The Wings of Enneagram 1

Hey friends!  I’ve decided to create some “shorts” to fill in the time (that I am slowly editing) between my longer videos, and I realized that perfect bite-sized topic is wings.  As usual, I’ll start from the beginning with 1, the Reformer.  Check it out, and watch for more short videos addressing other wing differences in the future! 🙂

The Wings of Enneagram 1

Enneagram Photo Project (Part. III)

If you are just chiming in, check out Part. I and Part II. of this project. 🙂

A note on seeing the images closer (to read all the quotes): click the image once, which should open a new page, and then click to see the full sized image.


Last, but certainly not least, we have the gut (or body) types. These three types are physical beings, that share the common themes of Anger and Control. As with the other centers, these themes effect each gut type in a unique way.

Challengers tend to exercise Anger freely, and seek mostly to control (or exert their will on) their environment, and those in it. While 8’s see this as survival, those on the receiving end may see it as outright sadism. The externalized Anger of an 8 is generally expressed without thinking, and like a storm, is here and gone. Internal message: you must control everything to survive.

You can check out my overview of 8 basics here.


9Peacemakers are often unaware of Anger themes in their lives, because of their tendency to repress, and even forget feeling it.  9’s are occasionally called “self forgetting”, in that they negate any of their own emotions that might cause unrest– keeping the peace by smothering their less pleasant feelings. Sometimes this is referred to as “numbing out”.  Peacemakers seek to Control out of silence, like a boulder in a stream. Internal message: You must control your feelings to stay connected to others.

You can check out my overview of 9 basics here.



Reformers are usually aware of their Anger, in that they are constantly reigning it in. While 8’s express it without restraint, and 9’s repress to a point of forgetting, 1’s walk the line in between– a daily dance of keeping the lid on the boiling pot.  Reformers hold themselves and others to high moral standards, and thus do not often allow unbridled expression of emotion.  It is this form of Controlled repression, though, that causes the boil over effect that 1’s sometimes experience. A too taught rope will fray. Internal message: You must control yourself in order to be good.

You can check out my overview of 1 basics here.

As always, feel free to reach out with questions or comments! I’d love for you to share this project, but please do not use the images without my express consent. Thanks!

Interesting in participating in one of my upcoming projects? If you know your Enneagram type and live in the Chicago area, I’d love to hear from you! My exploration of the Enneagram is ongoing, and I’d love to include more participants. 🙂 If that’s you, send me an email at


So much thanks to all of my awesome participants, and friends who helped with interviewing! Photo credit for 1, 2, 4 and 7 goes to the lovely Jamie Gray, while 6 and 9 are the work of Tony Au. All quotes are the words of my participants, and the writing/artwork is my own. Thanks everyone, I couldn’t have pulled it off without you!

Enneagram Photo Project (Part. III)

Instincts: 1

So, we now have a better idea of what an Enneagram 1 is, what they desire, what they fear, what motivates them to be the way they are. I don’t know about you, but I love to know that stuff about people! Each person I meet, I see as a unique variety of human. I actually joked with a friend once, that it’s kind of like Pokemon for me. 😉

Yes, you can laugh at that, but it’s kind of true!

Even now that you’ve read over (or have previous knowledge of) the basics of type 1, we need to realize that not all 1’s are the same– far from it. There are actually twelve versions of each Enneagram type; what with two wing variations and six instinctual stacks.  Both the differences and commonality between individuals of the same core can be striking!

Clearly, all of that information can be a little much at first, so back to our topic of today: Instinctual subtypes of Enneagram 1.

So what are instincts? Many good things have been written on this topic (and I’ll provide further reading below) but I think it comes down to this: we are born with all three instinctual needs within us (Self Preservation, Sexual and Social), instinctual stackings just tell us which we favor and which we neglect– sort of a hierarchy of emotional needs. The instinct we usually prioritize above the others, is actually also the area in which we have been most wounded or deprived. I’ve been amazed to see how applicable this has been in understanding relationships with others, especially those whose instinctual preferences might be different than our own. It all comes down to what we need.


When talking about instincts, it’s important to realize how the same instinct can look different from core type to core type. The general descriptions of the instincts (above) are much less specific than when those instincts are applied to a specific type.

