How to Read a Human Design Chart and Report

In this article I will walk you through the basics of deciphering a Human Design Chart.  A Human Design Chart may be called a Human Design Bodygraph or a Human Design Life Chart. These terms all refer to the same basic graphic.

Describing each section and attribute of a Human Design chart in detail takes an entire book or a multi-session class. My purpose in writing this article is to give you a basic understanding of each attribute and how they all come together so you can conduct your own detailed research into your design with more confidence and less confusion.

Here is an example of a Human Design Chart.  This Human Design report was generated by Neutrinos Through Windows 4.0, a Human Design software application of NewSunWare. You can go to Erik Memmert’s site and download a free basic version of his Neutrinos software to your own PC.  I used this free version for years before I invested in professional grade software with all the bells and whistles that you need when you get deeply absorbed in Human Design analysis.

What if you don’t know your birth time?  Please don’t guess.  Charts can change on a dime and have major changes instantly. If you don’t know your birth time, it can be figured out.  Take a look at this post where I walk you through the process of caclculating your Human Design without a birth time. 

How to Read a Human Design Chart

This one-page report is typical of the Human Design charts that you can generate for free at various sites on the internet.  More and more are being made available, but here are 3 sites that are well-established and produce quality, yet slightly different formatted, human design charts:  Jovian Archive, Evolutionary Human Design, and Genetic Matrix.  You can now generate your chart on my site for free. 

The 4 Main Sections of a Human Design Report

Let’s take a tour of this one-page report and look at the 4 main areas.  We will start at the upper left and work our way around counter clockwise.

Human Design Chart Overview

The Dates on a Human Design Report

The first section circled shows the person’s name and then 2 sets of dates.  The dates in black should equal the person’s birth date and time.  And the bottommost row shows the time zone. Always check this section to make sure that you have entered the birth data correctly.  The biggest mistake people make is getting the time wrong. This particular program uses a 24-hour clock, but other programs have you check whether it is a.m. or p.m.

Human Design Chart - Birth Data

You will see a second set of dates in red. These dates correlate to 88 degrees solar arc prior to the time and date of birth, approximately 3 months. You will see a heading above these dates in red labeled ‘Design’. This is also referred to as your Unconscious while the black dates are labeled ‘Personality’ and/or Conscious. This calculation of a point in time and space of 88 days solar arc to a person’s date/time of birth is unique to the Human Design system.

These 2 dates set the stage for the interplay of the Conscious and Unconscious gifts and qualities of each Human Design.

The Gates, Planets and Arrows on a Human Design Report

Moving down to the next section on this one-page Human Design report you see columns of numbers and symbols.  Let’s take a closer look.

Human Design Chart - Gates and Planets

This section of the Human Design chart is showing the Gates and Lines associated with the planets and points in space that are used in the Human Design calculation. And there are up, down, left, right arrows to add further details to this part of the report. There is a lot of information here!

Feel free to skip this section.  It is advanced data in the analysis of a Human Design and isn’t necessary and can be confusing if you are just starting out.

Note that each column has 13 rows.

The center column shows the glyphs and symbols of the planets.  People with an astrology background will recognize these symbols immediately.  If you have come to Human Design without an astrology background, as I did, then it might take a bit to become familiar with these symbols.  In the beginning, it isn’t even necessary to understand this part of the chart in order to get immense value out of understanding your human design.  My purpose here is to just give you a feel for this material.

From top to bottom these symbols correlate to:  Sun, Earth, Moon, North Node, South Node, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.  Different Human Design chart generators may have these symbols in a slightly different order.  The interesting thing to notice is that after the Sun/Earth the planets are arranged in order closest to earth to furthest away.

The Gate, Line, Planet In-depth

We will look at the row for the planet Jupiter up close.

The Gate and Line of a Human Design Chart

The larger number correlates to a Gate.  There are 64 possible Gates.  The smaller number or superscript correlates to a Line. There are 6 possible lines. We will ignore the red up arrow/triangle for now. The way this is read is, “Unconscious Gate 49 Line 4 in Jupiter and Conscious Gate 55 Line 3 in Jupiter.

