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Kabbalah and the Enneagram

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It is no doubt that the enneagram has roots in Western mysticism with one of its threads being traced to Kabbalah. Kabbalah is a system of Jewish Mysticism where the Creator (En Sof – one that’s unknowable and inaccessible/Yahweh) and the Creation are not separate beings that forms duality but rather we immanently find the Creator within his Creation and the Creator reveals aspects of himself through the Tree of Life. The tree of life is the most important symbol in Kabbalah. Each of the circles are called sephirah (plural sephiroth) which can be described as centers of god-consciousness while the 22 paths connecting the sephiroth together are energy channels. There are many ways to divide The tree of life and one way is through the 4 worlds model. Each world is symbolized by one of the Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton or the Divine Name of God. Each world corresponds with an element and the minor arcana represents the signs and planets traversing down The Tree of Life. These worlds corresponds to the removal, differentiation, and undifferentiation from En Sof. These worlds can be viewed from two directions – from the top down – the direction of creation or from the down top – the direction of man’s transcendence to the Divine. I’m going to proceed via the direction of creation. A friend and I discussed the Kabbalic and Buddhist influences of the enneagram. She proposed that the 4 worlds of the Kabbalah corresponds with the head, heart, and gut triads, and the 4th world is the world of enlightenment. But from here on out, I’ll go into detail into how this works.

Figure 1: http://www.soul-guidance.com/houseofthesun/treeoflifetraditional.htm

From https://aleph.org/four-worlds-judaism:

“ATZILUT, fire, the holistic world of deep divine intuition and of beingness with God. Reality is merged; all is one. This is the world of essence, where we recognize ourselves as being a spark of God’s fire. It is not we who pray; rather, God prays in us. With God’s own eye we see ourselves. Chaya and Yechidah soul aspects.” – This is the realm of enlightment/Living Daylight. From the top-bottom model, we are born into this state, but our holding environment (to use Almaas terms) precipitate our fall from this state. From bottom-top direction our goal is to reach this state.

“BRIYAH, air, the symbolic world of the intellect, of contemplation, of pure thought. Everything is part of a pattern in this world; everything has a meaning. We understand ourselves as being the result of intended, loved, and continuous creation. Here we are commanded to exert ourselves to know and to reach the very edge of what is thinkable and understandable. This is the reality of poetry, wonder, intuition, and visualization. In this world, we can work with symbols and with dreams. Neshama soul aspect.” – this corresponds to the head triad

“YETZIRAH, water, the subjective world of vital feelings; the world of affect, of nuance, of aura, of sensitivity, of visceral and proprioceptive feelings. Things are seen as synchronistic in this world. This is the world of interdependence and relationship issues. Here is where our emotional being is attuned, where negative feelings of resentment, frustration, vindictiveness, and paranoia can be replaced by an attitude of gratefulness, appreciation, and joy. Here we can learn empathy, humility, and awareness of our own mortality. Ruach soul aspect.” – heart triad

“ASSIYAH, earth, the objective world, where we live with our bodies in the physical world of action, including action for spiritual purpose. This is the world of sensible, concrete facts and their data. Here we are conscious of the physical realm and the laws of nature as we observe them. Here we are aware of being a creation of God. This is the world of duality, in which everything is seen as separate, and subject to cause and effect. This is also the world of the life force, the senses, the breath, experiencing freedom and love of life, being the God-wrestler. Guf (body); Nefesh soul aspect.” – gut triad

Figure 2

In an older thread I have written this – In the Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot by Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero, Briah is associated with water and emotions (and intellect) while the Yetzirah associated with air and form. The associations are switched:

Atziluth is the first of the 4 worlds and it is the domain of the Primordial Fire. This fiery domain activated and gathers the other three worlds. This is associated with the Suit of Wands and the fire signs traverse this world. This the realm of pure divinity and the worlds are birthed by fire. Masculine energy. The cause or spark.

Briah is the world of creation and the domain of the Primordial Water which represents the fluid, inventive Min. This is the world of Pure Intellect. Feminine Energy. This world is associated with the Suit of Cups and water signs. The cause gives way to creation.

Yetzirah is the third level known as the world of Formation and the domain of Primordial Air resides here. The etheric blueprint behind the material universe is found here. The suit of swords and the air signs are associated with this world. From the creation of the universe we are able to get the form of the universe. This is also the most unstable world of them all as the suit of swords traverses through it.

