A new enneagram point of view…

missing pictures and illustration sorry, some bugs

Mahmoud Farshian, Iranian painter, arrangment


Turning to the Source: Enneagram Revisited

Bernadette Bollero-Schmitt et Frédéric Schmit MD homeopath



We would like to introduce you to a novel reading of the Enneagram. The Enneagram is like a puzzle, and each player must bring their own piece to the puzzle whatever it may be.

If we have only one or a few pieces it will not allow us to see the entire puzzle, and it will remain necessarily incomplete.

One of the more blocking factors to the evolution of science is the adhesion to incomplete theories as if they represented the entire reality. It’s called dogma. In dogma there is also an unconscious tyranny imposed over the followers: “You cannot deviate from the script, because I am the Truth”. So we have an unconscious fear of deviating and of punishment; that is blocking one’s creativity.

In the Taoist cycle of evolution, each time when yang becomes old, the young yin begins to appear, and vice versa. Or yang in its extreme turns into Yin and Yin in its extreme turns into Yang.

We strongly feel that the Enneagram has reached a point of maturity where it necessarily will move towards a new beginning of a yin rebirth. These two phases of the cycle cannot exist one without the other, and mutually complete each other.

So we are pleased to propose to the enneagram community a new paradigm, not only a few new pieces of the puzzle, but also new and open angles of vision.

Our work is based on transdisciplinarity as defined by Basarab Nicolescu, the theoretical physicist from Romania. “Disciplinary research concerns, at most, one and the same level of Reality; moreover, in most cases, it only concerns fragments of one level of Reality. On the contrary, transdisciplinarity concerns the dynamics engendered by the action of several levels of Reality at once. Disciplinary and transdisciplinary research are not antagonistic but complementary”[i] (Ref:).

“Rigor, openness, and tolerance are the fundamental characteristics of the transdisciplinary attitude and vision. Rigor in argument, taking into account all existing data, is the best defense against possible distortions. Openness involves an acceptance of the unknown, the unexpected and the unforeseeable. Tolerance implies acknowledging the right to ideas and truths opposed to our own”[ii] (ref:.


History of the Enneagram

Before all else, we need to make a clear distinction between the schema of enneagram and the theories applied to it.

As far as we know, nobody was able to find the schema of enneagram before Gurdjieff produced it the first time in Russia in 1919. So in a pragmatic way, we can say that he initiated it, wherever he took it without mentioning the sources.

Needless to say that using the particular schema of enneagram does not imply that one adhere to a particular theory nor that one theory is better than another.

In the following schema we mention chronologically the major different interpretations of the figure of enneagram.



Of course we cannot mention all of the searchers and teachers that follow the main stream of Enneagram of Personality, and everyone has certainly added a brick to this edifice.

The case of Laleh Bakhtiar is particular in a sense that there is a debate about the Sufis as the origin of the enneagram. We do not want to enter such a discussion. Let’s just say that Mrs Bakhtiar produced a really interesting body of research on connecting the enneagram to traditional Sufi sources.



Concerning the Theory of the Three Centers

If we try to find historic sources, we come quickly to the Greeks (Plato and Aristotle) then to the Indian and Buddhist traditions.

There are many similarities between the three enneagram centers, and the tripartite theory of the soul by Plato and Aristotle [iv](concupiscible, irascible and rational i.e. desire, ire and reason).

This tripartite view of the soul is very close to the three poisons well known in Buddhism: ignorance, hatred-aversion and craving-attachment.


sector of the soul Buddhist psychic poison
Concupiscible Desire-attachment
Irascible Hatred-aversion
Rational Ignorance


In term of anthropology, the historical filiation from Indian to Greek and Arabian culture have been widely known and certified in many domains. That’s why certain plants used in Indian Ayurveda medicine are also found in the Arabic pharmacopeia. The same can be said about Alchemy principles that came from China, to India, then to Arabia and to the Western world during the Middle Ages.

The tripartite view of the soul was also known to the Desert Fathers and the Christian Orthodox Church[v] .


