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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, during the first half of the 20th century G.I. Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way School used the symbol in a very different way, primarily to understand processes. It wasn't until the latter half of the 20th century that the nine numbers of the symbol became associated with nine types of personality.

Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way had nothing to do with the Enneagram personality types, instead using the symbol to explore how the steps of a process were influenced by one another. I call this the Enneagram as Process.

Oscar Ichazo, who had no known association with Gurdjieff or the Fourth Way School, associated nine ego-types with the nine numbers. Psychiatrist 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 approach I call the Enneagram as Types.

People sometimes mistakenly try to apply the Gurdjieff approach to the personality types which can create unnecessary confusion.

I'll try to avoid that confusion in explaining how the personality types use the Enneagram symbol / diagram. In the links below I take a look at each component separately.


Quick Guide to the Enneagram

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

The Nine Enneagram Types x
The Nine Enneagram Types