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The Nine Centers

Each of the Nince Centers in Human Design is responsible for processing specific energies.

Defined centers have fixed and consistent energy. This energy will always be there for you and radiates out to impact others. Defined centers have their own issues, but in general they are much easier to deal with than the sometimes traumatic experiences of open centers. To live out the beauty and the deep impact of your defined centers, you have to live your Human Design strategy. It will empower you to always know what to do.

Open centers are white, undefined, mutable. The energy here is inconsistent and depends on your environment and mood. In each of the following sections, there is an affirmation and a question to help you manage your open centers. Understanding the questions of the open centers will empower you to work with your energy instead of being victimized by the energy you take in.

Let's take a closer look at the nine centers and their characteristics.

The First Center: The Head

“My head is all white.

Am I mindless?”

The Head Center appears at the top of the body graph. Its symbol is an isosceles triangle (figure 37).


Figure 37: The Head Center

The Head Center is associated with the pineal gland in the brain. It is the center for inspiration, and it is always under pressure to answer questions. Depending on the gates that define the center, the questions the head center answers can be abstract, logical, or individual in nature. It is not motorized, but it is a pressure center.

The Open Head Center

Someone with an open Head Center does not have a consistent way to receive inspiration, so when they come across inspiration they will take it in and amplify it.

It is very easy when you have an open Head Center to feel inspired all the time. Not only do you feel inspired, but you also feel pressure to act on this inspiration. This can make it look as if you don't know what you're doing or you are leaping all over the place trying all kinds of different things. People may even say that you just need to be decisive, pick one thing and stick to it. Those who understand their open Head Center can have a very deep understanding of who and what is truly inspiring. They can be wise about which inspirations to take action on and which to simply observe.

Not only will someone with an open Head Center have the ability to take in the inspiration of the world and amplify it, but they will also take in all the questions of the world and amplify those, too. This can sometimes make it difficult to make decisions. For example, let's say you are going out to eat. Earlier, you had a strong craving for a grilled cheese sandwich. But now that you are at the restaurant, your head is flooded with all kinds of inspiration, especially from the people sitting next to you, and instead of ordering a grilled cheese sandwich, you order shrimp cocktail. The shrimp arrives, and you spend the rest of the meal wondering why you ordered that.

You may be flooded with inspirational energy, but the only thing you really need to do to make good decisions is to follow your strategy for your type.


  • Do you feel as though you are always under pressure to answer other people's questions?
  • Do you find yourself frequently living out other people's ideas and inspirations?


  • I am deeply inspired all the time.
  • I follow my strategy to help me decide what I need to do.
  • The questions in my head are from others; I don't have to answer all of them—only the ones that truly inspire me.

The Defined Head Center

A defined Head Center is colored in yellow. Because the energy in the defined Head Center is always “on,” people with defined Head Centers are inspirational forces on the planet. They are always radiating inspiration out into the world. They may not always be aware of it, because it is energetic, but it's happening.

Defined Head Centers have a consistent source of inspiration. They are always asking questions and may feel that something is wrong if they don't have an answer. Inspiration is a reflective process. If you have a defined Head Center, it is important to process the questions you are receiving, but don't rely on the answers to make decisions about your life.

Often, people with defined Head Centers don't realize that they are questioning things. You may even find that they seem to have permanent quizzical looks on their faces. It is simply a part of their consistent energy.


  • I am inspired and inspiring.
  • I spread inspiration everywhere I go, sharing my ideas and insights with others.

When Defined and Undefined Head Centers Meet

When someone with a defined Head Center enters into the aura of an undefined Head Center, the defined Head Center will “deposit” a question into the other's mind. The undefined Head Center will pick up the energy of the question, amplify it, and spend the rest of the day wrestling with a question that wasn't even theirs in the first place.

When parents with defined Head Centers have children with undefined Head Centers, the kids can seem like they are full of questions. The children are just amplifying your own questions, whether you are aware of it or not.

The Second Center: The Ajna

“Thinking is mutable and unlimited.”

Based in the anterior and posterior pituitary in the brain, the Ajna is an awareness center (figure 38). Its function is to research and to conceptualize.

The Open Ajna Center

Someone with an open Ajna Center can see many sides to an issue. They are fair, judicious, empathetic, open-minded. An open Ajna can be very intellectual. An open Ajna doesn't have a fixed way of thinking, so they are able to process and understand information in a myriad of ways. People with an open Ajna who are able to relax can become great mind readers.


Figure 38: The Ajna Center

Because the open Ajna is designed to take in information and ideas and see all the different layers and levels of understanding, it can be a challenge for an open Ajna to “lock on to” a fixed idea or belief. With great effort people with open Ajnas can hold a fixed idea, but it doesn't come easily or naturally. If you have an open Ajna, you may have been told that you need to just make up your mind about something and stick to it. Remember that you are here to be wise about ideas and beliefs, but not necessarily adopt them. The beliefs that you hold on to will be the ones you came to through using your Human Design strategy and authority.


Do you struggle with feeling confident in your decisions?


  • I am wise about information and beliefs.
  • My gift is that I can see many sides of an issue and have many different understandings that are fluid and change all the time.
  • I don't have to make up my mind.
  • I always write down things I want to remember.

The Defined Ajna Center

The defined Ajna Center is colored in green. The defined Ajna is designed to hold information. It is trustworthy and reliable, but it is fixed in how it works. It is important to note again that the mind is a great resource, but it is a terrible place to make decisions. Remember that no decisions should come from the mind.


