The Enneagram Personality Styles

The Enneagram Personality Styles is taught by Clare Loughrige. This workshop or retreat will reveal your personality style and its link to how you are made in God’s image and how to let go of what is keeping you from the living the life you desire.


Enneagram diagram



by Rev. Clare Loughrige

If you google the word Enneagram, depending on the site and the teacher, you will find everything from hopeful and brilliant to scary and absurd. You will find Christ, and you will find weirdness.  As a follower of Jesus, I find the same thing when I google the word "Christianity." There are Pharisees, charlatans, and people with barely a hint of the life of Jesus who "preach" about Jesus and the Scriptures. Just because someone uses a name doesn't mean they live the name or handle that name in a way that honors the name.  The Enneagram is a personality tool like Meyers-Briggs, DISC or StrengthsFinder BUT when used with its original intent has a built-in strategy to lead you to the life you were designed to live and the God who designed your life. So, with that in mind, let me introduce you to the tool.

“With God’s help, I shall become myself.”
Soren Kierkegaard

Becoming ourselves is the unique work of the Enneagram.  Many personality tests describe who we are, but the Enneagram calls us back to the original intent of our one and only life. The Enneagram Personality Styles is a spiritual and psychological system for mapping the nine personalities. This map allows an individual to name their story and be aware of the way that story is moving toward salvation and integration or disintegration. 


“By Salvation I mean not barely according to the vulgar notion deliverance from hell 

or going to heaven but a present deliverance from sin 

a restoration of the soul to its primitive health its original purity 

a recovery of the divine nature 

the renewal our souls after the image of God 

in righteousness and true holiness in justice mercy and truth.”

John Wesley 


The Enneagram helps us see the primitive health and purity of our soul and describes how to recover that purity.  This tool can bring awareness to everyday life, keeping us in touch with that which brings us a blessed life.  Staying awake and aware of the way we live is both liberating and empowering.


When awareness becomes regular and intentional, we let go of anxiety, guilt, fear, and shame and virtues flow through us. This tool releases old patterns of reaction and brings movement rather than stuckness. 


Enneagram Basics

The name Enneagram comes from two Greek words: “ennea” meaning "nine" and “gram” meaning "points." The Enneagram is a model about nine distinct and interrelated personality types, or nine ways of seeing and experiencing the world. 


Someone said, “All models are wrong, but some are useful.  This system is more than useful; it can transform your life. The Enneagram provides an explanation of what the Bible describes, about “the fall of man” and the sins that have tripped us up since then. Once we discover how we have fallen, this map illuminates new choices on how we would like to journey as a "new creation" from here.


The Enneagram also gives a description of psychological filters or blindness that have developed as our coping strategies.   We all take reality in through a filter, our perceived reality. Discovering that "we don't see things as they are, but we see things as we are" can heal our sight.


Richard Rohr describes it this way: “All problems are interpreted today psychologically, but the real solutions are spiritual. There is a primary blindness in each of us, an addiction.  What we are addicted to is- self and protecting that self. Until that egocentricity is broken, we will read all of life through personal self-interest. It is the shape and name of our primary flaw.  This typology uses nine basic shapes to describe this flaw, a primary ill perception that we’re addicted to.”(Enneagram: The Discernment of Spirits, Richard Rohr MP3)


This flaw is called “false self” compulsion or "old man."  The system can help us unmask the false self and brings that false self to the transforming power of God.  That is the goal of the Enneagram. 


When a person is humbled by the truth of who they are, both their exquisite essence and unconscious compulsion, one can bring intention to that awareness and experience the transforming grace of God.  The truth will set us free, and it will also humble and disturb us! Unlike other personality typologies, this model sees the shadow or wounded personality as the false self and the true self-being your God-image/the Essence or God. The work of this system is to "become yourself."


The system is not intended to put anyone in a box.  No individual is one type alone.  We are made up of a dominant type, and two numbers on either side called “wings” and a Harmony Triad, which point to the way of deformation & disintegration along with transformation & integration.  This system, therefore, is very individual based on the individual journey and each one's willingness to yield to God.


We will use many characteristics of the personality in detailing each types style. In describing the journey of the soul, we will unpack each types “true self/false self” dynamics.


True Self (essence) emerges from union with God and has nothing to do with performance. It was the non-acquired self. It is our essence, our reflection of the God-image.  The truest thing about us is that we are God's temple, a home for God. Virtues describe the true self.


False Self (compulsive, old nature-self) is the psychological self that is made up of past and present, the family of origin issues, nature, nurture, free will.  It is your false self, the adapted, coping style of self.  The vices describe the false self.


Transformation (redemption) is bringing the wounded false self to God and being healed by the same thing that has wounded you (much like inoculation).



Have you seen the movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs?” It is a classic story of how too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing.  A boy makes a machine that can rain food from the sky to deliver an island that has lived on sardines only and before you know it they are being attacked by an overabundance of meatballs and all the other good food. Just like the movie or the weather, any given day you could show up as "true-self with a chance of false self," or "false self with an intermittent chance of true-self."


