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Ego, Self, and Liminocentric Structures
© John Fudjack and Patricia Dinkelaker - February, 1999
skip to section one In this series we hope to show why we believe that the Enneagram was originally conceived as a tool for affecting personal transformation of the most profound kind, a transformation of the type that is usually characterized as 'spiritual'. If it can be said, as it often has been, that 'Ego' and 'Ego-development' are the province of the MBTI, then it could also be maintained that it is the 'Self' that the Enneagram can rightfully claim as its proper sphere of interest, along with the issues and obstacles that arise in individuals who are on those spiritual paths that would affect a shift of the center of personality from Ego to Self. In the ﬁrst three parts of this series, beginning with this paper, we will suggest that the ﬁgure of the Enneagram is a representation
of the 'Archetype of the Self' - expressing, like other mandala ﬁgures do, according to Jung, not only an urge toward 'wholeness', a desire to reconcile opposites, and a need to reclaim previously alienated parts of the psyche, but also a method for embodying the 'sacred' in the realm of everyday 'mundane' existence. For Jung, the Self is indistinguishable from the Unconscious and the Godhead, and its manifestation in the life of an individual is a distinctly spiritual event. The emergence of mandala ﬁgures (and other related symbols) is the psyche's way of attempting to contain and deal with the forces that are unleashed in the course of the process of self-actualization as it unfolds in the life of the individual. It is our belief that the Enneagram originally sought to describe antidotes to the obstacles that typically arise on such a path.
Section One - Ego and Self
skip to section two In the course of "differentiating the Ego from the non-Ego", which is the primary psychological goal associated with the ﬁrst half of an individual's life according to Jung, "it is essential that a man [sic] should be ﬁrmly rooted in his Ego-function...".
... that is, he must fulﬁll his duty to life, so as to be in every respect a viable member of the community. All that he neglects in this respect falls into the unconscious .... (Jung, Two Essays, page 73, paragraph 113). Jung, like Freud before him, conceived of 'consciousness' and 'the unconscious' as mutually exclusive realms of human experience. In this day and age we might question the wisdom of treating these terms as ones describing a strict dichotomy 1. But
in the meta-psychological system that these two men shared, the intrapersonal topographical entity coterminous with the individual's conscious experience is the 'Ego' and experiences that stand outside of the scope of the explicit awareness of the individual are understood, by deﬁnition, to be 'unconscious' ones beyond the purview of the Ego. For Jung the Ego is, accordingly, 'a conscious factor par excellence, ... never more or less than consciousness as a whole'. 2 Therefore, although for Jung the Ego always 'retains its quality as center of the ﬁeld of consciousness' it is 'questionable whether it is [always] the center of the personality'. 3 This is an especially important consideration to keep in mind with respect to the 'late phase of personal development' described by Jung, when a 'perceptible change of personality' can occur in the individual as a result of a process that he called 'individuation'. The 'profound transformation of personality' that is possible at this stage of development involves a reclaiming of the neglected aspects mentioned in the passage above. Despite the unlimited extent of its bases, the Ego is never more and never less than consciousness as a whole. As a conscious factor, the Ego could, theoretically at least, be described completely. But this would never amount to more than a picture of the conscious personality; all these features which are unknown or unconscious to the subject would be missing. A total picture would have to include these. But a total picture of the personality is, even in theory, absolutely impossible, because the unconscious portion cannot be grasped cognitively. (Jung, AION,
page 4, paragraph 6)
It is through what Jung called the 'transcendent function' that the transformation of the personality that we are here concerned with is affected. It entails '... a blending and fusion of the noble with the base components, of the differentiated with the inferior functions,
of the conscious with the unconscious.' 4 The mundane Egocentered personality gives way to the 'total personality'.
Jung referred to this 'total personality' as 'the Self'-
I have suggested calling the total personality, which, though present, cannot be fully known, the Self. The Ego is, by deﬁnition, subordinate to the Self and is related to it like a part to the whole.
(Jung, Aion, page 5)
The Self is not only the center but the whole circumference, embracing both conscious and unconscious; it is the center of this totality, just as the ego is the center of consciousness. (Jung,
'Dream Symbols of the Individuation Process', in Spiritual Disciplines, page 341)
The Self is a quantity that is supraordinate to the conscious Ego. It embraces not only the conscious but also the unconscious psyche, and is therefore, so to speak, a personality which we ALSO are. (Jung, 'The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious',
The unconscious and consciousness aren't necessarily in opposition, as Jolande Jacobi reminds us, '... they complement one another to form the Self'. For the conscious personality "the birth of the Self means a shift of its psychic center, and consequently an entirely different attitude toward, and view of, life
- in other words a 'transformation' in the fullest sense of the word". This process results in a 'renewal of personality', a 'widened consciousness' which, according to Jacobi, is 'no longer that touchy, egotistical bundle of personal wishes, fears, hopes, and ambitions which has always to be compensated or corrected by unconscious countertendencies'. 5
Section Two - Mandalas
skip to footnotes and references
The unconscious does indeed put forth a bewildering profusion of designations for that obscure thing we call the mandala or 'Self'. (Jung, in Spiritual Disciplines, page 304)
The Self is represented or symbolized by those ﬁgures which Jung called 'mandalas'. 'Unless everything deceives us', says Jung, '[mandalas] signify nothing less than a psychic center of the personality not to be identiﬁed with the Ego'.6
The word 'mandala', in the Sanskrit language from which Jung borrowed the term, means 'circle', and the most rudimentary mandala ﬁgure is the simple circle.7 The point at the center of the circle 7a is, as mathematicians tells us, a dimensionless entity i.e., not contained within the spatio-temporal order. Yet even when it is not represented by a dimensioned physical mark it 'manifests', as it were, as the circle's mathematical center. Its 'appearance' is a virtual one, as the presence of an absence.
So even in the simplest mandala ﬁgure - the dimensionless point within the circle - we already have a glimmer of the motif that only becomes patently manifest in the conﬁguration that Jungian analyst Marie-Louise Von Franz calls the 'double mandala' namely, two incommensurable 'orders of existence' brought together in the same ﬁgure. The unborn, unmanifest, or eternal essence, on the one hand, and the manifest, dynamic and everchanging 'dimensioned' world, on the other. In the Indian system from which Jung borrowed the concept of 'mandala', as well as in Tibetan Buddhism, Chinese 'alchemical' systems, and various Western mystical schools, the nature of the relationship between these two orders of existence is illustrated by the relationship between the circle and its center. Indeed, this is the primary purpose of the mandala, to make manifest the unique organizational forms by which the two incommensurable worlds can be successfully reconciled and thus simultaneously experienced. We are told that etymologically the word 'mandala' comes from 'manda' - which means 'essence', and 'la', which means 'container'. So even buried deep within the origins of the word itself is an interest in the problem of how spiritual 'essence' might be contained within a framework associated with a mundane 'order of existence' incommensurable with it. Therefore, when Jung talks about the 'tantric symbol of SHIVA BINDU', which is the 'creative, latent god without extension in space who, in the form of a point, .... is encircled three and a half times by the Kundalini serpent', and how this arrangement forms a spiral 8 , we must understand the ﬁgure that he is talking about as an elaboration of this special type of organizational form, which is only fully realized at an advanced stage of the spiritual path.
This organizational form is referred to as 'Mahamudra' ('Great Symbol') in the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, where its attainment is the ultimate goal of spiritual practice, and in the Nyingma school, it is known as 'Dzogchen' (the 'Great Perfection'). It was also a matter of great interest to Ouspensky, as we shall see. He believed that it was symbolized by the ﬁgure of the Enneagram. BEHIND the dimensionless point, Ouspenksy thought, other worlds that are 'incommensurable' with ours (because they do not share the same 'dimensions') reside. He says The zero-dimension or the point is a LIMIT. This means that we see something as a point, but we do not know what is concealed behind this point . It may actually be a point, that is, a body having no dimensions and it may also be a whole world, but a world so far removed from us or so small that it appears to us as a point. (Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, page 209). The manifestation of the laws of one cosmos in another cosmos consistutes what we call a MIRACLE.(Ouspensky, In Search of the
Miraculous, page 206)
"Mandalas, with their mathematical structure, are nothing less, according to Jung, than pictures of the 'primal order of the total psyche'", says Jacobi. 8a. Furthermore, the common psychic structure that is revealed in the mandala parallels the 'whole individuation process'. This process 'tries to achieve its goal by a natural production of symbols that is a spontaneous movement of the psyche'. Although the primordial 'uniting symbol', the archetype per se, remains 'unknowable' in some respects as it emerges into conscious awareness, it is equally true that it in some sense also succeeds in revealing something profound about the nature of the fundamental 'structuring aspect' of the psyche. 8b. It was in this aspect that Jung and Ouspensky both took particular interest. This is what attracted Jung in later years to an investigation of the class of ﬁgures that he called
'mandalas', and Ouspensky to an exploration of a particular mandala ﬁgure that he thought best symbolized reality's fundamental structure, the ﬁgure that he and Gurdjieff called the 'enneagram'. In some diagrams that are treated by Jung and/or Von Franz as archetypal pictures of the 'Self', such as the ﬁgure below, this fundamental structuring aspect - which strives to incorporate something outside of its own dimensions - seems less prominent a feature, and it is the
The 'Aristotelian ﬁeld', an archetypal picture of the Self according to Von Franz. 9 One can see this diagram as nine circles arranged in a triangle around a central circle. In a footnote in another work, Von Franz tells us that in Greek antiquity the ﬁrst nine numbers were arranged in a mandala ﬁeld similar to this one, called 'the ennead'. 10
harmony and balance that is created by the ﬁgure that qualiﬁes it as a 'mandala' in this lesser, purely 'Jungian', sense of the word. Symmetry, as Fritjof Capra pointed out, is in the West typically 'identiﬁed with beauty, harmony and perfection', and has played an important role in science, philosophy, and art. He reminds us that 'the Pythagoreans regarded symmetric number patters as the essence of things'. But the East is a different story The attitude of Eastern philosophy with regard to symmetry is in striking contrast to that of the ancient Greeks. Mystical traditions in the Far East frequently use symmetric patterns as symbols or as meditation devices, but the concept of symmetry does not
seem to play any major role in their philosophy. ... Accordingly, many Eastern art forms have a striking predilection for asymmetry and often avoid all regular or geometrical shapes. (Capra, page 257,
The Tao of Physics)
Jung often emphasized symmetry as the most prominent and signiﬁcant feature of mandalas. Indeed, for Jung and many Jungians, symmetry is the sin qua non of the mandala. 'The mandalas all show the same typical arrangement and symmetry of the pictorial elements', says Jacobi. 'Their basic design is a circle or square (often a square) symbolizing 'wholeness', and in all of them the relation to a centre is accentuated'. 10a Although the emphasis on symmetry may reﬂect the fact that Jung was deeply rooted in Western thought, it also reﬂects the needs that emerged from his work as a therapist. His views about the purpose of the mandala arose naturally out of his work with clients who, like himself at a certain critical juncture in life, came under the onslaught of unsolicited material arising from the unconscious. They needed frames in which these eruptions could be contained and understood, neutralizing the damage that might be wrought by them on the individual. But in the East, this was not the primary purpose of mandala ﬁgures. The primary purpose was a spiritual one, and this brought into relief a different approach, and different concerns. The goal on the ﬁrst part of the spiritual path is to achieve a direct and unmediated experience of the order of existence that transcends the mundane world of 'cyclic existence'. In Buddhist terminology this entails an insight into the essentially 'empty' nature of those things that populate the 'mundane' order. This empty nature is represented by the dimensionless center or 'bindu' - and also by the physical 'space' that contains all things. If the ﬁrst part of the spiritual path concerns itself with 'enlightenment' experiences in which mundane 'form' is recognized as 'empty', the second part of the path precedes in the opposite direction. Emptiness is
experienced as form, and the goal of the spiritual practitioner becomes learning the manifold ways in which he or she can skilfully manifest in the everyday world in order to compassionately assist others on the path. Thus, in the other more complex mandala ﬁgures associated with the Indian and Tibetan traditions, there is always this tension between the 'center' of the ﬁgure and the remainder. It is the product of the fact that the two orders of existence that are being represented are 'incommensurate'. The tension is an especially prominent feature in the Shri Yantra, which we will discuss in detail later in this series. It's center is 'represented', in a manner of speaking, only by the presence of a subtle anomaly that is built into the construction of the ﬁgure at its midpoint - an 'objectless object' as it were, since it does not actually manifest in its own right as a particular line or ﬁgure or 'thing' that we can directly put our ﬁnger on. Like the mathematical point at the center of the circle, the elusive center in the Shri Yantra is 'unborn'; it exists only by virtue of its failure to bring closure to the expectations created by the totality of the remaining ﬁgure. As such, this ﬁgure represents, in an exemplary fashion, the manner in which the mandala succeeds in reconciling the two incommensurable 'orders' that we participate in as human beings - the unborn 'eternal' order, and the manifest 'temporal' order. It is at the center of the Shri Yantra that form erupts out of emptiness, in what Eliade calls an 'epiphany' or 'heirophany'. And yet it is also true that that form somehow 'contains' it. The sacred is embodied in the mundane. 11 But, curiously, it is the space that is subtly created by the intentional asymmetry, the anomaly deliberately drawn into the diagram at its center, that permits a magical 'ninth' triangle to gratuitiously but inconspicuously appear around the center point
of the ﬁgure. If the ﬁrst part of the spiritual journey is associated, as Jung correctly points out, with the mystical notion of the 'missing fourth' (the ineffable fourth element that 'rounds out' the quaternity that represents 'wholeness'), the second half of the spiritual journey involves the presence of a 'superﬂuous ninth', a magical element that magically appears gratuitously by 'grace of God', as it were, when the eightfold 'double-mandala' that signiﬁes a 'completed' process is properly constellated. Jung borrowed the term 'mandala' from Sanskrit, as we've already mentioned, and it originally referred to similar ﬁgures traditionally used as aids on the spiritual path toward realization, ﬁrst in India and later in Tibet.
Mandala of 42 Peaceful Deities
The ﬁgure to the left is one of the two central mandalas from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The book describes the experience of individuals in the in-between (ie, 'bardo') state that follows death and precedes rebirth. If, at the moment of death, the individual is not capable of taking advantage of an extremely brief opportunity for self-realization or 'enlightenment', which permits him or her to exit the cyclic path and avoid the next incarnation, he or she falls into a state of unconsciousness which last for four days, according to the book. When the individual thereafter 'awakens' various visions occur. In these visions the individual directly experiences, in sequence, the elements that form two complex inter-related mandalas that characterize the bardo state - the mandala of 42 peaceful deities and the mandala of 58 wrathful deities. The ﬁrst to appear is the deity Vairocana. At the center of the Mandala of the 42 Peaceful Deities is an inner mandala, the Mandala of the Five Tatagathas (Buddhas or 'Ones Who Are Thus Gone' - i.e., have reached enlightenment, the 'other side').
Vairocana is the deity at the center of this inner mandala. The Five Tatagathas are the ﬁve chief modes of fully awakened consciousness. They embody ﬁve wisdoms, but appear, in the world in which we live, as ﬁve confusions. 'Everything in the world, all living beings, places, events and so on, possess a predominant characteristic which links it with one of the ﬁve; therefore they are also known as the ﬁve families', says Trungpa Rinpoche 12. Human PERSONALITIES, according to this system, fall into ﬁve groups that are intimitely associated with the ﬁve Buddha-families. Note the fractal nature of the conﬁguration at the center - in which each of the four cardinal positions, along with the center, is occupied by a ﬁgure that has a similar internal conﬁguration that is fourfold. Each 'part' thus reﬂects the structure of the 'whole'. A key feature of the mandala is the fractal nature of its structure. Jung, in his attempt to diagram the structure of the Self, conceived of it as fractally organized, although that term 'fractal' had not yet been coined by Mandelbrot. As we shall see, Ouspensky also saw the Enneagram as having a fractal organization, using the word 'microcosmos' to describe the peculiar relationship that consequently pertains between whole and part, in which the part 'contains' the whole.
