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The Study

The Enneagram is a study of nine basic personality types. It explains why we behave the way we do, and it points to specific directions for individual growth at all levels. It is an important tool for improving relationships, teamwork and for a heightened awareness in our spiritual life.


The Enneagram system is represented by a circle containing a nine-pointed star-like shape.  Ennea is Greek for the number nine, and gram is Greek for points or a drawing. The Enneagram is “a drawing with nine points”. The nine points appear on a circle and are interconnected by arrows. Each point represents a different personality type.

The Enneagram teaches us that we were born free and innocent in our original essence – specific to each person. Early in life we learned to survive and to cope with stress, by developing a strategy based on our natural talents and abilities. The initial gift, intended for the good of humanity, becomes a self-oriented compulsive behaviour where the real gift is, so to speak, covered up and paralyzed. By learning the Enneagram, we develop a deeper understanding of who we really are, and what wants to grow within ourselves. This helps us to discover alternative patterns of behaviour. It also promotes an understanding and acceptance of others, and of our relationships with them. The Enneagram helps us to break free from worn-out strategies. It helps us to discover where we are stuck and it helps us to begin to see life from a broader point of view.

Tour and Stopovers

Type 9: The Peacemaker

Type NINES are people of peace who value serenity. They avoid anger on a deep, primal level, idealizing their self image as a calm and collected person. They pride themselves on being settled.  Their focus of attention goes to other people’s agenda’s, mediation and creating agreement.

Type 1: The Perfectionist

Type ONES believe you must be good and right to be worthy. They readily, instinctively, know what is best and work for it, seeking the ideal in everything and everyone. Their focus of attention goes to right and wrong and individual responsibility.

Type 2: The Helper

Type TWOS are people of service, the helpers, the co-dependents, and self sacrificing partners. They are affectionate, empathetic, compassionate and can naturally move towards people. Their focus of attention goes to other people’s needs and compassionate action.

Type 7: The Joy-Seeker

Type SEVENS believe you must stay positive and open to all possibilities to assure a good life.  They reframe failure and almost everything that is painful and limiting, changing the narrative so that even the most negative events are recast in an affirming way. Their focus of attention goes to pleasure, adventure, creative thinking and positive outcome.

Type 8: The Challenger

Type EIGHTS are persons of power. They love a challenge and take it on without hesitation. They are strong in many ways. They need to feel in control of whatever touches their lives. Their focus of attention goes to power, control and fairness.

Type 3: The Achiever

Type THREES value success. They gain self-worth through production. They present themselves as bright, shiny and successful. Their focus of attention goes to completion of tasks, setting goals, social recognition and successful accomplishments.

Type 6: The Loyal Skeptic

Type SIXES stand for law and order. They rely on authority figures to lead and support them. In return they are extremely conscientious, loyal and faithful. Their focus of attention goes to anticipating problems, avoiding danger and creating safety.

Type 4: The Romantic

Type FOURS are special, different, and unique. They will have very personal ways of doing things. They are artistic, creative and intuitively perceptive of the emotional tone of others around them. Their focus of attention goes to what is missing and personal authenticity.

Type 5: The Observer

Type FIVES set value on wisdom and the pursuit of knowledge. They try to create peace through the exclusion of the outside world. They are good at grasping precise details, seeing essentials and making connections detective style. Their focus of attention goes to information, observation

Type 9: The Peacemaker

Type NINES are people of peace who value serenity. They avoid anger on a deep, primal level, idealizing
their self image as a calm and collected person. They pride themselves on being settled. Their focus of
attention goes to other people’s agenda’s, mediation and creating agreement.

Why The Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a map that offers a profound and powerful way to understand personality. It supports us in becoming more effective in our lives, and it offers a path of opening our hearts to ourselves and others. It provides numerous, often immediate, practical application for personal development in fields as spirituality, education, business, relationships and family life.

