What are annual profections? They’re a Hellenistic timelord system which can organize and prioritize certain transits and chart placements within a given year.
Why are they important? There are so many transits going on at a given time that it can be difficult to figure out which ones you should be paying more attention to. In Hellenistic astrology, it was believed that a planet couldn’t provide its significations unless it was activated as a timelord. This seems strange to us because transits never “stop” working, but in the context of annual profections, we can see what parts of our lives different transits are affecting. So, how does this work?
Before we continue, you need to understand that in order to get the most out of annual profections, you’ll need to consider the following:
- You need to use the tropical zodiac.
I guess sidereal astrologers could apply the same technique to the sidereal zodiac but that’s not what I’m doing here. Sorry guys.
- You need to use traditional rulerships.
Uranus, Neptune and Pluto can play a role in profections, but not as rulers. Sorry guys.
- You need to use whole sign houses.
You don’t have to abandon your preferred house system in other areas of astrology, but annual profections is sign-based and only makes sense within the context of whole sign houses. Whole sign houses are where the signs are the houses. The 1st house is whichever sign your Ascendant is in, the next sign is the 2nd, the next sign is the 3rd, etc. Learn more about whole sign houses here.
So if you’re trying to figure out how to apply annual profections to your chart, here are the following steps.
Step 1: Use your age to find what profection year you are in.
Every year of your life is associated with a different sign and house topic. From the time you are born to your 1st birthday, you are in a 1st house profection. From the time you turn 1 to the time you turn 2 is your 2nd house profection. From the time you turn 2 to the time you turn 3 is your 3rd house profection. This keeps going round and round, so you are in a 1st house profection when you are at ages 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, etc. You are always in a 2nd house profection when you are at ages 13, 25, 37, 49, 61. You are always in a 3rd house profection when you are at ages 14, 26, 38, 50, 62, etc. You can also use this fancy wheel to figure it out. You’re welcome.
Step 2: Once you’ve found your profected sign and house, determine which planet is the ruler.
The profected sign, house and ruler indicate the planet, part of the zodiac and areas of life that will be most important in that year. Think about the topics of the profected house. Think about what the profected planet signifies, and what house it occupies and which house(s) it rules in your chart.
Step 3: Pay attention to the transits, ingresses and stations to and from the annually profected planet.
So if Venus is your profected planet, the phases and aspects of transiting Venus will be more prominent in the year it’s profected, as will transits from other planets to your natal Venus in the year it’s profected.
Step 4: Consider if you have any natal planets in the profected sign and house.
For example, if you were born with Saturn in Gemini 12th, and you came to a 12th house Gemini annual profection, while Mercury would be the annually profected planet, so would Saturn.
Step 5: Pay attention to the transits through the annually profected sign.
If Taurus was your annually profected sign, you’d want to pay attention to what happens when planets ingress into Taurus, as these transits will likely correlate with some of the biggest headlines of that year, in relation to the topic of the house.
It can get much much more complicated once you start adding in planets in the profected sign at the time of the solar return, monthly and daily profections, profecting from other houses and more, so for now let’s just stick to profecting from the Ascendant, paying attention to the natal role of the profected planet, transits to and from that planet, and transits through the annually profected sign.
Example of General Activations of Natal Placements: Jim Henson’s Years of Mars
Annual profections can give you some general information about the parts of someone’s natal chart that are activated.
For example, here is Jim Henson’s chart, who was born with Mars in the 2nd, ruling his 5th and 10th. So we know that the topics of his career and reputation (Aries 10th), as well as children, creations and entertainment (Scorpio 5th) are connected with bold, destructive or transgressive materials or material possessions (Mars in 2nd). We could expect different facets of this combination to come out under Aries, Leo and Scorpio profections. Let’s look at his Aries 10th house profections.
When he turned 21 years old on September 24th 1957, he started an Aries 10th house profection, highlighting the topic of career and reputation. In November 1957, he received attention and renown for popular advertisements he made for a coffee company, which featured his puppets engaging in surprisingly violent slapstick humor with explosions. We can see here how Mars informs what his reputation is associated with, especially in regards to the 2nd house of material stuff: violent puppets which he cut up and stitched together himself in his workshop.
12 years later he turned 33 years old on September 24th 1969, he was again in an Aries 10th house profection, again highlighting the topic of career and reputation. On November 10th 1969, he received wide acclaim and renown due to the debut of a new educational children’s program which included his puppets. A little show called “Sesame Street”. So again, we can see how this ties together the topics of his career and reputation, the topic of Mars in the 2nd and the creation of puppets, but also more specifically the topic of children since Mars also rules the 5th house of children and entertainment. On the day of the premiere, he was experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime transit of Neptune in Scorpio in his 5th (children’s television?) squaring his Mars in Leo in his 2nd (his puppetry craft).
12 years later he turned 45 years old on September 24th 1981, he was again in an Aries 10th house profection, again highlighting the topic of career and reputation. On March 19th 1982, he held the first screening of his classic fantasy “Dark Crystal”, the first movie to not feature any human actors on screen, entirely made up of puppets and animatronics. Though Henson is usually known for family and child-friendly entertainment, audiences were shocked by the dark and frightening imagery. The Mars retrograde in Libra of 1982 coincided with his attempts to go back and redub the voice track before the film premiered. Despite lukewarm reception at the box office, Henson called it the work he was most proud of accomplishing, and its reputation soared over the next few decades becoming a cult hit.
