“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;…” – Tim. 4:1
What is the Enneagram?
The enneagram is an increasingly popular tool of personality analysis, despite it has been dismissed by personal assessment experts as pseudoscience (source). The Enneagram is a diagram depicting numbers one through nine, with lines connecting each number to two other numbers. Research in the American Journal of Psychiatry defines the system as “a personality theory describing nine strategies by which the psyche develops a worldview and relates to self and others.”
It is fully embraced by some corporations as a tool that can help workers collaborate better. On TikTok, the hashtag #enneagram has over 370 million views. The Enneagram is used for discipleship, marriage, parenting, personal growth, leadership, counseling, career, spiritual gifting, prayer, devotionals, finances, etc.
Why is it so popular? Perhaps like astronomy or other typologies, every Enneagram test result is positive. They make people feel good about themselves. The types themselves are all couched in positive terms.
The Enneagram was promoted by mystic George Gurdjieff (1866? -1949) and by his followers, P. D. Ouspensky (1878-1947) and Oscar Ichazo (1931-2020). Gurdjieff’s followers claimed that Gurdjieff gave one story of having learned the Enneagram from the Sufis (a mystical spin-off sect of Islam), though the Sufi source has been debunked.
Some proponents of the Enneagram attribute it to the Desert Fathers, Kabbalists, Sufi mystics, Pythagoreans, the Chaldeans, or other ancient groups. Claims for an ancient origin, however, have never been substantiated. Some have attempted to sanitize the Enneagram into a Christian tool for personality assessment as well as a tool for spiritual growth and thus asserted a possible Christian origin or influence for the Enneagram, but that has never been substantiated either.
One of the bigger issues with the Enneagram is that it is being promoted not just as a personality assessment but as a spiritual tool to help you know and love God, and love others. Moreover, it has its roots in the occult!
The Enneagram is a Trojan Horse Into Churches
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” – Col. 2:8
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” – Rom. 16:17
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” – 2 Cor. 6:14
“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” – 2 Cor. 11:4
In recent years, the Enneagram has crept into the Christian church. Revelant Magazine, a bi-monthly Christian magazine, said “The Enneagram is a stored treasure of human insight into how people work. It’s everyday wisdom for everyone” (source). Not only is it used and promoted by some Christians, but it is even defended as a tool based on biblical principles. The Enneagram is being promoted not just as a personality assessment (and it’s not one anyway) but as a spiritual tool to help you know and love God, love others, grow spiritually, and even for sanctification. It’s also promoted as having Christian origins. There is no evidence for this. People have been and are being deceived. It’s more startling than seeing it used in the secular world since the church should know better and should be a light (Matt. 5:14) to this dark world.
Much of the Enneagram teachings contain spiritual ideas from Richard Rohr and his followers and students. The spiritual ideas as part of Enneagram teachings are, at the very least, suspect and, in many cases, outright unbiblical. Most of the Enneagram teachings in the church stem from Richard Rohr and his students. Rohr denies the blood atonement and teaches that Christ is more than Jesus and incarnated first as creation. He also supports Buddhism and New Ager Marianne Williamson. It seems many Enneagram teachers and pastors who promote the Enneagram also praise Rohr. This opens the door to giving credibility to a dangerous teacher in the church.
Here is a YouTube interview of Richard Rohr in which he discusses “The Cosmic Christ.” In it, you can hear at least two heresies: panentheism, and the Jesus-Christ distinction. At about 3 minutes, Rohr states that Jesus and “the Christ” are distinct.
The following are statements Rohr makes in the video:
“Jesus has existed for 2,000 years” but “The Christ is eternal.”
“Jesus became the Christ.”
“The Big Bang is the birth of the Christ” about 14 billion years ago.
“The first body of Christ is creation itself.”
This statement promotes panentheism, the heretical belief that God is contained in creation and creation is in God. Panentheism intermingles God’s nature with creation.
Also, Richard Rohr identifies himself as a Perennialist: “Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition” (source).
What is Perennialism? It “…is a perspective within the philosophy of religion which views each of the world’s religious traditions as sharing a single, universal truth on which foundation all religious knowledge and doctrine has grown…..In the 20th century it was popularized in the English speaking world through Aldous Huxley’s book The Perennial Philosophy as well as the strands of thought which culminated in the New Age movement” (source).
