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It seems like there is an endless abundance of information on the Enneagram and its inner workings. However, with such a large variety of knowledge it can become overwhelming and confusing. In this post, I hope to simplify that knowledge into an easy-to-read explanation of the Enneagram and provide links in which you can further your knowledge.

The Basic Enneagram*:

First off, the Enneagram [any-a-gram] is a personality system that helps identify nine different personality types and how they perceive and defend their realities.

These 9 types are then divided into 3 categories: Instinct/Body-based (8, 9, 1), Feeling/Heart-based (2, 3, 4), and Thinking/Head-based (5, 6, 7). Each category tells you how you would react to a situation [i.e. thinking relates to those who would solve a problem through logic, instinct relates to those who do it through their 'gut' instinct, and feeling relates to those who would solve a problem through emotion.]. Overall, you will display one main type from a dominant category.

Instinctual Subtypes**:

There are three instinctual subtypes: so (social instinctual), sp (self-preservation instinctual), and sx (sexual instinctual). These three instinctual drives color the way we act, think, feel, and ultimately express ourselves. They display our main action through a type in a category (i.e. personal survival for sp, style of relating according to people wiith so, and one-on-one relationships with sx.). One function will most likely be more dominant, while another maybe less, and a third even more uncommon.

Types With Wings*:

Once you have found your type (whether it be from tests or fore-knowledge on all of the different types), you will most likely start to find you wing to your type. A wing is simply a unique mixture to a pure type, usually correlating to the adjacent type next to yours. For example, you may be a type 5 (the observer), but still display qualities of the type 6 (the guardian). In this scenario, it is more likely that you will be a type 5 with a wing to 6 (5w6).

The Enneagram Tritype*:

Even though we will use one superior category and type, we also will use the other two categories and their subtype (similar to how instinctual subtypes are). Consider it as a back up plan. For instance, when you are trying to solve a problem using your main type (i.e. mind-based) and it doesn't work out, then you will try using your second type (i.e. heart-based), and then your third if that doesn't work out (i.e. body-based).

So basically, you are not composed of one category only, but instead all three. One depends on all the others as a back up. Usually they are in a line up, putting your dominant category first and your minor category last (i.e 5-4-1). These tritypes will also most likely have wings (i.e. 5w4-4w3-1w9).

You will usually find you tritypes the same way that you find you first Enneagram type- through trial and error. You have to read each possibility and really consider how you act. It takes time, but is a must to getting the best knowledge from your Enneagram.

Helpful Links on the Enneagram System:

There are a lot more links and information regarding this matter, but I figured this would help many get a head start. Feel free to add any more information/clarity/links that would prove helpful for this process.

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