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Frequently Asked Questions: Enneagram Origins and History

Enneagram with Arrows

Where did the Enneagram come from?

Who invented the Enneagram?

Did Claudio Naranjo invent the Enneagram?

What religion is the Enneagram from?

  • Elements of the Enneagram types were borrowed from a number of different spiritual and psychological traditions. Today, the Enneagram types are used in some Christian circles.

    The Enneagram passions are sometimes associated with the seven deadly sins of Christianity producing what can be called "the 7 sins + 2."

Where did Oscar Ichazo learn about the Enneagram?

  • Oscar Ichazo developed nine ego-types which were based on associated Enneagrams he created. There were a total of 108 Enneagrams according to Ichazo. Five of those Enneagrams provided a foundation for what evolved into the Enneagram personality types used today. The five Enneagrams had to do with fixations, traps, holy ideas, passions, and virtues.

    Ichazo wasn't clear on where he got the Enneagram symbol, but did claim that he alone developed the labels for the Enneagrams that he used. It's well accepted that Ichazo developed the ego-types and associated Enneagrams that would later evolve through the teachings of a psychiatrist named Claudio Naranjo into the personality types of today.

Did Gurdjieff invent the Enneagram?

  • G.I. Gurdjieff is purported to have learned of the Enneagram diagram from the Sufis during his search for hidden knowledge in the Middle East.

    This is depicted in the movie Meetings with Remarkable Men where the dancers move along the inner lines of the Enneagram diagram.

    Note that Gurdjieff didn't use the Enneagram with personality types. He used the Enneagram in terms of movement and process. It was decades later that Oscar Ichazo repurposed the Enneagram to represent types.

What Enneagram type is Gurdjieff?

What Enneagram type is Oscar Ichazo?

What Enneagram type is Claudio Naranjo?

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