Incarnation Crosses: Explained (Part 2)

Last month we began our look at the Incarnation Cross—an important but sometimes overlooked aspect of Human Design.

Here is a quick summary of Part 1 (you can read all of Part 1 here):

–Each person is born into this world with an Incarnation Cross that illuminates that person’s authentic life path… and yours can be found on your Human Design chart!

–Caveat: Your Incarnation Cross really won’t come into play in your life until you are first living in alignment with your Human Design Type and Strategy.

–If life were a theatrical play (thank you Mr. Shakespeare!), your TYPE would be the role you play in that production. Your PROFILE is the personality or character you bring to your role. Your INCARNATION CROSS is the plot line or story line that your character plays out in that role.

–While your Incarnation Cross is not a narrowly defined “purpose,” it is the broad what and how of what you are uniquely designed to do. There are many ways you could fulfill your path or story line—there is NOT one-and-only-one right way to live out your Incarnation Cross!

How Is Your Incarnation Cross Derived?

The top two black numbers and top two redEvelyn's Chart
in the columns of numbers on your Human Design chart form your Incarnation Cross. All of the numbers in these columns are called “Gate energies”—these are the energies we carry from birth. The top four numbers are in the positions of the sun and earth, and they exert more influence on us than the other Gate energies in our charts.

These top four numbers represent approximately 70% of the personality characteristics (Gate energies) that we are designed to express in life. Together these four numbers are given a name—an Incarnation Cross name—and they tell a major part of our life story.

There is no rigid interpretation of an Incarnation Cross. The meaning of each Cross is a combination of the four Gate energies that comprise it. The Gate energy in the conscious sun position—the top black number—is the most significant of the four. All of the other energies in your Cross, and in your whole chart, are expressed through the conscious sun Gate energy.

Also, some of the Cross names may be a bit misleading so don’t jump to conclusions about what your Cross means. For example, the Cross of Limitation does not mean you are limited. The Cross of Upheaval does not mean your life will always be chaos. Many Crosses were named for the low expression of their energies but each Cross has a high expression too, and we’re all capable of living the high expression of our Cross and of all the energies in our chart.

Why is it Called a “Cross”?

Evelyn_Levenson_-_MandalaThe word “Cross” here has a visual, not a religious, basis. When you look at the mandala of my chart on the left, you see that the four longest “arms” on the image form a cross, or “x” across the mandala. These “arms” represent the four Gate energies that form my Incarnation Cross.

The long golden arm on the right represents my conscious sun energy—Gate 48. Opposite that, the long red arm on the right represents my conscious earth energy—Gate 21. The conscious sun and earth Gates are always exactly opposite each other on the mandala.

The long golden arm on the bottom represents my unconscious sun energy—Gate 39. Opposite that, the long golden arm on the top represents my unconscious earth energy—Gate 38. The unconscious sun and earth Gates are always exactly opposite each other on the mandala.

For those of you who love details, the two “crossing” arms are never at a perfect 90-degree angle. The unconscious energies are determined at 88 degrees (approximately 3 months in calendar time) prior to our conscious energies (which are formed at our time of birth). The circle of the mandala represents an entire year of time, and the sun and earth move counter clockwise around the mandala each year.

And for those of you curious about why the short and long arms on my mandala are different colors… here is the answer! Each colored arm, long or short, represents a Gate energy in my chart. The arm’s color is determined by the color of the Energy Center that the Gate is connected to on my body graph (which is the large triangle in middle of mandala). Even if a particular Energy Center is open (white) on my body graph, the arm on my mandala related to it will be the color of that Center when it is defined (colored in).

How Many Incarnation Crosses Are There?

First, there are three kinds of Crosses: Right Angle Crosses, Juxtaposition Crosses, and Left Angle Crosses. The kind that appears on your Chart is determined by your Profile.

The Right Angle Profiles are 1/3, 1/4, 2/4, 2/5, 3/5, 3/6, 4/6.
The Juxtaposition Profile is 4/1.
The Left Angle Profiles are 5/1, 5/2, 6/2, 6/3.

There are a total of 64 Gate energies, and the sun moves through all 64 over the course of a year (like the sun moves through all 12 astrological signs each year).

64 Gates x 3 variations = 192 Incarnation Crosses

Each Right Angle Cross appears 4 times, once in each quarter of the Human Design year, with the same 4 Gates each time—just in different arrangements.

This is why you’ll see some Crosses with the number 2, 3, or 4 after them. The Cross name remains the same, just the variation number changes. The meaning of these Crosses remains essentially the same although the position of each Gate energy does influence the meaning. The Gate energy in the conscious sun position (top black number) is the most influential.

