One of the most exciting things about learning Human Design is understanding what the 64 gates mean.

Sure, we know they’re related to the I Ching, but  if you’ve picked up an I Ching to try to make sense of your Human Design you’re probably even more perplexed!  There’s not much on the internet to help, so where do you go to learn more?

Here are some FAQs.

hexagram 52 The 64 gates of the Human Design System relate directly to the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching.  

Gate 1 in the Human Design System is the same as Hexagram 1 in the I Ching.   So you can pick up any I Ching and read something about your design there.

The Gates don’t move around in the chart.  Gate 1 is always in the Ji Centre.  

And Gate 52 is always in the Root Centre.  The positions of the hexagram/gates is fixed and the same in all charts.

Each Gate connects to another Gate to form a Channel.  

It’s meaning is affected by that other Gate (and the other Centre at the end of the Channel).   You can’t consider the meaning of a Gate in isolation.  Your design is a subtle multidimensional map of your energy field, and each Gate has it’s part to play in that whole.

You have every Gate in your design, and each Gate can be activated by a planet, or not.

That activation can be conscious (Personality/Black) or unconscious (Design/Red).   Or it may not be activated at all.  Consider how each Gate functions, rather than only seeing the activated Gates.  If a Gate is white in your design, it may still be playing an active part.   Is it reaching towards a defined Gate?  Is it the missing link between two Centres?

 And speaking of planets …

Each planet brings it’s own flavour to the Gate it activates.  Passionate independent Mars brings a very different energy to harmonious Venus.  Personal planets – like the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars – feel different to the outer planets like Neptune and Pluto.

Here’s THE most important thing about the Gate activations in your Human Design.  

Their meaning is not fixed.  It’s not like a one off imprint like Conflict, Power, Grace, Enthusiasm.  Each Gate holds the key to your life challenges and the seeds of your self knowledge and self mastery.  There are no ‘good gates’ and ‘bad gates’.

For example, the Gate of Grace sounds like a gate I might like to have in my design!  It is a lovely energy, and it also holds the challenge of connecting with people in an authentic way, rather than staying on the surface as a defence against difficult emotions.   Use the tools below to explore the positive and negative aspects of your gates and also the opportunity each one brings to know yourself better.


dna in human design system



Human Design System Gates have an exact correlation to the structure of your personal DNA.

According to research done by Katya Walters, I Ching Hexagrams are our key to living in the new quantum reality. The structure of the hexagrams aligns exactly with the mathematical nature of fractals, the basis of chaos theory.





What The I Ching can tell us about the Gates

There really is no quick and dirty way to understand the meaning of the gates.  They carry a deep and profound meaning. Keywords don’t cut it, sorry!   And neither do quick phrases.  A study of the Gates can take a lifetime.  However, here’s a good place to start.

The I Ching brings to each Gate:

  • a combination of elements,
  • an image or metaphor,
  • a process, and
  • a practical solution

It’s incredibly useful to look for each of these three layers when you are learning about your design.  Let’s use Gate 1 as an example.

The element in Gate 1 is Heaven.   Heaven is also Yang and Creativity.  The Gate is often called The Creative.

The image or metaphor is of the Sun rising and shining it’s creative light upon the world (from Huang, see below).

The process is about being initiated through constant change and transformation.  The Creative is always creating, without rest.  When we are tuning into our own creative transformation and initiation, we realise it never ceases.

The process is described by using the story of a dragon being gradually awakened.  At the beginning – line 1 – the dragon is asleep because the time is not yet right to act.  As the process unfolds, the dragon defines his goal and readies himself to take action (line 2), remembers not to become too arrogant, too yang (line 3), tunes into the best timing for action (line 4), recognises the time is ripe for action (line 5), knows when to stop, not trying to push things too far (line 6).

The practical solution depends on the line placement.  If you have passionate and headstrong Mars in Gate 1 line 2, you’re likely to want to act before the time is right.  In that case, the practical solution is to be more tuned into your willfulness and how it pushes you forward before you or the universe is ready for your actions.  On the bright side, once you master the powerful energy of this gate in your life, you will also have a natural gift to act where others might hold back.


These are the three main sources I use for understanding the meaning of the Gates in your Human Design chart.


Many of you are familiar with Hilary Barrett’s I Ching.  Hilary has a profound understanding of the I Ching and her book reflects that, while at the same time being clear, accessible and elegant.  This is a book for every student of the Human Design System.

I particularly like her questions for each hexagram.  They help to focus on the core issues of each gate in our design.



Alfred Huang learnt the I Ching from three Chinese masters.  In 1949, after the Cultural Revolution in China, the Book of Changes (I Ching) was banned and they continued to meet in secret, despite the great danger.  After all three masters passed away (they were all between 80 and 90 years old), the young Huang was imprisoned in a labour camp for 22 years due to his ‘antirevolutionary activities’ – studying the I Ching. He was sentenced to death, and spent his days contemplating what he’d learnt from the ancient masters.  In 1979 he was released from prison and emigrated to the US, where he was encouraged to write this I Ching book.

What I enjoy most about this particular I Ching, apart from Master Huang’s ancient I Ching lineage, is his knowledge of the history of how the modern interpretations came about.  He gives all the various names for each hexagram and also the image/metaphor.  This brings a rich meaning that is not available in any other I Ching.



Richard Rudd is an early pioneer in Human Design.  His Gene Keys book brings the I Ching to life, linking it directly to the Human Design System.  Rudd has an extensive knowledge of the I Ching and adds his own cosmic flavour.

Rudd explains the Shadow and Gift aspects of each gate, allowing a positive experience of personal growth to emerge.



Although I have a very dog eared copy of the Rave I Ching on my bookshelf, I very rarely reach for it these days. I find the three books above bring a positive and affirming understanding of the Gates.  I also refer to Richard Rudd’s Circuitry book for specific Jovian based keywords, and how the Gates fit into the circuits.

Kim Gould is founder of and Creator of EmergentHuman.Design.

She enjoys keeping her world-wide community on the emergent edge of consciousness, since 2003 on the blog.