Concerning the Nine Points

For Aristotle, the virtue is a state of balance between the opposed vices of excess and deficiency: too much and too little in quantity. But to find a mention of nine vices, we need to come back to Tusi (1201—1274) an Islamic philosopher, who for the first time propounded the view that the deviation is not only quantitative but also qualitative. To this new type of deviation he gave the name of perversion. Consequently, a moral disease may have one of three causes:-(1) excess, (2) deficiency, or (3) perversion”[vi]. (ref.). This give the possibility for nine types of vices.

But most striking among similarities, undoubtedly, is in Tibetan medicine. According to Tibetan medicine (Yuthok Yontan Gonpo (708 – 833 AD), the three Buddhist psychic poisons (ignorance, anger and desire) are connected to the three somatic humors (Kapha, Pitta, Vata) of  Ayurvedic Indian medicine. Space does not permit to go deeper into explaining the theory of the three humors.

Each humor can manifest three types of imbalance: in terms of quantity (lack or excess) or in terms of quality, giving 9 types of imbalances. This trifold dysfunction of the three humors fits exactly the nine vices of Tusi.

During one of our stays in India, we showed a model of the Enneagram to Prof. Sempa Dorje (Varanasi University), one of the greatest scholars of Buddhism of international fame. According to him the science of the nine points may have been transmitted by the Indian Buddhist Mahasiddha (a great saint) Kambalpa to Arabic physicians in the 3rd or 4th century AD. Furthermore, Prof. Sempa Dorje thought that this knowledge later, in the 6th century AD, made its way to Afghanistan where it was picked up by certain Sufi communities.

We could think quite rightly that the enneagram, as a knowledge of the nine points, was already known in India and Tibet, and was afterward passed on to the Greek, then Arabian world and particularly to Sufism.

That theory of enneagram coming from Buddhist, Greek and Sufi origins represents the basis of all our research and work of reconstruction of more than 10 years.


History of Our Research

I (Frederic) am a medical doctor, and have been practicing classical homeopathy since 30 years. When I met enneagram in the year 2000, I very soon intuited that the enneagram could be applied to the homeopathic diagnosis.

In order to verify this hypothesis, my wife Bernadette and I knew that we needed a rigorous work methodology. The first justification of this suppositions was founded, on the similarities, according to us, of the anthropological models between homeopathy and the enneagram.


The Anthropological Model

While it is understood that the enneagram came out of the Eastern traditions, the paradigm it is based upon is founded on the trifold nature of the human being as body, energy and spirit. This paradigm is also upon which homeopathy is resting. From that point on, the juxtaposition of the enneagram with homeopathy is justified and possible.


Body, Energy, Spirit

According to ancient medical traditions like traditional Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine, human beings are composed of a body, a spirit and an energetic system. To use a metaphor the body is like a TV set, the information that arrives through the airwaves is like the spirit and electricity powering it is the energy. In order for you to receive a program, three elements are necessary. For a human being in order to live one needs a physical  support, the body, a spirit or consciousness and an interface between the two, an energetic system.

Western culture has since Descartes, progressively split the human being in two, spirituality on one and materialism on the other side.

Feminine values of sensitivity, receptivity, passivity and introversion that were traditionally associated with the spiritual domain, have been devalued, criticized and therefore repressed in the collective unconscious.

Masculine values of logic, activity, materialism and extroversion have been over-valued. Excessive development of those masculine values has led to the current materialist society or as Jung writes, “Money has replaced God in the temple of Wall Street” where individualism has replaced solidarity, and the search for comfort at all cost has replaced the spiritual quest.

With materialism, access to the world of energy has become restricted; man is only matter and consciousness is produced by the body.  This dramatic split has ended in an irrational vision of the world disconnected from reality, for example the dogma of infinite growth that has been artificially maintained.

The flip-side of this coin is the vision of a psychology disconnected from the constitution of the body and of the energy.

The Eastern man lives in a different paradigm, where the spirit and body are seen as needing to be in good harmony and energy is the dynamics that animates this complex; body, spirit and energy are one.


Esprit = Mind, Corps = Body


We have thus “re-placed” the enneagram within this context: all memory, thought, emotion, and belief, are connected to an energetic field and a constitutional structure that conditions it.






