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The Enneagram: Your Own Personal Fortune Teller

Julia Smarelli | Culture Staff Writer | js071917@ohio.edu

The Enneagram, a personality tool to delve into your inner and outer self, can teach you about your inner workings and how you tick. It can help predict how you will react in certain situations and better understand why you did what you did in the past. It can be like a fortune teller of your very own.

But what is the Enneagram exactly? The system is a complex personality identifier that organizes people into nine different types, each named by numbers one through nine. Numbers are neutral and subjective elements, perfect for personality types. It is important to note that each type is equal; in other words, it is no better or worse to identify with one type over another. When understood, the Enneagram is a means of better understanding yourself, knowing your tendencies in all situations. It can help you understand why you feel certain emotions or why you act out in specific ways in various situations. It can also help you understand the thought processes and actions of others.

The design of the Enneagram model appears quite complicated at first glance; however, it is actually fairly simple. As it is pictured, the Enneagram is a circle with each number placed and equal distance from each other. The numbers are connected by a series of lines: 3-6-9 form a triangle, while the remaining numbers connect as 1-4-2-8-5-7.

This shows the fluidity of the Enneagram, arguably the most important aspect of the model. Each person is not exclusively one number–everyone is classified as a type but has traits of other numbers in various forms: wings, integration and disintegration. Briefly, wings are the two numbers adjacent to the basic personality type. Integration is the number toward which a type goes when in a period of growth. Similarly, disintegration is the opposite: the number which the type goes toward when acting out in stress.

To begin, however, it is necessary to understand what each type is. Again, one type is no better or worse than another; simply, it is a way of understanding yourself and others. The names and description of each type comes from the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI®).

          1.  The Reformer—principled, purposeful, self-controlled, perfectionist
          2. The Helper—generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, possessive
         3. The Achiever—adaptable, excelling, drive, image-conscious
         4. The Individualist—expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, temperamental
5. The Investigator—perceptive, innovative, secretive, isolated
        6. The Loyalist—engaging, responsible, anxious, suspicious
        7.The Enthusiast—spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, scattered
        8. The Challenger—self-confident, decisive, willful, confrontational
      9. The Peacemaker—receptive, reassuring, complacent, resigned

Once you discover your type (test linked at the bottom), you can delve into more information on your type, as well as the others if interested (information linked at the bottom).


Each type has one of three centers: Thinking, Feeling or Instinctive. These are separated based on the circle. The top three (Eight, Nine and One) are Instinctive; Two, Three and Four associate with Feeling; Five, Six and Seven are in the Thinking category. The significance of the centers is tied to an emotion, with which a person reacts when he or she disconnects with his or her true self. For the Thinking Center that emotion is fear, the Feeling Center deals with shame, and the Instinctive Center experiences anger or rage. Of course, all personalities feel these emotions, some personalities are just more deeply affected by their specified emotion. Often, they are not entirely aware of this fact.


Your wings are the two numbers adjacent to your basic personality type on the circle. It is disagreed upon whether each basic type has one or two wings. Technically, everyone has two; however, for most people, one of the two types is more dominant than the other. This is considered your wing. It adds to and compliments your basic type. You are not purely and strictly one type. No human is so easily defined as such, which is why wings are so important.

Levels of Development:

Just as there are nine personality types, there are also nine levels of development of each. This gives each personality type a structure of being. When one is in the first three levels of their personality, they are a “healthy” version of their type. The middle three levels are considered “average.” The last three, however, are the “unhealthy” state of each personality type. This is significant because it shows the emotions, reactions, motivations and behaviors of the personality. It also shows the differences between people of the same type and wing. A healthy One differs significantly from an unhealthy One. It allows for a structure of the type, giving it verticality and fluidity. It shows how a person is at his or her best and worst.

Psychological Capacity
Social Value
Imbalance/Social Role
Interpersonal Control
Obsession and Compulsion
Pathological Destructiveness

Integration and Disintegration:

The lines of the Enneagram are explained through integration, disintegration and the Levels of Development. When a person is in a state of growth or integration, he or she goes toward the healthy version (Levels 1-3) of the type to which the line points. For example, an Eight would act as a healthy Two, having some of its best traits. Similarly, when a person is acting out in stress or disintegration, he or she would be like an unhealthy version (Levels 7-9) of the type to which the line points. An Eight would act as an unhealthy Five. The directions are show in the photo.

So go ahead, take the test yourself! See what type you are!

It is helpful if you draw the Enneagram (top). The two red circles underneath show the directions of disintegration and integration.(Photo by: Julia Smarelli)

Test: https://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test
For more information and detail: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-descriptions/


*all research from https://www.enneagraminstitute.com