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enneagram

I teach it in conjunction with a psychiatrist who has a deep interest in the Enneagram. The
psychotherapists want it as a very useful, hot tool to work with normal, high-functioning people. You
see, there is no psychology for the normal and high functioning person....
I've had ONE's who have so repressed their anger that they don't think they're angry....
...the spiritual agenda is paramount, which is this conversion process. Whether we know it or not,
we're all transforming, because we're hungry for the opposite of our vice. Even if we don't know
about our vice, we suffer from lack of its opposite tendency.
----Helen Palmer, of the Oral Tradition
The fundamental premise of the enneagram is that each of us has one dominant (not exclusive)
energy that drives us in everything we do. This dominant energy is our greatest gift so we use it too
much and it becomes our chief fault - or sin. This energy, like a prevailing wind that bends a tree
permanently, sculpts our interior geography and shapes our entire life. --Enneagram Central
An enneagram is, literally, a nine-sided drawing. Figuratively, however, the enneagram is a New Age mandala, a
mystical gateway to personality typing. The enneagram represents nine personality types, defined by a fundamental
weakness or sin. There are three enneagram points for each of the mental types, emotional types, and physical types.
The nine points of the enneagram supposedly reflect the tendencies of these three basic types. The origins of the
enneagram are shrouded in mystery, but one finds references to Sufism, the cabala, Zen, various mystics and
mystical traditions, and ultimately to Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, who supposedly brought the enneagram to the
west.
The nine-type inventory is the enneagram's answer to the Myers-Briggs sixteen basic personality types. How the
number nine was arrived at is not clear, but one of the leading lights in the enneagram "oral tradition" is Helen
Palmer who says that the "Enneagram is a psychological and spiritual system with roots in ancient traditions."
Maybe. But the modern root is Christianity's seven sins plus two: anger, pride, envy, avarice, gluttony, lust, and
sloth, plus fear and deceit. Instead of calling the seven deadly sins "the seven deadly sins," Palmer calls them
"capital tendencies." Each of us has a personality that is characterized by one of the nine capital tendencies.
Knowing what type you and others are will put you on the road to "self-understanding and empathy, giving rise to
improved relationships," says Palmer.
There must be nine types, not 16 as in Myers-Briggs, because an enneagram has nine points. I think that's also why
there can only be nine planets, why there are nine innings in a regular baseball game and why people are said to be
"dressed to the nines." It is also why the Beast is 999 upside down and why happy people are said to be on Cloud
Nine. It is also why Earl Sheibb used to paint any car for $99.99. It is why cats have nine lives and why the highest
iron in golf is the 9-iron. Anyway you cut it, nine is a mystical number. Anyway, the nine types are
The Nine Personality Types and the Nine Capital Tendencies
The Perfectionist
anger
The Giver
pride
The Performer
deceit
The Romantic
envy
The Observer
avarice
The Trooper
fear
The Epicure
gluttony
The Boss
lust
The Mediator
sloth
Personality typing is, of course, arbitrary. The classification system used by Gurdjieff, Palmer, and others is not
without merit. One certainly could learn much of importance about oneself by focusing on one's central fault or
faults, but those who advocate using the enneagram seem to be interested in much more than a bit of selfknowledge. Entire metaphysical systems, psychologies, religions, cosmologies and New Age springboards to higher

consciousness and fuller being are to be found by looking into the enneagram. There is seemingly no end to what
one can find in these nine lines.
At the heart of this New Age spiritualism are a number of concepts vaguely reminiscent of biorhythms (the three
types: intellectual, emotional and physical), numerology, astrology, tarot card reading, and Myers-Briggs personality
inventories. There is no scientific basis for the enneagram. Its history, what little is known of it, indicates that there
probably never will be any scientific basis for it. Part of that history involves Oscar Ichazo, a mystery man from
Chile who claims he began teaching the enneagram after spending a week in a "divine coma." Word spread that
Ichazo had been trained by mysterious Orientals in Chile in the mystical arts of sufism, the cabala and Zen. He'd
been to the Orient and studied martial arts, yoga, Buddhism, Confucianism, the I Ching and alchemy. In short, he
had done it all. Surely, Ichazo must know what it all means and have the answers to all the great questions. Seekers
from Esalen sought him out. He moved north, founded the Arica Institute and now has centers in New York, Los
Angeles and San Francisco.
"We will make a great movie together," says Oscar [Ichazo]. He will train me, he will train my actors. You
want to know of what his training consists? Oscar's idea of training is two days in a motel room with me
taking LSD. I want you to know I don't need Oscar to take LSD in a motel room, I do that plenty enough on
my own....Oscar Is the continuation of Gurdjieff, but so what? What the problem with these damn gurus is
they want to be immortal, to have the life of God. I am an anarchist mystic. Good for Buddha to be Buddha,
not for me. --Alexandro Jodorowsky, film maker (El Topo; The Holy Mountain)
Claudio Naranjo attended Ichazo's lectures on ennead personality types in Santiago, Chile, in the 1970's and
published a book called Enneatypes in Psychotherapy in 1995. A Jesuit priest named Bob Ochs got the enneagrams
from Naranjo and taught courses on enneagrams at Loyola University in Chicago in 1971. Naranhjo also taught
Helen Palmer.
However valuable some of the insights of these people might be, it remains that what they say is not being checked
against reality in any scientific way. Whatever subjective validity these insights possess, there are literally thousands
of others of equal value waiting for some communal reinforcement for other classification schemes. Since it is not
likely that any empirical testing of the enneagram will be done, I suggest that one might do well to start a new
scheme based on the nine virtues.
1.

