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The Fundamental Structure of the Enneagram

February 11, 2019   General Enneagram   

 

The Enneagram is most often taught as a map of 9 personality types. The 9 types are typically displayed clockwise from 1 to 9 around a circle. What is interesting is that we speak most often of the heart, head, and body types, which are types 234, 567, 891,  arranged consecutively, around the circle. We also speak of the assertive, withdrawn, and dutiful types, which are 378, 459, and 126, respectively. Some of us are also familiar with the logical, optimistic, and realistic types, 135, 279, and 468, respectively. But what of the other 7 symmetrical triad groups that can be drawn on the Enneagram circle connecting the 9 types (and 3 groups of 3 points) in different ways?  Shouldn’t there be an equally compelling meaning to the groupings of types 123, 456, 789, as well as types 912, 345, and 678? And what about the groupings of types 156, 489, 237 and 267, 159, 348 that match up to the grouping of 378, 459, 126? And the last two triad groupings 138, 246, 579, and 249, 357, 168, that match up with the harmonic grouping of 135, 279, 468?

I believe that we must begin to take more seriously all 9 of these symmetrical triad groupings, as well as the root triad grouping of 147, 258, and 369, if we hope to truly understand something fundamental about the Enneagram structure. The Enneagram is obviously comprised of 10 symmetrical triad groups, and by taking this perspective, we have a way to explain not only where each of the 9 Types “come from” but also delve into a deeper meaning that underlies the Enneagram as a system map.

The 9 types arise from a specific combination of ten symmetrical triad groups, and in pairs, each type has 3 points of similarity and 7 points of difference. For example, the Type 3 is a heart type, with an assertive, logical style. The Type 3 is also an expressing, executing type, with an action-oriented, competency-focused, inviting, striving style, and one of three “engine” types. In contrast, a Type 4 is a heart type, with a withdrawn, emotional style, and also an expressing, rejuvenating type, with a feelings-oriented, passion-focused, internalizing, striving style, and one of the three “compass” types. The Type 3 and 4 are similar in being heart types, expressing types, and striving types, but are different in 7 other ways, and consequently would have 3 similar paths to bringing balance to their heart center, expressing and striving styles, but 7 different paths to travel to bringing balance to their respective biases. The types within the same root triad, however, can be described as most different from one another, “orthogonal,” and are different in 9 (rather than only 7) distinct ways. 

Each of the 9 types has a unique path to take to becoming more balanced and whole, and the embedded code of the Enneagram brings light to each type’s respective special path.  

I will be offering a workshop in July 2019 to explore “The 9 Pathways To Wholeness.” In this workshop, we start by exploring the fundamental system role of each of the root triad groups: the compass role, fuel role, and engine role that each are respectively comprised of the 3 most “orthogonal” types. The 1,4,7 serve the compass role within a system, while the 2,5,8 serve a fuel role within a system, and the 3,6,9 serve an engine role within a system. The 1,4,7 are “most” different and mutually opposite of one another, while the 2,5,8 are “most” different and mutually “opposite” of one another, and the 3,6,9 are “most” different and mutually “opposite” of one another.  Then we will go on to explore the other 3 sets of 3 triad groups, and what their meaning is and how they together help to explain how each of the 9 types come to be the way they are on the Enneagram Map.

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