The Enneagram

The Enneagram is a very robust, subtle and accurate psychological description system, which speaks about 9 different ways to interpret life. Nine ways to think, feel, and behave.

The symbol itself is composed of a circle, a triangle and an hexad, which makes up a form where lines come to touch the circumference in 9 places. Thus its name: in Greek “Ennea” means 9 and “gram” means something written or drawn.



Each of the points around the circle represents one of the personality types that the Enneagram talks about. It’s basic assertion is this: While we all have influences from different types, one of them is the one that we most often resort to when relating with the world. Is the one that we can identify as our habitual personality. However, we don’t resort to it consciously, but automatically, and we have come to believe that how we see the world, is how the world is. We have also come to believe that how we behave is how we are. We are identified with our personality. This has the effect that my interpretation of any situation is limited and that I tend to defend that interpretation, as if I was defending my own self.

Specifically, the enneagram teaches us two things:

First that of the ways of interpreting life one has a more forceful hold on us, and it is the one we resort to constantly. If there are 9 general ways of interpreting life, and one of them is the one that we normally fall into automatically, we are reacting, thinking and feeling in a very limited way. Specifically, we are seeing the world in a very, very partial way. And this means that our solutions, our perception of the situations, our way of relating is all partial and limited.

The second thing that the Enneagram teaches us is the way out. It is a sort of map of our psychology with the route to exit the box we have cramped ourselves into. It doesn’t just tell us what our compulsions and automatic reactions are, and what motivates them, but it also tells us what, specifically, we can do to get out of there.