# The Enneagram Peter O’Hanrahan interviewed by Jan Irvin, Gnosticmedia.com enneagramwork.com.

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The Enneagram Peter O’Hanrahan interviewed by Jan Irvin, Gnosticmedia.com enneagramwork.com

Number and Cosmology Numbers as archetypal structures play a role in organizing both the forms of nature and human consciousness. People have studied number sets and geometry to intuit and understand the universal laws and how these take shape in the material world, aka The beauty of God's creation.

Early Mathematicians Pythagoras Pythagoras said that Three is the perfect number, expressive of beginning, middle, and end, wherefore he makes it a symbol of Deity. The world was supposed to be under the rule of three gods, viz. Jupiter (heaven), Neptune (sea), and Pluto (Hades). Three aspects of the deity are found in many religious traditions.

Early Mathematicians Plato Plato’s Timaeus dialogue describes the creation of the universe through a series of geometrical operations based on number. Through this process four platonic solids come into being representing the four elements The fifth solid, the dodecahedron, represented the quintessence, aether, and the universe itself.

3 The number 3 represented by the triangle … The trinity is seen in many of the great religious traditions. In Christianity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. In Hinduism: Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu.

3 – 6 – 9 “All was divided into three.” Homer, Greek poet. Threeness puts things into motion. Twice three gives us the “Hexad” which signifies structure, function and order. Thrice three gives us the enneagram which signifies the transition between the finite and the infinite: 9 Egyptian deities, 9 Greek Muses, 9 Norse Worlds, 9 Celtic maidens, 9 Mayan levels of the cosmos.

Enneagon Star Raymond Lull (c. 1235 – 1316) – a Christian scholar who sought to open up a rational dialogue with Jews and Moslems about common truths. This is his diagram depicting the nine “Dignities of God” – each point representing one of the 9 virtues or holy ideas. Another such diagram outlined the nine passions or lower states. This is the first “enneagram” found in the Western world.

Early Enneagrams The tradition of classical arithmology survived through the Middle Ages and appealed to Renaissance men of a mystical bent. Athanasius Kircher (c. 1602– 1680) – German Jesuit scholar, Christian Kabalist, and Renaissance man of learning. According to Kircher, the universe is composed entirely of triads. This was the frontispiece to his magnum opus Arithmologia, 1655. The ennead governs the angelic worlds and demonstrates the hierarchy of the heavenly order. The ray of creation emanates as in the Kabbalah through the 10 Sephiroth, from the Ein Soph or “source without end” down to the world of time and space, and we then through our lives ascend back up through it.

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff Gurdjieff was born in Armenia of Greek parents in the late 1800’s. As a young man he spent several decades as a “seeker after truth” exploring hidden wisdom from Egypt to Tibet. He began teaching in Moscow in 1915, traveled to Turkey during the revolution, and ended up in France where he established an institute at Fountainebleau. His program included music and sacred dance as well as teachings from a number of spiritual traditions. He used the enneagram as a central part of this teaching.

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff Gurdjieff’s teachings had a profound influence on writers, philosophers, psychologists and spiritual seekers In Europe and the US. His work continues in many different programs and groups around the world. His major ideas included: 1) human beings are asleep to what is real; the work is to wake up. 2) People have an inner essence which is covered up by personality. 3) People are “three-brained beings;” they have three centers of intelligence: mental, emotional and body/instinct. The work of the Fourth Way means to develop all three centers at the same time.

The Fourth Way Yogi, Monk, Fakir…. “Sly man” Each “way” emphasizes mastery of one of the three “centers”, the Sly Man works on all three. The Intellectual Center - Seeing - Yogi, path of meditation Using the mind: rational thinking, ideas and images, plans and strategies, platonic love. Located in the head. The Emotional Center - Feeling - Monk, path of devotion Using the heart: positive & negative feelings, empathy and concern for others, romantic love & devotion. Located in the chest and diaphragm. The Instinctual Center - Sensing- Fakir, path of physicality Using the body: movement, gut level knowing, self- preservation, sexuality, social belonging, and instinctual love. Located in the belly, or hara.

The Enneagram Gurdjieff brought a new enneagram to the West in 1915 as part of his program for human development. In this “modern” enneagram the internal lines now connect in a different order, according to what Gurdjieff called the Law of Three and the Law of Seven.

Law of Three The Law of Three describes three forces which interact to create an outcome. We we begin an action with initiating force at point 3, then encounter resistance or obstacles at point 6. With a good dialogue (or dialectic) between these two we can access the harmonizing force at point 9. A balance of all three forces is necessary for a good result. Then the cycle resumes again.

