The Personality Matrix: A simpler alternative to the Enneagram symbol

The Enneagram Symbol

The Enneagram personality types use a symbol that was meant for a different purpose. The Enneagram symbol was originally used by G.I. Gurdjieff to make sense of processes.

The steps of the process were placed on the numbers of the symbol. The numbers indicated the sequential flow of the process while the lines were used to indicate how the steps influenced one another as well as how outside factors were brought into the process.

During the 1960s, Oscar Ichazo placed personality types on the symbol and began using it in a very different way than Gurdjieff. As Ichazo's types evolved into today's personality types many people wrongly associated the history of the types with the history and usage of the symbol creating a great deal of confusion around the types.

The personality types may be more easily understood by ignoring the Enneagram symbol and seeing them in terms of a simple 3 x 3 matrix.

The Primary Triads

Each Enneagram type has a preoccupation with one of three centers of intelligence. These centers can go by various labels. The personality color test uses the labels behavior, emotion, and thought.

From this the nine types can be grouped into three groups of three types. With each group or triad representing a different center and associated with one of three primary colors.

Primary Triads

  • Red (Behavior) Triad: types 8, 9, and 1
  • Blue (Emotion) Triad: types 2, 3, and 4
  • Yellow (Thought) Triad: types 5, 6, and 7

You can click here for more info on the primary triads.

The Secondary Triads

Each Enneagram type is also in one of three triads derived from Karen Horney's compliant, detached, and aggressive types. These triads are commonly referred to as the stances or the Hornevian groups.

Stances/Hornevian Groups

The triads can be associated with three secondary colors found by combining the primary colors where two centers meet.

Secondary Colors

  • Red and Blue meet at types 1 and 2 to create Purple
  • Blue and Yellow meet at types 4 and 5 to create Green
  • Yellow and Red meet at types 7 and 8 to create Orange

These triads can now be referred to as the secondary triads. So named because of their association with the secondary colors.

Secondary Triads

  • Purple (Compliant) Triad: types 1, 2, and 6
  • Green (Detached) Triad: types 4, 5, and 9
  • Orange (Aggressive) Triad: types 7, 8, and 3

You can click here for more info on the secondary triads.

The Enneagram Matrix

Enneagram Colors

Each type consists of a unique secondary-primary color pair associated with the labels of the secondary-primary triads.

  1. Purple-Red (Compliant-Behavior)
  2. Purple-Blue (Compliant-Emotion)
  3. Orange-Blue (Aggressive-Emotion)
  4. Green-Blue (Detached-Emotion)
  5. Green-Yellow (Detached-Thought)
  6. Purple-Yellow (Compliant-Thought)
  7. Orange-Yellow (Aggressive-Thought)
  8. Orange-Red (Aggressive-Behavior)
  9. Green-Red (Detached-Behavior)

The Enneagram symbol can be disregarded at this point with the types placed into a 3 x 3 matrix.

The Enneagram Matrix

The Enneagram symbol adds unnecessary complexity and confusion to the types and is not needed with this two factor approach. A simple 3 x 3 matrix using the primary and secondary colors can be used in its stead.

All that's to be done at this point is to expand upon the meaning of the color pair for each type (which refers to the secondary-primary triad pairing).

You can take a test to determine your likely type and have its colors explained by clicking here.

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