I should preface this with a bit of history; before I became a Christian I spent quite a bit of time researching (and believing in) Eastern mystical thought, primarily Vendanta, which is similar in many ways to Buddhism. Even before becoming a Christian I recognized the stark differences between Eastern religion and Christianity, and felt Vendanta was superior.
When I encountered the Lord Jesus Christ at the age of 21 in a Oregon jail cell, He began a radical transformation in my worldview and led me to analyze the truth of the beliefs I had held before. I soon found that my New-Age belief system crumbled in the presence of Biblical theology.
When I picked up a copy of “The Wisdom of the Enneagram” at a friend’s house and browsed the pages I found a recasting of the mystic New Age philosophies I once believed, all of which stand in stark contrast to Biblical principles. I have been amiss in not putting my thoughts down (and a warning) about this occultic inroad into many people’s lives.
So, what is the religious and historic basis for the Enneagram?
From, Óscar Ichazo himself in his Letter to the Transpersonal Community (complete document on request):
“The main ‘ideas’ are the existence of an essence and a personality; the essence is our real self with which we are born that Gurdjieff qualifies in a very diffusive manner like our own natural body, our health, or what is essential and accompanies us through this life and beyond; and the personality is the part that learns from the world by imitation, association, and education, making a protective coat around the essence and in this way supplanting it. From all that I know, this is one of the most ancient ideas and is the basis of the Vedas, where the essence is known as atman and the personality as jiva, which surrounds the essence (atman) and imposes itself (jiva) as the only actual reality. The Katha, Mandukya, and Chandogya Upanishads are based on the same premise. Shamkara’s philosophy is also based on this premise, and it is fundamental in Kashmir Shaivaism, as well as being the basic premise of the work of Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo, and Meher Baba. Without the conception of the Absolute and Relative Minds (essence and personality), there would be no Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Taoism, or any mystical doctrine.”
“I found all the same ideas totally developed in the Pythagorean, Platonic, Stoic, Hermetist, Gnostic, and Kabbalist traditions that continue to develop throughout Western culture for the simple reason that they all are obvious, basic postulates.”
Ichazo refers to Gnosticism numerous times in this discourse, as well as the other “mystical” religions.
There is a vast difference between Gnosticism and Christianity:
“• Gnostics were dualists and worshipped two (or more) gods; Christians were monists and worshipped one God.
• Gnostics focused on eradication of ignorance; Christian concern was the eradication of sin.
• Both had a redeemer. The Gnostic redeemer only appeared human; the Christian Redeemer was human, “the Word made flesh.”
• For Gnostics, salvation came through knowledge of self; for Christians salvation was through faith in the risen Christ.
• In Gnosis, the focus was on the individual and individual experience; in Christianity, focus was on the community of believers.”
– from The Influences of Gnosticism on the Development and Growth of Early Christianity by Joe E. Morris
Who Is Óscar Ichazo, the founder of the Enneagram?
“The earliest mention of the Enneagram is found in the writings of the Russian occultist P. D. Ouspensky, who attributes it to his teacher, the Greek American occultist Georges I. Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff considered the Enneagram a symbol of the cosmos, but made no connection with it to personality types.
“It was left to another occultist, Óscar Ichazo, to connect the Enneagram to personality. Ichazo claimed to have discovered the personality type meaning of the Enneagram when it was taught to him by the Archangel Metraton while he was high on mescaline.
“One of Ichazo’s students, a Chilean-born psychiatrist named Claudio Naranjo (another occultist) was the first to connect the nine points of the Enneagram to nine basic personality types. (Naranjo also appears to be the one to connect the mention of the Enneagram by Gurdjieff and Ouspensky to ancient sources.)”
Doesn’t sound much like Biblical Christianity, does it?
“As things stand at the moment, the Church seems more concerned about praxis than doctrine. Doing, intervening, welcoming, integrating, helping, medicating, and participating, etc. . . . .often have priority over contents: welcome what? Integrate where? Participate for what purpose? What happens from a doctrinal point of view is that the Church comes across as being more “open”: in order to be able to reach out to and encounter all, doctrine is looked upon as a weight. In actual fact, doctrine marks confines that cannot be crossed in any way whatsoever. Now, while doctrine recedes to the background, heresy – its exact contrary – is scaled down. It is no longer considered an error with tragic consequences on the material and spiritual life of the faithful.” – From an interview with Stefano Fontana, author of “Chiesa gnostica e secolarizzazione”.
Gnosticism has been a heresy the Church has been battling since its formation. God, when speaking to John in His Revelation to the church, made reference to the Gnostics of his day — the Nicolaitans — speaking to the Church in Ephesus: “Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” (Revelation 2:6)
And to the Church in Pergamum He says, “But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. (Revelation 2:14-16)
God will not coexist with idolatry and heresy; any Christian will find themselves in trouble, who thinks he can mix Eastern mysticism and Christianity. “Can a man take fire in his bosom And his clothes not be burned? Or can a man walk on hot coals And his feet not be scorched? (Proverbs 6:27-28) Just as a man cannot serve both God and money, a Christian cannot serve God and a philosophy that puts Man in the center of focus instead of God.