The Nine Human Design Centers

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I’m back with another post in the Human Design Basics series, and I’ll be covering the nine energy centers and what it means to have your centers defined or undefined. Before you jump in, though, be sure that you have your chart nearby. If you don’t have your human design chart yet, you can get one for free on Genetic Matrix. Sign up for your free Genetic Matrix account here.

a human design bodygraph with text that reads human design nine centers learn about the nine energy centers, what they represent, and the difference between defined and undefined

The 9 Human Design Centers 101

In the Human Design Chart, there are nine energy centers. They are represented by the geometric shapes in the middle of the chart. The easiest way to think about the nine energy centers is that they are indicators of the way that energy is consistently flowing through you. The centers are: 

Nine Energy Centers in Human Design

Each of the nine human design centers produces a specific type of energy. Here are the keynotes for each center:

Head = Big ideas, macro perspective, Divine inspiration

Ajna = Practical concepts, workable theories, useful ideas, micro or detailed perspective

Throat = communication, action, and outer manifestation of inner energy

G = direction, love, identity

Will (aka Heart) = willpower, ego, the material world, drive, determination, worthiness

Sacral = vital life force, reproduction, availability, sustainability, sexuality, creative power

Spleen = primal intuition and instincts, health, values, safety, self confidence

Solar Plexus (aka Emotional) = emotions, moods, feelings, social awareness, spirit

Root = pressure, sustainability, stress, forward momentum, change, growth, transformation

Here is a bit of a deeper look at each center:

Head Center

The Human Design Head Center is a pressure center that evokes inspiration, big ideas and questions. It ponders, wonders, and marvels at life.

The head center takes in life and looks at it from a macro perspective. It takes what is “sees” and turns it into inspiration in the form of high quality questions.

The questions of the head center can be simplified into three primary questions of its gates:

The questions pressure the ajna to transform inspiration into logical, reasonable, and evidence based answers.

Head definition is rare because it is only possible with a defined Ajna.  Other centers have multiple centers to create center definition with but the head’s only center to create definition with is the ajna. 

Ajna Center

The Ajna Center uses the pressure of the “higher inspiration” from the Head Center and processes it to create useful concepts, theories, and ideas.

It loves to learn, study, research, and communicate its ideas via the Throat Center. The Ajna Center energy is very fixed and tends to resist change. 

The gates in the ajna center are:

Throat Center

The Throat Center is the center of communication (both verbal and subtle), actions that express inner energy, and authenticity. 

All centers in the Human Design chart are moving towards the throat for expression. It is where we share our voice (literal or metaphorical) with the world and how we make ourselves known as distinct individuals. 

The gates in the throat are:

G Center

The G Center, sometimes called the center of the self or the center of direction, is the energetic root of personal identity, direction, and love. It is the most attractive of all the centers in Human Design.

Whether defined or not, the G Center is like a personal GPS system, it draws you into correct identity, experiences, and direction. It guides you into the Truth that everything you seek is already inside of you.

The gates in the G center are:

Will Center

The Will Center, sometimes called the heart center or ego center, is a motor center. It drives healthy commitment, willpower, competition, and ego. It creates a person’s sense of overall self-worth, the will to overcome obstacles, and stability in the material world. 

In many circles, the Ego and/or the pursuit of material success is considered a “bad” thing.  But for those with a defined will, ignoring their Ego and drive for material success is actually detrimental to their energy flow. 

The gates in the will center are:

Human Design Gate 21

Human Design Gate 51

Human Design Gate 26

Human Design Gate 40

Spleen Center

The Spleen Center is an awareness center that creates the consciousness of the body, the drive for existential living, spontaneity, health and wellbeing, values, and a strong immune system. 

The spleen operates entirely on the instincts of the body and does not rely on the mind (logic, rationalization, or evidence) to know what it knows. It is highly intuitive, spontaneous, and assesses risks related to safety of the body. 

When we have a healthy Spleen Center, whether defined or not, we feel safe, confident, and joy about being alive. 

The gates of the spleen are:

Sacral Center

The sacral center is the fertile energy of life. It is the motor that drives work, availability, responsibility, and sexuality. With its reproductive impulse, it sustains life on planet Earth and provides the instinct to work and to care for the young.

The gates of the sacral center are:

Solar Plexus Center

The Solar Plexus Center, often referred to as the Emotional Center. It is a motor center and an awareness center creates the perpetual emotional wave (for those with solar plexus definition) and is the authority for everyone who has it defined.

It is emotional, poetic, romantic, compassionate, and emotionally connected to that thing that some call God. 

The gates of the solar plexus are:

Root Center

The Root Center is a motor and pressure center that creates the pressure necessary to sustain and evolve the momentum of earthly living. 

It is the source of adrenalized energy and gives us the momentum to deal with challenges, make progress, and evolve. 

The Root Center is the source of stress for all human beings, no matter their definition and creating the right relationship with pressure is the best way to deal with said stress.

