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Getting Started with Human Design

written by Maggie Sale Ostara, PhD | January 13, 2022

What happened for you when you first saw a Human Design chart?
Were you immediately attracted and curious about what you were looking at?

This certainly happened for me, and I hear it from people all the time:

“Wow! That’s really cool looking . . . but what does all of that mean?”

The “body graph”, which lies at the center of every chart, captures attention as it transmits its silent yet potent and provocative message.

Not everyone hears or feels this message, as Human Design is not for everyone.

But those who do feel inexorably drawn to discover what those shapes, lines and numbers mean.

Are you one of them? One of us?

Most people are familiar with the body graph since this is the image that you’ll receive no matter which software you use to run your chart. The body graph is the map of your energy system according to Human Design.

While it resembles the seven chakras from the Yogic traditions, this map differs from the chakras in many significant ways. (Don’t be fooled and try to overlay one on top of the other.)

The Human Design body graph, or map, is incomplete without the lines of numbers and symbols that always accompany the map. These numbers and symbols designate the planetary positions inside the gates of the Human Design system. The two lines of red and black numbers operate like a legend of the map, giving you the information you need to unpack the symbolism in the body graph.

Every aspect of the chart — the 64 gates, 36 channels, and 9 centers — has its own meaning, over 100 themes or archetypal energies. 

They each have multiple possible meanings actually, that derive from how you’ve lived life, the decisions you’ve made, what you’ve already evolved and grown through and what continues to be your growth edge.

The relationship of the planets to the gates (numbers) brings further depth and complexity, along with several other factors too complex to be useful mentioning here.

Unlike the body graph and typical print-outs of the Human Design chart, the Human Design Mandala contains all of the fundamental information and relationships one needs to interpret one’s Human Design. When I do readings for clients, I always include the mandala because it’s beautiful, because it contains the vital information, and because it transmits non-verbally the essence of one’s design.

When I first started sharing Human Design I focused on the benefits of your design: ease with decision making, discovering your specific way of engaging with life, and exploring your specific super powers. My training and experience in marketing directed me this way.

But then I realized, too, that many people they are not receptive to hearing about about the benefits until they have an idea of what they’re looking at when they see their chart.

It’s as if the images require a certain attention in and of themselves. Interesting, right? 

I don’t claim to understand all of this, yet I know it to be true.

That’s why I created today’s video, to help you understand, at least from a systems perspective, what you’re looking at when you view your chart. If you’ve been curious about this I invite you to check out the video here.

I also created an introductory ebook, which you’ll learn about in the video, that provides you the first layer of fundamentals that you need to know to be able to understand your Human Design chart. This ebook is free and my gift to you.

Unlike so many books on Human Design, this one is full color and devoted to images. I find that sometimes people use so many words related to Human Design and that can be overwhelming.

Whereas you can receive value and understanding from images in non-verbal and non-linear or logical ways. And that is truly in the spirit of Human Design.

If what I’m saying here speaks to you, please check out the video and register for the ebooks — there’s actually two — and take another step in understanding your Human Design chart.


Maggie Sale Ostara, PhD left her prestigious job as the Director of Women’s a Gender Studies at Columbia University when she realized she’s not built to work for anyone else. Since then, Dr. Ostara has become a Certified Human Design Specialist (Level 4), a Certified Clarity Breathwork Practitioner, a highly sought after teacher-mentor, who teaches high-achieving women how to develop their personal sovereignty, to activate their super powers, and to unleash themselves from society’s prescription of success.

She’s the creator of the Soul Signature Self Awareness Project, the Wheel of Power of the Visionary Entrepreneur, and over 20 educational programs focused building soul-inspired businesses that positively impact the world and taking command of your life through personal sovereignty. She’s hosted 5 multi-speaker online conferences, and spoken on over 15 such conferences reaching audiences of over 200,000 participants.

With two decades of experience supporting 20,000+ students and hundreds of clients through her online programs and conferences, Dr. Ostara teaches how to avoid overwhelm and burnout, how to make reliable decisions, how to create a bigger impact with less effort, and how to transform inner liabilities into powerful assets and allies.