For thousands of years humanity has been aware of a series of energy hubs embedded into the physical body and flowing out through various subtle layers.

In the Hindu tradition, the idea of spinning vortexes of energy appeared in the Upanishads perhaps as early as the 5th century BCE. The Chakras are how we take in and transmit subtle energies.

A more modern interpretation of the role of chakras is that they are seated in the various nerve ganglia in the spine. There are the seven chakras we all know and love, and these branch into an almost unlimited number of smaller chakras called nadis.

These seven major chakras are said to govern various areas of our lives, including the subtle energy life of the physical area governed by the particular nerve ganglia.

For example, the Sacral Chakra, or Svadisthana, is considered to correspond to the testes or the ovaries that produce the various sex hormones involved in the reproductive cycle.

Tree of Life

There is also a lesser known Hebrew tradition of energy centers. Known as the Sephiroth of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, they are said to represent the creation story, and the pathway of  humanity’s return to spirit.

In the Tree of Life, the equivalent energy center to the Sacral Chakra is Yesod.  Yesod takes the energy as it comes down from spirit and translates it into something uniquely personal for each person in preparation for physical manifestation.

The Tree of Life is also the basis for the channels between the Centers in the Human Design BodyGraph.

The Nine Centers of the Human Design System

There are nine Centers in the Human Design System rather than the original seven hindu chakras or the ten sephiroth of the Tree of Life.   These nine Centers have very specific functions.

When you get your Human Design chart you’ll notice that some Centers are colored in and some are left white, depending on the placement of the planets.  If planets connect one Center to another Center, they will both be activated (or “defined”)and colored in on the chart.

When a Center is activated in this way, it has a very specific way it wants to express in your life, and is always active (eg, mentally active).   A white or “undefined” Center is more open to the ebb and flow of life and the influence of others in the way it expresses, and tends to have long periods of stillness, especially when you are alone.


Head Centre in the Human Design SystemHead Center

Inspiration – where we can be inspiring or inspired.  Sometimes there is so much information coming through this Center that we can feel uncomfortably pressured to do something with all the ideas!  If you have red gates between the Head Center and the Ajna Center you may not realise how inspiring you are to others.

Biologically related to the Pineal Gland.

The Ajna Centre in the Human Design SystemAjna Center

Mental awareness and processing.  If it’s not connected to the Throat it can be difficult to ‘speak your mind’.   In our culture we are taught that it’s a virtue to be ‘rational’, but mental awareness is really dependent on how well we tune into the other awareness centers in our design.

Biologically related to the anterior and posterior pituitary.

Throat Center in the Human Design SystemThroat Center

The portal between your inner and outer worlds, the Throat Center shows how you communicate and take action.   In the Tree of Life the sephira that relates to the Throat Centre – Daath – was kept secret for centuries because of its esoteric power of  metamorphosis.

Biologically related to the thyroid and parathyroid glands.

The Ji Center in the Human Design CenterJi Center

Also known as the G Center or Self Center.  This Center is in the middle of your chest and relates to the highest resonance of the heart chakra – unconditional love, oneness, your higher self and your soul geometry in this lifetime.

Biologically related to the lungs and the thymus gland.

The Heart Center in the Human Design SystemHeart Center

Although it’s called the “heart’ center, this is not directly related to the heart chakra, but does relate to the physical heart.  This Center tells us about how your ego container holds your spirit, and how you use your courage and willfulness, either for yourself or on behalf of your ‘tribe’ or community.  It is perhaps the most controversial and misunderstood Center in the Human Design chart.

Biologically related to the heart.

The Solar Plexus Center in the Human Design SystemSolar Plexus Center

A whole body field that shows how your emotional body operates.  This is still quite a disturbed energy in our culture, making it difficult to consistently hold a high level of emotional awareness.  And yet emotional awareness is deeply personal and informing.   If it is not defined in your chart, you may find yourself being significantly affected by the emotions of others.

Biologically related to the nervous system.

The Spleen Center in the Human Design SystemSpleen Center

Another whole body field that gives us our intuitive or cellular awareness.  Related to our reptilian brain and ancient instincts for survival, the Spleen Center relates to our physical senses and our capacity for physical wellbeing.

Biologically related to the immune and lymphatic systems.

The Sacral Center in the Human Design SystemSacral Center

Generative life force, vitality, creativity, relationships, sexuality and home of the ‘gut feeling’.  It can easily be overridden by the mind, even though when it is defined it is a constant source of important information about our lives.   The Sacral Center guides us to what we need to create in this life.

Biologically related to the sexual organs, pelvic area, lower back.

The Root Center in the Human Design SystemRoot Center

Containing the energy until it is time to birth it into form.  The Root Center can feel contracted, depressed or open and engaged.   It represents our connection to the earth, and our family patterning,  the ways in which we manage survival issues.

Biologically related to the pelvic plexus.


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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.