I’d like to tell the story of two esoteric systems, and how they are visually, psychologically, and physiologically linked through our human bodies and actions. It’s a big claim, and so please bear with this extended exposition. I believe you will find it interesting and hopefully enlightening reading.
When I was in my youth, and traveling numerous philosophical journeys with my father, one of the longer forays into self discovery took us into the world of the mystic George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, of whom I’ve written previously. I return to Gurdjieff for two reasons. One is that our study of his work extended over ten years in which we followed many directions. The other is that Gurdjieff is still not well known, and his methods for observing and transforming consciousness remain original and effective. Perhaps it had to do with how he himself acquired these understandings.
Gurdjieff’s birthplace in what is now Armenia, at the portal from the West to the East, and the mystery and folklore of his own surroundings inspired in him a lifelong curiosity with mysteries of human purpose, as well as a healthy suspicion that the rational, intellectual, secular, logical ways of the West were not sufficiently aware of many forces at work in human consciousness. For that, he knew that esoteric Eastern philosophies, small drops of which had seeped out to the mountains and ranges where he lived, would be compass for his map.
Gurdjieff took it as his life’s work to uncover the paradox of human nature by traveling across eastern Europe and Asia through the early part of his life. As shown in Peter Brooks’s film, “Meetings with Remarkable Men,” Gurdjieff found himself studying in different temples and secret societies in which he was taught glimpses of truth regarding the largely unknown nature of ourselves as humans.
The world is full of theories and mystical beliefs, some religious, others philosophical, all of them suggestive of something greater about us. They imply that there is more to our human purpose than we normally believe, and it lies hidden beneath or beyond our normal levels of consciousness. Some of these theories are easier to believe than others, but in general, it is difficult without a lot of study to see clearly any of the patterns in these esoteric teachings.
However, one theory did remain with me all my life because it was so simple and quick to confirm. This esoteric system, exposed to Gurdjieff in the secret temples that he visited, concerns the theory of body types, which reveals that something is guiding the physics of our own development and it can be seen.
Some basic information about body types has reached the popular self-help press; often the only common piece or element that has been widely known concerns the central role of a diagram known as the Enneagram. Enclosed in a circle, this nine-pointed diagram is said to be a map of character types. However, because of limited information about it, most writings have been essential repetitions of only a small portion of the overall Enneagram and what it reveals.
Virtually every book on the enneagram possesses only a sense of what human behavior looks like when mapped over this diagram. It is only known as a way to understand human behavior, which is why popular writers have settled on the Enneagram for the study of what they call “personality types”. This implies that the enneagram only reveals behavior, and nothing more.
In fact, the Enneagram reveals much more than personality traits. It connects directly to the physics of human bodies as well as to the stars in an inexplicable overlay. More than a template of personality types, the Enneagram is a map that shows directly how humans are traveling on the same path as the stars and planets, because the enneagram maps directly onto the astrological chart.
Lacking the true essence of the physiological characteristics that describe each of the body types, writers describing the enneagram have only assigned names or numbers for its nine points. Certain well known authors have not even credited the source from which they derived their information
As limited, certain authors have only been in possession of limited information, and as a result have filled in the remainder of what is unknown to them with catchy names, labels, or numbers. This improvisation makes obvious that the information source is only partially understood. A truly ancient system has connections to other systems. What makes any mystical system verifiable is precisely the fact that it bears an evident relationship to other forms of knowledge. Otherwise it seems invented, arbitrary, idiosyncratic, and fragmentary.
Gurdjieff knew much more than he taught, as he felt that esoteric knowledge could be misused or trivialized, and often stated that proper levels of consciousness had to be attained in order for certain knowledge to be metabolized correctly.
But with the enneagram, Gurdjieff and, later his students, revealed glimpses that clearly connect this knowledge to higher levels of structure and meaning whose source is not the human intellect or imagination. In the enneagram, something profound has shown itself so that certain knowledge may be attained, and it connects to other esoteric systems of study. In particular, the enneagram reveals not merely human behavior, but also does this in a way that connects directly to the positions of the stars in an astrological arrangements, as well as the physiological characteristics of humans as they fit certain profiles that we are all familiar with.
To clarify, this system, which links how we can connect specific behavior characteristics of people that each of us knows with the physical look and composition of their bodies, along with an astrological mapping of these body types, is the only link that I have been able to find connecting to stars directly to specific human qualities and characteristics of virtually everyone.
