Oksanen, Reijo

About the Enneagram

If Gurdjieff’s cosmology, and the way he presented the Laws of Three and Seven and the Enneagram, would have not been based on objective reality, the real world, surely they would have survived him only as a curiosity! To put it in another way: Gurdjieff did not invent things out of the blue and make the laws, he discovered the laws of World Creation and World Maintenance as cosmic truths and expressed them with the help of the Law of the Octave, the Law of Three and the Enneagram. These discoveries he made are all part of some traditional knowledge or other. After all, Trinity and the Holy number Seven, are both found in most religions, including Christianity (in spite of the attempts by the church authorities to keep the faith pure)!

Gurdjieff gave in Beelzebub’s Tales the name ‘Legominism’ to the transmission of knowledge to the coming generations. What has happened to his legominism about the Enneagram in the 56 years after his death?


Some Twists in the History of the Enneagram

In a web site called Catholic Culture I found the following quote:

“The Enneagram was developed from the Sufi religion, though it was not made up by the Sufis. It was introduced to the West by a Russian, George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, who sought to use it to foretell the future. It later gained acceptance among some Catholics. The Enneagram as we have it now was invented in Chile.”

Most of the statements in the above quote are not based on facts. It should be noted that Sufism is not a religion (and not even exclusive to Islam), but it is true that the ‘Sufi Enneagram’ exists. However, Gurdjieff presented the Enneagram differently. Gurdjieff did not attempt to foretell the future with the Enneagram; in fact he did not attempt to foretell the future at all! The ‘Enneagram of personality’ has been used by some Catholics, and probably still is. The ‘Enneagram of personality’ originated with a Chilean, called Oscar Ichazo.

Most people coming in contact with the Enneagram for the first time will read or hear that it is “a form of self-analysis based on nine personality types” and they are of course hearing the truth! In other words the Enneagram is a tool used in psychology with many different kinds of applications on related subjects.

What we can also hear is that this ‘Enneagram of personality’ has been further developed into a tool for spiritual development. This use of the Enneagram was already started by Ichazo, continued by his student Claudia Naranjo and further developed by eminent ‘enneagramatists’ like A. H. Almaas and others. This is also true!

This “further development of the ‘Enneagram of personality’ into a tool for spiritual development” is indeed a remarkable happening; after all the Enneagram was introduced by Gurdjieff nearly 100 years ago in Russia as a tool for spritual development.

This whole process of ‘development’ confirms the action to be according to the law: there are no straight lines in nature, in our actions; the Enneagram has made a full circle.

Enneagram and the Three Kinds of Food

The Last Supper

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci - Painted 1495-1498 at Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan; See a high resolution picture here.

There are indeed three kinds of food in this painting! Gurdjieff specified the three kinds of food as ordinary food, air and impressions. By the way, Leonardo da Vinci is one of the few artists mentioned by Gurdjieff. Leonardo’s Last Supper is a work of Objective Art. More on Objective art by Agnes Hidveghy and in my article at: GIG.

We do not know where Gurdjieff got the idea of the Enneagram and we do not know how it ended up in the Last Supper!

Is it a co-incidence that this painting has the elements of the Enneagram in it? The keys to the Enneagram are on the table, as I heard Agnes Hidveghy say in the 2004 All & Everything Conference. It is quite a startling discovery when you can make it! (Of course there are also other details of great value in the painting, but they are not the subjects under discussion.)

What Happened to the Legominism?

It found its way into the world through Oscar Ichazo, Claudion Naranjo, A. H. Almaas and many others.

In other words: the Legominism has worked and the Enneagram is now used as a structure in psychological and spiritual work!


What have food, eating, supper and Jesus Christ to do with spiritual development and how do they relate to the Enneagram?

At what number on the Enneagram does Jesus appear?

What has food (in its three forms) to do with energy?

Is energy related to spiritual development?

What is the energy of the impressions?

What are the impressions?

How can we in practice digest these three kinds of food and use the energy that they give us?

The ‘impressions’ are all the things that I experience. Depending on my degree of consciousness, my state, I can either use these impressions and experiences as food or not.

Food, that is ordinary food, is also connected with impressions; it is an experience to eat, whether good or bad! After all the taste is not in the food – it is in my mouth.

Air is also connected with impressions. To be aware of the air coming in and going out, the simple so called ‘conscious breathing’, is to receive the impressions of my body breathing.

The quantity of impressions I receive at any time, every second, is enormous and moreover takes place at the speed of light. I can sense, with the different senses, only a small part of the reality, and of this small part that I actually can sense, I can only ‘take in’, or digest, a small fraction.

Apart from the senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching) themselves we have two ‘receptors’ for the impressions: thinking and feeling. Usually I am identified with what goes on in my thoughts and feelings (like I also am with what I sense, see, hear etc.) and therefore I do not receive any new impressions. The automatic functioning of thoughts and emotions in me I can compare to eating the same food over and over again; very little taste!

I receive these impressions and my experiences whether I am aware of it or not. Example: the dreams at night; I am asleep, but the impressions are still coming in. Sometimes I can remember, sometimes not. Another example: daydreaming; works the same way.

The ‘First Conscious Shock’ known as ‘Self-remembering’, i.e. that ‘I am’ when I am receiving impressions, makes it possible for this energy, this food, to actually become food and to be digested by me. Gurdjieff said: ‘everything more vivid’.

Gurdjieff 1949

© Reijo Oksanen December 18th 2005