The anger, perfectionism and self-righteousness of 1 manifest with each instinct in a unique way.


It’s easy to see how the first (more general descriptions) factor into the type specific ones.  As aforementioned, all 1’s will probably relate somewhat to all three above descriptions, but more strongly with one or two.  This brings us to the concept of Instinctual Stack, which denotes the order of an individual’s instinctual preferences.  For instance, Sp/So tells us that Self Preservation is preferred, So is auxiliary and Sx is the “blind spot”.  I do also think looking into the instincts of your wing (especially if it is heavy) is important to behold the whole picture.

Other great sources for more detailed reading on the instincts, are The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut, these descriptions originally from (the now inactive) Ocean Moonshine, and the work of early Enneagram scholar, Claudio Naranjo (notes on his work on the instincts).

Next post: Basics of Enneagram 2!

Instincts: 1

A Disclaimer + Enneagram 1

Before I begin to outline the different aspects of type, I need to make a statement about my own beliefs in regards to studying the Enneagram.

In our culture of fast food, and online shopping, most people want a quick fix. Please hear me when I say that the Enneagram does not fall into that category.  Though I do believe there is much to be gotten out of even the first days of study, to understand and fully utilize the Enneagram requires some time spent actually reading the material.

A test does not accurately tell you what Enneagram type you are, even if your results seem believable.  I cannot tell you (in just the three years I’ve been studying this) how many people I have encountered that, when they actually read the material (reading about all of the types) realized they had mistyped.  Either that, or realized how much deep knowledge of self and others, they had passed on by not reading more thoroughly.

With that said, I don’t write here to sum up for you.  I don’t outline the aspects of type to give you a short cut.  You know that thing about no crying in baseball?  There are no shortcuts in Enneagram study.  I write and reflect here to share my thoughts, and to hopefully pique your curiosity about this tool that has revolutionized the relationships in my life, and given me so much more insight to my own negative motivations and the ways I limit myself as a person.

I am, however, thrilled to dialogue, answer questions about the Enneagram and point you in the direction of great resources outside of this place.  I often say to people that I’m helping come to a type conclusion, “I know the Enneagram, and you know you, so let’s figure it out!”. That applies here too, so don’t hesitate if you came here looking for some direction. 🙂

Alright, onward to the type outlines!  This week, let’s look at the basics of Enneagram 1!


Enneagram 1 we affectionately call the Reformer, but I believe some versions dub it the Perfectionist– both nicknames apply well. There is within a 1, the desire to find and perpetuate all that is right and correct in our world (and in doing so, to fix and correct all that is bad or wrong). This brings to mind another name I’ve heard: the Crusader, which paints us the picture of a white horse, a sword of truth and a force for good. That is, in reality, what most 1’s desire to be, and they usually see themselves as having some sort of “mission” for the greater good.

Like most Enneagram types, though, in average and low health, self deception is a factor. The brand that 1’s deal with is as one might imagine: hypocrisy, self righteousness, judgment, and corrupted sense of justice. Because they tend to be idealists, 1’s in deep levels of unhealth usually get there because they are overwhelmed (and often depressed) by the amount of bad in the world.  Resentment is large theme for Enneagram 1’s because they often feel that they are the only ones who do it right— feeling like others are not carrying their weight, when in reality the 1 has usually forcibly taken control in order to ensure the outcome is “right”.

Imagery that I’ve oft read to describe the passion of anger for 1’s, is this: a pot with a lid on. From the outside it seems calm and serene, but in truth, is about to boil over.  1’s I know have confirmed that anger tends to be their default emotion, often covering up what they are really feeling (sadness, hurt, stress, etc.).

Enneagram 1’s can be such catalysts for positive change in our world when they are able to release control, and when they can see that their version of “right” may not be the same for everyone.  A very good 1 friend of mine realized this at one point, after reading deeply into all of the other types.  She was in disbelief, and then understanding shock that others could have different motives than herself (and that it could be okay)!  Since then, though, I really think she sees and approaches people differently, with more grace and desire to know where they are coming from– and that she has to extend that to herself that too!

That’s all for now, but stay tuned for my next post on the instinctual variations of Enneagram 1!

A Disclaimer + Enneagram 1