Type One

The Perfectionist


Type ONES are Perfectionists and they believe that they must be good and right to be worthy. They readily and instinctively know what is best and work for it, seeking the ideal in everything and everyone. They demand perfection of themselves and of others and they expect it in life around them and in everything they put their hand to. ONES are people who drive through life with the brakes on. Their ideal self is to be right, hard-working, good and in tight control. They are responsible, work with a high energy level, and will initiate reforms if necessary.

ONES are hyper-critical of themselves and others. Anger is experienced when they do not find or achieve this ideal, but they avoid their anger and deny it, because it too is seen as an imperfection even though it is an energy making them capable of sticking to their efforts. This unexpressed anger develops into inner resentment and sharp outer criticism of even small details. The striving for perfection can lead to self-hatred, as well as disappointment and intolerance towards others. They hesitate to share responsibility as they believe they do things best themselves.


They strive for the ideal: to improve the world, to constantly justify their position to be beyond criticism, to show strong disapproval of those who do not live up to their ideal, including themselves.


They are judgmental, impatient, intolerant, proud of perfection and unwilling to share responsibility, irritable, moody, pessimistic and stubborn.


Persistent effort, correct action, honesty, responsibility, concern for improvement, accomplishment, idealism, high standards, self-reliance and dedication.

Type 1: Stinkwood Tree

In South African we have white stinkwood and black stinkwood trees. The black stinkwood is the true stinkwood, a protected indigenous tree. It is considered one of the most highly prized timbers in the world. Stinkwood is a strong and hard wood. The grain of the wood are described as fine, right and typically straight. Like Type Ones, wanting the good for everyone, stinkwood is one of the most popular traditional medicines in South Africa. The black stinkwood tree symbolizes strength, quality and perfection.


The Stinkwood Tree is dedicated to my father and mother, Jimmy and Riëtte Rademeyer, both Type 1’s on the Enneagram. My love for nature, trees and appreciation of quality wood and furniture comes from both my parents. My father loves working with wood and my children and I both grew up with many special homemade toys and 3D wooden puzzles. My mother is a plantswoman. She loves gardening and cares deeply for each little plant and flower in her garden and every garden she comes across.

It’s been a challenge to choose these 9 Enneagram trees. There are so many extraordinary trees and many options for each Enneagram type. I choose these nine for the special meaning I see in them.

Type 2: Apple Tree

In ancient mythology, the apple tree is one of the most sacred trees also been known as the ‘tree of love.’ The apple tree is a giving-tree that produces fruit that can be stored for a very long time and are of great value and importance to human survival. It also has many uses in the kitchen as it’s a herbal remedy. Like Type Two’s, whose focus of attention goes to ‘other’s needs,’ you get a variety of apple trees – an apple for everyone’s taste. The apple tree symbolizes love, care and selfless giving.

Type TWO

The Helper


Type TWOS are people of service: the helpers, the co-dependents, the overworked mothers and self-sacrificing partners. They are extremely generous. They are sensitive to other’s needs and love to give. Twos take pride in being helpful. For them, self-worth lies in being needed. They delight in coming to the rescue and in being seen as saviours. They are affectionate, compassionate and can naturally move into another person’s feelings. Relationships are key to life and friendships are faithfully cared for. They will remember your birthday.

They avoid their personal needs and find it difficult to ask for or to receive help. This results in projecting their own needs onto others and solving them out there. They pride themselves on their helper role, while in fact they need constant affirmation. If services are ignored, flattery is used. They may become possessive of people, using their services to get the desired approval and love. Their world is disrupted when they are no longer needed. Their “selfless service” is actually not selfless at all. It is rather the TWO, trying to gain love and self-esteem by taking care of someone else.


They are motivated by their need for approval, by their admiration for self-sacrifice, by wanting to express feelings for others, having others respond and pay attention to them. They often do not see the real needs of others.


They are possessive of people, smothering, have pride in helping, are manipulative, insincere, impatient.


TWOS’ strengths include being giving, helpful, generous, romantic, sensitive to others’ feelings, appreciative, supportive, energetic and willing.