Assiah is the final world, the world of Action. Primordial Earth resides here. The four elements both physically manifest in sensation and in the hidden properties of matter. Form makes room for action. This world is associated with the suit of Pentacles and the earth signs.

Each world, except for Assiah, contains 3 sephiroth which can be loosely associated with the 9 types. There are a lot of structural issues with this nonetheless. The worlds’ associated sephiroth don’t neatly correspond on a one-to-one basis with the types associated in each triad but rather the association is more general.

In the future, I would like to explore the structure and actual mathematics of the enneagram.

Attachment Themes In Non-Attachment Types

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Thread: would be curious to hear whether others relate.

Gut types, how does “Powerless” and other central 9 issues, resonate with you?

Head types, how does “Unsafe,” and other central 6 issues, resonate with you?

Heart types, how does “Worthless,” and other central 3 themes, resonate with you?

Edit: There is a current debate regarding whether “Unseen” is central to 9, or is an image issue. 9s and others, how does “Unseen” resonate with you?

Response: Not too long ago, I finished watching the HBO miniseries Chernobyl. The biggest threat wasn’t the nuclear radiation but the lies and the cover up for lies perpetuated by the USSR that ultimately led to the disaster and the attempted cover up of it. Whether it be a nation or an individual, lies are perpetuated to maintain one’s pride and power. As you know, pride(2) is the other face of deceit(3), and to maintain one’s pride, one must sometimes construct a personal mythology (4) in order to maintain the coveted, niche position. A sense of worthlessness is the crack in my own personal mythology that feeds my pride. In essence, I’m not as great, special, or indispensable as I thought I was therefore I’m worthless.Twos in general have an inflated sense of self, and I’m no exception. However, that self-inflation is built upon a foundation of defense mechanisms, fragile pride, and an intense personal narrative that I feed through imagination and action.

I’d rather be unseen than misconstrued, unheard, or worst of all, unveiled. To maintain a certain mystique and control over my image is to confer a sense of power and glamour to other people not unlike Soviet propaganda. The power comes in people buying into your propaganda. Once lies and half-truths take a life of their own, they become propaganda, and once propaganda gets reproduced and perpetuated enough times, it eventually becomes the Grand Narrative. Deceit requires more deceit in order to perpetuate itself, however it only takes one, core truth to destroy the whole edifice. The Chernobyl disaster exposed the incompetence, weakness, and lies of the Soviet Union and it was one of the events the catalyzed the dissolution of the USSR.

Return To The Cosmic Womb

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I’ve increasingly been seeing parallels between the 12th house and sx 9. Not unlike the 9, the 12th house is the karmic house of endings and the origin. It is the primordial soup, the cosmic womb to which we return to and are birthed from. It forms a polarity axis with the 6th house which is the house of practical service and work and in the 12th house that service is manifested as a cosmic sacrifice not unlike Jesus’s crucifixion. My sun AND venus are in the 12th house, I have a sx 9 fix, and I’m getting my associates in mortuary science to become a mortician. I chose this path because there’s something ceremonial, ritualistic, and primordial about presiding over of the transition from one phase of life into another. For me, this is the closest profession in the industrialized modern world that gets me closest to something so atavistically universal. I help the dead, like Charon transporting the newly deceased into Hades, return back to the cosmic womb. In some ways, through this, I myself vicariously return back to that cosmic womb where I finally reach a dissolution of my boundaries and identity.

“On the day I die, when I’m being carried
toward the grave, don’t weep. Don’t say,

He’s gone! He’s gone. Death has nothing to do with going away. The sun sets and

the moon sets, but they’re not gone.
Death is a coming together. The tomb

looks like a prison, but it’s really
release into union. The human seed goes

down in the ground like a bucket into
the well where Joseph is. It grows and

comes up full of some unimagined beauty.
Your mouth closes here, and immediately

opens with a shout of joy there.

One who does what the Friend wants done
will never need a friend.

There’s a bankruptcy that’s pure gain.
The moon stays bright when it
doesn’t avoid the night.

A rose’s rarest essence
lives in the thorn.

Childhood, youth, and maturity,
and now old age.

Every guest agrees to stay
three days, no more.

Master, you told me to
remind you. Time to go.

The angel of death arrives,
and I spring joyfully up.

No one knows what comes over me
when I and that messenger speak!

When you come back inside my chest no matter how far I’ve wandered off,
I look around and see the way.

