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Synthesis: The Premises

The Human Design System arrived as a revelation. Some of its premises are part of established modern science; others are from the esoteric traditions of the Kabbalah, the chakras, the I Ching and astrology. You are invited to take the following synopsis of this synthesis as a hypothesis.


Chaitanyo's Human Design chart

Chaitanyo's Human Design chart
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Click here to learn more about the history of Human Design in America.



About Zen Human Design,
Zeno and Chaitanyo

Zen Human Design educates in the original Human Design System, based on its presentation by Ra Uru Hu in the early 1990s. The following is a description of its genesis by Chaitanyo.

I was born in Switzerland and lived there for the first half of my life. The accent you hear when I talk is Swiss-German. My parents gave me a Christian name, but I prefer to be called by my real name, Chaitanyo, which was given to me by one of my meditation teachers along the way. It means consciousness. I’ve been meditating for almost 50 years by now.

Zeno and I met in Switzerland in 1990 and fell in love with each other. She and her daughter moved into my house which then burned down two years later. With the money from the insurance, we decided to move to the US and start from scratch over there.

January 6, 1992: Chaitanyo and Zeno with the ruin of their house in Switzerland

After being shaken out of Zeno's home state, California, by a 7.0 earthquake and after traveling around and looking for a while, we decided to settle in Taos, New Mexico. It was a small town with a big sky, plenty of sunshine and a large population of creative and alternative types, had two health food stores and lousy graphic designers, the former fulfilling one of Zeno’s conditions, the latter one of mine.

By the time our meager insurance money had dwindled, we were publishing an alternative monthly magazine, the Taos Time, a pun on the local attitude toward time. One of our first covers showed the face of a Swiss watch without hands. We worked hard and barely scraped by, but it was a beautiful magazine, entertaining, educational and artistic.

In the summer of 1993, a friend from Switzerland visited us and he brought us our Human Design charts. They were hand drawn by Ra Uru Hu. No computer program existed at that time. Looking at the pictures of the body graphs, and with the explanations of the mechanics by our friend, we had an easy time to recognize ourselves in them and we were impressed.

Our friend went back to Switzerland and soon thereafter met Ra again and told him about us and the magazine we were publishing. Email didn’t exist at that time and so Ra called us and asked whether we would be interested in hosting him and organizing introduction lectures and a Basic and Advanced training. Eight days of class would be sufficient for him to convey the entire Human Design System as it was revealed to him.

We were interested. We worked out the schedules and reserved the spaces and started advertising in our own magazine and in other publications around New Mexico.

Toward the end of November 1993, three months after our friend had left, I drove down to the airport in Albuquerque and picked Ra up. He would stay with us in our little humble house for six weeks, the first of many long stays in the following years.

December 3, 1993: Ra during a TV interview in Taos, NM, promoting his "black book."

We had done a good job. His first introduction lecture in Taos drew close to 60 people and I dare say that this was the biggest live audience he ever had and would ever have. We got 10 people for the Basic Training, 8 of which then continued with the Advanced Training. By the end of the year they were all certified as licensed Human Design Analysts by Ra. They were the first Human Designers in America, Zeno and I included. As far as I know, the two of us are the only ones of that group still actively involved with Human Design today.

Before he left, Ra drew up a contract and after signing it we were officially his representatives with the exclusive rights to the Human Design System in America. At Ra’s request our company was called New Sun Services America.

For the next seven years we worked tirelessly to establish Human Design in America. Zeno was the organizing part, organizing readings, lectures, classes, accommodations for the students coming from all over America and even abroad, interviews with Ra, and so on. During Ra’s frequent visits and long stays in our house, she made sure he had everything he needed, cooked for him, washed his clothes, procured his pot, welcomed his guests, and so on.

October 1, 1995: Zeno, Ra, Chaitanyo in Taos, NM

As a graphic designer and recording artist, I created teaching materials for Ra, course materials for the students, advertising for the propaganda, published newsletters and took photographs. I recorded all of his classes and made them available for sale, first on cassette tapes and later, when the technology became available, as CDs. In 1997 I also created the very first Human Design website worldwide, www.humandesignsystem.com. The address is still used by Zen Human Design today, although the site has gone through a few changes.

At the end of 1994, we participated in Ra’s first ever Teachers Training in Ibiza and, with 198 and 199 out of 200 possible points at the top of the class, we were officially made teachers of the Human Design System, with a life-long license. Most of the “big” names in today’s Human Design, be that the Jovian version or some “alternatives,” started out with New Sun Services’ classes. Names like Lynda Bunell, Genoa Bliven, Randy Richmond, Richard Rudd, MaryAnne Winiger and Chetan Parkyn are some that come to mind.