  • I am gentle with my thinking and always strive to remember that there are many ways to think about information.
  • I am uniquely capable of being certain.
  • I listen carefully to the thoughts of others and allow for limitless thinking with grace.

When Defined and Undefined Ajna Centers Meet

When a defined Ajna steps into the aura of an undefined Ajna, the undefined Ajna, without awareness, can think that the thoughts of the defined Ajna are their own. A child with an undefined Ajna who lives with a parent with a defined Ajna may experience a lot of mental pressure to be consistent. But they can't. An undefined Ajna can be mentally inconsistent. All the information that they receive is secondhand. This can feel very uncomfortable for the child if they are pressured by their parent to “think like me.”

The Third Center: The Throat

“Words when spoken carry power. Speak with great care and responsibility, and honor the energy of the spoken word.”

How many times have you been frustrated or discouraged because you feel as though no one is listening to you? Are you the life of the party, but you go home with a sore or raspy throat? Were you the child who got in trouble all the time in school for talking too much? These are some of the things that can happen when you fail to live out the correct strategy of the throat center.

The Throat Center represents the thyroid and the parathyroid. On the body graph, the Throat Center is the square underneath the Ajna and the Head Centers (figure 39). The Throat Center is the center for communication, as well as manifestation into action.

The Open Throat Center

How your Throat is defined will control how you speak. People with undefined, or open, Throats always feel under pressure to speak. When they are in a group or in school this can be very difficult. The open Throat often blurts out comments or answers—sometimes uncontrollably, unaware of where the comment came from (this is even worse if your mind is also undefined).


Figure 39: The Throat Center

There is, however, deep wisdom in the open Throat. Many great singers (like Celine Dion) and well-known speakers (like Bill Clinton) have open Throat Centers. Someone with an open Throat can speak in various ways depending on who they are with. The open Throat can be very good at speaking foreign languages and impersonating others' speech.

In order for the open Throat and the thyroid to remain healthy, it is important to speak according to your strategy. I always encourage open Throats to experiment with not talking. Try going to a party or gathering and don't say a thing unless you're given something to respond to or you are invited into a conversation. If you are silent, your aura does the talking! Just wait and see. People won't be able to stop themselves from talking to you!


Are you trying to get attention so you can be heard?


  • My words are heard best when I am invited to speak.
  • I save my words for people who will truly value my words and point of view.

The Defined Throat Center

The defined Throat is colored in brown. The defined Throat Center is designed to speak, but how it speaks is controlled by what it is connected to. Understanding where the Throat is connected is vital to understanding how you relate to others. For example, if your Throat is connected to your Ajna, you can speak your mind. If your Throat is connected to your Emotional Solar Plexus, you are able to talk about your feelings effectively.

For the defined Throat to be heard, it is vital that they enter into communication according to their strategy: Manifestors and Manifesting Generators can just talk, Generators need to respond, and Projectors need to wait to be invited to speak. Reflectors will never have a defined Throat Center.

Effective communication is vital for personal and global well-being. Experiment with living your strategy and see how it improves the quality of your relationships.

When Defined and Undefined Throat Centers Meet

In my practice I often have romantic partners complain that the other partner just won't share their feelings. When I look at each of their Human Design charts, almost always the “unemotional” partner has no channels connecting their Emotional Solar Plexus to their Throat. I advise these couples to discuss their feelings in a semi-public place, like a restaurant, where they can hook up with other auras to get the connections they need to communicate more effectively.


  • I speak with great responsibility and know the true source of my words.
  • I allow others to have a voice and use my words to invite others to share.

The Fourth Center: The Identity

“Who are you?”

The Identity Center is one of the most important centers in the Human Design system. It is the center for love and direction, the place where the soul is seated. The liver is represented by this center. The Identity Center, sometimes called the “G-Center” or the “Magnetic Monopole,” is the diamond in the middle of your Human Design chart (figure 40).

The Open Identity Center

Individuals with an open Identity Center understand other people's sense of self and direction. They will take in another person's identity and amplify it, giving them insight into another person's perspective. I have known many therapists, teachers, and intuitives with open Identity Centers.


Figure 40: The Identity Center

Because this is the center for direction, being in the right place at the right time is the most important thing for individuals with an open Identity Center. My clients with open Identity Centers will tell me that they will experience a “click” on a cellular level when they are in the right place. It is almost as if they feel a deep sigh of relief when they are in the right town, the right restaurant, the right office. Being in the right place allows these individuals to receive the right opportunities.

Conversely, if a person with an open Identity Center is in the wrong place, they will also feel it on a deep, deep level. When they are in the wrong place, they may get all the wrong opportunities—or none at all.

How people with an open Identity Center express themselves may change depending on who they are experiencing at the moment. This is important especially if you are the parent of a teenager. Children with open Identity Centers may appear more vulnerable to peer pressure and may seem more apt to assimilate into being part of a clique.

Because a person with an open Identity Center has a dynamic sense of themselves and their own personal direction, often these individuals can be afraid that they are not lovable. Who they perceive themselves to be is always changing, and therefore how they receive love is also always changing. For this reason, children with an open Identity Center may also sometimes be a little bit more vulnerable to self-esteem issues. It is common for parents of a child with an open Identity Center to long for the child to “find himself.” These children are not here to find themselves; they are here to be wise about experiencing others.

I advise those with an open Identity Center to throw a party. With an unlimited capacity to experience others, individuals with open Identity Centers tend to have all kinds of friends from all walks of life. A drug dealer and a district attorney? Why shouldn't these two mix? The open Identity Center person is friends with both. It is a fascinating study in humanity to see who comes to an open Identity Center's party.


