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Human Design: Understanding Which Type You Are
human design

Human Design: Understanding Which Type You Are

Experimentation is key!

Across history, a number of systems have been used to decode and understand the complexity of human nature. Accurately fitting the richness of the human experience into rigid boxes isn’t easy. 

Not all astrological star signs, Myers-Briggs personality types, or Enneagram numbers have identical approaches to life. Still, many focus on understanding what makes individuals unique, and what personality traits are shared with others.

One of the most complex systems is Human Design, which is a synthesis between different disciplines and systems, mixing both ancient wisdom and modern technology. Huge in scope, there are over seven influences in the Human Design system, including astrology, the chakras, and even quantum physics.

Its founder had one intention — to help people better understand themselves. And for many, Human Design delivers on its promise. So, if you’re looking to boost your self-understanding, and you’d like to start to get to grips with your Human Design chart, this article will provide you with a thorough overview.

What is Human Design?

Human Design is a map of the self. It’s a manual or guide that allows people to explore their own inner-landscape, to identify patterns, strengths, weaknesses. More importantly, it’s said to offer a path of greater fulfilment, as you move towards living a life closer aligned to your deeper nature.

Human Design is a way to connect to the body’s intelligence, which unlike the mind, remains uninfluenced by external factors, such as peer pressure or cultural conditioning. It’s ethos is to inspire people to become their own authority, developing inner-trust and learning to be guided by their deeper intelligence throughout life. 

The founder of the International Human Design School (IHDS) is Ra Uru Hu, a pseudonym of Alan Robert Krakower. Along with setting and maintaining standards and materials for Human Design worldwide, the IHDS is the official certifying agency and record keeper for all Certified IHDS Human Design Professionals. Ra Uru Hu explains this system as:

“Each and every human being has a unique archetypal nature that is here to be explored and expressed. Not by doing anything, but by being yourself. It is our major task, and begins with you simply understanding how you operate. It is the first step for anyone... just to understand the basic mechanics… The greatest gift is to be able to see clearly the basic matrix from which you operate. From that point on, you can begin the experimentation. This is the most important thing about the nature of Human Design; it is here to be experimented with.”

Ra Uru Hu saw human nature as part of a wider cosmic system, one that wasn’t fully mysterious, but could be explained to some degree. Although it uses mystical terminology, and takes inspiration from sources such as the I’Ching, the Kabbalah, astrology, and the chakra system, Human Design isn’t a belief system, but instead a way for people to better understand themselves. 

what is human design
(Maskot / Getty)

As Ra Uru Hu emphasises, the key with Human Design is experimentation. He would tell you that your chart isn’t a life sentence or definitive description of who you are. Instead, learning about your energy type provides you with a base from which to play, explore, and grow, while trusting your own discernment and developing greater intuition.

Along with consulting our quotes about manifesting your desires, understanding your energy type is one of the best things you can do to take control of your future. 

The history of the Human Design System

The esoteric association with Human Design is down to its inspiration and its creation. Ra Uru Hu was a former advertising executive and magazine publisher, who underwent an intense mystical experience in 1987, while living in Ibiza. 

Lasting for eight days, he heard a “voice” from a higher form of intelligence that communicated the blueprint of the system to him, which was later developed into a book, The Human Design System, in 1992.

Ra spent the next 25 years expanding and teaching the system, before his death in 2011. In 1999, Ra Uru Hu and his family founded the Jovian Archive, an online collection of material links to Human Design, which continues to share Ra’s work and insights following his death.

How does a Human Design chart work?

Similar to astrological charts, it’s difficult for beginners to make full sense of these charts without a little guidance. The Human Design System is represented in a “Rave Mandala,” which includes the systems of the I’Ching, the zodiac, the Kabbalah, the hexagram from sacred geometry, and the chakras. The Human Design chart is calculated using a person’s birth date.

The result is what is known as a BodyGraph — an illustration of the various energy centres in the body. In Human Design, a person’s energy, or life force, has a direct purpose, translating to how you interact with the world. Working with this energy is a way to live fully aligned. There are nine different centres, or geometric shapes, in the BodyGraph. 

