This should serve as a basic crash course in the Enneagram types and provide newcomers and long time students with a refresher on the basic type and wing combinations of the Enneagram. The Enneagram system is separated into three triads which characterize the central concerns of the three types within each triad, each type underexpresses, overexpresses, and controls the energy of the center in a particular way. The types are influenced by the types on either side of them on the Enneagram. The influence of these types is referred to as a "wing". Most people have a dominant wing that influences their type but some find they are affected equally by the types on either side of their dominant type. For example some Twos are primarily influenced by Three on one side and thus are referred to as a Two with a Three wing, (written in this blog as 2w3) while others are influenced more by the One on the other side of the Two and are referred to as a Two with a One wing, or 2w1.
Organizing these descriptions by Center and providing an archetypal image to help get a better feeling of the type.
The Head Center: (5,6,7)
The energy here is mental; issues of thought, fear, authority and trust are paramount and of major concern for the types in this center. These individuals typically struggle with anxiety and want to find safety by knowing who and what to believe about life and the world. This search for knowing can lead to avarice (5), doubt (6), or gluttony (7).
Five: The Investigative Loner This is the consummate mental type who deals with the anxiety about the world by attempting to know the world. Fives believe that by understanding the world they will be able to mitigate the anxiety they feel about inhabiting the world. Typically Fives are uncomfortable with human relationships because of their unpredictable nature and prefer to observe rather than participate, until they are sure of what to do. This is the iconoclastic scientist archetype. They overexpress the energy of the head center by focusing a lot on their ideas and the knowledge they have acquired. Avarice is expressed in the need to acquire enough to sustain life and not be left without. 5 with a 4 wing (5w4s): 5w4s are more intuned with the emotional world yet still largely uncomfortable with experiencing the energy of the Four. They are more aesthetically focused and typically a bit more obviously idiosyncratic, preferring to cultivate the artistic bent of the Four as opposed to the scientific focus of the 5w6 wing. They are often attracted to the occult and esoteric and inhabit a world of fascinating and sometimes dark or nihilistic imaginations. This is the Enneagram's "Iconoclast."
5w6sare more scientifically focused, logical, and more overtly rational than the more intuitive 5w4. They are more concerned with the rationale behind ideas and while all Fives enjoy systems the 5w6 will adhere to the confines of the system more readily due to the influence of the Six wing. 5w6 tend to be more gregarious, friendly, and a bit more extroverted whereas the 5w4 is more obviously withdrawn and remote. This is definitely the "Scientist" archetype. Exemplars of 5: Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, Tim Burton, Eckhart Tolle, Anthony Hopkins, Georgia O'Keefe, Annie Leibovitz
Six: The Loyal SkepticThis is the most confusing and misunderstood type on the Enneagram due to its inherently ambivalent nature. Sixes have the most compounded issues surrounding trust and tend to look for a safe harbor with which to relax. However, 6s find it difficult to relax because they are constantly scanning and reacting to the perceived dangers in the environment, fearing that if they let their guard down they will be taken by surprise. Therefore the Six is a wonderful problem solver and often sees difficult truths that others neglect to notice but consequently struggles most acutely with anxiety and doubt due to their focus on this often troubling intuitive information. They search for something (an idea, institution, person, religion, political affiliation, spiritual orientation, etc) to believe or trust in so they can have certainty about what will come next. Sixes control the energy of the head center through attempting to think of every possible contingency to avoid danger and therefore head off their anxiety. Doubt is expressed through the need to have certainty and the simultaneous understanding that nothing is certain. Sixes can express the relationship to fear and anxiety in two ways; through a counterphobic response in which they move toward fear in order to avoid experiencing it (this would be like taking a public speaking course if you are afraid of public speaking) or a phobic response in which you ingratiate yourself to others to seem less threatening as if to say "don't fear me, I'm harmless" which therefore helps you to feel less threatening and therefore less threatened by others. Most Sixes express both tendencies in different areas of life (phobic at home, counterphobic at work, or vice versa).
6w5s takes the energy of the doubting energy of the Six and mingles it with the investigative nature of the Five to create a type I like to call "the private eye". They are harder to get to know due to the remote nature of the Five wing and tend to be more obviously cynical and skeptical of the outside world. They are adept at uncovering the hidden truth in a situation and can be more concerned with seeming intellectual or "smart" rather than friendly or supportive.