Each Left Angle Cross appears 2 times, once in the first two quarters, and once again in the last two quarters. Again, the name and meaning of the Cross remain the same when it repeats (it’s made of the same 4 Gate energies each time), but it is influenced by the relative positions of the Gate energies—especially the conscious sun energy.

Juxtaposition Crosses do not repeat; each has a unique name.

How To Find Out About YOUR Incarnation Cross

The name of YOUR Incarnation Cross is usually found on the bottom half of your Human Design chart (if you received your chart from me) below the line that says Profile. If your chart doesn’t show yours, send me an email with your birth data and I’ll send you a chart that shows the name of your Cross.

There are several books available about Human Design that describe the Gate energies, but few that address Incarnation Crosses. Check on Amazon and Jovian Archives for reference materials. I particularly like Chetan Parkyn’s book Human Design (on Amazon) which looks at each Gate energy in some detail (but does not describe the Crosses).

In the absence of information about your specific Incarnation Cross, read about each of the four Gates that comprise your Cross and weave your own story of your life path from those Gates.

If you choose to have a Human Design Reading with me, your Incarnation Cross will be explained and explored with you as part of your Reading.

Bottom Line

Put your focus on living in alignment with your Type and Strategy, first and foremost. Then your Incarnation Cross will unfold and express naturally in your life.

18 Responses to Incarnation Crosses: Explained (Part 2)

  • Alejandra says:

    😀 Thank you Eveyln, as usual it is a pleasure to read you!

  • Kathy says:

    Thanks…this was helpful to me! 😛

  • Ray Vander Borgh says:


    I was wondering what yours was; found it was right cross of tension. Just like mine. I’m also 1/3 profile as well, except not projector but manifesting generator. For the right cross of tension what have you found so far, Eveyln? It was last year since you posted this. You’ve probably found more on your cross and had a chance to observe your experience of it since then. I can’t seem to find much in terms of specific information about the cross – always seems like a summary only, sparce.

    • Evelyn says:

      Hi Ray, I’m finding that I can help people to restore the flow of their energy (the high expression of the cross) without creating the tension of the low expression. And when I do create tension (usually not consciously) I at least know where it comes from. As a Projector, when I use my energy correctly it’s much easier to avoid the tension. How are you experiencing this cross now that you are more aware of it? I suspect it’ a bit different for you as an MG than for me!

  • rik cruys says:

    I have the right angle cross of penetration. Besides I am a warrior and ambitious, so that accentuates, in a 2/5 Projector design with single definition. Thanks universe, I am getting blasted out of the water by everybody, because I can be so damn sharp, critical and I see through everything. Evelyn, what do you think of this ‘right angle cross of penetration’? What can I make of it? Should I be happy with it? What does it serve? I alienate people too much, they get scared, because I am sharp, and often right, while I do not mean to, I want to help and I am also getting tired of all the games I see going on, I want to cut through, out the crap. How can I survive with this (awful) cross? Can I not change it to something else, something sweeter like The Vessel of Love, or Maya or … Thanks for your answer, Rik.

    • Evelyn says:

      Hi Rik, thank you for your question. It’s an important one. The Cross of Penetration can be challenging but I encourage you to not see it as an “awful” cross….all crosses have their downsides and challenges. I admit Penetration is among the more challenging, especially for a Projector, but there is a solution. First, your cross has GREAT value for you and others. As you know, you see through the “crap” and games with a clarity that others simply do not possess. Your ability to “correct patterns” and see what’s “off” is brilliant and much needed in the world. It helps us all move closer to perfection in our experience of life and our love of vitality. The key for you is to WAIT TO BE ASKED before offering your corrections/insights. When asked for, they will usually be received well. When not asked for, they’re often not received well (as you indicated from your experience). It’s one of the hardest things we need to do as Projectors and it’s especially crucial for you. Literally “zip your lip” until someone asks for your opinion or guidance. It takes time and practice (and coming around to embracing the fullness of who you are)..but it’s worth it. You’ll be more effective in your offering of corrections, and also happier!! Hope this helps. Please keep me posted on your progress.

  • rik cruys says:

    Dear Evelyn,
    Thank you very mch for your professional reply, and – of course – I already knew most of this you are writing (from the little reading I have done on HD).

    However, the problem is the following: ‘wait for the invitation’. I see/experience so many situations where I see things go wrong, I know what to do, where people fool themselves, things get stuck, how to solve, or how things go to destruction, but … THEY DON’T ASK!

    I mean if I would shut up nothing would happen or things go to shambles, and important (lateral) links/solutions would not be laid.

    So, what do I do?
    1) Shut up and let the inside of me turn into a ticking time bomb,
    2) Castrate myself, and I walk around like a eunuch,
    3) Walk away and let the whole thing explode or go wrong (chances missed), or
    4) Go fishing and live on an isolated island and forget about the world?
    5) None of the above, but what else?