The enneagram is itself fragmentary; it is an incomplete portrait of something deeper, but is very close to a unity of knowledge that hasn’t been revealed before in so full a manner. There is a 3-6-9 correspondence between elements of this arrangement, and the 3-6-9 relationship has been considered sacred or crucial by many thinkers. It has been said that “Nikola Tesla believed that the numbers 3, 6, and 9 hold the key to understanding the universe, as they represent a higher dimensional world and control all other numbers and the universe itself.” The mathematical importance of this ratio for Tesla have been presented by others:
The nine points of the enneagram are comprised of a symmetrical six-pointed set of connected lines overlaid by a triangle. Here is the “classic” enneagram known to most followers of pop psychology:
This skeleton of a drawing is barely informative. There is no direction in the lines, nor any reason for the points, other than being assigned a number between 1 and 9.
Later, arbitrary names were assigned to these number positions, such as here:
These labels were altered by others, like Oscar Ichazo:
The nine points were also grouped into three major types by other proposals:
One can see how inconsistent this apparent system is – “working” with the enneagram is trivialized to a matter of adding labels that represent a point on some psychological spectrum.
But there is much more to the enneagram than this. Gurdjieff learned of what are called planetary attractions, whose forces create a progression of energy that is transformed as it gradually moves through them. This progression is what he learned was called a Ray of Creation that emerges in a distant star and passes through our solar system. We are the products of this Ray of Creation In brief, here is the progression of energy attractions:
This is already much greater information than the popular self-help press has presented about enneagrams. Here we see names that resemble planets, and lines with direction. The names represent body types – a physical description of a human body that shares qualities already defined in mythology eons ago.
To represent body types correctly, we need to see people who embody those types, and few forms of human representation are as fascinating and mesmerizing as those that appeared in classical Greek and Roman sculpture. Anyone who has stood before any such statue is immediately drawn to the visual qualities of the subject and can’t help wondering about the character whose face is represented in the work. So let us use some of these statues as our examples of body types. While these body types (into one of which each of us fits) are physiologically defined, a curious and inexplicable truth is that the body type also possesses many of the mythological qualities and characteristics of the planets which bear the name of each type.
The first of these, for example, is the Martial type. Ruled by the planet Mars, the god of war, Martial types are people who act like warriors – energetic, direct, aggressive, and often tactless. There is a no-nonsense decisive quality about Martial types that is evident in their militant look above all, as this Roman statue defines:
A similar example of the Martial type is this image of the Roman emperor Augustus:
The qualities of the Martial type progress into those of the Jovial type, represented by Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, and the “generous” one. Jovials are, like Jupiter, often “larger than life” in appearance and behavior. The typical Jovial is Santa Claus, are optimistic, magnificent, generous, and always gregarious observers of nature.
The actor and director Orson Welles, to consider a modern example of a Jovial body type, was a man of the world whose adventures have thus far taken one biographer into a fourth volume. Welles embodied the fact that Jovials have great energy, great ideas, and great appetites, and live life to the absolute fullest.
The often hyperbolic extroversion of Jovial type is tempered by the silent, inexpressive, and implacable composure of the Lunar type. Lunars have large eyes with an implacable or inexpressive stare. Famous Lunars are Napoleon, Peter Lorre, and Stanley Kubrick.
It may be evident that each type is the opposite of the previous and subsequent type in terms of introversion and extroversion. And so, the Lunar type progresses toward Venusian, which is more expressive, embracing, and outwardly affable, although it retains the round face and general lack of features of the lunar type, except for a frequent excess of head and body hair. There is an almost immediate “desire to like” Venusians, as they are notable for the lack of “cruelty” in their expression.
The “anything goes” ease of Venusians is counterbalanced by the punctilious pickiness of the Mercurial type, who is an observer of details, and can express those at length. Mercurials share with Venusians the desire to avoid conflict, but whereas Venusians sublimate internal discord, Mercurials seem to always be “working something out.” Never lazy or passive, Mercurials are small and quick (like the planet, which is the smallest in the solar system). In mythology, Mercury was the messenger, and Mercurials have great ease of expression, and often, a bitingly observant wit. As a result, they are superb comedians, and communicators. They are nervous and unstoppably industrious. In an effort to avoid conflict, Mercurials are natural diplomat. However, unable to “filter” or stop the inner (and outer) dialogue, they may let discretion take a back seat, at which point, they can provide the most in-depth gossip.
