Below are 9 differently shaped pots to tell a bit of the story of the 9 types. I created them to help me understand the types. I had witnessed panels of each type in The Narrative Enneagram training. As I began, I recalled the panel of the type, tried to sense the energy and feel of the type, and allowed a pot to be formed. These certainly do not tell the whole story of the type, so please extend grace in my attempt to give shape and form to our 9 Enneagram types.
Type 1 – The Perfectionist
The vessel for type 1 could not be made on the pottery wheel. It had to have right angles and straight edges. This is a serious, orderly, idealistic, responsible pot. The rigidity can be difficult on you and on others. But there is beauty here too.
Type 2 – The Giver
This vessel was formed on the pottery wheel, then stretched out, open portraying the type 2’s other-oriented, generous, caring intention. 2’s however can lose their very centre in an effort to meet other’s needs. It can be so difficult to stay in touch with your own needs or wants.
Type 3 – The Performer
The type 3 vessel is a pot, with hands on the hips as if to say, “Here I am, I am capable and competent and I can get the job done!” This vessel is performance- and image-conscious. It can be so hard to feel loved for who you are, rather than what you do.
Type 4 – The Romantic
The type 4 pot has beauty. Extra care was taken in the small details. One type 4 young man who I met described himself as having a heart-shaped hole inside him, with a longing for it to be filled. This pot is in honour of his words. Type 4’s are encouraged to be the “keepers of their own heart.”
Type 5 – the Observer
The type 5 vessel is in the only lidded piece. If you lift the lid there is so much going on inside! Type 5’s are complex, focused, self-sufficient, independent. It can become a habit to detach and withdraw, inside themselves, away from the demands of people and life.
Type 6 – the Loyal Skeptic
Type 6’s are one of the head types, so the top part of the vessel is expanded. There are eyes all around the top portion of the pot, showing their vigilance, keeping an eye out everywhere, watching for details and for potential problems.
Type 7 – the Epicure
The type 7’s desire for freedom, variety and for exploring the many rich experiences of life is reflected in the crazy variety of design and texture on this pot-even on the bottom of the vessel. Curious, optimistic, eager, outgoing. It’s hard of the 7 to have an open heart for both sorrow and joy.
Type 8 – the Protector
The type 8 vessel has a thick, strong wall. It is a formidable structure to keep in place. They are assertive, determined, action-oriented, straight talking. However, inside the 8 is a vulnerable little pot, that you are honoured if you get to see.
Type 9 – the Mediator
I made a pot on the pottery wheel and as I pondered the shape for the type 9 it just fell over. The walls collapsed and I left it. 9’s sometimes lose themselves in the process of being easy going, relaxed, agreeable, unself-conscious. They are serene, contended and encourage peace at all costs. Notice the peace symbol in the centre of the pot.
Painting – “Nine Trees, One Forest”
After my very first course in The Narrative Enneagram Intensive course, I painted as a way to help me process and understand what I had heard from the people on panels who live in these 9 types.
From LEFT to RIGHT
Type 6 – There is an orderliness and a predictability here, lot of planning with everything in place: hence the lines. There are eyes watching for what could happen. They are on the sidelines, not pushing to be front and centre.
Type 9 – At the bottom notice the green, brown, yellow tree lying across the bottom, merging out to everyone. This tree is in touch with all the other trees, blending in. They don’t stand out too much and they keep the peace.
Type 1 – There is plenty of black and white thinking: good or bad, right or wrong. It’s linear thinking. There is a straight forward energy to the tree, no messing around here.
Type 7 – The most colourful, expansive tree, spreading in every direction at the same time. There are limitless opportunities to be had. Attention avoids the more difficulty emotions of pain, sorrow, sadness-so the colours are bright and cheery.
Type 3 – This is the only tree I used gold/bronze paint on the outer edge. It is a stand out, stand up, get-things-done kind of tree! Their own hearts are often off their screen of awareness, even though they are a heart centre (notice the small pink area at the base of the tree.)
Type 8 – This red, bold tree has the biggest presence, a dominating presence. 8’s are very much HERE. In this forest they stand out, they are strong and powerful and say it like it is!
Type 4 – Rainbows representing the ideal, the wonderful person/experience they could have. But it’s always out of reach. There is a longing for what’s not there. The rainbows also signify the complex inner emotional world of the 4, so many fractals of colour.
Type 5 – The first man I met who identified as a 5 said his mind has 10 computer screens open at all times, all very different, all kept separate. At the end of the day he closes each one down one at a time. The tree shows the full minds of the type 5. This tree is off, on the edge, where it can watch and observe.
Type 2 – Type 2’s are always reaching out, caring for the other; hence the blue branches of the tree extending and overextending behind all the other trees. 2’s are not so attentive to their own needs or wants.