Type Three

The Achiever


Type THREES value success. They gain self worth through production. They present themselves as shiny, bright, successful and shallow. They are extremely efficient and usually excel in whatever they put their hand to. They climb the social ladder and being “number one” is important to them. The world is right when they have a chance to prove they can do it, whatever is valued. They are natural executives, moving smoothly and with polish. They are persuasive and will motivate you to be on their team. They project a lot of self-confidence.

Any failure, or appearance of it, is devastating and avoided. They can get trapped in their need for efficiency and so become insensitive to others. They even use others for their own purposes, to get where they want to be. They do not hesitate to practise deceit to ensure an aura of success. The end (success) justifies the means: a half-truth or being overly competitive or switching sides. They are good at propaganda or selling – be it of ideas, plans, products or their own image. “Well done!” must be stamped on all they undertake.


THREES constantly aim at self-improvement, draw attention by impressing others, they use or do whatever to stay at top, even at the cost of ruining others. They are very good at delegating and they know how to use their charm.


The end justifies the means. They are vain, will lie to protect their image, are insensitive, self-centered, cold, unable to face failure, overly competitive.


THREES’ strengths include leadership, possibility, enthusiasm, action, encouragement, problem solving, ability to provide, efficiency, practicality and competence.

Type 3: Flamboyant Tree

The flamboyant tree, with its flamboyant display of orange-red flowers, is a tree that stands out for its beauty and radiance. The colour red is a highly visible color and are associated with confidence and success. Their wide canopy makes great shaded areas and like Type Three’s, that thrives on competition, the flamboyant tree prevent other trees and plants from growing below them. Wide roots allow flamboyant trees to remain grounded and weather strong storms. The tree also thrives in drought conditions. The flamboyant tree symbolizes action, confidence and success.

Type 4: Jacaranda Tree

The jacaranda tree in bloom with its soft blue flowers is an exhilarating and divine sight. Like Type Fours that feels different and their focus of attention goes to what is missing, the jacaranda tree has been declared an invasive tree in South Africa and are prohibited from being planted by law. Although the tree originated from South America, it blooms wherever it is planted and stands out for its beauty and uniqueness. Pretoria, Jacaranda City and the capital of South Africa, is named after this tree.  The jacaranda tree symbolizes specialness, radiance and exquisite beauty.

Type Four

The Romantic


Type FOURS are special, unique and different. They will have very personal ways of doing things. They are artistic, creative and intuitively perceptive of the emotional tone of others around them. They help others see the beauty and they live everything intensely. They have a tragic perception of life and they love the melancholic. FOURS remember their experiences with a sense of drama and depth of feeling.

They are in fact the natural drama queens of the Enneagram. They carry with them a sense of loss and never really feel at home in any environment: “I don’t belong”. They are the artists, dancers and workshop junkies of the world. FOURS feel great longing, and tend to be melodramatic and highly emotional. “Nobody suffers like I do!” is their lament. They avoid ordinariness and things are never simple. If so, then they are unworthy of notice. They experience moodiness, are up or down, but never in-between. When they feel misunderstood, they withdraw into self-pity, melancholia and depression. Clothes and manners are often rehearsed for effect. Authenticity in expressing who they really are, is a trap and becomes a quest. They are looking for someone who will truly understand them as they are, and accept them that way. They envy those who seem to be at home everywhere.


It is important for FOURS to express themselves and create something beautiful that will communicate their uniqueness to others. They tend to withdraw to sort out their intensive emotional reactions to life. They indulge themselves often in some special communion with nature, to make up for what they feel they are missing in the real world.


They are snobbish, belittling of others, despairing, show excessive moodiness, jealousy and envy, and dwell in the past.


FOURS’ strengths include sensitivity and empathy, especially with suffering. They are attuned to feelings, are intense, romantic, appreciative of the unique, and passionate and idealistic.

