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You can find your personality type fairly easily by taking the test at the Enneagram Institute. However, working with your type to transform yourself and let go of your habitual defenses and "passions" takes practice, time and support. Without it many people misuse the information to accept themselves as they are and/or to negatively characterize their mates and friends. Transformation is painful work and it deserves a safe place to begin the work.

Enneagram Figure


The Enneagram is thought to date to Pythagoras and to the fourth century Desert Fathers. Evagrius, a monk from this time, who brought his teaching on the Passions to Egypt, first spoke of the struggle between the nine vices and virtues and used the Enneagram symbol. Later these teachings influenced the Sufis who further developed it to explore human consciousness. It is they who we often believe to be the original source of the Enneagram symbol and its use for self discovery.

The Sufi teachings were later discovered and developed in the late nineteenth century by a spiritual seeker, George Gurdjieff, who founded a school in Russia, The Institute for the Harmonius Development of Man. His students learned from moving along lines from a nine pointed figure drawn on the floor. They were asked to find within their own body the sense of self blocked by thinking. They also used the lines of connection between the inner points. Still there is no psychological typology as we know it today. Yet his emphasis on self observation is the first and most essential task of personal transformation.

Finally, in the late 1950s the Bolivian psychologist, Oscar Ichazo using both the Sufi and Gurdjieff teachings, developed a typology of nine personality types which he taught at the Arica Institute in Chile. Claudio Naranjo, from the Esalen Institute at Big Sur, California and Father Robert Ochs, a Jesuit priest undertook his forty day training and brought the work to the United States in the early 1970s where it has flourished in both the humanistic and religious traditions. Since then, many books, seminars and teachers have since embraced and developed these tools all over the globe. In 1994 Stanford University's Psychology Dept. hosted the First International Enneagram Conference.


The nine personality types stem from our attempts to defend ourselves from those fears developed in our childhoods. Even the best parents cannot keep us from experiencing threats to our sense of self. Both nature and nurture are working from the beginning to change our essential self into a false self that exchanges our virtue for our passion. Each of the personality types is a way of defending ourselves and the more dysfunctional we are the higher the fence becomes that keeps us locked in a negative and destructive spiral.

The Enneagram shows us ourselves at the beginning of a journey of spiritual transformation that uses our self knowledge to bravely seek to lay down our defenses and to find our God given essence that we have lost but is still there waiting to be found. The journey needs to be taken carefully, honestly and patiently. We need support along the way. This is both a spiritual transformation and a practice. It will change you and bring you greater peace and happiness in love and work, in every aspect of your life.