Human Design Intro

You’ve probably attended multiple personal growth seminars and read lots of books about manifesting change and creating success in your life.  Maybe you’ve even studied specific techniques to help you release ‘blocks’ and get yourself ‘unstuck’. But you still haven’t seen the results you’ve been hoping for, even though you’ve been doing everything ‘right’.

It’s not your fault. The single most important reason you haven’t had the success you’ve been working so hard for is this: a one-size-fits-all approach to life does not work! All people are equally valuable and important.  But each of us has our own energetic blueprint and individual style of operating successfully in life.  What might work for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for another.

Human Design is a system inclusive of four ancient wisdoms:  Western astrology, the Chinese I Ching, the Kabbalah and the Hindu chakra system.  Human Design takes these ancient wisdoms and synthesizes them with neutrino theory from quantum physics and human genetics.  The result is a highly accurate depiction of how your energy works, your gifts and qualities and provides an instruction manual for navigating your way through life.

Knowing our Human Design provides each of us with information about our:

  • Energy levels and life tempo
  • Optimal decision-making strategy
  • How we are socially oriented to ourselves and others
  • Where our inner wisdom resides and how to move through life

There are many layers of nuance to each Human Design: when I give a basic/fundamental Human Design reading I share with you at least 10 dimensions of your design.  But just knowing where you stand in these four major themes can be liberating and provide you with epiphanies. Check out this diagram for a deeper understanding of these themes.


Four Major Themes of Human Design

Major Themes of Human Design

I still remember vividly explaining to a colleague that he didn’t have a design with a lot of action-oriented energy and that I imagined that he tired somewhat easily.  In that instant, he reframed his personal story from that of “my life is winding down and I won’t live long” to “it is perfectly acceptable for me to plan lots of rest into my work week and not try to keep up with my wife.”  As we worked together that year, he completely restructured his work and family life. In doing so he reclaimed his energy, improved family relations and grew in his own sense of confidence and ability to care for himself.

Another client who is bursting with life force energy was down on herself for procrastinating and not trusting her own decision-making. When I explained that she actually needed to allow new decisions time to percolate, but in the meantime could move full steam ahead on those things she was clear about, her whole life shifted…for the better. She reframed the negative label of procrastination into an empowering label of thoughtful and deep research. She was able to shed the damage caused by being called stupid from her now ex. She really is a force of nature and has expanded her business with steady, careful and profound growth. All from a 30-minute conversation!

Let’s look at these four themes.  Here is the first one:

Human Design Theme: Energy Levels

Not all of us are imbued with the same level and consistency of energy.  30% of us, those with an open or undefined sacral center, do not have consistent access to energy.  Our energy can wax and wane throughout the day. We need to be sensitive to this energy fluctuation and not try to keep up with our high-energy friends, family and co-workers. We need those mini-breaks and time to unwind and discharge the energies we have picked up during the day.

The Generators and Manifesting Generators, those 70% with defined sacral energy, are wired for action and activity. You are the people that, once you’ve gotten going for the day, just keep motoring on! You can be in action till you fall in bed at 11:00pm where the rest of us have stopped doing anything major at 6.

Even amongst Generators and Manifesting Generators that are souped up Maseratis built for speed, diesel engines that can push through anything and reliable models that consistently get great gas mileage.

All energy levels are valid.  There is no good or bad energy level.  The key is knowing what your energy level is and honoring it. Work with it instead of against it.  I am a Manifestor so I don’t have a defined sacral center and I don’t have consistent access to energy.  I used to work in large organizations surrounded by hundreds of colleagues.  I would pick up their sacral energy and run on it during the day. But the moment I got in my car and left work I would feel my energy fade, like the air slowly going out of a balloon.

In those days I didn’t understand my Human Design, so this deflation experience really scared me.  I made myself wrong for it. Thought I was weak, lazy and ill. And eventually I did get ill, but that is a different story.

Today I know better.  I understand what is going on.  When I have been in the company of Generators I pick up their energy and when I leave their company I discharge their energy.  Today it only takes a few minutes for this process to happen.  Before, my fear and panic and desperation to cling to that Generator energy, caused prolonged suffering and a very critical inner conversation.

Now I know that my energy works in bursts. A Manifestor in full manifesting mode is fearsome and people just need to get out of my way.  And when that energy isn’t available I can now just relax and enjoy the restoring of my energies.