Jung's model of the Self ' What the formula can only hint at is the higher plane that is reached through the process of transformation... The change consists in an unfolding of totality into four parts four times, which means nothing less than its becoming conscious.' (Jung, in Von Franz's, Psyche and Matter, page 85)
Vairocana, representing the central 'Buddha family' in the Mandala of the Peaceful Deities, literally IS the 'center' of the entire arrangement. By virtue of what we have already said about the peculiar nature of the center, it should come as no surprise to learn that he is described as 'the Buddha that has no back and front; he is panoramic vision, all-pervading with no centralized notion. ...The whole symbolism of Vairocana is the decentralized notion of panoramic vision; both center and fringe are everywhere. It is complete openness of consciousness...'. 13 He represents 'the basic poison of confusion, or ignorance which deliberately ignores, out of which all the others evolve'; ignorance and denial, a state of unconsciousness, total undifferentiated stupor. 'But he is also the wisdom of the dharmadhatu - the limitless all-pervading space in which everything exists as it really is', the fully awakened one. 13a
What is being described here, in effect, is how the 'whole' that is represented by the mandala is organized - revealing to us aspects of the fundamental structure of consciousness itself, which is what mandala ﬁgures are ultimately attempting to depict, in our view. Many metaphors have been used to hint at this most fundamental, and ultimately paradoxical, feature of consciousness. For centuries now psychologists have utilized the concept of 'the unconscious' to locate dimensions of consciousness that are not accessible in everyday states - but, as we have mentioned above, the concepts of 'conscious' and 'unconscious' have usually been understood as referring to mutually exclusive realms. Nevertheless, Jung and others also talk on occasion as if it is possible for us to 'integrate' the 'unconscious' INTO consciousness. Jung speaks, for instance, about how the individual might use his own psychic 'stumbling block' as the cornerstone of his re-constructed personality, the personality centered in the 'Self'. Buddhists have similarly pointed to a feature of experience that they call 'emptiness', which is formless and undifferentiated but (paradoxically) also the ESSENCE of mundane 'form'. For Jung, the 'Self' was indistinguishable from both the 'unconscious' and the 'godhead', Aniela Jaffe 14 tells us - and it is this triumverate that is anthropomorphically represented in the ﬁgure of Vairocana. 'The unconscious, being synonymous with the godhead, is also hidden and ineffable, and the psyche belongs in its totality, to the darkest and most secret that our experience encounters', she says. 15 God, according to the somewhat abstract mathematical musings of Plotinus, is a series of progressively larger spheres, concentrically arranged around the same 'center'. But it is a strangely organized arrangement, as the central point is identical
to the outermost sphere - it is a circular heirarchy of levels that wraps back around on itself - the periphery folded back onto the center, and vice versa.15b Elsewhere we have called this structure 'liminocentric', by which we mean to imply a form of organization in which the 'liminal' and/ or 'sub-liminal' (literally, that which is below or beyond the 'threshold' of everyday awareness and thus usually relegated to the periphery or fringe of consciousness), is made its CENTRAL feature. That which has fallen through the cracks of awareness the previously alienated and marginalized 'mystery', the ineffable essence - is re-established as centerpiece. The personality shift that we have been talking about, from the ego-centered personality to the 'total personality' that Jung labels 'Self' - the shift that is symbolized by the Mandala - is not so much like displacing a sphere from one location in space where it was previously centered to another location with a new geographical center. It is more like turning a sphere inside out. When consciousness itself is turned 'inside out', in the center of attention is now the open-ended, holistic, or amorphous source that we sometimes describe as having an 'inﬁnite' aspect, the very aspect that is normally relegated to the fringe of awareness in our everyday experience of 'objects in space and time'. This turninginside-out is the 'metanoia', the profound 'change of mind' or 'conversion experience' in which center becomes periphery, and vice versa. The Kabbalah, as we shall see in the next part, can be diagrammed in such a way that makes this inside-out (and outside-in) movement of consciousness more obvious. The following ﬁgure is the one used by Ouspensky to represent 'the Absolute'16 -
This ﬁgure is a simple depiction of liminocentric organization since the center and periphery are represented by forms (circles) that are identical, implying that the innermost and outermost reaches of the ﬁgure are ultimately indistinguishable. Notice how the same outer circle and equilateral triangle that are in this ﬁgure also appear in the ﬁgure of the Enneagram, below it. In the Enneagram, in addition to the outer circle and a complex six-sided ﬁgure which represents the 'mundane' world of manifest objects, there also appears the equilateral triangle, which, like the dimensionless 'point' at the circle's center in the simplest mandala, presents the other order of existence, the 'unborn' sacred realm. As if to further emphasize the fact that the equilateral triangle, like the dimensionless 'point', has a VIRTUAL existence, Ouspensky always drew it with dotted lines. But what is missing in the symbol of the Enneagram, although present in the ﬁgure that represents the 'absolute', is the innermost circle. Its absence is not so much a mistake as it is an intentional omission. In many representations of mandalas, although the 'outer mandala' and 'inner mandala' are explicitly represented, the
innermost or 'secret' mandala is not. The presence of the smaller central circle in the representation of the Absolute may thus be interpreted as an ELABORATION that offers us some additional information about the Enneagram, hinting at its 'liminocentric' nature. We will return to a more detailed analysis of these aspects of the ﬁgure of the Enneagram in Part II. As the individual approaches the state in which 'center' and 'periphery' can be indeed be realized as ONE, there arises the possibility that the entire structure of consciousness will collapse into itself, a victim of its own internal contradiction. It is the purpose of the visual mandala to hint at those profound organizational forms that permit one to avoid this pitfall and maintain a manifest form in the mundane world, even while maintaining awareness of the inﬁnite nature of the sacred center. This is the psychological RAISON D'ETRE behind mandala ﬁgures. When these forms of organization are utilized the mandala remains a coherent ﬁgure ﬁlling dimensioned space, despite the fact that it now also somehow 'contains' or 'holds' the sacred inﬁnite. It escapes the fall into an undifferentiated state of pure unconsciousness - avoiding the total black-out described in the Book of the Dead, which happens to the under-developed or immature ego when faced with death, double-bind or paradox. The visual mandala, as we shall see in the following sections of this paper, is a mere reﬂection of a much more profound accomplishment that actually takes place within the psyche of the individual, when what is referred to as 'sacred space' or 'sacred environment' is constellated. It is the realization of this inner mandala which is effective in invoking or drawing down into the manifest world the 'spirit' or energies associated with the 'divinities' depicted in Tibetan mandalas. Individuals, to the extent
to which they can successfully 'enter into' the sacred environment of the inner mandala in this way, are thereby 'empowered'. They recognize themselves and others as manifestations of the divine principle, and become capable of a certain amount of control over the forms in which they manifest. This is the purpose of the Tibetan 'bardo' teachings, and it is with similar goals in mind that Gurdjieff and Ouspensky explored the Enneagram as a tool on the spiritual path.
Footnotes 1. Consciousness and 'the Unconscious' need not be thought of as mutually exclusive realms, or two faculties that act like separate 'spotlights'. In CONSCIOUSNESS (1976), by C.O. Evans and John Fudjack, it was shown how items that we normally think of as elements of 'the unconscious' can be understood as contained within our 'conscious' experience, albeit as part of our TACIT awareness rather than as explicit 'objects of attention'. Jungian analyst Edward Edinger sees it somewhat similarly, as he reveals when he describes the 'Self' as 'consciousness as a whole'. [page 19, The Creation of Consciousness: Jung's Myth For Modern Man, Inner City Books, 1984]. Insofar as consciousness is conceived in this way, as having a more comprehensive scope - roughly equivalent to what Jung (and Freud before him) called 'psyche' - it can be modeled, as Fudjack and Evans demonstrated, as a complex entity, with a structure, capable of assuming various forms of possible internal organization. We submit that at the most fundamental level of description, consciousness is paradoxically structured, organized in what we call a 'limino-centric' fashion, although the individual does not realize this until the point in his or her development at which the center of personality shifts from the Ego to the Self, and the fundamentally liminocentric nature of consciousness is revealed in mandala ﬁgures and other 'symbols'. Edinger puts this in a similar way. For him, consciousness is 'somehow born out of the experience of opposites', and as the individual develops, he or she gradually 'becomes able to experience the opposite viewpoints simultaneously'. This is the 'purpose' of human life (pages
17-18). back to text 2. Carl Jung, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, Bollingen Series XX, The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume Seven, Princeton University Press, 1953, page 5. back to text 3. Carl Jung, Aion, The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, page 6, paragraph 21. back to text 4. Carl Jung, Two Essays, p.220, paragraph 360. back to text 5. Jolande Jacobi, The Psychology of C.G.Jung, Yale University Press, 1962, pages 127-9. back to text 6. Carl Jung, "Dream Symbols of the Individuation Process", in Spiritual Disciplines, Bollingen Series XXX, Papers from the Eranos Yearbook, Volume 4, Princeton University Press, 1960, page 365. back to text 7. "The center and the circle... are analogies of the LAPIS [ie, philosopher's stone]", according to Jung (p. 375, "Dream Symbols of the Individuation Process", in Spiritual Disciplines, Princeton University Press, 1960). back to text 7a. Like the Tibetan 'Book of the Dead', the Kabbalah seeks to describe the process whereby sacred spirit manifests, becoming embodied or incarnate in matter - what Dion Fortune calls the 'successive Divine Emanations which constitute creative evolution'. In Part II of this paper we shall treat the Kabbalah's 'Tree of Life' as a mandala of the 'Self' depicting such a process. In the Kabbalah the 'ﬁrst appearance on the plane of manifestation', according to Fortune, is 'symbolized by the ﬁgure One, Unity, and the the Point within the Circle'. Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah, Ibis Books, New York, 1935, pages 30-31. back to text
8. Carl Jung, "Dream Symbols of the Individuation Process", page 403. back to text 8a. Jolande Jacobi, The Psychology of C.G.Jung, Yale University Press, 1942, page 139. back to text 8b. Aniela Jaffe, Was Jung a Mystic? (and Other Essays), Daimon Verlag, Switzerland, 1989, page 111. back to text
9. Marie-Louise Von Franz, On Divination and Synchronicity - The Psychology of Meaningful Chance, Inner City Books, 1980, page 75. back to text 10. Marie-Louise Von Franz, Number and Time, Northwestern University Press, 1974, page 23. back to text 10a. Jolande Jacobi, The Psychology of C.G. Jung, p. 136. back to text 11. "Man becomes aware of the sacred because it manifests itself, shows itself, as something wholly different from the profane. To designate the ACT OF MANIFESTATION of the sacred, we have proposed the term HIEROPHANY. ... In each case we are confronted by the same mysterious act - the manifestation of something of a wholly different order, a reality that does not belong to our world, in objects that are an integral part of our natural 'profane' world. ... It is impossible to overemphasize the paradox represented by every heirophany, even the most elementary. By manifesting the sacred, any object becomes SOMETHING ELSE, yet it continues to remain ITSELF, for it continues to participate in its surrounding cosmic milieu." (Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane - The Nature of Religion, Harcourt Brace, 1957, page 11.) back to text
12. Chogyam Trungpa and Francesca Fremantle, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Shambala, 1975, page xviii. back to text 13. Chogyam Trungpa and Francesca Fremantle, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Shambala, 1975, page 16. back to text 13. Chogyam Trungpa and Francesca Fremantle, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Shambala, 1975, page xviii back to text 14. Aniela Jaffe, Was Jung a Mystic? (and Other Essays), Daimon Verlag, Switzerland, 1989, page 8. back to text 15. Aniela Jaffe, Was Jung a Mystic? (and Other Essays), Daimon Verlag, Switzerland, 1989, page 67. back to text 15b. Note the following passage, for instance, in Marie-Louise Von Franz's Psyche and Matter, Shambhala, Boston & London, 1992 (originally, 1988), pages 276-277: But the more explicit description of God as a perfect but inﬁnite sphere stems from Plotinus. For Plotinus's god is one omnipresence in the multiplicity of concrete things. Plotinus illustrates this with a threefold sphere [illustration omitted]. The outer one is the cosmic sphere of the many things, the middle sphere is subdivided by the radii into the different ideas and represents the world soul; and ﬁnally the central sphere represents the compact oneness of all ideas; this central sphere is without movement. It's center is "the soul's most genluine nature, the idea of it's inner unity, uniformity and totality." This image is, however, only an incomplete schema, compared to what is really meant, for there is absolutely no difference between the smallest and the bigger spheres. [The innermost sphere is indentical to and indistinguishable from the outermost sphere: john F.] In other words, there is no real extension at all; one could just as well call it a single point.
The next important continuer is Salomon ben Gebirol (ca. 1020-1070) ... Gebirol calls the godhead for the ﬁrst time a 'sphaera intelligibilis' - a spiritual sphere. His book ... inﬂuenced John Duns Scotus, Albert the Great, and many others. Another continuation of this tradition is the so-called theology of Pseudo-Aristotle, which originally was a Syrian-Arab excerpt of the last three of Plotinus's Enneads, where God is seen mainly as the nondimensional center, but also as the all-embracing circular periphery of all Existence. God emanates into all things and remains simultaneously the unity without any subdivision into space and time. And last there is an anonymous Liber XXIV philosophorum (twelfth century), which sums this up in the famous sentence: "Deus est sphaera inﬁnita, cuius centrum est circumferentia nusquam" (God is an inﬁnite sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere). And this famous sentence went on to be quoted by Alanlus de Insulis (d. 1203) as a saying of Hermes, because another title of the treatise was Liber Termegisti de regulis theologiae." The next most famous theologian who took up this symbolism was Meister Eckhart. "God is an immeasurable and unmeasured circle which embraces the widest mind of man in the form of a point which is - compared to God's incomprehensible measurelessness - so small that one cannot even name it." back to text 16. P.D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1949, page 323. back to text 17. Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, Shambala Publications, Boulder Colorado, 1975.
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Enneagram as Mandala - Part II
The 'Missing Fourth' and the 'Superfluous Ninth'
© John Fudjack and Patricia Dinkelaker - February, 1999
skip to section one In this series we hope to show why we believe that the primary concern of the Enneagram originally was (and in some circles continues to be) personal transformation of the most profound kind, a transformation of the type that is usually characterized as 'spiritual'. If it can be said, as it often has been, that 'Ego' and 'Ego-development' are the province of the MBTI, then it could also be maintained that it is the 'Self' that the Enneagram can rightfully claim as its proper sphere of interest, along with the issues and obstacles that arise in individuals who are on those spiritual paths that would effect a successful shift of the center of personality from Ego to Self. In the ﬁrst three papers in this series, 'The Enneagram as Mandala - Parts I, II & III', we suggest that the ﬁgure known as the Enneagram is a representation of the 'Archetype of the Self' expressing, like other mandala ﬁgures do, according to Jung, not
only an urge toward 'wholeness', the reconciliation of opposites, and the reclamation of previously alienated areas of the psyche, but also the incarnation of the 'sacred' into the realm of everyday 'mundane' existence. For Jung, the Self is indistinguishable from the Unconscious and the Godhead, and its manifestation in the life of an individual is a distinctly spiritual event. The emergence of Mandala ﬁgures (and other related symbols) is the psyche's way of attempting to contain and deal with the forces that are unleashed in the course of the process of self-actualization as it unfolds in the life of the individual. It is our belief that the Enneagram originally offered antidotes to the obstacles that arose on the path to self-realization.
Section One - Divine Incarnation
skip to section two For Jung, and for the Eastern religious systems from which he borrowed both the word 'mandala' AND the concept of the 'Self', the terms 'Godhead', 'Self', and 'unconscious'1 are nearly synonymous. In numerous places in his work, Jung discussed the indistinguishability of the godhead and the unconscious. (Jaffe,
Was Jung a Mystic?, page 8)
The symbols of the Self cannot be distinguished from symbols of God. These are two fundamental psychological assertions. At times, the godhead is portrayed as something unknowable, and at other times, it is symbolized by well-deﬁned contents. In the history of religion, these apparently contradictory facts correspond to myths of God as ineffable and an Unfathomable that
nevertheless is validly portrayed through sacred images and symbols.(Jaffe, Was Jung a Mystic?, page 66) The goal of 'individuation' in Jungian psychology is the 'actualization of the Self'. 2 The process whereby this is achieved, in which the unconscious is successfully incorporated into the personality, can alternately be viewed as involving a spiritual 'realization' - almost as if BY DEFINITION. 'Individuation', reports Jaffe, 'must be understood in religious language as the [Christlike] realization of the 'godly' in the human...'. The son of God must also thus 'be understood as a symbol of the Self in this sense, as the innermost core of the personality, in which the personality is at the same time contained'.
