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The Enneagram

 Part 2

Acting in this way, a person moves towards an experience of liberation from his/her personality fixation, which is the main cause of his/her suffering.


The use of the Enneagram in such a way, so easily accessible even to those who do not wish to pursue further studies of its other aspects and uses, is opposed by those who possess a much wider knowledge of its vastness.


The Enneagram is also represented on the Otz Chiim, the Tree of Life: the main representation of Western spirituality.

Many Arabian alchemists, aware of its vastness and value, “exported” the symbol of the Enneagram, giving it into the hands of Cabalists. And in fact, there are also traces of the symbol of the Enneagram in some alchemic documents of the 18th century.

In analysing the symbol, it can be seen that it is composed of 6 connected points and 3 other points forming a triangle, which is not linked tothe other elements.

If one arranges the symbols of the 7 planets around each of these 6 main points, putting the Sun (1) at the centre (as indicated in the tradition from which this symbol of the Enneagram comes), there are some interesting discoveries to be made.



Note that in the image above, the positions of the planets shown on the Enneagram fit accordingly, even if reflected in a mirror, with those of this image taken from “La Sapesse des Anciens” (knowledge of the Elders) dated approximately 1730.



The history of Alchemy in the West dates back to the 7th century AD, at the time of the Arab invasions. The cultural influence of Arabian people gave a huge impulse to the research which developed in Europe some centuries after. As a result of the work of Constantine the African (1020-1087), in the 11th century a great number of Western researchers became aware of the enormous cultural treasures available in the Arabic language.

In Europe, around the 12th and 13th centuries, there appeared a great quantity of Latin manuscripts regardingAlchemy. They were complete translations of the Arabic texts.

Towards the end of the 13th century, the majority of the scripts had been translated. European researchers then went on to work independently.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, however, the material of the researchers proved less original than one might have expected when compared to the great progress achieved during the 12th and 13th centuries.

The new independence did not bring about rapid and immediate development in the study of alchemy. Rather it seemed that the researchers had to consider the Arabic material in their hands more carefully.


The Enneagram, therefore, was also a symbolic instrument for those alchemists able to interpret it.

Unfortunately knowledge of this interpretation was buried in the minds and hearts of those who knew it.

“…the science of the Enneagram has long been kept a secret, and although today it is, in a sense, accessible to all everyone, it is accessible in an incomplete and theoretical form, unusable for anyone who has not been educated in this science by a man who is himself a Master of it.” (P.D. Ouspensky - In search of the miraculous).


Giovanni Quinti

As mentioned previously, the aspect of the Enneagram in which people are generally most interested is that of analysing the personality. In other articles we have clarified the fact that in human psychology there is the illusion of the stable and ultimate “I”, which is, on the countrary, not one “I”, but a mixture of parts of the “I” which are in fact often in conflict and opposed to one another. The Enneagram was used by Gurdjieff to this end. He used it to analyse and study the various mechanical aspects of the human personality. In this way, he was able to identify what kind of work would be most suitable for each particular seeker. There are, however, no traces of any written legacy on this subject by Gurdjieff. What he passed on to his followers in this regard, he passed on directly via oral transmission.

Let’s start with the concept that every person has his/her own personality, which is the result of both a series of social influences and his/her own processes.

The personality is, however, in sharp contrast with the part known as “Essence”. “Essence” is the sole target of sacred psychology in general. Its intention is to bring “Essence” back into a balanced and flourishing state.

The Enneagram indicates nine aspects of the personality. The personality, in trying to free itself of its identifications, is attempting to find once again its lost originality. The excessive fixation of a person on a particular point of  the Enneagram, shows the areas in which it would be necessary to act for that person in order to redress his/her hardness and excesses.

The Enneagram

Knowing and Being 

The difference between

Knowing and Being

The work

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