The Clown (Humor)

2.

The Lover (Love)

3.

The Friend (Friendship)

4.

The Defender (Loyalty)

5.

The Despised (Honesty)

6.

The Motivator (Self-realization)

7.

The Teacher (Knowledge)

8.

The Martyr (Courage)

9.

The Sweetheart (Kindness)

Still other systems of thought might be based upon the following nine types.
1.

The Savior

2.

The Moron

3.

The Stiff

4.

The Joker

5.

The Sucker

6.

The Con Man

7.

The Pinhead

8.

The Putz

9.

The Schmuck

Of course, this list could be expanded with another nine:


1.

The Teacher

2.

The Administrator

3.

The Airhead

4.

The BoardMember

5.

The LowLife

6.

The Bookworm

7.

The BigBadMon

8.

The Repairman

9.

The Lunatic

Then there are also


1.

The Shopper

2.

The Schlemiel

3.

The Pollyanna

4.

The Lothario

5.

The Dyke

6.

The Fairy

7.

The Daredevil

8.

The Dement

9.

The Dopehead

And we should not forget


1.

The Anal Retentive

2.

The Orallly Fixated

3.

The Preacher

4.

The Virgin

5.

The Hothead

6.

The Codependent

7.

The Vampire

8.

The Rat

9.

The Digitally Homeless

To be complete, there should be nine groups of nine types (or 9 variations on 9 themes), so that 9 x 9 will give us 81
types, and 8 + 1 = 9, so we are back at the essential trinity cubed, the source of being and light, the number of
numbers. But before we wax too poetically, we must remember the essential truth as uttered by an expert in the
enneagram, Dr. Jerome Freedman: "each pattern of the Enneagram represents a very strong drive that is
ingrained in one's self-concept and that exercises great influence over one's behavior." How does the good
doctor know this? His type must be The Know-It-All. He might consider testing this personality test by giving a list
of names of famous people to fifty of the leading enneagramists and see how much agreement they come up with.
They might have these experts evaluate fifty individuals and type them, and check for how much agreement there is
in their typings. They might, in short, do for the enneagram what others have done for pseudosciences such as
graphology: test it under controlled conditions to see how much of its validity is due to the Forer effect, selfdeception, etc.
Actually, it has recently been discovered that the enneagram is the layout of an ancient nine-hole golf course. And I
have to admit that I have met each of the nine types on the golf course. For example, type One is the Perfectionist.
Anyone who golfs knows what a pain playing with the Perfectionist can be. First of all, the One is never satisfied.
Not only does he take a mulligan on perfectly good drives, he complains about something on almost every shot.
"Fuck! I pulled it." "Shit! I pushed it." "Goddammit! Wrong club." "Christ! Too much fade." "Jesus fucking Christ!
Not enough draw." The One always talks as if his body just didn't follow his mind's orders. This is the guy who
slams his club into the ground as the ball is in flight right at the pin. He is also the one who keeps giving you
unsolicited advice, such as "you should've aimed more to the left" or "you need to adjust your grip." The
Perfectionist also takes forever to hit his ball. He throws up grass on the fairway about six times to check the wind.
He adjusts his grip about five times before hitting. He keeps looking down the fairway to make sure his alignment is
right. And when putting he walks all over the green, holds his putter up like a plumb bob, and generally takes
forever before actually putting the ball. The One is no fun.
The Two is the Giver. This is the guy who says "nice shot" as soon as you swing at the ball. Even when you shank,
slice, duck hook, chile dip...."nice shot." When you putt six feet past the hole, he says "great stroke; you were
robbed." He's just looking for you to say "nice shot" every time he hits the ball. He gives all this approval because he
seeks it in return. When the Two says "nice shot" as you put one in the water, you just want to punch him. The Two
is a dip.
The Three is the Performer. This is the guy who holds his finish for ten seconds so everybody can see what great
form he has. He is forever giving the pumped fist in the air sign to let everyone know what a great shot he just made.
He runs around the green when he chips one in. He pretends his putter is a sword and he fences an imaginary
opponent after he sinks a putt. He drops to his knees and falls on the ground when he lips out a three-footer.
Whereas the Giver is forever heaping praise, the Performer is forever demanding it. "Did you see that shot!" (His
own, of course.) "Am I good, or what?" is the Three's favorite question. The Three is a model for the video byte.
The Four is the Romantic. This is the guy who's forever talking about the time he played the Old Course in St.
Andrews. He's always telling stories about the time he was playing Ballybunion in gale force conditions coming in
off the Atlantic and he had to hit to a 180 yard three par running parallel to the Ocean and the hole was across a
canyon and the smart shot would have been to hit to the bottom of the canyon and chip up onto the green under such
conditions but no he had to aim out at the beach and wack a 2-iron which was carried at least 150 yards eastwards
into another canyon and this happened three times until he was hitting 7 off the tee and he finally got smart and put
it into the canyon in front of him and chipped on and one-putted for a nine, the best nine he ever had. The Four is a
bore.