  • Do you notice that you tend to adopt the personalities of those around you?
  • Do you question your lovability?


  • How I experience myself changes depending on who I am with. Knowing this, I choose to surround myself with people who feel good to me.
  • Place is very important to me, and I create an environment that soothes me.
  • When I am in the right place, the right opportunities come to me.

The Defined Identity Center

When you have a defined Identity Center, you are here to give love. Your sense of yourself is probably pretty solid. While you know who you are and where you are going, you might not always know how you are going to get there.

Individuals who have a full channel connecting their Identity Center to the Throat Center can be very vulnerable to criticism, as their creative expression comes straight from their identity.

When Defined and Undefined Identity Centers Meet

When a defined Identity Center meets an undefined Identity Center, the open person will take in the identity of the defined person. When you have awareness of your openness, you can understand that you are experiencing the identity of the other person and appreciate who they are. While this is an ideal configuration because the open person can “morph” themselves somewhat to be like the other person, the trick is staying true to yourself when you are open.

The biggest challenge I see with couples with this configuration is that the open Identity often struggles with taking direction, especially in the relationship. The defined partner is really better at giving the relationship direction. But this gets tricky, especially if you have a gender-based belief system that men should lead. If the man has an open Identity Center, it may be harder for him to give direction in the relationship. Letting go of these traditional gender stereotypes helps.

It's also important for the open Identity to not get “lost” in the relationship. Of course, to make sure the relationship is taking direction, follow your strategy according to your type.


  • I am who I am.
  • I express myself in all that I do.
  • I celebrate the magnificence of who I am.

The Fifth Center: The Will

“The secret to willpower is having some.”

The Will Center is the small triangle located to the right of the diamond in the middle of the chart (figure 41). It is the center for the heart, the stomach, the gall bladder, and the thymus. It is also one of the four motors.


Figure 41: The Will Center

The Will Center is the motor that is responsible for bringing things forth on the material plane. It is part of the business circuitry in the Human Design system, and energetically it is all about value, business management, allocation of resources, and the energy to get things done even when the going gets tough.

The Open Will Center

How many times have you tried to do something like stay on a diet, quit smoking, or exercise regularly? How much energy do you use every day trying to do all the things you think you should do or that you promised to finish?

Okay, it's time to be honest with yourself here. You don't have willpower. And that is not a personality defect. You can take comfort in the fact that most people don't have willpower. Most people (about seven out of eight) do not have a defined Will Center, and therefore do not have consistent access to willpower.

When you have an open Will Center, it is crucial that you use your strategy to make agreements and promises. If you don't, you will be using energy you don't have and run the risk of entering into the wrong situations and feeling obligated to make yourself follow through. And you might miss the right opportunity, because you will be busy forcing yourself to do something you don't want to do.

Because the Will Center is also all about value and the material plane, it is also very common that you may have a tendency to undervalue yourself. It is common for people with open Will Centers to undercharge for their business services or even give their services away, even when no one asks them to. I always encourage my clients with open Will Centers to check out the going rates for their services and make sure that they are charging enough. If you are employed by someone else, make sure that you are being paid what you are worth.

Because the open Will Center can be motivated by a need to prove itself, I also suggest asking what you are trying to prove when you make a new agreement. Are you trying to prove that you are nice? Are you trying to prove that you can do more than everyone else?

Remember that the open centers are our deepest sources of wisdom. The open Will Center can help you become very wise about what is truly valuable in life. You may, with time and experience, become very wise about what you are worth, both in the business arena and in your personal life. You may also become wise about knowing when it is time to work and when it is time to rest.

Many of you might be wondering, If I don't have willpower, how will I get things done? You can and do get things done, but you have to enter into each of your commitments according to the strategy for your type. When you have an open Will Center, it is very important for you to understand that following your strategy may save your life. We are all conditioned to believe that we have willpower. We are the “just do it” society. And, of course, if we force ourselves to “just do it” outside our strategies, we fail and end up feeling lousy and burned out.

For example, let's say you are a Generator and you notice that your neighbor is getting ready to paint his house. You strike up a friendly conversation, and all of the sudden you find yourself offering to get up early and help your neighbor paint. Of course, your neighbor accepts the generous offer. The next morning you wake up regretting having made the offer and look for some acceptable ways to get out of your commitment. You think about pretending to be sick or even telling some other lie. But your conscience gets the best of you, and you go next door to help.

That night you go to bed very sore and very tired and have a miserable time regaining your strength and stamina after working so hard. Your neighbor is also tired and a little frustrated, because you didn't help him exactly the way he had imagined, and now he has to secretly go back and redo the work that you helped him with.

Remember that the Generator strategy is to wait to respond or give others something to respond to. You did not enter into this helpful agreement with your neighbor according to strategy, and, consequently, the whole thing went awry. And because you don't have willpower, you forced yourself to do something that didn't feel right in the light of day, and you burned yourself out.

How different would the situation have been if you had waited for your neighbor to ask for help or if you had asked your neighbor if he wanted help (responding or giving someone something to respond to)? You might not have entered into an agreement that you then felt obligated to follow through on. Your Sacral response would have protected you from making the wrong commitment or promise.


What are you trying to prove?


  • I make promises very deliberately and only according to my Human Design strategy.
  • I have nothing to prove, and I value myself deeply.
  • I ask to be paid what I am worth, fearlessly and confidently.

