The Living Enneagram Pt. 2

The singularity of the octave

Our forthcoming examples will have the circle describing the transformation of a product as it is moves through a store to a consumer’s home.

The life of this product is composed of 3 parts or phases of life: manufacture, sale, and consumption. We are going to focus on just the sale and retail, this should help emphasize the nested fractal nature of the enneagram.

Philosopher Stone Symmetry A
Philosopher Stone Symmetry A


Where the circle returns to zero it is not actually meeting It’s beginning. It has evolved. It’s moved up or down a step as it has progressed through the octave. If we were to slice the octave in half through this point, and look back down from the top again, we would find that the enneagram is symmetrical on either side.

symmetry of the octave

As we go from zero to four things are getting more complicated. Once the process proceeds to the other side, from 5 to 9, things start becoming more consolidated. When we create our initial circle, before we begin to make the enneagram, we want to see this division in what we’re trying to describe. We are defining what is world 1 and what is world 3. If we can’t make a single division cutting our octave in two halves, we are not prepared to put it in an enneagram yet. Let’s go to our example of a retail store.

In our depiction of a product being sold through a retail store. We have the back room which is world one. The back room is the world where things come in and get separated organized and put on shelves. Backrooms are dirty they’re full of tools.

Philosophers Stone as a Retail store.
Philosophers Stone as a Retail store.

The service center which comprises the cashiers and the return counter and various other services is world 3, in our octave of a retail store. When a product has reached there it is once again a singular thing that someone is taking ownership of it has in essence become what it was meant to be. The service center is usually very clean and orderly.

There is such a difference between these two worlds, that it takes the entire sales floor to separate them. As our product works its way from zero to four; the number of products, their locations on the floor, their organization and inventory, are just a part of the complexity that a retail product can take on by the time it reaches the sales floor.

As a process makes it to the second half of the enneagram it starts becoming more singular once again. At 5 the product has a small space of its own on a shelf, it is assigned an individual price, and soon even more singular it is becoming as somebody’s product that they’re going to take home and consume at the end of the octave.

Enneagram Retail store model
Enneagram Retail store model

The Plane of Experience

By cutting our octave in half we bisect between 4 and 5. If we think of our octave as a spiral the distance between four and five isn’t a nice slope like the rest of the spiral it’s more like a flat spot or a platue where a transformation takes place.

Philosopher Stone Symmetry A
Philosopher Stone Symmetry A

This transformation uses energy. It can be very difficult to cross this point, and to start ascending again. The shocks our octave is going to receive from the points of the philosophers stone, at 3 and 6, are what’s necessary to keep this spiral going. Three gives the energy necessary for the transformation between four and five. Six of the proper type timing gives the energy to complete the octave.

Let’s go back to the store and look at this blending transformation between 4 and 5 from a different perspective

At 4 our product was just a piece of stock in a store. It was just a thing with a name, a number, a location, and a value. At 5 it is a piece of stock on a shelf with a price a value to the customer.

Philosophers Stone with enneagram overlay, Retail Store
Philosophers Stone with enneagram overlay, Retail Store

This transformation between four and five changes the product fundamentally. At 4 our products identity looks back to one and two. Its positions in the back room, how many were in the store all together of the same type, when the store received them, etc.

At 5 the products identity is connected to 7 and 8. It’s identity is concerned with how much the product cost, any warranty or after sale support, and various attributes to maintain the customers focus, so that they take the product all the way to the cash register and purchase it.

Automatic Mechanical Shock

Let us focus on just the philosopher stone for moment. At 3 we get an automatic mechanical shock. Anyone with a few minutes of life experience has gone through this. When life throws the curveball.

When you’ve planned a certain dinner but the store doesn’t have the proper ingredients. Perhaps you have the pattern for a quilt you want to make but the fabric store doesn’t provide the proper batting and backing material. Maybe the car is ripped apart in the driveway but there’s no parts available. I have a pizza in the microwave but the wife is ready to have that baby…

Three is a mechanical thing that is created by something else happening. Three is being triggered by something outside of our octave. Three can be an intentional event, but it is intentional in its own octave. To our current octave three is something that is just happening mechanically and there’s nothing we can do about it.

