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Enneagram Symbol / Diagram and the Personality Types

Enneagram with Arrows

What exactly is the Enneagram symbol, or Enneagram diagram as some people call it, and how is it used with the personality types?

The Enneagram symbol / diagram is popularly associated with a system of nine personality types. However, the types use the symbol very differently from how it was originally used.

It was during the first half of the 20th century that G.I. Gurdjieff introduced the Enneagram symbol as part of what later became his Fourth Way School. Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way had nothing to do with the Enneagram personality types, they instead used the Enneagram to explore processes. This usage of the symbol can be called the Enneagram as Process or Process Enneagram.

In the latter half of the 20th century the nine numbers on the symbol became associated with nine types of personality.

Sometime in the 1950s and 1960s Oscar Ichazo, who had no known association with Gurdjieff or the Fourth Way School, associated nine ego-types with the nine numbers on the Enneagram symbol. In the 1970s a psychiatrist named Claudio Naranjo evolved these ego-types into the personality types commonly used today.

The personality types use the symbol to explore similarities, differences, and connections between the types. This usage can be called the Enneagram as Types or Personality Enneagram.

People sometimes mistakenly try to apply the Gurdjieff or Fourth Way usage of the symbol to the personality types. The links below take a look at each component of the Enneagram symbol to describe how the symbol is used with the personality types.


Enneagram Guide

This page is part of the Enneagram Guide available on this website. For more information about any particular Enneagram type or the many concepts and origins/history of the Enneagram types visit the Enneagram Guide main page.