The whole thing about the costume you wear in life is that it grows on you.
– Ra Uru Hu
Life purpose is an incredibly unique discovery. How do we find it? How do we live it out? How do we know it’s authentic to us?
Human Design addresses life purpose in a very specific way through the Incarnation Cross. It has been suggested that it is not useful to explore unless you already have a sense of being able to act from a place of embodiment and alignment with your body’s inner guidance. Strategy and Authority are tools based on energy mechanics that help us to align with the natural movement of our bodies through space and time. We can use them to guide our decision making.
The Incarnation Cross describes the costume we are wearing and the job we are designed to do as we move along our path, which includes the role we are here to play and the expression of our unique contribution to the totality. We could think of the costume as our Profile and the description of the Cross as our being within it. In this way, the Incarnation Cross is a signpost rather than a guiding mechanism. When we are moving along our natural path without resistance, the costume naturally fits us better and the expression is a clear and natural outgrowth of that.
It is important to distinguish the difference between the navigation tools, which are like a compass, from the signposts, which are descriptions of what our nature will do when we are navigating properly. It tells us something about what we will see and be along the way. Navigation tools can be used and experimented with. Signposts can be witnessed and used for reflection to validate what is working or not working well for us.
When we learn about our Cross, the conditioned mind will tend to try to use it as a navigation tool. This looks like making decisions based on a mental assessment of whether or not our actions will fit the description of the Cross, which quickly becomes a mental, conceptual exercise rather than a process that involves the energetic response and flow of the body. In this way, learning about the Cross can become another distraction of the mind rather than a helpful part of the map. For this reason, it has been suggested that we not explore the details of our Incarnation Cross until we have been experimenting with Strategy and Authority for some years.
However, given that life purpose is often a compelling and sometimes consuming pursuit and that it is listed as part of any basic Human Design report, we are offering a way to understand it here.
The Incarnation Cross is made up of the Gates and Lines of your Personality Sun and Earth and your Design Sun and Earth. There are four basic elements to the cross that can be signposts of living according to our natural frequency, the energy we are here to align with and emit in the world. These are described very briefly below and can all be explored deeply as a way of seeing the themes that play out in our lives.
The Quarter– The Gate placement of the Personality Sun shows us the core area we are here to work with. They are: the Mind and the transmission of concepts which initiate processes (the Quarter of Initiation), the Form which is about the physical structures we build (the Quarter of Civilization), Bonding and the ways we mate and relate (the Quarter of Bonding) or Mutation with its focus on change and transformation (the Quarter of Mutation).
The Angle – The Angle can be Right, Left or Juxtaposition. Generally, the Right Angle is associated with Personal Destiny, a self-focused, karma-creating movement through life, that includes a more innocent way of pursuing new experience. The Left Angle is associated with Transpersonal Karma, the completion of karma based on interacting only with those that we have encountered before and a sense that all relationships are recognizable from past encounters. The Juxtaposition is known as a Fixed Fate angle with a very fixed and inflexible path through life.
The Profile – Profile, which comes from the lines of the Personality and Design Sun, shows us the role we play as we do our job. Every profile can be experienced in positive and negative ways, in both correct and incorrect situations, meaning situations driven by aligning with design and those driven by the not-self. They affect how we are seen, how we relate, who we resonate and harmonize with and how we naturally experience fulfillment. These descriptions and keynotes are the starting point for exploring what it means to live out your role and purpose. Without following Strategy and Authority, we may never really know what it means to fulfill our role.
The Gates – The specific qualities of the four gates of your Incarnation Cross further refine that description of life purpose. From there, we get the names of the Crosses which describe the function of our purpose as a kind of job we are here to do, as well as the frequency we bring as a contribution to life and our collective evolution.
The magic of focusing on the mechanics first, through Strategy and Authority, is that the alignment with the body clarifies our path. We are not here to be all things to everyone. We are not here to choose what we naturally do well, though we can certainly grow and develop. We are endowed with particular gifts that serve the world. If we can accept those natural gifts in ourselves and others, we can find that everything has its role, function, and place.
Strategy and Authority naturally weed out what is not ours to deal with and attract the people and experiences with which we are designed to engage with purpose. As we follow along, we find that honoring the mechanics of our life force energy puts us in the position to express our Cross, which is what happens automatically when the conditioned mind does not interfere. Strategy and Authority put us in the right place at the right time with the right players so that we can be what we are and do what comes naturally to us in a way that is fulfilling.
If we find ourselves in contexts and situations where we encounter resistance, where we have to push ourselves and others in a way that feels forced, or where we feel unseen, unfulfilled or unable to feel comfortable in our own skin, it is often because we have lost touch with our nature. Our core expression, function, and contribution struggle to come to fruition. It is like planting an apple tree in the sand at the beach. It does not grow or flower. It becomes dormant or dead, not alive and thriving as itself and certainly not able to bear fruit.
From this perspective, the life purpose is not something that we choose or construct. It is not something that we reconcile or wrestle with. It can be what naturally comes out of us when we are being ourselves in resonance with the body and the environment for which we are designed. Rather than trying to make it happen, we can allow it to emerge.
Many Crosses have names that challenge or perplex us. We may like the names of some (Vessel of Love, Education, Service, Refinement) more than others (Demands, Possession, Defiance, Distraction). If reading or hearing about yours incites resistance or confusion, you can let it go, trusting that it is a mystery in the process of revealing itself to you as you are willing to watch with curiosity and follow the body’s direction.
Ra suggested that the journey to the full bloom of our life purpose is our reason for being here. It is something we grow into over time. It is supported and refined by the major cycles we go through in life. We mature into the role and the expression in a way that fits us better and better as we age and as we accept and enjoy our uniqueness. Rather than a performance or an accomplishment to achieve as quickly as possible, it is a maturation process from seed to flower and fruit that we get to experience. What happens when we curse the seedling for not yet being the fruit? Or when we expect it to grow and produce in an environment that does not nurture, support or have a place or purpose for it?
A simple way to engage with all of this is to experiment with your inner guidance: your sacral response (Generators), your sense of recognition and invitation (Projectors), your impulse to act and ability to inform others (Manifestors), your moon cycle (Reflectors) and then make your decisions through Authority: your splenic knowing, your emotional wave or whatever your authority might be. Then, as you meet life and follow this inner guidance, watch what happens, see who you are drawn to and where you go. The mind and the influence of others may often interfere with this inner knowing. That is the experiment and the commitment to self that we can watch at play.
When we no longer deny or interfere with the body’s authority, when we no longer try to be what we are not, when we stop arguing with what is natural to us, we can watch our purpose come to life and reveal itself as the perfect expression of our uniqueness. Perhaps it is something that we never had to create or figure out. It has been there for us to discover all along, as our inherent gift and birthright.
When you’re talking about an Incarnation Cross, what you’re talking about is the haute couture costume that’s possible for you on your way. And in being able to see the stitching and the styling and the quality of that costume, you can begin to understand how you look going down the road of your incarnation.
Profile is valuable in one way. What it does is provide, at its simplest level, and I am speaking simply of Profile now, is a signpost of correctness in one’s process. Each of us, as we look at and have digested our Profiles, see that clearly as a schema of how we operate, a way in which we operate. And the more and more we see our Profile in the way in which we operate in the world, the closer we are to the correctness of being ourselves.
-Ra Uru Hu