At the end of my life, with just one breath left, if you come then, I’ll sit up and sing.

Last night things flowed between us
that cannot now be said or written.

Only as I’m being carried out
and down the road, as the folds of my shroud open in the wind,

will anyone be able to read, as on
the petal-pages of a turning bud,
what passed through us last night.

I placed one foot on the wide plain
of death, and some grand
immensity sounded on the emptiness.

I have felt nothing ever
like the wild wonder of that moment.

Longing is the core of mystery.
Longing itself brings the cure.
The only rule is, Suffer the pain.

Your desire must be disciplined,
and what you want to happen
in time, sacrificed.”
– Rumi, “On The Day I Die”

-Sarah, 2w1 9w8 5w6 Sp/Sx

Image Source: Unknown – It is not mine and credit goes to the artist who made it.

Image Header Source: https://deannewolfgram.com/2014/02/08/the-cosmic-womb-is-birthing-us/

Type 2: Pride of Place

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I’m a NiTe core 2 which if we go by the lay person’s understanding of 2, this combination would be paradoxical as the peasant understanding of 2 reads like a FeSi (ESFj) stereotype (NiTe’s conflictor). But if we frame 2 as a pride of place rather than some histrionic helper, then this combination is feasible. The helper archetype is just one face of pride of place. I take pride in what I can offer and it’s definitely not through emotional displays or being a martyr. I love being recognized for what I do because it validates who I am and what I can offer. It can be intellectual, psychological, sexual, romantic offerings etc. I instinctively laser in on the gaps and liminal spaces that need to be filled and make a niche for myself as someone who’s the best at filling in those gaps. I make myself indispensable however I can. I’m also very possessive of my role and the people I give my offerings to. I don’t like to share, so if I see someone usurping my niche I become extremely competitive and belligerent. I’ve always fashioned myself as a queen without a queendom, a place from which I was exiled from because I wasn’t worthy enough for the throne. My life has been a fight to earn and reclaim that throne however I can.

– Sarah, 2w1 9w8 5w6 Sp/Sx NiTe

Do Not Use Tests To Find Type

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The type assumptions denoted in tests are of the stereotypes of the types: 1s are merely perfectionists, 2s are Mother Teresas, 3s are overachievers, 4s are artists, 5 are introverted intellectuals, 6s are anxious skeptics, 7s are fun, 8s are aggressive 24/7, and 9s are doormats. Most importantly these tests measure personality not ego fixations. Each of the 9 types represents a viewpoint and angle on reality and the human condition with each having its specific fixation. These fixations are most importantly a distortion of each type’s holy idea, the higher octave and fully-actualized orientation to reality. Fixations represent a fall from the original holy idea. We all have an innate desire to reach it and unconsciously or subconsciously perceive the gap between where are and what could be but we do so in a distorted and fixated ways in order to preserve our ego attachments. Essentially we are all exiles to some degree. Personality is just the surface presentation of the ego hence I would refer to enneatypes not as personality types but as ego types. But I realize the confusion this can cause as the types are subdivided between ego, superego, and id types. However when I talk about ego, I’m referring to the attachment to the narratives we have of ourselves and the world around us. In reality these tests don’t even test what they are supposed to test, and not to mention, what they’re supposed to test, ego fixations and their associated passions, can’t be done through multiple choice and likert style testing.

This begs the question, can enneagram be codified through scientific and empirical standardization. Possibly. But it’s tricky. Should those methods be used to identify type? The only plausible method I can see is vultology, the study of facial expressions and body language, the same method to decipher someone’s Jungian cognitive type. But unlike JCF, there are more variables to factor in: core type, tritype, and instinctual variants, and isolating, finding the relations between these variables, and the codifying them. would be a Sisyphean task. It should not be forgotten that the while some systems can be based on empiricism their premises can still be built on shaky theoretical foundations which compromises the integrity of the whole enterprise. Enneagram is primarily a psycho-spiritual phenomenological system in which we look at the structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view with intentionality being the linchpin of our consciousness: the directedness of experience toward things in the world, the property of consciousness that it is a consciousness of or about something. It only lends itself to scientific methods via statistical trends between type and various phenomena. While they are trends and patterns as to how certain types express their fixations those patterns needs to be individually contextualized (and vice versa). There’s no easy and fast way to learn this system and to decipher type. Growing is putting in the work and effort, and uncovering the patterns yourself. The backbone of enneagram is Socrates’ saying of know thyself. Not your autobiography but the ways in which you inquire and discover what triggers you, what gives you your raison d’etre, what fills you with dread, and the bullshit you tell yourself.

