The arrows at the top of your chart are called variables.
There are actually several different “meanings” attached to these arrows.
Generally speaking, “left” facing arrows represent more active/structured energy, and “right” facing arrows represent more passive/flowing energy.
Variables are part of a more complicated piece of Human Design (including base, tone, and color). Variables are calculated using your Design/Body (Red) + Personality/Mind (Black) Nodes and Sun + Earth.
There are 16 possible variable combinations; your hexagram lines provide even more “coloring” to these combinations if you dig further into your particular variable designs. I’m keeping it “higher” level in this post by just giving an overview of the basic meaning of each of the 4 variable arrows.
Getting a more general overview of your variables is a great place to start thinking about how your variables can impact your day-to-day mode of operation.
Top Left Arrow: Digestion
This is your digestion, so this can be applied literally to the food/way you eat, but also how you “take” in and process information and the world around us. It’s how you digest information and input from your surroundings.
I’m not going to focus too much on the “diet” side of this variable, but there are people whose expertise is in exploring diet/nutrition through the lens of human design.
You actively engage with life and thrive on more structure and consistency in your routines. Finding your own rituals and structures will help you live your best life. Exploring routines, mealing planning, and how you structure your day will help you feel more grounded and engaged.
You work (and eat) best when your day is laid out in front of you, and you know what to expect.
You are more passive in your engagement of life, think more, observe and then respond than forcing your will on the day. You crave freedom and variety. You like to take in the big picture and then respond accordingly. Having a more fluid schedule (including what and when you eat) works better for you.
Try working with a more flexible schedule and giving yourself the freedom to work on tasks as you feel like them throughout the day (or week) instead of a more rigid schedule or to-do list.
Bottom-Left Arrow: Environment
This is your environment. This can be physical or mental (even your digital environment as many of us spend significant time online).
You prefer a more structured, comfortable environment with designated uses and spaces.
You prefer to mix it up with your environment. You might find yourself moving around your house if you work from home to different areas. You might also find when you are feeling uninspired, a walk or change of scenery can provide a jolt of motivation.
Top-Right Arrow: Awareness
This is your awareness; it’s how you process information and think.
Means you have a more logical and straightforward way of thinking. You may be able to memorize numbers or data more easily and interpret hard data more easily than others. Your mind works in a more linear way.
Means you have a more imaginative and creative way of thinking. You may interpret information more creatively than others, viewing a subject or problem from different angles that aren’t as straightforward.
Bottom-Right Arrow: Perspective and Manifestation
This is how you uniquely perceive the world, your view of the world, and how you interpret those views. This is also the variable identified with “calling” what you want from the world, your manifestation style.
You have a detailed perspective, which means you more naturally see the details in things around you. You might more easily see when there is a chip or scratch on an item, whereas someone with a right-facing arrow may not notice.
This also lends itself to a more detailed manifestation style to call in things you want from the universe. You want to have a very clear detailed picture of what you want, so if you are trying to manifest a car, you want to have a clear idea of the exact car (color, make, brand, interior, etc.)
You see things in a broader way than the left-facing arrow. You will take in the big picture more quickly and get a sense of the “room” so to speak. You might be less drawn to a particular area or person in a room when first entering but view it more as a whole than someone with a left-facing arrow.
When manifesting, you can be more broad and generalized when calling in things you want from the universe. You can focus more on calling in what’s right for you by being open to what the universe matches you with. You might manifest a car by saying you are seeking a car that makes you feel safe, that fits your family, or makes you excited to drive, as opposed to the more detailed description of the car.
I have found variables to provide significant insight into how I operated best in terms of structuring my days, learning, and planning approaches. Of course, my energy type and inner authority are big players in that too.
When I realized my physical (body) arrows (those on the left) were all right-facing, and my mind arrows (those on the right) all left-facing, it gave me permission to find more flow in my day-to-day schedule, but also understanding where I crave more structure in the big view. I always said I liked structure but not too much, and my variables seem to back that up.
It’s hard to find more in-depth information on variables, and while I did pull information from various sources to study variables (hello Line 1 profile here). The one resource I found most helpful + it’s free was this course from The Projector Guide.