Never in our lifetimes has there been a period when the entire world is united in facing the same threat. Nothing in the universe happens by chance. At least that’s my belief. So, when we have a virus that has the power to put over 3 billion people worldwide in lockdown, that has my (and most of the world’s) serious attention. Is there any significance of Covid-19 and the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is often seen as being nine basic types of personalities. But as we know, it encompasses infinitely more than this—it is a path home to our true selves. The Nine Types refer to a type of energy if you like, which creates certain Passions, restrictions or fixations, and the potential to liberate these to their paradoxical Virtues. The belief of an average Type One for instance, where little is right, can shift to the healthy opposite, where everything is right or perfect.

What is the relevance then of the number “1” and “9” in Covid-19 in Enneagram terms? (Covid-19 from coronavirus disease, discovered in 2019.) Are these numbers pure chance? Let’s see what you think/feel when we look at their combined energies and what’s happening in the world. Note: This energy will affect all Enneagram Types, not simply Type Ones and Type Nines.

The relevance of the “1” in “-19
The higher road – Covid-19 and the Enneagram

At best, One energy seeks a higher purpose and clarity. This energy allows us a time to develop our potential, whilst abiding by the rules of society or government, in Covid-19 this may be lockdown, sanitizing, washing hands, etc. Likewise, many of us are developing ourselves through online workshops, learning new skills and doing that spiritual practice—things which previously we never seemed to find the time to do.

One of the common names for a Type One is the “Reformer.” The word “reform” comes from the etymology “to convert into another and better form.” One energy is sensible, ethical, humane and wants to improve the world. Every time I turn on the news, I see aspects of this emerging, as people help each other, sing together and put their lives at risk to serve others. This is where the One energy of having a mission to work towards solving the Covid-19 problem, can truly be expressed.

One moves to healthy aspects of Seven and Four

When One moves to Seven, we can find moments of exquisite joy in this crisis—in the small things in life that we are typically overlooked. Savoring a meal, attending to a plant, speaking to an old friend, reading that book … It’s where we find optimism and engage with others, for example in befriending a neighbor in lockdown across a balcony or street. In our restrictive lockdown we find inner freedom and the ability to accept what is happening.

When One moves to Four energy, the potential is there for caring, for deeply feeling another’s fear and pain, and for being involved as part of the human race, as we move through unchartered territory.

The less integrated road of “1” in -19

There is, as the Enneagram always reminds us, the potential for heavier energies to occur. For One energy that could be criticism and resentment towards others: “Why are they not doing things correctly?”  Anger, as in “Why is this happening to me?” or moralistic behavior: “They should have done this or that sooner, later etc.”

The lower side of One moving to Type Seven energy can create irresponsible behavior, such as visiting friends for a party during lockdown, self-indulgent behavior as in buying all the much joked about toilet rolls. The perception of loss of freedom will potentially demand escapist practices.

The lower side of One moving to Four energy will create a tendency to over-dramatize and exaggerate things, turning the world into an attention-seeking space where it’s all about me. It could also create elitist behavior, where someone might feel entitled to break the rules of lockdown (and in so doing potentially endanger others). This lower side of One/Four energy may make us feel alienated, and we may go against the “right” to indulge in “wrong” practices, such as eating badly or failing to exercise.

The relevance of the “9” in “-19
The higher road – Covid-19 and the Enneagram

What is the potential of Nine energy? We know Nines are the Enneagram’s unflappable types. The calm we need to weather the Covid-19 storm. When police are having to fight against people who are thwarting the lockdown attempts, it’s nine energy that we need to bring about peaceful acceptance of the troubled situation. The steady energy of nine will help navigate through fear and the Nine ability to nurture others, is something much needed now. Healthy Nine energy takes calm proactive steps in a crisis, and serenely inspires others to do the same.

Nine moves to healthy aspects of Six and Three

Drawing on the Six aspect of Nine, we find incredible courage, such as that of the health-care workers who find themselves faced with huge responsibilities and danger as they battle to save lives. There is co-operation between countries, courageous action and scenario planning as is the case in countries learning from others how to “flatten the curve.” Nine energy finds its strength and true value in terms of real contribution to the world.

When integrated nine energy meets healthy three energy it brings about effective organizational abilities and care for the well-being of all. Leaders are authentic and truthful in their communication with others as to what is happening.

The less integrated road of “9” in -19

When Nine energy becomes less healthy, there is the potential for leaders and governments to be indecisive and unresponsive. They can procrastinate taking responsible action, hoping the problem will simply disappear. It’s also where we as individuals put our heads in the sand and refuse to accept the severity of the problem, as in “What’s all the fuss about?” “It’s just flu.” “I don’t see the point in all this hand-washing.”

When unhealthy Nine energy moves to Six it can mean fear escalates together with reactivity. Gone is the calmness of the Nine. We can become detached emotionally, fail to participate in helping to eradicate the virus, blame other countries or people for the virus and question the authority of the people trying to help.

Nine energy combing with Three energy when less healthy, could mean that we create loads of projects to do to avoid what is really happening. As leaders we may seek more to elevate ourselves (the opposite of the Nine’s feeling of insignificance), putting ourselves ahead of the greater good, rather than helping to solve the problem. For example, a politician using the virus as a political tool to attempt to create more support.

Covid-19 and the Enneagram: I guess then the Enneagram helps bring our awareness to how we respond in this time. This fear we all feel as infections rise, can truly be transformed into faith (in whatever form that takes for you), as we make the conscious choice to travel the higher road offered by Covid-19.

Ann Gadd is the author of The Enneagram of Eating, Sex and the Enneagram and the Enneagram Kids Series of books