Karma Pakshi 1204-1283
For Jung, God remained a 'transcendental mystery', the 'mystery of all mysteries'. But as the archetype of the Self realizes itself in
the mundane world, in the life of the individual, it manifests its divine nature, as 'a numen, an originally 'nameless ineffable''. 3
Seen from the perspective of the individual or consciousness, it is called individuation; seen from the dynamic of the archetypal image of God, it is called incarnation. ... The real history of the world seems to be the progressive incarnation of the Deity. (Jaffe,
Was C.G. Jung a Mystic, page 81)
...the myth of the necessary incarnation of God can then be understood as man's creative confrontation with the opposites and their synthesis in the Self, the wholeness of his personlity.
(Jung, in Von Franz's Psychotherapy, page 195)
The epitome of self-realization, as this is understood in the system underlying the Tibetan Book of the Dead, is the individual who can consciously incarnate, asserting the kind of control over the re-incarnation process that skilled lucid dreamers 3a assert over the dream-process. The Tibetan word for an individual who has consciously self-embodied in a new incarnation in this way is 'tulku'. Karma Pakshi, the central ﬁgure in the 9-ﬁgured mandala pictured above, and the thirteenth-century head of one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism, is believed to have been the ﬁrst to have been recognized as a 'tulku'. As such, he symbolizes the advanced stage of spiritual practice required for such an accomplishment and his mandala is used in a form of Annuttara Tantra visualization that enables the practitioner to make a connection with the lineage that he represents, and the advanced spiritual energies that he literally 'embodies'. The visualizations are considered most effective in constellating the complex pattern of spiritual energies represented by the ﬁgures in the mandala,
and drawing the enlightened 'spirit' of the lineage down into a manifest situation, for the beneﬁt of others.
In the Tibetan Buddhist classic, THE HUNDRED THOUSAND SONGS OF MILAREPA, the revered eleventh century yogin, poet and hermit-saint sings, "By the gracious instruction of my Guru, In the abstruse inner meaning of Tantra understood, Through the practice of Arising and Perfecting Yoga , Is the Vital Power engendered And the inner reason for the microcosm realized. Thus in the outer world I do not fear the illusory obstacles. To the Great Divine Lineage I belong, with innumerable yogis great as all Space".
The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism classiﬁes all Buddhist doctrines into NINE stages of spiritual path, nine 'vehicles' entailing slightly different approaches, tailored to persons of differing capacities. The 7th, 8th, and 9th are subdivisions of the Annuttara Tantra, considered the highest tantra.5 In the Annutara Tantra there are two main practices, which are interwoven. The ﬁrst is called 'Arising Yoga ' (Kye-Rim), in which the individual identiﬁes with Tantric Creation, in the form of visualizations involving detailed conﬁgurations of speciﬁc deity ﬁgures. This corresponds to a 'constructive' phase of meditation, in which the mandala is made manifest. The other practice is called 'Perfecting Yoga' (Dzog-Rim), in which the visualization is dissolved, and 'one identiﬁes oneself with the Ultimate Perfection or great Nirvana'. 6. Roughly speaking, these two correspond to the 'two orders' that we have described the mandala in general as
seeking to reconcile. It is of these two yogas that Milarepa sings in the passage excerpted in the box to the left. In the esoteric practices associated with Tantra, the spirit ('drala', in Tibetan) of enlightenment is drawn down into the manifest world by the presentation of a mandala, which is considered a consecrated or 'sacred' environment capable of supporting such energies. The mandala is, indeed, 'offered' to the enlightened energies that are invited to occupy it, and the practice of making the 'mandala offering', and the attitude with which such offerings are made, supersede in value the actual physical designs which, in the West, we mistaken for the mandala proper.
In these traditions there are actual practices that are referred to as 'mandala practices', and the mandala that is offered in these practices is more often VISUALIZED than physically rendered as a complex graphic design. The visualization is often accompanied and/or represented by a hand-gesture or 'mudra' such as the one depicted in the photo to the above left, or a series of complex movements on which rice and other materials are piled on a small hand-held 'mandala disc' or plate such as the one seen to the left, below.
The closest approximation that we have seen in recent popular Western culture to mandala practice, in intent and process, was depicted in the ﬁlm 'Field of Dreams'. The protagonist, a midwestern farmer, inspired by a voice that tells him 'build it and they will come', constructs a baseball diamond in his cornﬁeld, to the dismay of friends, family, and neighbors. The diamond draws down the ghosts of baseball greats of times past, and is thereby infused with the spirit of the 'lineage' associated with this sport and the energies that they possess - creating a constellation that has healing powers for various people who are attracted to it, and for the farmer's family and the community in general. Included in the host of spirits that are drawn into the mandala is the deceased father of the protagonist, with whom a more intimate and satisfying connection is thereby made possible for the son. To mistake the visual designs that are commonly referred to as 'mandalas' for the actual offering practices and the psychospiritual ﬁelds in which these take place would be like mistaking the baseball diamond for the game of baseball. By looking at a baseball diamond, for instance, it is difﬁcult to tell that the ﬁeld of play is occupied by two teams of nine players, or that the play that takes place on this ﬁeld involves a nine-stage process (called 'innings'). As we shall see, it is often the movement that takes place ON the ﬁeld that is of the utmost importance in understanding such ﬁelds, a truth that Gurdjieff was inclined to emphasize with respect to the Enneagram. 'In order to understand the enneagram, it must be thought of as in motion', Ouspensky quotes him as having said. 'A motionless enneagram is a dead symbol; the living symbol is in motion' 6b. And so he painted the symbol on the ﬂoor, and had his students move in dance from point to point. At a certain stage in the process of becoming conscious, says Jaffe, 'the individual experiences the image of God as a reality in
his own soul.' In the religious traditions that we are considering here, this happens not only via mandala conﬁgurations of the type that are displayed in paintings and diagrams, but also in other experiences in which the primordial structural feature of consciousness that underlies mandala construction is directly revealed to the individual. Prior to this, the only awareness that the individual has of this profound and fundamental feature of reality is of the 'unfathomable antinomy in [his/her] own deepest nature', as Jaffe 7 puts it, which sometimes expresses itself as neurosis, or occasionally as paradoxical dream images or creative inspirations. As we shall see, in the Enneagram various 'unfathomable antinomies' that are intimately associated with personality types can be mapped onto the profound spiritual insights of which they are a perverted manifestation. If the psychic 'black-out' that we described in Part I (in which the individual in meditation falls into a peaceful but uselessly 'unconscious' and undifferentiated revery) is the characteristic pitfall associated with the ﬁrst half of the spiritual path, in which the aspirant seeks to realize 'emptiness' or 'essence', there is an equally dangerous pitfall associated with the second half of the path, which deals with 'embodiment' - what Jung referred to as 'inﬂation'. For Buddhism, the prophylaxis and/or antidote for this problem is 'egolessness' - which, as we shall see in later parts in this series, can be associated with the form of spiritual insight which comes most naturally to the Enneatype Two. These distinctly SPIRITUAL features of Jung's psychology continue, to this day, to be treated by mainstream Western psychology as the 'mystical' and suspect elements of his work. They are not actively embraced, even by the personality typologies that are offshoots of Jung's 'Psychological Typology', such as the MBTI. But neither are they explicitly rejected. The
MBTI simply remains silent on such issues. But what about the Enneagram?
Section Two - Nine Stages of the Spiritual Path
skip to section three The Enneagram, even in its mere appearance as a symbol, has much of worth to tell us about itself - and the information that it provides in this way is frequently missed, or ignored, even amongst those who subscribe to the Enneagram as a personality typology. We submit that the symbol itself provides adequate PRIMA FACIE evidence for the claim that the personality system associated with it was, at one time at least, an intentionally spiritual one that intended to address issues that individuals typically confront on advanced stages of the path. As we have shown, Mandala ﬁgures are typically organized in such a fashion as to enable the 'ineffable' aspect of human experience to achieve embodiment, to 'incarnate', as Jaffe puts it, in the mundane 'real' world that is circumscribed by the affective, cognitive, and perceptual dimensions of human experience. To explain the capacity of psyche to re-structure in such a way as to accomplish this feat, Jung posited the existence of a faculty that he called the 'transcendent function', associated with a process that he named 'individuation'. This process, as one might expect, is a complex one, with distinct stages. In order to explain the stages of this process, one ﬁnds Jungians frequently referring to a
nine-phased cycle that was described in the 'Rosarium Philosophorum', a medieval alchemical text. In his book The Mystery of the Coniunctio - Alchemical Images of Individuation, Jungian analyst Edward Edinger diagrams the Rosarium cycle in the following way. As you'll notice, he uses a circle that is similar to the Enneagram insofar as it is divided into nine-points. In other spiritual traditions also, as we shall see, the number nine is reserved for enumerating stages of the spiritual path.8
The Rosarium Cycle
The transcendent function, which is distinctly different from the other four functions, comes into play when the profound personality transformation that is represented by the mandala begins to occur in the individual. It performs a '...transformation of the opposites into a third term, a higher synthesis', which is precisely what equilateral triangles (such as the one in the center of the Enneagram) depict in Gurdjieff's system, according to Ouspensky.8a
The synthesis that is achieved by the transcendent function is 'expressed by the so-called UNITING SYMBOL which represents the partial systems of the psyche as UNITED on a SUPERORDINATE, higher plane. All the symbols and archetypal ﬁgures in which the process is embodied are vehicles of the TRANSCENDENT FUNCTION.' 9 The mandala is, of course, a 'uniting symbol' of this kind. And the Enneagram is a particularly relevant example of such a mandala insofar as it emphasizes this synthetic quality, if one is to believe Ouspensky's interpretation of the meaning of the equilateral triangle at its center. In the special state of consciousness associated with such mandala ﬁgures (and hence also 'represented' by them), a truly grand synthesis takes place, and 'we experience ourselves concurrently as limited and eternal...' 10, according to Jaffe. When this experience becomes a fully conscious one, a special class of mandala representations called 'double mandalas' will often appear. As we shall see further on in this series of papers, the Enneagram is such a 'double mandala' ﬁgure - in which one mandala, representing the 'mundane' world is superimposed on another, representing the 'sacred' word'. Two imcommensurable 'orders of existence' are thus explicitly brought together in the same ﬁgure. Although Ouspensky did not, to our knowledge, use the term 'mandala' to describe the Enneagram - either in the original or the Jungian sense of the term - he did conceive of the ﬁgure as a symbol having the most profound import. Speaking in general it must be understood that the enneagram is a UNIVERSAL SYMBOL. All knowledge can be included in the enneagram and with the help of the enneagram it can be interpreted. ... A man can be quite alone in the desert and he can trace the enneagram in the sand and in it read the eternal laws of
the universe. And every time he can learn something new, something he did not know before. ... The understanding of this symbol and the ability to make use of it gives man very great power. It is ... the philosopher's stone of the alchemists.
(Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, page 294)
Jung, who made frequent reference to the philosopher's stone in his work, was the ﬁrst to reveal its psychological meaning as a symbol of the 'Self'. The following passage, in an article entitled 'Spiritual Development in Alchemy' by Rudolph Bernoulli, leads us to believe that the spiritual accomplishment represented by the philosopher's stone is tantamount to a liberation FROM what is often referred to in Enneagram circles as 'personality ﬁxation'. If we consider the deﬁnition of the 'self' in its all-embracing absoluteness and transcendence, as it occurs for example in the Indian Vedanta, we may be justiﬁed in saying that the philosopher's stone induces the phenomenon whose essence is that all barriers fall and that man liberates his 'self' from the trammels of personality. This liberated 'self', which has lost all connection with the person or individual, might well be designated as 'God' ... and the gradual attainment of this state would ﬁnd its correspondence in the great work of alchemy, which culminates precisely in the creation of the philosopher's stone. (Bernoulli, in
Spiritual Disciplines - Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks, ed. Joseph Campbell, page333)
Section Three - The 'Holy Ghost' and Number Nine
skip to footnotes & references As a consequence of his emphasis on 'symmetry', the mandalas that Jung found particularly interesting were those that utilized four-fold and eight-fold designs. As the reader may know, Jung
attributed speciﬁc psychological meaning to each of the numbers from zero to ten, with four and eight representing 'completion'. Von Franz, in her work Number and Time, further elaborated on the signiﬁcance of numbers - giving special attention to numbers one through four. To summarize, the number one, according to Von Franz, implies unity. Two signiﬁes duality; and three is dynamic and is associated with time and rhythm. Four, symbolized by the cross or 'quaternity' ﬁgure, implies completion and 'wholeness'. It is also associated with the 'four directions' that appear in the layout of most mandala ﬁgures. The four directions act as a kind of naturally-occuring geographical framework that is not unlike the xy coordinate system used in geometry. Five signiﬁes 'quintessence' (the implied center where the four directions come together at the cross-roads). Six, often represented by two overlapping triangles, is thus associated with the interpenetration of opposites, such as male and female. Processes are often divided into seven stages - there are seven days of the week, for instance, and it took seven days to create the world -so seven signiﬁes 'process'. Eight is frequently depicted as a two-fold quaternity, or 'double-mandala', made of two mandalas drawn respectively on two planes that are at right angles to each other; it signiﬁes the COMPLETION of process (which, as we have just seen, is represented by the number seven). Interestingly, the meaning of the number nine is less clearly articulated by Von Franz. It is, in fact, treated almost as if it is superﬂous. If eight signiﬁes a doubly-complete phase of development, in which psychological process successfully culminates, what work remains for the number 'nine' to do? Although we must look hard in Von Franz's book for any reference to the psychological MEANING that the number nine carries, we do ﬁnd (in a footnote) an interesting hint. 'In number symbolism',
she states, 'nine stands for the number of the Holy Ghost, and for all particularly potent dynamisms'. 11 But no no further explanation is given. And although, in the same work, in her chapter on the 'double mandala', we ﬁnd instances in which 9-fold ﬁgures seem to play a crucial role, there is no explication of the signiﬁcance of the number 9 as it is employed in that context. To her analysis of these ﬁgures we shall return in our upcoming papers on 'The Enneagram as Double Mandala'. As it turns out, the 'Holy Spirit' or 'Holy Ghost' that Von Franz associates with the number nine is often represented by the image of ﬁre, or tongues of ﬁre. Not an earthly ﬁre, but an ethereal one linked to 'inspiration' 11a. This ethereal ﬁre symbolizes incarnate SPIRIT. Whereas our focus in the material that we presented above was on the mandala as a tool for 'drawing down' spirit into the manifold world, here we proceed to a further description of how spirit manifests in matter, one which likens it to an internal light or 'ﬁre' ('tummo', in Tibetan). In the Basilidian conception of the world (derived from Platonist cosmology), the 'Holy Ghost' is the '9th sphere', the level in the upper reaches of the 'external world' that borders on the 'spiritual world'.11b Jean de Menasce, in an article entitled 'The Experience of the Spirit', describes the incarnation of spirit in matter in terms of a non-physical light that is associated with the 'ethereal ﬁre' of the Holy Ghost. It is similar to the type of non-physical light, sometimes called 'clear light', that is described in Tibetan Buddhism (in the Book of the Dead, for instance). As it puriﬁes the soul, the Spirit grants it the power to penetrate these veils; not the Vision or revelation of new mysteries, but the more delectable apprehension of the highest mysteries gives it something in the nature of a secondary light, a kind of illumination. This is the role that we ascribe to the gift of
understanding: it does not, like intellectual and imaginative locutions and visions, bring more sensible lights. These subsidiary graces can lead to contemplation or provide an aura for contemplation. But the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and most particularly the intellectual gifts of knowledge and wisdom, serve to put these sensible constructions in their proper place. Estimable in their own right, as the Scriptures attest, these spiritual graces which we call sensible might easily provide the soul with a pretext for allowing itself to be drawn into the orbit of the sensible proper, or for relinquishing that forgetfulness of self necessary to the soul which should know itself only in God. (Jean
de Menasche, 'The Experience of the Spirit', in THE MYSTIC VISION, page 343-4)
Note that in this description the experience of the ethereal light is construed as a 'gift', given as if by act of 'grace' - conferred ACAUSALLY, as it were. It is, in other words, 'divine' in origin, not a product of physical law. The gratuitous nature of this gift, the fact that it is 'granted freely, without justiﬁcation by claim of right or merit', is symbolized by the number nine itself, which is why, as we shall see, nine is often represented as a SUPERFLOUS number. There is a D. H. Lawrence poem that brings many of the themes that we have been speaking of here into close juxtaposition. In the poem, entitled 'Resurrection',
By clicking here activate a pop-up window with the entirety of Lawrence's poem in it.
