The 27 Subtypes
by Peter O'Hanrahan
Since the Enneagram made its first appearance in the transpersonal psychology community in California in the early 1970's, the study of subtypes has been a powerful tool for applying the knowledge of the Enneagram to our daily lives. Learn:
- How your inner work and your relationships can benefit from this advanced Enneagram material;
- How the ruling emotion of our type is expressed through our instinctual behavior;
- How people are possessed, for better or worse, by the spirit of the archetype;
- How people of the same subtype can seem more alike than people of the same Enneagram point.
From one point of view, the instincts and subtypes are closely associated with three crucial developmental stages of early childhood:
- Self-Preservation - early bonding and grounding as an infant - our right to exist.
- Sexual - the growing awareness of self and other in the first "dyad" with our mother or primary caregiver - our right to be loved.
- Social - entering the larger community of family, friends, and school mates - our right to belong.
Studying our instincts and subtypes can help us identify life-long patterns and recover from early losses and insecurities.
From another point of view, these subtypes can be described as the central archetypes (patterns) of human consciousness. Each of them has a special role in our society and in the history of our culture. Each of them has its major strengths and drawbacks. For people who are interested in personal or spiritual growth, who are on the path of "individuation," it will be vital to come to terms with these powerful archetypes and the role that they play in our lives.
Here is a quick scan of the terms for the 27 subtypes, (not to be taken too literally):
The Self-Preservation subtypes
- One - Pioneer - overcoming anxiety with hard work.
- Two - Nurturer - feeling privileged and earning approval through caretaking.
- Three - Company Man/Woman - achieving success and financial security.
- Four - Creative Individualist - recklessness in pursuit of authenticity.
- Five - Castle Defender - home as refuge, or having a "womb with a view."
- Six - Family Loyalist - seeking safety through warmth and affection.
- Seven - Gourmand - enjoying fun, food and family.
- Eight - Survivalist - protecting the space and the family.
- Nine - Collector - appetite for food and possessions.
The Sexual or One-to-One subtypes
- One - Evangelist - over-zealous or jealous.
- Two - Lover - using seduction or aggression to gain attention.
- Three - Movie Star - having the best masculine or feminine image.
- Four - Drama Queen or King - beating the competition through power or style.
- Five - Secret Agent - keeping things confidential.
- Six - Warrior - overcoming fear through maintaining strength or creating beauty.
- Seven - Salesman/woman - fascination and suggestibility with ideas, people,and products.
- Eight - Dictator - the drive for possession and maybe surrender.
- Nine - Seeker - sexual or spiritual union and the urge to merge.
The Social subtypes
- One - Social Registrar - socially correct but non-adaptable.
- Two - Ambassador - seeking recognition thru ambition.
- Three - Politician - achieving social success and prestige.
- Four - Critical Commentator - overcoming social shame.
- Five - Professor - social symbols and systems.
- Six - Social Guardian - doing one's duty.
- Seven - Utopian Visionary - limitations and making sacrifices for the cause.
- Eight - Group Leader - fiercely committed to friends and social causes.
- Nine - Community Benefactor - strengths and problems with participation.