Though the Enneagram was not at first considered a type system, through the works of people like Helen Palmer and especially Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, the type aspect has become a very popular psycho-spiritual tool. Less well known than the Enneagram, the Seven Ray Types have similarly a great deal to offer, and this post we compare and contrast the two.
Though there are many type systems, two stand out in terms of their evolutionary application. The nine different Enneagram types evolve through nine different levels. The seven different Ray types, likewise evolve through many levels. Both, have a lot to offer in the way of helping an individual understand their own unique way of becoming more spiritual. And, this helps those who are already aware of to some extent the basics of these two type systems, see what they have in common.
The Enneagram – A Brief Overview
Essentially, the Enneagram is based upon a geometrical configuration that is said to have its roots in ancient times as far back as Pythagoras, and maybe even further back. The symbol of the Enneagram was later reintroduced to the modern world by Georg Gurdjieff, a Sufi mystic. At the time, Gurdjieff did not teach the Enneagram as a type system. Instead, he focused mainly on the sacred geometry of the symbol, though he did use the symbol to give his students some understanding of what he called their “chief feature,” which was analogous to the main foundation of a person’s ego structure.
Many years later, a man named Oscar Ichazo, who was born in Bolivia and spent most of his formative years in Peru and Buenos Aires, discovered the Enneagram while traveling through Asia where he was investigating ancient spiritual knowledge. Many years later he created the Arica School where he taught the knowledge he received. After teaching for many years in Chile, he later brought the Enneagram to the United States. And Ichazzo used the Enneagram he blend components of mystical Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, and ancient Greek philosophy (particularly Socrates, Plato, and the Neo-Platonists).
In time the Enneagram morphed more and more of a psycho-spiritual tool. Early developers of this aspect of the Enneagram included Helen Palmer and especially Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson. Riso and Hudson took the nine types of the Enneagram and evolved them up nine levels of growth. These nine levels were divided further into three areas: healthy, average, and unhealthy. Riso and Hudson also focused on the “wings” of the Enneagram, or the type that exists on each side of each number. For example: Type 2 has a wing with Type 1 and also Type 3, as well as other elements that correlated to understanding how each type acts under stress, and how each type can learn to mature more fully to function at the most optimum level.
The Rays – A Brief Overview.
The Rays are constructed around the sacred number 7, and are said to be seven divine emanations. The number seven was thought to be fundamental in a number of ways. We see it in the seven days of the week. We find it in the notion believed for thousands of years there were seven planets (including the sun and moon) in existence. We find it in the idea of seven chakras and more. Seven is also related to the notion of the three (or triangle) and the four (or square) coming together in a sacred geometrical way, most notably in the notion of the pyramid. And, in the representation above you have a symbol that reflects a certain kind of “eye” alluding to the “third eye” or “eye of wisdom” being opened when the three and four come together in the right way.
Rays are said to influence everything, not only humans, coloring their characteristics. They even are said to influence epochs of time, with us moving from a period of about 2000 years influenced by the 6th ray of mysticism, devotion, and an upward movement to get out of the body (to heaven, nirvana, etc), to the 7th ray (which has more to do with ritual, law, order and a focus of bringing heaven downward into manifestation on earth). Beyond the metaphysical implications the notion of the rays have been related to psycho-spiritual growth through the writings of Alice Bailey throughout the 1910’s to mid 1940’s. In a human being, the rays are said to rule throughout the entire spectrum of consciousness. Fer example, Ray Seven can rule the physical level, emotional level, mental level, intuition level and more.
The Enneagram and Rays – A Comparison
To begin with here is a list of basic similarities:
- Both of these systems are said to originate in antiquity.
- Both are said to be based on geometric and universal/cosmic principles.
- Though both are said to transcend application to human being and psycho-spiritual principles, both lend themselves to being utilized effectively in these ways.
- Both are based on sacred numerology — the Enneagram on the number 9, the rays on the number 7.
- Each system can be utilized in a psycho-spiritual way, evolving each up the spectrum of spiritual development.
