In this article, we will look at what Enneagram is and how it works while we attempt to answer the question “What do Enneagram numbers mean?” If you are new to this topic, here is a complete guide for you to understand what it is and how it works.
Enneagram is a theory that offers an explanation for understanding the human personality in terms of nine different types. It explains the different types of personalities with the help of a geometric figure like that of a regular nine-sided polygon.
What is the meaning of enneagram numbers?
Each number on the enneagram represents a type of personality. The system is organised in such a manner that the types are interconnected. Each type is associated with three/four other types in the form of integration and disintegration directions and wings.
The word enneagram comes from the Greek word “Ennea” which means nine and “Gramma” which means something that is written or drawn. Enneagram consequently literally means nine different types of illustrations. According to this theory a person’s personality can be identified as one of the nine possible combinations that are inclusive of one’s beliefs, values and motivations.
The formal definition of Enneagram is as follows:
“A system of classifying personality types that is based on a nine-pointed starlike figure inscribed within a circle in which each of the nine points represent a personality type and its psychological motivations influencing a person’s emotions, attitudes, and behaviours.
What is the Enneagram symbol?
The nine-pointed polygon is used to represent the components of enneagram. This figure comprises three parts.
According to the esoteric spiritual traditions, they can be understood in the following terms:
- The circle – it is the outermost boundary of the figure. It is symbolic of “Unity”
- An inner triangle – the three connecting points 3-6-9. It symbolises the “Law of three” which holds that whatever energy an individual may emit to the world, be it positive or negative, it will be returned to the individual three times.
- An irregular hexagonal “periodic figure” – the connecting points 1-4-2-8-5-7. It represents the “Law of seven” because 1-4-2-8-5-7 is the repeating decimal created by dividing one by seven in base 10 arithmetic.
Components of each Enneagram Type
The enneagram defines personality as a combination of distinct features that are unique to each type. Each type can therefore be understood as a submission of these sub-components that help differentiate with the help of distinct characteristics. Following are the components of an enneagram:
Basic personality type –
By taking the enneagram personality test, you can identify your basic type of personality. This basic type is what your dominant personality traits are as a result of numerous factors. These factors include:
- Prenatal factors
- Your inborn temperament
- Childhood experiences
This dominant type narrows down to one type of personality but may not be limited to the same. The enneagram looks at personality as a dynamic system of human characteristics that constitute a full spectrum of traits. Each type has an adaptive pattern based on the specific core belief and supporting characteristics in the form of wings which may belong to other types as well.
The centres –
The enneagram can be looked at as a 3 x 3 assortment of 9 types of personality in the three centres. Each of the three centres are the basis of commonality for three personality types.
Additionally, each centre also has a dominant emotion that instigates the largely unconscious emotional responses in its associated types. These are described as follows:
- Instinctive centre (Body) –
Type 8-9-1 fall under the instinctive centre. They experience distortions in their instinct, the root of our life force, vitality, and survival and are inclined to follow their instinct/gut feeling. The common emotions for body centre are anger or rage. It comes as an instinctual response to the sense of feeling interference or compromising with autonomy.
- Feeling centre (Heart) –
Type 2-3-4 fall under the feeling centre. They experience distortions in their feelings, and are likely to follow their heart. The common emotion for feeling centre is shame. They look for mirroring, recognition and validation and may feel ashamed when they feel a sense of deficiency, emptiness, or lack of attention.
- Thinking centre (Head) –
Type 5-6-7 fall under the thinking centre. They experience distortions in their thinking, and are likely to follow their wisdom and presence of intelligence. The common emotion for the thinking centre is fear. They may feel fearful when they lose sense of presence, support from others, and/or guiding from who they may look up to.
The wings –
Wings are the two types of personality on the either side of the dominant personality type. These are representative of complementary characteristics of one’s personality. The wings are considered as the “second-side” of one’s personality as there is a high possibility of presence of such characteristics in varied proportions. Therefore, it is important to take them into consideration to better understand one’s personality.
Only after identifying one’s basic personality, can the wings be identified. When taken into account, the personality types double up – from 9 to 18 considering two wings for each type.
- Type 1
- 1 w 9 – Realistic & Detail-Oriented Perfectionists
- 1 w 2 – Social & Ethical
- Type 2
- 2 w 1 – Empathetic & Caring Individuals
- 2 w 3 – Social & Work-Oriented Organisers
- Type 3
- 3 w 2 – Optimistic Go-Getters & Socially Popular
- 3 w 4 – Motivated & Organised Leaders
- Type 4
- 4 w 3 – Artistic & Charismatic
- 4 w 5 – Passionate Creators with a Mission
- Type 5
- 5 w 4 – Individualistic & Loners
- 5 w 6 – Free Spirited & Curious
- Type 6
- 6 w 5 – Resourceful & Responsible
- 6 w 7 – Fun-Loving & Cheerful
- Type 7
- 7 w 6 – Happy-Go-Lucky & Entertaining
- 7 w 8 – Innovative & Curious
- Type 8
- 8 w 7 – Confident & Determined
- 8 w 9 – Collectivistic Leader
- Type 9
- 9 w 8 – Independent & Wanderer
- 9 w 1 – Pragmatic & Collected
In this article, we looked at “What do enneagram numbers mean?” We began by defining the enneagram and explaining what each number stands for.
In conclusion, Enneagram is a system of personality that describes an individual as a combination of numerous components as described by core beliefs, centres, and wings. These are further influenced by the level of development one is operating at accompanied by the three instincts. The numbers on the enneagram are possible combinations of these subcomponents that are said to make up one out of the nine types of personality.
What does the enneagram test mean?
Enneagram is a system of understanding human personality as a concept of dynamic and fluid nature. The theory characterises personality into nine possible types of personalities. The enneagram test helps you identify your basic personality type closest to the 9 distinctions of personality.
What are the 9 enneagram types?
The nine enneagram types are:
Type 1 The Reformer – The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, And Perfectionistic
Type 2 The Helper –The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, And Possessive
Type 3 The Achiever –
The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, And Image-Conscious
Type 4 The Individualist –
The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, And Temperamental
Type 5 The Investigator –
The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, And Isolated
Type 6 The Loyalist –
The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, And Suspicious
Type 7 The Enthusiast –
The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, And Scattered
Type 8 The Challenger –
The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, And Confrontational
Type 9 The Peacemaker –
The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, And Complacent
What is the rarest enneagram?
It is believed that type 4’s are the rarest enneagram types. This is so as 4’s are often the most artistic, emotional, and introverted personality types. But this may be debatable because it is also possible for them to be an extrovert.
Can you be two enneagram types?
No, it is not possible for an individual to be two enneagram types at once. It is possible to have traits that may be characteristic to other personality types primarily from the type one moves towards in integration, disintegration or wings, but in practice, there is always one dominating personality type that each individual most closely resonates to.