On our best day, we are a mixed bag of motivations and possible reactions.  Developing awareness, of all parts of our human condition, has a transformational muscle.


Wisdom Sayings That Call us to be aware and then Move us from awareness to Spiritual transformation-

All wisdom, if it is to be thought genuine, consists almost entirely of two parts:  the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” John Calvin

“People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the circular motions of the stars and they pass by themselves without wondering. ”Augustine


“I met the enemy and the enemy is me.”Unknown


“The sinner is actually one who does not love himself/herself enough.” Julian of Norwich


“If you do not transform your wounds you will transmit them.” Richard Rohr


"If men knew themselves, God would heal and pardon them." Blaise Pascal


Spiritual transformation is the process by which Christ is formed in us for the glory of God the abundance of our own lives, and for the sake of others.” 

Ruth Haley-Barton


Each of these "wisdom sayings" builds on the next taking us from an invitation to know God and self; including facing the beauty and grime of our lives, resulting in the transformation which exalts God, forms our lives for the good of ourselves and the world. These building blocks lay the groundwork for The Enneagram of Personality Styles: a tool for self-knowledge and spiritual transformation.


The Enneagrams History

There is some dispute about the roots of the Enneagram.  Jerry Wagner, Clinical Psychologist and Department of Psychology and the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University, Chicago says, “Some authors believe they have found variations of the Enneagram symbol in the sacred geometry of the Pythagoreans who 4000 years ago were interested in the deeper meaning and significance of numbers. This line of mystical mathematics was passed on through Plato, his disciple Plotinus, and subsequent neo-Platonists.” (


Richard Rohr has done a comprehensive study in the Enneagram’s roots in his book The Enneagram: a Christian Perspective.  Through this research, we find that the Enneagram roots can be traced back to the desert monk, Evagrius Ponticus, (AD 399) and the Franciscan monk, Ramon Llull, in the 12th and 13th centuries.   Ponticus wrote about how the desert fathers and mothers worked to help people grow spiritually. 


Both Ponticus and Llull saw patterns in the way people viewed themselves and life.  The patterns developed into systems for conversion and formation. Ponticus started with the seven capital sins (as defined by the desert mothers and fathers) to create the basis of the “shadow side” of the Enneagram.  Ponticus added “deceit” to make 8 and the final “compulsion of fear” was added at some point which is unknown to make 9.

Centuries later Ramon Llull took eight missionary trips to the Muslim world (Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria) in his work as an evangelist. He used Ponticus’ work as an evangelical tool.  Ramon Llull produced an extensive work on life patterns.   Although the Sufi schools eventually adopted the work, the Enneagram seems to have gotten lost to the west. His work included the use of geometric forms to map out various patterns depicted by what is similar to what is called the Harmony Triads, represented by 3 triangles. This pattern is the wisdom of my work on the ©iEnneagram, Motions of the Soul and in this guide.

It appears that further discovery was done in the Sufi schools of spiritual direction and returned to the Christian west in the late 60’s by Jesuit trained Oscar Ichazo.  Ichazo taught the system to his student Claudio Naranjo, a psychiatrist.  Naranjo taught the Enneagram in Berkley California in the 70’s having added his psychological knowledge.  Robert Ochs then taught the Egram with a combination of spiritual direction with psychological understanding to a group of Jesuits who, after testing and theological examination, began to use this form in spiritual direction and retreats.  Initially, the Enneagram was intended to be taught in the oral tradition but finally found its way into print in the 80's by people like Helen Palmer, Don Riso, Richard Rohr, Pat O’Leary and others. 


Through Ochs, the Enneagram was introduced to various Christian communities where Jerome Wagner, learned the Enneagram.  I am a certified teacher under Jerome Wagner. My work has also been accepted by Wagner’s, First Analysis Institute of Integrative Studies.  *For over 20 years the First Analysis Institute and Loyola University (Chicago) has recognized experts from the fields of psychology, psychiatry, organizational development, business, education, spirituality, theology, et al, to explore the rules and applications of the Personality Enneagram.” *

The Enneagram industry continues to grow in the secular world. The disciplines of business and psychology have taken it to new heights.   Stanford University and George Washington Business Schools are teaching this model.  However, those of us that see this as a tool of spiritual transformation are sad about the Enneagram being trivialized into, self -development.  The power of the Enneagram is a sacred tool to assist us in being conformed to the image of Christ.  In its pure form the Enneagram assists Christ followers in discovering interior freedom.   It offers knowledge to assist us in moving from self-referennced living ot Holy Spirit guidance, from compulsive living to contemplative living, from information to transformation, from vice to virtue and from “False Self” to “True Self.” 

 © The Enneagram Personality Styles-A Tool for Self-Knowledge and Transformation, From pages 7-9- Clare Loughrige 2016. First Printing, 2007 All Rights Reserved Because this material is original do not make copies of this material.