While it may be foreign to you, you might want to get familiar with it: it’s an incredibly useful tool for emotional and psychological growth.
The Enneagram is a compilation of nine different personality types. Our “type” is formed from our childhood experiences. These experiences and how we processed them informs how we relate to the world and to those around us.
From a Christian perspective, every “type” will have a fruit of the Spirit associated with it and also one of the nine deadly sins (nine because there was thought to be two missing from the original 7 deadly sins). The 9 types are divided into Head, Heart & Gut Types (3 in each).
As we learn about other people’s enneagram types, it helps us gain an understanding of how they view the world and enables us to walk in empathy.
At its core, the Enneagram allows for self-awareness, self-acceptance and personal growth by helping you identify traits in yourself and the struggles that will be unique to you–not just on a psychological level, but a spiritual one as well.
In this post, I will briefly describe each enneagram personality type and help you identify which emotional aromatherapy oils would best support each type. If you want to find out which enneagram personality type you are, take the test here.
1 The Reformer
Core Question: Am I Good?
Ones have a hard time accepting imperfections. Generally, one or both parents were very critical. As a result of the criticism, Ones stopped developing their true self and started to please others because they thought they could get love that way. Their goal is to stop their inner critic from condemning them. They are called the reformers for a reason: they are always trying to be perfect and to do everything right.
The temptation of the One is to search for perfection. Their root sin is anger, and their pitfall is hyper-sensitivity. Ones often condemn themselves for feeling angry. They won’t admit when they are feeling angry and have developed an ability to hide it.
The fruit of the Spirit for a One is cheerful tranquility. Although unhealthy Ones won’t admit that they have to grow (because growth requires that they recognize that they lack something), healthier Ones will grow through recognizing that lots of things in the world are imperfect, and that’s OK. Their life-long duty is to overcome the need for controlling life and to learn to play and be joyful.
2 The Helper
Core Question: Am I loveable?
Twos are the Mother Teresa’s of the world. They are very kind, generous, compassionate, and empathetic. As children they often had to be both the parent and the provider. Not surprisingly, Twos are over-represented in both the Christian community as well as women. They are the eternal givers of the Enneagram, but it comes with a cost.
The down side of a person who gives so much is that they can become needy. This can put people in a difficult position where they feel obliged or manipulated. The temptation of a Two is to help others as a way of avoiding their own needs. Their root sin is pride because they start to believe they can meet everyone’s needs. The fruit of the Spirit for the Two is humility. They become free when they no longer feel like they have to meet other people’s needs and can give without receiving anything in return.
3 The Achiever
Core Question: Am I worthwhile?
Threes generally received conditional love as children. They were taught they had to perform or achieve in order to gain love. Whilst we all have this coding from Western society, Threes have it more predominantly. Often, their main plight is having grown up with the belief that love is conditional. Threes are known as the achievers and have a sixth sense of how to act to be successful.
If a Three is a stay-at-home mom, they’re going to be the “super moms”. In a corporate environment, they are the ones who rise to become CEOs. Praise and affirmation are what keeps them going. Their temptation is efficiency: they want to get everything done in the most efficient way possible. Their root sin is untruth or deceit. Because of their drive for success, they are great at becoming a chameleon to get what they want and blending in. They try to avoid failure this way.
Threes become so good at selling their lives to others that they often begin to believe it is the truth. They will identify with a project they are working on so much that they attribute their worth to it. This can lead to increased feelings of worthlessness if something doesn’t go well. It can also lead to an inflated ego. Their fruit of the spirit is truth and honesty. They need to learn that everything in life isn’t conditional on their success. And their pursuit will be in truly understanding themselves. This will help them grow into who they really are meant to be.
4 The Individualist
Core Question: Who Am I?!
Fours generally had a childhood informed by great loss, so they struggled with a greater amount of shame. The way they coped with this is through a desire to be unique. Fours want to be special, which can lead them to a kind of elitist mentality where they have a standard for themselves. A four will often be exceptionally artistic and tend to be tragic romantics. Think of a bohemian, hippie vibe and you will likely be thinking of a four (not always of course!).
Fours long for love, but, simultaneously, they get bored in relationships. As leaders, they have huge emotional strength. They are empathetic and compassionate when they’re in a healthy state. They strive for authenticity and individuality. This means that an unhealthy four can be self-absorbed and prone to comparing themselves with others. Their pitfall is melancholy. They love all things esoteric. Their fruit of the spirit is balance. If they can pull themselves out of melancholy, they can achieve great things.
5 The Investigator
Core Question: Do I understand?
If you are loving the Enneagram and kind of “geeking out” right now, you are very likely a five! Fives love to investigate; their goal is to understand.
Fives generally had the experience of being unwanted in the womb and may have had a physically intrusive family. They often have trouble expressing their emotions. They feel like their inner world is the only place that is safe, so they are constantly absorbing information and keeping it inside.
Fives struggle to express themselves emotionally. Constantly absorbing leads to a kind of hoarding. Fives often collect things like stamps, books, and other objects. They have a strong sense of needing to fill an inner emptiness or void. Out of all the types, fives have the strongest inner vision. As individuals they can be very perceptive, wise, observant, and analytical. Because they strive to see all sides of a situation, they can be quite calm and collected, with big ideas.
