The following passage is from the new translation of Masha'allah's book, On Reception, shortly to be published by ARHAT. This passage demonstrates an early, yet very mature, style of doing horary astrology. The text itself dates from the late 8th Century C.E. and represents Arabic era astrology in a state of transition from a predominantly Hellenistic style to the Persian style characteristic of later Arabic and Latin astrology. It is also one of the oldest texts in which we have worked out chart examples.
The reader is urged to note a couple of things about this case study: First, the Moon is used as the primary significator of the querent because of the condition of the lord of the Ascendant. Second, both the lord of the first house and the Moon are void in course. Yet this does not invalidate the chart as many moderns seem to think it would.
Also, the text relies rather heavily on the idea of reception. Since not everyone who may read this may be familiar with the concept of reception, we present Masha'allah's definition of reception from an earlier chapter in On Reception.
[It is] "such that some one of the seven planets is in the exaltation or domicile of a second planet, and that first planet is being joined to the second according to one of the seven recognized aspects; [note] or they are both in one sign, and one of them is in the exaltation [or domicile] of its comrade and joined to it."
Note: The bodily conjunction is not treated as an aspect. This gives the dexter and sinister sextiles, the dexter and sinister square, the dexter and sinister trines, and the opposition for a total of seven.
Putting this another way, reception occurs when a two planets apply to an aspect or conjunction and one of them is in a sign which the other planet rules according to sign or exaltation.
Masha'allah, On ReceptionChapter IV, A Question Concerning a Sick Person
translated by Robert Hand
Leo was the Ascendant in 28 degrees, and the Midheaven was Taurus 20 degrees. Saturn was in Aries in four degrees 15 minutes, the Moon in Aries 28 degrees 37 minutes, Jupiter in Taurus 9 degrees 13 minutes, Mars in Taurus 15 degrees 18 minutes, Sun in Aquarius 24 degrees 35 minutes, Mercury in Aquarius 2 degrees 7 minutes direct, and Venus in Capricorn 11 degrees, 39 minutes.
I examined this interrogation according to the command of God. Its Ascendant was Leo and the Sun was in the seventh sign, to wit, in the house of marriages, void in course, joined to no one. I also examined the Moon which I found void in course. Therefore, I examined which of these was stronger according to position. They were both aspecting the Ascendant but the Sun was stronger than the other [being] in an angle. Also, I examined which of these had more degrees in the sign in which it was [located], and which would the more quickly go out from its sign. It was the Moon, and I worked by means of her first. But if both were being joined [to some planet], or the Sun [alone] were being joined to some planet, I would begin from the Sun which was in an angle; but he was void in course. Therefore, I looked at the Moon which I found having more degrees than the Sun, and she was going to go out more swiftly from the sign in which she was [located]. Therefore, I began judging first by means of the Moon, thereafter by means of the Sun.
After this I looked at which of the seven planets the Moon was being joined to in the first moment of her going out from the sign in which she was [located] into the following sign. Indeed in the following sign the Moon was joined to Mercury, and committed her disposition to that same Mercury; Mercury was afterwards joined to Saturn, and Mercury committed his disposition to Saturn, and was received by Saturn according to place [house] because Saturn was the lord of Mercury's place. Therefore, Saturn signified his health, according to the command of God, because Saturn received Mercury in his domicile.
After this I looked at which planet the Sun would be first joined to when he advanced on to the following sign. The Sun was being joined to Jupiter which is the lord of the house of death. But Jupiter received the Sun according to his domicile [Pisces]. Therefore, the Sun also signified health and prosperity, according to the Command of God, because of Jupiter's receiving which received the Sun. If Jupiter had not received the Sun, this would have been a testimony of death because Jupiter was the lord of death. When the lord of the house of life is joined to the lord of the house of death and commits its disposition to it, it will signify death, according to the command of God (unless it should be different because God did not wish [the death]). Whether the lord of the house of death is a fortune or an infortune, it signifies death because it is contrary to the lord of life unless a reception which repels death intercedes between them. Namely, [this is so] when the lord of the house of death receives the lord of the house of life, or receives the bearer of its disposition from the lord of the house of life because then the reception will be strong. And should the lord of the house of life receive the lord of the house of death, this would be a weak reception. Nevertheless, the lord of the house of death will not completely destroy [the lord of the house of life], according to the command of God.
After this see if you find the lord of the house of life and the Moon both signifying health; then begin from that significator which comes more quickly to a planet signifying health to the sick person and [a planet] which is stronger in its own position. The other significator will share with that one.
But if you should find one of the significators signifying life and the other signifying death, the signification of the lord of life will be the more worthy and stronger but life will not suffer harm except by the harming of both. And the lord of life is dominant in this matter so that it is more [to be] considered than the Moon. But the significators should be sharers in everything, nor does either of the significators possess anything separately without its partner. Likewise, if one of the significators should gain an advantage and the other one should suffer harm, the one which has gained the advantage will necessarily enter into possession over that other planet and over the matter sought for according to the quantity of the harm to its partner. And understand that when you inspect in the [area of] death and infirmity, the lord of death is the worst adversary of the lord of life beyond all of the planets. [This is so] unless there is one lord in common, namely, both the lord of life and the lord of infirmity [are one in common] or both the lord of the house of life and the lord of the house of death [are one in common]; then that planet will not impede in and of itself even if it is a malefic, but other evil planets impede it. And understand that whichever planet of the seven you find [to be] the lord of life, that planet will not impede in and of itself even if it is a malefic, but the other evil planets will impede it. And understand that whatever kind of planet of the seven you may find [to be] the lord of life, it will not impede in and of itself on account of being a malefic. And contrariwise, whatever kind of planet of the seven you may find to be the lord of the house of death, that planet is the enemy of the lord of the house of life; even though [such a planet] is a fortune, nevertheless, it destroys life if it is the dispositor [of death], unless it either receives or is received by the other; [if so] then it withdraws this power, according to the command of God. And if the lord of the house of life and the lord of the house of death is Saturn or Mars, the one planet will not be reconciled with the other planet as the lord of life except by reception because death is the enemy of life unless the lord of [both of] these is one planet.
Then one sees to which planet [both] the lord of the house of death and the lord of the house of life commit their disposition, or which planets are joined to these committing to them their dispositions, and judge according to this. If the lord of the house of death and the lord of the house of life commit their dispositions to evil planets which do not receive them, they will signify the person's death, if God wishes. And if either of them commits its own disposition to an evil planet and that evil planet receives him, the person will be delivered, according to the command of God. And if the lord of the house of life or the lord of the house of death commits its disposition to some other planet, the ill person will be delivered from death, God willing, and a fortune will not impede the lord whether the fortune receives or not.
After this I looked for a lessening or an increase of the illness of this one who is ill. I say that I looked at the lord of the house of illness; it was Saturn which is not joined to any of the planets, for Saturn does not join with any of the planets, nor does he separate from any because he is more ponderous than all. Therefore, I looked at which of the seven planets might be joined to Saturn, or which might be separated from Saturn, which planet was the most suitable in an illness. And I found Venus separated from Saturn (which was the lord of the house of infirmity) by seven days [aspecting] from the house of infirmity, because Venus was in the house of infirmity. Therefore, Venus signified the lessening of the illness because she was separating from Saturn which was the lord of the house of illness by seven degrees, and she was being joined to Mars which received her, and in turn he was received by her. He received her from his exaltation, and she received him from her domicile. Therefore, both signified the lightening of the illness and the advent of health, according to the command of God. Examine in this manner in [all matters of] illness and death.