Law of Seven The Law of Seven is derived from dividing unity, or the number 1, by 7. This gives a repeating decimal of.142857… This law governs the succession of events. The movement of energy between these points illustrate the steps of every process both in a linear way and also with their inner relationships.

Making A Meal Here is the process of making a meal charted on the enneagram. Points 9, 3, and 6 are the primary elements. The nine linear steps are arranged on the circumference. Points 1, 4, 2, 8, 5, 7 illustrate the internal connections. For example, at Pt. 1, the kitchen ready for work, we must anticipate preparing the food at Pt. 4. At Pt. 5, cooking the meal, we must plan for the experience of the diners eating the meal at Pt. 8.

Passions and Virtues

9 Mudras to evoke the higher qualities

Territories of Consciousness ©2011 Peter O’Hanrahan

The Enneagram of Personality Types

The Three Centers The Intellectual Center Higher aspect is the Holy Idea Lower aspect is the fixation The Emotional Center Higher aspect is the Virtue Lower aspect is the Passion The Body Center Self-preservation Instinct One-to-one / Sexual Instinct Social Instinct

Three groups of Personality Types Every person has three centers of intelligence: head, heart and body. One of these centers is more familiar to us and creates the style of our personality type. There are three groups of three personality types: thinking types, feeling types and body types.

Center-related Issues

Attentional Styles

The Nine Types 1 – The Perfectionist Ones are body-based types with an emphasis on personal morality and self control. They have very high standards and tend to see things in terms of right and wrong. They seek to correct error in themselves and others. Strengths: honest, responsible, improvement-oriented Problems: resentful, overly critical, non-adaptable Lower emotion: anger Higher emotion: serenity Idealization: I am right Avoidance: mistakes, incorrect behavior Possible examples of public figures: Nelson Mandela, Mary Baker Eddy, Martin Luther, Mohandas Gandhi, Colin Powell, Confucius, Ignatius of Loyola, Charles Dickens, Emma Thompson, Nicole Kidman.

The Nine Types 2 – The Giver Twos are feeling-based types with great empathy for other people's needs and emotions. Their attention goes to helping others in order to win approval and recognition. They adapt themselves in order to make relationships work and may neglect themselves. Strengths: caring, responsive, helpful Problems: privileged, naïve, dependent Lower emotion: pride (inflated or deflated sense of self worth) Higher emotion: humility (taking one's true measure) Idealization: I am helpful Avoidance: communicating one's own needs Possible examples of public figures: Desmond Tutu, Virginia Satir, Nancy Reagan, Bill Cosby, Melanie Griffith, Ellen Burstyn, Mia Farrow, Elizabeth Taylor, Alan Alda, John Travolta, Betty Friedan.

The Nine Types 3 – The Performer Threes are feeling-based types who channel their energy into productivity and success. They are good at reading the expectations of others, but may not know their own feelings. They tend to be constantly on the go; it's hard to slow down. Strengths: productive, energetic, adaptable Problems: overworked, impatient, overly competitive Lower emotion: vanity (image conscious) Higher emotion: truthfulness Idealization: I am successful Avoidance: failure Possible examples of public figures: Scott McNealy, Oprah Winfrey, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Diane Sawyer, Tony Robbins, Michael Jordan, Tom Cruise, Brooke Shields, Demi Moore, Werner Erhard, Will Smith.

The Nine Types 4 – The Romantic Fours are feeling-based types who experience a sense of longing and melancholy. They seek meaning and depth in work, relationships and all parts of life. They want the recognition and approval of others, but are individualists at heart. Strengths: Compassionate, idealistic, emotional depth. Problems: Moody, uncooperative, withdrawn. Lower emotion: Envy Higher emotion: Equanimity Idealization: I am authentic Avoidance: being ordinary, not special Possible examples of public figures: Thomas Merton, Alan Watts, DH Lawrence, Judy Garland, Edith Piaf, Anais Nin, Beethoven, Martha Graham, Curt Cobain, Joan Baez, Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando.

The Nine Types 5 – The Observer Fives are mental types who focus on developing knowledge and expertise. They value their autonomy and personal privacy; they need lots of time alone. They seek to conserve and protect their resources - time, attention, money, etc. Strengths: perceptive, scholarly, self-reliant Problems: isolated, stingy, detached Lower emotion: avarice (holding on and holding back) Higher emotion: non-attachment (generosity) Idealization: I am knowledgeable Avoidance: inner emptiness Possible examples of public figures: Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes, Albert Einstein, Joyce Carol Oates, Jerry Brown, Chopin, John le Carre, the Buddha, Bill Gates, J P Getty, Jeremy Irons, Jane Goodall.

