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Reception: A Mitigating Condition in Birth Charts

Reception: A Mitigating Condition in Birth Charts

Episode 287 features a lecture by Chris Brennan on the concept of reception in traditional astrology, and how it can be used as a powerful mitigating factor in birth chart interpretation.

Broadly speaking, reception occurs when one planet is placed in a sign ruled by another planet, and the ruler of the sign aspects the guest planet.

Since the signs of the zodiac were originally conceptualized as the homes or dwelling places of the planets, reception was conceptualized as what happens when a host planet welcomes and supports guests staying in its home.

Medieval astrologers often treated reception as a powerful mitigating factor, which could make aspects from benefics even more positive, or alternatively make difficult aspects from malefics more constructive.

In the first part of the lecture I talk about the history and philosophy behind this concept, while in the second half I present a bunch of contemporary chart examples to demonstrate how the technique works in practice.

This episode is available in both video and audio versions below.

Watch The Video Version of this Episode on Reception

Here is this video version of this episode on the concept of reception in astrology:


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 287 transcript

Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode

You can either play the audio version of this episode of the podcast directly from the website or download it as an MP3 to your device by using the buttons below:

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  • Thank you as always for sharing your expertise Chris! I have one question: Are conjunctions between a malefic and a planet in it’s home sign considered reception or is it more maltreatment? For instance, Mars in Cancer conjunct the moon in the 10th house in a day chart?

  • Hi Chris!

    Loved this episode. I have only just recently begun to explore Hellenistic Astrology so having to relearn a few things (and bought your book). I saw your reply to Tim and followed that thread to episode #25 with Ryhan Butler (and his article on Planetary Reception). Here’s a question: In a night chart, the Moon makes a square (by sign) to Mars. Mars is in Scorpio and under the beams of the Sun within a couple of degrees. In Ryhan’s article, he speaks of a planet combust in it’s own domicile as “being in it’s chariot”. I also found a small section in your book on this. I’m thinking that maybe one wouldn’t want a malefic protected? Or would it be more behaved? Lol! Would Mars be more or less malefic in this circumstance? Any reference material you could recommend or a section of your book I did not see?

  • Thanks Chris; for all your time and for your countless of exceptional and meticulous hours of information about astrology that you share so gratefully with all of us; it is greatly appreciated.

    I have learn a lot from you and I am now moving up a little to the intermediate level and i think am ready to invest on a software; but not sure which one to get, am into the whole house system , I think I heard you recommending one at the end of one of your podcast but I can’t seem to find it now; please let me know of one if you can,one that you think it would work for me as amateur astrologer; I’d like to to continue my studies of this amazing and evolving/spiritual path that i have chosen to follow on a daily basis.
    Thanks again Chris, keep up the good work, like you ; i am also have that passionate Scorpio blood in me. 🙂


    • Thank you Juan! The software I use is called Solar Fire, from Alabe.com. They gave me the promo code AP15 which you can use to get a discount on it. It only works for Windows, although if you use a Mac there is a similar program called AstroGold for iOS that has some of the same functionality and look as Solar Fire. They were originally made by the same programmers, but then split into separate companies.

      • Hi Chris, not sure if the discount works for the UK? Maybe not? I just tried it and doesn’t do anything. Love the show 🙂

        • It only works in the US because there are different companies that have the right to sell the program in different areas, and I only have a deal worked out with the US company.

  • Dear Chris,

    I have been enjoying your podcast so much! Thank you for the exceptional content and thorough investigations. I am responding to the two discussions in your podcast on reception and mitigating factors. Have you come to a consensus since your discussion with Ryan Butler about the correct interpretation of a malefic when received by its dispositor? That has been a source of my own lack of clarity when looking at charts. I feel my own natal chart would serve as an interesting case study to investigate the question:
    -Cancer rising, Moon in Taurus in the 11th applies within 4 degrees to Saturn, Saturn rules the 8th by whole sign, in a night chart.

    I have come to recognize Saturn periods as the most difficult in my life, by far. When Saturn rules a year or period, or has a major transit, I have faced shattering setbacks and challenges/ losses. However, in the course of time I seem to overcome, and sometimes benefit from these crises. An example is from my first Saturn return, when my lifelong boyfriend kicked me out of the house and officially broke up with me. I had a dramatic escalation in my drinking /drug addiction problems and my life fell completely apart.
    The climax resulted in my entering a rehab program, finally finishing my bachelors degree, and launching a serious lifelong commitment to a meditation practice which has become the most positive thread of my life, and my boyfriend recommitting to me (we have been married 19 years since). I have been sober since then, have two daughters, and a very stable committed meditation practice. That is one of many examples of how Saturn has brought intense challenge/ loss in my life and yet I have been able to overcome. Would you attribute that to a mitigation from the Moon’s dispositorship in Taurus?
    On two occasions Saturn brought me to the brink of death. and yet here I am. Also, Saturn rules my 7th, my husband, who adores me and supports me (Saturn in the exaltation of the Moon?) It seems to me that Saturn exalting the Moon softens his harsh tendencies to destroy my life, and somehow can act very constructively. I am coming up on the last Saturn square to my natal Saturn right now, and wonder about this since the themes developing for me right now are seemingly very constructive……Should I be concerned?

    Thanks again for all of the amazing content in your program! I am happy to have become a Patreon!!!

    • I still basically have the same position that I had back when I had that debate years ago, which is that I don’t agree with that reading of the traditional texts, and I think that reception acts as a mitigating factor for malefic aspects to some extent regardless of whether the malefic is hosting or being hosted. I’m open to seeing perhaps some variation in the interpretation between the two positions, but I think it still has some value as a mitigation either way. This lecture represented me presenting my approach to and understanding of reception, since I think it is a useful mitigating factor that people should integrate into their practice. I know that there are many different ways to practice astrology though, and even my use of reception in only cases where it is present by domicile is restrictive compared to many medieval authors who also use it by exaltation, terms, etc. People are free to explore further what works best for them in practice though, and hopefully this lecture will act as a useful introduction or starting point.