Each Gate has a name.  These Gate names can be found in such books as The Book of Lines by Chetan Parkyn, or Lynda Bunnell’s The Definitive Book of Human Design: The Science of Differentiation.  Human Design software will also offer reports listing the Gates by name and keyword and description.

When you know the Gate names, you can then read this as, “The Gate of Revolution Line 4 is in Unconscious Jupiter; The Gate of Spirit and Abundance Line 3 is in Conscious Jupiter.

The Up and Down Arrows in a Human Design Chart

This is another advanced dimension of a Human Design.  These up and down arrows denote a specific interpretation relating to the Line description. The up arrow is termed an exaltation and the downward pointing arrow is termed a detriment. I personally don’t like nor use these terms, but these are the commonly used terms.  Exaltations and detriments imply that one is good and the other is bad. It is more useful to think in terms of most resonant energy and least resonant energy.

Below is an excerpt The Book of Lines by Chetan Parkyn.  This shows the energies associated with Gate 49 (the Gate of Revolution) Line 4.  When there is no arrow added to the Gate, you simply read the first line which in this text is bolded. And you would read the second line, the subtext.

When there is either an up arrow or down arrow connected to the Gate/Line, you read the first bold text only.  Then if there is an up arrow, you read the first line with a planet glyph.  In our example, you can see that the planet glyph is for Jupiter.

You would read our example as, “49.4 Making Ready: Accumulating energy and motivation for radical change. Your expanded overview of society’s needs allows you to implement changes that benefit all.”

Gate 49 line 4

The Left and Right Arrows on a Human Design Chart – Variables

We have a last set of arrows to interpret. The left and right arrows that are generally found near the Sun and North Node Glyphs, both Conscious and Unconscious. Here are 2 examples of how you may see these arrows represented.  The first example was generated from Jovian Archive – Get Your Chart and the second example was generated by Neutrinos Through Windows.

Human Design Left Right Arrows
Human Design Variable Arrows

These 4 arrows describe aspects of a Human Design’s Variables.  Describing Variables is beyond the scope of this article. Students of Human Design may never even tackle this topic. If you are curious, Google for Human Design Variables on the internet.

The Overview Section of a Human Design Report

There is usually a section of the report that lists what I refer to as meta data, the overview attributes of a Human Design chart. We will go through these attributes in the order listed in the example below.

Human Design Meta Data

Human Design Type

One of the 2 most important aspects of a human design is Type. There are 5 Types in Human Design:  Generators, Manifesting Generators, Projectors, Manifestors and Reflectors. These 5 Types describe the possible energetic auras for a design.  Much is written about each of these 5 Types and free resources are available on the internet or refer to the 2 authors I mentioned earlier in this article.

Conditioning Theme or Not-Self Theme

Each of the 5 Types has a specific emotion that signifies that you are not following the tenets of your Type, Strategy and Inner Authority.  Generators and Manifesting Generators experience frustration when they are stepping outside the bounds of being a Generator.  Projectors experience bitterness. Manifestors get angry. And Reflectors can become disappointed.

Knowing your conditioning theme, also called a not-self theme, is useful. You can use it as a signal to yourself to ‘press pause’ and reset your intentions and your energy.  If you are a Generator and Manifesting Generator and find yourself getting frustrated, you can ‘press pause’ and see if you are following your Strategy of ‘response’. Getting frustrated probably means you are trying to initiate or make something happen (rather than be in response) and initiating is the sole realm of pure Manifestors.

For Projectors, when you experience bitterness, ‘press pause’ and see how you are not waiting for invitations before getting into action.  Manifestors get angry when they avoid initiating and/or stop informing. Reflectors experience disappointment when they aren’t allowing the full lunar cycle to guide their choices.


Again, each Type has its own specific Strategy. Strategy is all about how; how a specific design moves forward, gets into correct action moment by moment. Generators and Manifesting Generators must be aware of the response their Inner Authority shares with them. These two Types must always be taking action in response to external stimulus.  Projectors respond to invitations; they work in an invitational environment. Manifestors get internal sparks that prompt us into action, but we need to be disciplined in telling our peeps what we are up to before we commence.  And Reflectors must wait a lunar cycle in order to properly assess a choice.