The Nine Types 6 – The Loyal Skeptic Sixes are mental types who seek security in trusted relationships or in ideas and plans. With constant vigilance, they try to anticipate problems and create solutions. In response to danger or anxiety, they may either hold back or rush forward. They can be doubtful and ambivalent, or firm believers in their rules and ideology. Strengths: loyal, courageous, persevering Problems: doubtful, pessimistic, suspicious Lower emotion: fear Higher emotion: courage Idealization: I am loyal Avoidance: rejection Possible examples of public figures: George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, Mel Gibson, Woody Allen, Meg Ryan, Andrew Groves, Pat Robertson, Jay Leno, Richard Nixon, Julia Roberts, Krishnamurti.

The Nine Types 7 – The Epicure Sevens are mental types who quickly see multiple possibilities and options. They want to enjoy life fully and hate to be limited. Thinking about future possibilities makes it hard to stay in the present moment. Strengths: adventurous, fun loving, creative thinkers Problems: self-absorbed, dispersed, uncommitted Lower emotion: gluttony Higher emotion: sobriety Idealization: I am positive Avoidance: pain Possible examples of public figures: Teilhard de Jardin, Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Charlie Rose, John F. Kennedy, FDR, Mick Jagger, Robin Williams, Sarah Ferguson, Richard Branson, Bette Midler.

The Nine Types 8 – The Protector Eights are body-based types who take charge and provide leadership to get things done. They focus on fairness and justice, and will protect the people under their care. They are not afraid of conflict and will fight hard for what they want or believe in. Strengths: enthusiastic, generous, powerful Problems: excessive, angry, dominating Lower emotion: revengefulness Higher emotion: innocence Idealization: I am strong Avoidance: vulnerability Possible examples of public figures: Martin Luther King, Donald Trump, Sean Connery, John Wayne, Indira Ghandi, Sean Penn, Fidel Castro, Pablo Picasso, Frank Sinatra, Ann Richards, Lyndon Johnson.

The Nine Types 9 – The Mediator Nines are body-based types who tend to blend with other people and the environment. They are good at seeing all points of view and mediating conflict. They can easily forget their own priorities while staying in the comfort zone. Strengths: balanced, accepting, harmonious Problems: stubborn, ambivalent, conflict avoidant Lower emotion: sloth/laziness (need to stay comfortable) Higher emotion: right action (willing to face priorities and conflict) Idealization: I am harmonious Avoidance: conflict Possible examples of public figures: Dwight Eisenhower, Carl Jung, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, the Dalai Lama, Abraham Lincoln, John Goodman, Mary Steenburgen, Pope John Paul II, Sandra Bullock, Carl Rogers, Jerry Seinfeld.

Stress/Resource Points Under certain kinds of stress, people may move to what is called their “stress point.” This is a major shift in one’s inner feeling and point of view. However, this can also be seen as moving to a “resource” point, meaning there is something important to access here. However, it may be stressful to stay there for very long.

Heart/Security Point Under conditions of safety and security, people may move to what is known as their heart or security point. This involves a relaxation of the basic type structure which brings people more in touch with their core feelings. It’s generally seen as a positive movement, but there is the possibility of getting stuck in the lower aspects of this type.

Applications Since it’s beginning in Berkeley, California in the 1970’s in the transpersonal psychology community, the Enneagram system of personality types has spread around the world. There are hundreds of books and websites, classes and workshops in dozens of countries. Therapists, counselors and coaches use it with clients to understand character structure, vital issues, and strategies for growth. Businesses and non-profit organizations apply the system to develop leadership, communication and teamwork. People in religious denominations find it a valuable guide for spiritual development. Teachers and educators identify different learning styles and teaching styles, and how these interact. The Enneagram helps us to understand ourselves and the people in our lives. It reduces unnecessary conflict and supports empathy and cooperation. Many people consider it to be the most practical way to increase EQ - emotional intelligence. In personal relationships - marriage partners, parents and children, close friendships - the Enneagram has proven to be enormously helpful.

Resources Peter O’Hanrahan www. enneagramwork.com Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition www.enneagramworldwide.com Recommended Books - published by Harper The Enneagram, the Enneagram in Love & Work, by Helen Palmer The Essential Enneagram, David Daniels M.D.

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