Anyone familiar with the seven chakra system will notice similarities with the Human Design energy centres. Like the chakras, these are psychic “hubs” that transform and generate energy. Each has a biological correlation and specific function. According to the Jovian Archive, the nine centres are:

  • Head: Pressure centre, inspiration
  • Ajna: awareness, conceptualisation
  • Throat: manifesting, speaking, doing
  • G: self, love, direction
  • Heart: motor centre, ego, willpower
  • Solar plexus: motor and awareness, emotional waves
  • Sacral: awareness and immune system, intuition
  • Sacral: motor centre, life force, sexuality
  • Root: pressure motor centre, stress, adrenaline

On a BodyGraph, coloured centres represent Definition, and uncoloured represent Openness. Defined centres are qualities that remain fixed, creating a personality type that contains talents, gifts, and a unique way of expressing. They’re relied upon. Open centres are undefined, and point to the areas of life in which you become receptive to outside influence and conditioning. 

Inner authority & outer authority

Open centres aren’t bad, but it’s not recommended to make decisions from them, as they’re more susceptible to external influence. Influence, and its role in decision-making, is a core component of the Human Design system. Each chart presents an Inner Authority and an Outer Authority. When acting in accordance with inner authority, you experience a Signature, which is the resulting joy, peace, or fulfilment that comes from energy being used correctly.

human design generator
(Catherine Delahaye / Getty)

This can come in the form of correct decision making, or other aspects that enhance well being. 

In the words of Ra Uru Hu, Inner Authority is “what you can trust to make decisions, and is never the mind” and Outer Authority is “the true and proper realm of mind. When liberated from making decisions, Outer Authority becomes a source of knowledge for others.” Remember, the BodyGraph’s emphasis is how inner, bodily intelligence is responsible for decisions — not the mind.

The Human Design Authority Types

Inner Authorities are separated into seven sub-sections. The immediate reaction to understanding your Inner Authority could lead to better discernment and a stronger connection to trusting your gut or following your intuition. 

These types are:

Emotional authority

This applies to roughly half of the population. The source of this authority is the solar plexus, and it’s recommended to ride the emotional wave you experience, and to wait for the body to settle before making decisions.

Sacral authority

This type applies to around 35 percent of people. Linked to gut knowing, those with sacral authority attract situations into their life with ease, and decisions are often through movement or sounds.

Splenic authority

11 percent of people have this type. It’s closely related to intuition and rapid-fire “knowing” in response to an environment.

(Environ)mental or no Inner authority

3 percent of people have this type, which takes in a lot of information from their surroundings due to their openness. These people are guided by using others as sounding boards, or responding to stimulus in their environment.


2.8 percent of people have to hear themselves speak in order to make decisions — that includes conversations with others, or sometimes saying things aloud that feel true, even if not previously acknowledged consciously.

Lunar cycle authority

A very rare authority at less than 2 percent, these people gain authority from the lunar cycle, and the 28-day period of transition. 

Ego authority

Just over 1 percent of people are connected strongly to their heart and will centres, and rather than overthink, these people are encouraged to be spontaneous and allow their ego to do the talking.

The Four Human Design Types

This moves us onto one of the fundamental parts of the overall Human Design system: four distinct energy types. 

These types, similar to a star sign in astrology, are linked to a person’s aura, and each aura has its own Strategy in how to interact with life. The correct strategy, combined with the Inner Authority, is key to working with energy centres in an authentic way. 

Each of the energy types has an Aura, a Strategy, a Not-Self Theme (an indicator of when acting out of alignment) and a Signature (a sign of being in alignment.). The four types are Manifestors, Generators, Projectors, and Reflectors. More details on each below.


