Understanding the Gates in your Human Design chart

Like most people, you’ve probably struggled with the meaning of the Human Design gates. They are one of the most challenging areas of Human Design. Although most people are taught standard keywords, the meaning of each gate is deep and complex.

In conventional Human Design you can use the standard keywords for each gate, but you’ll be missing out on a wealth of meaning that you can uncover if you dig just a bit deeper.

Some FAQ’s on Human Design Gates

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 based on Hexagram 1 in the I Ching. So you can pick up any I Ching book and read something about your design there.

The I Ching is a book about how humanity can best work with the forces of great cosmic change. So what better guide in these uncertain times?

You can read more about the I Ching here.

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

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

Each Human Design gate connects to another gate to form a dhannel.

The meaning of each gate is influenced by the other Gate in the channel. And by the Centres at each 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.

Your gates show the flow of energy around your Design, and in your actual field.

There’s a reason your Human Design chart is sometimes called a BODYGRAPH – it’s a blueprint of how energy flows through your field – in and around your body. The gates show where your flow is consistent and reliable, and where you are always being influenced, or conditioned, by others.

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? Is it chock full of powerful asteroids?

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.

More here on the planets in your Human Design

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

Their meaning is not fixed. It’s not like a one off imprint like Conflict, Power, Grace, Enthusiasm. There are no ‘good gates’ and ‘bad gates’, although some are easier to live with than others.

Each gate contains a challenge and a solution.

For example, the Gate of Grace (22) sounds like a gate I might like to have in my design! If you have this gate you appreciate beautiful things and people, you enjoy social interactions and you’re perfectly comfortable with chit chat.

This gate also holds the challenge of connecting with people in an authentic way, rather than staying on the surface as a defence against difficult emotions.

And here’s something you might not realise!

Human Design gates have an exact correlation to the structure of your DNA

dna in human design system

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.

So while the Human Design Gates hold the keys of ancient wisdom via the age old Chinese I Ching, they also align us to a newly emerging fractal reality, and open a doorway to conscious use of the science of epigenetics. (Six Modern Sciences of Human Design)

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! You can’t understand a gate by learning a name, or a short phrase. It’s why I have spent years deepening my understanding of the Human Design gates by studying the I Ching.

A study of the Human Design gates can take a lifetime. So take your time to explore and experiment.


Some Books For Your Human Design Library

Hilary Barrett’s I Ching

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.

Jack Balkin’s Laws of Change

I refer to Balkin’s I Ching when I’m working with people with defined Spleen Centres, because they always ask me – so what does that actually mean in a practical way? Jack Balkin has a more concrete and practical take on the gates. So if you are looking for less poetry and more concrete substance, this is your book!

Alfred Huang’s I Ching

Master Huang

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 ‘anti-revolutionary 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’s GeneKeys

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.

Human Design Complete Guide

The Definitive Guide to Human Design

This is the official foundational reference guide to the conventional Human Design System, including descriptions of each gate and channel.


More Online I Ching resources

Two of my favourite online I Ching resources

Lise Heyboer has an unusual and well researched take on the hexagrams. I love how she explains the distinctions between complementary gates – https://www.yijing.nl/index.html

Bradford Hatcher – download the full pdf of this master I Ching scholar here – https://www.hermetica.info/

I'm Kim Gould, founder of Love Your Design. I have been innovating and taking Human Design to the next level since 2003.

Beyond Type and Strategy, beyond the keywords and rigid rules, there are Asteroids, Dwarf Planets, Multidimensional Human Design and Holographic Human Design to explore. Come join me!

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