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Spiritual Warfare Forum: Enneagram

by Catherine Frakas 30 Dec 2002

Enneagram QUESTION from Campbell January 4, 2001 If you don't mind being annoyed with one more question on this perennially recurring subject:
Let me first say that I do not and will not practice the use of the enneagram. Although I understand few of the arguments against it, the very fact that it is so widely rejected, or at least controversial, among those Catholics who try to live according to formally defined Catholic orthodoxy certainly places the material on my more-risky-than-it-is-worth list.
My question regards one of the arguments-specifically the fact that the enneagram is considered a form of divination. In years past, long before I heard the controversy surrounding it, some friends guided me through a placement of myself on the enneagram. What they walked me through was little more than a pop psychology self evaluation. The enneagram chart was presented to me not as some mandala for meditation but rather as an illustration of the theoretical relationships between people of the different proposed personality types. It was poor psychology to be sure, but I saw no invocation of supernatural powers to determine one's personality type, nor mystical ways of interpreting signs to acquire esoteric self-knowledge--things which, to me, are the definition of the word divination. Perhaps they introduced me to an incomplete form of the practice of the enneagram?
I have always had misgivings about the enneagram because, despite protests to the contrary, the only practice of it I have seen has been an attempt to cubbyhole people into predefined roles determined by the supposition that they must be manifestations of one of nine personality types. However, I had no idea of the use of divination, nor any hint of occultic practice (yes, its source is from a supernatural belief outside our faith, but so also the practice of acupuncture, which has since been scientifically proven to be efficacious in some cases, so this does not make a clinching argument). Please explain to me what sort of divination is used in this practice. Is there a part of the practice that involves some sort of soothsaying, of which I was not aware? Please clarify for me how the practice involves divination.
Sincerely and gratefully yours, Jeff.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on March 12, 2001 Dear Mr. Campbell:
Divination in the same way that Astrology is divination -- trying to divine personality types for one thing. And there are other uses even more directly occultic. Perhaps the people you experienced did not delve into the more obvious occultic aspects, but nevertheless they are there.
Taken from The New Age: A Christian Critique by Ralph Rath
In her book, Ranaghan said the man primarily responsible for transmitting the enneagram into the West was George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, an Armenian occultist who lived in Russia from 1877 to 1947. He also had a great influence on the contemporary New Age movement. Gurdjieff's writings, Ranaghan noted, are filled with descriptions of planetary influences, astral bodies, clairvoyant and telepathic experiments, and with explanations of the true significance of occult interests such as and the Tarot. For Gurdjieff, the enneagram had secret powers not particularly allied to personality typology. The enneagram is a universal symbol, Gurdjieff believed. All knowledge can be included in the enneagram and with the help of the enneagram it can be interpreted. Back to Index Page

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