Sp/Sx and Power

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I saw this on the enneagram section of a socionics forum:

“Imagine a garden-like place where semi-eroticised psycho-emotional nudity is exchanged … two people in an intimate space, sharing the same apple, transferring saliva and experiencing the cool inside of the fruit together, simultaneously. [This is sexual-second-ness.] …At the same time, in the jungle of neurotic overemphasis, the boundary between you and other ‘animals’ is the imperative need, always on alert. The combined stew of these elements creates a certain style of vigilance and agitation.

The sexual energy, because of its underbelly of polar reactivity, smolders and some portion of it eventually sours in the tightly-sealed container (it’s not given free flow); the bacteria creates a second burgeoning culture that presses at the seams, swelling with a fever. And because social is last, there’s an unintelligence about how it looks from the outside, so ‘the problem’, in contrast to sp/so irritiability, takes on more offbeat forms, which tends to ‘lose people’….without the loss fully registering.”

“Power dynamics is another sp/sx theme, no matter the e-type, and since sex has much to do with power, sexuality is one place where the sp-wall can manifest its ascendancy by blocking various kinds of outside emotional and sexual ‘penetration’. In this case, the sexual awareness brought forth from being sx-second actually leads to avoidance of sx…on one level at least. This latter idea starts to get at the solipsism that’s been associated with sp/sx.”

Source: http://www.the16types.info/…/40499-Instinct-Stackings-Scrap…

I’m assuming these notes were originally made on the now defunct Enneagram Institute board, and I’m going to comment on this specific excerpt. Sex and power have always bee inextricably linked as often there’s a tension between keeping one’s boundaries intact and vulnerably surrendering yourself to the other. In the sp/sx, the sexual (sx) and self-preservation (sp) instincts are in conflict. Sx wants to transmute but the sp wants to keep the self intact. In some notes on sp/sx, I’ve read that sexual instinct of the sp/sx can lead to fetishistic territory. Whether the fetishism is done with an object or it’s towards a person, it creates a barrier between the subject (you) and the object (the fetishistic object). There’s no threat of the subject losing one’s boundaries and power in relation to the object but rather one is acting upon the object, transgressing its boundaries, and infusing one’s sexual imprint onto the object. You’re in control of its image and relation to the object itself. Paradoxically, fetishism denies sexual difference hence why you get feet fetish, fetishizing of pieces of clothing, etc. But the fetishism presented here is not necessarily identifying with and engaging in some socio-sexual silo as we colloquially know it but instead a desire that has the ability and power to connect with, disconnect with, and modify other forms. People with this stacking don’t mind transgressing other people’s boundaries but are more hesitant of others transgressing their own, though they may play with and tease with the idea of having their boundaries crossed. It should also be mentioned that the association with death and sex with sp/sx is deeply interwoven in here. Sp/sx plays with the idea of the obliteration of the self because it DEEPLY fears it but is also is attracted to it. There is a sort of gritty dauntlessness to this stacking where the forces of life and death are front center in high relief.

The Neptunian Energy of the 593 Tritype

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If there’s one word I can describe the 593 tritype (in any configuration and from here on, I’ll use 593 as a catch all for the tritype in general) it’s Neptunian. In astrology, Neptune, the ruler of Pisces, is associated with mysticism, spirituality, the occult, collective unconscious, illusions, delusions, fame, glamour, deception, and propaganda. If we are to look at Neptune, we must look at where it is placed in the solar system. The planet is between Uranus and Pluto and the sign that’s ruled by Neptune, Pisces, marks the end point of the astrological cycle, a return to the primordial soup. Uranus, who rules Aquarius, is the planet associated with our collective conscious: our culture, group affiliation, progress, discovery, zeitgeist, and revolutions. As we transition from Uranus to Neptune our collective conscious percolates down to the unconscious where symbols and archetypes formulate and influence how we operate. Our individual boundaries dissipate as we get subsumed by the collective unconscious. As we transition from Neptune to Pluto, the ruler of Scorpio and the planet associated with transformation, death, rebirth, and power, we can see the powerful and transformative power of the collective unconscious once we are willing to take the risk in cleansing ourselves of our ego attachments and delusions.The collective elements of humanity get embedded in our being in ways we can’t consciously process. Being that 5 is the solitary investigator, particularly of more esoteric yet universal systems (this is especially true of the 5w4), and 3 and 9 are attachment types where core, universal human fixations are crystallized, you get a person who’s simultaneously apart from humanity yet is deep within the collective unconscious of humanity (or has the potential to be), hence why this tritype is named “Collecting Unconscious” by Robin Goldsmith.