The Five is the Observer. This guy can be a pleasure to play with since he doesn't say a word the whole round. He
just kind of grunts every once in awhile but generally he maintains a totally detached attitude throughout the round.
He seems to be intensely interested in your shots, as he seems to glare right through you from time to time, but he
never says anything. It's kind of fun to watch a Giver and an Observer together. The Giver keeps telling the
Observer what a great shot he just made and the Observer doesn't respond. He just quietly goes about his business of
mishitting the golf ball. The Five is alive.
The Six is the Trooper. To this guy, the golf course is a battleground and every bunker, every tree, every blade of
grass has been placed there specifically as an obstacle to him. Even the wind only decides to blow when it can
oppose him. The Six is the guy who aims fifty feet right of the green because there is a bunker guarding the left
approach. When he putts, he always seems to tap his ball over a spike mark which diverts his ball from the hole. If
he mishits a ball, he looks up for the cause of his distraction. When he lips out, he stands over the hole, staring it
down as if to say that he knows someone put a dip in front of the hole deliberately to stop his ball short. The Six
should be approached with caution.
The Seven is the Epicure. This is the guy who gets pleasure out of every golf shot, his when the shots are good and
others when the shots are bad. The Epicure is a pleasure to play with. He really enjoys the game and his enjoyment
can be contagious if you are not playing too poorly. He sees every shot as an opportunity to try something out. If he
hits behind a tree, it's a chance to try some shot with the face turned in a bit while aiming right of the tree, hoping for
a draw around the tree towards the green just like the shot he read about in a book last week. This guy's always
talking about books he's read or videos he's bought. He can't wait to hit into a sand trap to try out the new Greg
Norman tip he saw on a television show. He loves to hit over water and takes great pleasure in pretending he sees
dirt where there is water. The Seven also likes to drink beer while he plays, and is forever stopping the refreshment
cart for a beer or a dog. I like a game with the Seven. If he's having a good round, he'll usually offer to buy you a
beer during one of his many stops for refreshments. The Seven is from heaven.
The Eight is the Boss. This is the guy who's always telling everybody whose turn it is. "You're away," the Eight will
say when no one asks for his opinion and everyone knows who is away. The Eight insists on honors when he has
honors, otherwise it is "ready golf." The Eight knows the rules of golf and insists that everyone play as if they were
in the Masters. If he doesn't know the rules of golf, he'll make them up as needed. The Boss is actually handy when
one or two of the other players doesn't know the rules of golf. If the Boss sees you hit one out of bounds, he reminds
you right away to hit another ball from the same spot. If you're in a hazard and look puzzled, he'll let you know that
you can play it from there or even pick and clean it if winter rules are in force. I don't mind playing with an Eight.
The Eight can be great.
Finally, there is the Mediator. Nothing seems to bother the Nine; at least they don't show their emotions when things
are going bad. But they do tend to apologize frequently. "Sorry I'm not playing well today." The Nine loves to yell
"Fore" whenever he hits a ball within 100 yards of any living being. And he loves to console the other player who
has just bungled another shot. The Mediator is especially fond of complimenting you on your third shot out of a
bunker. "That's the way to do it," he'll shout as you ask yourself why you couldn't have done that on the previous
two tries. The Mediator is forever trying to make you feel better. "You've been just missing them all day." "A foot to
the right or left here or there and you'd have had a hell of a good round!" Nines are fine.
I have studied the enneagram very carefully and have concluded that I am a twelve. This is not really a mystery,
since twelve is the sum of two numbers between one and nine. Actually, it is the sum of three distinct pairs of
numbers: 3 and 9, 4 and 8, & 5 and 7. (I won't tell you which pair is mine; some things should remain a mystery.)
Now that I know these things and am resonating with wisdom, I can begin working on seeking the opposites of my
main vices. I can begin to grow and have better relationships. I can dance with the pulse of the Universe. I can await
the next Millennium and the New Messiah who will be born on the ninth day of the ninth month of the ninth year
after nine months in the womb. The Messiah will be born with nine toes. By this sign you will know her.

The Enneagram in the Electronic Tradition


The Essential Enneagram
Free Enneagram Personality Test - The Quick and Dirty Approach - Which Shape Do You Like most? [I
took this test and found I liked four of the shapes. It really worked! I agreed with each of my four
personality assessments!]

Enneagram Personality Dynamics


An Introduction to the Enneagram Thomas Chou (the future John Mack of neuroscience? He claims Bill
Clinton is a "9", i.e., a Mediator or Peacemaker. I would have thought he is an "8", the Boss dominated by
lust. But, as Mr. Chou says, "It is empirically observed that numerically adjacent types are often mixed in
the same individual." What more proof of the enneagram could one want?)
The Enneagram Personality Types By Enza Vita
The Enneagram and the MBTI