The inherent desire of humankind to explore and discover doesn’t begin and end in the depths of the oceans or in the deepest, darkest recesses of the Universe. No, curiosity often remains very close to home. In fact, the urge to understand the self—the psyche, ego, soul, mind, and persona—is probably one of the oldest yearnings in existence.
Many philosophers, psychiatrists, and psychologists have sought to investigate the intricacies of these questions—even to the extent of pouring their entire existence into this research.
And, thanks to the enquiring minds of these men and women and having the Internet at our fingertips, individuals can now benefit from their hard work. A simple—and very often free—test is all that is required to gain access to a wealth of information. The results often reveal many characteristics of an individual that they were unaware of. And therein lies the first of many merits of the Enneagram personality model.
The 9 Enneagram types, often referred to as Enneatypes, are part of the Enneagram personality model. As one of the most prolific and well-researched personality assessment tools, the Enneagram is extensively utilized in the business and mental healthcare sectors. Individuals may also seek answers through the Enneagram, in either self-development or in improving their relationships with others.
After working through the Enneagram personality test, applicants will receive the following details: their dominant Enneagram Type, dominant wing, and integration and disintegration Enneagram types. That is just the beginning of their journey into fully understanding and employing the Enneagram.
Definition and meaning
The Enneagram term is taken from geometry, and the diagram is a nine-sided shape. The terms “ennea” and “gramma” are derived from the Greek words for “nine” and “drawing” or “writing.”
In terms of the Enneagram personality model, this is graphically represented on an Enneagram figure. Each of the nine points portrays one of nine personality Types. And because the Enneagram is roughly circular, it’s easy to perceive how the Enneagram interconnects personalities.
Enneagram is enunciated “ANY-a-gram.” This pronunciation is for both the nine-sided Enneagram diagram and Enneagram personality typing—where the nine distinct personalities are exhibited.
The history of the Enneagram diagram may need to be clarified, though it is assumed to have stemmed from the geometrical shape, also known as a nonagon, enneagon, or polygon. Its roots might go back, at least, to the times of Pythagoras, or perhaps even further.
With Enneagram personality typing, researchers Virginia Wiltse, Ph.D. and Helen Palmer, M.A. believe that comparable concepts could trace back to the findings of fourth-century Alexandrian Monk, Evagrius Ponticus.
The modern Enneagram personality model evolved through the teachings of philosopher Oscar Ichazo. And the United States court of appeals ruled Ichazo as the author of the Enneagram application. The copyright injunction was, however, denied, as the Enneagram symbol is a discovery, not an invention. Chilean psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo was fundamental in the development of the modern hypothesis of Enneagram personality typing.
Enneagram vs. Myers-Briggs
Myers-Briggs, or MBTI, is an alternative personality model that is based on the findings of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung.
Neither personality model may compete with the other, but both may help individuals establish a greater self-awareness.
Where the Enneagram bases the personality types on nine interconnected personality Types, MBTI combines the following options to make up sixteen personality Types:
- Introversion or Extraversion (I or E)
- Sensing or Intuition (S or N)
- Thinking or Feeling (T or F)
- Judging or Perceiving (J or P)
Enneagram Types and Wings
Type 1—The Perfectionist
Enneagram Type One is just and moral. They pour their energy into finding and correcting errors and maintaining high standards. They are unlikely to succumb to temptation and are fastidious when they or others don’t meet their high expectations.
Type 2—The Helper
Enneagram Type Twos pride themselves on identifying the needs of others. In turn, they hope to gain love and approval. Twos are warm and friendly and may dislike letting people down. Twos appreciate loyalty and are sincerely compassionate.
Type 3—The Achiever
Enneagram Type Threes are driven to succeed and to present themselves well to the world. They are goal-oriented and need others to recognize their achievements. They are excellent at inspiring others.
Type 4—The Individualist
Enneagram Type Four focuses on relationships—often romantic. They are creative and sometimes flamboyant, though they can sometimes become depressed. They are usually intuitive and distinctive.
