The CENTERS: Defined, Undefined and Open
Human Design’s Bodygraph is a calculation which displays nine energy centers. Centers are defined if a planet in either our Conscious or Unconscious design occupies one of the gates in a center and then connects in to another gate. These defined gates then form a defined channel of energy which synthesizes the meaning of the two gates or I Ching Hexagrams. On a deeper level, the two planets which are in these connecting gates also share a strong magnetism between each other.
We might think of this in a similar way to an aspect in astrology between two planets. The two gates which form a channel create an archetypal complex between those two centers, those two hexagrams, and the two (or more) planets occupying those gates.
Defined Centers represent areas which have reliable and consistent energetic flow for us. In essence, we strongly identify with these centers. They are how we condition the world around us. They are the filters through which we perceive and we cannot remove these filters. Thus, even though we may be empowered, we may also be limited by that which defines us.
On the other hand, Undefined Centers are a foreign land for us. They represent areas of fascination, discovery, and education in this life, without an attachment to a specific expression. The challenge with Undefined Centers is our intrinsic insecurity in these areas. Since we do not have reliable energetic flow through these centers, we are not quite certain how to function with them. Thus we may compensate by trying to become like those in our environment who have these centers defined. Subsequently, these undefined centers become prominent sources of conditioning in our lives, often occurring in our early upbringing through parents, siblings, teachers, friends, and extended family.
Some schools of Human Design do not differentiate Undefined from Open centers, but I and other Human Design counselors have witnessed the difference in a center which has no Conscious or Unconscious planets occupying it, which we would label as completely Open. Naturally, this center could be extreme in its expression. It could be heavily conditioned and overwhelmed by its environment and thus very easily succumb to conditioning. However, we have also witnessed that completely Open centers, when approached with intention and consciousness, become areas of potentially pristine clarity. One who expresses this Open center with this awareness becomes a transparent reflection for what is happening in the environment, without having to own it or experience it themselves.
Thus, with Undefined and Open centers, if we recognize that we are not “supposed to be” living those centers in a prescribed and consistent way, we can actually become quite wise about the nature of that center and the appropriate way of navigating its force.
Just as in astrology, a planet in a sign, house, or aspect can be navigated with intention and consciousness or in reaction, defense, or ignorance, I like to think of the potential expressions of energy in Human Design as a frequency of possibility. The following is a chart with a description of the frequency of centers as we express them: The “Realized” or intelligent use of the center, followed by the Challenge or Obstacle in place with that center defined, undefined, or open.
Human Design DEFINED Centers – our “signal transmission”
-who we “are,” how we condition others;
Challenge: assume others to be this way;
-expression in a particular way depending on channels and gates activated, and planets activating these channels gates
Human Design UNDEFINED Centers -our receiving antennae
Realized: what we learn about, fascinated by, receive education in;
-where we can share wisdom and clear reflection without taking it on
Challenge: where we are conditioned, influenced, susceptible
some innate insecurity; where we try to be something we’re not
-erratic expression, defensiveness, can be consumed by and burn out here
Human Design OPEN Centers
OPEN – no signal or no consistent energy
Realized: non-attached clarity, pristine reflection of energy
-transparent mirror for others, pure channel
Challenge: oblivious, clueless
-delusional, lost, total overwhelm