Zodiac signs were yesterday. Human Design is the name of the current trend, which is moving more and more from the esoteric corner towards the mainstream. Influencers from the spiritual scene have been spreading the teachings, which the Canadian Alan Robert Krakower founded in the late 1980s, on Instagram and TikTok for a long time. Therapists, alternative practitioners and coaches now also work with the system, which promises deep insights into one's own personality. According to Haringke Fugmann, whether you are inspired by the ideological concept or dismiss the scheme as esoteric nonsense depends on your own personality.
As an esoteric researcher and church councilor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, he deals with the question of what lies behind the system - and why it captivates people. Patricia Marek, a so-called Holistic Business Mentor from Allgäu, has also worked intensively on human design. Although she sees many helpful aspects of it, she has also noticed its downsides. “It’s a good tool that allows us to self-reflect,” says the 38-year-old. However, one should approach human design carefully and, above all, not view the teachings as life-determining.
The Human Design System is a comprehensive concept that deals with the personality structure and basic energetic makeup of a person. “It is the energetic imprint with which we start life,” explains Patricia Marek. A base to which you can always return because the energy is always there. This basis is defined based on the date of birth (including time of birth and location) as well as an additional point in time, which is 90 days before the birth and is calculated by software.
“These two points in time flow together into one design,” explains the 38-year-old. The time before birth is intended to represent the unconscious areas, for example “the things we have received from our family and from previous lives”. In contrast, the time of birth represents the body and consciousness. The design of every person can be represented and analyzed using a complex diagram, the Human Design Chart.
The founder of Human Design, Alan Robert Krakower, who later renamed himself Ra Uru Hu, wants to have the teachings of Human Design “heard as a voice” like a kind of medium, says Haringke Fugmann. This corresponds to one of the fundamental characteristics of esotericism: the claim to impart higher knowledge. Another feature is the combination of different ideological teachings. "There is a whole series of mantric procedures - these are procedures of disclosure, of seeing the future - that Krakower has put together," as Fugmann explains. Specifically, the concept is based on astrology, the I-Ching (Chinese book of oracles), Kabbalah (mystical tradition of Judaism) and the chakra teachings from yoga.
The idea is that the chart, in which the individual design of each person should be visible, depicts different aspects of their personality. Basically, human design divides all people into four to five types. According to Patricia Marek, which type you correspond to depends on which energy centers are active in the body and how they are connected to each other.
For example, a manifestor is “the initiator who leads the way and opens up new paths.” Patricia Marek describes the projector as a team leader who distributes the roles: "He takes people's energy and sees what they are best at." A generator is good at implementing plans, “and has infinite energy when it follows its joy.” The reflector, on the other hand, is what she calls an observer. “He helps from the outside, perceives the energy of others and reflects it.” As a mixed form, there is also the manifesting generator, which likes to communicate its ideas to the outside world, but can also implement them on its own.
The so-called profile should reveal further details about the personality. In Human Design there are a total of twelve profiles, each consisting of two numbers. The first number comes from the conscious field and is intended to express how you perceive yourself. The second number comes from the unconscious field and is intended to describe how other people perceive you. The two attributes are usually contradictory. But that's exactly what it's about: using the controversy as an area for learning and growth.
There are also gates, channels and other elements such as the incarnation cross and the authorities. Does that sound complicated? That’s what it should be, says Haringke Fugmann. “In my opinion, that’s the strategy behind it,” explains the expert. Because the construct is so overwhelming and complex, as a newcomer you become so preoccupied with the question of how the system works that you ignore the much more important question: "Why should I even care?"
Patricia Marek first came into contact with human design in a conversation with a yoga teacher. A few months later, she had her personal chart interpreted in more detail in a professional session, a Human Design Reading. “This reading made me accept many things that I had struggled with for a long time,” says the 38-year-old. "Suddenly I was able to embrace it and even see the benefits of it."
That's exactly why the Human Design System should be used, she believes: as a way to strengthen the connection to your own intuition and initiate acceptance and healing for your own shadow parts. The combinations of types, authorities, profiles and all the other components in human design are almost endless. That's why the concept can help you not only understand yourself more deeply, but also understand "that everyone is different and how many nuances we humans differ in." Esoteric researcher Fugmann describes it similarly: “The intention of human design is a kind of self-knowledge.” And that's exactly what fascinates people.
The statements of human design cannot be scientifically proven, but interest in the concept - according to search queries on Google - has steadily increased, especially in the last three years. “We like it when people tell us something about ourselves, when we get deeper insights,” says Patricia Marek. From their point of view, this explains the trend around human design: because the concept can provide even deeper insights.
