The enneagram of personality or simply enneagram is primarily a model of human personality and is generally understood as a typology of nine interconnected character types. Its origins and history are far from clear and today it is understood and taught from the teachings and writings of Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo. The brunt of Naranjo’s ideas come from a Russian mystic and dance instructor called G.I. Gurdjieff who is credited with making the enneagram well-known in the West.
The enneagram defines nine personality types (enneatypes) and which are represented on a geometrical figure or symbol, which many say dates back thousands of years. Gurdjieff, however, did not develop the personality types, which are credited to Ichazo. His “Enneagon of Ego Fixations” together with other dimensions of personality on the Enneagram symbol, make up the basis of the Enneagram of Personalty. In the 1950s, Ichazo began self development programmes and his teaching, which he called “protoanalysis”, uses the Enneagram. He founded the Arica Institute in California where he met Naranjo and he developed his own understanding of the Enneagram in the USA in the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, other writers, Helen Palmer, Richard Riso and Elizabeth Wagele published interesting material on the subject.
The Enneagram symbol itself is composed of three interconnected parts, a circle, an inner triangle and an irregular hexagonal figure. The circle symbolises unity, the triangle, an ancient “law of three” and the hexagon “the law of seven”. The interconnected lines within the circle meet at nine points each having a number from one to nine. Each number represents a character type or enneatype. These points represent the main trends or “passions” of a person’s personality, although he should also look at the two numbers on either side of his own to obtain a fuller picture. So, for example, for someone who believes he is a number 3, he should also refer to numbers 2 and 4 to obtain a better overall view.
|TYPE||ROLE||EGO FIXATION||BASIC FEAR||BASIC DESIRE||PASSION||VIRTUE|
|2||Helper||Flattery||Being unloved||To feel love||Pride||Humility|
|3||Achiever||Vanity||Worthlessness||To feel valuable||Deceit||Authenticity|
|4||Individualist||Melancholy||Having no identity||To be uniquely themselves||Envy||Equanimity|
|6||Loyalist||Cowardice||Being without support||To have support and guidance||Fear||Courage|
|7||Enthusiast||Planning||Being trapped in pain||To be satisfied and content||Gluttony||Sobriety|
|9||Peacemaker||Indolence||Loss, fragmentation||Wholeness, peace of mind||Sloth||Action|
This is a very general introduction to the Enneagram and the enneatypes and you will not get much idea of your own type from the grid above. You will need to read on the subject, preferably Naranjo or some of his associates to obtain a real, concluding insight of your own character type. Over the past 25 years, residential courses have been held in Spain and other countries and thousands have benefitted professionally and personally from their experiences during the workshops and other activities. The Enneagram is just one of the many ways of getting to know yourself that have appeared over recent decades and which have popularised the growing self-help and personal growth trend.
Happy English learning!!