In this video, Rohr also praises Eckhart Tolle for bringing back this contemplative practice! He even wrote Tolle a letter congratulating Tolle for this. Rohr seems to not recognize that Tolle is a New Age Buddhist and seems to even think Tolle is Christian or at least has similar views. Rohr makes a rather snide remark about Christians who call Tolle New Age).
In this video, Rohr stated:
“Your deepest identity is divine.”
“Strictly speaking, it is not correct to say Jesus is God. Jesus is the combination of God and human.”
To sum it up, Rohr preaches another Jesus rather than the Biblical Jesus — he is a heretic!
Even though the Enneagram has no foundation in psychology or Christian theology, it is still taught in some churches; it is not as a mere personality indicator but as a way to know God, to grow spiritually, and even for sanctification. Since much of the Enneagram teachings contain spiritual ideas from Richard Rohr and his followers and students, the spiritual ideas as part of Enneagram teachings are, at the very least, suspect and, in many cases, outright unbiblical. Additionally, there is a New Age influence.
The Enneagram is taking its natural New Age path through the church with Christians blindly hopping on board an intriguing but worthless and damaging train. Enneagram proponents are telling us that we need it to know and love God. That is the same as saying the Bible can’t do this, which is a lie. The Enneagram is a byproduct of a complacent, increasingly self-absorbed church (more specifically the evangelical church at large in the U.S.) that has forgotten what being a Christian means. The deeper into the church the Enneagram goes, the further away from God’s word the church will drift. The Enneagram already left damage in its wake: self-focus, false ideas about self or others, a wider door for Rohr’s influence, and a tool that can usurp God’s word. Indeed, Christians don’t need the emphasis to know themselves. Christians need to read and study the scripture more and use their time to pray and serve God. That would be more productive for God’s kingdom.
The Demonic Spirits Behind the Enneagram
“19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matt. 7:19-20
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1
Knowing what the developers of the Enneagram got involved in can say a lot. If you didn’t know, the occult is strongly condemned in the Bible (in Deuteronomy 18:9-15; Acts 16:16-19 and many other Scripture passages) and is a huge demonic door opener.
Indeed, it seems there were several (demonic) spirits involved in the crafting of the Enneagram; this shouldn’t be surprising since those involved in its origin and development were all deeply involved in occult and esoteric beliefs and practices, which can likely open the doors to demons and demonization.
The Enneagram’s Gnostic-occult roots are found in George Gurdjieff, an esoteric spiritual teacher, who originally came up with the idea of the Enneagram (though not the types), a 9-sided shape that had no numbers or types because he said it was a diagram of “cosmic reality.” He allegedly claimed contact with a spirit he called “the Pillar of Time” (source). Gurdjieff used ideas from sacred geometry and numerology to formulate the basic ideas of the Enneagram. He used it also for mathematical laws like the musical scale and said the whole universe could be seen in the Enneagram. It was never intended to be tied to personality traits. He did not have wisdom as maintained by some Christians, only false beliefs.
Gurdjieff was one of the most important and influential figures in the occult movement of the twentieth century along with Aleister Crowley and Madame Blavatsky according to one source. Gurdjieff’s legacy lives on today in many facets of the New Age Movement. The New Age has inserted itself so subtly into mainstream culture, including the health field (as well as hospitals), education, psychology, business, and sports, that people no longer perceive it as alien. Indeed, some of these areas have been willing, if not eager, vehicles through which New Age concepts have entered society.
Oscar Ichazo, the esoteric teacher, not a psychiatrist, ran an occult school of secret teachings in Arica, Chile, and taught the Enneagram ideas based on Gurdjieff’s teachings. He added his own ideas of “ego fixations,” which are patterns that had to be transcended to realize the true inner “essence” of Self. He was a user of psychedelic drugs and believed that one could reach a state of transcendence or higher consciousness through certain methods. Oscar Ichazo’s earliest mystical experiences reportedly came from using Ayahuasca (one of the most demonic potions or drugs that I know of) with the shamans of South America when he was a teenager. The esoteric teacher Oscar Ichazo helped develop the idea of the Enneagram based on his idea of a Divine Essence. Ichazo practiced Eastern meditation, studied the Kabbalah, was involved in shamanism, tantric work, and kundalini awakening, and was familiar with a host of esoteric occult practices and beliefs. Ichazo also had a spirit guide or a supposed archangel, “Metatron, the prince of the archangels” though he claimed it was a state of consciousness. He also contacted a spirit named Green Q’tub. The members of his group contact lower spirits through meditation and mantras. Those spirits were likely demons masquerading.