Human Design Theme: Decision-Making  

Understanding, recognizing and partnering with your Inner Authority, is the focal point of all Human Design attributes. If there is only one thing that a person takes away from having a Human Design reading, this is it.  Your Inner Authority your most reliable decision maker. Once we learn to partner with our Inner Authority life takes on a new flow and ease.

Our society values mental decision-making.  Society may give a small nod to intuition or ‘listening to your gut’, but not really.  If society did value these other forms of decision-making, really valued them, they would be taught in school.  Right?

Our minds are amazing assets.  Don’t get me wrong, our mental processes are awesome.  We learn, study, research, analyze, inspire, create, invent using our mental gifts.  But our minds are not reliable decision makers for our own personal choices, our own personal path in life.  But our inner authorities? They are reliable once we learn to recognize and partner with it.

There are three primary inner authorities and 3 that are fairly rare.  Learning about our own inner authority is essential.  But, imagine what it can do for you to understand the inner authority of your partner, family members and colleagues. Conflict often arises at decision-making times. That conflict can melt away and to turn into understanding and support through the lens of Human Design.

51% of us have emotional inner authority.  People with this inner authority need to give themselves permission to get emotionally clear before making choices.  This clarity might come in 10 minutes, it might come in 2 months. It takes as long as it takes so making time your best friend is paramount. If this is you, do you graciously give yourself all the time you need? Do you label yourself a procrastinator? Do you call yourself a bad decision maker? I hear these statements often. Please don’t succumb to the pressure to decide, either from others or from yourself.

The best gift you can give everyone is a quality decision.  Unfortunately there is a lot of societal pressure that says any decision is better than no decision.  From the perspective of Human Design, no it is not.

Are you part of the 33.5% that has sacral inner authority? You are the folk that really can and must listen to your gut. It is a pure visceral experience.  All sensation.  There is zero mental component.  There is no mental component in these inner authorities: no logic, no rationalization, no explaining. Pure response.  It is a response to the environment around you.  It’s as if your lower torso is a big circular brass gong.  And life comes to you and strikes your gong with a mallet and a beautiful sound arises.  Your job is to pay attention and notice what your lower torso, your inner gong, has responded to and follow that. See where it leads.

And the last Inner Authority I will talk about in this post is Splenic Inner Authority. Those of us that are Splenic make up 9.5% of the population. The statistical curve drops off quickly, doesn’t it?  If your emotional center is defined you have Emotional Inner Authority.  If you have an undefined emotional center but are a Generator with a defined sacral center you have Sacral Inner Authority.  If both your emotional and sacral centers are undefined or open and you have a defined spleen, you have Splenic Inner Authority.

Splenic Inner Authority is all about instincts, intuition and a sense of taste.  The spleen in Human Design is associated with the lymph system which includes our circulatory and immune systems. Our lymph network is large and covers much of our body.  For some people that lymphatic system ‘lights up’ and they get a ‘splenic hit’. Others might experience that little voice that sits on their shoulder and gives them wise advice.  The common theme is an instantaneous inner knowing.  You just know.  It doesn’t involve the mind because it can’t explain anything at all.  No logic or rationalization.  You just know ‘x’ in the moment.

And like the person with emotional inner authority, a splenic person needs to make friends with time.  Splenic inner authority doesn’t work on demand. The splenic hit or the deep inner knowing comes when it comes.  Our job is to pay attention and recognize when it comes because that splenic hit generally doesn’t repeat itself.  So….if you snooze your lose!  Or if you are so preoccupied with life and caught up in life’s drama you are likely to miss the message.

Human Design Theme: Social Orientation

Human Design also shows us how we interact with the outer world, our social orientation. Below is a simplified schematic of a human design bodygraph chart.  Imagine that it is a wiring diagram that an electrician would use to wire your house.  Some electrical lines give power to the bathrooms, some electrical lines power the furnace or the kitchen.

In Human Design each circuit flavors how we are oriented to our world.  There are many circuits and sub-circuits but I will talk about 5 of the in this post.

