The History of The Enneagram

The spiritual path is travelled by the curious and inquisitive of heart. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series highlighted alternative worlds, an existence that not many could see or were aware of. The child’s book, The Polar Express’ focal point is a bell ring heard only by the open mind and believing heart.

Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”

Curiosity of the spirit, the mystical, the secrets of existence leads to deeper wisdom, radical beauty, profound mysteries and simple yet universal truths. If one is full of their own opinions, ideas, thoughts, and perceptions, there is room for nothing else.

“Know thyself” was at the center of Plato’s training of Socrates. Plato made it clear that the adage was a long standing insight that when employed, possessed the power to penetrate the inner world which has proven to be the most challenging of all spheres.

Understanding human nature and how one ticks allows the individual to step outside of themself and into higher consciousness. How are we to know anything outside of ourselves if we do not who we are?

How is one to know himself if he does not understand and relate to who and what he is? How is one able to stop placing blame outside of themself or projecting onto others that which he refuses to see in himself?

Through the ages, prophets, masters of religion and spiritual wisdom have provided a plethora of knowledge for the seeker of truth. The Enneagram is a body of work that allows a student to understand their personality, the weaknesses and strengths and how to develop their understanding of specific behaviors.

It is a typology that provides solutions of problem and unwanted behaviors. It is a path to self-knowledge, a diagram to our true essence. The spiritual Enneagram is an in depth system that helps you to learn more about your psycho/spiritual self.

The approach to the mysteries of world of spirit is one of inquiry and awe. Though the epiphany of Spirit dwelling in every part of life and nature is clearly evident, it is overlooked and missed by mass humanity.

The Enneagram can be simply explained as a study of personalities identified in 9 types. However, looking at the origins, which date back to Sufi mystic mathematicians, it is understood as a map to the core of self, the true one real identity and reveals the false self.

The Sufi’s handed down the wisdom orally to true seekers to prevent its wisdom being used by the power hungry. Those not learning it’s precepts for peace and spirit but manipulation through power over others were barred.

These personality types include a look at patterns of behavior and perception. A person may find that they fit into each personality in small ways but each person has a dominant personality type.


  1. The Perfectionist
  2. The Giver
  3. The Performer
  4. The Tragic Romantic
  5. The Observer
  6. The Loyal Skeptic
  7. The Epicure
  8. The Protector
  9. The Mediator

These personality types fit into specific centers.

  1. Instinctive Center
  2. Thinking Center
  3. Feeling Center


The word Enneagram derives from the Greek words Ennea meaning nine and gram interpreted as written or drawn. The thousands year old symbol shows how the nine personalities intersect and which types are closely related.

It isn’t limited to identifying your personality, it is a wealth of information and wisdom that may also help to improve social relationships and delve into the highest nature, our divinity.

Its origins also date back to the 4th century in Evagrius Ponticus a Christian mystic’s writings, but its modern presentation can be attributed to George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff and later Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo.

Gurdjieff and his student, P. D. Ouspensky, discussed and taught the Enneagram as a system for understanding cosmological processes. However, they did not teach about the types.

Ichazo applied it to the human psyche and made his self development program available to the public when he established the Arica School in Chile 1968. The Arica School employs a contemporary method incorporating from biology and physics.

Chilean psychologist Claudio Naranjo brought these teachings to Western psychology. In Chile, Naranjo had developed a program capturing approaches from meditation and Gestalt therapy. After his migration to America it was Ichazo that continued his teachings.

He often visited his son who was still living in Chile and on one of those visits he met Ichazo. Though there were differences in opinion and strategy he studied with Ichazo and further developed the personality theories.

In collaboration with the Jesuit Robert Ochs, S.J. and Helen Palmer they brought the spiritual Enneagram to Christian communities creating a bigger audience and interpretation.

Later becoming an author of several books such as The Healing Journey and The One Quest Naranjo can be said to have merged Eastern disciplines with Western psychology.

The personality development system has been used in various fields from business, how to relate to colleagues for the highest good, to the arts and even medicine.

The Enneagram’s system has proven to reach all corners of the earth in both use and distinction despite diverse cultures, interpretations, and lack of scientific basis due to the myriad factions of interpretations. In spite of the criticism, the Enneagram stands as a valuable tool for a seeker of self-development and higher states of being and enlightenment.

It is a doorway in understanding the fundamental flaw behind behaviors that do not serve our highest good. We receive greater insight into how we hurt the ones we love the most and why we judge the ones we find it hard to love.

The Enneagram presents the different levels of consciousness and corresponding their behaviors and provides direct solutions for problems related to spiritual growth in character, essence, virtue and personality.

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