The Defined Will Center

A defined Will Center will always be red on your chart. When you have a defined Will Center, you have consistent access to willpower. You can be willful.

If you have a defined Will Center and you decide that you would like to start running every morning, it will be pretty easy for you to get into a regular routine and make yourself run every day, even if you don't feel like it. You might pause your routine for a few days to rest, but you'll pick it back up in a few days and stick with it consistently.

When you have a defined Will Center, it is very important for your self-esteem to make promises and keep them, even if you don't want to. Take your promises seriously if you have a defined Will Center, as it takes time and energy to follow through, and you always deliver on your word.

When Defined and Undefined Will Centers Meet

The energy between the defined and undefined Will Center can create an interesting explosion of force. The defined Will Center has the Will Center to endure and the energy for value. But remember, that defined energy is fixed. People with a defined Will Center have true willpower. If they decide they're going to do something, they most likely will.

The undefined Will Center can amplify the willpower of the defined Will. This can be an empowering and enlivening energy for the undefined Will Center. But be careful if you get locked into a power struggle with this configuration. For short periods of time, the undefined Will Center can amplify the willpower of the defined Will Center. Eventually, because undefined energy is not sustainable, the defined Will Center can wear the undefined Will Center down. In a battle of wills, the defined Will Center will eventually win.

The defined Will Center is designed to work and then rest. It is very important to take time off or go on vacation periodically; if you push too hard without rest, you may end up with heart troubles or stomach problems.

If you have a defined Will Center, you will energetically empower others by making them feel as if they can do anything. And they can, as long as they are standing in your aura. For example, say you are a motivational speaker with a defined Will Center. While your students are taking your class, they are bathed in your willpower. Your students will feel inspired and committed to following through on all that they have learned from you. But most of your students will go home and never apply the new knowledge they acquired. They are out of your willpower-driven auric field and have no willpower of their own to access.

Be gentle with others who don't seem to be able to “just do it” the way you can. The truth is that most people don't have willpower and need to enter into their commitments in a different way than you.


  • It is important for me to rest and recharge my willpower.
  • I make promises deliberately and honor them.
  • I am gentle with my expectations of others. I understand that not everyone can just do the things I can.

The Sixth Center:

The Emotional Solar Plexus

“Be a screen, not a sponge.”

On the body graph, the Emotional Solar Plexus is the large triangle on the far right of the chart (figure 42). The kidneys and pancreas are associated with the Emotional Solar Plexus. It is a motor center, and this emotional energy fluctuates in waves.

The Open Emotional Solar Plexus

About half of us have an open Emotional Solar Plexus. Emotionally open individuals are here to learn about emotional energy and become wise about feelings. When you are emotionally open, you are truly empathetic and can take in other people's emotional energy and amplify it.

This can be a great gift. I am emotionally open and use this attribute as a way to better understand my clients' emotional states. Many emotionally open people are great at sales because they can instantly read their client's emotional status and tailor their sales pitch accordingly.


Figure 42: The Emotional Solar Plexus

Because the open Emotional Solar Plexus will take in emotional energy and amplify it, this can be a very painful center to have open when you do not understand how it works. It is easy to think that the emotions you are experiencing are your own, and if someone else's energy is negative, it can be painful when it flows into your awareness. Consequently, it is common for open emotional people to develop coping strategies that involve being nice, pleasing, avoiding conflict, and having a secret life.

It is not that emotionally open people are weak or lack character. It is truly more painful for these people to enter into highly charged emotional situations. It is crucial to become conscious of emotional energy when you are emotionally open so that you can allow that frequency of energy to flow through you without you feeling responsible for it or as if you need to fix it. Be an emotional screen, not a sponge.

Oftentimes the child who is consistently acting out with great drama is an emotionally open child. This child is picking up and amplifying the emotional energy of the whole family. On their own, however, these children are actually quite mild and don't experience a lot of emotional energy.


Are you avoiding truth and conflict?


  • I can make decisions in the moment.
  • I pay attention to the source of my emotions and allow others to experience their feelings without making their experience my own.
  • I am very sensitive, and I trust my insights about other people's feelings.
  • I take frequent breaks when the emotional energy is too intense.

The Defined Emotional Solar Plexus

The defined Emotional Solar Plexus will be brown. If you are part of the 50 percent of the population that has a defined Emotional Solar Plexus, you carry emotional energy at all times.

The channels connecting your Emotional Solar Plexus to other centers will determine the kind of emotional waves that you experience. Some of you have only small undulations in your emotional frequency. Others may experience high emotional highs and low emotional lows, with plateaus in between.

Because of the wavelike nature of emotional energy, it is easy to mistake the melancholy of the low end of the wave for depression. If you are emotionally defined, depression can become a big problem if you are looking for a reason why you are feeling down. We have a lot of judgment against negative emotions in our culture. But not all negative emotions are destructive. Melancholy or the low end of an emotional wave is also a very important creative energy. It allows a person to evaluate an issue from many different emotional perspectives.

If you are emotionally defined, it is a good idea to keep a log of your emotional energy on a daily basis. Each person has their own unique emotional rhythm, and knowing your emotional pattern will help you make healthy decisions and understand the timeframe that you may need in order to reach emotional clarity about an issue.

Because you experience emotion in waves, it is crucial that you honor your process. Emotional definition is always your authority, so no matter what type you are, wait until you have emotional clarity before you take action or respond. My emotionally defined clients have told me that they experience a kind of internal “click” when they feel emotional clarity and readiness to take action. They have also said that, to a certain degree, they always feel a little nervous about their decisions even when they feel clear. Waiting for the right emotional state before taking action will keep you from leaping into emotional decisions and regretting them later.