Maybe you had the opportunity to experiment with iron filings on a sheet of paper placed on a magnet. We can see in the image above the result. In a similar manner, our thoughts, emotions and beliefs are organized, like the iron filings, around the constitutional energetic field.



Each enneagram type is a kind of “magnetic” field around which the personality is organized. The shape of the field varies depending on the type. This is true as much for the type as it is for the subtype.

According to this paradigm it’s incorrect to envision an enneagram type, its cognition, its motivation and its emotions only on a psychological level.



Each individual possesses a predetermined constitution at the moment of conception (we call it the enneagrammatic constellation in our diamond model) which represents the basis of the structure of the functioning for his or her body and spirit. There are different kinds of constitutions and we are born with it.

This concept of constitution is fundamental to understanding our journey. The West has a vision of the world and the person as linear and binary, one where cause leads to an effect, if one suppresses the cause, the effect disappears. This rather simplistic vision, of direct cause for every reaction has a  lock on the Western mind since centuries.

The Eastern mind has a more global and complex, circular and systemic vision. Every system is composed of parts that among themselves are in an interdependent relation and also engaged in a dynamic exchange with other external complex systems. So that all “symptoms” reflected in the overall functioning of the whole, are merely indications of the imbalance in the entire system.

Constitution is the term that expresses this systemic view of the global system, that in homeopathy is often called the constitutional terrain. The constitution is innate, which means it’s unique and specific to each individual. We are talking about the ideosyncratic imprint. This imprint or stamp can be related to genetics and is going to express itself in the course of life under the influence of the environment making us what we are today. Using a metaphor, the constitution is a grain of rice and the environment is the earth, sun, air and water that will determine if the stalk of rice can develop harmoniously.

So we can say that we are combination composed of a genetic constitution  influenced by an  environment (epigenetic).

The type and the enneagram subtype are therefore fully and innately constitutional. Like a grain of rice that can never become a stalk of corn regardless of the external environment.

In other words, a Type 1 individual, subtype social (Air), can not change into a Type 2  or 6, nor into a subtype self-pres. (Earth)or sexual (Water)

As we said above, the constitution is inscribed in the three levels of body, energy and spirit. Therefore each type and subtype of the enneagram presents three levels, somatic, energetic and psychic.

Let’s take some very concrete examples from our observation: Type 1 is connected to the neurovegetative system corresponding to the Taoist Fire energy and a mindset that oscillates between passion and control.

The self-pres subtype corresponds to Sheldon’s endomorph; and the concrete, practical and epicurean temperament of earth in Ayurveda.

The sexual subtype Mars, (see EM article in issue #199) corresponds to Sheldon’s mesomorph; and the anger and impulsivity temperament of fire in Ayurveda.

Somatic Energy Psychic
Type 1 Neurovegetative system Taoist Fire element Passion/control
Self preservation subtype Endomorph somatotype Ayurvedic Earth element Concrete, practical, epicurean
Sexual subtype Mars Mesomorph somatotype Ayurvedic Fire element Anger, impulsivity


To reinforce this thesis we used observations and our Typing records of about 1000 families (parents and children) that have shown that the enneagram type of a child is in nearly 85% of the cases correlated to the type of the father or mother, or with the arrows. It means that a Type 7 child will have one or both parents be a 5, 7, or 1 in a statistically significantly way. Those same observations have also shown that there is a prevalence of certain types in certain countries. In northern Europe and North America there is a high prevalence of women in Type 1 and men Type 7. According to our statistics, nearly 80% of women of Type 1 are coupled with men of Type 7. Which statistically would give girls of Type 1 and  boys of Type 7.

We prefer to suppress that part, can give rise to oppositionsHealth and Sickness

In order for “body and soul” to function correctly it is necessary for the energy to be in balance. If our energy is out of balance, the body and the spirit will manifest signs and symptoms of illness. The goal of homeopathy and eastern medicine is to maintain health by balancing the energy. The structural commonalities between homeopathy, eastern medicine and enneagram allowed us to use our research and to apply the enneagram to aid in the constitutional diagnosis in homeopathy.