There are 12 possible Profiles in Human Design. Profiles describe how you interact within yourself and with the world around you. Some Profiles are more prevalent than others; some more rare. In general there is an ease when we meet someone who shares our same Profile.  It’s as if we look out the same window in life. There is little need to interpret and translate what the other person is seeing and saying.

Some profiles are less harmonious to other Profiles. Think of people that you love but that you have to work hard to stay connected to.  It is likely that your Profiles are less resonant to one another.

The example we are using has a 4/6 Profile.  And then the label Opportunistic, Role Model.  Each Profile is made up of the lines of the Conscious Sun/Earth and the Unconscious Sun/Earth.  Each Line has specific qualities and Ra created a label for each line that are predominantly used, though I don’t find them all that helpful nor accurate.  But here they are because you will see them over and over again.

  • First Lines = Investigator
  • Second Lines = Hermit
  • Third Lines = Martyr
  • Fourth Lines = Opportunist
  • Fifth Lines = Heretic
  • Six Lines = Role Model

All Profiles are beautiful.  So there is no good/bad going on here.  They are just different.

Life Theme or Incarnation Cross

Human Design Meta Data

Moving down the Overview Meta Data we come to the Life Theme. In other reports you will see this called out as the Incarnation Cross. In our example we see The Personal Life Theme of Penetration (4) preceded by the numbers 54-53 / 57-51.  And continuing on to a second line, ‘Right Angle – Personal Destiny.

The Life Theme or Incarnation Cross speaks to our purpose in life. These Life Themes are beautifully described in Chetan Parkyn’s, The Book of Destiny: Discover the Life You Were Born to Live.  They are also described in Lynda Bunnell’s, The Definitive Book of Human Design: The Science of Differentiation.

Our life purpose is heavily influenced by the qualities of the Gate of our Conscious Sun as well as our Conscious Earth and Unconscious Sun/Earth. The qualities of these 4 Gates are synthesized into a rich tableau. In our example, the Life Theme of Penetration is the synthesis of Gates 54, 53, 57, and 51.  The Gates of Ambition, New Beginnings, The Gentle and Arousing respectively.

Chetan’s description of The Personal Life Theme of Penetration begins with: “Your Life  Theme is to penetrate life on many levels. Wherever you go and whomever you meet, you always become engaged, reaching through your intuitive senses right into people’s lives, swiftly and without effort.”

Most of my clients are amazed at how accurate these Life Themes resonate with them. It is critical to understand that we don’t read these descriptions and then march out and ‘do’ our Life Purpose.  We can’t help but ‘become’ our Life Purpose as we follow the guidance and wisdom of our own designs.

Human Design Definition

Definition is a term that is central to Human Design.  The term ‘definition’ implies consistency or constancy. What gifts, qualities and energies are consistent in our design; what is constantly available to us.

In this Overview Section, Definition has 4 values:

  • Single
  • Split
  • Triple Split
  • Quadruple Split

In our example human design chart, this design is a Triple Split. If you look at the bodygraph image below you will see that each of the colored geometric shapes, or Energy Centers are connected by a colored line, or Channel.  But, these three circled areas are not directly connected to each other by a colored Channel.

Each of the 4 Definitions describe how a person’s energy operates for them, especially in how they seek or not seek connection with others.

Human Design Triple Split Definition

Inner Authority

I said earlier that there were 2 most important attributes in a human design. One of those attributes was Type, your energetic aura. Inner Authority is the other most critical attribute to understand. In fact, I believe it is the most important dimension of a design to understand and integrate into daily life. Just getting this one key concept will transform your life and put you on a steadier and more successful path.

The Human Design applications may play with these terms, but these are the 6 inner authorities and an outer authority, in order of frequency.