When Defined and Undefined Emotional Solar Plexuses Meet

The emotional energy exchange between people can be flavored by the definition or openness of the Emotional Solar Plexus. When someone with a defined Emotional Solar Plexus and someone with an undefined Emotional Solar Plexus have an intense emotional interchange, the open individual may actually be the person raging or expressing other intense emotions. Remember, the open center will take in energy and amplify it.

Remember, emotionally defined people will experience emotional waves. The open emotional person will take in the emotional waves and amplify them. Both my partner and I are emotionally open. We have three children who are emotionally defined and one child who is emotionally open. One day my partner and I were in the kitchen having a pleasant chat. My emotionally defined daughter walked through the kitchen, and within seconds my partner and I were having a fight—for no reason!

As soon as I became aware of what happened, I realized that my daughter was low on her emotional wave and had simply broadcast her frequency into the kitchen, where we picked it up and amplified it. It is so nice to have awareness of this energy and just simply allow it to be without having to react to it.

It can even be more intense with two open emotional people. When an emotional spark gets going between the two of them, the energy just runs back and forth between them, constantly amplifying.

If you are emotionally open, your best strategy for handling conflict is to get out of the aura of the person with whom you are struggling. Breaking auric space will allow the emotional energy to leave your system, and you can quickly deescalate and then return to the situation in a calm way. When both parties understand this need for space and a break, it can become easier to manage the conflicts of everyday life without destroying the fabric of a relationship.

Two emotionally defined partners must also learn to honor each other and be conscious of where their partner is on their emotional wave. If one is down and one is up, it can be an interesting combination. It is crucial that both parties realize that emotional energy is not personal, and allowing each other to experience the emotional wave without judgment is vital for this kind of relationship.


  • I take my time making decisions and know that I reach clarity over time.
  • I am here to be deliberate, not spontaneous.

The Seventh Center: The Root

“Under pressure to be free.”

The Root Center is the square located at the very bottom of the body graph (figure 43). This is the center for adrenaline. It is also considered one of two pressure centers in the system (the other one being the Head Center). The Root Center energy operates in pulses.

The Open Root Center

If the square at the bottom of your chart is white, then you have an open Root Center. It takes in adrenaline energy from others and amplifies it. Someone with an open Root Center might enjoy the rush of being in front of a crowd or other adrenaline-charged experiences, such as skydiving or bungee jumping. On a more simple level, people with open Root Centers may opt for safer adrenaline fixes, such as caffeine or chocolate.

Because the open Root Center is a pressure center, individuals with an open root can sometimes feel that they are under pressure to be free. In other words, people who process energy this way have a hard time relaxing or playing unless all their work is done. It seems reasonable to get your work done before you can go out to play, but people with an open Root Center will feel such pressure to get things done that they don't ever allow themselves time to recharge their batteries. Eventually, they can become so drained that they are ineffective at work.

Sometimes, the energy taken in the open Root Center might be too much for a person, and they may suffer from stress, or even stage fright or a panic disorder. Individuals can have different levels of sensitivity in their open centers.

The truth of the open Root Center is that the work is never done. If you give an individual with an open Root Center a job to do, they will do it very quickly in order to get out from under the pressure of having to get it done. Of course, while they may be efficient, they can be moving so quickly that they make mistakes or skip steps—especially if they are a Manifesting Generator.


Figure 43: The Root Center

Naturally, we tend to assign these people more work because the more work you give them, the more pressure they have to get it done. And the more they do. It can be a never-ending cycle. That is why it is crucial to realize that the open Root Center is just an energy center and you do not have to be a victim to that energy. Just be free anyway.

When Defined and Undefined Root Centers Meet

Root Center energy can present interesting challenges in relationships. The thing to understand is that awareness is the key to mastering any kind of energy. When you are conscious of how Root energy operates in your relationship, it can help you not take it personally.

If you have an open Root Center and your partner, child, or boss has a defined Root Center, you will feel as if that person is putting you under pressure, even if they are simply noting that the sky is very blue today. Just being in the presence of defined Root energy will make you feel pressure. You may eventually feel that there are all kinds of expectations in your relationship that you can't live up to. With an understanding of your Root Center energy, you can realize that the pressure you feel is simply energetic, and the expectations you feel along with it may not even be real.

If you have a defined Root Center and your partner, child, or boss has an undefined Root Center, you may feel hurt that your partner feels pressured by you. Again, with simple awareness, it is possible to understand that the pressure your partner feels is energetic and not personal.


Are you still trying to get things done so you can be free?


  • I set realistic goals.
  • I make powerful decisions about being free, and I know that things will get done when they get done.
  • I use pressure to create more energy, and at the end of the day I rest and relax, even if my to-do list is long.
  • I make decisions according to my Human Design strategy, even if I feel pressure.
  • I breathe and relax, knowing that there is an abundance of time to get things done.

The Defined Root Center

If you have a defined Root Center, the square at the base of your chart will be brown. This means that you have a fixed way of processing adrenaline energy, and it will operate cyclically, depending on which of the lines you have colored in around your Root Center. You will get things done when the adrenaline pulse is there; when you don't have that adrenaline pulse, things won't necessarily get done. You have a natural cycle for your adrenaline energy.

If you have a defined Root Center then you are somewhat immune to adrenaline pressure. That doesn't mean that you don't experience stress. However, your stress may come from other factors or through other open centers that you may have in your body graph. Simply put, when you have a defined Root Center, things get done when they get done.


