Introduction

The origin of the Enneagram probably lies in Greek history  in about the 5th century BC in Plato’s philosophy and the genius of Pythagoras who used mathematics (along with the law of musical octaves and tones) to create an understanding of the universe.

Over time, these philosophical ideas and thoughts were overshadowed by wars, politics and more demanding day-to-day matters. The Enneagram remained largely obscure, and only a few select groups preserved its mystery. 

It was in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century that it was re-introduced to the Western world when G.I.Gurdjieff (1877-1949), a teacher and traveller of Russian origin, set out in search of the truth. His travels took him into the high mountains of Afghanistan where he came across a small community of monks, the Sarmoun Brotherhood, who had as their symbol a nine-pointed emblem. This emblem was said to have qualities that contained the expression of Man’s insights into the nature of the psyche and his relation to the forces of the universe. 

 

 The symbol was locally referred to as the now-koonja (or nine-points) and was renamed by Gurdjieff the enneagram from the Greek ennea, meaning nine. He later founded the Institute for Harmonious Development of Man in 1922 outside Paris which was devoted to understanding man’s nature using the philosophy behind the Enneagram.

We have a similar account from another traveller, Oscar Ichazo (1931), a Bolivian writer and journalist who was also accredited with bringing the Enneagram to the attention of the Western world. He later went on to establish the Arica Institute in the Americas with the sole purpose of understanding human nature and its intricacies through the Enneagram or, as he named it, the Enneagon.