Type Five

The Observer


Type FIVES set value on wisdom and the pursuit of knowledge. Their ideal self is to know. Here is the reflective person, good at grasping precise details, seeing essentials and making connections detective style. FIVES love truth, are good listeners and very perceptive. When you need to know who is where and what is when, they’ll probably have the information. They fear their own emptiness and seek to fill it with knowledge. They will not speak until they are very sure of having all the answers and will not risk doing so until they feel fully prepared. Because of this, they keep much inside and seem stingy, not sharing their inner wealth easily with others. They may stand back, observing life, while remaining aloof and fascinated by it, too fearful to participate in it. They will be critical, even sarcastic, of anyone not thoroughly grounded in their subject.

FIVES are fiercely independent, non-conforming rebels. They try to create peace through the exclusion of the outside world, dealing with their fear by reducing life to manageable proportions. FIVES love to be on the outer edges at social gatherings.


FIVES observe, study and research their environment. They like to gain more knowledge, to have intellectual certitude, to back off from whatever seems threatening.


They are critical, sarcastic, cynical, stingy and selfish.


FIVES’ strengths include being scholarly, knowing, thoughtful, calm in crisis, respectful, dependable, keeper of confidences, and appreciative of simplicity.

Type 5: Fig Tree

The fig tree is one of the oldest known fruit trees. The Buddhists believed that Buddha sat under a fig tree. In the Bible it was recorded that after Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the “tree of knowledge,” their eyes were open and they knew that they were naked and they covered themselves with fig leaves. Throughout the Scriptures, the plant becomes a symbol of insight and wisdom, gifts that Type 5 brings to the world.  Like wisdom, these trees don’t grow overnight.  It takes time to culture and nurture them. There are about 750 species of this plant, making them one of the most diverse plants ever recorded in human history. The fig tree symbolizes independence, clarity and wisdom.

Type 6: Acacia Tree

Humans have found ways of using almost every part of the acacia tree. Infusions of the bark and leaves are an old remedy for dysentery and diarrhea. The gum has been used as an adhesive and in production of sweets. Strong rope can be made from the inner bark.  Tannin from the bark is used for tanning leather, and adds a red hue to it. The wood is used for making furniture and in some parts of Africa, the thorns are used as needles. Apart from these uses, acacia trees provide shade, fuel and protection from wild animals.

Type Six focus of attention goes to danger and their speaking style is warning others. Experiments in the African savannah suggest that when a giraffe arrives and starts ingesting acacia leaves, the leaves send out the warning gas ethylene, and other trees in the vicinity detect the scent and start producing their own defense chemicals before the giraffe arrives. The acacia tree symbolizes dependability, trustworthiness and loyalty.

Type Six

The Loyal Skeptic


Type SIXES stand for law and order. They rely on sound authority to lead and support them. In return they are extremely conscientious, loyal and faithful. For the religiously inclined, this will be God’s Will underlying all they do. They feel responsible for the law and will defend it. They have a sense of tradition, with an understanding of what a group has in common. This must be preserved and kept intact. They are cautious by nature, but will challenge authority if it seems to detour in any way. They can sway back and forth in the face of a decision to be taken, endlessly weighing pros and cons. As a result, they worry excessively.

They cannot tolerate deviancy of any kind. They have a hard time seeing their own blame, or they go in the opposite direction of excessive guilt. When criticized, they will easily say, “I did as I was told.” SIXES become fearful if they have to act on personal initiative. They look for the security of outside support. They will identify with and take on authority, rather than do something in their own name. They like to follow the law, can become rigid and intolerant, stubborn and harsh. SIXES are observers, safe behind their questioning mind and also the doubters who look for hidden meaning, but overlook the obvious.


SIXES are very loyal and faithful. They seek the approval of figures of authority who come to their aid; they like to test the attitude of others towards themselves, they fight against anxiety and insecurity, constantly asserting themselves to overcome their fears, even to the extent of courting danger (counter phobic SIXES)


They are rigid, stubborn, intolerant, harsh, judgmental, proud of being obedient, scared of change.