    I am making it a little funny to make my point, but I am serious.
    What do I do? How do I get people to ask me then, or what else?

    kind regards,
    Rik Cruys

  • Rik CRUYS says:

    Dear Evelyn,

    Despite not hearing anymore from you on my last question, I want to thank you very much for your brilliant website. I have been reading and studying it a lot. I think it is a real, true and beautiful hommage to the work of Ra Uru Hu …

    I have decided to go and study Human Design in the Netherlands, and start following its courses from LYD upto LYDG.

    Thank you very much!

    Rik Cruys

  • Bettina says:

    Thanks Evelyn for getting some info out on this obscure subject in HD. I am curious: I have been tracking couples and other important relationships and having some hunches that those of us who have none of our incarnational cross gates complete within our own chart look for that in our connections with others. A couple people I know are single definition and complete their own crosses on top of it and they seem to be pretty much – “my way or the highway” even if they are “nice” about it and don’t mean to hurt anyone in their independence and willfulness. Some folks who are not single def or projectors with very little definition seem to be really happy with partners and friends who complete their splits and incarnational cross gates – is this something you have found to be true at all? is there any info on this topic that you are aware of – I could find none on the web.

    I am a quad split and I don’t complete any of my own cross gates; having folks who bridge me all the way tends to be a good thing and gives me a sense of wholeness unless they are chaotic and/or have not done their inner work. Two really dear friends bridge me all the way and complete at least two cross gates with me and I do the same for them and wow are we happy in each others company 🙂

    On a different note, I just pulled the charts on a couple; their charts are almost identical down to planets in gates and hexagram lines; they only bridge each other in one channel – very unusual – any thoughts?

    Thanks a million, Bettina

    • Cindy says:

      Hi Bettina, Thank you for your thoughtful discussion on relationships and incarnational crosses. I myself am a split definition and my husband and I do not have the electro-magnetic attraction in our incarnation crosses. It is an interesting subject to pursue. I look forward to more discussion. Cindy, assistant to Evelyn.

  • Alara says:

    Hi, Evelyn,
    Thanks smooch for your wisdom. I am a splenic manifestor and have a right angle incarnation cross of may. Would you please expound on what you meant by “Each Right Angle appears 4 times, once in each quarter of the Human Design year, with the same 4 Gates each time – just in different arrangements.” Are you referring to some sort of astrological forecast here, or something else?

    • Evelyn says:

      Hi Alara, it’s not an astrological forecast. Each Incarnation Cross is formed by 4 Gates. If you have a Right Angle cross, there are 3 other times during the year when others will have the same Cross (the same 4 Gates) as you, but where those Gates appear on their chart will be slightly different. It’s a little hard to explain without showing. I hope that helped.

  • Magdalena says:

    Hello, It has been very interesting to read the article and the comments! I am a 4/1 generator with 28/27/19/31 -an incarnation cross of the game player! I really ponder what is means… I am going through some deep changes, I am 40 soon, and HD is helping me a lot to find the answers for my many questions about my purpose, my mission… Well, I am all 4xRight with the motivation – innocence. So, I can not plan much, just flow… any comment welcome…

  • Marina says:

    Hello!I m projector 6/2 left cross of upheaval What is it?

    • Cindy says:

      The Incarnation Cross references themes of your life story that get to be lived out when you are following your Type and Strategy. The Incarnation Cross by itself is not very meaningful. Information about how your Type, Strategy, Authority, and Incarnation Cross interact with your Human Design chart are covered in depth during a private Human Design reading session. For more information about readings, you’re invited to visit this link ~ Robin, assistant to Evelyn​

  • Hello Evelyn! It’s been a long time since I’ve communicated with you. I see you are doing very well living out the high expression of your cross, as am I… same cross as you know. I am dating a man with the Cross of Contagion. Reading comments from a man with his cross has helped me to better understand my man. He also has an Open Throat Center to boot! And a bunch of other energies that can “clash” with our combined energies. I am being conscious of this as well. He does not get Human Design and I don’t expect him to and he’s not ready to warm up to me “showing” him my chart at this point and that’s okay. Freedom in relationship is key! It’s only important that I am aware and that I (work on) communicate what I see happening in a way that makes sense to him. That’s a bit tricky as you know, as Human Design Speciaists have a very foreign vocabulary that can confound others! Lol!
    Thank you for continuing on this mission we share! I am still “obeying the triangle!” Haha! Love it!

    • Evelyn says:

      Hi Connie, so good to hear from you! I’m glad you’re on a relationship path and applying what you know… without forcing HD on him. People are where they are, and it’s totally okay. Yes, we do have a rather foreign vocabulary. Hadn’t thought of it that way, but it’s true. I’m glad the triangle is still in your life, and in my life, too! Many blessings to you… and please keep in touch!

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