  • Emotional – 51%
  • Sacral – 33%
  • Splenic – 9.5%
  • Ego-Manifested – 1%
  • Ego-Projected -1%
  • Self-Projected -.05%
  • Outer Authority – 4%

What I find important to note is that our world is dominated by emotional inner authority.  Or, rather, it should be! Emotions do seem to run our world, but if the predominant emotion is fear, that leads to trouble. Emotional awareness, emotional IQ is critical.

If you have an inner authority that is more rare, then it is likely you feel different than those around you and may not have an experience of fitting in. It is important that you claim the power of your inner authority.

The Human Design Report Section – The Bodygraph

Welcome to the Bodygraph section of this article. We’ve saved the best for last.

What is this image? It is the graphic representation of the energetic imprinting you received at birth.

We’ve been working our way through all of the other data sections of a Human Design Chart and Report and all those data points come together in this image.

Human Design Bodygraph

Let’s talk about the 3 components that make up a bodygraph:

  • Energy Centers
  • Channels
  • Gates

Human Design Energy Centers

There are 9 Energy Centers in the Human Design system. They are not unlike Chakras. Each Energy Center has its own unique properties. While the Hindu Chakra system works off of a base of 7 Chakras, Human Design believes that we have evolved energetically and we work off of a foundation of 9 Energy Centers.

The geometric shapes represent the 9 Energy Centers.

The image below shows the Energy Centers by name and their primary function. Again, the Energy Center names might be a bit different depending on the school, teacher, author.

Which Energy Centers are colored in, defined, in your Human Design? These are the energies that you experience as consistent.  I find it so interesting that only 30% have a defined Heart Center, have consistent access to willpower.  Think about what this means!

Human Design Energy Center Names

Human Design Channels

There are 36 Channels in the Human Design Chart. These 36 Channels connect the 9 Energy Centers to one another. Think of these Channels akin to a wiring diagram for your home.  Some sets of Channels, called Circuits, turn on outlets in the bedroom, other circuits power the furnace, etc. Energy flows through the Channels and along the Circuits.

Each Channel has its own gifts and qualities. Reflectors have zero Channels in their designs. Generators, Manifesting Generators, Projectors and Manifestors all have at least 1 Channel in their Human Design. Most often I see 2, 3 or 4 Channels in a chart. I read for one person who had 8 Channels, quite rare.

You can find descriptions of these Channels in Chetan Parkyn’s Human Design: Discover the Person You Were Born to Be and Lynda Bunnell’s The Definitive Book of Human Design: The Science of Differentiation.  And you can find descriptions on various blogs on the internet by just Googling “Channel # #”.

Human Design Gates

There are 64 Gates in a Human Design Chart.  These 64 Gates correlate to the 64 Hexagrams in the I Ching as well as the 64 codon in a person’s DNA.  Truly fascinating!

The I Ching is also know as the Chinese Book of Changes.  This ancient system is comprised of 64 Hexagrams that describe 64 states of consciousness or 64 states of being human.

For a deep, very deep, dive into the relationship between the Human Design Gates, the 64 I Ching Hexagrams and the 64 genetic codon, check out Richard Rudd’s, The Gene Keys: Embracing Your Higher Purpose.

As with the other bodygraph components, the Energy Centers and Channels, Gates have their own unique properties and can be referenced in the books mentioned above or via Google searches.

Putting All the Elements of a Human Design Together

So how is the Human Design Chart generated?  (And thank you for reading in so far into this article.  It is a lot of material.)

Your Human Design calculation is based off of your date, time and place of birth. The gate positions of the 13 planets are determined and noted in the columnar data area. This same calculation is done for 88 degrees solar arc prior to your date of birth to determine the gate positions for the 13 unconscious planet activations.

Imagine that the heavens, the starfield, are divided into the 64 Gates with 6 Lines each. That is 384 distinct energies. This graphic gives the best sense of how the intersection of Gates, Lines and Planets are determined.

