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What is the Enneagram?

What is the Enneagram?

· Part of the occult?

· New Age hogwash?

· Pagan?

· Tied to an Eastern religion?

· Demonic?

· A way to pigeonhole people?

· Some kind of parlor game?

· Pop-psych?

· A fad?

None of the above.

The Enneagram is an ancient tool that some people find helpful. That’s all.

It’s a tool that can help us understand ourselves and others better. It’s a tool that helps us grow emotionally and spiritually.

No one knows where the Enneagram came from originally. There’s some evidence that it arose from the Christian desert fathers and mothers in the Scetes Desert in Egypt around the Third Century of the common era. After passing it down as a way of understanding oneself and growing spiritually, their spiritual descendants may have taken the Enneagram into the Arab world as a missionary tool.

Ennea means nine. Gram refers to a map. The map looks like this:

Around the circle are charted nine different types, each representing a way of viewing the world, others, and ourselves. It’s not a personality test like the MBTI. The Enneagram delves into motivations, defense mechanisms, and unconscious fears that lie beneath our personality patterns and behaviors. Its purpose is not to make us feel bad about ourselves. Its purpose is to help us see ourselves so we can become more emotionally and spiritually healthy.

How do you Discover Your Enneagram Type?

Each of us has a fundamental way of looking at the world. Those ways are divided into nine types. How do you know what type you are? The quickest way is to pay the $12 and take the on-line test at the Enneagram Institute ( There are free tests also, but they are generally not as accurate. Whichever number gives you the highest score is your Enneagram number. The other numbers don’t mean a whole lot. After you find your number, read the narratives about it and see if you think it fits.

Every person is hard-wired to fall into one of the nine categories, but all of us have pieces of all nine categories in our personalities. When I say “hard-wired,” I don’t mean genetically predetermined. Instead, I mean that all of us, no matter how good our upbringings were, were wounded when we were little. It was inevitable – we live in a fallen world. It’s not anyone’s fault. We unconsciously respond to those core wounds by developing ways of coping with the world and ways of viewing ourselves and others.

What is an Enneagram One?

Ones. Ones tend to be rational and idealistic. They are ethical, resolute, self-controlled, and perfectionistic. They are often called Reformers or Perfectionists.

Each number is sometimes assigned an animal and a country that reflects the personality.

Ones are like barking dogs, diligent ants, or hornets. Switzerland is a One country. The Amish culture is One.

Some likely examples of Ones: Confucius, Plato, Joan of Arc, Sir Thomas More, Mahatma Gandhi, Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Prince Charles, Kate Middleton, Jimmy Carter, Michelle Obama, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Martha Stewart, George Harrison, Joan Baez, Celine Dion, Ralph Nader, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Maher, Tina Fey, Katherine Hepburn, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, Julie Andrews, Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, Harrison Ford, Helen Hunt, Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, “Mary Poppins,” “Mr. Spock,” SNL’s “The Church Lady, ” Angela Davis, W.E.B. DuBois, John Calvin, Caesar Chavez, Phillip Berrigan, Harry Belafonte, St. Augustine.

Ones are conscientious and honorable, with a strong sense of right and wrong. Healthy Ones are teachers, crusaders, advocates for change, striving to improve things, organized, systematic, and particular, and have high standards. Unhealthy Ones are afraid of making a mistake and become critical and perfectionistic. but can slip into being They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their best, Ones are wise, discerning, realistic, and noble.

  • Basic Fear: Of being corrupt/evil, defective

  • Basic Desire: To be good, to have integrity, to be balanced

What is an Enneagram Two?

Twos. Twos are generally caring, friendly, generous, expressive, people-pleasing, and possessive.

Twos are like licking puppies. Italy is a Two country.

Possible examples of Twos: Pope John XXIII, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Eleanor Roosevelt, Nancy Reagan, Monica Lewinsky, Ann Landers, Mary Kay Ash (Mary Kay Cosmetics), Richard Simmons, Luciano Pavarotti, John Denver, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Barry Manilow, Josh Groban, Martin Sheen, Jennifer Tilly, Danny Glover, Richard Thomas “John Boy Walton,” Juliette Binoche, Arsenio Hall, “Dr. McCoy” (Star Trek), Florence Nightingale, Ken Burns, and Dolly Parton. A lot of nurses, social workers, and pastors are Twos. Mother Theresa is commonly mistyped as a Two. Those who knew her attest she was definitely a very healthy Eight.

Health Twos are empathetic, sincere, warm-hearted, friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing. Unhealthy Twos are mawkish, flattering, and people-pleasing. Twos are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but may do things for others in order to be needed. When their kindness is not acknowledged or reciprocated, they may become resentful. Many codependent people are Enneagram Twos. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. At their best, Twos are unselfish and altruistic, and have unconditional love for others.

  • Basic Fear: Of being unwanted, unworthy of being loved

  • Basic Desire: To feel loved

What is an Enneagram Three?

Threes: Threes tend to be success-oriented, pragmatic, achievers who are adaptable, excel at what they do, and are image-conscious. They make great sales people and CEOs.

Threes are like race horses. The USA is definitely a three nation – all about achievement and success. Likewise, Japan.

