Intro to Incarnation Cross

The first thing we tend to learn about when we discover Human Design is our type. Then, our strategy for making decisions and our authority. Next, our profile. Once we’ve learned about these elements of our charts, what’s next?

We can look into our gates and channels to better understand the consistent archetypes we are playing out. A great place to begin here is with the gates of your Incarnation Cross. I think it’s important to be “ready” for your incarnation cross to get the most benefit from knowing about it. It’s something I have revisited in my own chart several times. When I learned about it at the very beginning of my understanding of Human Design it was interesting to know, but didn’t mean too much to me. After living out my Human Design experiment in real life for several years, I looked again – and it was a whole new meaning for me. Once I was more aligned from living out the other pieces that come first (strategy, authority, etc.), it became more of a confirmation that my life was on track. I could see where my incarnation cross energy was actually playing out in my life in a big way.

What is an Incarnation Cross?

Your Cross is made up of the first four gates in your chart— your conscious (black) and unconscious (red) sun and earth gates (or your mind and body gates, respectively). The names for the black and red gates vary based on the software that you’re using. The best way to begin to understand your Cross as a whole is to begin to understand each of these gates and see how they play out in your life.

In this image, the Incarnation Cross is made up of gates 30/29/34/20. Explore how the archetypes of these four gates in your chart weave together to form the fabric of your life.

Your Incarnation Cross tells you about your life path here on Earth. It doesn’t exist to give you the specifics of your future— and remember that your purpose and your career are not necessarily the same thing (although if you can incorporate your purpose into what you do to make a living, that’s great)! When you begin living your design— living as your truest self— you can see your Incarnation Cross begin to show itself more and more naturally.

A note: The names of the Incarnation Crosses can be confusing. The Cross of Masks? The Cross of Contagion? Cross of the Vessel of Love? What do these names even mean? A perhaps more helpful solution to understand your cross is to ignore the name altogether and look at these four gates and see how they have worked together throughout your life so far.

Do you know where to find out what your incarnation cross is? If you want an easy place to find your incarnation cross name – look at the summary page of your chart. The format for where you find it on the summary varies by where you pulled your chart, but it should be on there. Here’s an example from the chart you would get from

You may also be able to see how many (seemingly) unrelated things that you’ve done have actually been very related when you consider the themes of your Incarnation Cross.

There are 192 general Incarnation Crosses and 768 different variations of those crosses. Our incarnation crosses give us a fuller understanding of just how unique we really are.

They say that Incarnation Cross is 70% of your “karma” or the inherent energy that you show up to the world with. It is important to remember that there’s nothing to “do” when it comes to your cross. It’s simply something to be aware of. Recognize the gifts you bring in the four Incarnation Cross gates and you’ll begin to appreciate your purpose more and more.

If you are unsure of where to start, the most important energy to look at in your chart is your personality sun— this is truly your defining gate and you could spend a whole year looking into that gate and how it expresses itself in your life. Consider the low and high expressions of that gate. Study a few different resources (especially if you have a 1 line in your profile) or ask those close to you how they’ve seen these archetypes play out (especially if you have a 4 line in your profile). When you’re ready, move on to a deeper explanation of the other gates.

If you want to learn more about your Incarnation Cross gates, I’ve compiled some resources below. It can be helpful, also, to get a Human Design reading from someone who has studied the gates and can help you understand yours.


Here’s a website that has the most amazing distillations of the crosses. (


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