Ichazo had some strange experiences probably because of the result of his (or ancestors’) occult involvement such as at the age of 6 years old having “out-of-body experiences which terrified” him; and the “experience what is now the well-known ‘near-death experience,’ where he would leave his “body and enter into pure psychic and mental spaces” (source).
Claudio Naranjo was a psychiatrist who became Ichazo’s student. Just like Ichazo, Naranjo was involved in using hallucinogens. He later founded his own psychospiritual community. Naranjo, like Ichazo, believes in the use of psychedelics for “spiritual” insights. One of his closest friends was Carlos Castaneda, who is called the “Godfather of the New Age” and had devotees called “witches” (source). Naranjo was at Esalen in California, a breeding ground for humanistic and New Age beliefs mixed with experimental, edgy psychological theories. Esalen had a deep impact on the culture of the 1960s and 70s and helped pave the way for the mainstreaming of the New Age we see today. One person stated it was “… a place where people were likely to get naked, take LSD, and beat on native drums.”
Claudio Naranjo, in a video interview, admits that he and Oscar Ichazo lied about the Enneagram having ancient origins when they knew it didn’t. They knew Gurdjieff’s claims about this were false. Ichazo never came up with the 9 personality types (nor had Ouspensky taught that); it is known that Naranjo came up with that. In the following video, Naranjo states that the 9 types came from partly his observations (who wants to trust the “observations” of a man who studied under Ichazo, advocated the use of hallucinogens, and was deeply involved in occult practices?) but mostly from automatic writing. Automatic writing involves spirit contact (deliberately or inadvertently) since one is opening one’s self to a supernatural source to control the wring (this can be done with a pencil, pen, typewriter, or computer). It is like using a Ouija Board except the tool is different. This solidifies the evidence of the Enneagram’s occult origins and nature:
The Enneagram passed on into the hands of New Agers Helen Palmer (a psychic), Don Riso, and Russ Hudson (Christopher Heuertz gives credit for learning the Enneagram from him). Riso and Hudson founded the New Age Enneagram Institute. New Age spirituality was/is an intrinsic part of the Enneagram — it has become popular with New Age therapists. The thrust of the Enneagram in the New Age was and still is a gnostic seeking of the “True Self” or “divine Self.”
The demonic spirits involved in the formation of the Enneagram should be fair warning that this is an occult tool that was never credibly validated for personality assessment and never had any Christian input at all. You cannot “Christianize” the Enneagram. Even the Enneagram Institute revealed its Gnostic and New Age belief of “our true identity as Spirit or Essence” and acknowledges the influence of the Kabbalah (source).
Can Involvement With the Enneagram Open Doors to Demonization?
“Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” – 2 Cor. 2:11
“Neither give place to the devil.” – Eph. 4:27
That said, since this is a website that tends to focus a lot on demonization, does getting involved with the Enneagram open doors to demonization? Being active in deliverance ministry for many years, I have yet to come across anyone who has been demonized because of it.
There is a woman in the following video who claimed to get demonized by getting involved with the Enneagram and got delivered from 9 spirits which coincides with the 9 personality traits of the Enneagram:
Even if you don’t believe it can lead to demonization, because of its occult roots alone I still wouldn’t venture to have anything to do with it.
The Purpose of the Enneagram is an Occult Initiation?
Ex-New Ager turned Christian, Marcia Montenegro, gave her insight into how the Enneagram can initiate a person into the occult:
A simple investigation into the Enneagram reveals that its theories of personality are based on esoteric teachings and an occult worldview. The clear origin and purpose of the Enneagram is to initiate a Gnostic spiritual awakening to one’s alleged true divine Self, which is in itself an occult initiation. This is the claim and goal of virtually all occult and New Age teachings. The purpose of such initiation is a shift in consciousness, a change in the way one views reality — God, the world, others, and self.