SIXES’ strengths include being thoughtful, warm, protective, devoted to others, trusting (as faith develops), intuitive, sensitive, loyal, fair, witty and full of ideas.

Type Seven

The Joy-Seeker


Type SEVENS are persons of joy and optimism. They are the charmers, con artists and cosmic travelers of the Enneagram. Peter Pan is the Type SEVEN. They accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative. Life is made for happiness and they make fun things happen. They live in a kind of utopia, assured that tomorrow will turn out much better than today, if only they plan for it. Magical thinking and “don’t bring me down” are hallmarks of a SEVEN. They dream of a world where everyone is joyful and everything is in harmony: no more tears, no more dying.

Their security is in being able to say “I am fine” whatever is happening. They avoid what is painful, dull, boring or unpleasant. They block it out and become insensitive to it – pretend it away. They want instant gratification of their desires for good things, while anything painful is put off. The gluttony and over-indulgence is for anything they like. They are fast and usually have several things going on at the same time. They travel from job to job, relationship to relationship, always seeking outside themselves, greedy for something new.


SEVENS seek happiness, to have fun and amusement, to do and have more of everything good; to escape anxiety by staying in motion regardless of consequences; to follow impulses, to avoid feeling of, and dealing or staying with pain.


They gloss over pain. They are gluttons; they fail to follow through on plans, are self-indulgent, superficial in relationships, avoid commitment, are impatient, intolerant of plans of others, and lack seriousness.


SEVENS’ strengths include loving life, thinking positive and being playful, enjoyable, inventive, imaginative, energetic, optimistic, helpful and open to possibilities.

Type 7: Coconut Tree

The coconut tree has been recognized to stand as a representation of relaxation. With Type 7’s focus of attention that goes to multiple options, every aspect of the coconut tree offers natural resources.  Coconuts are an important and sustainable source of food, water, oil, fiber, wood and charcoal. Oils, butters and other important ingredients are extracted from coconuts for culinary and personal care products. Coir, the fibrous husk of the coconut, is used to make ropes, doormats, brushes and stuffing for mattresses. The interior husks can be turned into bowls and cups or painted as decorative art. Coconut trunks are used as a source of timber for small bridges, homes and furniture as well as canoes and drums. There are a lot of recipes that would be pretty boring if it wasn’t for the coconut. Tropical drinks just wouldn’t be the same. The coconut tree symbolizes positivity, joy and possibilities.

Type 8: Baobab Tree

The Baobab tree is a huge tree.  It’s so huge that houses have been built inside the trunk. They have been used as hideouts, bars, prisons, and even as post offices. The baobab tree can also provide clothing, food, and water for animal and human inhabitants. The cork-like bark and huge stem are fire resistant and are used for making cloth and rope. Baobab trees do not have rings and determining its age is another matter. Like Type Eights, the baobab is strong and immortal and believed to live between half a millennium and five millennia. A legend tells that God planted the baobab tree, but the baobab did not like to be controlled and it kept walking, so God pulled it up and planted it upside down to keep it in place. The baobab tree symbolizes strength, power and presence.

Type Eight

The Challenger


Type EIGHTS are persons of power. They really are strong in many ways. They love a challenge and take it on without hesitation. They need to feel that they have control over whatever touches their lives. Any show of weakness is avoided and any expressions of tenderness are carefully guarded. They have strength of character, the courage of their convictions and are truthful and honest. They are natural leaders and will influence the direction of any group they belong to. They are very sensitive to injustice and to unfair situations and will confront these.

Their pitfall is to think they can handle any problem by fighting. They love to fight for justice and the underdog, but are often the biggest bullies themselves. They assert themselves at the expense of others. They are comfortable with being against others as well as over them. Their arrogance can be felt as they become impatient, sarcastic, verbally and physically abusive. Their anger is open and explosive. They will respond with vengeance if crossed. They are driven by lust, not only sexual lust, but also a lust for life and over-consumption. Whatever EIGHTS do, they do excessively.