Methods of Type Diagnosis

In order to apply enneagram typing to homeopathic medicine we had to make sure to have accurate methodology of E-type and subtype diagnosis, that fit both reliability and reproducibility.


Reliability relates the magnitude of the measurement error in observed measurements to the inherent variability in the ‘error-free,’ ‘true,’ or underlying level of the quantity between subjects. If reliability is high, measurement errors are small in comparison to the true differences between subjects, so that subjects can be relatively well distinguished. Low reliability indicates that large variations in scores can be expected upon retesting.


Reproducibility is the variability of the measurement system caused by differences in operator behavior.

In terms of enneagram what needs to be measured is the type or subtype. The “typer” is of course a human being who measures subjectively according to his or her perceptive abilities. In this case the accuracy (reliability) depends on the percentage of error and the degree of precision in typing. The reproducibility factor is determined by the variation in the degree of consistency in typing when repeated under different conditions and by different typers. Several typers should be able to type the same subject consistently, without having conferred with each other. We will consider a typing method to be scientific if it fulfills the following criteria:

  • High reliability
  • High Reproducibility

When we approached the enneagram in the beginning, we saw that the methods that were proposed were vague, not accurate or reproducible. The most common results we observed either in the literature or from testimonials were that typing itself was completely “typer-dependent.”  Which is to say, the results varied from one typer to the other. And even repeating the process after some time on the same subject by the same typer, the result was often different.

For our purpose as homeopaths, such magnitude of variation and lack of accurate and reliable typing was unacceptable. We could not use typing tests based solely on the psychological states of the subject and tester  — they were way too subjective for a medical consultation.

We had to widen the data, and our only solution was to shed some light on the enneagram using other systems and comparing common points and factors. The validation criteria was verified by how successful the results were in the homeopathic practice with our patients.


Research methodology

In order to do the exegesis or what we would call the literature review of the knowledge transmitted, we could only see one scientific possibility—going back to the Greek/Sufi sources. Fortunately, Laleh Bakhtiar, an authority in this domain,  gave us access to a certain number of original texts that became a solid foundation for us to work with. Comparing the model presented by Bakhtiar with the Western enneagram there was an important variation. The mental centers and instinctual centers are inverted or reversed. This was a major divergence and to our knowledge has not been the object of any scientific research or study. It is conceivable that people working with the enneagram were not aware of the Sufi model, or that they were simply looking at a model describing something different.

Whereas most of the keyword between the two models were indeed out of sync or in discord, one keyword remained the same, that of point Seven, gluttony. This troubling similarity was curious and made us think that it may have started out as the same model but had been distorted as it often happens when a system goes from one culture or country to another. This dissimilarity between the two models with such a major distortion of the three centers made us question the validity and reliability of the western model and to revisit established dogmas.

For example, can one still maintain anger in the center of 8,9,1 while the Sufis located it in the center of 2,3,4; or maintain emotion/feeling in the 2,3,4 center now that the Sufi model places it  in  the 5,6,7 center?

We decided to take the side that seemed most scientific from the anthropological point of view, which is to say, to base our work on the Sufi enneagram; i.e. keeping affect and desire within the 5,6,7 center, behavior and anger in the 2,3,4 center, and cognition or ignorance in the 8,9,1 center.  Of course we do not deny all the work done by Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo, and we also integrate it in our model.

The development strategy was as follows:

  • Compare the enneagram with other models such as the Five Chinese elements, the Five Ayurvedic elements, the Ten Spheres of the Tree of Life in the Kabbalah, the nine Mewa of the Chino/Tibetan astrology, etc. And on the Western side, with the psychological types of Sheldon, Berger, Jung, Plutchik, Reich etc. We want to emphasize that we use the different traditional typologies in terms of universal archetypes, and out of the religious context inherent to each of them.
  • Develop another method of diagnosis: psycho-energetic decoding.

