The Enneagram is an ancient and complex symbol that can be very useful as a map and guide for transformation. The Enneagram offers a description of the human psyche through nine interconnected personality types. The origin of the Enneagram is not clear but seems to have some connection with Pythagorians some 4000 years ago; ties to esoteric Judaism through Philo; Islamic Sufi traditions; esoteric Christianity through Pseudo-Dionysius; and has been traced to 17th century Jesuits.
Each point on this symbol represents a personality type. Each one of us emerges in life with one of these types as dominant, however it is common to see a little of yourself in each of the nine types. This type orientation largely determines how we learn and adapt, struggle and survive, give and receive love.
The nine types are arranged in three distinct Centers: the Instinctive Center, the Feeling Center and the Thinking Center. Each center consists of three personality types that have in common the assets and liabilities of that Center. For example, personality type Four has unique strengths and liabilities involving its feelings, which is why it is in the Feeling Center. Likewise, the Eight’s assets and liabilities involve its relationship to its instinctual drives, which is why it is in the Instinctive Center, and so forth for all nine personality types.
The inclusion of each type in its Center is not arbitrary. Each type results from a particular relationship with a cluster of issues that characterize that Center. Most simply, these issues revolve around a powerful, largely unconscious emotional response to the loss of contact with the core of the self. In the Instinctive Center, the emotion is Anger or Rage. In the Feeling Center, the emotion is Shame, and in the Thinking Center, it is Fear. Of course, all nine types contain all three of these emotions, but in each Center, the personalities of the types are particularly affected by that Center’s emotional theme.
the Nine Types of the Enneagram
REFORMER. Type One is principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.
HELPER. Type Two is generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.
ACHIEVER. Type Three is adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.
INDIVIDUALIST. Type Four is expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.
INVESTIGATOR. Type Five is perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.
LOYALIST. Type Six is engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.
ENTHUSIAST. Type Seven is spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.
CHALLENGER. Type Eight is self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.
PEACEMAKER. Type Nine is receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.
Many researchers have published excellent information in the last few decades. This page is meant as a very brief introduction to the concepts of the Enneagram. Like any tool or spiritual practice, is only as helpful as you allow God into the space and transformation of your life.
I have several books and websites listed. You will also find other books by these authors – these are just my favorites and where I would suggest to start. Many of these sites and authors also have teaching videos you may be able to find on these sites or YouTube, etc.
books – just a few to start with…