The Enneagram’s Earth Triad

As noted in last week’s post, William Schafer views the nine types of the enneagram through the lens of energy (yin, yang, and balancing) and the clouding over of divine light as a function of shocks to our initial state of bliss. A loss of wholeness, emotional connectedness, and/or trust creates knots in our awareness.

The members of the Earth Triad evidence a deep preoccupation with embodied existence. NINES felt a loss of wholeness, THREES a loss of emotional connection, and SIXES a loss of trust. Each concerns itself with how to blend into, align with, and thrive alongside others in the world.
enneagram earth triad

  • NINES seek a comfortable, harmonious, go-along-to-get-along place in the world.
  • THREES individuate and seek a practical and sustaining, ambitious and productive role in the world.
  • SIXES see a safe and secure, predictable, and certain existence to survive in the world. They straddle individuation and union in service of that agenda.

The members of this type are shut off: NINES from their own action; THREES from their own feelings; and, SIXES from their own thinking.

Life Force Receptive
Emotional Regulation Positive Outlook
Center of Intelligence Body

Type NINE: The Peacemaker

According to Schafer, NINES have lost sight of the innate loveliness and inner radiance of all Beings – a spiritual endowment of Holy Love. They do not experience themselves as inherently beautiful, lovable, or powerful. They feel insignificant. Survival depends upon being attentive to those who have power and merging with their needs.

NINES tend toward inertia, either staying at rest (asleep) or staying busy. They may find it hard to start a task or to end one in progress. Decision-making proves challenging. Anger and resentment show up as stubbornness.

NINE’s spiritual task is to wake up and welcome discomfort and conflict. Right Action demands that they gain awareness of their own energy and internal world. They must notice with compassion their own reactivity and experience their own thoughts and feelings without judgment. Passivity can transform into active energy and allow them to reclaim Hold Love and open up to all aspects of life energy.

Type THREE: The Performer

According to Schafer, THREES have lost sight of the fact that life force unfolds naturally and creatively according to Holy Law, Harmony, and Hope without control or guidance from us. When losing this sense, they become identified with their own activity, disconnected from vital essence of the original source. With a firm belief that “everything is up to me,” they gloss over their inner emptiness with unrestrained drive and endless “to do” lists.

THREES pump energy outward in multiple directions at once. They burn their feelings as fuel for production, considering them a waste of time. They’re preoccupied with image – successful, productive, useful – and believe you can only be measured by what you accomplish. The compulsion to create and re-create themselves through action renders them prone to exhaustion. Sadly, that predisposition reflects a false stimulation of vital essence.

THREE’s spiritual task is to transform from a human doing to a human being and set aside vainglory in service of Veracity. They need to see the real self and not the produced one, thereby exposing their tendency toward shallowness and gravitation toward image. In that process, the fear of failure (“I cannot act”) can find new life as a choice (“I can not act.”)

Type SIX: The Security Seeker

According to Schafer, SIXES have lost sight of our staying power amid life’s toils and tribulations and the promise that all Beings evolves according to universal love and hope – a.k.a., Holy Strength and Faith. They view the universe as predatory and lean on caution and doubt to survive.

SIXES energies collapse into a narrow preoccupation with safety, security, and predictability. They’re constantly scanning for real or perceived threats and developing plans to address them. They don’t characterize this behavior as fearful; they believe it simply renders them prepared. While they seek authority that is steadfast, solid, and certain, they tend to mistrust it even when found. They rely heavily on mental constructs and give short shrift to direct knowing by the heart or gut.

SIXES must recognize that the doubting, critical mind doesn’t produce certainty; it enflames fear. They need the courage to Trust their own strength and believe the deepest part of Being will care for them.