from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of several nine-pointed geometrical figures often held to have magical or mystical significance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun mathematics A nine-pointed stellate polygon
  • noun psychology Such a figure used to indicate nine personality traits of a subject


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Greek ennea, nine; see newn̥ in Indo-European roots : –gram.]



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  • A circle with its circumference divided into 9 equal sections/points, with the topmost numbered 9 followed sequentially by 1, 2, 3, etc., where the numbers are connected by lines thus: 142857, making a distinctive, nonstellate internal heptagram. The numbers 3, 6 and 9 can be connected as well to form an internal triangle independent of the other lines (though its sides intersect the heptagram). You can see one here.

    The enneagram is a Sufi mystical symbol which was popularized in the west by G.I. Gurdjieff in his teachings involving "work on onself". Gurdjieff introduced and showcased a dance wherein dancers traced out, as they moved around the enneagram, its circumference and others along the lines connecting the numbers in the order 142857. It was very intricate and required the utmost of concentration and finesse by the dancers, and was said to produce unusual psychic states both in the dancers and the observers of the dance.

    The symbol illustrates the interaction of the so-called "Law of Seven" (7 divided into unity (i.e., "1") = .142857142857...), which is related to the octave (q.v.) and the (q.v.) "Law of Three" (3 divided into unity = .33333..., with its multiples 6 and 9 among the numbers). All in all a most intriguing and impressive symbol, mathematically, historically and metaphysically.

    Should you be so inclined, it could be an interesting exercise and rewarding effort to see if you can construct one from the description given here. It isn't a cakewalk.

    January 20, 2007

  • Somebody managed to get a youtube window in a comment, I would think you'd be able to get a diagram.

    January 21, 2007

  • Very interesting. I'd only ever known about the enneagram in the context of personality theory.

    January 21, 2007

  • Click Here for a video of the Gurdjieff Sacred Movements/Dances. The first of the three uses the heptagram portion of the enneagram as its pattern.

    August 24, 2007

  • For an animated, 3-D version of the enneagram click Here.

    August 24, 2007