Human Design 101: The Transformative Personal Growth Tool You’ve Never Heard Of

What am I supposed to be doing with my life?

Is this where I should be?

Am I on the right track?

I’m sure you’ve heard the old cliché, “Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual.”  But what if that was wrong? What if I told you that there was a piece of spiritual technology that allowed you to take a peek at your soul contract in order to confirm who you are, why you are here on this planet, what lessons you are here to learn, and what gifts you are here to share?

Channeled in 1987 by Ra Uru Hu, Human Design combines ancient teachings from astrology, Kabbalah’s Tree of Life, the Chakra System, and the I’Ching with the modern sciences of biochemistry, genetics, and theoretical and quantum physics. This innovative new tool lives right at the intersection of science and spirituality and offers anyone who is open to the experiment insight into their higher purpose and the tools to live a deeply magnetically authentic life.

A beginner’s guide to human design

Every single person on earth, as psychology and sociology suggest, is a unique combination of nature and nurture, traits that we’re born possessing and traits we’re conditioned to adopt based on external influences such as our families, friends, teachers and members of our community.

Human Design is concerned with the nature aspect of this equation, and provides a map of who you are and what you’re here to do during this incarnation based on your date, time and place of birth. The idea is that by gaining insight into who we are at our deepest, most authentic levels, we can start to identify limiting beliefs and damaging ways of being in order to release them and find our way back to the purest versions of ourselves.

Each of our maps (called body graphs) includes several important pieces of information:

– Which of our centers are open and which are closed

– What type we are and what our decision-making strategy is

– Which internal or external intuitive authority we should defer to for guidance when making decisions

– Which gifts we’ve been given and which lessons we’re here to learn, as determined by our combination of gates and channels (which live in our conscious personality or unconscious design, on lines in the hexagram, and in specific planets and carry the influence of all of these factors)

– Our profile and incarnation cross, which give specific insight into our purpose and karma

If you run your chart using, all of this information for your specific Human Design will be listed under the “Chart Properties” section on the right hand side of the screen.

Beginners guide to human design - learn your type! #spirituality


According to the system, our energetic makeup is comprised of nine energy centers, which roughly correlate to the seven chakras, and each governs a different aspect of our energy:

Head/Crown Center (Sahasrara Chakra): inspiration

Mind/Ajna Center (Third Eye/Ajna Chakra): problem-solving/learning

Throat Center (Vishudha Chakra): communication

Heart/Will Center (Anahata Chakra): desire and willpower

Self/Identity Center (Anahata Chakra): values and sense of self

Emotional Solar Plexus Center (Manipura Chakra): feelings and emotions

Spleen Center (Manipura Chakra): fear and anxiety

Sacral Center (Svadhisthana Chakra): vital life force energy

Root (Muladhara Chakra): ability to deal with pressure

In the chakra system, chakras can be blocked or open, but Human Design takes a different approach, and we’re born with each center either open or closed. Through our closed centers, we have more fixed and consistent access to the energy that center brings, and through our open centers, we’re more vulnerable to the influences (both positive and negative) of others. These centers remain either open or closed and cannot be changed.

Types and strategies

The image above is called a body graph, and the shapes are the centers. In each of our charts, we have a unique combination of centers that are open (and are left blank) and centers that are closed (and are colored in). The way our open and closed centers combine determines our Human Design type.

There are five different types in Human Design, and each has a different strategy for decision-making:


Manifestors are here to initiate, and their focus should be on their impact. Their strategy is to inform others before taking action and initiating.

Generators and Manifesting Generators 

Both generators and manifesting generators are here to respond, are their focus should be on knowing themselves, both their individual authority’s response process and what fulfills them/lights them up/turns them on. Their strategy is to respond, and can ensure they’re not initiating by asking themselves how their actions address a need, fill a void or answer a question.


Projectors are here to guide, and their focus should be on knowing how to best utilize the gifts and energetic resources of the other types. Their strategy is to wait to be recognized and invited, so as to ensure that their contributions will be heard and have the desired impact.


Reflectors are here to reflect the state of the world, and their focus should be on the well-being of the environment and the people around them. Reflectors have no defined centers in their body, which means they are completely open to external conditioning and influence, so their strategy is to wait an entire lunar cycle to talk out their decision before taking action.


