Enneagram Shadow

You’re not a number.

When we think about who we are, we normally identify ourselves as a complex array of thoughts, emotions, fears and behaviors. We know that deep down we have negative thoughts about ourselves and it’s not often we look too closely just in case we discover they’re true.


What the enneagram points to is the shadow that we think is who we are. It invites us to take a close look and see it’s ONLY a shadow. When we shine a light on that shadow it disappears.

But when we first take up the invitation and take a look at ourselves, or scratch the surface to see who or what’s underneath, we DO see the shadow and at first it does appear dark, murky and horrible.


Then when we look deeper we discover something extraordinary. What we’ve wanted within ourselves and what we’ve worked so hard to attain has actually been present all the time.


The shadow of negative beliefs have been hiding who we are, and either because the shadow looked horrible, or we didn’t know we could give it a poke and discover it was an illusion, we’ve busied ourselves instead with getting it ‘all perfect’ on the outside so we could feel good about ourselves.

If you’re finding that you’re believing you’re a number, or believing the shadow is real, then stop and take up the real gift of the enneagram and remember that who you are is the source of empty Consciousness (even if the shadow has reappeared or seems real).

I do understand it can be confronting when we discover these nine personalities. We see all our worst strategies presented so accurately it can feel uncomfortable (to put it mildly). Yet if we continue to dwell on the shadow or try and fix the shadow we sometimes miss the aim of the enneagram. We can wake up to ourselves and discover enlightenment or  come alive to our full potential.

(I’ve seen some very strange takes on the enneagram – someone with a seven personality was told if he told jokes he was ‘fixated’. Someone with the six personality was told if she was socially involved she was ‘fixated’ as if it was a punishable offence. The Enneagram is not a stick to punish ourselves or others. The intention was PoSITIVE in that the teacher was pointing to the possibility of being free from the personality traits. Unfortunately, this approach can make people feel even worse about themselves.) The point of the Enneagram is expansion, choice and FREEDOM and this can be pointed out in ways that can be fun as well as in ways that are loving and kind.

With or without our shadow self, the enneagram is pointing to a magnificent presence within all of us, to what is best within all of us, to what’s real within us and also to what isn’t so we can know the difference.