In the same way, the Sufi enneagram teaches us that we each have not one but three fixations (one in each center, see in Laleh Bakhtiar, God’s Will Be Done tome II, page 214)

This was then teach in 1996, by Oscar Ichazo in the Enneagram Monthly (Em#16, 1996): “… Because one of the points of one of the instincts is the first to be fixated, it is classified as the major or main Fixation or type, and because the other two instincts also have a fixated point as well, they are classified as the minor Fixations or Co-egos (subtypes).” Be aware that for Oscar Ichazo what’s Naranjo calls a “center,” is for him an “instinct.”

[Editor’s note: Ichazo first applied the Trifix model in 1996 and Andrea Isaacs and Jack Labanauskas were the first ones to be “trifixed” much to the surprise of old Arica students who felt a little left out. It simply consisted of establishing that: “since we must, unless we are defective, use head, heart and gut, we will do so, but we will use each center in the particular style of one of the points in that triad”]

In spite of the fact that this point is of a major import for the understanding of the individual constellation, this was not transposed for unknown reasons into the enneagram of personality (it seems to change recently with the” tritype” (Chernick/ Fauvre).

We decided to integrate this major aspect into our model and methods of  psycho-energetic decoding.


The Psycho Energetic Decoding

If one integrates the anthropological model of body, energy and spirit,  the diagnosis is no longer  exclusively psychological but also somatic and energetic.

We have over time developed a diagnostic tool we called Psycho Energetic Decoding. This decoding allows us in more than 80% of cases to decode the whole configuration of an individual that includes  at least five basic elements: the principal or main type, the wing, the two minor types also called co-fixations, and the “wisdom family” (or subtypes). This  energetic decoding requires a thorough familiarity with all the energetic fundamentals of the model, and can give an almost instantaneous picture (of the patient/subject) to the person who has mastered it without going through an interview or conducting tests.

Recalling a remark made by one of Oscar Ichazo’s French students who also practices the trifix method and who willingly submitted himself to our decoding test—he had sent his picture via email. We immediately sent a response by mail after having without any hesitation diagnosed him as a Type Seven, Wing Eight, co-fixation Nine and Four. He was  awestruck and responded:  “How did you manage! This is exactly my configuration. It took me so much time to find it and this is what your test revealed? I’m simply floored.” It must be noted that Type Sevens and particularly with a Six wing and a co-fixation Nine and Four, according to our observations, are usually typed in other (Enneagram of Personality) schools as type Six; and even more so if that person happens to also be of a subtype “Space” (Buddhist wisdom family, avoidance/denial). Woody Allen for example, would have little to no chance to be typed correctly!

It must be understood that psycho energetic decoding is only possible because the Type, the Three Fixations, the Wing and the Subtype (the wisdom family) are fully constitutional and structural, as explained before, and therefore remain stable over time.

In the same manner, as it is quite easy for a good Taoist physician to do a constitutional diagnosis (wood, metal, fire, etc)  by the sole observation and perception of the energy of the patient, so              in the same way,  a good enneagrammer who masters all these different traditional energy systems related to enneagram, should be able very easily and quickly determine all configurations of a person, including the type, the wing, the two other fixations and the subtypes  without knowing the person’s  history, their current psychological situation or conducting a test.

We are just introducing a new way of typing methodology into the stream of the enneagram. We understand that it could be very shocking for some people to imagine that we can type solely by perception of an individual, or picture, etc…  without having to know this person’s  history and background.

This  new methodology, combined with all our new data give us wonderful  tools and opportunities for a better self and  other diagnosis.

With the help of this new Psycho Energetic Decoding tools and with good  practice and training, we should learn to quickly and with ease distinguish a Type Seven, Six wing, co-fixations Four and Nine (7-6/4/9) from a Type Seven, Eight wing, co-fixation Three and One (7-8/3/1) etc… or to see the difference between a Type Seven,  co-fixation Three (7/3) and a Type Three co-fixation Seven (3/7);

Remark on type diagnosis: we frequently use the term diagnosis in the sense of determining the basic ground or constitution of the individual, and not in diagnosing a medical or psychiatric condition. We have the following ethic: using enneagram for making a type diagnosis is allowed only to professionals that have the ability to do so like medical doctors. In the context of personal development, it’s up to each  individual to make their own type-diagnosis.