Our authority is the language our body uses to communicate to us, many times in-the-moment, on what is meant for us and what is outside of our integrity. All of our centers communicate with us, especially our closed ones, but the difference is that our authority carries the message we need to pay the closest attention to when making decisions. Contrary to society’s messages of “use your head” and “think it through,” our authority knows that in order to be heard, it needs to bypass the nonstop thinking of our minds and make us uncomfortable or give us a physical sensation that will catch our attention so we act accordingly.

Gates and channels

Our gates and channels provide insight into the gifts we’ve been given and lessons we’re going to learn during this incarnation. Within each center are numbered gates. Think of these gates as doors. Between two gates is a channel, which is like a hallway. If both gates are open, that channel is colored in and is an influential part of your chart. If only one gate is open, that channel is only partially colored in. We carry the energy (gifts and lessons) of that gate, and we often call people into our lives that help us complete that channel by having the opposite gate open in their chart.

Conscious personality vs. unconscious design

Each person’s individual Human Design is determined by what was going on in the heavens at two crucial times: the moment of our birth and a moment three months prior. Our conscious personality-based characteristics are determined by the sky the moment we’re born and these are listed in black on the body graph.

These are the characteristics of our personality or lessons we’re learning that deeply resonate as they’re super front-of-mind. Our innate unconscious design characteristics were determined by the skies three months prior and are shown in red on the body graph. These characteristics and lessons might take some deep introspection to unpack, as others can usually spot these patterns and behaviors of ours far easier than we can as they’re fairly subconscious. Each gate in our chart lives in our conscious personality, our unconscious design, or in both.

Lines and planets

Another aspect of the chart hugely impacted by the moment of our birth are the planets. Each and every gate also carries the energy of one or more planets, which gives us insight into which part of our lives are where we learn the lessons or utilize the gifts. For example, if a gate lives in Mercury, it will impact how we communicate with others.

Each gate also lives on one of the six lines of the hexagram. Each line represents a different energy, a way of learning lessons or a means of moving through the world. For example, if the gate lives on line 3 of the Hexagram, the Martyr, there will likely be a ton of trial and error involved in learning that lesson or utilizing that gift.

The meaning of each gate and channel requires interpretation of all three aspects (unconscious design v. conscious personality, planets, and lines) to get the most accurate insight into how these gifts and lessons play out in our lives.

Profile and incarnation cross

Our profile and incarnation cross reveal what our purpose is and how we’re going to enact that purpose in the world when we’re living authentically in alignment with our design. The profile is determined by which lines our conscious and unconscious sun reside on, and our incarnation cross is determined by the gate our conscious sun lives in.

These are my favorite aspects of the chart to share with my clients as they’re super specific and eerily accurate. For example, I read for a woman the other day who had the Right Angle Cross of Planning. People who have this as their incarnation cross are here to be the planners for their community, creating beautiful events, dinner parties, conferences, etc where people can come together and collaborate and celebrate on a deeply meaningful level. My client teared up as I told her this. She shared that she was a wedding planner and felt so much purpose in life helping couples prepare for one of the most meaningful days of their lives. Knowing your profile and incarnation cross is fantastic confirmation if you deeply love your work or hobbies, and can be super revealing if you’re feeling out of alignment and are ready to make a change. Like the gates and channels, this information is hard to research online and can easily be provided via a 1:1 reading.

Interested in learning more?

Head on over to to run your chart for free. You’ll need to know your birthdate, birthplace and time of birth. If you’re not sure about the time you were born, check out your long-form birth certificate, ask a parent, or estimate to the closest hour. Just like your astrological natal chart, even slight variations in time will impact your overall chart, so try to get your birth time as close to the minute as possible. is dedicated to teaching the modern woman how to hack her Human Design chart in practicable, easy-to-understand language. Start with the tab “New to Human Design?” and follow the click path to learn about your unique makeup of open and closed centers, your type and strategy, your authority, and the lines in the hexagram that influence your gates, channels, and profile.

YOU by design is a monthly subscription service that offers podcasts, videos, downloadable journal pages and cheat sheets, expert interviews and actionable tools for living your unique Human Design.

If you’d rather not go it alone or have a ton of questions about your personal chart, I also offer 1:1 chart readings virtually where I take my clients through the finer details of their chart and hold space to answer specific, individual questions.

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