6w7s are more obviously friendly and enjoy the company of like minded people. They take the enthusiastic energy of the Seven and channel that into building friendships and relationships that support a sense of safety. Some people refer to the 6w7 as the buddy. They are typically more trendy and intuned with the social world than the 6w5 and express a more dynamic, comedic sense of humor (as opposed to the 6w5s dry, deadpan humor). The Seven wing brings a bit more uncertainty about their own behavior and tendency toward erratic or spontaneous expression of fear or doubt. They can be emotionally labile and moody and sometimes seem like Sevens or Fours. Exemplars of 6:Larry David, Malcolm X (Counterphobic), Ellen DeGeneress (phobic), Woody Allen (phobic), Marilyn Monroe, Michael Moore, David Letterman, Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani
Seven: The Enthusiastic Improviser This is the most positive and outgoing type in the Enneagram and is typically the most energetic. Sevens are entertaining and manage the mental energy by staying busy. Sevens live by the idea that you can't catch a moving target so they are constantly projecting themselves into the future with fun ideas, plans, or exciting endeavors in order to avoid feeling the anxiety that seems to be chasing them down. Sevens love to synthesize ideas and are extremely innovative but can have difficulties with completion due to their fear of being "tied down." Sevens underexpress the energy of the mental center as they attempt to outrun their anxiety through action and doing. Gluttony is expressed in the need to acquire more experience in order to never be deprived, bored, or boring.
7w6s are more loyal and relationally focused than the more independent 7w8. They express the energy of the Six through a need to be loyal and supportive friends but still desire more freedom and autonomy than the 6w7. They are typically funny and entertaining and feel safest when people like them for the fun, outgoing people they are. They tend to run higher anxiety due to the influence of the Six and will often deal with this anxiety through humor. The are often called "The Comedian".
7w8s are more earthy and grounded taking the gut energy of the Eight and channeling it through the mental energy of the Seven. They are typically more forceful about having their fun and more independent. They present less bubbly than the 7w6 and express the Seven energy more through decisive action in the world. They crave many things and want those cravings met so they can seem more demanding and bossy than the other subtype. They are often called "The Sensualist." Exemplars of 7:Robin Williams, Jack Nicholson, Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt, Steve Jobs (Apple founder), Joan Rivers, Bette Midler, Larry King, Fergie
The energy here is feelingful, heartfelt and focused around relationships (both to the self and others). These types have compounded issues around self image, shame, grief, and recognition and attention. These types often try to find themselves in relation to other people but can get caught in playing a role in order to garner attention. This search can lead to pride (2), vanity (3) or envy (4).
Two: The Giving Helper Two is the most outwardly feelingful of all of the Enneagram types and is most concerned with their relationship to other people. They focus on relationships above all else and desire to be helpful, supportive and important to the people in their lives. Twos find the most satisfaction in being helpful to others and so therefore overexpress the energy of the heart center by being obviously effusive, complimentary, and heartfelt. This can degenerate into a need to be seen as important to others and thereby deserving of attention. Pride is expressed in the belief that they are more helpful and generous than others and that they are underappreciated.
2w3s are quite extroverted and enjoy looking successful and attractive to other people. They take the goal orientation of the Three and mingle it with the relational focus of the Two and can be not only successful in their relationships but also professionally. They can have a more dramatic flair, as the need for external validation and attention is heightened by the influence of the Three. They can also have problems with inflated self importance and fall into diva like behavior.
2w1s are more reserved and focused on making a valued contribution to those they have taken under their wing. They are tempered by the somber energy at One so tend to be less showy and more contained energetically. This is the consummate silent martyr archetype that wants recognition for their deeds but is less inclined to make a show of it, compared to the 2w3. They can be thought of as the Enneagram's "Social Workers." Exemplars of 2: Bill Cosby, Carrie Underwood, Mother Teresa, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Richard Simmons, Bono
Three: The Successful Salesman Threes are the Enneagram's consummate image personality and are adept at adapting themselves to whatever a situation calls for. Threes are successful, ambitious, and dynamic personalities that believe in the value of healthy competition and winning. Threes want to be seen as successful to others so can sometimes fall into playing a role in order to gain approval. Threes underexpress the energy of the heart center as they disconnect from their true emotions in order to effectively play the role they are trying to project. Threes can fall into deceitful behavior due to a need to impress and outshine others. Vanity is expressed as the Three begins to believe the image they project to the world and its inherent value over others.