The gates in the root center:

(I cover the centers even more deeply – including how to tell when each center is well-regulated and the practices for regulating them, in the Nine Centers Guide, which is included when you purchase your Human Design Map.)

Human Design Centers Definition: Defined vs Undefined

You will notice that some of the human design centers on your chart are colored in and some of them are white. This is known as your center definition. 

If a center is colored in, that center is defined. If a center is white, that center is undefined. Your center definition determines:

  1. Your Human Design Type and Authority. Different combinations of definition in the nine energy centers determine whether you are a Generator, Manifesting Generator, Projector, Manifestor, or Reflector and what kind of authority you have.
  2. Your most reliable energy sources. The centers that are defined in your chart are the centers that consistently produce energy for you to work with on a day-to-day basis. 
  3. Your most unreliable energy sources. The centers that are open or undefined are the centers that do not consistently produce energy for you to work with on a day-to-day basis. You only “need” the energy in these centers occasionally in order to “fulfill” your purpose (aka your Human Design incarnation cross).

And, most of all, they are showing you are metric ton about your energetic boundaries. But, I’ll talk more about that below. For now, let’s look at…

Your Defined Human Design Centers

Your defined human design centers (colored in) are the places where you will consistently produce energy to move through the world. You can rely on this energy on a daily basis (though, there can be “blocks” to the flow!). They are also the energies that others will consistently experience when they are around you. 

For example, in Magical Unicorn’s chart, the head, ajna, throat, solar plexus, and sacral are all colored in.

Assuming all energy if flowing freely, Magical Unicorn will consistently:

  • produce their own inspiration (head)
  • be able to translate big ideas into practical ideas and workable theories (ajna)
  • communicate their inspiration and ideas (throat)
  • ride the emotional wave from hope to clarity to pain to clarity (emotional solar plexus)
  • generate creative life force energy (sacral)

When other people are around Magical Unicorn, they may “pick up on” these energies and see Magical Unicorn as someone who is inspiring, thought-provoking, communicative, lit up, and emotional.

Your defined human design centers are the places where you will feel most “at home” in your body and in the world. You will not have to “fight” or force these energies. They are just there and available to you at all times.

Your Undefined or Open Human Design Centers

Your open or undefined human design centers (white) are the places where you will experience inconsistency in your energy. You will experience these energies when you “pick it up” from the people you spend time with, the collective, and the astrological transits.

If you have poor energy boundaries, you will unconsciously amplify the energy you are picking up with your undefined and open centers.  You may even begin to identify with it in an unhealthy way. 

However, when you have strong energy boundaries, you will be able to discern what, energetically speaking, belongs to you or doesn’t. And with that discernment, you can make conscious choices about how to use, interact, or simply observe the energy. 

For example, in Magical Unicorn’s chart, the G, will, spleen, and root are all white.

Assuming that Magical Unicorn’s energy boundaries are in place, they will inconsistently experience:

  • a strong sense of direction in life (G)
  • the drive and willpower to pursue mundane goals (Will)
  • fear, primal instincts, intuitive knowing*, and self-confidence (Spleen)
  • stress and the pressure to grow, evolve, transform (Root)

They will have moments when these energies are present in them but it won’t be all day, every day. They can work with them when necessary and let them go when not.

*In this context, I am talking about the splenic intuitive knowing about what is safe and healthy for the body and what isn’t.

However, if Magical Unicorn’s energy boundaries are terrible, these centers are likely to be highly conditioned by other people’s energy or transits (especially long terms ones). As such, this person will likely experience: 

  • worry or fear about their sense of direction in life (G)
  • feeling low self-worth and like they need to prove themselves (Will)
  • lack of self-confidence (Spleen)
  • stressed out and feeling pressured to always be moving (Root)

These are indicators that Magical Unicorn needs better energy boundaries and to learn how to discern other people’s energy from their own. And, most importantly, to let go of any energy that does not serve them at the moment.

(I cover the energy boundaries for all nine centers, based on their definition, in the Nine Centers Guide, which is included with your purchase of the Human Design Map.)

What is the difference between open and undefined? 

When talking about the definition in the human design centers, these terms are often used interchangeably because they are very similar “in the real world.” I personally tend to use the term open or openness to describe open centers and undefined centers. But, there is a subtle difference between them. So, before I wrap up this post, I want to clarify them for you.

An undefined center is any center that is white on the human design chart and has at least one hanging gate defined. 

An open center, on the other hand, is any center on the chart that is white and has no gates defined around it.

For Magical Unicorn’s Chart above, the G and Spleen are undefined and the root and will are open.

The big difference between an open center and an undefined center is that someone with an open center is going to be more prone to energy boundary issues.

That’s a wrap on this second post in the Human Design Basics series. I hope that it has helped you to understand your consistent energy via the nine energy centers.

And, if you want a deep dive on your type + strategy, authority, profile, and all four gates of your human design incarnation cross, you can order your Human Design Map here. It includes a digital copy of the Nine Centers Guide which goes into much deeper detail about the nine human design centers, too.