Collective or societal circuitry is motivated and oriented towards the ‘good of us all’.  Towards the good of society as a whole.  There are 2 primary branches of collective circuitry: logical and abstract.  Logic is a forward looking perspective that seeks a secure future through betterment and improvement.  Abstract circuitry wants us to learn from our past.  What does history have to tell us? What are the core values and belief systems that provide for a secure future?

The image below shows an example of one of the circuits.  The graphic shows the gates and channels that lay along the abstract circuit.

Human Design Abstract Circuit

Then we have tribal circuitry.  Tribal motivation and perspective is focused on the good of the group.  These are groups of choice.  It may likely be your blood family tribe.  But it could also be your Bunco group, your neighbors, your business colleagues or football team.  What is important to note is that being oriented towards the good of the group is different than being oriented to the good of us all.

I will keep repeating myself: both perspectives are valid and wonderful.  They are just different.  There is no valuation of good, bad, better, or worse.

Last I will talk about Individual circuitry. Individual Circuitry is focused and oriented on empowerment.  Self-empowerment as as empowerment for others.  Whee!  Let’s all be empowered.  The individual aspects in our design are highly creative. They are that part of us that are trail blazers and pioneers willing to step outside the safety of the tribal and collective energies.

All these orientations are beauteous.  Many of us are a mixture of multiple orientations. But there is always one circuit that is predominant. Knowing my client’s social orientation informs me in how best to advise them. It would be disastrous for me to advise a client that is predominantly individual to go join groups.  And the opposite is true if I advise someone with strong tribal needs to strike out on their own.

How could you use this information in your own life? What would it mean to understand the circuitry of your children? How might be better support and guide them?

Human Design Theme: Moving Through Life  

So far we’ve talked about your inherent energy levels, your inner authority, your orientation to the world and let’s tie it all together by talking about your Human Design Strategy, which informs you how to leverage your inner authority.

I have a major soap box that I get on when I talk on this subject.  I see so much suffering in my clients and in people in general because the vast majority of us get this backwards.  Our culture is saturated with messages to ‘just do it’.  To get on with it. That taking action now is the key to manifesting.  The Nike slogan, bless their hearts, urges us to take the action without consulting with our Inner Authority.  When actually, it is our Inner Authority that should prompt our getting into action.

We are a culture obsessed with manifesting. And we have gotten manifesting enmeshed with pushing and striving and taking action.  In reality, manifesting, the making things happen, flows naturally and abundantly when we enter into our activities correctly.

Would it surprise you that only 8% of the population should be initiating and taking action based on some inner prompting?  Only 8%.  That is the domain of Manifestors. We are the only group that gets prompted by an inner spark to leap into manifesting action.  A spark that seemingly comes out of nowhere.

So if you aren’t initiating, what are you doing? You are responding.  Generators, Manifesting Generators, Projectors and Reflectors respond to their environment, the world around them and the transit of the planets.

Generators and Manifesting Generators are first listening for their sacral response.  Did the gong sound? If you have emotional authority, that is your signal to pay attention and see whether emotional clarity comes, or not. If you are sacral, that is your signal to proceed.

Projectors work in an invitational environment.  Invitations gain you access to your inner authority which can be emotional, splenic, self, ego/heart or outer. The spirit of invitations leads you to your next steps.

Our rarest Reflectors respond to the stimulation of the Moon as it transits through the unique design of their energy centers. That 29 day transit prompts the Reflector into an array of correct connections with their world as they experience the myriad energies of their designs.

What difference would it make to know that your partner or your child craves invitations to prompt them into action? How might you advocate differently for yourself knowing these 4 basic fundamentals of your design? How might your experience of groups change knowing that everyone is a unique combination of these energies? What would it mean if you stopped pushing so hard in life and could trust that life and the Universe always bringing you what you need and want?  And all you have to do is be awake, aware and trust?

Understanding the major themes of Human Design can transform so many puzzling, anxiety provoking and conflicting interactions into understanding and confidence.

Thanks for reading this post and many blessings to you on your journey in life.  If you would like to chat, please schedule a free 30-minute conversation via my online calendar.

Catherine RiversCatherine Rivers is a Human Design Master Professional Consultant and a Certified Professional Coach. She brings to her clients 20 years as an Information Technology Executive, 16 years as a life and business coach and 13 years of deep study of Human Design. Do you seek transformation? She is a natural catalyst; intuitive, profound and effective. You can find her at www.catherinerivers.com.