Mercurial types are the quintessential communicator, facile with gestures, possessing impressive command of language, and a face whose expression seems to belong to a person who is quick to react. Of the Mercurial demeanor this has been written:
A little bundle of energy,’ lively, opinionated, manipulative, deceitful, secretive, insecure, entertaining, bright, smooth-talking, honey-toned voice, ‘lean and hungry’
The impatient, gregarious Mercurial type progresses toward the taciturn Saturnine, an extremely reserved and a natural introvert. The Saturnine’s deep set eyes reflect a pensive, cautious personality. Saturnines bear burdens, as they are concerned above all with the theme of responsibility and “making the one, best decision” for every situation. Consequently, they are slow to act, carefully considering as many factors as possible before committing to a single action. The Saturnine is typically tall and lanky.
Historical accounts of the roman emperor Antoninus Pius tell the story of the Saturnine care in balanced administration:
Antoninus did not embark on any major wars or travel widely through the Empire. Indeed, he was in effect the last emperor to spend most of his reign in the city of Rome itself. Regarded as a just and diligent administrator, Antoninus presided over the Empire at the height of its power—a time that the historian Edward Gibbon later famously referred to as the period when “the condition of the human race was most happy and most prosperous.”
The Astrology Connection
Up until now, we have covered a history of sorts, and taken a survey of visible types of persons who fit a sort of physical description and physiological profile that fits mythological descriptions. We can, for example, speak of Santa Claus not only as a large, generous being but as a type of person that is like many other portly ones – highly expressive, the center of the party, the happy host, and the “largest” person in the room. This type of person is a Jovial type, like the planet Jupiter, the largest and most sonorous in our solar system.
To speak of history and of body types, we have to be abstract in a way: we have to see qualities grouped together. From this point on, however, all further thinking is much simpler: it is based strictly on visual comparisons involving lines and the enneagram pattern itself. This is not abstraction; rather, it is the most concrete and specific kind of comparison: visual lines against lines, and symmetry between them. And all of this emerges because of the way that astrology arranges its relationships within a simple circle, as we shall see next.
Simpy put, astrology is built on the horoscope, a map laid out as a circle which is divided into 12 equal sections. We can imagine ourselves as standing on the surface of the earth, looking up at the sky, and seeing constellations of stars all around us, just as we might do on any clear night. If constellations appear in this (horoscope) circle, then we (on earth) are in the center of that circle. The horoscope is therefore a map of stars and planets above anything else.
This circle presents us with 12 constellations visible in the night sky, but also shows the planets in our solar system (Mercury, Venus, Mars, etc.) as they appear at any given time against those twelveconstellations,. I say “at any given time” because the planets are in continual motion orbiting the sun, they are never in the same place from moment to moment. Each of the 12 segments that divides the horoscope corresponds to one of the 12 months of the year. As the earth continues in motion around the sun, there is a constellation “behind” the sun at any moment in any year.
What do we mean by a constellation being “behind” the sun? Imagine there is a long, straight line from the earth, passing through the sun, and continuing outward, for many light years’ distance, to whichever constellation appears behind the sun out into space. The earth is continually moving in space, and as it orbits the sun, this imaginary line between earth and sun points to different constellations at different times of the year. The image below shows the 12 constellations in space around our solar system, and in August, the earth and sun align against the constellations of Leo and Virgo, as the arrow indicates:
However, by October, the earth has continued moving (counterclockwise) around the sun, so that our earth-sun arrow now points to the constellations of Libra, moving toward Scorpio:
Every month, the line between the earth and sun points to another constellation. You will notice that these constellations are real stars, and have the name of astrological signs, such as Libra, Pisces, and Leo. That is because the word “constellation” in astronomy and “sign” in astrology refer to the same bodies of stars far out in space.
Closer to home, we know that every other planet and moon in our solar system is also moving around the sun. As it is desirable to know where the planets are at any day of the year, the horoscope gives us a convenient way to see all the planets at once in the form of the horoscope, which we called a simple two-dimensional map showing both the planets and the constellations together. As of today, the blue area below shows the actual location of each of the planets in relation to the constellations. Zoom in for a closer look:
Twelve constellations, and a lot of planets – all in one map. This is a lot of information to read (the letters are too small), so, it is better to use symbols for the planets and constellations, so we don’t have to write down “Jupiter” in tiny letters. For this kind of abbreviation, the table below shows the symbols common used in place of the names of the constellations and the planets.