Lawrence speaks of being 'an abassador from the halls of noiseless death' who 'awakens from the tomb' in the form of a strange light, a 'lambent' light that 'breaks from the ground'. It is, he tells us, the 'frail white light of resurrection'. 'Lambent', the dictionary explains, means 'playing lightly upon a surface without burning it, like a tongue of ﬁre; shining with a soft clear light and
without ﬁerce heat'. In Lawrence's poem this ﬂame is 'a tender gleam of immortality', the 'unborn' that is 'pure' and at this point 'folded' in on itself, but nevertheless capable of 'starting the glory of another year, another epoch in another year, another triumph on the face of earth, another race, another speech...' Jung himself sometimes seems to want to treat the number nine as a kind of 'competition between four and ﬁve', like the competition that he noticed occuring between 'three and four' -
Among the various characteristics of the center the one that struck me from the beginning was the phenomenon of the quaternity. That it is not 'simply' a question of, shall we say, the 'four' points of the compass or something of that kind is proved by the fact that there is often a competition between four and three. There is also, but more rarely, a competition between four and ﬁve, though ﬁve-rayed mandalas must be characterized as abnormal on account of their lack of symmetry." (Jung, in Spiritual
Disciplines, page 420)
Jung, in mentioning here the competition 'between three and four' is alluding to the problem of the 'missing fourth'. It was Jung's observation that the fourth, which is required for successful 'completion', is often missing or only invisibly present - a consequence of the fact that the psychological movement toward four is more like a return to 'zero' than something concrete and recognizable in its own right. The 'fourth function' in the individual's functional preferences, for instance, is not readily available, insofar as it is 'immersed in the unconscious'. In numerous ways, this 'problem of the missing fourth' frequently raises its ominous head psychologically and culturally in the modern Western world.
As we shall see in our analysis of the Shri Yantra, there is a similar 'problem' that occurs - not so much between four and ﬁve, as Jung would have it - but between their doubles - eight and nine. In the Shri Yantra there are four upward directed triangles in the ﬁgure and ﬁve downward directed triangles. This creates a kind of ambiguity, for we are led to expect, by the geometry of the apparently 'symmetrical' outer ﬁgure, a total of eight triangles (signifying completion of process). But actually we wind up with nine! This diagram, considered the most profound of meditation diagrams in the Indian system, the 'yantra of all yantras', reveals something rather extra-ordinary about the essential nature of the number 'Nine' - presenting it as a superﬂuous, EXCEPTIONAL (ie, magical) entity. And it raises a universal problem, associated with the 'superﬂous ninth', that is similar to the one Jung identiﬁed in respect of the 'missing fourth'. Just as the ﬁrst half of the number series (one to ﬁve) psychologically represent the ﬁrst half of the spiritual path - in which the realization of 'emptiness' (represented by the 'missing fourth') is sought - the second half of the number series (from ﬁve to nine) represents the second half of the spiritual path - in which one returns from emptiness to 'form', which involves a gratuitous 'ﬁnal step' in which spirit literally 'matters'. And just as obstacles in the ﬁrst half of the path can constellate around the peculiar nature of the 'missing fourth', issues regarding the 'superﬂous ninth' arise in the second half of the path. While Jung focused his attention on the psychological developments required for the move from the number three to the number four, and on the cultural and evolutionary signiﬁcance of this (vis a vis the emphasis in Christianity on the 'trinity', for instance), Ouspensky and Gurdjieff were more inclined to explore the psychological meaning of the numbers appearing in the latter half of the series - on Seven, Eight, and Nine in particular - and on the special issues associated with these, as we shall see in next week's installment.
Footnotes 1. In the Eastern systems from which Jung borrowed the term 'mandala', the 'unconscious' is more often referred to by phrases like 'unborn mind', for reasons similar to the one Lama Govinda provides in the following passage. "Prayer thus arises from a state of creative tension between the human and the divine, the consciousness of incompleteness (or imperfection) and the ideal of completeness (or perfection), between the present state of ignorance or delusion and the longed-for, future state of liberation: the awakening from the illusion of separateness to the wholeness of life. What here appears to us as 'future', however, is something that is ever-present in our universal depth-consciousness (alaya-vijnana), which modern psychology has rediscovered only now, though greatly misunderstood by conceiving it as an enemy of reason and the source of uncontrollable drives and emotions and calling it 'the Unconscious' in order to subordinate it all the more to the limited surface consciousness, which identiﬁes itself with the ephemeral interests of its momentary individual existence, thus losing the connection with its origin, the living source of power". Creative Meditation and Multidimensional Consciousness, The Theosophical Publishing House, London, 1976, pages137-138. back to text 2. Aniela Jaffe, Was Jung a Mystic? (and Other Essays), Daimon Verlag, Switzerland, 1989, page 16. back to text
3. Aniela Jaffe, Was Jung a Mystic? (and Other Essays), Daimon Verlag, Switzerland, 1989, pages 9-15. back to text 3a. In the Tibetan tradition, lucid dreaming has for centuries been taught as an advanced meditation practice - one of the 'Six Yogas of Naropa'. It is a
practice that contributes to the individual's capacity to shape how she presents or embodies herself not only in the dream world, but more importantly in the everyday world in which she is regularly expected to manifest. back to text 4. Garma C.C. Chang, The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, Volume One, Shambala, 1989, page 19. back to text 5. Garma C.C. Chang, The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, Volume One, Shambala, 1989, page 258. back to text 6. Garma C.C. Chang, The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, Volume One, Shambala, 1989, page 22. back to text
6b. P.D.Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1949, page 294. back to text 7. Aniela Jaffe, Was Jung a Mystic? (and Other Essays), Daimon Verlag, Switzerland, 1989, pages 86-91. back to text
8. Edward F. Edinger, The Mystery of the Coniunctio - Alchemical Image of Individuation, Inner City Books, 1994, page 37. back to text 8a. P.D.Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1949, page 293. back to text
9. Jolande Jacobi, The Psychology of C.G.Jung, Yale University Press, 1962, page 135. back to text
10. Aniela Jaffe, Was Jung a Mystic? (and Other Essays), Daimon Verlag, Switzerland, 1989, page 17. back to text 11. Marie-Louise Von Franze, Number and Time - Reﬂections Leading toward a Uniﬁcation of Depth Psychology and Physics, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, 1974, page 163. back to text 11a. Earthly ﬁre is to be distinguished from ethereal ﬁre, says Edinger (Anatomy of the Psyche - Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy, 1985, Open Court), and the latter corresponds to Nous, divine Logos, 'and is analagous to the later Christian conception of the Holy spirit...'. In Jacob Boehme's mysticism, he tells us, 'we ﬁnd the image of two trees of ﬁre one is the ﬁre of the Holy Ghost, the other the ﬁre of God's wrath'. (pages 34-5) To the extent that the individual 'is related to the transpersonal center of [his/her] being, affect is experienced as etherial ﬁre (Holy Spirit) rather than terrestrial ﬁre - the pain of frustrated desirousness' (page 44). Thus the ﬁre associated with the stage of the individuation process called 'calcinatio' can be experienced either as 'hell ﬁre' or as 'the inspiration of the Holy Ghost' (page 79). back to text 11b. Gilles Quispel, "Gnostic Man: The Doctrine of Basilides" (1948), in The Mystic Vision - Papers from the Eranos Yearbook, ed. Joseph Campbell, Princeton University Press, page 219. back to text
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Enneagram as Mandala - Part III
Seven and Nine, The Mystical Twins
© John Fudjack and Patricia Dinkelaker - February, 1999
skip to section one In this series we hope to show why we believe that the primary concern of the Enneagram originally was (and in some circles continues to be) personal transformation of the most profound kind, a transformation of the type that is usually characterized as 'spiritual'. If it can be said, as it often has been, that 'Ego' and 'Ego-development' are the province of the MBTI, then it could also be maintained that it is the 'Self' that the Enneagram can rightfully claim as its proper sphere of interest, along with the issues and obstacles that arise in individuals who are on those spiritual paths
that would effect a successful shift of the center of personality from Ego to Self. In 'The Enneagram as Mandala - Parts I, II, & III' we suggest that the Enneagram ﬁgure is a representation of the 'Archetype of the Self' - expressing, like other mandala ﬁgures do, according to Jung, not only an urge toward 'wholeness', the reconciliation of opposites, and the reclamation of previously alienated areas of the psyche, but also the incarnation of the 'sacred' into the realm of everyday 'mundane' existence. For Jung, the Self is indistinguishable from the Unconscious and the Godhead, and its manifestation in the life of an individual is a distinctly spiritual event. The emergence of Mandala ﬁgures (and other related symbols) is the psyche's way of attempting to contain and deal with the forces that are unleashed in the course of the process of self-actualization as it unfolds in the life of the individual. It is our belief that the Enneagram originally offered antidotes to the obstacles that arose on the path to self-realization.
Section One - Why Map 'Seven' onto 'Nine'?
skip to section two As we mentioned last time, while Jung focused his attention on the psychology behind the move from the number three to the number four, and on the cultural and evolutionary signiﬁcance of this, Ouspensky and Gurdjieff were more interested in the
numbers appearing in the latter half of the series - on Seven, Eight, and Nine in particular. Indeed, it was the musical 'octave' that Ouspensky took as THE analogue for the Enneagram, mapping the seven-note scale onto the nine-pointed ﬁgure. The reader will recall that is was the number seven that Von Franz associated with 'process'. By choosing the seven-note musical scale as the primary object of interest appropriate to his investigations of the deeper meaning of the Enneagram, Ouspensky is signalling us that it is PROCESS that is the fundamental concern that frames his discussion of the Enneagram. Divide the number one by the number seven (=. 142857142857...), as he points out, and you get an inﬁnitely recurring pattern (1,4,2,8,5,7), a never-ending but regular process. When you connect those points, in that order, on a circle with nine points that are equally spaced, you trace the six-pointed shape that is one of the two ﬁgures that make up the enneagram. Divide two by seven, and one gets the same pattern, but starting with the number 2 (=.285714...). The same thing happens if one divides any of the remaining numbers up through seven, by the number 7. But, interestingly, the symmetrical six-pointed ﬁgure that results from this mathematical 'ritual' only occurs when the circle on which the ﬁgure is traced is broken up into NINE equallydistant points. Connect the 142857 dots on a seven or eight pointed ﬁgure, and, well ... its not a pretty picture. It is as if a nine-pointed grid is necessary to reveal the symmetry within the seven-stage process. Seven and nine, as we shall see, are intimately related numbers psychologically speaking.
In the only two drawings of the enneagram ﬁgure that appear in Ouspensky's published work 1, the OTHER ﬁgure - the equilateral triangle that connects point 9, 3, and 6 - always appears as a dotted line, suggesting that it is only 'virtually' present. This makes particularly good sense when one follows what Ouspensky is trying to do with the ﬁgure. Lets stop and take a close look at his approach. He describes the nine points on the enneagram as a musical 'octave'. At ﬁrst this seems rather strange, even if one takes into account the fact that the eighth note in the cycle that comprises an 'octave' is actually the same tone as the ﬁrst note in the cycle, only one octave higher in pitch. In the key of C, as anyone with a little knowledge of music knows, the eight notes would be C D E F G A B and C. In an 'octave', thus, there are actually only seven different tones. But how can we distribute these seven on a ninepointed ﬁgure? Following Gurdjieff, Ouspensky maps them onto the Enneagram in the following way, placing the ﬁrst note in the scale at the top point (Nine), and moving sequentially around the circle in a clockwise direction -
Point Three and Point Six, which form the base of the equilateral triangle that is depicted as 'virtually' present, are skipped. What Ouspensky is trying to illustrate here is, again, the 'virtual' nature of these points. As he tells us in the text accompanying this diagram, the musical 'interval' between 'mi' and 'fa', is a 'half step' (the half step occuring between E and F in the C-Major scale). In the interval between C and D (which consists of two 'half steps') there is what we might call a 'latent' tone - C#. If one is playing the piano, one can interject a 'C#' into a melody written in the key of C-Major. But one cannot similarly ﬁnd a note between E and F. There is no 'E#', because when one sharps 'E', one gets 'F'. So Point Three on the Enneagram identiﬁes a note that is not only 'latent', but non-existent - ie, VIRTUAL. Interestingly, the C-Major scale does not ﬁt the pattern (9, 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8) that Ouspensky has brought into relief with his diagram, since the interval between the 5th note (G) and 6th note (A) in the scale is not a 'half step', but a 'full step' - because G# falls between G and A. This point is not lost on Ouspensky, 2, although his explanation for this anomaly seems rather tenuous, and not particularly convincing.
One CAN construct a scale that does ﬁt the diagram in the expected manner - namely, C D E F G Ab Bb C - which has a half step not only between the second E and F, but also between G and Ab . This is not a major scale, nor one of the 'minor scales' commonly in use, and we are not sure if it has been used, or in what culture it may have appeared (although we would not be surprised if we were to learn that such a scale had been used in Central Asia).
If your system is set up to play music, click here to play 'Seven', a short midi file which uses the C D E F G Ab Bb scale.
So we have asked Trina, a friend who is a musician, knowledgeable about the Enneagram and the MBTI, and in training as a therapist, to create a short composition illustrating what this palette of notes might sound like when used. We have taken the elegant piece that she wrote, which she calls 'Seven', and created a simple midi ﬁle, which can be accessed from the box at the left. In 1974, J.G. Bennett, Ouspensky's student, explained the signiﬁcance of the 'intervals' occuring between points 2 and 4 on the enneagram, and between points 5 and 7, in the following way ... the intervals between do and si, and between fa and mi are different from the other ﬁve in as much as they change the pitch only about half as much. These are called semitones. The Greeks did not attach any special importance to this property, but in Central Asia it was given a cosmic signiﬁcance. Gurdjieff came across the tradition and developed it as a central feature of his system. In BEELZEBUB'S TALES, the intervals do-re, re-mi, fasol, sol-la and la-si are called Harnel-Miatznel and are said to
conform to the principle: 'The higher blends with the lower to actualize the middle and so becomes either higher for the preceding lower or lower for the succeeding higher'. The intervals mi-fa and si-do are called MdNel-In and are the places where the process must receive 'help from outside'. This is shown in the Enneagram where the points 3, 6, and 9 are Mdnel-In, for the three preceeding octaves. (J.G. Bennett, The Enneagram, page 4) At one possible level of description, what Bennett means by 'outside' is simply 'outside of the system under consideration, the system whose process is being mapped on the enneagram'. When we use C-sharps and B-ﬂats in the key of C, we are using notes that are 'outside' of the C-Major scale - and the equilateral triangle in the center of the Enneagram can represent the 'outside inﬂuences' of the process that is being represented by the diagram, as Bennett so eloquently illustrates in many of his examples. But there is also another more profound sense in which the central ﬁgure of the Enneagram, the equilateral triangle comprised of points 3,6, and 9, can be taken to be 'outside' of the process represented by the 1-4-2-8-5-7 sequence. It represents, as we have been demonstrating in this series of papers, an entirely different 'order of existence', one that is indeed INCOMMENSURABLE with the order that is suggested by the 6pointed ﬁgure. Insofar as the 1-4-2-8-5-7 sequence is understood as representing the mundane 'prevailing' order, the 369 triangle may be understood as a representation of an EXTRA-ordinary order, outside of the realm of the 'mundane' world. What is truly remarkable about the Enneagram is that the additional 'order' is no longer represented as an undifferentiated whole, as was the case when it was represented by the dimensionless point at the center of the circle. Now it is depicted
as DIFFERENTIATED (into three parts), although still 'outside' of the ordinary order. Interestingly, it is not until relatively recently that science and mathematics have provided us - via concepts like physicist David Bohm's notion of the 'implicate order' - with a model that permits differentiated information to be 'enfolded' (Bohm's word) into an order that appears to explicit awareness as undifferentiated in nature, and quite different, in this respect, from what appears in the 'explicate order'. So in this respect the Enneagram, as understood by Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, may have preﬁgured contemporary physics. Another example of a fully differentiated 'hidden' order comes from mathematics - the notion of 'imaginary' numbers. Arthur Young, the inventor of the 'bell helicopter', is a contemporary theorist whose far-ranging speculations have attracted a great deal of interest. Compare the following diagram, in which Young intends to explain the relationship between imaginary numbers and the circle, to what we have been saying about the 'virtual' nature of the central triangle in the Enneagram. Needless to say, it was drawn decades after Ouspensky's work on the Enneagram. In the ﬁgure, Young is dividing a circle into three equal parts, creating the same equilateral triangle that appears at the center of the Enneagram! The circle is drawn against the background of a coordinate system comprised of a vertical axis representing the 'real' numbers (-1 to +1) and a horizontal axis representing the 'imaginary' numbers (-i to +i). The imaginary numbers (eg, the 'square root of minus one') cannot be correlated to any number in the real number series, because there IS no real number, multiplied by itself, that results in a value of 'minus one'. Even if you are not a mathematician, it only takes a moments reﬂection to see this - as any real number, whether a positive or negative number, when multiplied by itself, results in a POSITIVE number. So they must be depicted as falling on an axis orthogonally
related to the line representing the 'real' numbers - in other words, in another dimension or 'order of existence' incommensurable with the real numbers.
