Short answer: less than 50 years old at the time of this post. You may have heard that the Enneagram personality types are an ancient system going back thousands of years. I heard that too, but I looked for proof for the past 20 years or so. I found nothing except proof to the contrary.
Latest Site Changes
This website was originally created as a resource for a book under development titled Enneagram User Guide: Understanding and Applying the Concepts of the Enneagram Personality Types. The book is still being written and an early release edition is planned for summer 2017.
Other project and resources are planned along with the book. Links will be added below as the various projects progress and resources are added to the website.
Enneagram tests are nowhere near 100% accurate but they can be used as a starting point for determining your type. Below are two simple tests to help you find that starting point. Feel free to take the tests more than once to reconsider your responses.
The phrase "one size fits all" is generally applied to what people wear that says the particular article fits a wide range of sizes if not everyone (e.g., watches, baseball caps, belts, etc.). There is something I noticed with the Enneagram types where people try to fit themselves or others into every possible category or concept of the types. The underlying assumption is that the categories or concepts cover the full range of possibilities and completely describe the underlying experience they're attempting to. In other words, everyone can be fit into a type or related concept.
If you ask someone who finds the Enneagram types useful, you'll probably hear that they are accurate. However, there's a difference between being "accurate" and being "useful." Accuracy is about how well the types describe reality and in particular people's experience. Usefulness is about how well the types help me understand myself and others. There are many models and theories used in psychology and other disciplines that are not completely accurate but are useful. The Enneagram types are one such model.
I sometimes hear mention of transcending one's Enneagram type. It usually appear in two contexts: 1) someone believing they're beyond the fixation of their type, and 2) someone trying to get rid of their type.
The Enneagram personality types were derived in large part from Oscar Ichazo's ego-types which included fixations, holy ideas, traps, passions, and virtues. Ego in this sense can be thought of the sense of "I" or "self" that gets created or cultivated in our lives. While this sense of self can be useful in our lives, it can also create self-limitations and self-deceptions.
One problem I have with many descriptions of the Enneagram types is that they don't zero in on the core focus of each type. Instead, they often try to describe type in terms of personality characteristics and behavioral traits. With personality being unique for everyone in the world, each person expresses Enneagram type through their personality uniquely. An individual might identify with one characteristic from the description but not another. Two people identifying with the same Enneagram type may identify with different characteristics.
I've finished a rough draft of the chapter on the history of the Enneagram types. My goal was to cut through all the speculation to offer what is actually known. From early in the teachings of the types there has been a narrative that the types are ancient in origin. The best that can be said of that narrative is that elements of the symbol and types may have earlier origins but the symbol and types came together at a much more recent point in time to be used the way they are used with the Enneagram personality types.
Enneagram tests are not accurate for everyone. They simply help narrow down the candidate types for a best fit. Each test is not only a product of how well the test was designed and constructed but also the test author's bias for understanding each type (and if you haven't found out already, there are a lot of subtle and not so subtle differences in the way people interpret the Enneagram types).