Results of Our Research with Homeopathy

Our research allowed us to create a new model (see below) that has characteristics of accuracy, validity, and reliability. The accuracy and reliability of the diagnosis have allowed us to apply this model successfully during medical consultations. Moreover, when the same patient/subject was seen independently by  different practitioners who have mastered the same method of diagnosis, the results were very close with a very small margin of error.

The validity of this diagnosis was tested in a clinical practice in homeopathy and most of homeopaths who had mastered our methodology not only saw consistency in coming to the same diagnosis, but also saw their clinical results go up in a very significant way.


The Diamond Model

Twelve years of research have allowed us to enrich the model as well as perfect the method of diagnosis. Due to the breadth and depth of this research, we decided to rename our model the Diamond Model.

The current structure of the Diamond Model comprises two systems. The well known one of the three centers and nine points figure in a circle; and the second one represented by a square in the center of the circle, the five subtypes (see articles in EM #199 and 200).


The combination of  nine enneagram types with these eight variants of subtypes find a correspondence with the 72 archetypes of the kabbalah and the 72 male and female divinities of the Buddhist tantra Kalachakra (wheel of time)

In this model the nine types are also correlated to the five elements of Chinese Taoism: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood  (see articles in EM #199 and 200).




    The first circle represents the three centers

    The second circle represents the nine types  and the five Taoist elements

    The third circle represents the 36 combinations (9×4 subtypes)

    The fourth circle represents the 72 archetypes (9×8 subtypes)




The Three Centers





The main basis for this work is a new and integrative understanding of the three centers. We will give an overview of the main theories and explain why in light of all our research anger shifts from triad 234 (Ichazo and Sufi) to triad 891 (Naranjo).

Oscar Ichazo gives for the three centers the following key words:

Oscar Ichazo
triad Instinct Sense Ego Vice Organic system
891 Conservation Being Historical Avidity Digestive
234 Relation Living Image Anger Circulatory
567 Adaptation Doing Practical Deception Nervous


It’s important to note that for Ichazo, each center corresponds to an instinct, which is quite different from Naranjo’s theory. It seems that Naranjo puts in his presentation of the enneagram components of both Gurdjieff and Ichazo. Here are the main key words of Naranjo’s theory.

Claudio Naranjo
triad Center Orientation Core Issue
891 Instinctive Action Anger
234 Emotional Feeling Shame or Image
567 Mental Thinking Fear


We can note a shift from Ichazo to Naranjo with anger that moves from triad 234 to triad 891 and with action that move from 567 to 891.

If we come now to Bakhtiar’s representation that is connected to Sufi, Plato and Aristotle’s sources, we have the following keywords:

Laleh Bakhtiar
Triad Center Emotion Organic level Virtue
981 Cognition Ignorance (confusion) Brain Wisdom
234 Behavior or action Anger (avoidance of pain) Heart Courage
567 Affect Desire (attraction to pleasure) Gut (Liver) Temperance


As we demonstrated before, the link between Indian and Greek philosophies allows us to connect the three psychic poisons of Buddhism, and the three humors of Indian Ayurveda to the three parts of the soul of Plato and Aristotle as follow:


Synthesis  Indian/ Greek/Sufi
Triad Organic level Energy level (humor) Soul (Plato) Functions Poisons (Buddhism) Virtues (Plato) Awakened qualities (Buddhism)
891 Brain Kapha (Phlegm) Rationale Cognition Ignorance Wisdom Non conceptuality
234 Heart Pitta (Bile) Irascible Behavior or action Anger Courage Clarity
567 Gut (Liver) Vata (Wind) Concupiscible Affect Desire Temperance Blissfulness


Following Aristotle, we can say that the poison is an unbalanced state of the virtue. Ignorance is an unbalanced state of wisdom, anger of courage and desire of temperance. We will see below that  only three unbalanced states exist in terms of quantity (lack and excess) and in terms of quality (perversion).


The concept of the three poisons and the three centers is very ancient and goes back to the Vedic philosophy, the world’s most ancient tradition some 6500 BCE (and orally, who knows how long before written records existed), and to Taoism 2000 BCE.