"Now the interesting thing is that all roots of unity can be shown in the SAME CIRCLE (the same plane) that displays minus one and its imaginary roots. The CUBE roots of one are the points that divide the circle in three equal parts; the fifth roots of one divide the circle in five parts, etc." (Arthur M. Young, Mathematics, Physics & Reality, Robert Briggs Associates, 1990, page 27)
As even a superﬁcial glance at the diagram will show, what Young is doing here by plotting an equilateral triangle on the circle is very similar to what Ouspensky was trying to do with the Enneagram. For both, the equilateral triangle in the circle is the product of the intersection of 'two incommensurable orders'. There is another interesting feature that Ouspensky ascribes to the 'octave' mapped onto the Enneagram. And it also preﬁgures relatively recent advances in science and math. Each note within the Enneagram 'octave' was understood by Ouspensky to contain within itself another 'octave', which he and Gurdjieff called the 'inner octave'. This, of course, gives the arrangement a FRACTAL nature. Each note 'can be regarded as an octave on another plane', he says, a world within a world. 3 As this is not true of notes in the physical world, we can only assume that he is not really talking here about music per se, but about a structural
arrangement that he is LIKENING to the ordinary musical octave, but one that also has a fractal structure! Fractal structure can be classiﬁed as a speciﬁc variation of what we called, in Part I, 'liminocentric' oganization. So in the Enneagram we see not only a heirarchical 'worlds within worlds' model that illustrates what liminocentric organization looks like and acts like, we are also speciﬁcally looking at a crosssection of this whole/part structure, one that presumably holds the key to the interface between the 'manifest' and 'unborn' orders of existence!
7-pointed composite figure
Notice that point Nine, although it is part of the 'virtual' ﬁgure, the equilateral 6-9-3 triangle, is also treated by Ouspensky as part of the ﬁgure that emerges in the 'manifest' 1-4-2-8-5-7 ﬁgure, as a SEVENTH point. Point Nine 'crosses over', as it were, straddling the two ﬁgures that represent the incommensurable orders. 4 We should point out here that Ouspensky does indeed use the word 'incommensurable' to describe the relationship between different 'dimensions' or levels of 'cosmos', which is his term for 'orders of existence'. It is at Point Nine that 'virtual' order erupts into manifest order, and appears AS a 'real' object. It is at Point Nine that the 'extra-ordinary' overﬂows (in a manner that we can only describe as 'super-ﬂous' - ie, an act of 'grace' or gratuity), thereby becoming 'ordinary' and embodied.
If 'eight' psychologically implies completion of process, Nine is something 'extra'. Interestingly, the dictionary deﬁnes the the word 'extra' not only as meaning 'in addition to the stated quantity' (ie, 'supernumerary'). There is also a more profound sense of the word, deriving from the Latin equivalent of the word 'extraordinary', which points to an 'exceptional' order - one that is 'beyond the usual', 'situated ouside', 'lying outside the assumed province or scope'. In the Enneagram, in which these two meanings are intimately connected, is an attempt to graphically illustrates this.
In 'Thus Spake Beelzebub' 4a, Henri Tracol describes the kind of fundamental underlying organization that the Gurdjiefﬁan 'Work' accomplishes. It is 'in keeping with the principle of the Law of Three - A RECONCILIATION OF OPPOSITES', he says. '... this underlying Order must, in that sense, include and eventually assimilate all particular order AND disorders'. Maurice Nicoll adds, 'The Work teaches that this order is connected with what is called the Law of Octaves, or law of things in order, or Law of Seven...' 4b, and further describes the internal 'organization' achieved by the fully-developed individual in the following way In a fully-developed man [sic] - that is, a man possessing individuality, consciousness and will - it is not life and changing circumstances that mechanically drive him. Such a man has something ORGANIZED in him which can resist life, something from which he can act. Such a man, in short, CAN DO. And this is because he possesses more bodies than the one he received at birth. (Nicoll, 'On the Formation of a Psychological Body', in Order,
Maitreya 6, 1997, Shambhala, page 25)
Nicoll quotes a transcript that Ouspensky made of a talk by Gurdjieff, who refers
The Florentine Diamond
to three 'non-physical' bodies that are achieved as a result of 'the Work'. In this talk Gurdjieff admits to having borrowed this concept of three extra-ordinary bodies from 'Eastern teaching'. In the esoteric Vajrayana Buddhist teachings of Tibet these three bodies ('kaya') are known as the dharmakaya, sambogakaya, and nirmanakaya, which are sometimes referred to by one term, the 'vajra body' (ie, 'diamond body'). We shall return to this concept further along in this series of papers. Sufﬁce it to say here that these three 'extra' bodies are manifest only in the fully developed individual, and can thus be considered 'extra-ordinary' (in the sense of the word that we have herein connected to the meaning of the number 'nine'). When the 'Nirmanakaya' or form body of the fully enlightened being appears as the product of a 'conscious reincarnation' process, it is referred to as a 'tulku', as the reader will recall from earlier section of this series. What we, in this series, have been calling the relationship between 'Ego' and 'Self' is more often referred to, in the vocabulary associated with Gurdjieff's system and the
Enneagram, simply by the words 'Personality' and 'Essence'. Nicoll explains the relationship between the two The Work speaks almost from its starting-point of the Essence in Man being undeveloped. It deﬁnes a growth of Essence as a change in the level of Being: it speaks very often about making Personality passive so that Essence can develop. Especially does it speak of False Personality or Imaginary 'I' and the necessity of observing ourselves in regard to these and separating from them. The object of this is to allow something else to grow. Essence can develop. And in connection with the development of Essence a second body can grow. But it cannot do so as long as Personality is active and controls inner life. PERSONALITY IS ACTIVE AND ESSENCE IS PASSIVE in mechanical man and this is due to the action of Life that keeps this relationship between Personality and Essence. Life is a neutralizing force that keeps Personality active and Essence passive. There is only one force that can change this relationship of Personality and Essence - a force coming from OUTSIDE LIFE. This is the Work, or, in general, CONSCIOUS INFLUENCES, coming from the Conscious Circle of Humanity, outside mechanical life. (Nicoll, 'On the Formation of a Psychological Body', in
Order, Maitreya 6, page 21)
Here, explicitly articulated, is the proposition that the fundamental 'outside force' (associated with the 369 triangle in the Enneagram) that must be brought INTO the 'process' (represented by the 142857 ﬁgure), in order to achieve the kind of order or organization that makes this a fully functional spiritual path, are the 'teachings' ('dharma', in the Buddhist vocabulary) and the presence of the lineage of those who have realized the fullydeveloped state (the 'sangha', or community of enlightened beings, in Buddhist terminology). The OUTCOME of the process is the development of the extraordinary 'bodies'.
Notice that in the mandala that is the Enneagram, there is a sixpointed ﬁgure, a seven-pointed ﬁgure, and a nine-pointed double mandala. But there is no 'eight pointed' ﬁgure. The eight pointed ﬁgure, although implied by Ouspensky's analysis, which utilizes the word 'octave', does not actually exist in this ﬁgure. Where we would expect the eight-pointed 'double-mandala' ﬁgure normally to occur, we ﬁnd the nine-pointed ﬁgure - with the extra point, the 'Superﬂous Ninth', making a surprise appearance in the sequence. As if to say, as does the I Ching (a system which is also based on a nine-pointed double mandala system, as we shall see) - that real 'completion' NECESSARILY entails a new beginning; the last step is simultaneously the ﬁrst step into a new process. As we shall see in the next paper, 'The Enneagram as DoubleMandala', the number Nine is also psychologically associated with 'synchronicity' - which is a 'process' that involves an 'acausal' element connected with 'divination' AND 'incarnation', both of which are associated, in particular, with 'double-mandala' representations.
Section Two - Seven and Nine, Identical Twins in Magic
skip to footnotes Eliade, in his book, Shamanism, identiﬁes 7 and 9 as the 'mystical' numbers. The Yurak-Samoyed initiate, he tells us, is carried to the Nine Seas associated with the Land of the Shamanesses, where there grow nine herbs which are the ancestors of all the plants on earth. The voyage serves the Shamaness well in her promethean quest to utilize the healing properties of plants to serve humankind.
And according to Buryat beliefs, 'nine sons of the Boshintoi, the celestial smith, came down to earth to teach men metallurgy; their ﬁrst pupils were the ancestors of the families of smiths'. In a related Buryat smith ritual, 'nine youths play the parts of Boshintoi's nine sons, and a man, who incarnates the celestial smith himself, falls into ecstasy and recites a long monologue in which he tells how, IN ILLO TEMPORE, he sent his nine sons to earth to help manking, and so on. Then he touches the ﬁre with his tongue'. Their power over ﬁre and the magic of metals 'have everywhere given smiths the reputation of redoubtable sorcerers, according to Eliade. 'The Tibetans', he adds in a footnote, 'likewise have a divine protector of the smith and his nine brothers'. 6
Notice in this passage the return of many of the themes that we explored in Part II - tongues of ﬁre, the embodiment of holy spirit in spiritual alchemy, the promethean gift delivered by virtue of an individual's capacity to 'draw down' particular types of 'spirit'. What is of special interest in the context of our current discussion, however, is the fact that Eliade seems to consider the two numbers - 7 and 9 - as nearly SYNONYMOUS in the Central Asian cultures that he is investigating. There are seven OR nine notches on the tree or post used by the Altaic shaman 7; seven OR nine celestial levels, with seven OR nine gods; seven OR nine hells; seven OR nine branches of the Cosmic Tree; and seven OR nine sons of the celestial god. Eliade gives no explanation for this curious conﬂation of the two numbers, nor does he explain the tacit omission of the number 8 in these mystical schemes. But in an interesting passage in which he describes the initiation of the shaman
Mandalas are sometimes used for healing purposes. Interested in seeing if any of the contemporary propopents of this art utilize the seven-nine combination/ambivalence that plays such an important role in shamanism and in the Enneagram, we searched the web. We found
only one clear example of this phenomenon. It is a mandala purported to have healing properties, which utilizes a nine-pointed circle at the bottom of which there is an opening, precisely where the opening is in the Enneagram - between points '4' and '5'. Extending downward from that opening is a column on which the seven chakras are depicted. When we asked Ralph Henninger, the artist, why he used a nine-pointed circle in combination with the seven chakras, he said, "The seven chakras are the key to personal enlightenment. Nine is the number that represents the highest level of that state." By clicking on the thumbnail above (which pictures only the upper half of the painting), a much larger version can be found at Ralph's site.
amongst the Ostyak of the Yenisei, Eliade offers us a description of a ritual that is reminiscent of how Ouspensky deals with the numbers 7, 8, and 9 in his analysis of the Enneagram. It helps to explain why 7 is often identiﬁed with 9 in this way, and why an 'eightfold' ﬁgure appears to be 'missing' in diagram that we know as the Enneagram. The future shaman, Eliade tells us, ... withdraws into solitude, cooks a ﬂying squirrel, divides it into eight parts, eats seven, and throws away the eighth'. After seven days he returns to the same place and receives a sign that determines his vocation. (Eliade, Shamanism, page 278) Eight, as we have already mentioned, can be taken as a symbol of the 'double-mandala' (8= 2 times 4), and of perfect completion.
Like Jung's 'fourth', which is characteristically 'missing', the EIGHTH piece is also absent. But in the ritual that Eliade describes it is intentionally discarded, and this is done in exchange for a 'sign' that is subsequently received by the initiate. The practice that is being described in this example is the practice associated everwhere with mandalas, the practice of making 'offering' to the deities that one is invoking via the presentation of a mandala. These in fact are often simply known as 'mandala offerings', as we explained in Part II, and commonly occur in the form of food that that is taken as part of a meal but ritually 'given back', as an offering. Indeed, in the living traditions in which mandalas as tools on the spiritual path, the word 'mandala' is more often associated with this practice than with the mere visual diagram that represents it. The 'body', in the form of food, is sacriﬁced to the spirit - made receptive to it. Released from attachment to its previous owner, it is free to be occupied by the invoked spirits/energies. In the ritual that Eliade describes, immediately after the Seventh (day), comes not the Eighth (which has been 'offered', in a way that is sometimes associated with 'dismemberment' - ie, deconstruction), but what we have been calling the 'Superﬂous Ninth', the 'sign'. This simple initiatory ritual actually PREFIGURES the entire career of the shaman, since the 'sign' that appears on this occasion is identical to the appearance of the initiate's 'tutelary spirit' - as the Yakut word 'amagat', which means both 'sign' and 'tutelary spirt', indicates. Often the tutelary deity is the soul of a dead shaman - ie, an ancestor in the shamanic lineage, who becomes 'incarnate' in the body of the initiate. 8 In the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism a similar situation is described, in which the individual's teacher ('guru' or 'lama', who may be living or dead) is believed to appear in the manifest world in various symbolic forms - as an old woman, a ﬁshmonger, or a disease, for example - in order to provide profound tutelary
instruction to the student. The term for this, in Tibetan, is 'Dayi Lama' (ie, 'Sign Lama'). What Jung called 'synchronicities', are in these systems interpreted as 'signs' bearing guidance from tutelary deities. Synchronicities are associated with 'double mandalas', in which the number 9 plays a key role, as we shall see in the next paper in this series. Last week we mentioned Jung's hunch that a 'competition' sometimes seemed to occur between 'four' and 'ﬁve', and how this was associated with the issue of symmetry and asymmetry and also with the meaning of the number nine. We are now in a position to recognize one of Eliade's observations as further conﬁrmation for this view. 'Among the Buryat, he explains, there are 'ninety nine gods, divided into good and evil and distributed by regions - ﬁfty-ﬁve gods in the southwestern regions and forty-four evil ones in the northeastern. These two groups of gods have been ﬁghting each other for a very long time'. 9 The conﬂict that Jung observed taking place between 'four' and 'ﬁve' (which add up, as Eliade's example explicitly reveals, to 'nine') may actually represent a dilemma taking place between eight and nine, and integral to the symbolic meaning of the latter number. The dilemma is this one - is the individual who succeeds in attaining the 'enlightened' state that is achieved in the ﬁrst half of the spiritual path (marked by the insight into the 'empty' quality of 'form') to remain in a self-contained individual 'completeness' or will he or she SACRIFICE that completeness in order to descend back into embodied form, for the purpose of helping others? In the Buddhist tradition, the individual who chooses to return is considered the embodiment of the religious ideal, and is known as the 'Bodhisattva'. Conclusions
We may choose to take the statements that Gurdjieff and Ouspensky made about certain physical processes that they associated with the Enneagram as literal truths about real-world phenomena. Or we can take them in the same spirit in which Jung proceeded in his analysis of the work of the medieval alchemists as suggestive of deeper psychological truths. But even if we choose the latter path, is it not possible that we might actually ﬁnd, somewhere in the physical world (even if not in the ordinary musical octave), structures of the type that they described? For if, as we propose, mandalas reﬂect the structure of consciousness, and, as human beings, we are limited to viewing our world through the lens of consciousness, are we not likely to see things that ﬁt that structure? Because the mandala that Ouspensky presents us with - the Enneagram - deals with the hitherto unexplored region in analytic psychology associated with the number Nine, it is likely that by exploring it in depth we can bring into relief truths that could not be gleened from previous analyses based on the lower-level fourfold and eightfold mandalas of the type in which Jung showed primary interest. Hopefully, in this and the previous part, we have demonstrated not only that the form that the Enneagram has taken as a 'mandala' is the product of minds that were absorbed in a spiritual quest, but also that the issues that were thereby addressed were ones associated with advanced stages of that path. Despite the fact that 'The symbol is not an allegory and not a sign, but an image of a content that largely transcends consciousness', Jolande Jacobe remarked, '... symbols can 'degenerate' into signs and become 'dead symbols' ...' 10 Nevertheless, as Eliade pointed out, 'A religious symbol conveys its message even if it is not longer CONSCIOUSLY understood in every part' 11. This provides
us with hope that even it it turns out to be the case that the Enneagram is a symbol the deeper meaning of which has been lost, this meaning can once again be recovered, and used to infuse the personality typology with which it is connected with a more profound base.