Human Design Mandala

We aren’t going to dive into the details of the above graphic, just know that this data then gets distilled down into the columnar data we talked about at the beginning of this article.  Which looks like this:

How to Calculate a Human Design Chart

Remember that the columnar data shows the conscious and unconscious Gates and Lines for each Planet. If you start at the top of the red column, you will see that each gate is colored in on the bodygraph.  Gate 57 is at the top of the red column, the Unconscious Sun. If you look at the bodygraph, you will see Gate 57 is marked as red. Gate 57 sits on the Spleen Energy Center which is located on the far left of the bodygraph.

You can trace each Gate in the columns on the left onto the bodygraph. Gates in the red column, the Unconscious Gates, are shown in red on the bodygraph. The Gates in black, the Conscious Gates are shown in black on the bodygraph.

Often Gates appear multiple times in a chart, when they are on both the Conscious and Unconscious sides you will see them portrayed by the red and black stripes.

While we most often teach Human Design from the top down, which looks like Type, Authority, Energy Centers Channels, Gates, Lines.  A chart is constructed from the bottom up.

Gates are filled in and marked with a half line.  See Gate 48 on the Spleen Energy Center, right above Gate 57.

When 2 Gates are filled in that create a span between 2 energy centers, they form a Channel, which then ‘defines’ both Energy Centers and those Energy Centers are then colored in. (The color of the Energy Centers is not meaningful).

We just keep filling in the Gates until the chart is complete.  In some ways, Human Design software robs us of understanding the mechanics of creating the Human Design Chart.

In Conclusion

We’ve now gone through all the elements of a Human Design chart. Hopefully you understand more how a Human Design chart is constructed and what each element is adding to the total picture. I wish you the best on your Human Design journey.  I have found this work to be totally transformative and totally liberating.  May you have the same experience.

The Basic or Fundamental Human Design Reading

A person can learn a lot about Human Design in general, and their Human Design specifically, by reading books by leading authors and gleaning articles on the internet. There is a more becoming available every day.

But I urge you at some point to have a Human Design reading by a professional Human Design reader. We can tie this information together for you in ways it takes years to deduce.  We can short cut your learning process and speed you on your way to integrate your Human Design into your daily life.

A quality basic or fundamental Human Design Reading should include information about:

  • Your Type: Aura
  • Your Inner Authority
  • Your Energy Centers
  • Your Channels
  • Your Profile
  • Your Life Theme  or Incarnation Cross

This initial Human Design reading should be shared in such a way that it makes sense to you!  Your Human Design reader should have the ability to adjust their style (their natural Design) to communicate predominantly in a way that you with your Design processes information.  For this reason I always advise people to have a meet and greet and check out Human Design readers till they find one that they click with.  I offer a free 30-minute Human Design Discovery Session for this very reason.  We have to be a good fit or it doesn’t work for either of us.

Ideally, your Human Design session is recorded for you. You will want to got back and listen to the information multiple times.  Trust me.  A good Human Design reading is jam packed; there will be more information shared than you can digest in one sitting.

Advanced Human Design Readings

The initial Human Design reading sets the stage for going deeper into your Human Design. We all have to start with the fundamentals and take some time to integrate our Type, Inner Authority and Strategy into our lives.

When you are ready for more, then Human Design can open new doors of insight, awareness, healing and action.

An advanced Human Design Reading, or possibly multiple readings, delves deeper into your Human Design energy mechanics, gifts and qualities.  Advanced Human Design Readings can include information about:

  • Sun Sign
  • Your Human Design Circuitry which speaks to your social orientation
  • A reading of your Human Design lines
  • A reading of your Human Design lines in combination with their planetary positions
  • Information about your genetic inheritance

Learn more about my advanced Human Design readings or schedule time to talk about them.

Specialty Human Design Readings – Returns, Money, Business, Relationships

And then we finally can get to all the fun and juicy parts of Human Design where we can use Human Design to heal those parts of us where have felt stuck and stymied for far too long. Heal money wounds. Heal love wounds. Gain insights that allow us to align our Human Design with making money, generating wealth and experiencing prosperity.

The world of relationships desperately needs the wisdom of Human Design. We can learn how our loved ones, friends and colleagues are meant to navigate life. Human Design provides practical information on our energetic chemistry as well as our potential conflicts and dilemmas.

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.