Brandon's Notepad

May 24, 2011

The Enneagram

Home > My Research > Eastern Philosophy & New Age > Enneagram

I hear a reference to the enneagram on occasion, so I thought I’d jot down a few notes about it.

The Figure

The enneagram is a nine-pointed figure inscribed in a circle. The points are labelled in the same way as a clock, but with nine at the top instead of twelve. Points 3,6 & 9 are connected, forming an equilateral triangle. A “web” is drawn by connecting the remaining points in the following order: 1,4,2,8,5,7,1.


The enneagram was introduced to Western thought by Russian psychologist and philosopher George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, who developed a mystical/spiritual way of self-development in the early twentieth century called the Fourth Way. This system teaches that man is not born with a soul, but can create one by moving to a state of higher consciousness.

Enneagram of Personality

Oscar Ichazo applied the enneagram to psychology, theorizing that one’s self-image, and thus personality, is centered on one of nine possible ego fixations within the psyche (resentment, flattery, vanity, melancholy, stinginess, cowardice, planning, vengence, indolence). The fixations can be organized and represented on the enneagram figure, becoming the Enneagram of Personality. Fixations are supported emotionally by passions and vices, and are subject to various temptations and fears.


This is a summary from the Enneagram Institute’s “How the Enneagram System Works” page. First, you must identify your basic personality type. The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) questionnaire is one tool for doing so. The types are grouped into “centers” (“Feeling” is 2-4, “Thinking” is 5-7, and “Instinctive” is 8,9 & 1) and each center has a dominant emotion (shame, anxiety & anger/rage respecitively). You also have a wing type, one of the numbers next to the basic type on the circle, though there is disagreement amongst experts as to whether people have only one wing, two wings, or a dominant wing. There are also levels of development, movements between healthy, average, and unhealthy levels. As you approach health (growth or integration), you behave like (move toward) another personality type on the figure. Likewise, approaching an unhealthy state (stress or disintigration) means moving toward another type as well. These paths are defined by the “web” and “triangle” described above. The ultimate goal is to move around the enneagram, picking up the beneficial traits of each type along the way.

Links to Catholicism

Claudio Naranjo, Chilean psychiatrist and student of Ichazo, adapted the enneagram for Christian use and taught it to some Jesuit priests. Ironically, Jesuit priest Mitch Pacwa is one of the leading churchmen who oppose the enneagram and expose it for what it is. You can read this trascript of his that is a good, concise treatment of the enneagram and what it means to Catholics. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan friar and author who has written at least two books on how to use the Enneagram to bolster Christian spirituality. Finally, a good ‘short-course’ in the Enneagram and how it pertains to Catholicism has been published on the web by one Bruce Sabalaskey. It includes samples of deceptive vocalulary used by dissenters, and calls out the pantheistic and gnostic underpinnings.

November 8, 2010

Interesting Catholics

Home > My Lists > Interesting Catholics

Sometimes, it is surprising to discover that a particular person is a Catholic. Maybe this person is a celebrity or public figure that recently exhibited the faith in a very public way, or a familiar historical person about whom his or her faith is not usually taught in textbooks. Maybe this person proclaims to be Catholic, a clergyman perhaps, but it is obvious from his writings and teachings that he holds controversial or even heretical beliefs. This page is dedicated to interesting Catholics.

Aziz, Tariq Chaldean Catholic. Former Foreign Minister of Iraq
More: Wikipedia

Carroll, Charles Only Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence. His signature reads “Charles Carroll of Carrollton” to distinguish him from others, as his name was apparently quite common.
More: Wikipedia

Carroll, John Jesuit. First Catholic Bishop in the United States (Archdiocese of Baltimore). Founder of Georgetown University. Cousin of Charles Carroll.
More: Wikipedia

Chittister, Joan, O.S.B. Benedictine Sister, National Catholic Reporter columnist, founder of Benetvision. She is also a contributing editor to the progressive Christian magazine, Sojourners. Chittister espouses liberal and feminist views, some of which oppose Church teachings. Based on a brief survey of broadcast videos (available on YouTube), her teachings seem to include some elements of moral relativism and even the New Age. For example, in her speech on Spirituality and Culture in 2009 for the Martin E. Marty Lecture on Religion and American Life (The Walter H. Capps Center, University of California at Santa Barbara) she criticizes creed-based religion, stresses that our piety must conform to the culture, explains what the Church can learn from social science, and even takes the opportunity to make a few political jabs. She may have connections with professor and author Philip Jenkins, possibly through Penn State, where he teaches and she earned her doctorate degree.
More: Wikipedia, Washington Post [quoted alongside Philip Jenkins]

Day, Dorothy Servant of God. Social activist, anarchist, journalist.
More: Wikipedia

Favre, Brett NFL Quarterback (Falcons/Packers/Jets/Vikings).
More: Wikipedia

Gibson, Mel Actor. Angry person. Not actually a Catholic, but claims to be one. He may be a member of the SSPX schism, but I’ve read/heard a few sources dispute that claim.
More: Fox News [highlighting Gibson’s family chapel], Fisheaters [on SSPX affiliation]

Greeley, Andrew
More: Wikipedia, Sour Wine in New Wineskins [book review; Mike Sullivan], The Atlantic Monthly, Excerpt from Priests: A Calling in Crisis, Editorial by K Keating, This Rock, In Defense of Andrew Greeley by Fr. Robert Barron

Knox, Ronald Priest. Convert from Anglicanism.

Rohr, Richard Dissident Franciscan priest.
More: Wikipedia, The Fr. Richard Rohr Phenomenon, Los Pequenos de Cristo, Priest: ‘The boy always gets naked…’, What Are Fr. Richard Rohr and CAC Up To Now?, Fr. Richard Rohr’s Letter of Endorsement

Rupp, Joyce Dissident Servite nun.
More: Orthodoxy of Sr. Joyce Rupp, Morphing Catholicism into Eco-feminism, CA Forum, Plano [1], Plano [2], On Retreat With Sister Rupp

Staubach, Roger Former Dallas Cowboy Quarterback. Popularized the term “Hail Mary pass” when he threw a long pass to win the NFC Divisional Playoff Game in 1975. He reportedly stated after the game that he threw the ball and said a quick Hail Mary prayer.
More: Wikipedia

Thomas, Danny Comedian. Maronite. Founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Amos Alphonsus Muzyad Yakhoob.
More: Wikipedia

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