EIGHTS have strong opinions, with no tolerance for other views, which give them a rigid and limited horizon. They despise cowards and weaklings and hate liars. EIGHTS dominate their environment with their loud appearance, their fight for survival. They assert and prove themselves and are feared by others. EIGHTS pursue their powerful and often forceful ways, which protect their façade of being invulnerable, while promoting justice and truth.


They are impatient, sarcastic, verbally and physically abusive. They show intense anger, are arrogant, domineering, and reject weakness and tenderness. Everything is black or white, and they push to the limits at all costs.


EIGHTS’ strengths include being strong, powerful, exciting, intense, determined, courageous, persistent, protective of others, just, friendly, truthful, fair, clear, straightforward and firm.

Type Nine

The Peacemaker


Type NINES are people of peace who value serenity. They avoid anger on a deep, primal level, idealizing their self image as a loving person. They pride themselves on being settled. They are usually free and easy to be with, natural mediators, quiet, calm, non-threatening and accepting of what is. They are non-judgmental and make empathic counselors. They naturally conserve energy, and will not take two steps when one will do. On the surface, NINES appear to be sweet, easy-going and gentle, but don’t let that fool you: when the elephant decides to move, nothing will stand in his/her way.

They avoid conflict and do not take sides or prioritize values. They put off decision-making where they have to take responsibility. They avoid being the centre of attention. They have two speeds – slow and stop, to the point of indolence or laziness. They are seekers who look to others for solutions. They are overly patient, they complain rather than clear things up and they love to stay uninvolved. NINES can listen without hearing. They easily procrastinate: “Why do today what can be done tomorrow?”


NINES primarily want to have peace and harmony. They are gentle, awaken trust, mediate quarrels, try to bring people back together, want to preserve things as they are, minimize problems and deny the existence of difficulties hard to handle.


They are overly patient, complaining, uninvolved, insensitive to enthusiasm, they listen but do not hear, they procrastinate.


NINES’ strengths include being caring, attentive to others, giving, empathetic, adaptive, accepting, supportive, accountable, sensitive, steady, calming, receptive and generally non-judgmental.

Type 9: Oak Tree

The oak tree is one of the most loved trees in the world and with good reason. The oak is considered a cosmic storehouse of wisdom embodied in its towering strength. It grows slowly, but surely at its own rate. The oak tree’s roots reach as far into the ground as its branches reach to the heavens. This makes the oak the symbol of:  “as above, so below”.  The tree’s noble presence and nurturing habit reassured ancient peoples that they could prevail against all odds. The oak reminds us all that the strength to prevail lies in an open mind and a generous spirit. Inflexibility, however, is the oak’s one weakness and the tree is prone to lose limbs in storms. The oak therefore carries the warning that stubborn strength that resists will not endure and may break under strain.  The oak symbolizes strength, courage, inclusivity, peace and endurance.

Know your type

Enneagram Typing Interview

The Narrative Enneagram make use of typing interviews to help you discover your Enneagram type. Typing interviews are more accurate than online questionnaires, because the Enneagram focus on motivation, whereas online questionnaires test behavior. A typing interview is a guided exploration that will help you discover this underlying motivation. Living in a world where we’ve been taught to do well in test, we can unconsciously manipulate these questionnaires without being aware. This can lead to the opposite of self-awareness, as the focus goes to getting it right, rather than listening to the answer coming from within. Often people have to let go of these tests results and start questioning their behaviour, before they can find their correct type on the Enneagram.  

The typing interview and feedback will take 90 minutes. A short introduction of the Enneagram will be given, followed by questions going through all 9 the Enneagram types. At the end of the interview you will be given two to three likely types to explore further.

The Enneagram is always a journey of self-discovery, where the Enneagram teacher can never have the final word in determining your type. The final determination must come from ourselves.

“The truth will set you free,
but first it will make you miserable.”

~ James A. Garfield

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