Footnotes 1. P.D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1949, pages 278-298. back to text 2. P.D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1949, page 290. back to text 3. P.D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1949, page 135. back to text 4. P.D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1949, page 216. back to text 4a. Henri Tracol, 'Thus Spake Beelzebub', in Order, Maitreya 6, 1977, Shambhala, page 19. back to text 4b. Maurice Nicoll, 'On the Formation of a Psychological Body', in Order, Maitreya 6, 1977, Shambhala, page 21. back to text 6. Mircea Eliade, Shamanism - Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, Bollingen Series, Princeton, 1964, page 471, footnote 21. back to text 7. Mircea Eliade, Shamanism - Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, Bollingen Series, Princeton, 1964, page 274-279. back to text
8. Mircea Eliade, Shamanism - Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, Bollingen Series, Princeton, 1964, pages 16, 90. back to text 9. Mircea Eliade, Shamanism - Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, Bollingen Series, Princeton, 1964, page 277. back to text 10. Jolande Jacobi, The Psychology of Jung, Yale University Press, 1942, page 97. back to text 11. Mircea Eliade, Shamanism - Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, Bollingen Series, Princeton, 1964, page 129. back to text
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The Enneagram as Classic 'Double Mandala' Part I - The 'I Ching' and other 'Divination Machines'
© John Fudjack and Patricia Dinkelaker - March, 1999
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As explained earlier, when viewed as a mandala the Enneagram can be understood as a representation of the 'Archetype of the Self'. It is thus a symbol of an advanced stage of the individual's development in which consciousness as a whole (what Jung called 'the psyche') is fundamentally organized in a new way that makes possible a reconciliation between two 'orders of existence' that are usually treated as 'incommensurable' and irreconcilable. The two are sometimes described as 'the sacred and the profane' (Eliade), sometimes as 'the eternal and the
temporal' (Von Franz), and sometimes simply as 'emptiness and form' (Buddhism). In the special class of ﬁgures that Jungian analyst Marie-Louise von Franz calls the 'double mandala' this STRUCTURAL feature is brought even more clearly into relief. Double mandalas, because they focus on the interface between the two incommensurable orders - where form becomes emptiness and emptiness becomes form - were throughout history also treated as magical devices. They were considered instruments of divination and prophecy, and utilized as spiritual guides. Meaning was attributed to randomized events made to occur 'outside' of the 'causal order' in such a way that the user of the device could obtain information about outcomes taking place in corresponding processes WITHIN the causal order. In this paper and the next we seek to explain how the diagram that we know as the Enneagram is a classic example of a 'double mandala'. Last week we saw how Ouspensky, taking a seven-tone scale as the exemplar of 'process', utilized MUSIC as a root metaphor in explaining the fundamental nature of the Enneagram. Music is not a static art, but a dynamic one. A melody does not stand still; it moves through time, as a series of notes embedded in chords that also move through progessions that announce keys which occasionally modulate into new, related keys. In the hands of a good composer, the journey can bring the listener in an unexpected but delightful way back to exactly where he or she started the journey, seen now as if from a new perspective or a higher level of experience. Even so, the experience is always quintessentially one of 'movement'. In this paper, Part I of 'The Enneagram as Double Mandala', we will see that movement is a key concept in understanding not only the double mandala, but also the Enneagram in particular.
In Part II we will investigate an even more fundamental form of movement than the kind we usually have in mind when we use the term to describe the simple physical displacement of an object from one location in space to another. This other type of movement is more primordial in nature, and is mental as opposed to physical - it is a movement that takes place in the 'mindstuff' of the individual. In ancient Indian sutras this kind of mental movement is linked to a development that takes place in the meditation practice of an individual, after the mind is 'paciﬁed'. When there are fewer simple DEFLECTIONS of attention from one object to another, so that the mind can be 'concentrated' at length on one object, the SCOPE of attention can be widened or narrowed at will, resulting in some rather signiﬁcant discoveries that the individual can make about the nature of the mind itself. We will see how this most fundamental kind of movement of the mind is simulated by a profound double-mandala that is used for meditation, the Shri Yantra. In much the same manner in which Jung sought to better understand the obscure elements in an individual's dream by drawing on the symbols that are their counterparts in mythology (a practice he called 'ampliﬁcation'), we seek in these two papers to shed light on the Enneagram by comparing it to various other double-mandala ﬁgures about which more is known.
Section One - Double Mandalas
skip to footnotes
"Only a very few will feel the collision of the two worlds and realize what it
is all about." (Jung, in Spiritual Disciplines, p. 387)
'The most striking thing', reports Jungian analyst Marie-Louise Von Franz, 'is that whenever mandalas were used for divination they were frequently DOUBLE mandalas; namely, two wheels intercepting each other, one wheel generally being ﬁxed and representing one aspect of reality, and the other wheel rotating over the ﬁxed wheel, the combination of the two being used for divination'. (Von Franz, On Divination and Synchronicity, page 99) We have previously described mandalas as representations of psychological environments that are effective in calling the spirit of the 'sacred order' down into the 'mundane'. Here we shall explore how such a process invokes what Jung called 'synchronicities' (ie, acausal meaningful events). Causal and acausal orders come into close juxtaposition as a result of organizing experience according to the principles that we see utilized in the mandala, which are deliberately exaggerated in the 'double-mandala'.
'As far as I can see there is everywhere this idea of two orders, which I will now call, as Jung does, acausal orderdness on the one side, which is timeless, and synchronistic events, which enter linear time, on the other side. Now comes the great problem - how are those two things connected? .... Since we have no other information available at the moment, we can only look at the products of the unconscious, namely the double mandalas, and see how they are connected'. (Von Franz, On Divination and
Synchronicity, page 107)
They are usually represented as wheels, she tells us, connected at the center, where they intersect each other at right angles. Linked like this, two ordinary wheels could not actually rotate, she observes - a simple fact that we may even take as suggestive of a certain 'incompatibility' or 'incommensurability' between the two orders.
But, 'in spite of it all', Von Franz concludes, 'these double mandala models assume that one wheel is rotating and the other standing still', 1 and when the wheel representing the temporal order is spun, the ﬁnal juxtaposition of the two in respect to each other provides the user with the sought after divinatory information. 'The only place where the two systems link is at the hole in the centre, which means that they link in a nowhere, or in a hole', says Von Franz. This is the 'hole of eternity', or 'window on eternity', or 'window of escape'. As she points out, this is also the only place at which there is no doubleness. In this point, at the center, there is only oneness. It is the hole through which 'eternity breathes into the the temporal world', the hole where heaven and earth succeed in meeting, and where creation occurs. In this context Von Franz reminds us that Jung's viewed synchronistic
events as 'acts of creation'. These double mandalas thus symbolize the primordial creative process that results when such a 'hole' into the other order is accessed. 2 Some of these double-wheeled devices have an outer rim that is divided into nine sections, or - like the 'Wheel of Fortune' in certain Western mythological systems - are nine-spoked. Von Franz describes the ﬁgure below, a mandala-shaped cybernetic machine, which, it was hoped, would answer any question put to it, as '... one of the most curious inventions of the Middle Ages, the idea of a magical computer, celebrated in the ARS MAGNA of Raimon Lull of Majorca (ca. 1235-1315)'.
It was 'a mandala composed of various circular discs, some static, some rotary, arranged concentrically above one another.' The ﬁgure to the left, at the top, is one of the main designs in the ARS MAGNA. The idea for such a machine apparently came to Lull from the unconscious, according to von Franz, as a sudden inspiration that 'earned him the title of DOCTOR ILLUMINATUS'.
'A' signiﬁes God; B to K signify attributes of God, such as goodness, truth, wisdom. Thus one can relate God's characteristics to each other by mathematical equations'. Von
Franz,Number and Time, page 204
Notice that the outer circle has nine points on it, and each point is connected to each other point by a straight line. By highlighting some of these lines in red, we can bring into relief the ﬁgure of the Enneagram that is latent in the ARS MAGNA ﬁgure. The presumed divinatory power that symbols such as this are believed to have come from the fact that 'one cannot make head nor tail of a chaotic pattern', Von Franz explains. 'One is bewildered and that moment of bewilderment brings up the intuition from the unconscious...'. Milton Erickson, the father of contemporary hypnotherapy, and the man whose work gave Gregory Bateson the idea of the 'double bind', frequently used a similar procedure, which he called 'the confusion technique'. In his terminology, by presenting his subject with a confusing/ paradoxical verbal formulation, he would 'depotentiate' that individual's 'conscious set', catapulting her/him into a state that Erickson called 'unconscious search'. All over the world divination techniques use chaotic or half-ordered patterns to access information in this way, Von Franz explains, and these primitive divination techniques have been 'rediscovered' in modern tools
like the Rorschach test. 'Looking at a chaotic pattern is like putting one's mind to sleep for a minute and getting information about what one is fantasying or dreaming about in the unconscious. Through the absolute knowledge in the unconscious one gets information about one's inner and outer situation'. 3 It is during the moment of 'unconscious search' that the individual naturally experiences that point at which 'epiphanies' (or, to use Eliade's term, 'hierophanies') happen. The sacred breaks through into the profane and there occurs a '... manifestation of something of a wholly different order, a reality that does not belong to our world [of profane objects]'. According to Eliade, 'It is impossible to overemphasize the paradox represented by every hierophany, even the most elementary'. This is because the two orders that come together are, indeed, incommensurable. Consequently, Eliade speaks of 'two modes of being' and 'two modalities of experience'. 4 'Where the break-through from plane to plane has been effected by a hierophany', says Eliade, 'there too an opening has been made'. Such an 'opening' is the hallmark of a consecrated place; it is what makes that place 'sacred' A sacred place constitutes a break in the homogeneity of space ... symbolized by an opening by which passage from one cosmic region to another is made possible (Eliade, The Sacred and the
Profane, page 36)
Eliade describes this breakthrough, from one plane of existence to another, as a peak experience for the individual, one that permits her to 'enter a pure region transcending the profane world'. As one might expect from our previous discussions regarding the nature of the center of mandalas, it is at the CENTER that this break of plane is conceived as occuring, and it is there that something like a 'communication with heaven' is capable of taking place. 5
Von Franz describes how, when an individual is in this kind of 'communication', he or she is in touch with creative energies -
Then comes this beautiful Chinese idea that man can actually get in contact with that - he can get to the place where heaven and earth create in an unfathomable way, with-out doubleness, through utmost sincerity. Of somebody devoid of all illusions, and all that makes the world of the ordinary ego, goes into himself with utmost sincerity, then he comes to this central hole where creation, even in the cosmos, takes place. That is why the Chinese thought that certain sages or saints, very rare personalities, could reach the centre and by having come to this contained innermost center of their personality could support heaven and earth, and be with creation in the universe. (Von Franz,
On Divination and Synchronicity, page 111)
From the Buddhist perspective there are at least two senses that we can give to this phrase 'being with creation' that Von Franz uses in this context. First, according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, if we have developed the requisite skill in meditation, at the moment of death we are presented with a unique opportunity to connect with this 'central hole where creation takes place' - that is, with the 'emptiness' or 'plenum' or 'fullness' that is at the center of things. According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, it manifests at that time as a 'clear light'. If we are capable of realizing what is going on at that moment we also gain control over the creative process in which emptiness manifests in form, and conscious reincarnation becomes possible. But, secondly, we can also take all of this in a less literal, more ﬁgurative, PSYCHOLOGICAL sense - as a description of what must take place within the individual in order for her to become a conscious participant in her own inner creative processes, an agent of personal change, and skilled at what is sometimes called 'paradigm shifting'.
The realization that form is, essentially, 'empty', and that emptiness is also form, is considered to be the ultimate spiritual realization in at least one Buddhist school, where it is called 'Mahamudra' (ie, 'the great symbol'). In this tradition, the mandala ('chil-kor', or wheel, in Tibetan) is identiﬁed not only as a cosmic diagram illustrating a truth about the ontological structure of reality, but also a map on which spiritual paths can be located, along with personality types that are associated with speciﬁc 'functions of consciousness', energies, obstacles, and wisdoms.
The Book of Changes and 'movement'
In her book on divination, Von Franz (1980) describes the 'two ideas or aspects of time' that the Chinese had - namely, a TIMELESS TIME or eternity, which is 'unchanging', and a CYCLIC TIME. In this system, which underwrites the Chinese 'I Ching', or 'Book of Changes', there is
... the Older Heavenly order, an arrangement of the sixty-four possibilities or permutations of the hexagrams of the I Ching, and the Younger Heavenly Order which had a different arrangement of the same I Ching trigrams and hexagrams. In the Older Heavenly Order there are no energic temporal processes but a kind of dynamism in balance with itself, while in the Younger Heavenly Order a cyclic energic process is represented. ( Von Franz, On
When the two orders are represented as mandalas, superimposed and rotated against each other, they form a 'double-mandala' that comprises a fortune wheel or divinatory mechanism -
1) First, there is the Ho-T'u (or 'heavenly') Order -
'The underlying numerical order of eternity is called the Ho-T'u, a mandala and also a cross. There is again 5 in the middle. One counts 1,2,3,4, and then moves to the middle, 5, then 6,7,8,9, and then back to 10 - 10 would really be in the middle. One must always cross and come back to the middle'. (Von Franz, On Divination, page 14]
Von Franz likens the movement that she describes above to dance. 'Actually', she remarks, 'it is the movement of a musical dance because it always emanates into four and contracts into the middle - it has a systole and diastole movement'. There are two things that we ﬁnd particularly interesting about this observation. First, as the reader may recall, according to Gurdjieff the Enneagram actually had to BE DANCED to be understood. Here, then, we curiously witness something very similar being said about another member in the same class of mandala representations. Secondly, as we will see in the next paper in this series, if one were to try to describe the type of movement of consciousness that is cleverly alluded to by the Shri Yantra, one could ﬁnd no more apt a description than could be provided by referring to the 'systolic/diastolic' contraction and expansion of awareness.
2) Secondly, there is the Lo-Shu (or 'temporal') Order -
The Lo-shu model or matrix is a 'magic square' - which means that when you add up the numbers in any column, row, or diagonal, the result is always 15. Notice that there are nine cells in the matrix, like in the Navapadma (nine lotus) Mandala 6
The diagrams immediately below depict the movement associated with the 'temporal order' when that order is mapped, as Von Franz does, onto the cardinal directions and the numbers are then connected in numerical order - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and back to 1. To get a better feel for this as a MOVEMENT, try tracing the shape in the air with your ﬁnger.
'The Lo-Shou is the world of time in which we live', says Von Franz, 'and underneath is always the eternity rhythm, the Ho-tou. That idea underlay the whole cultural and scientiﬁc application of mathematics in China'. The 'temporal order' pattern in the diagrams illustrate complex motion, a kind of dynamism, that contrasts with the concentric ﬁgures traced by the simpler 'eternal order' ﬁgures, which have multiple degrees of symmetry. The reader might be interested in learning that certain Tibetan mandalas which are used as astrological charts have a structure similar to the one that Von Franz describes.
To the left is the central ﬁgure in a nineteenth century Tibetan astrological chart ('sid-pa-ho') based on the Kalachakra 7 tantra. On the back of a tortoise, the symbol of Manjushri (the Buddha of Wisdom), there are nine squares containing the nine 'magic' numbers ('me-wa-gu'), surrounded by the eight Chinese trigrams. The mandala, in its entirety, can be seen in greater detail at ' Tibetan Art'. [Western examples of the same pattern] The shape that we know as the Enneagram is also comprised of two distinct ﬁgures like the ones in Von Franz's diagrams - an equilateral triangle over which is superimposed a more complex ﬁgure. We can conceive of these ﬁgures as representing motion, and put arrows on the lines in each ﬁgure, to indicate the direction in which the movement is occuring. As mentioned in an early part of this series, the 6-pointed ﬁgure in the Enneagram was derived by dividing one by seven (1/7=.142857...), so we shall make the directional arrows in the 6-pointed ﬁgure lead from 1 to 4 to 2 and so on. And we will make the movement in the equilateral triangle consistent with the numerical order of the triangle's points moving from 3 to 6 to 9.
