Many of you know that I do work with the Enneagram in my spiritual direction coaching practice. Matter of fact, I have a workshop entitled the Enneagram and Spiritual Formation that I’m leading on Saturday, February 4 (more at this link). With that, I engage with all sorts of claims about the evil, demonic, and occult background of the Enneagram. I have emails from varying Christian counselors and coaches declaring its evil origins.
In a more recent social media post, popular Christian author, poet and artist, Jackie Hill Perry, renounced the Enneagram as demonic. You can see her own video below.
This is not new in the claims against the Enneagram. In a sense, some Christians get taken aback just by looking at the symbol, seeing it as related to a pentagram (the Satanic symbol). However, this is the Enneagram, a nine-sided figure (coming from the Greek for “nine,” ennea). The symbol is not Satanic.
In Perry’s own video, you see a particular reference to Claudio Naranjo’s statement about “automatic writing,” which can be (but does not necessarily involve) a practice connected with the works of psychics and spirit activity through the person. What I find interesting is that many people are taking a 100-second video clip from a larger video setting, from the larger context of a man’s work, to build a case against the Enneagram. Perry offers more in her video, but I simply note what I have found in my own interactions with people. Yet, that’s not how good study takes place. Think of all the Bible verses pulled out of context and void from any understanding of the ancient Jews.
As a response to Perry, I appreciated this short 3.5-minute video from Tyler Zach and the Gospel for Enneagram. Take a moment to watch it.
Now, that is a brief response, but I think it still offers some great retort to such accusations levied against the Enneagram. However, if you would like deeper material addressing whether or not the Enneagram is “demonic,” I encourage you to read this more thorough article. It is not addressed to Jackie Hill Perry, but rather it engages one Catholic theologian, Mitchell Pacwa’s, documented problems with the Enneagram. It truly provides some helpful history of the tool and engages many of the allegations that arise.
I am of the view that many of the foundational teaching of the Enneagram go back to the desert fathers. No, the modern-day version of the Enneagram was not developed by St. Evagrius or St. Ignatius. But their work is very essential in understanding key components of our lives that are found in the Enneagram. I would posit we can use such a tool (for it is just that, a tool) for considering our own growth and development.