The description of the enneagram by Bakhtiar seems for us more consistent and deep, because it is connected to the most ancient sources (Sufi, Greek, Indian, Tibetan, Chinese) and because its inner consistency is very high as we will see with the nine points.

Also if we place a human being inside the enneagram, the head is the upper part, as the triad 891, the heart is more on the left side as is the triad 234, and the liver is more on the right side as is the triad 567.

In French, the virtue Courage has the same etymology as Coeur (Heart): cordis in Latin. Courage is the virtue of the heart.

From an evolutionary perspective, anger is connected more to behavior than cognition or affect as stated by Daniel M.T. Fessler : “anger is elicited by transgression against the actor or those whom the actor holds dear, and the most common behavioral outcome of anger is an attempt to harm the transgressor” (In: M.Potegaletal.(eds.), International Handbook of Anger, Springer Science+Business Media).

One large study in  Circulation (Vol. 101, No. 17)  published in 2000 found that among 12,986 middle-aged African-American and white men and women who rated high in traits such as anger—but had normal blood pressure—were more prone to coronary artery disease (CAD) or heart attack. In fact, the angriest people faced roughly twice the risk of CAD and almost three times the risk of heart attack compared to subjects with the lowest levels of anger.

On the other hand, as we stated before, each piece of the puzzle shows an angle of the reality. And if our observations show greater evidence for the consistency of  the Sufi model, we can also say that the Naranjo’ theory of the center, with anger in the 891, is not completely false, but works on another level,  explaining it further:

For example, you will see further ahead that types 8 and 1, belonging to the upper center, are connected in our model with Fire Energy in traditional Chinese medicine. The core issue of Fire energy is hatred, destructiveness and “red” anger, and its organ is the heart.

If we can synthesize, the Sufi core issue represents the most and deepest dysfunctional issue  that we repress, Naranjo’s core issue represents how we defend from that issue.

If we take the example of the triad 567, the core issue is Desire (attraction to pleasure) or in a more modern way, a problematic of attachment dysfunction and addiction disorders. People with this imbalance tend to repress that suffering, and defend themselves by overemphasizing the mental function.

So the appearance (or persona) of persons belonging to the triad 567 is mental but their deeper issue (shadow) is with desire and attachment.

The people  in the 234 triad are quite rightly described  as hysteroid and image centered by the proponents of Naranjo. It’s how they present themselves to the outside, their persona. But what they hide the most, is their hatred and anger.

In Jungian psychology, persona is the social mask, we can quote Jung: “One could say, with little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is.” The shadow is the unknown dark side of our personality. Whatever we deem evil, inferior or unacceptable and deny in ourselves becomes part of the shadow. According to Jungian analyst Aniela Jaffe, the shadow is the ‘‘sum of all personal and collective psychic elements which, because of their incompatibility with the chosen conscious attitude, are denied expression in life’’

New synthesis of the 3 centers
Triad Persona Shadow
891 Anger/instinct Ignorance
234 Shame/Emotion Anger
567 Fear/Mental Desire


We could therefore say that the so called enneagram of personality seems to be more the enneagram of the persona, and the enneagram described by Bakhtiar more the enneagram of the shadow.

None is false, nor superior, but none owns the entire truth.


The Nine Types

As we have seen before, according to traditional Buddhist medicine the three somatic humors only exist or manifest as three imbalances in quantity (as a lack—hypo, or excess—hyper),  or as imbalance in quality (dysfunction—dys). Therefore,  we can have nine types of imbalances.

In the same manner, according to Tusi, the three possible imbalances of the three virtues determine the nine vices. If we add the triads, we have the following table with the corresponding points that fits with the data Laleh Bakhtiar gives in her book[vii] ().





Triads Soul Virtue Deficiency Perversion Excess
567 Concupiscible Temperance* Insensibility* 5 Sorrow, Envy** 6 Gluttony* 7
234 Irascible Courage* Cowardice* 2 Fear** 3 Recklessness* 4
891 Rational Wisdom* Ignorance* 8 Dogmatism** 9 Perplexity, Slyness* 1


*key words from Plato and Aristotle   ** key words from Tusi


If we add the five Taoist elements we have: (see EM before)




In this model it is important to understand that a type  is a synthesis or combination of an imbalance of humor and of a Taoist element.