Enneagram Double Mandala =
eternal order plus
Compare the motion described by the 1-4-2-8-5-7-1 circuit within the Enneagram to the Lo-Shu or Temporal Order of the I-Ching. Although it is not identical, it has similar features. Both trace complex ﬁgure-eight patterns of movement that have left-right symmetry and seem to move alternately in a larger (outwardgoing) orbit and then a small (inner) orbit. [Another example of this
kind of motion in a mandala.] Given the resemblence between the
movements in the respective 'temporal' pattern associated with the I Ching and the Enneagram, and the 'double mandala' nature of both, it should come as no surprise to hear Bennett say -
In certain parts of Asia [the enneagram] is used as an instrument of divination, that is, for interpreting the patterns of events to come. (J.G. Bennet, Enneagram Studies, Combe Springs Press, England,
1974, page 4)
The movement in both sets of diagrams create patterns that are not unlike those that form around socalled 'strange attractors' in contemporary 'chaos science' - the ﬁrst instance of which was mapped by Lorenz in his 1963 diagram shown to the left. In both of Lorenz's diagrams notice the two centers (strange attractors) around which the chaotic movements described by the lines pivot. They are 'virtual' centers of movement, not unlike Enneagram points 3, 6, and 9 are with respect to the movement that follows the 1-4-2-8-5-7 path, as is suggested in the animation below.
There is another feature of the relationship between the movement in the 'eternal' order and the 'temporal' order diagrams of a double mandala to which we would like to turn the reader's attention. The movement is characteristically depicted as going in opposite directions in these two orders. This is subtly demonstrated in the above animation. There is an 'outer' movement (of numbers), going in a clockwise direction. As this movement passes point 3 (which acts like a strange attractor), the three turns red. At that moment the 'inner' movement occuring within the 6-sided ﬁgure is making a counterclockwise loop around the 1-4-2 corner of its path. This kind of attempt in mandalas to depict movement as 'paradoxical' - i.e., traveling simultaneously in both a clockwise and counter-clockwise direction - is characteristic of the movement in mandalas and is brought more starkly into relief in the following two examples. 1) In an earlier paper in this series we described the Enneagram as a
representation of the 'Self', and compared it to Jung's diagram of the self - which we reproduce here. In that paper we pointed out that Jung's ﬁgure is fractal - the individual parts (abcd) reﬂect the same arrangement as is depicted in the whole (ABCD). But what we did not mention at the time is that in each of the parts or subunits if one moves in an alphabetical direction (from a to b to c to d) one is traveling counterclockwise, whereas in the larger WHOLE, if one moves in an alphabetical direction (from A to B to C to D), one is moving along a clockwise path. 2) Also in an earlier paper in this series we mentioned the fact that in the Tibetan tradition, the 'mandala' is ﬁrst and foremost thought of as spiritual PRACTICE, in which a psychic 'ﬁeld' is constructed and 'offered' to the divine energies, which are thereby invoked. A hand-held mandala plate or disc is used for the associated 'mandala offering practice', on which rice is piled in a heap. Although the resulting heap of rice does not reveal a structure or pattern, it is the result of a stylized and complex movement that the practitioner's hand follows in dropping the rice onto the plate. That movement is depicted in the following animation.
Conceiving of this movement as a two-phase process, an obvious resemblence between this movement and the 'eternal' and 'temporal' orders that are described in Von Franz's diagrams above becomes apparent. The 1-2-3-4-5 movement used with the mandala plate is the same as the 'eternal'order, circumscribing points on an outer circle or square that moves in a clockwise direction. The second phase of the process - the 6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13 movement - is also a very regular and symmetrical movement, but is much more complex and might even be described as 'counter-intuitive', by which we mean to suggest a kinetic movement that is 'difﬁcult to perform'. To see this, try the following brief exercise. Draw the four points of a square, labeled like in the diagram below - but don't yet draw the square.
A B C D
Now draw the square by connecting the dots in the following order1) ﬁrst, draw a line from B to A; 2) then a line from D to B; 3) then a line from C to D; 4) then a line from A to C;
If you have followed these instructions correctly, the four segments were drawn one at a time in an order that moved in a clockwise direction - ﬁrst segment BA, then DB, then CD, then AC. But as you drew, the pencil on the paper moved in a counterclockwise direction - from B to A, and so forth. So the movement is about as close to 'paradoxical' as one can make linear movement. And this is why it is hard to perform, like the child's game of rubbing one's tummy in a circular motion with the right hand while patting one's head with the left.
Both of the circles to the left are fractal. They are different sizes, and are composed of a different numbers of 'epi-circles'. But there is also a more essential difference, a difference in basic design. With your ﬁnger, follow the line in the diagram to the left/top in a clockwise direction, and notice that you are also traveling in a clockwise direction within the smaller circles. But if you follow the line in the diagram to left/bottom in a clockwise direction, you will notice that within each smaller circle you move in a counterclockwise direction. The second diagram is not only more awkward to draw, the PARADOXICAL MOVEMENT that it describes is disorienting, as anyone who has been on any of the amusement-park rides that utilizes this kind of motion for entertainment purposes will attest. As the teacup in which you ride
orbits in a clockwise direction, it spins in a counterclockwise direction, and your insides feel torn between two worlds of motion. If you did the square-drawing exercise above, you will have ended up with a simple square drawn on your paper. No-one who looks at the static ﬁgure will have any idea of the complex movement that went into its production. But as we are trying to demonstrate here, the movement and/or the 'practices' behind mandalas may actually be more important than the static ﬁgures associated with them, especially when it comes to trying to understand their most profound meaning. This is why Gurdjieff and Ouspensky insisted on emphasizing that the Enneagram is NOT merely a static ﬁgure, and cannot be understood as such. If you have done the exercise, or tried to reproduce the movement in the animated diagram above, you will have gotten some sense of how strange, uncomfortable, and counter-intuitive such movements can at ﬁrst be. Klaus Vollmar alludes to this when he write -
Many followers of Gurdjieff believe that the body exercises or holy dances called 'Movements' are at the core of Gurdjieff's teachings. They consist of more than 100 very complicated, mostly counter-rotating body Movements that are intended to help the student develop greater consciousness. In these Movements not only do the different body parts move with the music, but, also, sometimes against its rhythm. At the same time, the student has to adjust to the movements of the other dancers and coordinate with them. Klaus Vollmar, The Enneagram Workbook:
Understanding Yourself and Others, 1998, Sterling Publishing Company, New York, page 9
Quoting Bruno Martin, he continues,
'According to Gurdjieff, complicated word and number sequences were added, which were either thought silently or spoken out loud. Furthermore, the student had to percieve parts of his body in a certain sequence and activate certain feelings'. Bruno Martin,
Handbook of the Spiritual Paths: A Journey of Discovery (Basel 1993)
The counter-intuitive movements in question are indeed challenging - a fact which, quite obviously, is intended to break habitual patterns of motion, thereby expanding awareness. But what we hope to have additionally suggested here is that the movements in question also have a deeper meaning. Behind the 'paradoxical motions' such as the kind that we have explored above is an attempt to draw the sacred or spiritual down into the material world, to give the 'undifferentiated inﬁnite' a ﬁnite embodiment - which, in this series, we have identiﬁed as the overall purpose of mandala-work. Emerging here is the notion of paradoxical action that is associated with paradoxical movement - the 'double-bind' as PRAXIS, a method for catapulting the individual into an undifferentiated state, in which 'unconscious search' is stimulated. When this technique is built into the STRUCTURE of one's PERSONALITY, as a paradoxically formulated 'persona' presentation, we arrive at the idea of 'the magician' - the individual who seems to embody mystery and magic, the person who can 'do' by 'not-doing', in the words of the Tao-Te-Ching. Or by undoing, as the work of Milton Erickson exempliﬁes. This is a very differently structured 'personality', to say the least.
1. Marie-Louise Von Franz, On Divination and Synchronicity - The Psychology of Meaningful Chance, 1980, Inner City Books, page 108. back to text 2. Marie-Louise Von Franz, On Divination and Synchronicity - The Psychology of Meaningful Chance, 1980, Inner City Books, pages 109-111. back to text 3. Marie-Louise Von Franz, On Divination and Synchronicity - The Psychology of Meaningful Chance, 1980, Inner City Books, pages 40-41. back to text 4. Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane - the Nature of Religion, 1957, Harvest Books, pages 11-14. back to text 5. Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane - the Nature of Religion, 1957, Harvest Books, page 41. back to text 6. The Navapadma (nine lotus) Mandala is an Indian tantric yantra devoted to Vishnu. In the center are nine lotuses marked with numbers, arranged in the following pattern 9 2 6 By connecting the numbers serially, 5 1 3 One gets two superimosed squares. 8 4 7 Madhu Khanna, Yantra: The Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity, Thames and Hudson, 1979, ﬁgure 54. back to text
7. The Kalachakra tantra teachings speak of the utopian kingdom of 'Shambhala', associated with the ninth and highest 'yana' or spiritual path. We will discuss it in a later paper in this series. back to text
8. Further examples of double-mandalas exhibiting the features that we have been discussing.
"Exactly the same pattern [as in the Lo-shu matrix and the Ho-t'u linear cross], are to be found in the West, among the ancient artifacts of man's mental and spiritual activity, such as the prehistoric rock scratchings in Grotte deFees near Milly-la-Foret in Fance, the Villetard cave on the Essonne, and the arrangment of small round cavities in the Jean Angelier cave near Noisy-sur-Ecole, to mention only a few. In the latter motif, we again come across the number nine, in addition to the familiar arrangement of the Lo-shu model in nine fields. ...Among these samples there is also a mandala, which is reminiscent of the divisions of the Muhlebrett... It [may] signify an ordering arrangement of the unconscious..." [Von Franz, p. 162, Number and Time] back to text The following is a design that we have created, based on a four-triangle Rosecrucian symbol. It is very similar to the Enneagram in structure. It is composed of two ﬁgures - a central triangle and a seven-pointed ﬁgure. If one travels along the path described by this 7-pointed ﬁgure,
one goes through a movement similar to the one described by the 6pointed ﬁgure in the Enneagram. What we were trying to illustrate here is
that the Enneagram could have been drawn in such a way as to avoid using a 6-pointed ﬁgure, if Gurdjieff or Ouspensky had so desired. In other words, it was not because of the absence of adequate seven-pointed ﬁgures on which to map the 7-tone scale that Gurdjieff/Ouspensky chose the Enneagram, with its 6-pointed ﬁgure. back to text
The Enneagram as Classic 'Double Mandala' Part II - Shri Yantra, Kabbalah, and Inner Alchemy
© John Fudjack and Patricia Dinkelaker - April, 1999
In 'The Enneagram as Mandala' we sought to show that mandalas may be conceived as having
This figure, which appears on the cover of Maurice Nicoll's book, is taken by Ouspensky to be a symbol of 'the absolute'
a special kind of non-linear ORGANIZATIONAL FORM that we call 'liminocentric', in which the center of the structure wraps back around on the structure's periphery - so that its innermost and outermost reaches are identical in their 'undifferentiated' vastness, while intermediary levels are discrete and distinguishable. The two incommensurable orders of existence are thereby reconciled, and the mandala succeeds in representing what Jung called the 'Self'. We suggested that a special diagram that is closely associated with the Enneagram (pictured to the left) suggests that it has a liminocentric structure.
And then, in Part I of 'Enneagram as Double Mandala', we noticed that the Enneagram was also intended to represent PROCESS. Like other double-mandalas, it is comprised of two ﬁgures which, in combination, depict special kinds of 'movement' that are, in general, conceived as paradoxical - impossible, yet nevertheless somehow in fact achieved. In certain mandalas that are amongst the most profound and spiritually meaningful, both characteristics of the mandala - nonlinear structure and paradoxical movement - are inextricably interwoven. In the Shri Yantra, which we will be exploring in this paper, liminocentric structuring is combined with a very special
kind of paradoxical 'movement', a primordial sistolic/diastolic MOVEMENT OF CONSCIOUSNESS, in which awareness alternately (and ultimately simultaneously) contracts inwardly toward the center of the diagram and back outward toward the periphery, in a manner that is most aptly modeled by a threedimensional 'spiral' made to wrap back around on itself in a donutshaped ﬁgure that is called a 'torus' by mathematicians. Mastery of this kind of mental movement is, as we shall see, the primary subject of the early 'Yoga Sutras', which act as the theoretical foundation for the meditational systems out of which the mandala, as a profound spiritual practice and visualization, originally emerged. In the Yoga Sutras nine stages of 'samadhi' are discerned.1 They parallel the nine tiers of 'spiritual evolution' that are represented by the Shri Yantra when, according to authorities on the subject, the two-dimensional diagram is conceived as a three-dimensional object. 'Samadhi' is the special meditational state that an individual can enter into when she becomes capable of 'holding the object of meditation without any distractions' and it thus becomes possible for her 'to know the object much more intimately than in ordinary thinking'. After the mind is 'paciﬁed' in the requisite manner, there are less distractions. With fewer simple DEFLECTIONS of attention from one object to another occur, the mind can be 'concentrated' at length on one object, and the SCOPE of attention can be widened or narrowed at will. The result is not only access to special types of non-ordinary 'knowledge' about the object of meditation, but also access to signiﬁcant discoveries that the individual can make about the nature of the mind itself. This most fundamental kind of movement of mind, which the individual becomes capable of 'in samadhi', is what is simulated by the Shri Yantra, and reﬂected in its ninetiered structure.
When the 'mandala offering' that we described earlier (associated with a speciﬁc
meditation practice in Tibetan Buddhism that is simply called 'mandala practice') is constructed as a three-dimensional object, the nine-tiered structure in the middle of the plate is visualized as representing 'Mount Meru', at the central axis of a ritualized cosmological scheme that describes the fundamental ontological STRUCTURE of reality. But it is also interpreted as representing the central column ('shushumna' in Sanskrit, and 'uma' in Tibetan) in a complex network of channels ('nadis' in Sanskrit) that permeate the individual's body. Different energies or 'winds' ('prana' in Sanskrit) ﬂow through these channels, which intersect in seven wheel-like knots or 'plexuses' ('chakras', in Sanskrit) that block the central channel. The chakras are visualized as mandalas constructed around undifferentiated center-points or 'seeds' ('bindu', in Sanskrit). The network, in its entirety, is often alternately represented as a 'torus' or donutshaped arrangement, with the central channel depicted as the tube in the middle of the torus (the 'hole' in the donut).2 In these systems that are devoted to 'inner alchemy' it is CONSCIOUSNESS - as structure and process - that is ultimately being symbolized. Profound personal transformation is triggered when awareness is turned in on itself - ie 'introverted' in a radical manner that is depicted as a resorption or withdrawal of energies into the central channel, through its opening at the bottom. In Indian texts this is visualized as the unfurling of a serpent (called
'Kundalini'), which previously blocked the entrance at the bottom of the channel by coiled itself 3 1/2 times, in a spiral, at the base of the central channel. As it unwinds and straightens out, it travels up the central column, piercing each of the chakras in sequence, in a movement that is CONTRARY to habit - as the individual travels a path that reverses the order originally traversed as spirit initially embodied itself in form during the individual's physical birth, and undifferentiated awarness differentiated itself. In much the same way in which Jung sought to better understand the obscure elements in an individual's dream by drawing on the symbols that are their counterparts in mythology (a practice he called 'ampliﬁcation'), in these papers we attempt to shed light on the Enneagram by comparing it to various other mandala ﬁgures about which more is known. To this end we explore the Shri Yantra and the Tibetan 'mandala practice'. But as the insights that are embodied in these systems seem not to be exclusively the product of Eastern minds and may in fact be universal, we will also turn our attention in this paper, albeit only for a brief moment, to another mystical system that seeks to describe the manner in which spirit 'emanates' into matter - the Kabbalah. It also has apparently been diagrammed as a three-dimensional 'torus'.