  • I honor my root pulse and wait for the energy to get things done.
  • I get more done when the energy is “on.”
  • When the energy is off, I know that it is my time to rest and restore.

The Eighth Center: The Spleen

“It is healthy to be afraid and to go into a dark cave.”

The Spleen is the large triangle located on the left side of the Human Design chart (figure 44). The Spleen is the center for intuition, time, the lymph nodes, and the immune system.

The intuition that is located in the Spleen is survival based. The Spleen operates strictly in the now. When you have “gut feelings” about something, the feelings are usually short lived. This is why it is so easy to ignore your gut and go ahead and do something anyway and then regret it later! The Spleen is a “feel-good” center.

Survival-based intuition can sometimes feel like fear. The Spleen Center is kind of like the “caveman” center in that it is primal and instinctive. Certain fears can be healthy and beneficial, such as being afraid to go into a dark alley at night. When you have a lot of gates activated in your Spleen you can sometimes be prone to a lot of different fears—not all of them so beneficial. The good news is that the fears of the Spleen exist only in the moment, and although they can feel terrifying, it is easy to push through them—particularly if they seem illogical.


Figure 44: The Spleen Center

Remember, the Human Design system is purely about energy. Sometimes we experience these energies, and it isn't logical or even personal. Understanding your Human Design can really help liberate you from being a victim of certain energies, such as fear.

The Spleen is also the center for time. People with a defined Spleen have an easy time being in the moment. In fact, sometimes they have a hard time moving beyond the moment. The Spleen is also the center for the immune system.

The Open Spleen Center

An open Spleen means that you likely have a sensitive immune system. It may seem like you get sick easily, but what that really means is that you are very sensitive to the subtle changes in your body, and you notice when you start to feel a little “off.” You may be very sensitive to medications and need lower doses, or you may even do better with homeopathic remedies. Also, be aware that your tolerance for alcohol or recreational drugs may be lower, and you may experience the effects at much lower rates of consumption.

When you have an open Spleen, it means that you don't have consistent access to “feel-good” energy. People with open Spleens like to be around people with defined Spleens. It makes them feel nurtured and strong.

People with open Spleens can have a hard time letting go. This can include possessions, addictions, relationships—even grudges. For example, say you have an open Spleen and you are dating someone with a defined Spleen. Being with this person makes you feel good. You feel nurtured and protected when you are with them. But this person might not treat you the way you deserve to be treated, and you may have a hard time ending the relationship because, unconsciously, your energy field likes to be in the energy of this person.

Remember that an open center is unlimited in how it can experience the energy of a particular center. If you have an open Spleen, that means that you can experience unlimited intuition. It just won't always be the same. Someone with an open Spleen may experience “gut feelings” one day, have “inner knowingness” on another day, and hear a guiding voice or have a prophetic dream on a different day. Because an open Spleen doesn't have consistent access to intuitive energy, many people with an open Spleen think they don't have very much intuitive insight.

How an open Spleen receives their intuition will vary depending on who they are around, but they will probably be deeply intuitive.

Because the Spleen is also the center for time, it is common for people with open Spleens to struggle with the concept of time. Many are chronically late, while others who have had bad experiences in the past with being late are compulsively early. This is especially important to understand if you have a child with an undefined Spleen. Always leave a little extra time when you need to get out the door quickly. It can be difficult for people with open Spleens to rush! Because our open centers are where we carry our deepest conditioning, if you have an open Spleen, you have the potential to be hyper-aware of time, particularly if you have had bad experiences with losing track of time.

Remember, openness is where we carry our wisdom. When a person with an open Spleen begins to understand Splenic energy, they become wise about healing, wise about intuition, and wise about time.


Are you holding on to things for longer than you should?


  • I easily let go of all things that do not serve my highest good.
  • I honor my body and the messages it sends me. When I feel sick, I rest.
  • I honor my sense of timing and know that whenever I arrive is just perfect!
  • I respect other people's sense of time and always wear a watch.
  • I trust my intuition and know that I receive intuitive insights in many different ways.

The Defined Spleen Center

The defined Spleen Center will be brown on your chart. When you have a defined Spleen, you are designed to be in the moment. Your decisions will be in the moment. Your sense of timing will be “right now.” A defined Spleen will speed you up, and give you a sense of time and consistent intuitive insights in the moment.

Defined Spleens have very powerful immune systems. Because the immune system is so strong, it is easy for a person with a defined Spleen to “miss” the first symptoms of illness. If you have a defined Spleen, you might not notice that you are sick until you are very, very sick. It is also common for people with defined Spleens to keep working through an illness. It is important to remember to check in with your body periodically if you have a defined Spleen. Or, pay attention if someone asks you if you are feeling well. Sometimes other people may notice that you are sick before you do.

The intuition of the defined Spleen speaks once and then never again. That gut feeling that you should or shouldn't be doing something is your Spleen speaking to you. Most of us with defined Spleens learn to listen to the “voice” of our Spleens sometime around age forty. It is at that point that we have spent a lifetime saying to ourselves “I knew I shouldn't have done that . . .”

Because the Spleen is survival based, it can also communicate to you with fear. Some of those fears include a fear of inadequacy, a fear of responsibility, a fear of imperfection, a fear that life is meaningless, and a fear that your dreams will never be realized. It is very easy to becomes paralyzed by these fears. The wonderful thing about Spleen-based fears is that no matter how frightening they feel, they can be best conquered by just pushing through them.

