Human design is like a health map showing us how our unique energy moves through the body, and what our body needs to feel greater joy, balance and wellness. It also helps us align to our true essence, so that our entire life flows easier; and how our body communicates with us so that we make the best and most appropriate decision for ourselves. I often use human design with my clients in many of my astrology sessions as I find that it really resonates with them and it is also easy to understand and apply in their every day lives; and I also offer a Human Design and Astro Wellness Session where we dive into your unique chart and I give you wellness techniques also.
Your human design environment is essentially the space where you thrive, and where your body feels most relaxed, joyful, energized and comfortable. It is the space where you feel most nourished and supported in your natural and unique energy flow. Our environment is very important, and whether or not we are in the right one for us is essentially either supporting us or making things more challenging for us.
As with most of the other variables in human design such as digestion, for many people this right alignment of space and eating may not come into full understanding until our first Saturn return i.e. after the age of 30, because we rarely know ourselves and what’s best for us before then; but I believe that even if these don’t make perfect sense to you, it is of benefit to consider them and perhaps even experiment with these spaces to see how you feel. Both digestion and environment are part of our unconscious body design, which means that it may take some effort, intention and increased awareness to notice as conditioned adults how these truly affect us. For example you may not realize that you are in fact experiencing some low level anxiety or having trouble sleeping when you sleep with a bunch of doors open as a Caves Environment person, or that working in the middle of an open work space with your back exposed is actually affecting your ability to think clearly or unsettling you in some way. Approach human design as an experiment and explore it with curiosity.
Things to keep in mind:
- A nourishing space means a space where you will naturally feel like your true self and be supported in who you are.
- The human design environment becomes more important after the age of 30 or your first Saturn return.
- The environments are more of a concept than a specific physical place. Some of them are more abstract, while others are more physical; and they are not mutually exclusive. This means that even when you and your partner or family members have different human design environments, you’ll still be able to live peacefully and be happy together within the same home.
- It’s important not to take anything as face value or an absolute, and just approach all and everything with an open and curious mind, and use it for insight gaining rather than putting yourself into a box or category.
You can find your environment in your human design chart, and there are various online tools to do that for free. There are six kinds of environments: caves, markets, kitchens, mountains, valleys, and shores. Below are my interpretations of each, as well as some wellness tips. Human design is also a beautiful complement to astrology, so feel free to apply these along with the unique elements of your chart and other wellness modalities and techniques.
The first three environments – caves, markets and kitchens – are considered hardscapes, which means that these natives are looking more towards their immediate surroundings and what is available to them from the space around them as well as creating spaces aligned with the archetypes.
The next three – mountains, valleys and shores – are considered landscapes, which are more nuanced and poetic, and are more focused on the transpersonal energy of their surroundings, including the general vibrations and how they interact within their space and the people in that surrounding.
You should also keep in mind the arrows of your environment – so look at the bottom left arrow of your chart. Left facing arrows in human design are about masculine energy, and order and stability; so left facing environment arrows means that people feel more comfortable in a stable environment with some structure and consistency. It’s good for you to find “go to” places that you love where you can visit and revisit. You will feel energized in your correct space, and that’s your guidance on what’s right for you. Your ideal environment actually calls out action and initiation from your energy. You are here to be an active participant in your environment and therefore, to be observed when you’re in your correct space.
Right facing arrows are aligned with feminine energy, which is all about flexibility, flow, feeling, creativity and intuition. This means that you are more more suited to a changing environment, one that inspires you and feels creative. You would most likely be more comfortable than a left facing with a nomad vibe. It’s important for you to listen to your intuition about what feels right for you, when it’s time to move, where to, or when even just a rearranging of the furniture will serve you or inspire you. Think about how you want to feel in your environment and seek that out. You are here to observe and need to feel relaxed in your environment in order to be observant. You are essentially a passive recipient, sitting back people watching. Absorbing different environments and cultures really serves you as well.
In the article below I will give you general descriptions, but feel free to apply the arrows in their respective manner:
- Caves can be either Selective (Left Arrow) or Blending (Right Arrow)
- Markets can be either Internal (Left Arrow) or External (Right Arrow)
- Kitchens can be either Wet (Left Arrow) or Dry (Right Arrow)
- Mountains can be either Active (Left Arrow) or Passive (Right Arrow)
- Valleys can be either Narrow (Left Arrow) or Wide (Right Arrow)
- Shores can be either Natural (Left Arrow) or Artificial (Right Arrow)
For example, a person with a narrow valley (left arrow) feel energized by their environment, narrow spaces, hallways, alleys, railway apartments, narrow streets, or the small cobblestone streets in Europe, and places where sound and meaningful connections are close by; and even if they like being on their own, they love to hear people’s voices from another room or have the TV on. On the other hand, if they had wide valley environment, that means that they are meant to feel relaxed by their environment, and need more expansive spaces, are more partial to natural landscapes and actual valleys, and places where they’d be taking in sounds from farther away.
