The Primary Triads: Enneagram centers of intelligence

The primary triads are used with the secondary triads to colorize the Enneagram and create a simple two-factor system that makes the types easier to understand.

The Enneagram Symbol

The Enneagram centers of intelligence (often simply called "the centers") group the nine Enneagram types into three groups of three.

  • The Body-Based Types: 891
  • The Heart-Based Types: 234
  • The Head-Based Types: 567

There is also an emotional undercurrent often associated with the types in each center.

  • Anger: 891
  • Shame: 234
  • Fear: 567

The Primary Colors

The primary colors are Red, Blue, and Yellow.

An association between the centers and the primary colors can be drawn using common colloquialisms and the emotional undercurrent of the centers (though we'll need to replace shame with despair).


Anger is implied when you "see Red." A red cape is used by a bullfighter to agitate the bull to get him to charge at it.


Despair is implied when you're "feeling Blue." A style of music called "the blues" often describes states of melancholy, sadness, and despair.


Fear is implied when you're "called Yellow." Calling someone "yellow" or "yellow-bellied" is perhaps best known from American Western movies.

The three centers can now be referred to by the primary colors and referred to as the primary triads.

The Primary Triads

Primary Triads

  • Red (Anger) Triad: 891
  • Blue (Despair) Triad: 234
  • Yellow (Fear) Triad: 567

In addition to changing the emotional undercurrent of type 234 from shame to despair, the primary triads also use a different terminology than body-based, heart-based, and head-based.

  • Red (Behavior) Triad: 891
  • Blue (Emotion) Triad: 234
  • Yellow (Thought) Triad: 567

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

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