Human Design boils the human population down to four Types: Manifestors, Generators, Projectors and Reflectors.
Each Type has a particular Strategy for living that can enhance health and well-being, as well as minimize resistance and emotional suffering.
Some like to think of Type as the particular kind of cell or biological form that we happen to be living in. So, if our planet is a single living organism, then we human beings are a bunch of cells in this organism, and there are four distinct groups of us. Some of us 'cells' tend to do particularly well with a certain kind of fuel or food, while others of us do better with other kinds. Our Strategy is what leads us to the proper nutrients -- the right people, environments, opportunities and experiences. So when we follow our Strategy, we learn how to keep our ‘form’ healthy, how to make good decisions, and how to recognize when we’re on the right path.
This is why people often say that learning about your Type and Strategy is like receiving a manual for your life, or like getting a cookbook that shows you how to nourish your body (and brain!) so that it can operate at its very best … and take your 'soul' for the fascinating, flowing and life-affirming ride it’s meant to have.
So let's start exploring the four main Types in the Human Design System. (Please keep in mind that there is endless variation within each Type. But for now, let’s remain on the surface.)
Well-known Pure Generators
Well-known Manifesting Generators
Martin Luther King
Some General Words about GENERATORS
Generators are infinitely creative, energetic and productive Buddha beings. They have enveloping auras, taking everyone and everything in. They’re here to be absolutely authentic, to be deeply satisfied by their work, and to be respected for the valuable energy they bring to relationships, jobs and environments.
Generators make up approximately 70% of the human population. So they’re everywhere! (Which is a good thing, because this world needs a whole lot of people who are capable of perfecting and building things in increasingly efficient ways!)
There are two kinds of Generators – Pure Generators and Manifesting Generators. While the two certainly have their differences, they both are here to RESPOND FIRST, and ACT SECOND. Living in a manifestation-obsessed culture, however, the majority of Generators learn early on to be proactive, to initiate their lives based on the ideas they have in their heads, without ever checking in with their intelligent 'gut-brains' to see whether they actually have the energy they need to not only do the work, but to love it.
Generators must learn to respect themselves and value their own energy if they are to discover and live out their unique life purpose. The best way for them to do this is by waiting for life and opportunities to come to them, and then to pay attention to the wisdom of their highly responsive (and vocal!) bellies. When presented with an opportunity that is right for them, they literally come alive. They might even hum.
The genuine response of Manifesting Generators can be super intense; they can be like dynamic rocket ships, birthing projects into being with a productive burst of energy that keeps on going until it falls flat, and recharges. Once initiated, they are nothing less than Buddha Warriors; their energy is not only built for efficiency; it is unstoppable, which is why it’s so important that they learn to be patient and selective before saying ‘yes’ to something.
The response of Pure Generators is more fluid and rhythmic. It’s less about incredible staying power, and more about letting go into the flow, going step by step, and making quantum leaps in mastery when they’re ready. Pure Generators are deeply resilient. More than anyone, they can embody the true art of pacing, learning to be with obstacles until they have their break-throughs. They have the potential to truly enjoy the rhythms of the earth, the seasons, and to act as deeply stabilizing forces on the planet.
When Generators push too hard trying to make things happen, or spread themselves too thin doing things that don’t truly excite them, they can really end up feeling frustrated and/or angry, even like slaves. They can also meet a great deal of inner and outer resistance.
All Generators, thus, are here to learn the same beautiful lesson: to relax, be patient, and to trust that when they allow life to come to them, life simply flows through them. In the end, for Generators, response is the easiest path of all, and life is designed to be an eternal adventure!
Queen Elizabeth II
John F. Kennedy
Some General Words about Projectors
Only 21% of the population, Projectors are bright, curious, energetically sensitive beings who are deeply interested in others. They have very attractive, penetrating auras that go right into the core of people. Projectors are here to learn, to interact, and to facilitate the doing of others, as opposed to do, do, do themselves. They’re also here to be recognized for their true gifts, to understand the nature of systems, and to guide and integrate the energy of the people around them. Projectors bring the potential for a new form of leadership into the world. They’re not designed to work using their own energy. Instead, they’re here to surf and direct the energy of others.
Projectors, more than anything, need to be seen for who they are and invited by those who see them before they can live out their life purpose. Like Generators, most Projectors are taught early on to initiate their lives based on ambitious mental agendas. Many end up working harder than anyone else, for people who just don’t ‘get’ them, and end up feeling exhausted, invisible and/or deeply bitter. In their attempts to get noticed, or to share what they see and know (which quite often is a LOT) to the people around them, they can end up ‘feeding their many pearls to the pigs’ and/or being experienced as interfering and annoying, as opposed to the incredibly wise beings that they are.
The main Strategy for Projectors is to wait for the invitation, especially when it comes to the major decisions in their life. This means waiting to be invited into a ‘marriage,’ a relationship, a career/calling, or a place to live. ‘Right’ invitations come from people who see them clearly, appreciate their gifts, and both want and need their guidance. Waiting for the invitation is like a healthy screening process, ensuring that their highest potential is appreciated, their knowledge is wanted, and that their guiding talents are utilized by those who truly need them.
Awakened Projectors live a life full of trust. They trust that the right people, the right invitations, the right opportunities will see them, will come to them. It is this trust, this faith, that ultimately gives them the courage not to live a life full of compromise – which is about the worst (and most tempting!) thing a Projector can do.
Once Projectors have accepted a ‘right’ invitation, they are free to respond, manifest, reflect, share their knowledge, guide, lead or whatever they like. So this ‘waiting’ is truly only about the entry process to the big life events. Sometimes all Projectors need is one ally, one person who totally gets their genius, to turn a life of invisibility into one of promising recognition.