Aura: closed and repelling

Strategy: to inform

Not-Self theme: anger

Signature: peace

Nine percent of the population are manifestors. These people are initiators, able to put energy into action. That doesn’t mean they’re able to do anything they please, especially as their aura can be repelling, and their behaviour is unpredictable, making social situations difficult. 

human design chart
(Jeff Kravitz / Contributor / Getty)

As manifestors can cause other people’s auras to contract, one of their key strategies is to inform others of their decisions, in order to avoid suspicion. However, if manifestors fail to inform others, they may experience anger due to resistance they experience from other people.


Aura: open and enveloping

Strategy: to respond

Not-Self theme: frustration

Signature: satisfaction

The majority of people, 70 percent, fall into this category. These people are the energy-creators of the planet, and it’s vital for them to be in balance, and use their energy correctly for harmony on a bigger scale. They’re given the nickname “builders of the world” due to a defined sacral centre, which is responsible for creating and sustaining life.

Without it comes chaos and disorder. Unlike manifestors, generators' strategy is to respond to situations, rather than initiate. Each decision is an opportunity to respond in a way that will lead to satisfaction, instead of frustration. A response can be as subtle as sounds, such as “um-hmm” or “uhhh.”


Aura: focused and absorbing

Strategy: wait for the invitation

Not-Self theme: bitterness

Signature: success

According to Ra Uru Hu, this type surfaced in the human population in 1781, and has been rapidly increasing since, growing to 20 percent of the current population. These people are non-energy types, instead recognising the others' gifts, and mastering systems. These qualities lead to this type being leaders of the future and visionary guides (for example, Barack Obama is a projector).

the human design
(Jim Rogash / Stringer / Getty)

The strategy of waiting for an invitation might sound passive, but it’s not truly the case. When projectors are aligned, doing what they love, and develop mastery over a topic, their aura is magnetic and naturally leads to them being invited to share their gifts with the world. 

Invitations can be as subtle as glances, body language, or even an inner-pull to share. Patience is required, though, as initiation without invitation can lead to rejection or feeling unrecognised — leading to the theme of bitterness.


Aura: resistant and sampling

Strategy: wait a lunar cycle

Not-Self theme: disappointment

Signature: surprise

Only 1 percent of the population are reflectors. Like the moon, these people reflect others and their environment, absorbing energy, and lack any defined Inner Authority. Unlike the sun, which generates its own energy, reflectors are like the moon that reflects the sun’s brilliance.

human design
(Katrin Ray Shumakov / Getty)

They’re able to closely read people and environments, and magnify everything and everyone around them.

That doesn’t mean this is a weakness in a human. Resources that reflectors use mean they are driven by what feels good, which is a reliable source for day-to-day decisions. The lunar cycle strategy, however, is relevant for bigger decisions, such as a career change, or the end or beginning of a new relationship, etc.

In conclusion

A basic starting point for reading your chart is to understand your Inner Authority and Strategy, and begin by exploring how you can live your life more aligned with those two powerful guides. There are even more detailed elements, including your Profile and Incarnation Cross, which combines with your Profile to give direction on your life’s purpose.

Before writing this article, I’ve been familiar with Human Design, with friends who get a lot from it and wanted to know my energy type. I’ve never taken a deep dive until researching this article, and it was quite incredible to see how relevant different aspects were to me.

One of the biggest benefits of Human Design is that it allows people to feel at ease and relax into who they truly are. This is reflected in my chart — I’m a Projector with Environmental Authority. My Profile is a 2-4, or Hermit Opportunist. 

Basically, I’m super sensitive to my environment and need a lot of time alone. Accepting and growing into these truths has led to deeper fulfilment and happiness, so that shows me some credibility for the system.

The Jovian Archive includes a free chart reading, which you can find here, and start unpicking the nuances of your Human Design chart. Ultimately, the system is what you make of it. 

For a complex description of human nature, channelled by a former marketing executive across eight days, aimed at encouraging people to better know themselves, Human Design is a remarkable tool to utilise on your self-development journey. Along with using quotes of motivation, in life, knowing yourself is perhaps the greatest way to move forward.

what is human design
(Tim Robberts / Getty)

And remember: experimentation is key!

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