The issue of reception in horary can be quite confusing. For example, Nina Gryphon stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy when she published a blog about Bonatti’s idea that a planet being received by malefic planet abates the infortune’s malice. This led to an extensive debate on Nina’s Facebook page about reception. The current availability of English translations of more and more ancient texts seems to add fuel to the fire. With this debate in mind, I’ve been looking at horary charts with a much keener eye to the role that reception plays in the outcome.
Recently I came across a puzzling chart published by an astrologer named Dirius in Buenos Aires. Dirius explained that “around a month ago I ran into this girl I used to work with; I always had a crush on her but she used to have a boyfriend; she is now single so I asked out to dinner.” Being an astrologer, he then asked the horary question, “Will she go out with me?” The question was asked on 17 November 2014 at 6:56 PM in Buenos Aires. The date took place on 2 December 2014, some 15 days after the question. Dirius added, “Please feel free to use and learn from this chart,” so here it is:
Dirius is the querent, signified by the Taurus Ascendant which is ruled by Venus in Sagittarius in the 7th Regiomontanus house. His co-ruler is the Moon in Libra (in aversion to the Ascendant), also ruled by Venus. The Moon in the 5th indicates his emotional focus on romance.
The quesited is signified by the 7th house with Scorpio on the cusp, which makes Mars her primary ruler. Mars is exalted in Capricorn in the 9th and occupies the Dorothean term of Venus. This is a day chart, so Mars is also in the triplicity of Venus. In other words, Venus receives Mars in her term and triplicity.
There is no aspect between Venus and Mars, so the primary significators don’t show a date happening.
Mars (exalted at 16 Capricorn 52) does, however, apply to trine the Ascendant at 17 Taurus 38 (Taurus being the detriment or exile of Mars). Even though Mars applies to trine the Ascendant from the “good” 9th house, the Ascendant is in a sign detrimental to Mars. The fact that Ascendant-ruler Venus receives Mars in her term and triplicity makes Mars feel like a welcome guest, so the date may well go forward but it will be up to Venus (the host of Mars) to make the date happen. Receptions are guest/host relationships.
Next we must look at the Moon, the querent’s cosignificator. The Moon will square Mars in 15 degrees (the date took place 15 days after the question). The Moon in Libra lies in the detriment of Mars (which rules the opposite sign Aries), and Mars in Capricorn occupies the detriment of the Moon (which rules the opposite sign Cancer). This is kind of a negative mutual reception by detriments, and the planets are applying to a stressful square. I would interpret this square between significators in each other’s detriment as a negative testimony. In other words, either the date will not happen or it will go forward with much difficulty.
If I understand him correctly, astrologer John Frawley would interpret Mars lying in the detriment of the Moon as meaning that Mars (the quesited) feels hatred toward what the Moon signifies (the querent). Similarly, the Moon (the querent) in Libra, the detriment of Mars, would indicate the Moon’s hatred toward what Mars signifies (the quesited). Since neither the querent nor the quesited hate each other, and if fact went out on a date, this approach does not make sense in interpreting this chart.
They managed to arrange a date to go out to dinner. Darius was late at work and had to pick her up late. When they got to the restaurant, it was full and they did not have a reservation, so they had to wait for a table to open. Then the date went fine. I don’t know if they continued to see each other after the date or if the relationship just fizzled out afterward.
What puzzles me about this chart are the conflicting testimonies, the square between significators in each other’s detriments, and the role that the receptions played in the outcome.
Addendum (14 April 17): Recently I was reading Ben Dyke’s translation of Sahl ibn Bishr (c. 786–~845) who comments that the 5th house is a place of love and seeking the friendship of women. In the Whole Sign house system, Mercury would rule this querent’s 5th house of dating; and in the chart Mercury is received by Mars (the querent) in his domicile Scorpio. In addition, the Descendent (quesited) is received by Mercury (the date) in his term. Mercury applies to sextile Mars in three degrees and goes on to conjoin the Descendant in less than four degrees, indicating that the date will take place within a few weeks time.