Haringke Fugmann explains it with the Barnum effect, a phenomenon that has long been proven in psychology: People tend to interpret vague and general statements about themselves in such a way that they are perceived as agreeable descriptions. “We have a need for self-knowledge, we want to better understand who we are,” says Fugmann. In addition, people are always looking for new contexts of meaning that go beyond objective reality.
That's why, according to Fugmann, novel explanatory models such as Human Design cause great fascination. "No matter how complicated it is, it's incredibly tempting to get into this system and dig deeper and deeper into it," he says. And last but not least, esotericism is simply a potentially lucrative market in which there are also fads and hypes. "That would also be a hypothesis: That it's the next hot trend that you can make money with."
A reading, i.e. the analysis of your own design by a trained human design reader, starts at around 150 euros. The more detailed the insights should be, the deeper the customer has to dig into their pockets. The same applies to the Human Design Reader training courses, of which Patricia Marek completed a total of four.
The price range for the courses ranged from 250 to 2000 euros. Haringke Fugmann speaks of a high financial outlay. “If you want to get the money back, you should be motivated to offer human design after the training,” he says. It is precisely this businesslike nature that sparks a lot of criticism.
According to Haringke Fugmann, esotericism is a lucrative economic sector; A service area in which money is exchanged for feelings. "From an economic point of view, this is brilliant because I use hardly any materials, but maximum profit." Because emotions are unsustainable. In order to evoke the positive feeling again, the customer has to keep coming back and spend even more money. A fact that Patricia Marek was also confronted with. "We consume these positive feelings, but if we don't work with them, they fizzle out." In order for the information from the reading to actually be helpful, you first have to ask yourself how it affects your own life.
Patricia Marek also noticed other critical points about the Human Design System. On the one hand, that you are heading down a kind of "wrong path" and seeing your own design as the only truth, "even though you feel that it doesn't help you and that it is becoming more complicated." For example, that people force themselves to act in a certain way - just because the design supposedly says so.
For example, manifestors, according to the Human Design Schema, are the pioneers who lead the way and prevail through other opinions. “But I have met manifestors who are shy and don’t see that as their job,” she says. If the design specifications and personal perception differ so much, this could lead to people feeling wrong. “This tool should not be used for that.”
On the other hand, she has experienced that people “rest on their weaknesses and blockages”. Because human design can convey the feeling that challenges are personal - and therefore cannot be solved. Instead, some people are inclined to simply accept the problems "and thereby keep themselves small." Both cases lead people to subordinate themselves to the system. "Instead of using this tool for healing and intuition strengthening, you find yourself below the system and no longer feel free."
“This typification also leads to a reduction in complexity,” says Haringke Fugmann. This could also affect one's own self-image: people are actually blank slates and can develop in numerous directions. “If I limit myself, I might no longer think about who else I could be,” fears the expert. The plasticity and flexibility that characterizes humans is being lost to some extent. Typifications like Human Design supposedly help to understand who you are. But at the same time they can be restrictive. A contradiction that is difficult to resolve.
Because human design is so complex, it is tempting to spend a lot of time on it, says esoteric researcher Fugmann. This is time that people lack elsewhere - for example, for personal care, leisure, social contacts. The pattern also encourages you to constantly focus on yourself: “You may lose sight of everything else around you.”
However, it is not guaranteed that you will feel good when you constantly focus on yourself. “People who embark on the spiritual path and come into contact with human design already question themselves,” reports Patricia Marek from her experiences. If you are constantly preoccupied with yourself, there is a risk that even more doubts will arise about yourself.
Haringke Fugmann emphasizes that every person is responsible for what they believe. "We live in a free society in which everyone can believe what they want." This brings with it responsibility: “If I believe something, then I should find out what I believe first,” advises the expert. Patricia Marek sees it similarly. It is important “that we see these tools for what they are and not use them as something wrong.” However, she also sees the Human Design Readers as responsible for this.
"When we pass on knowledge to other people, we always have to make sure that they remain responsible for themselves and don't get lost in it." This is one of the reasons why the 38-year-old has decided to no longer offer human design readings, but rather a holistic mentoring program, of which human design can be a partial aspect. She works longer and more deeply with her clients so that they learn to create the positive feelings that Human Design only brings to life for a short time.
He says it can help to remain self-critical and be aware of the Barnum effect. Patricia Marekt advises always taking a distance from things and talking to people who have no contact with the topic: "Get out of this bubble and into a down-to-earth state, and then look at it again with a new perspective."
One should have the courage to ask controversial questions. And remind people that they have a choice whether they want to work with human design or not. "You have to keep checking: What is my intention behind it? Do I want to hand over responsibility to this tool or do I use it to feel stronger?" The teachings of the Human Design System should not be adopted as dogma. Everyone should find their own individual approach to it and find out for themselves “what is right for them”. You can simply leave out the parts that are not good. "It's just a system that brings an approach and an orientation, but it never embodies our being - we are too individual for that."