Please keep in mind that the below are only general descriptions. For personal sessions with me, where we’ll look at your unique chart and energy, and how it all blends together specifically for you, visit my Offerings.
The caves environment is all about creating stability and security. If you think of caves, they are enclosed spaces where it almost feels like you know all that is around you. It feels private, embracing, cozy, secure and protected. This is what this environment essentially is all about – your energy thrives in a space where you feel cozy, protected and have a sense of stability and security. Having such comfort of feelings relaxes and soothes you.
Your underlying needs are that you need a space where you can also feel a sense of control – control about who enters your cave, space and life. And protecting your privacy, and having others protect and respect your privacy also, are really important for you. Without a sense of control in your life you may feel really unbalanced. This does not mean to be controlling but it means that you may feel stressed easily in times of uncertainty, so having an area of your life where you feel more stability will offset any unhealthy tendencies to control external situations or people. One way to do this is to have a routine which will feel stable – like going to a gym (which is like your own cave especially if it’s a smaller gym without many people), or having a work place that is more private, or a bedroom or house that is more private and quiet, etc. You also need to feel a sense of authority in your life, so perhaps being an entrepreneur would be a right path for you, or a work position in which you feel more in control. The goal for the cave environment is to create a space where they feel secure – because this is what will recharge their energy and inspire their creativity.
Markets environment need spaces that are both comforting and stimulating – stimulating to their interests, passions, senses and curiosity. If you think about a marketplace, it is full of diverse and various foods, textiles, fabrics, scents, sounds and people. If you this environment it shows that you yourself carry an energy that is very lively and open minded, and very inviting as well – it is probably very easy for you to attract people and things, and be great at manifesting naturally. You are perhaps very intellectually curious and love experiencing yourself differently through creativity and learning new things. What relaxes you is when you do and can do all of these – whether it is watching a new movie, putting on the radio, listening to music, or window browsing you need variety and intellectual stimulation. Sometimes just taking your time in the grocery stores or walking in a mall can be calming for you – so that your eyes browse through various colours and curious things.
If you have a hard time falling asleep, you can also try listening to an audio storybook, and I also find many market people fall asleep to the tv saying how it relaxes them – but I do advice a storybook with the wifi off, so that you don’t absorb too much stress at night. I also find that market people love reorganizing their closets as it’s calming for them, and the reason for that is because it is like their own market, so it stimulates their creativity and new interests and styles. They also enjoy having art and souvenirs around the house, from all the places they travelled to or whatever else new they’ve seen. You need the ability to walk around freely – like an open space market – and working from home or being self-employed is best for you. Awaken your creativity and experience yourself through makeup, fragrance, art, poetry, music and fashion. Remember that just as a market changes its offerings seasonally, you too may need to shift things around and allow yourself to be drawn to different preferences whenever you feel like it.
Kitchens are a place where we prepare something to feed ourselves and others, so it is about nurturing. It is also about putting things together – mixing ingredients, so it is also about alchemy. What this all means is that this environment is about feeling free to mix ideas, thoughts, cultures, tastes, smells, and textures. You may be someone who enjoy to be in the middle of the action creating new and unique recipes for what feels most supportive to you. The kitchen is also the place where all people sometimes gather, and in old traditions and cultural beliefs, it is also associated with abundance and wealth bringing. It is the place where the fire energy is – so take a look at your own natal chart and how much fire and where you have this element. Too much fire is not desirable and should be balanced with water, and too little fire is not great also. It is important to be mindful of how you mix and match energies, and find ways to complement your every day life with what is needed and necessary uniquely to you.
Perhaps you prefer working in coworking spaces where you can collaborate with a variety of people, cultures, and there is a richness of ideas and diversity. Your energy and creativity thrive when you’re able to mix and match and blend, creating sweetness that is nurturing to all around you, and to offer something that is uniquely and distinctly yours – something that is you unmistakable.
Many people with mountain environments literally love to live in the mountains, or at the very least – hiking is what always soothes and relaxes them. The deeper meaning of this environment is that they need to see things from a higher perspective. They also need a certain level of clear goals, high vision, high values, to which to look up to; and they tend to have a good level of perseverence and endurance.
