Posted by: Donna Cunningham | November 1, 2016

New Insights into Mutual Reception

©11-1-16 by Guest blogger, Alan Annand

 Donna says, “The following is an excerpt from Alan Annand’s welcome ebook, Mutual Reception, the only book I know of that deals with this chart feature in depth.  This excerpt is only a brief description of FIVE different types, but in the book is followed by full chapters that analyse the meaning and effect of each type in detail.  It is published here with permission of the author, but cannot be reproduced without permission from him.

Mutual reception, a powerful planetary combination in a chart, often goes unrecognized without due interpretation. And yet 43% of us have a mutual reception by sign among the visible planets. Aside from 57 combinations for mutual reception among seven planets, there are actually 66 ways for 12 house lords to “exchange” houses.

Generally speaking, reception occurs when one planet occupies a sign, or portion thereof, considered the domain or honored place of another planet. If Planet A occupies a zone where Planet B has influence, Planet A is said to be received by Planet B.

In traditional astrology, reception occurs in five different forms: via sign, exaltation, triplicity, term, and face. The first two are considered major forms of reception, the other three minor. Without requiring tables, we can outline the first three in descending order of significance.

Reception by sign

In reception by sign, Planet A occupies a sign ruled by Planet B, who thus receives Planet A by domicile. The word dispositor denotes the planet holding the power, ie, ruling the sign occupied by another planet.

If Mars occupies Leo, Mars is received by the Sun who rules Leo. Conversely, if the Sun occupies Aries or Scorpio, it’s received by Mars who owns those signs. Note: traditional sign rulership applies here – Mars rules Scorpio, Saturn rules Aquarius, Jupiter rules Pisces.

Reception by sign can be one-sided or reciprocal. When two planets occupy each other’s sign simultaneously, eg, the Sun in Aries and Mars in Leo, we call this mutual reception.

Reception by exaltation

In reception by exaltation, Planet A occupies the exaltation sign of Planet B, who thus receives Planet A in its place of honor. If the Moon occupies Pisces, it’s received by Venus who’s exalted in Pisces. Conversely, if Venus occupies Taurus, irrespective of being in its own sign, it’s also received by the Moon who is exalted in Taurus.

Reception by exaltation can be one-sided or reciprocal, since we can always find a scenario where two planets occupy each other’s sign of exaltation.

Reception by triplicity

In reception by triplicity, Planet A occupies an element ruled by Planet B, who thus receives Planet A by virtue of triplicity. However, the rulers of triplicities vary between day and night births.

The Sun rules fire signs in a day chart, while Jupiter rules them by night. Venus rules earth signs by day, the Moon by night. Saturn rules air signs in a day chart, Mercury by night. Water signs are ruled by Mars, day or night.

In a day chart, if the Sun occupies Gemini, it’s received by Saturn who rules air signs by day. If in that same chart Saturn occupies Sagittarius, it’s received by the Sun who rules fire signs by day.

In a night chart, if the Moon occupies Aries, it’s received by Jupiter ruling fire signs by night. If that Jupiter occupies Virgo, it’s received by the Moon ruling earth signs by night.

Reception by triplicity can be one-sided or reciprocal, although options for reciprocity are restricted to day-lords (Sun, Venus, Saturn and Mars) or night-lords (Jupiter, Moon, Mercury and Mars).

Mutual reception in theory

If Venus occupies Aquarius (a Saturn ruled-sign) while Saturn is in Pisces (the exaltation sign of Venus), one could say Venus and Saturn are simultaneously receptive to each other. But technically this is mixed reception because it entails two modes – sign and exaltation. Similarly, other mixed receptions may involve any among the five modes – sign, exaltation, triplicity, term and face.

Classical authors all agree, however, that reception by sign is the most powerful form of reception. And when the term mutual reception is used, it invariably means two planets occupying each other’s sign, eg, when Mercury occupies Aquarius and Saturn is in Gemini.

Within traditional astrology, reception is thought necessary to “enable” an aspect between planets. Without reception, the matter promised by the aspect between significators may not be “perfected.” William Lilly, however, has unambiguously stated that, even without an aspect, mutual reception by sign is powerful enough to produce results.

But what results? Many modern astrologers have no idea. Some say planets in mutual reception act as if conjoined. So if it’s Mercury and Saturn, they say the native is deeply studious, mathematical, a weighty thinker, a realist or a pessimist, an historian or antiquarian, a philosopher or scientific researcher.

Mutual reception in practice

In practical interpretation, however, planets in mutual reception do much more than merge generic attributes. Mutual reception ultimately connects the specific significations of the two houses owned and occupied. The planets are simply agents forging a contract between houses governing specific aspects of life, like ambassadors negotiating a treaty between two countries.

Generically, Saturn represents old people and death for us all, but in individual charts, Saturn may also be the significator for the Self, the spouse, a child, a vehicle, access to borrowed capital, hospitalization, distant travel, etc.

Consider a natal chart with Scorpio ascendant where mutual reception between Mercury in Aquarius and Saturn in Gemini occurs between the 4th and 8th houses. These two houses now become the focus for interpreting that mutual reception.

Thus we get the idea the mother will suffer accident, surgery and/or trauma. Vehicles or property will demand repair or renovation, or incur loss through damage or theft. Domesticity will be disrupted, or morals corrupted. And so on.

Remember, 43% of all charts contain a mutual reception by sign. No matter whether in a natal, horary or electional context, a few simple rules for the proper interpretation of mutual reception will immediately reveal aspects of the chart previously ignored.

 The author

Alan Annand, a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies, is also a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology. His New Age Noir mystery series features an astrologer one reviewer dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.” His book MUTUAL RECEPTION is available in digital and paperback from Amazon, or digitally from Apple, Barnes&Noble, etc. Contact him via his website:



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