Are you living your own life, or the one you’ve been conditioned to live? How do you know? How can you find out? And if you don’t like what you find, how can you change it? Your Human Design Life Chart has the answers.
We’ve just come out of gateway 46, which brought us serendipity and expansion. Now, we shift gears as we go into what’s known as the Spleen Center of the Human Design Life Chart. Which has to do with our sense of health and wellbeing, our immune system, our lymph system, and ultimately, the fear of survival.
The first gate we come to in the Spleen Center is the 18th, which I call “Improving.” In traditional I-Ching, this gateway is called “work on what has been spoiled by the parents.” So, we can see that we are dealing with a gateway of conditioning, the conditioning we’ve received from our parents, teachers, priests, etc.
This is why I also like to call this the “Go to hell” gateway. Because anyone who comes across gate 18 in their charts has to come to the realization at some point, that pretty much everything they’ve been told about life is… questionable (to put it mildly).
So, let’s see how this plays out in your Human Design Life Chart line by line:
First Line: Being Paternalistic
The first line here is called “Being Paternalistic.” We’re all aware that there is really a massive imbalance in the male patriarchal systems at play in the world. We don’t have to look very far to see it, particularly here in America. From pay inequality to the male control over women’s reproductive rights, the imbalances are clear, and they are many. And the 18 with the first line is interested in finding some balance here. There is great difficulty in updating male traditions, but there has to be equalization here.
That is really the foundation of the 18th gateway. It says, “Am I in hell or is there a way out here? How do I get out? How do I bring balance? How do I bring love into the world?” And the answer, in this instance, is “step by step.” The first line gives the endurance to gradually bring practical modifications to ancient judgements. So, we see that things need to change, but changing them is a gradual, logical and methodical process.
Second Line: Honoring the Goddess
The second line here is a bit of a puzzle for many. It took me ages to work out what this line was all about. But it turns out that as the first line is very much about the male side of things, the second line has a lot to do with the feminine. So, I came to the conclusion that the real name for this line is “Honoring the Goddess.”
Again, any woman will know the displacement that’s taken place both in the modern day, and in times past when women who had any semblance of power were squashed, or in the worst cases burned at the stake for having a wisdom that was natural to them.
This is why we so often see a tendency to suppress the feminine side of our nature—men and women alike. And the second line, in its very natural form, is asking us to honor the feminine, to honor mother nature, the mother planet that nurtures us. And that natural act of honoring the goddess here helps to bring us out of this state of denial.
Third Line: Progressing
The third line always has a pioneering quality. It wants to break out and try new things. And here, the line is called “Being Impetuous.” So, in this case there is a real urgency to break away from the orthodoxy, to be done with the past and move into a new future.
When you get to the third line, you’ll find there’s a little bit of a hurry going on. This feeling that you’ve gotta get the hell out of here right now, that you’re not going to be subject to this idea that everybody knows better than you do.
The only person who can know about your life is you. You’re the one living it. That’s the most important thing to realize. This is your life. You’ve been subjected to a lot of programming, a lot of other people’s input and ideas. But this is your movie, your universe. So, examining what is no longer needed in your life gives you the possibility to be free of it. And that’s exactly what the 18th gate is all about.
The danger here is the potential to focus only on the negative. If you’re always in a state of pure reaction, rather than actually finding something that is relevant and in attunement with your own life, you run the risk of missing the point. So, the key is to live your life your way, but that means being in touch with your Human Design Life Chart and trusting your Type and Authority to help you find out how to bring about this improvement in your life.
Fourth Line: A Call to Meditate
The fourth line is called “Allowing things to be: attempting to cure symptoms and not causes.” This is a very common tendency, to just fix something a little bit rather than getting deeper into it and finding the real root of the issue. But in going to the heart of problematic issues, you see whether or not you actually attract them. And as long as you follow somebody else’s path, you’re going to run into things that really don’t relate to you at all.
There is a call to meditate here. A call to really have a look within and find your own clarity. It is a time to be really careful about how you respond to the input you are getting from the outside—be it praise or criticism—and to really drill down into discovering the things in your life that really resonate with you.
Fifth Line: Self-Correcting
The fifth line here is called “Self-Correcting.” Fifth lines always have that potential to lead, to guide, to oversee and manage things. But they have to be practical. There has to be a practical approach.
Breaking free from conditioning requires quite some effort, quite some awareness and quite some integrity. And this integrity is an inner integrity. It says, “I’m gonna get through this. I’m gonna work this out, whatever it takes. I’m gonna look at this conditioning and I’m gonna look at these things in my life that don’t resonate.”
This inner integrity allows you to escape from things that have been drilled into you. The idea that we are all born in sin, for instance. We live in sin and die in sin. This is somebody else’s mantra, and it might not assist you in any way. And taking things like this on board only serves to cause imbalance.
So again, it’s about finding what is true for you and self-correcting your course away from what isn’t. The fifth line really shows us how that can take place. Anywhere in our life where we tend to be reactive or we’re stuck in somebody else’s dogma, something approaches, or some interaction takes place that holds up a mirror for us. This mirror reflects whatever that conditioning is that we’ve been stuck in. And in that moment, we can self-correct.
Sixth Line: Being the Buddha
If you know the Buddha’s story, you know he really went through it. He had a life of luxury and relaxation for many years, and then around his Saturn return, he suddenly realized there’s more to be seen here. So, he goes on a 70 year pilgrimage. He tries out everything, does all the initiations, experiences all the hardships, progresses through all the things he’s told to do. And in the end, he gives up. And that is the moment where the resolution comes. He transcends all the conditioning and all the dogma he’d been fed.
That’s why the sixth line here is called, “Being the Buddha: going beyond all conditioning.” Because the 18 requires something of a dedication to go through hell, to go through the pains of coming to terms with the fact that all of what we’ve been told is questionable, and that we have to find our own truth.
If you’ve got the 18 with the sixth line in your design, you’ll see that you dedicate yourself to universal concerns and spiritual development for all beings. There’s a part of you that can see the way through, out of conditioning, out of hell, and into reality.
That’s the bottom line with the 18. This gateway reminds us that a lot of what we’ve been told, a lot of why we’re towing the line, is somebody else’s trip. We’re giving our power away unnecessarily into other people’s traditions and concepts and ideas, and the 18 gives us that reminder: find your own truth.
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