What is the Enneagram?

A Somatic Approach to Describing “The Enneagram”

The Enneagram is a system designed to assist humanity in its growth and development. With its roots in ancient traditions and its origin not fully known, the Enneagram gives us a deeper look into the mystery of human beings and the world we live in.

This system is primarily designed to give us insight and knowledge as to how we as people fall into a state of self-forgetting — have fallen asleep to ourselves. The prerogative of the Enneagram is to assist us in the self-remembering, in the potential of waking up to all of who and what we are.

The Enneagram symbol provides a map of development and renewal and shows us how transformation happens.

The three main, visible aspects of the symbol are;

  1. The Law of One — The circle, which represents that we are one and whole;
  2. The Law of Three —  The triangle, which represents the three Creation Forces: Affirming, Denying, and Reconciling;
  3. The  Law of Seven — The hexagram with its specific lines, which represents the Law of Change and how change happens in seven movements.

And the nine different points on the circle are the representations of humanity and its nine main patterns of essence and conditioning.

The modern Enneagram provides us with a detailed description of how psychological patterns are defined and recognized in nine different variations. The Mental (Head) and Emotional (Heart) centers are represented well and the Somatic (Body) center is described as three variants of each type — as subtype behaviors — and adaptive strategies in service of survival and our ability to return to functioning in the world around us.

However, the missing piece of the Enneagram is the underlying somatic patterns driving these adaptive behaviors.  The root of the arising of our reactive, type-structure behaviors lies in these more reflexive and unconscious activations of movements towards the Attractive Reflexes and the movements away from the Aversive Reflexes. As well as, the naturally arising states of Rest, Repair, and Digest, allowing for Integration.

The deeper aspects of the Enneagram Symbol are currently mostly studied from a conditioned point of view and leaves us with a process that is not complete and not fully understood.

To include the Body Center as a center of intelligence is giving access to the core wound of our human experience. The identification with the perception of separation from our essence created a dualistic view with only two of the three creation forces, creating the split between Attraction and Aversion. This was based on the need for survival in the body in linear time and space.

The conditioned self is largely operating with only a partial view and is the root of all suffering.

The Enneagram is designed to takes us deep inside (ourselves) to notice what happens within, so we can experience and recognize who we were created to be and see reality as it actually is, instead of being identified with only a partial view and experience.

The Enneagram gives us a map with the potential to embrace all of ourselves and others and know that we all belong equally, are deeply interconnected, and that our existence has an intrinsic essential value.