At our store the inventory became low because of prior purchases. This has nothing to do with the particular product that just came in the back door.  This need for the product here is the result of someone buying a product from the day before. Taking product out of the back room and onto the sales floor at 4 is caused by this automatic action 3. The action at 3 was caused by the last person that bought the product the other day.

Three is a very large shock. It can be gigantic. If the shock at 3 does not resonate with the needs of the octave, the octave will collapse or explode. If three is out of phase for instance, we could end up with 300 bottles of lipstick…Or with a single keystroke the computer might think there’s negative 300. The shock at 3 is usually very powerful, We like to think of it as what the world is throwing at us in response to what we initiated.

Shock at 3 is so big, that it propels our octave forward into a state of change. A good example of this could be something like playing the lottery.

At zero we decide to play the lottery. We make this choice because we know that from watching the news the shock at three would be gigantic. So in an octave about the lottery we are taking a shot at receiving that particular shock at 3 that is gigantic..

If the shock at three lines up with the decision to play the lottery we could win big. Then at 6 the shock is how we handle our lottery winnings.

But if the shock at 3 misses us and we don’t win our lottery, the octave is dead. It just ends there, and we throw the ticket in the garbage.

Or we can take it personally we lost. Now we are creating and intentional emotion that resonates with loosing. Which complete the octave in a troublesome way that may result in playing the lottery again to try and feel better.

Initiation of Transformation

At 4 transformation begins immediately. The shock our octave has received at 3 is a game changer.  Everything that happens from 4 to 5 depends on the information from the points that 4 adn 5 are connected to and the shock at 3. When the transformation begins at 4 it is not connected to the future. it cannot see what it is becoming. 4’s connection with 1 and 2 allow access to states at 7 and 8.

The transformation that takes place at 4 depends directly on the resonance of the shock that three has with the entire octave combined with 4’s connections with 1 and 2. Winning the lottery may resonate well with our future plans, where as a war breaking out will not resonate well with our future plans.

Philosophers Stone with enneagram overlay, Retail Store
Philosophers Stone with enneagram overlay, Retail Store

here is an art to throwing oneself in front of the right thing in life so that one is carried along to where they want to be. For instance, taking certain courses in school so that a career choice goes into a field that has a lot of need for workforce. Is an example of planning into the shock at 3. This is an example of trying to create actions that will resonate with the employment opportunities that will be available when schooling is complete.

Physically Transformed

5 sees the octave through the completion of the blending transformation process. The octave has changed on the surface a great deal but is fundamentally still the same thing.

At 5the octave is communicating directly with 8 and 7 in the third world. While at 4 of the octave for was in direct relationship with world one through 1 and 2.

Philosophers Stone with enneagram overlay, Retail Store
Philosophers Stone with enneagram overlay, Retail Store

Back in our store..

At 4 our box of product comes out of the back room. The box of products will have an information sticker on it which will point back to one and two. It’ll tell what warehouse it came from where it goes in the back room how long it’s been in the back room and various other things that have to do with positions one and two that were in the back room. The sticker will also have a little information that tells where it goes on the sales floor.

At 5 our product is on the shelf. It appears for by all intents and purposes to have transformed into something else. Minutes ago it was in a plain brown box with a tag on it. Now it’s a shiny product on a shelf with a tag on the shelf.

The tag on the shelf gives information on what the product cost and how the cashier can ring it up. The information on the tag relates directly to seven and eight. 

Even though our product looks completely different than it did it 4. It is still fundamentally the same. It is still an inventoried piece of stock in the store just a number on a shelf. This is the plateau where the product will be trapped until an intentional decision is made to purchase the product and complete the octave

Philosopher Stone Symmetry Musical Notes
Philosopher Stone Symmetry Musical Notes

At 5 we find the transformation is summarily completed. That final change within the octave is prepared, waiting for the final push. Depending on the situation this can be the final state.  To understand our meaning let’s prepare an octave about learning to drive.

