest.” The nature of the aspect, i.e. whether it is considered a hard or soft aspect, will also influence the impact of the reception on the planet being received.

Further Listening

The Astrology Podcast, Episode 25, Reception as a Mitigating Factor in Astrology, with Chris Brennan and Ryhan Butler, February 16, 2015.