3w2s are more concerned with relationship maintenance than the more work oriented 3w4. They are still Threes however and focused primarily on the goals they have set, but recognize the importance of being likable and gregarious toward others. They tend to be a bit more bubbly and need to see themselves as helpful and successful individuals creating a more perfectionstic orientation, wanting to be the perfect example of whatever milieu they identify with. They are sometimes referred to as "The Star," due to their enthusiastic and charming persona.
3w4s are more professionally focused, and care less for what others think about their goals compared to the 3w2. They are pragmatic, effective, and incredibly goal oriented. They tend to have a more internal focus due to the influence of the Four as well as a more eccentric or creative presentation. They can be more in touch with their authentic feelings when healthy. They can be arrogant and haughty and less concerned about friendship and relationship than the other subtype. They are the Enneagram's "Professional." Exemplars of 3:Tom Cruise, Oprah, Halle Berry, Ryan Secrest, Sharon Stone, Britney Spears, Tiger Woods, America
Four: The Misunderstood Intuitive Fours are the "deep sea divers" of the Enneagram and are concerned primarily with discovering their identity through introspection and creativity. Fours believe that their purpose is to discover the truth of who they are so therefore dedicate themselves to uncovering the totality of their emotional lives. Fours are intuitive, creative, and moody. Fours can get stuck in the morass of their emotional lives and find it difficult to orient themselves to the world, getting stuck in dark or depressing emotions and staying melancholically stuck to the past. Fours therefore control the energy of the heart center in an effort to keep the intensity of their inner worlds alive they dredge up emotional content often resulting in melodramas or ineffectual reverie for what is missing. Envy is expressed in the belief that other people are in possession of something the Four desires and that the Four has been denied access to the proverbial brass ring.
4w3s are more dramatic and tend to have a greater drive toward success and recognition. They express the need for authenticity and creativity at Four and temper it with the drive at Three that can create someone who can feel like they are trying to pass as "normal" to the world. They tend to be more outgoing and want to be recognized for their special contribution compared to the more withdrawn 4w5. There can be a tendency toward narcissism but also a great practical intelligence. They are often referred to as "The Aristocrat."
4w5sare more withdrawn and intellectually focused. They tend to be more interested in the dark or gothic, or at least the esoteric and spiritual. 4w5 have a harder time galvanizing to action than the 4w3 so tend to take longer to produce results in the world. They can be quite intellectual and often identify with the mental energy at Five, so there is a tendency both with 5w4 and 4w5 to think about the emotional world as opposed to the more spontaneous feelingful tone of the 4w3. This is the "Bohemian" archetype.
Exemplars of 4:Michael Jackson, Prince, Marilyn Manson, Fiona Apple, Virginia Woolf, Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp
The energy in the gut center is earthy, grounded, stable and mutable. These types typically have issues surrounding anger and repression and manifest this energy in different ways. Gut types tend to default to the gut instinct when making decisions and use thought or feeling to support these gut intuitions about the world. These types crave acceptance for the way they are and often find it difficult to modulate themselves to the expectations of the world around them so go about meeting this expectation in the way characteristic of their type. This task is sometimes thwarted by lust (8), sloth (9), or anger/intolerance (1).
Eight: The Protective MaverickThe Eight is fiercest character in the Enneagram and typically has a large aura and forceful energy to back up their ferociousness. Eights are decisive, blunt, willful, and protective. They are most comfortable taking the protective, leadership role in most situations and prefer to be in charge of others as opposed to being in control. Eights often have trouble controlling their anger and therefore can be intimidating and overly forceful to others. Therefore Eights overexpress the energy of the gut center as the anger is displayed overtly and without apology. Lust is expressed in the Eights refusal to deny their own id impulses.
8w7s are forceful and have a quicker tempo than the slower 8w9. They are dynamic and typically like to have a considerable amount of excitement. They tend to be creative and entrepreneurial and enjoy trailblazing through the world making a distinctive mark. They can have problems with addiction and a quick and rash temper that can get them into trouble. They are quicker to action than the 8w9 and express the maverick energy of Eight more obviously. This is the Enneagram's "Power Broker."
