“The Enneagram reveals the patterns by which we organize and give meaning to all of our experiences.”

Understanding the Enneagram, p. 11

“The Enneagram can help us see what prevents us from remembering this deep truth about who we really are, the truth of our spiritual nature.”

The Wisdom of the Enneagram, p. 28

“The goal is not to strengthen our ego but to transcend its limitations: in so doing, we become increasingly healthy and we increasingly .live in Essence.”

Understanding the Enneagram, p. 358

The Enneagram

The Enneagram offers a complete map of the human soul. It's based on the teaching that there are nine different facets of True Nature/the Divine, but we mainly rely on one in how we relate to life. Discovering this default patterning of your soul can help you get really clear on what's keeping you from manifesting your gifts in the world and help focus your personal and spiritual growth work in ways that actually bear fruit.

It is a system of nine personality types, as well as a map of nine different paths of reconnection with who you really are. Understanding what type is primary, what specific set of beliefs normally drive your life, can help you to find your way back to deeper connection with your truest self, as well as help to open up the way for greater ease and freedom in life.

See below for very general, short descriptions of what the nine Enneagram types look like in isolation. In reality, we all have all nine types within us, so no one person will fit in only one type description. However, if you think about how you've behaved over the course of your life, you will likely be able to identify a dominant pattern.

From a spiritual perspective, your primary type is the way your soul has attempted to make up for the loss of connection to a specific aspect of the Divine, or True Nature. It is the way your ego personality has learned to feel OK, so that you have a place or function in the world. We identify with a way of being, an image, that we think is us, but in reality, it is only a manufactured attempt to feel reconneced with our deepest essence, which we feel disconnected from. Learning the Enneagram can help us find our way back to that sense of connection, alignment, and resonance with our who we really are. Read more about how each of the types develops in response to this loss of contact with our deepest essence, with who we really are.

To take a 36-question test that suggests possibilities for your primary type, try the RHETI Sampler.


Short Type Descriptions
Read More Type One: The Reformer
Principled, purposeful, self-controlled & perfectionistic

The principled, idealistic type. Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their Best: wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.

Read More Type Two: The Helper
Generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing & possessive

The caring, interpersonal type. Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. At their Best: unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.

Read More Type Three: The Achiever
Adaptable, excelling, driven & image-conscious

The adaptable, success-oriented type. Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their Best: self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be-role models who inspire others.

Read More Type Four: The Individualist
Expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed & temperamental

The introspective, romantic type. Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity. At their Best: inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.

Read More Type Five: The Investigator
Perceptive, innovative, secretive & isolated

The perceptive, cerebral type. Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their Best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way

Read More Type Six: The Loyalist
Engaging, responsible, anxious & suspicious

The committed, security-oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent "troubleshooters," they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious-running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their Best: internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.

Read More Type Seven: The Enthusiast
Spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive & scattered

The busy, productive type. Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

Read More Type Eight: The Challenger
Self-confident, decisive, willful & confrontational

The powerful, aggressive type. Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. At their Best: self-mastering, they use their strength to improve others' lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.

Read More Type Nine: The Peacemaker
Receptive, reassuring, agreeable & complacent

The easy-going, self-effacing type. Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually grounded, supportive, and often creative, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent and emotionally distant, simplifying problems and ignoring anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their Best: indomitable and all-embracing, they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts.

Copyright 2007 The Enneagram Institute Used with Permission

These descriptions are very brief and do not get at the underlying motivations for why each type acts the way it does. For this broader understanding, read more and see collages of the types.

Read articles and listen to an interview by Katy, Dave, Don and Russ, and others.


Enneagram Invocation
This invocation was created by The Enneagram Institute Faculty to help us stay connected through the Enneagram teachings when we were apart. Feel free to use it to help you ground in all three Centers.

I now remember that I am here and present in the moment
I am grounded, alive, and connected in my body
I am open and receptive to the truth and compassion of my heart
I am clear and awake to the stillness of Mind
I bear witness to the presence of the One


Enneagram Collage
Katy created this Enneagram collage to explore and deepen her own understanding of the nine types. The original is about 2½ feet in diameter. Click on the collage to enlarge it.

For More Information
Please check our calendar, contact us or join our Enneagram email list for more information or to find out about future workshops. You may also be interested in checking out a local group that meets monthly to learn about the Enneagram—see the International Enneagram Association website.