Interpreting Reception: The Symmetrical and Complementary Relationship of Planets

I was reading Jay Haley’s book Strategies of Psychotherapy and the terms Complimentary and Symmetrical Relationship are predominantly used. As I was reading it, the concept of Reception came to my mind. Reception according to Masha’allah from Benjamin Dykes’ book Works of Sahl and Masha’allah:

“Know that reception comes to be from the exaltations and the domiciles, in the causing of matters, whether they are or not: this is, that some planet of the seven is in the exaltation of another planet, or in its domicile, and it is joined to it from the seven known aspects; or, were both in one sign, and some one of them is in the exaltation [or domicile] of its associate, joined to it.”

Sahl and Masha’allah’s definiton to put it simply when a planet is in a house and it is applying to the Lord or Lady of the House then the planet ruling the house receives the planet in it. Reception is powerful if the planets involved are in each other’s Domicile or Exaltation and this is called Mutual Reception. Mutual Reception happens when planets are exchanging houses and is in applying aspect to each another (Example Mars in Capricorn applying a sextile to Saturn in Scorpio is mutual reception by domicile). There’s also reception by other dignities by Triplicity, Term, Face and Mixed receptions but is not as powerful as domicile and exaltation. One way for us to better understand and interpret Receptions is by likening it to a healthy and ideal Symmetrical and Complementary relationships.

Reception can be compared to Symmetrical Relationship if the planets aspect each other with a harmonious aspect (trine or sextile) and they receive each other. Symmetrical Relationship implies a relationship based on similarities eliciting respect and collaboration. Relationships like this results to ease of communication and less misunderstandings.  Planets also behave like this. The planets involved in a harmonious aspect with reception brings about the matters of the house ruled by each planet with ease to the point that no effort is necessary to make things happen because they help each other to bring about the matter signified by the houses involved. Both of the planets are happy and they have the same goals and beliefs that makes the friendly aspect more beneficial and productive.

Reception with difficult aspect like square or opposition but receives each other can be likened to Complementary Relationships. A relationship is complementary if the two people in a relationship have opposite personalities. Likewise, planets in difficult aspects but receives each other works out their difference to work for a common goal. Planets in difficult aspect but receive each other signifies that the matter asked involves a lot of hard work  and difficulties but the matter would still obtained.

However, Receptions does not always work for both planets. A single planet might receive the Planet in its own house but the planet in it does not receive its Lord or Lady. Depending on what’s being asked or assessed, this type of reception is pointing inequality that is one gains while the other loses of which can be problematic or dangerous especially when the Lord or Lady of the Ascendant receives the planet(s) ruling bad houses and the planet ruling the bad houses do not receive the Ascendant Lord or Lady.

Planetary aspects and reception can be likened to people in a relationship. People who gets into relationship may be friendly to each other but does not have something in common, there are relationships built on strong similarities that elicits mutual respect and collaboration regardless of what happen, the relationship is peaceful and enduring; relationships based on differences but with hard work and understanding can reconcile the differences to reach a certain goal and lastly relationships which are one sided- of which one benefits while the other is harmed.

Interpreting reception in terms of human relationship gives an idea how matter will play out if it’s successful or not. Indeed As above, So below-the interaction of the planet reflects on how people itself respond to one another.


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