The Enneagram

A brief history

Some people 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 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 introduced 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 Rohr, Wagner, Riso and Hudson were exposed to the teachings.

What is the Enneagram?

This is always a difficult question as it doesn’t neatly fit into a one (or two) line response. A premise within the Enneagram is that you are avoiding characteristics of yourself – well documented as a ‘shadow’ in the Enneagram.  So even if you are open to learning what it – and yourself – are about, there will be aspects of it and you, you wont want to even glance at. 

The Enneagram is a rich, complex process which reveals what your drivers and motivations are and which have probably been hidden from you. I mean in the sense of having hidden them from yourself. Not a conscious thought, mind. 

Traditionally, the Enneagram has been taught through a talking process – the narrative tradition. The types are talked about and people can see which description fits them best. This process is worthwhile and there are ‘panels’ where some people of a type talk about what it’s like being their type. 

With the advent of online approaches, the capability of gaining a quicker accurate result is possible. Any profile from an online system does need coaching sessions to help understand the rich results and how to make the best of the profile. 

A key element of the Enneagram is that it’s not an end point: “Right, I have my profile so that’s the Enneagram done” That’s a bit like buying a car, parking it in your drive and never going out in it.

To work that metaphor a bit more, when you drive the car, the benefit is in driving, being out there and being involved in the world and people – together with your increasing awareness of who and how you are. 


It is a constantly evolving, revealing and dynamic. As are you. Contact me for more information about how to use the Enneagram for your own development and progression. 

There is more… 

Much more. There are nine types and while we have all of the types as part of our make-up, we will spend more of our lives in one of them, than others. 



Find out more about the Head triad


Find out more about the Heart triad


Find out more about the Body triad