Their temptation is knowledge, to learn things or know things. However, the root sin for them is stinginess, especially emotional stinginess, because, just like their stamp collections, they hoard their possessions and affections alike! Their fruit of the Spirit is objectivity. If they grow in this area they can become really great leaders and friends. Their life-long task is getting out of their heads and moving into reality – with God and with life.
6 The Loyalist
Core Question: Am I safe and secure?
Sixes, as children, generally felt like they were unable to develop trust because their parents were uncontrolled or unpredictable. This is not always true but can be common with Sixes. Due to this core wound, Sixes look for an authority that is safe. All they want is a structure that they think will keep them safe to which they can be loyal. Some Sixes, when faced with their fears, don’t like feeling them (hey – this is natural for all of us but Sixes especially!).
Sixes can be the Daredevils of the Enneagram. They find security in themselves and in their own ability to face their fears. They are really good at having clear vision and identifying problems. They are loyal, and will stick with you through thick and thin.
Their temptation is striving for security and looking to something outside themselves to create it. Their root sin is fear.
The fruit of the spirit of a Six is courage. Sixes have immense courage when they are healthy and mature. Their journey in this lifetime is growing in faith and trusting that God has everything under His control. Learning to break free from external directions and authorities is their life-long challenge.
7 The Enthusiast
Core Question: Am I missing out?
Sevens! Everyone loves a Seven! They light up a room just by walking in it. Believe it or not, they generally experienced trauma as children, but they didn’t know how to cope or respond to it. Their motivation is not just to have fun, but to avoid pain and suffering.
Sevens cope with trauma by ignoring all the bad and just looking at the good. As leaders, Sevens are the kind of people who see the silver lining in everything. They are generalists. They often don’t stick to one specific hobby; instead, they have many interests, which can lead to them spreading themselves too thin. They are usually afraid of missing out, because they love adventure.
The temptation of a Seven is toward excess. Their root sin is intemperance or gluttony. Sevens like to consume: they always want another adventure, another high, another adrenaline rush. Their defence mechanism is rationalization. They shift their focus from their pain so they can avoid the discomfort of having to process it.
As they grow, the fruit of the Spirit they manifest becomes sober joy. They recognize the pain and suffering in the world but can still choose to be joyful.
Sevens can have a bit of an ego problem because some have concluded that life is painful, so they are going to make their own world to be happy. This could manifest as ignoring help from others or ignoring that other people help to make them happy. So co-operation with God is their invitation. Their lifelong task is getting wise to their hasty overationalizations and acknowledging pain but still knowing joy.
8 The Challenger
Core Question: Am I in control?
As children, Eights often felt vulnerable and unprotected. So it may not be a surprise to you that, as adults, they like to be the ones in control! You will often find an Eight ordering another person around. They fear being controlled and resist things that are not in accordance with their values or beliefs. They resist authority and will fight to the death for what they believe to be true. They are natural leaders who are protective of the vulnerable. They tend to be decisive and resourceful straight-talkers. They are natural leaders: very direct and assertive.
An Eight’s temptation is the struggle for justice. They make their decisions using logic and acting decisively. They value fairness and try to instill this into their way of being. Their root sin is shamelessness. The Eights aren’t worried about hurting people’s feelings if they perceive you as a threat. They often express intimacy by being confrontational. Expressing their anger and passion produces intimacy in their eyes (not so much in other people!).
The fruit of the spirit for an Eight is innocence. Their area of growth is making space for the child within – the young child that isn’t afraid of being vulnerable. If they can make space for that child-like wonder and tap back into that aspect of themselves that doesn’t need to be confrontational, they will learn that they can let go.
9 The Peacemaker
Core Question: Am I At Peace?
Nines generally struggled to find their voice as children. They may have grown up in homes with turmoil and conflict. They often have a hard time understanding themselves; yet, surprisingly, they are great at understanding others. Their lack of personal understanding is due to an insecurity where they don’t see themselves as important. Because of this, Nines back down or try to blend in with the crowd.
Their temptation is to belittle themselves. Their root sin is laziness due to lack of drive or belief in themselves. As leaders they are low-key and make really good mediators. Nines are the most conflict averse. Their defense mechanism is numbing, which can lead to addictive behaviours.
Nines have a lack of clarity about who they are which can lead them to becoming lethargic. Comfort is a definite pitfall for this type. However, the fruit of the Spirit for a Nine is decisive action. Their life-long task is overcoming a type of self-cynicism and discovering and developing their own feelings of self-worth and their drive to be independent.
Applying What You’ve Learned
You may feel you have a bit of each Enneagram type within you. Truthfully, we all do. Yet we have a core personality that we gravitate to more than others, which is our dominant type. We can become our best selves through self-acceptance, recognition of our weaknesses, and moving along our growth path.
You may have noticed that some essential oil recommendations were the same for different types. This isn’t surprising because we can all benefit from each of the oils mentioned. I recommend starting with the oils I mentioned for your type and then experimenting with others. You’d be amazed sometimes which oils support you best. And, if you are like me, the best oil changes daily!
To get started, I recommend the Aroma Essentials Enrollment Collection. While it doesn’t contain each of the oils for the types that I mentioned, it contains ten 5ml bottles of the most popular aromatherapy blends and comes with a diffuser. If you would prefer to use the essential oils on your skin, I recommend the doTERRA Essential Aromatics Kit collection which includes roller-bottles so you can apply the oils directly to your skin.
The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr and Andreas Elbert