I find the Enneagram fascinating for many reasons. It is seemingly simple in some ways but the more you seek to understand it the more complex it seems. What is most useful in the Enneagram is the connection between the types (see the cover for an idea of the connections). Understanding the connections helps you understand how you can grow as a person for the better and flourish. It can also help you better understand your spouse, your friends, your parents, and your kids.
Rohr and Ebert describe it this way: “The Enneagram is much more demanding and much more dangerous than believing things. It is more about ‘unbelieving’ the disguise that we all are” (xix). In keeping with the Christian tradition, Rohr and Ebert call the disguises our sins. Over and over we as readers are reminded of the deep, paradoxical connection between our gifts and the ways we miss the mark.
For each of the nine types, the authors identify a fundamental need. Type One is the need to be perfect; two is the need to be needed; three is the need to succeed and so on. They describe motivations, fears, hopes and representative symbols for each type, thus giving the reader multiple entry points for engaging even those types to which one does not naturally relate.
The authors work in this book helps in understanding the Enneagram from a Christian perspective by also looking at characteristics of the “redeemed” self. Which one would argue should vary from an unredeemed self.
The book includes a brief history and dash of numerology that begin part one and will fascinate some readers. Others will connect more readily with the detailed descriptions of each type, and still others will be most intrigued by the way the types relate to one another as wings and sources of integration. Other helpful features of this volume include a detailed index and charts that summarize each type in easily referenced form. This text has a little bit for everyone who would venture inside.
All in all, I commend this book, not to those who want to just explore personal problems or analyze other people but to those who desire to go into the depths of self. It promises to be a difficult and yet rewarding journey: “The Enneagram can help us to purify our self-perception, to become unsparingly honest toward ourselves, and to discern better and better when we are hearing only our own inner voices and impressions and are prisoners of our prejudices – and when we are capable of being open to what is new” (21).