An octave can spend it’s entire existence on this plateau. Ther are many things that never evolve beyond the push received at 3. Lets peak at learning for an example of how an octave can stall out and why it happens.

Our learning octave represents three stages of mastering anything. First the basic principles are learned. Mastery is the long process of practice and application of the learned skills. Mastered is that state beyond learning and mastery that only master can inform us of. Let’s learn to drive in the three stages of the octave.

Philosophers Stone of Mastery
Philosophers Stone of Mastery

At first it is all learning. how a car works, the rules of the road, social expectations, etc. It seems like lot to learn, and it is , but soon enough that is conquered.

With a job and school, we are forced automatically to do a lot of commuting. We have become quite masterly at driving about town and arriving places on time. and this is the level of driving ability that almost everyone will stay at, somewhere between four and five. Driving well enough to survive.

At 6 with enough emotional drive to be an amazing driver, and with the continued application of that desire. If the person lives in a place that has the facilities and opportunities available, they may become a race car driver, or a chauffeur for the rich and famous, perhaps they will command a troop carrier on a battlefield. Having enough desire and the type of desire at 6 will be what decides how the octave of learning to drive will complete itself, or not complete.

Intentional Manual Shocks

Six is an intentional shock. This is something that we will often say comes from within the octave, even though that is not always the case. Three comes from another octave that is operating outside of the octave we are concerned with.  6 is a shock that comes from within the octave itself in some way.

At our retail store 6 is the decision the customer makes to grab the product from the shelf and put it in the basket.

We say six is intentional but most of the time this actually happens automatically. As you’re filling in your enneagram you might miss this because it’s happening automatically and yet you’re looking for something done intentionally.

This happens because we aren’t able to exert as much free will as we think we can. At 6 is where we react to what happened. 6 is where we tune ourselves in so that we can help the octave of complete itself… But in truth we react just as automatically as anything else most of the time.

And this is where the Work is involved. Creating the right shock at 6 is about controlling our thinking about things in the right way at the right time so that things happen differently. At six it is our only chance to direct things so that they happen the way we would like, instead of the way they would have automatically happened without our intentional effort.

It is by observing how things happen when an octave reaches point 6 that it becomes apparent how limited our ability to react appropriately to various situations is.

7 Falling Up

The intentional shock at six doesn’t end at 6. This shock actually stretches out all the way to nine. Think of it like a race and you’re getting towards the end you get to six and you give yourself the added confidence you can do it… Well, you can’t just give up then, you’ve actually got to keep telling yourself that for the rest of the race.

Seven will resonate with two. It will be almost the opposite most times. It will actually come about automatically based on the effort we put in at 6 and are still putting into the octave as 7 is approached.

Back at our store seven relates to

Just like at two when our product was getting ready to come out to the floor waiting for that moment when the shelf was empty. At 7:00 our product is in a basket and getting ready to be purchased on its way towards the front door.

At 7 the product is about to the make same sort of change it made as it was moving from the back room to the sales floor. But now it’s preparing to go from the service area to a new octave at home with the customer.

Critical Mass

8 is the event horizon so to speak. Typically, in and around this point a new octave begins to emerge. There is a surge of more of the intention from 6 that is reaching ahead to 9 while the 0 of the next octave is reaching back to embrace that which just was.

The Fractal Nature of Nature

Perfect Trine A animated

Nature’s fractal. When we look at something if we don’t see at least three levels of scale it looks fake to us… One the first things we learned in art class is that every image requires a foreground, a midground, and a background.

The enneagram allows us to look at something at these different levels of scale all at once. We can see the whole thing. We can see the whole thing broken into three separate parts that each rely on the other to create the whole. We can see how those parts communicate with each other through the six-sided figure of the enneagram. And we can also see that each of those three worlds are bisected into three more sections.

The enneagram is really an empty blueprint waiting for us to fill it with meaning…

There isn’t a right or a wrong way to fill in an enneagram. There are just better and better ways, and the ways only get better as we increase our understanding of the thing that we’re trying to put into the symbol.