Here’s how to read yours.
Astrology is a tool that can help you figure out your personality but there's a lesser-known system that can give you a deeper understanding of yourself: Human Design. Using your birth time and birthplace, just like astrology, Human Design is a modality that reflects who we are, says Nikki Brafman, a Human Design expert. “It gives us an energetic blueprint of who we are on a soul cellular level,” she adds.
Created by Ra Uru Hu, Human Design is also a tool to get rid of the limiting habits and beliefs we’ve been taught and to reconnect with our core selves. A Human Design chart can provide insight on how to make decisions that are aligned with our unique chemistry, allowing one to move through life with ease. (You can get your personalized chart, here.) The “blueprints” show us where we get our energy from, how we express it, and how to work best with it. It also shows what decision-making “strategy” is best and where inner guidance comes from (known in Human Design as “authority”). “The world floods us with messages about who we should be in order to survive and thrive in this world,” says Brafman, “but Human Design teaches that the same advice is not correct for everybody.”
Below Brafman explains exactly what your Human Design chart can tell you about yourself and how you can incorporate this knowledge into your daily life.
Photo: Bettman/Getty Images
There are five main types, and each has a different way of bringing opportunities into their life and achieving a state of ease.
37 percent of the population
Generators are here to inspire, energize, and produce through their unique gifts and work, says Brafman. Because they have a defined sacral center—more on that below—they’re meant to respond to their initial gut instinct. “When in environments and activities that light them up, they have a limitless ability to hone their talents and put forth their unique work into the world,” says Brafman. Generators have an open and enveloping aura, and when they’re living a life true to their design, they’ll magnetically pull people and ideas towards them. It’s up to them to curate this aura by responding to the people, places, and things that light them up and passing on the things that don’t give them an instant “yes!” reaction. When Generators say “yes” when they mean “no” or say “no” when they mean “yes,” it’s draining and can lead to frustration. “When things feel particularly out of flow, walk back through your memories of how you got out of alignment, and try to understand at which point did you perhaps respond in a way that led you down a non-resonant path,” says Brafman.
9 percent of the population
Manifestors are pure doers and have access to consistent energy to just start things: projects, movements, companies, and more. “Manifestors are self-contained, lone wolves, and flow most freely when they share their ideas and gifts without hesitation, without judgment, and without permission,” says Brafman. “It's their energetic birthright to provide the universe with big initiating ideas, so that other energy types may respond to them or see them as an invitation.” They have a closed and repelling aura that blocks them from absorbing advice they don’t need. This energy type needs a lot of rest and time to recharge. “Standard office environments in their buzzing and hectic energy can be a difficult fit for Manifestors if they lack the autonomy to manage their own schedule and energy,” says Brafman.
When Manifestors feel angry, that’s a sign that they’re misaligned. Brafman recommends taking a minute to “notice where they feel guarded and they’re seeking permission or worried about what others will think.” This usually means they have given power and influence to something that isn't serving them, so it needs to be cut out.
33 percent of the population
Manifesting Generators have the ability to initiate, like a Manifestor, but only if they honor their gut reaction, like a Generator. They have an open and developing aura and feel most in sync when they have their hand in a variety of different activities and experiences. “Manifesting Generators are energetic and love multitasking,” says Brafman. “They are designed to be doing more than one thing at once and need to express that part of their energy.” Their high levels of energy will make them restless unless it has somewhere to go, so they need to empty out their tank each day so they can sleep at night. To be fulfilled in their career, Manifesting Generators need to pursue work that allows them to forge new paths while also responding to those around them.
When Manifesting Generators don’t have the ability to explore their different interests or they’re saying “yes” to things when their gut is telling them “no,” it’ll lead to frustration and burnout.
20 percent of the population
Projectors are here to guide, manage, and direct everyone else. “[They should] let go of the idea that they have to blaze the trails alone and know it’s part of their purpose to oversee, guide, and share wisdom with the doers of the world,” says Brafman. Their job is to make themselves seen and share what they’re passionate about, so they can be recognized and invited to share their gifts. Projectors are able to pick up on the vibes of those around them, so they may not thrive in a nine-to-five environment, says Brafman. Ideally, they’d work no more than three focused hours each day and use the rest of their time to recharge. “They’re constantly absorbing the energies of everyone in their midst, so they need a lot of time to rest and quiet their minds.” If they don’t get enough time to recharge, they’ll quickly burn out.
Less than 1 percent of the population
Reflectors don’t have any defined energy centers, allowing them to feel environments and other people's feelings with supernatural depth. “How you act, feel, and what you believe are actually reflections of the environment you're in and the people that you're with,” says Brafman. Reflectors have the ability to deeply understand the energetics around them, without impacting them with their own energies, and they can use this to understand complicated situations and guide people forward. If they surround themselves with people whose energies they want to emulate, they’ll feel in flow. When Reflectors feel disappointed, it’s time to re-evaluate. “Creating environments and spaces where they have the power to truly leave when they don't feel resonance and [stay] when they do feel resonance will be crucial to success,” says Brafman.
Defined and Closed Centers
There are nine centers that are either defined (colored-in) or undefined (white space) in a Human Design chart. “Defined centers are the areas where we have consistent and reliable energy,” says Brafman. “The areas that are open means we don’t have consistent and reliable energy in that space, and instead, we magnify and amplify the energy of those around us.”
Photo: Courtesy of Nikki Brafman
Governs thought, worry, and inspiration.
