There is quite a bit of discussion around the origins of the Enneagram and its roots appear to be from millennia and difficult to trace back.
Some authors believe that variations of the Enneagram symbol can be traced to the sacred geometry of Pythagorean mathematicians and mystical mathematics. The Enneads speak of nine divine qualities that appear in human nature.
The more recent evolution of the Enneagram, in the form and shape that is known in the 21st century, is better. Gurdjieff, a Russian mystic and teacher used the Enneagram to explain the unfolding of creation, calling it a symbol of perpetual motion. Movements, or sacred dances, constitute an integral part of the Gurdjieff Work. Russ Hudson has talked about learning the Enneagram somatically, using dance and movement. The idea being your body is in the ‘now’, not in the past or future, so it’s the best facility you have to be present. Gurdjieff sometimes referred to himself as a “teacher of dancing”.
In South America, Oscar Ichazo, the Bolivian-born founder of the Arica School established in 1968 also taught the Enneagram.
Claudio Naranjo, a Chilean psychiatrist was exposed to the Enneagram through Ichazo and brought the Enneagram into the modern psychological tradition. Individuals such as Ochs, Almaas and Maitri studied with Naranjo. Through Ochs, the Enneagram was introduced into numerous Christian communities in the United States where authors such as Wagner, Riso and Hudson were exposed to the teachings.