When Defined and Undefined Spleen Centers Meet

There are two major issues when the defined and undefined Spleen come together in relationships: timing and connection. The undefined Spleen has a fluid sense of time and timing, while the defined Spleen has a strong sense of time and can plan accordingly. The defined Spleen can often struggle with the “flowy” nature of the undefined Spleen. For the defined Spleen there is only now, now, and now.

My boyfriend has an undefined Spleen. I have a defined Spleen. (Fortunately I know this!) It is very common for my boyfriend to call me and tell me that he'll be home in twenty minutes, but before he comes home he's going to run a few errands: to the cleaners, the grocery store, the bookstore (where he has epic capacity to “lose” time), and then pick up our daughter from school.

With my defined Spleen and my inherent sense of timing, I know darn well he won't be home in twenty minutes and that I better pick up our daughter from school. It's easy to get frustrated with this, but truly, it's not personal. The undefined Spleen often really just doesn't understand timing.

The second issue with an undefined Spleen and defined Spleen involves connectivity. The Spleen is a “feel-good” center. When the Spleen is undefined, it seeks out energy to feel good, safe, and healthy. This can make them seem needy or clingy to a defined Spleen. This gets really crucial when we look at small children with undefined Spleens and separation anxiety. Children with undefined Spleens tend to have a much harder time with separation anxiety, especially if the parent has a defined Spleen. Be patient with it. It does pass, but often later than it will for children with defined Spleens.

The challenge of the defined Spleen is to figure out whether your intuition is giving you an important message about survival or whether you are simply experiencing the energy of the Spleen, and you need to push forward with understanding and insight. This is where living your strategy is so important. If you are experiencing the fears of the Spleen, use the strategy of your type to decide whether you should do something or not. Don't let the fears of the Spleen paralyze you into a state of inaction.


  • I trust my intuition.
  • I listen to my body.
  • I rest and take care of myself.
  • I honor my sense of time.
  • I remember that not everyone is as fast as me, and I flow with universal timing.

The Ninth Center: The Sacral

“Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to work I go . . .”

The Sacral Center is one of the most important centers in the Human Design system, and it is the most important of the four motors. The Sacral is the square located toward the bottom of the chart (figure 45). It is the energy center for work force and life force energy, and it is associated with the reproductive organs—the ovaries and the testes.

The Open Sacral Center

An undefined Sacral Center has an unlimited capacity to experience life force and work force energy. The undefined Sacral Center is here to become wise about work and sexuality.

When you have an open Sacral Center, you have the ability to take in and amplify work force and life force energies for short periods of time. This means that in short bursts, people with undefined Sacral Centers can work as hard as, or even harder than, Generators and Manifesting Generators. Because of this, a lot of people with open Sacrals think they can do more than anyone else. And for short periods of time this is actually true.


Figure 45: The Sacral Center

But remember the key word in understanding the energy of the Sacral is  sustainability.  And a person with an open Sacral Center cannot maintain a high level of energy for a prolonged period of time without really burning themselves out. What that means is that if you have an open Sacral Center, you are not here to work a Monday through Friday, nine-to-five job. And for most people with open Sacral Centers, hearing that they are not designed to work in the traditional sense is a great relief! That doesn't mean that if you have an open Sacral that you can't work or that you don't need to work. But you will probably do best finding a way to work that has some level of flexibility built into it.

Many of my Human Design clients are non-Sacral people who are around forty and have literally fried their circuits. It is not uncommon for non-Sacral beings to “crash” somewhere around forty years of age and to struggle trying to keep up with their former busy lifestyle. Because sustainability is such an important factor in a non-Sacral being, it is important for you to always ask yourself if you are doing more than enough and to help yourself recognize when enough is enough.

Collectively, we have a lot of beliefs about the value and importance of work. A non-Sacral being does not have the energy for sustainable labor. Because of this, many non-Sacral beings get a lot of judgment from others about being lazy or incapable. But non-Sacral beings have their own wisdom and energy to add to the planet. They just work differently.

Non-Sacral beings may also be judged as lazy because of their need for naps and significant alone time—but these needs are vital for their physical health. As a non-Sacral person, you need alone time to discharge the excess Sacral energy from your system. You also need to nap to recharge yourself and revitalize your body. Both alone time and adequate sleep are crucial for you to stay healthy.

Sleep can also be another important factor for people with open Sacral Centers, and it is very common for people with open Sacrals to struggle with insomnia. When you have an open Sacral, it is vital that you don't wait until you are exhausted before you go to bed. If you have waited for exhaustion, then you have probably waited too long and will struggle to fall asleep. If you have an open Sacral Center, then you must go to bed before you are sleepy. It is good for you to lie down in bed at least thirty minutes before you fall asleep. It is okay to read or watch TV, but you should be resting in a reclining position and then going to sleep.

It is also important for you to sleep alone at least a few nights a week. If you are sleeping with a Generator at night, they will wear you out. Your Sacral Center will not get a chance to discharge all that extra energy, and again, your system will suffer. Of course, this is an issue that you will want to discuss with your partner to find a win/win solution. Always remember, understanding your Human Design and taking appropriate actions to protect and nurture your energy system is part of staying strong and healthy.


Do you know when enough is enough?


  • I am not here to work in the traditional way.
  • I can work hard in short bursts and then I need alone time to discharge the extra energy I carry.
  • I recognize that my energy is mutable, and I take care of myself and let go of the expectations of others.
  • I am very powerful when I am using my energy correctly.