Type 5—The Investigator
Enneagram Type Five tends to stand back and view the world from the outside looking in. They gain independence through knowledge and may hoard this, as well as their time and energy.
The wings of Fives are Four and Six. Enneagram 5w4 may have a creative flair when working on new projects and innovations, and they may be a little moodier, while Enneagram 5w6 might feel less trusting of the world and others.
Type 6—The Loyalist
Enneagram Type Sixes may battle with their insecurities. Although they’re loyal, they may not feel certain that they have the devotion of others. They are cautious and sometimes imagine the worst. This makes them excellent during crises.
The wings of Sixes are Five and Seven. Enneagram 6w5 may hold less value in the commitment of others since they tend to be more self-reliant, and Enneagram 6w7 may evade those issues that cause them stress by focusing on fun and exciting things instead.
Type 7—The Enthusiast
Enneagram Type Seven is motivated to enjoy life. They are adventurous and engaging, fun-seekers. They are excellent at getting others to follow them in their fun activities but may fear growing bored.
Type 8—The Challenger
Enneagram Type Eight is bold, a tiny bit aggressive, protective, generous, and assertive. They are decisive and self-assured, though this front may be to hide their hurts.
Type 9—The Peacemaker
Enneagram Type Nine is tranquil. They may fear having no value or losing relationships with others and might often concede in order to avoid fracturing a friendship or partnership.
The wings of Nines are Eight and One. Enneagram 9w8 may be less concerned with offending others and may be more assertive, and Enneagram 9w1 will probably be a little more critical of their flaws and those of others.
This chart maps out the Enneagram Tritypes, Centers of Intelligence, and Dominant Emotions of each Enneagram Type.
The term Tritypes refers to the 27 possible Enneagram combinations and is based on the theory of Enneagram coach Katherine Chernick Fauvre.
The core Enneagram type of an individual will have the greatest influence on the personality of an individual. However, they may rotate to two further Enneagram Types—one in each intelligence center of the Enneagram model. Fauvre’s theory is that they may constantly rotate through these Types and that many traits could merge.
Just like with Enneagram types, an individual will have a dominant Tritype, termed the Tritype Archetype. Also, the connecting lines and wings of the Tritype Archetype will affect the personality, along with their concerns, needs, values, and fears.
Triads are a method of grouping Enneagram Types. While on the Enneagram diagram, the lines of integration and disintegration form an irregular shape when three equilateral triangles are drawn in their place, each Enneagram Type will have a point in the head, heart, and gut centers. These connect Enneagram Types 1, 4, and 7; Types 2, 5, and 8; and Types 3, 6, and 9. These symmetrical divisions are referred to as Harmony Triads.
As a technique toward self-development, individuals can tap into their harmonic triads. Like with any worthy goal, a measure of work is required to attain this balance between emotions, intuition, and intellect.
Centers of the Enneagram and Dominant Emotions
As mentioned in Enneagram triads, the Enneagram centers of intelligence comprise the head, heart, and gut sectors of the Enneagram model. This can be seen in how individuals may react in certain situations and in their manner of learning. In the same way, the dominant emotions of each Enneagram Type may be shown. In fact, some believe that the human brain may function in three dimensions.
Enneagram Gut Types, 8, 9, and 1, and Their Dominant Emotions
Along with the Enneagram gut Types—Enneagram Types 8, 9, and 1—the dominant emotion of these Types is anger or rage, and Nine is the dominant gut center type.
The instinctive intelligence of these Types could arise within the primitive brainstem, where their sensory and physical awareness and their instinct may balance energy and action.
There are various reasons for the anger in these Types. For example, Eights may become angry when they feel others are assuming their power. Nines tend to hide their anger but may feel this when things become out of balance, or they lack harmony within. Ones may also suppress any anger they feel when others don’t share or behave according to their ideals and principles.
Enneagram Heart Types 2, 3, and 4, and Their Dominant Emotions
In Enneagram heart Types of Enneagram Types 2, 3, and 4, the dominant emotion is shame, and Three is the dominant heart center Type.
The emotion centers of the brain lie in the limbic system. These Types may experience a greater sense of empathy and compassion and usually value their relationships with others.