Some possible examples of Threes: Augustus Caesar, Emperor Constantine, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Prince William, Condoleezza Rice, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Lewis, Muhammed Ali, John Edwards, Mitt Romney, Bill Wilson (AA Founder), Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Werner Erhard, Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Bernie Madoff, Bryant Gumbel, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Sting, Whitney Houston, Jon Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Brooke Shields, Cindy Crawford, Tom Cruise, Barbra Streisand, Ben Kingsley, Jamie Foxx, Richard Gere, Ken Watanabe, Will Smith, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jesse Jackson.

Threes are self-assured, appealing, charismatic, ambitious, competent, and energetic. They may also be image-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are usually tactful and composed, but can also be overly concerned what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their best, threes are self-accepting, authentic, and role models who inspire others.

· Basic Fear: Of being worthless

· Basic Desire: To feel valuable and worthwhile

What is an Enneagram Four?

Fours. Fours are generally sensitive, introspective, expressive, thoughtful, meditative, artistic, individualistic, sensitive, self-absorbed, and temperamental. Fours are individualistic and artistic. Four is the rarest type. Fours are like basset hounds or mourning doves. France and Japan are Four countries.

Possible examples of Fours: Rumi, Frédéric Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Edgar Allen Poe, Yukio Mishima, Virginia Woolf, Anne Frank, J.D. Salinger, Anne Rice, Frida Kahlo, Diane Arbus, Martha Graham, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Cher, Stevie Nicks, Annie Lennox, Prince, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morissette, Ingmar Bergman, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, Kurt Cobain, Van Gogh, Edgar Allen Poe, Beethoven, Bach, Thomas Merton, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Sufjan Stevens.

Fours are self-aware, sensitive, reserved, emotionally honest, and creative, but may also be moody and self-conscious. Fours frequently withhold themselves from others because they feel vulnerable and defective, and they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity. At their best, they are inspired and highly creative, able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.

  • Basic Fear: That they have no identity or personal significance

  • Basic Desire: To find themselves and their significance (to create an identity)

What is an Enneagram Five?

Fives. Fives tend to be intense, cerebral, perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated. Fives are referred to as investigators or detectives. They make great scholars.

Fives are like barn owls or burrowing foxes. Scotland and England are Five nations.

Possible examples of Fives: Albert Einstein, Oliver Sacks, John Nash (A Beautiful Mind), Stephen Hawking, Edvard Munch, Salvador Dali, Emily Dickinson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Agatha Christie, James Joyce, Jean-Paul Sartre, Susan Sontag, Stephen King, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jane Goodall, Glenn Gould, John Cage, Kurt Cobain, David Byrne, Peter Gabriel, Laurie Anderson, Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Alfred Hitchcock, Marlene Dietrich, Stanley Kubrick, Tim Burton, David Lynch, Jodie Foster, “The Far Side” Gary Larson, Bobby Fischer, Dr. Gregory “House,” Thomas Aquinas, Isaac Asimov, Marie Curie, T.S. Eliot, Charles Darwin, and maybe the Buddha.

Fives are alert, independent, innovative, and inventive, insightful, studious, and curious, able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. They may also become preoccupied with their thoughts, detached, high-strung, and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their best, they are visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.

  • Basic Fear: Being useless, helpless, or incapable

  • Basic Desire: To be capable and competent

What is an Enneagram Six?

Sixes. Sixes are the most common Enneagram type. Healthy Sixes are loyal, committed, security-oriented, engaging, and responsible. Unhealthy Sixes are anxious and suspicious.

Healthy Sixes are likened to deer, mice and rabbits. Unhealthy Sixes are more like rhinoceroses. Their country is Germany.

Possible examples of Sixes (healthy and unhealthy): Johannes Brahms, Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, J. Edgar Hoover, Richard Nixon, Robert F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, George H.W. Bush, Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry, John Grisham, Mike Tyson, Bruce Springsteen, U2’s Bono, Melissa Etheridge, Eminem, Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, Spike Lee, Marilyn Monroe, Robert De Niro, Mark Wahlberg, Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Mel Gibson, Sally Field, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres, Andy Rooney, Katie Couric, Chris Rock, Lewis Black, Larry David, Seinfeld’s “George Costanza,” Lord of the Rings’ “Frodo Baggins,” Hitler, Tom Clancy, Dustin Hoffman, and Meg Ryan.

Healthy Sixes are excellent troubleshooters who foresee problems and foster cooperation. They are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Unhealthy Sixes are defensive, evasive, and anxious, stressed out. They can be reactive, defiant, and rebellious. Sixes typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their best, they are internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.

  • Basic Fear: Being without support and guidance

  • Basic Desire: To have security and support

What is an Enneagram Seven?

Sevens. Sevens are enthusiastic, adventuresome, busy, fun-loving, spontaneous, versatile, distractible, and scattered. Their representative animals are monkeys and otters. Philippines and Brazil are Seven countries.

Possible Sevens: The 14th Dalai Lama, Galileo Galilei, W.A. Mozart, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Amelia Earhart, Timothy Leary, Noel Coward, John F. Kennedy, Chuck Berry, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Fergie, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Steven Spielberg, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, John Belushi, Joan Rivers, Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Mike Meyers, Bruce Willi