Defined: These people have a fixed sense of thinking and inspiration. They are here to be inspiring to others with their concrete ways.
Open: This group is made to move through the world collecting various thoughts and inspirations, says Brafman. However, they can also notice and amplify other people’s worries if they aren’t careful.
If someone feels out of flow in their Head center, they should ask themselves, “Am I thinking about things that don't matter and trying to answer everybody else's questions?”
Governs conceptualization and thought processes.
Defined: “Those with a defined Ajna center have a fixed sense of conceptualization and interpreting information,” says Brafman.
Open: These people have flexible thought processes and ways of thinking.
If someone feels out of flow in their Ajna center, they should ask themselves, “Am I trying to convince everyone that I am certain?”
Govern speech, actions, and communication.
Defined: Only Manifestors and Manifesting Generators have a defined Throat Center. This means that “they're uniquely able to initiate conversations and actions that align with the rest of their Human Design,” says Brafman. “They have strong opinions and are easily able to convert words into actions.”
Open: Generators, Projectors, and Reflectors have an open Throat Center, which means they need to get their energy for manifesting from other people. “They’re able to adjust their tone and delivery to match the needs of any audience,” says Brafman.
If someone feels out of flow in their Throat center, they should ask themselves, “Am I trying to attract attention?”
Governs personality and sense of self.
Defined: These people have a fixed and consistent sense of who they are, no matter where they go or who they’re with.
Open: Those with open identity centers adapt and change their personality and sense of self as they amplify and magnify the personas of others around them.
If someone feels out of flow in their Identity center, they should ask themselves, “Am I fixated on finding love and direction?”
Governs ego, willpower, consistency, and competitiveness.
Defined: These people are able to convert their thoughts into actions. They have the energy to create or seek out the resources to push through and achieve their goals.
Open: Those with undefined heart centers rely on others for an extra energy boost to get things done. Surrounding themselves with people who have defined heart centers can influence, motivate, and energize them.
If someone feels out of flow in their Heart center, they should ask themselves, “Do I think I have something to prove?”
Governs intuition and body consciousness.
Defined: These people have an immediate intuitive insight—they have constant access to a “yes” or “no” impulse to help guide them.
Open: Those with the Spleen Center open tend to take in the fear energy of others and either mirror it back or absorb and magnify it. When they’re around those with a defined Spleen Center, they’ll feel strong and secure.
If someone feels out of flow in their Spleen center, they should ask themselves, “Am I holding on to what's not good for me?”
Governs our life-force energy.
Defined: These people are designed to devote their energy to something they’re passionate about, using their initial gut instinct as a guide. If they give their energy to something that doesn’t light them up, they’ll burn out.
Open: These people have unlimited capacity to take in and experience this life-force energy. “They’re specifically designed to absorb and amplify this energy from those who have the center defined,” says Brafman.
If someone feels out of flow in their Sacral center, they should ask themselves, “Do I know when enough is enough?”
Governs our emotions.
Defined: Those with a defined Solar Plexus experience their emotions as waves. Their goal is to understand their emotional peaks and valleys and plateaus so that they’re always in a place of emotional clarity when making decisions.
Open: When this center is open, people are empathetic and very open to experiencing and absorbing the emotions of others. They’re meant to sample emotions, experience them, learn from the experience then release them.
If someone feels out of flow in their Solar Plexus center, they should ask themselves, “Am I avoiding confrontation and truth?”
Governs our momentum and stress.
Defined: These people have natural cycles of access to this adrenal energy to get projects off the ground. The goal is to learn how our own natural adrenal energy cycle and stress response works and then work with it and not against it.
Open: Those with this center open are susceptible to taking on the stress of others and magnifying it. “They need to be wise about which stresses are external and which are their own,” says Brafman.
If someone feels out of flow in their Root center, they should ask themselves, “Am I in a hurry to be free of pressure?”
Inner Authority Types
In Human Design, your inner authority is your primary decision-making tool. “I like to think of inner authority as our inner-GPS,” says Brafman. “We rely on authority to give us direction and when we follow it, it leads us to some magically aligned places.”
For those with Ego authority, their action and their decisions come from voicing what they want. They literally manifest or will their decisions into existence by saying it aloud. “They need to cultivate environments where they can be free to express their wants and will,” says Brafman.
Beings with emotional authority need time to come to aligned decisions. They ride an “emotional wave,” says Brafman. “When asked to make a decision, you will almost immediately feel multiple responses. That's awesome. Enjoy them instead of fearing that they mean indecisiveness.” Once the wave passes and they’re feeling calm, they can make a decision.
“Choosing the right environment is incredibly important, so it's important to consider the energy you want to emulate and expand into that energy as you voice your decisions,” says Brafman.
For those with lunar authority, following a thought or decision through an entire lunar cycle will give them a wider understanding of how that decision will play out in a variety of environments, giving them as much information as possible in order to make a decision. (Any small decisions can be made from the intuition of the moment.)
Sacral authority means that every answer is a "yes" or a "no." They should go with their gut reaction and follow what lights them up.
Those with self-authority hold a lot of power in their own words. “Their truth is always expressed, and in order to home in on this unique way of decision-making by noticing what you say, it’s important that you remove any prior conditioning that was meant to silence your inner voice.”
Living with Splenic authority means people need mental quiet to hear their authority speaking to them. “The quieter you can make your mental chatter, the more obvious your splenic whisper will be,” says Brafman. “Do not let your mind, your emotions, or pressures and desires of others cause you to second-guess or override the messages.”
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