Exploring the Enneagram – The Number Nine.


Basic Fear: Of loss and separation; of annihilation.

Basic Desire: To maintain their inner stability and peace of mind.

Superego Message: You are good or okay as long as those around you are good or okay.

Nines are natural peacemakers. They accept others without prejudice which provides a space in which people feel understood and accepted. They are good at seeing all sides and can express harsh truths in a calm manner enabling others to hear and accept what they bring. Nines feel safe to us because they mean us no harm.

The quest for internal and external peace is integral to the Nine and they work hard to maintain their peace of mind as well as harmony in their world. They have the potential to be the most grounded in their bodies and the physical world but until they come to health they are often disconnected from their bodies. They are tempted to downplay their strengths assuming that they’re not important enough to display their talents in front of other people. They are background people who can enter and leave a room without anyone noticing.

Although as the “crown” of The Enneagram meaning that they include a little of all the numbers, Nines often lack a strong sense of their own identity. To live as separate individuals who must assert themselves is a frightening prospect to the Nine. They would much rather melt away or follow their daydreams. They easily give up their agendas in favour of someone else’s.

In an attempt to ignore the distressing or painful aspects to life, Nines will numb out and withdraw. In distressing situations, they seek to live in perpetual peacefulness as a way to avoid pain or they focus on the bright side of life in order to not shake their peace of mind.

The childhood pattern of the Nine was to cope with troubling environments by dissociating form them and then adopting the role of Peacemaker or Mediator. They grew up with the sense that having needs, asserting themselves or getting angry was unacceptable. Young Nines would stay in the background as a place of safety. The result of this is that for the adult Nine it usually takes some work to get in touch with what they want for themselves.

As with all The Gut Triad types, Nines do carry anger within themselves even though it isn’t evident. If a Nine is pushed, the anger within does awaken and can manifest suddenly and intensely catching others off guard. When anger surfaces, Nines feel guilty and will repress it once again in response.

The way home for the Nine is stillness and practices that engage their bodies. Nines naturally use stillness as a way to withdraw and numb so it’s important that they are attentive and intentional within prayer practice as a way to engage with it fully. As they engage stillness, Nine’s learn to attach to their own bodies thus awakening the ability to engage fully in life, especially those things they have been avoiding.

The gift of the Nine is decisive action. At first they may hesitate and waver, but when they reach a decision, it happens in a moment of utter clarity. Without further considerations, without revision or the least doubt, they know what they want to do, and no one will be able to stop them.

Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson explain how Nines reconnect with their Essential nature or True Self:

Ultimately Nines reclaim their Essential nature by confronting their Basic Fear of losing connection and by letting go of the belief that their participation in the world is unimportant – that they do not have to “show up.” They realise that the only way to truly achieve the unity and wholeness they seek is not by “checking out” into the realms of the imagination but by fully engaging themselves in the present moment. Doing so requires that they reconnect with their instinctual nature and with their physicality in an immediate way. Often this requires confronting repressed feelings of anger and rage that can be extremely threatening to their ordinary sense of self. But when Nines stay with themselves and are able to integrate their anger, they begin to feel the stability and steadiness that they have been seeking. 

Richard Rohr, Daily Meditations
Don Richard Risso and Russ Hudson,  The Wisdom of the Enneagram
Christopher L Heurtz, The Sacred Enneagram

The Enneagram can be extremely useful as you continue your journey of growth and transformation. As a Spiritual Director, I can join you in discovering more about yourself through exploring The Enneagram and your Type within it.