While Twos thrive on connecting with others, they often need encouragement, and their sense of shame may come from feeling unworthy of love if they are not feeding the needs of others. Threes tend to seem self-sufficient but need their achievements to be recognized. If they’re not successful, they may feel undeserving. Fours might crave affection and idealized romance and may feel shame if they’re rejected.
Enneagram Head Types, 5, 6, and 7, and Their Dominant Emotions
For Enneagram head Types, which are Enneagram Types 5, 6, and 7, the dominant emotion is fear, and Sixes are the core head center Type.
The mental centers of the brain are linked to the cortex. This deals with logic, thought, intuition, and analysis.
With the dominant emotion of these Types being fear, Fives may feel afraid that they will run out of time or energy to accumulate knowledge. Sixes tend to fear what they cannot predict and often imagine the worst. While Sevens may not always seem afraid, they might escape instead of confronting their fear of pain and hardships.
Lines of Stretch and Release
These lines are taken from an alternative viewpoint that finds its basis in the role of the Enneagram in personal development. Rather than disintegrating into the worst traits of their dominant Enneagram Type, an individual could learn, through this method of embodiment exercises, how to utilize the positive attributes of this Type.
While the Enneagram may often speak of integration and disintegration lines, these are also referred to as stretch and release lines, or stress and growth, respectively. The belief is that people can access the higher traits of both these lines rather than the low characteristics.
To discover their Enneagram Type, an individual completes a selection of questions. These questions may encourage an individual to explore the detailed aspects of their personality. Occasionally, they may struggle to answer a particular question, but since these questions are each substantiated, it probably won’t affect the results if one or two are off the mark.
While many Enneagram tests are available, many require payment before delivering results. Still, the value of learning the in-depth details that these reports deliver is often worth the cost. These tests establish the dominant Enneagram Type of a participant and their dominant wing.
When delving into their Enneagram Type, people may choose to employ the Enneagram as a tool in their personal development or to assist them with personal and professional relationships.
A few books about Enneagram types are available on Amazon, including
This book focuses on how individuals may think, feel, and experience life and in this way, how they would establish their Enneagram Type.
This is the first of a nine-part series that goes into great depth on each Enneagram personality Type.
This is an earlier book on learning about Enneagram Types and using the Enneagram for self-awareness and development.
Below are a few of our most frequently asked questions regarding the Enneagram system.
What is an Enneagram Wing?
The wings are the two personality Types flanking an individual’s dominant or core Enneagram Type. For example, the wings of Enneagram Type 1 are Nine and Two. The person in question will lean toward the characteristics of one of their wings more than the other. This is their dominant wing.
What do the 9 Enneagram Types Mean?
These are the nine personality types represented on the Enneagram symbol and associated with the Enneagram personality model.
What is the Most Common Enneagram Type?
According to various sources, Enneagram Type 9, otherwise known as “The Peacemaker,” is the most common Enneagram Type, making up as much as 16.2% of the test group—where 23% of those have a wing of Eight and 77% have a wing of One, and there are more women Nines than men.
What is the Rarest Enneagram Type?
The rarest of the Enneagram Types is Enneagram Type 5, “The Investigator,” with a net of 4.8% of the total population. 32% of these have a wing of Four and 68% have a wing of 6, and more than twice as many Fives are men compared to women.
The different Enneagram Types are depicted on what some might refer to as an Enneagram circle. However, rather than a circle, the Enneagram graphic is a nine-sided (or, depending on how you look at it, nine-pointed) diagram.
Each Enneagram Type is represented by a number and boasts a unique set of characteristics. These traits usually merge with one or both of the Enneagram Types that flank the dominant Enneagram type. These are referred to as their wings.
They may also be influenced by the Enneagram arrows leading to and from the dominant Enneagram Type. These arrows, known as integration and disintegration arrows or lines, determine which Enneagram Type may influence the dominant type during periods of personal growth or stress.
The starting point in determining your dominant Enneagram Type, dominant wing, and integration Types is to complete an Enneagram personality test.