050: The Enneagram (A History)

Welcome to our 50th episode y’all! This week we head back to the land of Enneagram to discuss the history of this strange symbol. It seems that today most people encounter the Enneagram as a typology system (which it is!) but it is also SO MUCH more! It has a mysterious orgin story which many questions still left unanswered. We do our best this week to unpack the early whispers and thinkers of the Enneagram.

Scott begins by explaining a bit about the Enneagram’s ancient roots. People also speak of it as an ancient wisdom, yet it seems there wasn’t any complete picture of the Enneagram from any particular group. There are early whispers of the Enneagram in Sufi wisdom, as sweet as from Pythagorus and found in notions such as the 7 deadly sins. The one thing we know for certain about its roots is they aren’t certain.

We then jump right into Gurdjieff, a mystic, philosopher, composer, and spiritual leader who used the Enneagram symbol as a primary symbol for teaching the movement of the cosmos. Gurdjieff taught “The Fourth Way” which was a discipline intended to help wake you up from a “waking sleep”. He taught his philosophies and school of thought with the Seekers of the Truth, a group who still practices and performs the “Sacred Dances” of the Enneagram, taught by G.

“Each completed whole, each cosmos, each organism, each plant, is an enneagram… But not each of these enneagrams has an inner triangle”


Next in the Enneagram’s history is Oscar Ichazo. As we deep dove into this early and formative teacher of the Enneagram we discovered a very interesting and spooky past. Ichazo is considered the teacher who put together the Enneagram of Personality and taught about the chief passions in the most succinct way. He too, taught the Enneagram as part of a larger school of thought/practice towards self-observation and enlightenment. Some red flags on Ichazo’s website got both Macie and Scott curious, wondering if perhaps the Arica School functions a bit like a cult (or maybe even is one?). Everything is quite mysterious, here are some links to sites we have been checking out since beginning our hunt of Ennea-history knowledge:





Check any of these out if you are more curious about Ichazo. We, as lovers of the Enneagram and believers in its wisdom were both a bit shook this week as we were unlocked to some of its stranger under sides.

We close our conversation by talking all about Naranjo! Naranjo learned the Enneagram of Personality as a student of Ichazo, but he too was skeptical of him and left the Arica School early. Naranjo shared the wisdom of the Enneagram and what he had learned from Ichazo with many others, combining it with psycho-therapy and typology. His work and teachings started the fire that spread to the way we experience the Enneagram today, mostly as a typology/personality system for personal and spiritual growth.

“To live in the way of the Gestalt:
1. Live now. Concern yourself with the present before the past or the future.
2. Live here. Deal with what is present rather than with what is absent.
3. Stop imagining. Experience the real.
4. Stop unnecessary thinking. Rather, taste and see.
5. Express rather than manipulate, explain, justify, or judge.
6. Give in to unpleasantness and pain just as to pleasure. Do not restrict your awareness.
7. Accept no “should” or “must” other than your own. Adore no idol.
8. Take full responsibility for your actions, feelings, and thoughts.
9. Accept being as you are.” 


If there was anything we learned during this week’s episode its that the Enneagram is complex and its history is just as (if not more) complex! We will definitely be coming back and doing a part 2 eventually and there was so much we couldn’t cover and so much more to uncover. We hope you enjoyed this peek back behind the curtain into where the heck this nine-sided figure came from!

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