- Both systems have a means of splitting each type into two. The Enneagram does this through its wings on either side of a type. Again, for example, if you are Enneagram Three you can be either Three with a Two type wing, or Three with a One type wing. The Rays do a very similar thing, each having an A & B side to it.
And, here is a list of basic differences.
- To my knowledge the Enneagram has not been applied to influence all levels of being the same way the Rays have including: mineral, vegetable, animal, human, planets, solar systems, cosmos, periods of time. Everything is said to be influenced by a ray because they are analogous to the spectrum of light. Not everything is said to be colored by the Enneagram.
- As the Enneagram is currently used you have one type and you evolve that type up the levels of psych0-spiritual development. That type may be influenced by other factors (such as the wings on each side of your type), but you still have one type. In contrast, with the rays you have the potential to have different rays color different levels of your being. For example: Ray Three may color your physical body, Ray Six your emotional body; Ray Five your mental body, Ray Four your personality, Ray Two your soul and more. Typically it is extremely rare for one ray to influence all aspects of your being (physical, emotional, mental, and so forth). At times two rays may impact, but typically three to five rays are involved.
- When interpreting the Enneagram you study then how your one ray type evolves. While studying the Rays you study how a mixture of ray influences in the various aspects of your being influence your psycho-spiritual evolution.
Going Deeper in the Comparisons.
In my extensive study of, and respect for, both the Enneagram and the Rays I would like to suggest some parallels between the two in regards to the types themselves. Again in the Enneagram we have nine types. With the Rays we have seven types. Keeping this in mind, here is what I notice in the way some correlations can be made.
- Enneagram One is pretty much the same as Ray Seven.
- Enneagram Two and Ray Two are very similar.
- Enneagram Three and Ray Three are likewise very similar.
- Enneagram Four and Ray Four also line up fairly well.
- Enneagram Five lines up with Ray Five nicely.
- Enneagram Six and Ray Six again are very similar.
- Enneagram Seven is a mixture of Rays 2 & 4 in their extroverted features, but not in Ray 2 & 4’s introverted features. Also, some dash of Ray Seven in its more counter-revolutionary side can be included.
- Enneagram Eight is very much the same as Ray One.
- Enneagram Nine is very much like Ray 2 in its introverted nature, with some features of the more introverted Ray Four type.
Using the comparisons above I for one have found it extremely helpful to combine the two systems. And, I present this comparison precisely for this reason, as much could be learned to deepen the understanding of each system through a comparative approach.
The Enneagram, Rays and the Developmental Models
Throughout this blog I have been posting regarding the model used by Integral and the Ageless Wisdom. Currently, none of the books on the Enneagram or the Rays fall in line with either of these developmental models. As mentioned at the start of the post, the Enneagram uses nine levels and divides them into three general categories of Unhealthy, Average and Healthy. For the most part, we could say that “unhealthy” levels of the Enneagram fall into the Red to Amber ranges (Group 3 & 4 in the Ageless Wisdom teachings), where emotional intelligence and impulse control are limited. At the average levels of the Enneagram in a broad sense we might say that they correlate with Amber and what I have called Amber/Orange (which correlates with Group 4 & 5 in the Ageless Wisdom teachings). As for the Healthy levels, what is said spiritually about the Enneagram types is actually vague compared to the model we are using here. For the most part we could say they correspond to the Orange, Green and Teal levels (Groups 6, 7, 8), though at this point these correlations are very un-exact.
Regarding the rays, the main person who has written extensively on the Rays apart from Alice Bailey is Michael Robbins. He elaborates on the rays in regards to the physical, emotional, mental, personality, and soul levels. Though he talks about soul and personality infusion and the conflicts as this process occurs, again he is not being as exact as the model we are using here. He is very much aware of the model we are using, but to date there have been no attempts to break the soul/personality ray process down so specifically as how the process occurs through all the stages we have mentioned within this blog. Perhaps someday that will come.
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