The Enneagram is a topic that you will see more of here on Make Healthy Easy. It's a beautiful tool of wisdom that I believe can help you unlock the mysteries behind some barriers in your life. Regardless of where you are with the Enneagram, I’d like to educate you on it, why I think it’s valuable and the best Enneagram test options for you.
WHAT IS THE ENNEAGRAM?
Simply put, the Enneagram is an ancient tool for guiding a person into a deeper understanding of themself. It reveals nuances to a person’s heart, soul and mind and provides clarity for change and wisdom. It offers nine different archetypes, most simply stated as the numbers themselves, that people can be dominant in. It is not merely a personality test, but rather a soul tool for deeper understanding of oneself and the relationships you have with others.
There are many versions of the descriptions for the 9 types in the Enneagram. None of them are right or wrong. The Enneagram highlights strengths and weaknesses in an individual so you will note both descriptions in the types.
The Enneagram diagram of a circle with many arrows inside can be intimidating, confusing, and even scary-looking graphic. While it may mimic other religious symbol and bring positive or negative reactions, it is truly a unique image to depict some of the depth of the Enneagram and interactions between the types. It is where things begin to get pretty deep, so I will attempt to explain some of the aspects as simply as possible.
The types are grouped into “Triads”, which speaks to how people are emotionally driven by different centers of intelligence (heart, head, and body). This nuance to the Enneagram can bring a lot of depth in understanding how you respond to hardship, challenge and pain. Types 2, 3, and 4 represent the heart center of intelligence. Type 5, 6, and 7 the head and types 8, 9, and 1 are the body center of intelligence.
The arrows of the Enneagram denote where a person of that number goes when under stress or security. It’s a way of knowing and identifying when you are operating in a healthy or unhealthy space.
Lastly, you will hear about wing numbers, which are the numbers to the left and right (before and after) your primary type. Many people will have a flare to them that borrows from one of these wing numbers and provides greater clarity on how they operate. When you see something like “8w7”, that denotes a person is dominant in type 8 with a 7 type wing.
HOW DO I LEARN MORE ABOUT ENNEAGRAM?
There are MANY sources circulating around the internet and social media related to the Enneagram. Many of these are novice, personal interpretations of the tool (like me and what I’m doing here). To get a solid understanding of the Enneagram, I recommend starting with these two, easy to read books:
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The Road Back to You also has a study guide, which I have not personally used, but I am sure is helpful.
If you'd like to get started by really diving in to the Enneagram, I highly recommend the book The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Riso and Hudson. These two men founded The Enneagram Institute and helped mainstream the concepts. This book is like an encyclopedia on the 9 types. It's in depth but easy to read.
Next, I would encourage you to listen to some podcasts that help dive in the Enneagram with credible people. The first podcast I HIGHLY recommend is the Sleeping At Last podcast by sing-songwriter Ryan O'Neal. Ryan thoughtfully writes and composes a song for each of the Enneagram types which are tremendous works of art. He also has Enneagram expert, Chris Heuertz (see reference below), go into great depth on each type which is very enlightening. Personally, when I listened to the Seven song, I almost cried because it resonated so deeply with me. Do yourself a favor and listen to all nine of these episodes.
Another podcast I have really benefited from is The Enneagram Journey with Suzanne Stabile. Suzanne has been teaching the Enneagram for decades and brings great depth in talking with guests about their type. She knows all the nuances of the Enneagram and can help you better understand wings and stances for sure!
Author Annie F. Downs, who hosts a podcast called That Sounds Fun, did a series in June 2019 on the Enneagram where she interviews a male and female of each number. She also kicked off that series with an excellent interview with Suzanne Stabile that explains the Enneagram so very well. I highly recommend listening to this episode.
If you are ready for a deeper dive into the Enneagram, I recommend Chris Heuertz book, The Sacred Enneagram: Finding your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth. It's deep and very rich and helps bring light to just how powerful this tool can be. I'm about ⅓ of the way in and loving it.
Best Enneagram Test
Enneagram tests are popping up everywhere, and I mean everywhere, on the internet. While some can be helpful, it is highly recommended by Enneagram experts that you do not start with a test in determining your Enneagram number. This attribute of the Enneagram is actually one I really like and sets it apart from other straight up personality assessments.
Discovering your Enneagram Number is meant to be a journey and process. It’s not a clean step 1-2-3 kind of thing. Rather, it’s an open your heart and slowly step down and in, step by step. You might hang out on a certain level for a while, gleaning self-wisdom, and then eventually find yourself moving deeper into your heart.
While there are official tests, which I will link to below, many experts believe it is something that you will be able to identify as you self study and explore your soul. This bit of work in researching can be an important part of self discovery. In his book The Sacred Enneagram, Chris Heuerts says "As you read through the materials, the type you feel most exposed by or most uncomfortable with is usually the one that ends up being yours." (pg 62) It is also something that only you can bring out about yourself. Casting another person into a type is not really what the Enneagram is all about. So pick up one of the books listed above and get ready to discover your answer. It may not come to you immediately, and that is completely ok.
A great, free online resource for quickly learning about all 9 Enneagram types is from The Enneagram Institute. The Enneagram Institute website has a list of the nine types along with extensive, in depth descriptions HERE. This is a credible website that I would go to before others.
If you really want to do a test, Chris Heuertz recommends the Enneagram Institute's RHETI test. It's actually not very expensive at all ($12) so this could be a very doable option for people. Sure, there are a lot of free Enneagram tests online, and you are welcome to try them and will likely find them helpful. But the richest treasures of the Enneagram, I think, are revealed when you do a little self discovery and reading, or taking the reliable test above.
I did take the RHETI test and didn’t love it. The questions only give you 2 answers to choose from and frankly, neither answer suited me in some questions. I scored equally as a 7 and 2 on this test so at least I know it captured what I feel is my strongest number (7).
Beth McCord of YourEnneagramCoach.com, a trusted expert in the Enneagram field, offers a free assessment on her website. She herself has said though that this is just a starting point. She offers fantastic resources on her website included educational courses.
If you like learning audibly, Suzanne Stabile sells this audio lecture for $54 on discovering your Enneagram type. I have heard that it is very good and worth the $54.
Lastly, working with a trained professional or therapist can be a very effective way to talk through which type you most identify with. They can also help you identify areas for growth and help you through them.
Enneagram & Eating Test
In coming posts I will be going more in detail about my interest and research with the Enneagram, eating and nutrition. In the meantime, I welcome you to join in my research by taking the survey for your specific number. You can access these surveys at the bottom of this post.
Stay tuned friends because more good Enneagram stuff is coming.