Elisabeth Kubler Ross
J. Edgar Hoover
Robert De Niro
Ra Uru Hu (the man who brought Human Design into the world)
Some General Words about Manifestors
Manifestors are freedom-loving, potently energetic, and rare warrior beings (only 8% of the population) who are designed to be proactive, to lead and to have a big impact. They have powerful, self-contained, provocative auras that can either ‘repel’ people, or let them in selectively. They are the only Type that is actually here to act on their own, to initiate projects, relationships and experiences, to get balls rolling. They can be deeply empowering to others, especially if they cultivate good listening skills. Manifestors, historically, have been the leaders of the world, although their top-down style of leadership is losing its hold, as other forms of co-creative, energetically attuned, movement-backed leadership styles are gaining momentum.
Adult Manifestors are not here to be told what to do, or to ask permission. When they feel controlled, manipulated or unable to move and act freely, they can feel angry, and either do their thing despite everyone around them, or become deeply repressed, turning their anger against themselves.
Ironically, Manifestors (unlike all of the other Types) are typically conditioned not to be Manifestors! Because their parents can find them difficult to ‘control’ or emotionally access as children, many of their parents make the mistake of putting an all-too-tight leash around them, preventing them from following the beat of their own drummer, and ultimately teaching them to sit back and wait for things to happen, or, to get lost in work lives full of drudgery often initiated by others -- as opposed to going out and making wonderful things happen, empowering and inspiring others to work in fulfilling projects, which is one of their greatest potentials.
Manifestor children need to understand how unique and creative they are, and that even though they themselves might not be aware of it, they have a big impact on the people around them, simply by being themselves. If harnessed well and channeled respectfully, there is no limit to their power of manifestation.
Manifestor children also need to learn how to ask for permission, and to learn basic social skills that show politeness and respect. It’s not that they are not capable of of doing what they want without permission. More than any other Type, they are exceedingly equipped to act alone (which is why they may not experience the same level of 'neediness' that other Types do). The thing is that if Manifestor children don’t ask for permission, they can wind up with so many anxious adults around them that their wings are inadvertently clipped. Because Manifestor children have an intrinsic sense of their independence, it can be hard for them to learn how to ask for permission. Letting them know that doing so is really for their own good, that it actually will increase their freedom, not diminish it, can really help!
Manifestor adults need to learn how to inform others before they go ahead and take action -- especially the people who are likely to be impacted by their actions. When they don’t inform the people in their lives, they can be met with great resistance and a lack of cooperation. Their friends, family members, co-workers, employees can feel disregarded, unneeded, and/or bulldozed. When, out of an understanding of their own impact, Manifestors show basic human courtesy and take the time to fill people in on their dreams and plans, they can inspire an astounding amount of cooperation and enthusiasm from the people around them, and of course, manifest wonderful projects, creations and achievements in the world.
Some General Words about Reflectors
Of all the Types, Reflectors are the most rare. They make up less than 2% of the population. They are deeply open, receptive, sensitive beings, able to take people in, enjoy the feeling of being surprised, and cultivate tremendous wisdom. Life moves through them all of the time. But just because it moves through them doesn’t mean it ‘sticks.’ Reflectors have what in Human Design is called a “Teflon” aura; it is designed to take everything in, yet keep nothing at the same time. (Think of Ammaji, also known as 'the hugging guru' -- a Reflector able to hug thousands of people in a single day, some very sick, without the slightest trace of burnout or infectedness.) You could say that Reflectors have the capacity to graze environments, to literally digest the atmosphere, and to reflect back all of the collective energies, themes and issues that they pick up and metabolize.
Finding the right environment, the right community, the right collective ‘meal’ to digest and reflect back, is so deeply important for Reflectors. The more ‘positive’ the frequency they can reflect, the more wonderful they can feel, and the more powerful a role they can play in the world around them. At their most awakened state, Reflectors are designed to have entire communities revolve around them! In fact, Reflectors are here to transcend what most of us experience as a personal agenda. They have the potential to actually be a PLACE.
Because Reflectors are so gifted at reading the collective temperature, like canaries in coal mines, they can also spot anyone or anything that stands out from the crowd. If someone steps out of line, a Reflector will notice before anyone else. If someone is actually living an authentic life, if someone has risen above and beyond the limitations of ‘group-think,’ a Reflector will notice this too. (An awakened Reflector, more than anyone else, will rejoice in the happy surprise of a genuinely authentic, free being.)
Because Reflectors are so unusual, they are often deeply misunderstood. Very few parents or teachers, for example, are able to reflect Reflectors back to themselves. It follows that many Reflectors don’t know who they are or how they operate. When they don’t understand their unusual gifts, they can suffer a great deal and experience deep disappointment. Some can become quite disturbed and lost, out of this understandable confusion.
The Reflector’s Strategy is different than any other Type, in that it is completely connected to the cycle of the moon. Ideally, Reflectors need to wait out a full moon cycle (approximately 28 days) before making important decisions. It is through this waiting period that they talk to caring yet neutral listeners, listen to their own voice as they speak about their situation, and gather all of the information that they need, including the necessary wisdom to know what and who is truly right for them. To fully understand and apply their beautiful yet complex Strategy, Reflectors benefit more than any other Type from a deep knowledge of Human Design.
Disclaimer: Rosy is an ordained minister of Designed to Blossom of AIWP and provide something more akin to spiritual counseling than psychotherapy. The work I do is with highly functional people, for whom ‘spirit’ plays a central role in their life. I do not give diagnoses, work with pathology, or claim to be an expert offering a treatment or cure.