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The Human Design System: The Mechanics of the Tao

by Richard Rudd(more info)

listed in psychospiritual, originally published in issue 46 - November 1999

When I was asked recently to sum up the essence of the Human Design System in one word, the word that instantly arose in my mind was 'penetrating'. I did consider for a while the word 'ruthless', but then began to wonder what kind of new clients that might draw in…

The fact is that this new approach to understanding the unique nature of an individual, is ruthlessly penetrating. If you are out there wandering and wondering in the New Age supermarket, and happen to be looking for something warm and comfortable to impress your friends with, Human Design is definitely not for you! If, however, you are genuinely thirsty to understand your true nature, and would rather have the truth delivered right between your eyes, then the chances are you may never have to go into that supermarket again. This is the beginning of the end of your search.

The Origins of Human Design

The origins of the Human Design System are at once mysterious and paradoxical. It is a 'revealed' system. It was revealed in 1987 to a man named Ra Uru Hu. Having trained in the sciences, Ra had left his life as a professor of physics in Canada and disappeared to the Mediterranean island of Ibiza, where he was living as a hermit. It was here, whilst living wild in the mountains that Ra received The Human Design System. In his own words, here is what happened:

"I was conditioned to believe that science fiction was a genre of literature, that mystical revelation was simply a more antiquated form of the same, and that God, if not dead, was most likely a concept.

"On the evening of January 3, 1987, all that changed. I was 'penetrated' by a 'Voice'. It was a terrifying experience. My hair literally stood on end. In the shock, a flood of water drained from my scalp.

"The Voice said, 'Are you ready to work?'"

"For eight days and nights, I worked, transcribing in detail the Human Design System."

(From the foreword to The Rave I Ching*)

Despite its mystical origins, The Human Design System is itself purely logical and empirical. We are now living in an 'Aquarian' age, and Human Design is an Aquarian system, in that it is a pure synthesis of ancient and modern knowledge where East meets West. Many of those 'New Age goods' are to be found herein; the wisdom of astrology, the Chinese I Ching, the Hindu 'chakra' system, the Jewish Kabbalah, as well as the contemporary sciences of quantum physics, astronomy, genetics and biochemistry. Human Design is a true synthesis, and as such, is far greater than the sum of its parts.

Human Design and Genetics

One of the keys to Human Design is the use of the I Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Change, discovered more than 5000 years ago. Strangely enough, this ancient system, which charts the cycles and seasons of life, happens to bear an extra- ordinary similarity to the profile of human DNA.

DNA is made up of two strands of nucleotides; one strand being a perfect reflection of the other. This basic binary is also the foundation of the 'Yin' and 'Yang' of the I Ching. Our genetic code is also made up of four 'Bases' which are arranged in groupings of threes. Each of these chemical groupings relates to an amino acid, and forms what is known as a 'codon'. There are 64 of these codons in our genetic code.

Similarly, in the I Ching there are only four basic permutations of yin and yang, which are also arranged in groups of threes, known as "trigrams". In the same way that the two strands of our DNA reflect each other, each trigram of the I Ching has a partner, and together these two symbols create the 'hexagram'; the basis of the I Ching. Just as there are 64 codons in DNA, there are 64 hexagrams in the I Ching.

All human beings share this same basic genetic code, and yet each of us is unique. From the DNA of a single human hair, a forensic scientist can pinpoint its exact owner, out of billions of human beings.

Because every human being is totally unique, the way in which we all make choices is also different. This is why there can never be one hard and fast rule by which we all live. What's right for one person is wrong for another. We have to live according to our own unique, individual nature, and this is where Human Design comes in.

How Human Design Works

According to Human Design, everyone has a unique blueprint or 'design' that they are born with. This 'genetic thumbprint' determines the way we encounter, understand and deal with life. By means of a complex computer programme, and your time and place of birth, an individual design can be calculated and shown in a chart, known as a 'Bodygraph'. Wait just a moment, you say, that sounds like astrology! Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Human Design uses astrological data to pinpoint two separate times of imprinting; one is our birth, and the other is 88° of the sun before birth.

The first calculation shows us that which we are conscious of in our lives, in other words, our personality. The second, earlier calculation pinpoints a moment in the womb of our mother, when the formation of the neo-cortex of the brain is completed, and this gives us our genetic imprint, and shows us the unconscious forces in our lives. By analysing the birth data of our parents and grandparents, it is actually possible to trace the genetic continuity down the generations of our family, and this information verifies itself.

Each astrological point in the wheel of the zodiac has a corresponding place in the hexagrams of the I Ching (see the Hexagram Wheel). There is no point in getting too technical; Human Design is something of a paradox; infinitely complex in theory, but in understanding and use, extremely simple. To cut a long story short, the information from the zodiac and the I Ching is transferred into the 'Bodygraph'. This is what you, the client are looking at when you are given your reading. You will see that it has 9 centres, rather like the 'chakras' used in Indian yoga systems. There are also 36 channels linking up these centres. These are rooted in the Judaic tradition of the Zohar, better known as the Kabbalah.