Jim Henson’s career and reputation was connected with the notions of entertainment, children, and his puppet creations he crafted in his workshop, from the terrifying creatures of Dark Crystal to the gentle inhabitants of Sesame Street to the zany antics of the Muppets. In particular with the Muppets, the role of Mars can be clearly seen in Jim Henson’s own words about the stories and sketches he wrote for them:
“It all ends in one of two ways: Either someone gets eaten or something blows up.”
Even though Jim Henson has passed away, his children have taken the reins of his properties, and the Jim Henson Creature Workshop still creates incredible puppets for movies and commercials, and the Muppets are still entertaining children and families through Disney. This reminds us of how Mars operates in his chart, placed in the 2nd, ruling the 5th and 10th.
Example of Specific Activations of Transits: Walt Disney’s Mercurial Year of Mickey
Annual Profections can also give you more specific information about transits.
Walt Disney was born with Virgo Rising, which makes Mercury the ruler of his Ascendant. At some essential level, he’s a Mercury figure, a storyteller, a communicator. His Mercury is in Scorpio, the 3rd whole sign house, showing the associated topics to be a major area of focus in his life. The 3rd house is associated with siblings, which is interesting because his brother Roy Disney was his business partner, co-founder and financial handler of his entertainment empire. We also know Walt Disney was obsessed with trains and cars, and the notions of mobility and short trips are another signification associated with the 3rd house. In addition to ruling the 1st, Mercury also rules his 10th house, the house associated with his career and reputation. Keep an eye out for themes related to these topics in the following example!
Walt Disney turned 26 years old on December 5th 1927, entering a 3rd house annual profection in Scorpio, containing Mercury, the ruler of his 1st and 10th, and ruled by Mars in Capricorn in the 5th. This would emphasize transits in Scorpio, transits by Mars as the ruler of Scorpio, and transits by Mercury since it is in Scorpio natally. So what happened?
At the start of 1928, the shaky startup Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio was on the brink of collapse. Walt’s one character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit had been bought away from him, and no theaters were interested in showing his new short featuring his new character Mickey Mouse. They hadn’t yet found a distributor, but they continued working on the shorts without the money to back it up. Walt’s big innovation for his newest picture “Steamboat Willie” was to add music on top of the animation. The first orchestra he hired screwed up the recording but he still had to pay for their services. In order to finance a second recording, he had to sell his beloved car, a Moon roadster. (3rd house anyone?) Walt and Roy finally managed to find a theater that was willing to take a chance on Mickey Mouse, and finally on November 18th 1928, “Steamboat Willie” first played to ecstatic audiences who had never seen a cartoon with sound. It became phenomenally popular, and Walt Disney’s star began to rise.
So as we can see here, Mickey Mouse’s debut comes as several profected elements are in play.
- The transiting profected ruler Mars is in opposition (and retrograde!) to the natal profected ruler Mars. This was a tense make or break moment for the brothers and their business, having taken huge risks to get to this point, with everything on the line.
- The other transiting profected planet is Mercury, which is forming a sextile with the profected Mars opposition Mars, while Mercury itself is in the annually profected sign of Scorpio.
- The transiting Sun is making a conjunction to his profected planet Mercury, in the sign of the annual profection, highlighting Walt Disney’s skills as an animator and storyteller, and the public introduction of the mascot most associated with him – Mickey Mouse.
We can see from annual profections how annual transits we might overlook can actually be quite important, and in what context these transits are happening.
The importance of profecting to the Ascendant ruler should not be underestimated. For Walt Disney, this is when Mickey Mouse was introduced, the flagship Disney mascot. This is the Mercurial year he bought the trademarks, and distinguished himself and gained great acclaim and popularity for his ingenious animations and clever innovations with sound. The short film itself is about a mouse on a boat trip, which matches up with the 3rd house topic of short trips. Otherwise it’s just a mouse torturing other animals by making musical instruments out of them, but it was mindblowing for the time. In any case, this year was when Walt Disney got his big break and did something for which he would forever be associated with, his signature character.
AND if you’re wondering about Jim Henson and his signature character Kermit the Frog, it’s actually the same thing for him too! He was born with Cancer rising which is ruled by the Moon, and he has the Moon in Capricorn in the 7th house. He entered a 7th house Capricorn annual profection on September 24th 1954. In February 1955 he met his future wife while Venus was transiting in Capricorn. They began working together on his puppet shows, and he came up with the first prototype for Kermit the Frog early in that year. So not only did this 7th house profection year bring forth the topic of relationships and his future marriage partner, but also his Ascendant ruler, the Moon in Capricorn, his signature character, Kermit the Frog. And how is Kermit the Frog like the Moon in Capricorn? Well, it’s not that easy being green.
So I hope this gives you some idea of the kinds of information you can get from annual profections, pretty cool right? Let me know what you find!