Occult initiation can be found in many non-Christian systems, desired or not. In Yoga and certain forms of meditation, it is the awakening of the Kundalini, the alleged serpent-like power at the base of the spine; in Reiki, the teacher “awakens” or “activates” the purported healing energy within the student; in Eastern meditation, it involves being given a mantra (a word or phrase to be repeated in meditation); Eastern gurus give their followers shaktipat, which supposedly confers grace and arouses the Kundalini; and the altered states of Eastern and New Age based meditations will certainly lead to occult awakening.(Source)
Occult initiations also occur spontaneously — and unbidden — if the person is involved in Eastern, New Age, or occult practices. An occult initiation may culminate in meeting one’s “spirit guide,” a disembodied being who is supposedly one’s spiritual teacher. ****
The Gnostic initiation or awakening is the occult counterfeit of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and His regeneration of the believer upon faith in Christ. This regeneration, called by Jesus being “born from above” (John 3:3; see also 2 Corinthians 5:17), is supernatural, life-giving, and from God. Gnostic or occult awakening is the kiss of death. Though it appears to open a door onto a shining vista, its light is artificial and it brings the person only into bondage. The true light is Jesus Christ: “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46, KJV).
“22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:22-24
“looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2
It shouldn’t take much discernment to see that the Enneagram stems from the demonic world and thus Christians should have nothing to do with it. Even if you dismiss the case for it being demonic, it’s still problematic because the Enneagram leads people to focus more on the self when we ought to decrease while Jesus should increase in our lives (Jn 3:30), and this is not done by analyzing personality (and the Enneagram has been shown to be invalid for that) but by the Spirit working through God’s word.
The Enneagram is spreading a false Gospel based on self. The more central a role the self takes, the less of a role there is for Jesus. In some churches, the real Jesus has become a mere adjunct to the Enneagram.
Marcia Montenegro wrote:
The Enneagram’s idea of finding the “true self” is contrary to what the Bible teaches about the nature of man. The Bible’s view is that man has a sin nature and cannot act in accordance with God’s will on his own (Romans 5:12, 18-19). Rohr’s teaching on the true self is repeated by other Enneagram teachers. The true self is a “pure diamond” which is the “essence” that one should know as self. This was a theme of Rohr’s book, Immortal Diamond.31 However, God clearly states that all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and are without hope unless one has put his faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 4:5, 24-25). God’s word specifies that man’s “righteous deeds” are as a “filthy garment” (Is. 64:6). Colossians 3:9-10 speaks of the believer having an “old self” (e.g. one’s life before Christ) and a “new self” (e.g. one’s life after trusting Christ), this is unlike the Enneagram teachings. This passage is about putting to death the former, unredeemed, self that was enslaved to sin (Romans 6:6, 16, 18), and living a regenerated life as “slaves of righteousness” (v. 18; cf. Ephesians 4:22-24).
Colossians 3:9-10 speaks of the believer having an “old self” (e.g. one’s life before Christ) and a “new self” (e.g. one’s life after trusting Christ), this is unlike the Enneagram teachings. This passage is about putting to death the former, unredeemed, self that was enslaved to sin (Romans 6:6, 16,18), and living a regenerated life as “slaves of righteousness” (v. 18; cf. Ephesians 4:22-24). This has nothing to do with Enneagram themes on personality traits, identifying with specific sin patterns, or using a man-based tool to attain spiritual growth.
Rather than finding a true self, the Bible teaches Christians to yield to God’s word and the Holy Spirit, and to be conformed to the image of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:29; Hebrews 5:9; Romans 8:29). If anything, it is opposite of the idea found in the Enneagram’s “True Self.”Source
Pagan Mysticism Promoted as Christian Growth
The Dangerous Theology of the Enneagram
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can receive Him into your heart, and He can deliver you from darkness and sin and have your name written in His Book of Life.
If you are sincere, you can say this simple prayer to the Father (it doesn’t have to be word for word):
“God, I recognize that I have not lived my life for You up until now. I have been living for myself and that is wrong. Please forgive me of all of my sins just as I forgive others. I need You in my life; I want You in my life. I acknowledge the completed work of Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ in giving His life for me on the cross, I believe in my heart Jesus is Lord and was raised from the dead and I long to receive the forgiveness you have made freely available to me through this sacrifice. Come into my life now, Lord. Take up residence in my heart and be my king, my Lord, and my Savior. From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin, or the desire to please myself, but I will follow You all the days of my life. Those days are in Your hands. I ask this in the Lord and GOD Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen.”