Let’s take one example with type 8 and 1 that belong both to the Fire Element as pictured below. It means that both 8 and 1 share the same qualities of passion, destructiveness and maturity.


But the point 1 correspond to an excess of wisdom (doubt, perplexity, control), yet the point 8 corresponds to a lack of wisdom (ignorance, impulsivity).

So point 1 is a combination of  Fire Element plus Excess of Wisdom. It indicates a strong imbrication between passion and control (we can speak of  passion of control).

Point 8 is a combination of Fire Element plus Lack of Wisdom. It means a great difficulty to restrain hate, passion and anger or tend to be more identified with it, especially if the person is an extravert/Yang type

Yin and Yang Characteristics of the Types

In the same way we find in the Chinese energy system a distinction between Yin and Yang in each Element (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth), so we can apply the same principle to the enneagram types.

Here is a detailed table with definitions of the two variants Yin and Yang of the 5 Taoist elements:

General    Yin Yang
Metal (4 – 5) Autumn/Sadness, integrity Depression/Melancholy/ withdrawal Rectitude, justice, method
Water (3-6) Winter/Fear Submissiveness/ fear, lack of will Will, courage, heroic actions
Wood (7- 2) Spring /,anger, resentment, compassion Frustration, lack of self confidence Expansion, generosity, limitless, overconfidence
Fire  (1-8) Summer / Order, anxiety, over-joy Bipolar moods, oversensitivity, depreciation Passion, hatred, destructivity, power, ideal
Earth 9 Indian summer

Trust, worry, overthinking


Worry, passivity, self-negligence, procrastination Practical, high living, grounded to earth, domineering


In order to do a good psycho energetic decoding, we need to be very aware that the nine enneagram types tend to be either Yang or Yin (extrovert or introvert).

Here is the list of the nine types Yin/introvert, plus their counter Yang/Extrovert parts. We put in bold type the usual meaning used in the enneagram of the personality:


The Yin/Yang aspect of the nine types
Type Taoist Chinese Element Yin/Introvert Yang/Extrovert
1 Fire/Passion Imperfection/ counter imperfection: perfectionist
2 Wood/Generosity Dependent counter Dependent
3 Water/Fear Failure counter Failure: Performer
4 Metal/Sadness Exclusion (social isolation) counter Exclusion
5 Metal/Sadness Emotional deprivation counter Emotional deprivation: independent
6 Water/Fear Vulnerability (phobic) Counter phobic (heroic actions)
7 Wood/ Generosity Sacrifice, frustration counter Sacrifice: epicurean, Gluttony, narcissism
8 Fire/Passion Abuse, mistrustful Counter abuse: revengeful, abuser
9 Earth/ Passivity Subjugation Counter subjugation: domination


Note that these two variants of the types, do not depend on the subtypes, as is often said about Type 6. All types can be yin or yang whatever the subtype.

We have derived the meaning of the yin/yang aspect both from the teaching of the yin/yang aspects of the five elements in the Taoist system, and also from our own interpretation of the very interesting schema theory of the psychologist Jeffrey Young[viii] (Ref:).

For each type we added the symbolism of the ten Spheres of the Kabbalah and also the Nine Stars of the Sino-Tibetan astrology (mewa).

For example for the Type 4 we have as a combination of:

  • Excess of the humor bile (pitta) or excess of the virtue courage = hatred, recklessness.
  • Taoist element Metal = withdrawal, guilt and sadness.
  • Point 4 in the Nine stars ki system: repressed anger (Wood yin)
  • Symbolism of the Sphere of the Kaballah Geburah (Sword):  justice and rectification.

Therefore we can say that Type 4 is  a synthesis of  great amount of hatred, repressed anger, feeling of injustice, guilt, sadness and need of recklessness and rectification  that lead the Type 4 to striving for authenticity, truth  and also equanimity.

















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