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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Vasilca

Understanding your Enneagram Personality - Part I. (MC-4)

In this two-part blog, I am going to provide more insight into the workings and significance of the Enneagram, as well as to reveal the results of my own Enneagram test taken a few weeks ago. We’re going to have fun together!

red circle represents the Enneargam symbol
The Enneagram Symbol

Understanding your Enneagram Personality

You can read about the Enneagram personality model on my webpage Over there, I introduce the nine Enneagram personality types represented as nine points located along the circumference of a circle. These types are: 1 The Reformer, 2 The Helper, 3 The Achiever, 4 The Individualist, 5 The Investigator, 6 The Loyalist, 7 The Enthusiast, 8 The Challenger, and 9 The Peacemaker. In addition to the nine personality types, the Enneagram theory identifies three centers of emotional response (instinctive, feeling, and thinking), three levels of development (healthy, average, and unhealthy), and three biological reflexes (self-preservation, sexual, and social).

Before I begin, however, I’d like to share with you a recent review of my book. It makes me so proud to see that The Diamond Soul has started its career bringing home 5-star reviews!

5-star review of The Diamond Soul book
5-star review of The Diamond Soul book

What is the Enneagram?

Let’s start with the basic: What is the Enneagram? Where does it come from? What’s its purpose? According to the Enneagram Institute, the Enneagram system is one of the most powerful and insightful tools for understanding ourselves and others.  At its core, the Enneagram helps us to explore ourselves at much deeper levels: at the psychological level as well as at the spiritual. For this reason, Enneagram findings may be of invaluable assistance on our path to self-knowledge, self-improvement, and spiritual growth. A unique feature of the Enneagram system is that it can inform us about the relationship between our personality and spirituality. In other words, how our psychological constructs relate to God.

The origin of the Enneagram symbol can be traced way back to Greek antiquity, where Platon was talking about the essence of human nature, i.e., its soul. At the same time, one can find concepts similar to the Enneagram in the Hebrew, Sumerian and Christian mysticism. These concepts were enhanced by the Sufism, the esoteric dimension of the Islamic faith in the 13th century, to be finally molded into a self-standing way of looking at life by the mystic philosopher Gurdjieff in modern times. The current theory of Enneagram was developed and introduced to the US by the South-American researcher Oscar Ichazo in mid 20th century and finally accepted by the scientific community as the result of the research work conducted by Rosi and Hudson. These two are also the founders of the Enneagram Institute in 1997, currently located in Stone Ridge, NY.

The Enneagram symbol is a circle whose circumference is broken up by nine points, numbered clockwise from 1 to 9. See the diagram below reproduced with permission. Each point represents one of the nine basic personality types. Points 3, 6, and 9 are bound in an equilateral triangle. Points 1, 4, 2, 8, 5, 7, and back to 1 are attached in an irregular hexagram.

Enneagram Personality Types

According to the Enneagram Institute, the Enneagram model can be seen as a set of nine distinct personality types, with each number on the Enneagram denoting one type. For this reason, you will find a little of yourself in all nine of the types. However, one of them should stand out as representing you better. This is your dominant personality type.

Psychologists are in agreement that everyone emerges from childhood, with one of the nine types dominating their personality. The inborn temperament and other pre-natal factors are the main determinants of the type. As the child grows, this genetic orientation largely determines how he learns to adapt to the early childhood environment. In any case, by the time children are four or five years old, their consciousness has developed sufficiently to have a separate sense of self. Although their identity is still very fluid, at this age, children begin to establish themselves and find their own way of fitting into the world.

The one-word dominant personality types can be expanded into four-word sets of traits as follow:

The Reformer is principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.

The Helper is generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.

The Achiever is adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.

The Individualist is expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.

The Investigator is perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.

The Loyalist is engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.

The Enthusiast is spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.

The Challenger is self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.

The Peacemaker is receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.

Let’s have some fun looking at Enneagram personality types of famous actors compiled by Thomas Condon of

The Reformer Henry Fonda, Harrison Ford

The Helper Madonna, Mia Farrow

The Achiever Sharon Stone, Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Individualist Angelina Jolie, Liam Neeson

The Investigator Al Pacino, Richard Chamberlain

The Loyalist Woody Allen, Uma Thurman

The Enthusiast Lauren Bacall, Jackie Chan

The Challenger Michael Douglas, Queen Latifah

The Peacemaker Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner

Enneagram’s Deep Roots

The Enneagram is not only a typological model, as most other personality classification systems are. Indeed, the Enneagram model has much deeper roots organically implanted in human nature.

It all started with Oscar Ichazo, who brilliantly connected the personality types to Holy Ideas, Virtues, Instincts, Passions, and Fixations. In other words, he explained the complexities of the human personality by the tug-of-war between virtues and vices, right and wrong, and good and evil. We do not have time to go into details in this blog, but I reproduce here with permission the Enneagram of virtues from The Enneagram Institute.

The Enneagram identifies three centers of emotional response (instinctive, feeling, and thinking), three levels of development (healthy, average, and unhealthy), and three biological reflexes (self-preservation, sexual, and social). The centers of emotional response are shown below:

To be continued in the next blog


I hope you enjoyed reading this article and will benefit from its message. Please subscribe to my weekly Diamond Soul newsletter which will deliver informative and inspiring articles in your inbox every Monday. Thank you!

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