8w9s are a bit slower in tempo and express the forceful energy at Eight in a more subdued and laid back way with the influence of Nine. They feel incredibly grounded but still a force to be reckoned with. They enjoy relaxing but as with all Eights will not tolerate being controlled or manipulated. They tend to be more enduring and willing to sacrifice their comfort to protect others in their sphere. 8w9 express the double gut energy in a way that can make them seem a bit meathead like in their presentation, having a tendency to explode with rage or bully people with a relaxed indifference. This type is best conceptualized as a "Sleeping Volcano." Exemplars of 8: Pink, Martin Luther King Jr., Donald Trump, Mickey Rourke, Sean Penn, Queen Latifah, Mo'Nique, Roseanne Barr, Rosie O'Donnell, Rush Limbaugh
Nine: The Peaceful Mediator The Nine is the most peaceful character in the Enneagram and is easy-going, pleasant, unassuming, and temperate. Nines are the peacemaker and find that the energy of the gut center is best mitigated by placating the anger inside themselves. Nines prefer to keep the peace in themselves and in the environment so their energy is calming and stable. Nines are imaginative and can sometimes feel a bit untethered (going against the typical energy of the gut center) in an effort to avoid the unpleasant feelings that may come to their awareness. Therefore the energy of the gut center is underexpressed with the Nine as they attempt to deny any anger that may arise within themselves. Nines can have a tendency to fall asleep to the self, preferring to just float through life unbothered by development or too much involvement which is why sloth/laziness can be problematic.
9w1stake the peaceful energy at Nine and pair it with the principled, perfectionstic energy of One. This makes for a type who is laid back but a bit more picky and particular about life. They typically try to be moral and upright people who value service to the world. They can enjoy routine a bit more and are more reserved in presentation than the 9w8. They also tend to be more intellectual and rationale than the 9w8. They can have more problems with the repression of anger and passive aggression, and express more the dormat role more than the 9w8. This is the Enneagram's "Good Boy/Girl."
9w8s are more earthy and typically have a more fiery presentation than the 9w1. The Eight wing brings a stronger connection to their anger which will make them more forceful or bossy, but still relaxed and laid back as a general state of being. They are more concerned with having their appetites met and can be more apt to speak up if they have a problem. However, they still avoid conflict and can have problems with repression that typically manifests through numbing out through various things like eating, watching TV, or drinking. They are often referred to as "The Rock." Exemplars of 9:Gandhi, Jerry Seinfeld, Abraham Lincoln, Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, Barack Obama, The Dali Lama
One: The Perfectionstic Reformer The Ones is upright, moral, and fair-minded and typically likes to live up to their own internal standards. Ones are perfectionstic and desire that life fall into accordance with their ideals. They are hardworking and diligent and believe that human decency is best upheld through the teaching of these values to others. Ones can focus on a variety of issues as ideal causes from the environment to religion or the law. Ones tend to control the anger of the gut center by controlling themselves; the belief is that if I do what is right, and I am good/right then I will be okay. Negative emotions are therefore transformed into more appropriate emotions that can be produced to create change. Ones are focused on self improvement but can become nit-picking, moralizing, and degrading to those they see as "wrong". Anger is expressed indirectly through intolerance, irritation, or indignation due to their incredibly high standards and the fear that they will not meet them.
1w9s are more cerebral in nature and take the tempered energy of One and pair it with the imaginative and peaceful energy at Nine. They are less inclined to go out in the world and try to help reform it but rather postulate and theorize about how things should be. They enjoy inhabiting their imaginations and prefer the theoretical implications of ethics and politics. The can seem more remote and can have problems with abstracting people to ideals or a series of expectations and seem more unrelenting in their pursuit toward perfection. This is more the "High Minded Idealist" 1w2s are more relationally focused and like to take the ideals they hold and apply them in the world more obviously. They enjoy being helpful and tend to be more effusive and vocal about their desire for perfection. They can express the perfection of the One through the helpfulness of the Two which can cause problems with others and their need to reform the people in their lives to express their high ideals. Pride can mingle with resentment and create a zealous quality. This energy is best described as the "Principled Reformer." Exemplars of 1:Hilary Clinton, Martha Stewart, Kate Gosselin, Colin Powell, Sidney Poitier, Ann Coulter, Deepak Chopra, Judge Judy
-Sterlin Mosley Insightful Innovations www.insightfulinnovations.com