The constellations (that is, the astrological signs) are:
Likewise, the planets in our solar system are abbreviated into symbols:
Now we can refer back to these symbols when we draw the positions of the stars or planets in a horoscope chart. For example, in this horoscope chart below, we see all of the signs and planets in different locations (because they are moving around the sun). The blue and red lines (not part of any horoscope) are added here only to show how signs and planets could be placed next to each other in any horoscope:
Regardless the placement of elements in a horoscope, the primary principle of astrology is the flow of energy – it is the same principle for every molecule, every solar system, and every universe. The universe is said to contain vibratory energies that flow through both signs and planets, modulated in different ways, much as we modulate the sounds from our vocal chords to transmit different forms of expressive energy. Astrology understands and treats such planetary vibration as the voice of the universe, speaking with different tones, through each person, occasion, and event, even though the source is one.
This expanded view of the universe, seeing its energies as possessed of hidden meaning, is why what in astronomy are called constellations are instead known as signs in astrology, which therefore speaks of the “sign of Aries,” for example, rather than then “constellation of Aries.” A sign is always an expression of intention, like a street sign or the hands of a clock. Seeing the signs in this way means these different energies must be “controlled” or “ruled” by some object, much like a mirror channels and redirects the light of the sun.
This universal flow of energy is why each sign has its ruling planet, so that (as we can see above) Aries is “ruled by” Mars; Taurus is ruled by Venus, and so on. The ruler of a sign is the planet whose energy or vibration (not yet measured by scientific methods). To repeat, these signs and planets echo from a single source emerging from the center of the universe, but with each sign and planet, the energy changes tone and quality, just like a person changes his or her tone and quality when speaking from one person to another. This unity is where astrology and the enneagram meet. Both show the energy being transmitted, transposed, and transformed as it moves from one body type to another. And now we can connect astrology to the study of the enneagram as an esoteric system.
It’s been mentioned that what appeared in popular (but limited) understanding to be a series of numbers or labels for the positions of the enneagram are in truth part of something greater. As with the horoscope, whose origins are mysterious, the enneagram is also a map of unknown origin. Both systems trace how the universal Ray of Creation moves from one sign to another, and the planets are the instruments that play this music. And now that we have the astrological connection, here is the enneagram’s energy as revealed through its planetary progressions:
This is why body types seem to “progress” from one to the other, although in a single life, one cannot live from one type to another: a body type is fixed – only in a future incarnation can one appear in the following body type. Each life lives all or part of the body type’s full range of experience and of perspective. Now, then, let us move directly to the matter of how astrology and the enneagram complement each other. This is the final part of our journey of enneagram discovery.
Using the astrological symbols in the earlier table of planets and signs, we can locate the different planets and signs in a diagram such as the one below, which is common to astrology. Here again is the horoscope – a combined overlay of signs (i.e., the constellations around the earth), the planets that rule them, and a number (from 1 to 12) representing the number of the sign, beginning with Aries (in the 9 o’clock position) and moving counterclockwise until the 12th sign (Pisces, in the 10 o’clock position). We have all seen some variant of a horoscope laid out like this:
In case the symbols aren’t clear, the color coding below defines what each of the concentric circles in this horoscope chart represent. This shows how the astronomical mapping (i.e., position of the constellations), planetary names, and symbolic positions relate to each other:
This is intended only as a visual reference so that the details below can be seen in this arrangement. In particular, let us look at the yellow band, which represents the planets ruling each sign. They are presented as glyphs (as mentioned earlier, for visual abbreviation). But if we keep just two of these layers of information, then this is what we see:
All that this is showing us is the horoscope wheel with its 12 signs (colored in yellow) and the ruling planets for each sign (colored in magenta). As mentioned above, these ruling planets are the original, ancient planets for each sign. Incidentally, the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto would not have been known or used in ancient astrology (it’s a good thing, since Pluto is itself no longer considered a planet).
In the arrangement of planets above, there is a pattern. Can you see it? It is a symmetrical one. If we remove most of the information from this chart above, the pattern becomes clearer. Here is the listing of the planets above:
And if the pattern still isn’t evident, then perhaps these lines will reveal it:
This circle above is the same as the horoscope shown in various colors earlier, but in order to reveal the pattern of planets in the horoscope, all the other information has been removed. What we can see here is that for each of the 12 signs of the horoscope, the ruling planets have a kind of “mirror double” on the other side of the chart. This symmetry of ruling planets is indicated by the red lines: the planets are exactly the same on each side of the blue “mirror” line, except for the moon and sun at the bottom.