For therir energy to thrive it is really important to see the situation from a higher perspective and see the full picture of what is going on or of their environment as this is soothing for them. This may look like having an attic room where they work or retreat or their bedroom is there, living in a high rise, or sitting by a window or a high up balcony where they can observe or have a vast view. People watching is soothing for them also. They look to be tucked in, having a sense of remoteness and intimacy, and yet still have access to the big picture and to other people. Open spaces may be soothing for them as they settle their being and engage their body’s intelligence. This could mean living out in the countryside, having a cottage or having mountain/cottage vacations or breaks, hiking or walking in parks daily, or even simply organizing their home with an open floor plan. It may also be a fun exercise for them to try experiecing themselves through heights, and higher perspectives with learning new things or challenging their perceptions with new concepts and ideas.
Valley people need to engage and share their ideas with others, and to have and live in thought provoking spaces. They can still live in the middle of nowhere, but they need access to information – which nowadays can be virtual or through a blog. There is also an acoustic quality here, which means that sound, words and your voice are important. Valleys traditionally are open flat spaces, so 1. you can see everything, and 2. there is an echo in deep valleys. So perhaps you like hearing people talking or having the tv or the radio on or just hearing sounds in the distance – all of which are soothing to you, regardless of whether or not your participate in these conversations. It is also soothing for you to fall asleep to an audio storybook or listening to waves etc. If you feel stressed, turning on the tv or browsing the internet or watching a movie or a reality show calms your energy – because it is almost like you need voices and sounds around you, even if you remain detached from you. You probably have a sharp sense of hearing, so be mindful of not having sound too loud. Even if you are an introvert, you need information sharing and learning new things. Many with the valley environment love multitasking and can be found reading a few articles at a time while also having a movie on; and while for most people this may sound non-sensical, for you it might actually be soothing.
Traditionally valley towns were places where people would gather on their travels, sharing ideas, news and foods of different sorts. So even if you don’t like socializing, it is important for you to share information and gain new information – perhaps you have quite a bit of Sagittarius or Gemini energy, or 3rd and 9th house placements in your natal chart. Online chatting and long distance friendships can be interesting and appropriate for you also, because you’ll be stimulating your need for connection and gathering together various cultures and travels. You can also unwind watching reality series, or watching documentaries, so that you feel like you are a part of other people’s stories. If you think of how a valley looks like – you can see all around you, front, back, left and right, without any obstacle or obstruction of vision. Having a sense of knowing and stability is important for you, feeling like you are in the know of things, or just feeling a sense of belonging or a part of something – is what helps your energy thrive and feel supported. Avoid basements and undergrounds at all costs. Living in a basement, or even going to someone’s basement, will make you feel almost an immediate body reaction in a negative way. Openness is important for you because this is a landscape environment after all. You need the view, and you need the freedom and the air to breathe. In intimate relationships, you need a partner who is emotionally connected to you, very supportive of you, and with whom you can talk about anything being your true self.
Valley environments can be either narrow or wide. If narrow – you prefer narrow streets, narrow spaces or long corridors, where you can engage in one-on-one conversations with people, rather than large crowds and open spaces. The important thing is that you are taking in sound in a direct way, from a source you can see, which means that it is focused and intentional on one person. You prefer more intimate and deeper and meaningful conversations. If you are a wide valley environment, then you are more inclined towards bigger and more social spaces and conversations; and you prefer sound coming from far away, from many people or dispersed. Wide valleys can literally prefer living in actual valleys and natural landscapes.
Shores are essentially spaces where two things come together – earth and sea, moving and unmoving, concrete and natural. At a shore we also see the vastness in the distance, the unlimited potential, the dreams in the horizons – which is all about creativity. Creativity arises often times from limitations – and in this environment one thrives when they feel they can blend and merge contrasts, while having the freedom to do as they need and move freely like our hair in ocean’s breeze. There is a feeling of change built into this environment, as land meets water, and change or a sense of movement is something you may actually need for your energy to thrive and flow more naturally.
Being in a place where you can experience a multitude of settings will be supportive for you. This may mean sitting by a window or at the balcony, working in a city office that overlooks the water, watching sunsets, or literally living in a house on a cliff or by the sea – or anywhere where you can kind of experience two different realities, like maybe you live in house with a big backyard that goes into a park or forest. It may also be soothing for you to paint the walls of your home in different colors to give yourself the feel of change or transition as you move throughout the house/apartment; or you can have various artworks for each corridor or room to give yourself that same feeling also; or even change your clothes few times a day to mark the phases from one part of day to evening etc.
Some Other Human Design Articles:
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Cover photography by Thomas Gunillasson.