Rhodes, S. (2013). The Integral Enneagram

A dharma-oriented approach for linking the nine personality types, nine stages of transformation & Ken Wilber’s Integral Operating System


The enneagram is a geometric figure most well-known for its ability to describe nine personality types. But we can also use the enneagram to understand our relationships with other people and to discover why different types are attracted to different transformational paths. The Integral Enneagram is a unique book with an approach not presented elsewhere–an approach that not only supports our individual development but our ability to use whatever we develop to come into union with the greater purposes of life.

The book has three parts:

  • Part I provides a brief but easy-to-follow description of both systems (the enneagram and IOS). It also introduces the unifying theme of the book: that each of us has a unique calling or dharma in life, a calling that is partially revealed by our enneagram type. To discover the dharma is to find the path that transforms us through service to life.
  • Part II describes two ways of working with the enneagram. The personality enneagram focuses on the nine personality points of view, each of which represents a unique approach to living. The process enneagram portrays the same nine enneagram points as nine stages in a transformational process. The two can be interwoven to create an Integral Enneagram model that can help us see why different kinds of people are attracted to different transformational paths and practices.
  • Part III integrates the Integral Enneagram model with Wilber’s Integral Operating System, to the mutual enhancement of both. It especially highlights the value of a more feminine, embodied approach to transformation, the importance of process (not just progress) in inner work, and how to develop our consciousness in a way that sparks our creativity.

As a reporter for the The Enneagram Monthly, the author Susan Rhodes has written many articles on the enneagram. From the beginning, she focused on the assets of the nine types rather than their liabilities–a focus that powerfully informs my her first two books, The Positive Enneagram and Archetypes of the Enneagram.

Susan Rhodes was attracted to Ken Wilber’s Integral Operating System (IOS) because it also emphasizes the positive role played by ego/personality development in transformational work. Wilber has been developing his ideas for 40 years and has published more than 25 books on transformation. The more she studied IOS and the enneagram, the more she realized the incredible potential each has to inform the other. After writing articles on the two systems for five years, she knew there was enough material for a book–and The Integral Enneagram was born.



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