To show this planetary pattern, the astrological signs have been hidden: from the moonand sun moving upward, Mercuryrules two signs (not shown, but the one on the left side of the horoscope is Gemini; the one on the right side of the horoscope is Virgo); Venus also rules two signs (on the left it is Taurus, on the right, it is Libra); Mars also rules two signs (left: Aries; right: Scorpio); Jupiteralso rules two signs (left: Pisces; right: Sagittarius); and Saturn also rules two signs (Aquarius and Capricorn). Every planet rules two signs in the zodiac, and for every planet, each ruled sign is directly opposite the other. A hidden pattern revealed, but it is not our main revelation.
This opposition of signs ruled by the same planets is a curious symmetry, and is rarely acknowledged in astrology. But what makes it powerful is the fact that the horoscope hides not one but two enneagrams within this pattern. Here again is the original enneagram, as shown earlier, with its planetary progressions (each planet’s symbol is shown next to its name):
Ignore the Solar type for now, and only observe the arrow-connected lines. These are 6 of the 9 points of the enneagram, but they suffice to show us their primary pattern, and that pattern, corresponding exactly to the planets above, can now be shown in the horoscope. Take a second to look carefully at the shape of the lines above – it will be rotated slightly in the chart below. If we begin the sequence of body types with Martial type at lower left, then the arrows point to this progression of body types:
Martial ➡️ Jovial ➡️ Lunar ➡️ Venusian ➡️ Mercurial ➡️ Saturnine, and back to Martial
Now observe the two enneagrams hidden in the horoscope, now revealed in red lines. Notice the symbols for the ruling planets for each sign in the chart. These planet symbols are shown just outside of the chart:
The red lines connect because they follow the same sequence of the ennegram mentioned earlier – each point in the red lines stops at a sign whose ruling planet is in this sequence:
Martial ➡️ Jovial ➡️ Lunar ➡️ Venusian ➡️ Mercurial ➡️ Saturnine, and back to Martial
The body type sequence of the enneagram reveals that the horoscope follows the same sequence with its ruling planets. This pattern rules the composition of human body types and also the composition of astrology itself. Both enneagrams traced out above are exactly the same: each of the six points in the red shapes lands in an astrological sign whose ruling planet is the same as the planet sequence in the enneagram. In other words, the horoscope’s own arrangement is composed of two hidden enneagrams. It is ruled by the enneagram as much as we humans are.
As mentioned earlier, this fact is not an abstraction, it is based only on simple visual comparison of the ruling planets of each sign in the chart.
To make it clearer, let’s rotate the enneagram slightly:
And show some variations in the lines:
Here they are again, over a normal chart:
There is another pattern hidden in the zodiac, and it, too, conforms exactly to the sequence of body types from the enneagram. Here is that sequence of body types again, also showing the planetary symbol for each body type:
Now let’s move in a circle with the enneagram itself, observing the progression of some of the body types:
This progression of body types (which is not how the enneagram’s progression moves, since it follows the internal line flow) is actually the same as this part of the horoscope’s initial ruling planets:
And another circular pattern is evident. Observe the progression below moves this way: Mercurial – Venusian – Martial – Jovial – Saturnine:
This is exactly the sequence of ruling planets across half of the zodiac – Mercury (Virgo) – Venus (Libra) – Mars (Scorpio) – Jupiter (Sagittarius) – Saturn (Capricorn and then Aquarius):
Numerous theories explore our connection the universe, with astrology being a notable example that attributes personal characteristics to the positions of stars and planets at birth; however, skepticism persists. Does disbelief stem from ignorance or an inability to perceive existing proof? What does this connection prove? The enneagram is built on body types, not numbers or superficial labels that many have assigned to them. These body types are ruled by planetary influences; it is the case that body types even embody many of their planetary qualities. Likewise, astrology, whose origins are also unknown, is based on planetary influences. These planets are arranged in a way that shows that both the zodiac and the enneagram contain elements of each other. There is no really possibility that all of these complex interconnections are merely random. The arrangements reveal complex patterns, and in my view, they amount to an invitation, perhaps one that modern humans have been too willing to overlook, to reflect profoundly on the fact that, rather than being a separate kind of being in the Universe, we are in fact a continuity of all and everything, and our physiological conformity to the stars and planets is a message of confirmation of that fact. I cannot imagine a better message than one which shows us that our potential is to discover all and everything is within us, and we are within it. We need only reflect, meditate, and accept what emerges to consciousness from the depths of ourselves, which is to say, from the magnanimous and endless Universe.
Thank you for walking this pebble-hewn path with me today.