The other side of the archetypal and spiritual side of Neptune is fame and propaganda, and within those subsets Neptune is associated with glamour, cosmetics, and illusions. One must wonder, how do these two seemingly diametrically opposing sides coexist within one body? Well, what underlies both polarities is the subsuming of the individual ego to a higher power (religion and spirituality) or to the collective (fame). Basically ego dissolution. In regards to fame, the celebrity’s identity is the property of his or hers agent, PR team, and the public. The celebrity has given up privacy for the sake of fame and their craft. With that the public reflexively project their desires and feelings onto these celebrities thus they become a mirror for our culture at large.

Paradoxically, though celebrities have given up a great deal of their privacy and identity to the collective, the public doesn’t necessarily “know” them, at least not their most private fears, secrets, and desires (though those do surface if they’re sensational enough) even though the public might speculate on these things. The 593 is particularly stealthy when it comes to image manipulation especially when 3 is in the lead. A lot of people may have an idea of who the 593 is but in reality the face they show is only a facet of what’s revealed. I don’t think the 593 him-/herself fully understand the depth and multiplicity of the masks they don. The 5’s “information is currency” in conjunction with the 3’s image consciousness creates an awareness of how information can influence how others perceive you. Then when you add the 9ish amorphousness and intuitive feel for how they and other people occupy space, you get someone who can successfully be a chameleon in any situation they’re situated in. They have the ability to detach themselves from their environment while also intuitively knowing what to anticipate from it. Though it could inadvertently create a feeling of amorphousness towards one’s own identity.

The Different Versions of You

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This seems common sense to me, though maybe it’s an obvious truth that I took for granted or perhaps actually wasn’t fully aware of its implications until later in my life. And what’s most interesting about this axiom are the implications it holds.

This train of thought entails that the self is a multiplicity with one layer being the “true self” and the projections that others have of us as different aspects or angles of the self. The true self is defined as thoughts and feelings that are automatically and naturally identifiable with “who we are” (tautology much?). What separates the true core self from the projections is that not only does the core feel entirely ours and ours alone, it also doesn’t require additional layering, ordering, and explanation like projections do. The core self posits itself as an a priori truth even though in reality the self is a dynamic entity contingent upon interfacing with the world. Put it simply, the self is constructed through the interactions with others and it’s not just a private affair. This makes the core self and projections not so cleanly delineated and defined. If we think of the self in a more dialectical manner than as one having an isolated core self and then having projecting branches, the “the you that really isn’t someone” makes sense in a way. The more that I delve into enneagram the more that I glaringly notice how blind we are to our ownselves. Even people with a clear self-perception and good self-awareness will have blindspots. Part of it being that we can’t accurately view ourselves panoramically in all contexts in an entirely detached manner. The other part is that we deceive ourselves, often times unconsciously, in order to assuage our egos from the existential assaults that life presents us with.

Image is a powerful thing, one that operates and is metabolized on both conscious and subliminal levels and fully and truly realizing this is both liberating and terrifying for me. Throughout my life I’ve always been image conscious, and the older I get the better I am at presenting and refining a certain image I want to portray but at the same time the more aware I am in recognizing the cracks and gaps between the core self, intention, and presentation, and the ways in which that misalignment haunts me. Compared to other people, my sense of self is a bit more amorphous and in flux. But at the same time, it makes it easier to manipulate other people’s projections, as all they really are their projections of their desires and biases towards you, in the way that I see fit. So much that I can better map out and cannibalize their psyches in ways they could never imagine. So why am I (semi-)revealing my tricks of the trade? There is a desire to be found out, as odd as that sounds. I respect and admire those who can pick up my subtle cues and serve it back to me in however way. It shows their ability to see beyond appearances and that is a scary yet beautiful thing to be confronted with as a lot of people I’ve encountered can’t see past their nose. It’s downright sublime to encounter someone with that sort of clarity, to be stripped of the pretenses I’ve propagated.

Image Header Source: https://www.mariakonnikova.com/2012/03/wearing-masks/