The Hexagram Wheel: Our Universal Matrix In the Wheel, astrological data and the Chinese I Ching reveal our individual "design"

The Hexagram Wheel: Our Universal Matrix In the Wheel, astrological data and the Chinese I Ching reveal our individual "design"

The Human Design System and the Rave

Jung, Carl Gustav
GMT (0.00hE)       GMT (0.00hE)
27.03.1875           26.06.1875
07:08:31                07:02:00

Design                  Personality

17[3]                       52[1]
18[3]                       58[1]
34[5]                       25[3]
51[3]                       21[5]
57[3]                       48[5]
37[3]                       53[5]
49[5]                       16[5]
26[5]                       11[5]
50[4]                       32[2]
49[4]                       30[2]
33[4]                       33[6]
3[4]                         27[1]
23[3]                       23[5]   

the Rave

The moment you look at your chart, your eyes are in most cases always drawn to the presence of colour (see inset; design chart for Carl Jung).You see that certain lines and centres are coloured in, while others have been left white. The Bodygraph operates just like an electrical circuitboard, with certain circuits switched on, and others dormant, awaiting activation. Whatever is drawn in colour is an activation of your birth and pre-birth data. These areas denote aspects of your nature that are fixed and do not change. This information is vital to you, since if it does not change, it is the only thing within yourself that you can consistently rely upon to make healthy decisions in your life. Everything in white shows areas where you are vulnerable and open.

These white areas (known as 'undefined centres') are one of the reasons why we often make inappropriate decisions in our life. In Human Design, vulnerability does not denote weakness, merely sensitivity. It also shows us how we are conditioned by the world around us. Nowadays, 'conditioning' is something of a buzz-word in therapeutic and new age circles, and is often seen as something dreadful, to be avoided. Human Design shows us how we cannot avoid being conditioned, how to identify it, and also how to make the most of it. For instance, if in your design you have a 'Self' centre that is not coloured in (the correct term is 'an undefined Self') then you are never going to know who you are in life. Your identity will always be conditioned by the other. You will be more like a chameleon. If you have this in your design and you know this, you are going to save yourself a lot of agony in life, because you will stop trying to find out who you are, and accept that your identity is open to constantly changing forces that are beyond your control. This knowledge can then become a source of great joy and inspiration to you, and you can sit back and enjoy the ride!

Human Design is about knowing yourself. Once you know how you work, and how to make the correct decisions in your life, everything else will come to you. Inner peace and deep states of meditation arise as a by-product of you being yourself. You don't have to try and force them upon yourself. It takes time, however… from the moment of shock when we truly realise we have never been ourselves, it takes a full 7 years to repattern our cells with this new information.

It takes 7 years for all the cells in the body to be replaced. Human Design offers a precise and simple way of beginning this process of individual transformation.

Human Design And Relationships: Chemistry

The true magic of human design is in the Bodygraph. It is simple, logical and graphic. In analysis of relationships this simplicity becomes even more apparent. In their design, one person may have one activation at the end of a channel, but not at the other end. Because of genetics, we are always attracted to people who have the other end of that channel. An example can be seen in the charts of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. John had 'the gate of depth' in his chart, and Paul has the other end of this channel; 'the gate of skills'. Together they create 'the channel of talent'.

A relationship composite chart done between two people reveals the precise chemistry between them, whether the relationship be personal, social or corporate. Composite charts show how and why we are attracted to each other, the areas of dominance and compromise between two people, as well as the qualities that we bring out in each other. Relationship readings between couples usually reveals a chorus of "uh,huh's" and "aaahhhhs" from both parties, and are always a profound experience.

Unlike an astrologer, who gives you their own personal interpretation of your birth chart, a design analyst is more like a mechanic with the blueprints to your car. The mechanic simply shows you how your car works, how to change gear and indicate. He never tells you where to drive or whom to invite into your car. You may receive 10 different readings from 10 different astrologers, but 10 design analysts will give you a virtually identical reading each time. Each design is a genetic whole, and every single aspect of that whole repeats the same pattern over and over again, wherever you look in your chart.

Human Design Readings

Readings are preferably given face to face, and because of the vast amount of information that can be read from a single design chart, they are always taped. The design analyst will begin by giving you a brief introduction to the nature of the 2 calculations used to arrive at your design; these appear in your chart as the red and black channels, and denote both unconscious and conscious forces operating through your life. The heart of each reading lies in the overview, which explores the basic nature of your own unique definition (the centres that appear in colour). The overview also pinpoints your 'inner authority'. Quite possibly the most valuable information you may ever receive, inner authority denotes where inside yourself you can consistently make healthy decisions. In the same breath you will also learn exactly how and why you may have been going wrong all these years. An accurate analysis of your personal design chart is not always what you may want to hear, but it is always a revelation. Human Design readings often seem to mark a turning point in a person's life. It is after all, the essence of who you are.

But do not jump to the conclusion that once you've had your reading done, everything will be all right again. If only life were that easy! Human Design is not another therapy. It is not a therapy at all. It is simply an education. It does not presume (as so many people seem willing to these days) to tell you how to live your life. It is your own private user's manual for living your life, for making healthy decisions and finding fulfilment. This is a logical, experiential system. Once you have heard your individual design analysis, you must then go away and put it into practice. This part is entirely up to you. Only then can you know the depth of its truth.

* Reference: from the foreword to The Rave I Ching by Ra Uru Hu, published by New Sun Services America, 1999.


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About Richard Rudd

Richard Rudd has spent the majority of his life travelling the globe, synthesising a growing body of knowledge from both scientific and esoteric fields. In his drive to better understand the nature of human beings, he has worked as both healer and educator. In 1997, he discovered the Human Design System in the USA, and soon recognised the impact of its truth upon his own life. He attended the School of Human Design, and became the first analyst to bring this knowledge to the UK. Since its revelation, Human Design has spread to many countries across the globe. Its role in understanding the basic genetic processes behind all life, as well as its proven accuracy, puts it at the forefront of exciting new discoveries that herald the new millennium. For further information on Human Design, or information about how you can experience a personal reading, please contact Richard Rudd via

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