By 1998 we had the entire Human Design System presented in a book with a wealth of colored illustrations. At that time it was called The Course in Human Design and was used for the official Basic and Advanced trainings of the Human Design School, whose dean was Zeno. Later, with a few modifications, it became the book Human Design Revealed, which Zen Human Design still successfully sells and uses for its classes today.

From the moment I met Ra at the airport in Albuquerque I had my reservations about his character and his guru attitude, but I went along because I wanted the Human Design information he had. Even with his Design info I had some trouble, because it was soon clear to me that on the one hand there was the information about the pure mechanics he received in his revelation and then there were the words and keynotes he made up to explain these mechanics. He added labels and keynotes to absolutely everything right from the beginning, but at least they didn’t cover up the mechanics at that time, or at least not as much as later.

To help you understand what I mean: Let’s say the channel 17-62, from the Ajna to the Throat, you can look at the functions of the Ajna and the Throat and the functions of hexagrams 17 and 62 and whether any of this is activated or not. That’s the mechanics. To say that that’s a logical channel, to give it the name “Opinion” and the keynote “A design of an organizational being,” that’s Ra’s personal interpretation and therefore not necessarily true and potentially just covering up the mechanics. It's also seductive to just take at face value and may forever prevent you from really understanding and finding your own words.

In a class in spring of 1997, he came up with the types, authority, strategy and profile. That was the point when both Zeno’s and my alarm bells went off loudly, because these terms did cover up the underlying mechanics almost entirely and put Ra’s opinion completely in the foreground, going as far as making up rules for "proper" behavior, which made us very uncomfortable. We had not signed up to follow an authoritarian false guru, but to promote the original Human Design System, as Ra had explained it to us in the beginning.

In the following couple of years he increasingly insisted that his opinions were the divine law and truth and he came up with more and more of these terms and keynotes. So much so that the original mechanics almost entirely disappeared. Of course our discomfort and refusal to accept his opinions as truth were obvious to him and he literally ran away from us in an emotional huff at the beginning of 1999. I’ll never forget him shouting at us and then running out of our house, slamming the door behind him, never to be seen again.

Legally he had no choice than to let us continue our work and so he set up his own company, Jovian Archive, and his own website and started to undermine what we had previously built together. At one point he demanded that we let him use the manuals we had created and when I insisted that all my work of the past seven years be credited, he slammed that door shut as well. Most of our former allies and supposed friends ran away with him and participated in his completely unfounded smear campaign against us in the following years. Those were very hard years for us, but we knew we were right and we felt secure in our integrity.

The strain took its toll on our relationship and in 2003 Zeno and I divorced. Zeno continued to work with Human Design while I needed some distance. We discovered, however, that we became the better friends to each other than we were during our marriage and I supported her with my unique skill set in her endeavor to preserve and clarify the original Human Design System in all the years that followed.

September 15, 2009: Zeno, Chaitanyo in Taos, NM. Zeno already needed a cane to walk.

Her illness that had manifested its very first signs toward the end of the last millennium, showed itself to be getting steadily worse over the years and by 2012 it became obvious that it was progressively robbing her of her ability to move and communicate. In 2012 and 2013 she wisely recorded a bunch of live online classes so that they would be available forever if she indeed lost her capacity. These are the classes still available on www.humandesignsystem.com for those who want to learn the real thing, rather than one man’s interpretations skewed by delusions of grandeur.

In 2014 I was able to sell my house in Taos which allowed me to pay off all my considerable debts and even left me with a little profit. I saw that that profit would evaporate very quickly in the US, but in inexpensive countries in Asia or South America, combined with modest desires, I could live on it until my small Swiss pension would kick in a few years later. And so I sold and gave away all my belongings, packed a suitcase and a small backpack with the necessities and left. By now [2019] it’s my fifth year on the road and I enjoy my unsettled life very much.

January 8, 2017: Chaitanyo visiting Zeno in Taos, NM

In 2017, unable to continue working, Zeno entrusted Zen Human Design into my care. The great thing for our clients about this arrangement is that I don’t need the income from the little company, which means I don’t feel pressured to sell you anything and lure you with inane slogans. You want what I have, great, you don’t want what I have, that’s great as well.

Based on my long experience with Human Design and having had a crucial role in the initial spread of its original version, I think that its currently dominant form, represented by Jovian Archive and its followers, is largely nonsense, bordering on and often crossing into the insane, designed to make people unhappy and dependent. It has no longer anything to do with what was originally presented as its revelation.

If you’re looking for something esoteric and complicated, a sophisticated artifice that makes your head spin and your ego swell, if you want to shine and impress with your "knowledge" in endless discussions on social media, Jovianism might just be the ticket for you. If, on the other hand, you value simplicity and applicability, if the clean center is more interesting than a glittering periphery, I invite you to take advantage of Zen Human Design.  

July 17, 2018: At 17,582' (5360m) in Ladakh, the highest point of my life so far.

read Zeno's autobiography


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