The Enneagram is a personality typing system that has been used for centuries to help people understand themselves and others. Each number on the Enneagram corresponds with a different personality type. Tarot cards also have associated meanings, often related to different aspects of human life. What happens when you put the two together?
In this post, we’ll explore how the Enneagram can be used to better understand tarot card readings.
We’ll look at each number on the Enneagram and discuss the corresponding tarot card meanings. If you’re interested in deepening your understanding of both systems, then this post is for you!
On the journey of self-discovery, we find ourselves reflected in our tarot cards. Often, our cards are mirrors of our personalities. They reveal our decisions and desires before we realize them for ourselves.
When we lack self-awareness, we impede our spiritual growth. We experience the naivety of the Fool, unsure of who we are and where we are going.
The enneagram system is a guiding hand along your journey to the World. Through the power of archetypes, the enneagram answers the questions of why and how. Why are you this enneagram type, and how can you grow from here?
Theory of Relflection
Enneagram theory is a human personality system divided into nine basic personality types. Each personality type centers around a core motivation and core fear, the foundations of behavior.
Your dominant type develops by the end of childhood and doesn’t change. Individual differences like natural temperament and childhood experiences form your enneagram.
One way to indentify your personality type is through your core childhood wound.
The childhood wound does not always imply abuse or unloving parents. Think of it as a struggle that shapes the way a child perceives the world and themselves.
A child taught that the key to heaven is righteousness may take on the perfectionism of Enneagram 1. A sibling that believes their own needs are a burden to authority might retreat into themselves as an Enneagram 5. Each experience encourages different traits.
How the Enneagram Works
Your enneagram type fosters self-knowledge in profound ways, in part because it gives you a place to start. How can you move forward if you don’t know what you want? How can you heal if you don’t know that you’re bleeding?
The enneagram of personality is like reading the prequel to your current chapter: it’s your origin story and hero’s journey all in one. You gain the perspective of the removed narrator and see yourself through the looking glass. The important aspects of your personality are crystal clear.
Tarot has the advantage of many years of developing a back story to many of the court card personalities and major arcana images so it can be helpful to visualize these characteristics as cards.
Think about how valuable this self-realization is. Once you learn your anger stems from self-preservation, you can deconstruct the defenses that keep others away. Your instinctual energies are no longer a burden but a place to work from.
When you study the enneagram of personality, you build successful relationships with others. You understand the shame of your image-conscious partner and the ego fixations of your parents. Human nature is no longer an enigma when you read the signs of the nine types.
Consider the enneagram figure the Rosetta Stone of personality assessment.
Understanding The Enneagram Diagram
The enneagram figure can seem confusing at first, but it’s a great way to conceptualize interconnected personality types. Let’s begin with a brief overview.
An enneagram is a geometric figure with nine points. Each point represents a different personality type.
Think of each point as a tarot card and connecting lines as a tarot card spread.
Your primary type, like an individual card, has meaning on its own. You gain more information when you add other cards – or personality types – to the equation. This is a common theme in the system.
Directions of Enneagram Stress and Growth
The enneagram figure maps out how our behaviors change situationally. Two lines protrude from each enneagram point, illustrating the pathways of stress and growth. As we traverse through different levels of health, we take on the characteristics of other enneagram types.
There are two sequences for the direction of stress:
Every line connects the basic enneagram type with their worst and best halves. A stressed Type 4 delves into their own destructive behaviors first. They devolve from self-confident to self-absorbed and lament their loneliness.
An enneagram 4’s negative feelings manifest as Type 2 behaviors when stress worsens. The stressed 4 is desperate to feel needed, and they become dependent on the validation of others. The Individualist shows the worst side of the Helper.
An enneagram experiencing self-development will follow the same sequence but in reverse. An advancing Type 4 actualizes a Type 1’s positive personality traits.
Centers of Intelligence
The enneagram symbol divides into three centers of intelligence, or triads. You operate from this center when you make decisions. Each center associates with part of the body: the Heart (Feeling center), the Head (Thinking center), and the Gut (Instinctive center).
The Heart Triad consists of Enneagram Types 2, 3, and 4, and they use their feelings to make decisions. These personality types crave connection, recognition, and acceptance. The need for approval stems from their core emotion of shame.
The Head Triad includes Enneagram Types 5, 6, and 7. These are the thinkers of the world, using analysis to determine dangers. If you identify with this triad, fear can influence your decisions.
Enneagram Types 8, 9, and 1 make up the Gut Triad, and their dominant emotion is anger. Their instinctual energies create their “act first, think later” mindsets.
These personality types are defined by one choice: fight or flight.
Each enneagram personality type has two wings. Wings are the adjacent types to your core personality type. For example, a 6 would have 5 wing (6w5) and 7 wing (6w7).
Wings represent the energy you share with other types in the enneagram system. You may take on the personality traits of your wings
There is some debate about how much we lean on our wings, but most people favor one over the other. Spiritual growth is developing your “second wing,” the wing you are not naturally drawn to. Using both wings creates a more balanced personality type.
Visualizing this as a choice between one image of a court card personality or another or asking a wing personality for help developing those characteristics as if you were interacting with a spirit guide or a personal coach in your growth journey can be an interesting and engaging meditation.
History of The Enneagram
Many Greek words have found their place in our language, and the word enneagram is no different. It comes from the words “ennea” (nine) and “gram” (drawing).
Unlike its linguistic origins, enneagram theorists contest its ancient roots. Some teachers attribute the enneagram to esoteric Judaism, while others cite the desert fathers, an early Christian mystic group.
Although the ancient enneagram is up for debate, it’s widely accepted that Oscar Ichazo philosopher first taught the modern enneagram in the 1960s. Ichazo shared the theory of personality through the Aria School, which he founded. His enneagram teachings included personality descriptions and ego fixations of the nine types.
A Chilean psychiatrist, Claudio Naranjo, introduced the enneagram of personality to the United States. A student of Ichazo, he taught the enneagram until his passing in 2019.
Learn About Enneagram and The Tarot
Check out our other articles to expand your knowledge and continue on your journey of self-discovery.