The Defined Sacral Center

If you have a defined Sacral Center, it will be red. This red square is what makes you a Generator. The most important function of the Sacral Center is work. When you have a defined Sacral motor, you are designed to work. The challenge is, of course, finding the right work that you love.

Most of my coaching clients are Generators and Manifesting Generators who are feeling frustrated because they hate their jobs and feel stuck in their work situation. This is usually because they have entered into their relationship with their work incorrectly.

The energy of the Sacral Center is counterintuitive to how most of us have been raised in this culture. Generally speaking, we have been raised to believe that we have to go out and “make things happen.” We have been taught to “manifest our destiny.” But, as many of you may have already experienced, if you have a defined Sacral and you go out and try to make things happen, you usually just feel frustrated because nothing turns out the way you had planned.

If you have a defined Sacral motor you are designed to wait for things to show up. This can be very difficult, because that Sacral energy hums and buzzes and is just longing to do something. Sacral beings are very busy people. They are designed to be “doing.”

But the Sacral Center is all about waiting and the responding to whatever shows up in your outer reality. Think about this. If you have a defined Sacral Center, how many times have miraculous and unexpected things happened to you out of the blue?

And what happens to you if you go out and try to make things happen?

I am a Manifesting Generator, and I have had to work very hard to learn how to wait for things to show up. I am not the most patient of Sacral beings. I remember when I first learned about my Sacral motor and its wait and respond energy. I really wrestled with the whole idea. I had not waited for anything in my whole life! But I had to admit that my life had felt pretty frustrating up until that point.

Sacral energy works best if you learn to wait for the right thing to show up and then respond to it. Remember, though, just because it shows up doesn't mean you have to do it. You do have the freedom to choose.

Defined Sacrals are designed to wear themselves out every day. They should be experiencing exhaustion and then falling asleep. It is very important to sleep when you are exhausted. If you are waiting for your second wind, you are running on energy that you don't really have, and eventually your health will suffer.

If you have a defined Sacral and you are having a hard time falling asleep at night, that simply means you did not get enough physical activity during the day. You may want to consider moving your body more on a regular basis. Generators need to burn out their Sacrals.

This becomes very important to think about when we are dealing with Generator children. In my family coaching practice, I deal with many children who have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many of these children are simply Generators who are not getting enough exercise and consequently not burning their Sacral motors out each night. As these children become more and more sleep deprived over time as a result of not being able to fall asleep at night, their serotonin levels begin to drop. The symptoms of low serotonin include irritability, lack of focus, and low self-esteem. These symptoms can mimic the symptoms of ADD or ADHD.

I often find that simply helping parents find ways to help their children get more physical exercise can dramatically improve children's ability to fall asleep and sleep well. Usually if the children can sleep well for a few weeks, the symptoms of ADD or ADHD magically go away. The same is true for adults.

The Sacral Center is also the center for sexuality. When I talk about sexuality I am talking about sex as well as reproduction. The Sacral Center is the energy for sexual encounters and raising children and making sure they make it to adulthood. When you have a defined Sacral, you have a fixed way of processing sexual energy. How you experience sexuality will usually stay the same throughout the course of your life. Sacral beings are also designed to have and raise children. The Sacral gives you sustainable energy to take care of children as well as work to provide for the children.

The real key to understanding Sacral energy is to understand that a defined Sacral Center gives a Generator access to sustainable life force and work force energy. This is very important to remember, because it is one of the key differences between a Sacral being and a non-Sacral being.

When Defined and Undefined Sacral Centers Meet

The undefined and defined Sacral face many challenges together in relationship. It's a relationship that can work, but awareness of the differences in energy is crucial.

The keyword for Sacral energy is sustainability. The defined Sacral has sustainable energy, but the undefined Sacral does not. For short periods of time the undefined Sacral can amplify the energy of the defined Sacral, but eventually they will crash. This can be frustrating for the defined Sacral, who might not get that their partner needs more rest and downtime than they do.

The undefined Sacral needs time alone to “discharge” Sacral energy from the world. When the undefined Sacral is “overcharged,” they can feel hyper, zingy, manic. The undefined Sacral is not designed to hold on to Sacral energy indefinitely. Eventually not discharging that energy takes its toll. Undefined Sacrals need time and space to discharge energy, especially at night. To the disappointment of the Generator types, I always recommend that undefined Sacrals sleep alone in their own room, in their own aura. This is true for undefined Sacral children as well. They need their own bedroom, if possible.

The third challenge with the undefined Sacral and the defined Sacral in romantic relationships is sexuality. Remember that undefined energy has few limits in how it can be experienced, but defined energy is somewhat fixed. The undefined Sacral can have a variety of sexual experiences and even preferences. But an undefined Sacral in the aura of a defined Sacral will always be a reflection of the other person. If you have an undefined Sacral and you've had a variety of sexual experiences, your open energy is probably why. It is crucial for the undefined Sacral to enjoy the sexuality of their defined Sacral partner, because it is unlikely to change much over time.


  • I wait with grace and patience, knowing that the right opportunities will show up for me.
  • All I have to do is respond to the world, and I will joyfully do the right work and be with the right people.
  • I fearlessly honor my response and know that I am internally driven to be in the right time at the right place, doing the right work.


As we continue to peel back the layers of the chart, you are gaining some profound insights into who you are and how you operate. The nine centers reveal to us so much of our life experience and give us deep awarenesses into how we experience the world, where we get stuck sometimes, and the opportunities for wisdom. When considering these sometimes not-so-subtle energies and how they play out in your life, remember that the key to living out the highest expression of all your energy is to follow your Human Design strategy according to your type.