Section One - The Shri Yantra
skip to footnotes "There is no psychic wholeness without imperfection"
(Jung, in Spiritual Disciplines, p. 394)
The Shri Yantra, an ancient Indian ﬁgure that was designed for use as an object of meditation, has been so thoroughly discussed in the West that it has developed a literature all its own. The advantage of comparing this ﬁgure to the Enneagram lies in the fact that the yogic practices with which it and similar ﬁgures are associated, have been passed down in a reliable and accurate fashion from teacher to student through unbroken spiritual lineages that continue to ﬂourish to date. More thoroughly documented and clearly articulated than the spiritual practices that are connected to the Enneagram, the yogic practices may prove to be an invaluable resource in understanding the original SPIRITUAL intent of the Enneagram. One might think of yantras as mandalas in which the 'form' aspect of the ﬁgure, as geometrically represented, is emphasized. Both the mandala and the yantra, according to Mookerjee and Khanna, 'exemplify dynamic relationships concretized in the rhythmic order elaborated out of the multiplicity of form'. But in constructing yantras, as they explain, 'trantrikas dispensed with conventional ideas of the dynamics of form, and concentrated instead on another aspect. They had recourse to the explanation of primordial forces and vibrations in order to understand the hidden logic behind phenomena, so that in tantric abstraction, form is seen in the context of origin and genesis, in terms of the basic impulse which shaped it.' 3 Unlike the mandala, the yantra is a 'pure geometric conﬁguration without any iconographic representation'. 'Whereas a yantra', Mookerjee and Khanna observe, is a directly accessible visual form, 'a mandala, especially of the classical Tibetan tradition, is a composition of complex patterns and diverse iconographic images.' 4 This may account for why the double nature of most mandala ﬁgures is not VISUALLY apparent, in the way that it is, as we shall see, in the Shri Yantra. In order to apprehend how the
two 'orders' in a mandala are combined, one usually needs to have some additional information about the meaning of the iconographic symbols. 5 In comparison, although the double-nature of the Shri Yantra is subtle and elusive and can at ﬁrst glance go un-noticed, it is nontheless an 'open secret' - one that is, as we shall see, readily accessible to any viewer who is prepared to actually LOOK at the diagram, even if he or she has little or no knowledge of iconography.
Meditating on the Shri Yantra
'The yantras are not only based on mathematical form but also on a mathematical method. The artist must look beyond appearance and penetrate to structure and essence...' - Mookerjee
Closely consider the Shri Yantra as it is displayed in the linedrawing below. You have probably seen it before, on the cover of a book or in a photograph. There are 960 yantras, according to the Tantraraja Tantra. Distinguishing itself from these others, the Shri Yantra is the most celebrated, according to Mookerjee and Khanna. 'The Shri Yantra, in its formal content, is a visual masterpiece of abstraction', they say, 'and must have been created through revelation rather than by human ingenuity and craft'.6 This is high praise indeed, and might seem, at ﬁrst, like an exaggeration. But it is not. Although the ﬁgure is subtle, its profound meaning can be discerned without having to know anything more about the diagram than what is physically manifest in the lines which comprise it. So take a moment to carefully study it visually. Please don't assume that because you are familiar with it, you have actually SEEN it.
What is unique about this ﬁgure? Treat it as a visual riddle or 'koan', if you can. Can you see the puzzle that is embedded in the very design of the ﬁgure? There IS one, a puzzle that is subtly presented in a completely visual form, without words. Please take your time.
Here is how one long-time zen practitioner described the initial EFFECT that the diagram had on him when we presented it without any further explanation and asked him to visually meditate on it -
The visual effect of looking at the array of triangles is of a shifting ﬁeld of larger and smaller triangles, giving almost a perception of depth, as one triangle shifts to one either larger and seemingly closer, or smaller and seemingly farther away. The triangles forming the array (i.e., not the smaller triangles the main triangles form) are either equal sided, or their bottom side is shorter than the two vertical sides. The smaller triangles are generally not uniform, although they are mostly nearly (or exactly) equalsided. This is a precise and accurate phenomenological description of what may happen when one looks at the diagram, but not yet an insight into its most essential nature. Here's a hint that might be helpful in taking you further into the diagram - What is 'wrong' with the picture? Can you ﬁnd the visual anomaly that is embedded in it? Not yet? Need another hint? Try SKETCHING the ﬁgure. Its not easy to draw the ﬁgure. But why not? Put your ﬁnger horizontally across the center of the ﬁgure. What can you say about the remaining portion of the ﬁgure? Now remove your ﬁnger. What do you see in the horizontal center strip, recently covered by your ﬁnger? Still puzzled? Take a look at the following two diagrams. Which ﬁgure is the central ﬁgure in the Shri Yantra? How do they differ?
The ﬁgure to the right is the central ﬁgure in the Shri Yantra. The ﬁgure to the left was constructed by removing the horizontal strip from the middle ....
Double Mandala (Shri Yantra) =
symmetric fringe plus
asymmetric center .... and replacing it with the SYMMETRICAL center that the remainder of the design visually IMPLIES and therefore causes one to expect. By now it may have begun to dawn on you that the Shri Yantra is actually a cleverly
drawn visual sleight-of-hand! It is an ancient illusion that is a precursor to similar 20th century perceptual illusions, in the same class of figures as those produced by the gestalt psychologists. Like the famous 'duck-rabbit' diagram, or the portrait of the 'young-woman/oldwoman' (left), it demonstrates that we can be tricked by perception when the figure-ground relationship in a picture is reversed or otherwise tampered with.
As in these other cases, the illusion that is deliberately built into the Shri Yantra makes it very difficult to draw it freehand, as you no doubt came to realize if, in fact, you did try to sketch it. In order to achieve the intended effect one must keep in mind two goals that pull in different directions, just as in trying to draw the portrait of the young woman/old woman, you would have to keep in mind that every line you make is a line in two completely different portraits! But the Shri Yantra is no MERE illusion, meant simply to delight or entertain. Nor is it just an object lesson in the psychology of perception. It has a profound meaning, one which reveals itself only when the effects of the diagram are studied in relationship to how consciousness becomes capable of 'moving' in certain states that one can enter into in meditation. In their (1975) analysis of the figure, Evans and Fudjack remark,
.... how can we conceive of the [Shri Yantra] as an object for meditation? How is one to fixate attention on the diagram? Well, at first glance the diagram appears to be a symmetrical geometrical design and we know how to fixate attention on such a design by staring at the point of symmetry at its center. However, the Shri Yantra does not have a point around which the design is symmetrically fixed. Zimmer alludes to this by mentioning its 'elusive' center. So in focusing attention inward toward the center we wind up at a point, line, or configuration none of which is a satisfactory center of symmetry. We find ourselves compensating the small center triangle, for instance, by widening our scope of attention to it and some counterpart that promises symmetry. But we pass to this wider symmetry-suggestive area by a quantum leap, so to speak - we lose ourselves and find ourselves staring again at the entire configuration which suggests that the diagram is, after all, symmetrically composed. So we focus in toward the center again in search of that elusive point. We either become dissatisfied or distracted by some other activity or we discover the joke, the trick. The diagram is designed to appear symmetrical when we take it, in its entirety, as an object of attention, but is also cleverly designed to have no point of symmetry. It is an
illustration of paradox. Not so much the paradox of time and eternity as the paradox of a symmetrical object without a point of symmetry - a logical contradiction. (C.O. Evans and J. Fudjack, CONSCIOUSNESS, 1976.) Representing Systolic/Diastolic Movement Graphically If you were asked to draw what is being described in the above passage - the alternating narrowing and widening of the scope of attention that is induced by the Shri Yantra - how might you do that? Without using words, what simple geometrical figure or motion might you use to capture the essence of this kind of movement? We submit that the simple spiral would be the most apt and elegant solution. For the spiral naturally induces this kind of mental movement, and has thus characteristically been used to communicate or represent it. If, having drawn a spiral, we mechanically rotate it in one direction it draws our attention into the center of the figure, into a seemingly endless tunnel - an effect that has been used to induce hypnotic trance. If we rotate the spiral in an opposite direction, it leads us away from the center, towards the figure's periphery.
The Fraser Spiral (low resolution) Like the Shri Yantra, this figure draws our attention toward the figure's center. Because of the spiral? Look again - there is no spiral! These are cleverly drawn concentric circles, creating the illusion of a spiral. See for yourself by using your mouse arrow to trace one of the circles. We can think of the Shri Yantra as a precursor to this diagram and, in general, to 'gestalt' perceptual illusions of this sort. (The Task of Gestalt Psychology by Wolfgang Kohler, 1969 Princeton University Press, p.43)
The spiral might even be conceived as a 'circle in which the center also IS the periphery' - as paradoxical as this might seem at first. It is thus a figure that BEGINS to suggest the kind of structure that we have called
'liminocentric', in which the outermost levels of the organizational heirarchy (the circle, in this instance) might be conceived as identical to the innermost level (the point) - a structural fact that can lead to a phenomenological 'vicious circle' like the one experienced in the Shri Yantra, as we bounce back and forth between center and periphery in endless 'systolic/diastolic' widening and narrowing of attention. In one respect, however, the figure of the spiral fails in the end to adequately represent liminocentricity. For if we follow the line inward, when we reach the center we must turn around and head back if we are interested in returning to the periphery. We can easily imagine extending the figure by adding a short straight line that would directly connect the center of the spiral its outer edge. The resulting diagram could be thought of as illustrating what would happen were we to 'take a short cut' THROUGH the center, directly to the periphery, instead of bouncing back, along the same line, in the opposite direction. But such a line would make the figure look, at best, somewhat artificial. How, then, might one better represent movement THROUGH a liminocentric structure? We might take a hint from composer Stephen Nachmanovitch, who provides a wonderfully apt way of describing what it is like to move through a piece of music that is liminocentrically structured. As he describes it, in such a situation ... We have a sense of Chinese boxes opening into one another, until inevitably the final box opens up and contains - the first. (Stephen
Nachmanovitch, Free Play - the Power of Improvisation in the Life and the Arts page 107
As Nachmanovitch implies, movement through a limincentrically organized structure might best be represented THREE DIMENSIONALLY. And the particular three dimensional figure that seems to best express a feeling for what
Nachmanovitch is talking about it, while also maintaining the systolic/ diastolic movement motif that the 'spiral' so adequately captured, is the 'torus' - a donut-shaped three-dimensional spiral. When, by using the torus, we move into the realm of three-dimensional figures, we find a more elegant solution than was available in our two dimensional spiral diagram, as the center appears no longer as a mere inner 'end point', but as an extended channel through which one can pass directly to the 'other side' of the figure. When the donut's central hole is reduced to a very small channel, or even
one that is only as wide as a mathematical point, and the figure is viewed from above, what one sees might be alternatively described as
1. a simple circle with a point as its center, such as the one we discussed in Enneagram as Mandala, Part I, 2. a spiral, or
3. a figure (like the one to the left) that is suggestive of a 'vortex'. A vortex, of course, is a cyclone-like funnel that is similar in shape to the central part of the upper half of a torus. The nine-spoked vortex to the left appears at the center of a mandala representing the old testament vision of Ezekiel, found in Edinger's The Creation of Consciousness on page seventy three. In older theories of the universe, a presumed vortical movement of cosmic matter accounted for the origin of the material world. In contemporary physics a torus is utilized to illustrate something similar - a 'singularity' in the space-time continuum which, on one side, is a 'black hole' into which matter disappears, and, on the other side, a 'white hole' out of which matter emerges or is created. Again, it is in the central column of the torus that is thereby created that an 'objectless' state of affairs pertains, just as the 'undifferentiated' state of consciousness is experienced by the individual when awareness is withdrawn in meditation INTO the 'sushumna', the central column of her personal energy-field. The mudra that is demonstrated in the photograph to the left represents the offering that is made in the Tibetan 'mandala offering practice' and is the equivalent of the nine-tiered structure
that appears on the mandala-offering-plate in the first photograph in this article. The ring-fingers that extend upward in the middle of the configuration thus represent not only the nine-tiered 'Mt Meru' that forms the axis around which the mystical cosmology that is being offered is constructed, but also the central channel ('shushumna') in the energy system that permeates the body of the individual. The complex arrangement of all of the fingers in this mudra brings the two hands into a bowl shaped arrangement that approximates the shape of the lower half of a torus. And the manner in which the thumbs of each hand wrap around to connect with the little finger of the opposing hand, instead of thumb to thumb and little-finger to little-finger, is
reminscent of a mobius-like 'figure eight', suggesting that the threedimensional figure that is being represented here must have a nonlinear surface, one that folds in on itself. The figure-eight path is also reminiscent of the the movements (corresponding to the 1-4-2-8-5-7 shape in the Enneagram) that we discussed in The Enneagram as Double-Mandala, Part I. This suggests that the mandala-offering mudra is a three-dimensional double-mandala reconciling two incommensurable orders of awareness - the undifferentiated (represented by the center column, composed of the two ring fingers) and the differentiated (represented by the other digits).
But how does the structural advantage that we gain when we move from a two-dimensional representation of systolic/diastolic movement (as spiral), to a three-dimensional model (as torus), help us to understand the nature of the profound spiritual TRANSFORMATION that the Shri Yantra, and these other 'mystical body' systems promise? To answer this question let us first turn to the Kabbalah, in order to refresh our memories about the overall purpose of these spiritual systems. The Kabbalah
Jill Purce diagrams the Ten Sepiroth that comprise the 'Tree of Life' in the mystical Kabbalah as a torus (left). Each of the Sephirah, Dion
Fortune explains, 'is a phase of evolution', which, 'in the language of the Rabbis ... are called the Ten Holy Emanations'. At the center of the central channel is the 'essential self'. The Ninth Sephirah is 'Yesod', which interfaces the material and spiritual worlds. It appears at the bottom of the central channel, at the point in the process where the spirit will take form as body. 'The study of the symbolism of Yesod', it has been said, 'reveals two apparently incongruous sets of symbols', which 'partake of the nature of both mind and matter'. Yesod is 'the allimportant sphere for any magic which is designed to take effect in the physical world'. 7 Again, undifferentiated awareness is mapped onto the center of the torus, which is still and quiet, like the eye of a hurricane. Z'ev Ben Shimon Halevi describes the general purpose of the system - to induce a personality transformation of the most profound sort -
The transformation of the ego is the first major step in Kabbalistic work, because while a person may study the subject assiduously, until he begins to actually change, it remains merely an academic operation, no matter how much he may work at theory and practice. To change means growth, and this requires the death of the old personality and its useless patterns. Because there are few who are prepared to do this, Kabbalah is only for those who are willing to sacrifice and risk... ... Here, the interior and exterior events of a person's life are dealt with in [different ways]. Depending on temperament, one of the processes will dominate so that one person will be considered a thinker, another a feeler. ... In Kabbalah one of the first psychological exercises is to recognise one's own psycho-body type and to cultivate the [others] in order to balance the ego. This is done by work on theory and practice. For example, the thinker may be given practical problems to solve, while the doer is made to write poetry, and the feeler learns some intellectual skills. This process also teaches the ego to become obedient and discard many of its habitual patters. Often the process is long, and sometimes the student will continually retreat from a real
commitment to Kabbalistic work. This crisis is often brought to a head by the phenomenon that the person begins to undergo change, so that sometimes he, and particularly his old cronies, no longer recognize his personality. (Z'ev Ben Shimon Halevi, "Order: A Kabbalistic Approach", in
Order - Maitreya 6, 1977, Shambhala Press, pages 36-37)
The author goes on to explain that this transformation of the ego is only the FIRST step in the Kabbalistic work. 'To change means growth', he says, 'and this requires the death of the old personality and its useless patterns'. Further achievements along the path entail 'the ability to operate not from the ego, but from the self'. So we are talking here about precisely the same kind of profound transformation, which, in the introduction to this series, we identified as the subject proper of our investigations - the shift from an Egocentered personality arrangement to a Self-centered arrangement. And here, interestingly, we again see the torus used as the figure on which such a transformation can be most easily mapped. Why? Because with the torus we can begin to illustrate how 'undifferentiated consciousness' is 'differentiated consciousness' turned 'inside out' as it were, and vice versa. And this gives us a glimpse of how the 'unconscious' (undifferentiated awareness) is, and always was, integrated into 'consciousness' (differentiated awareness). All we need do is adopt a perspective that is wide enough to experientially acknowledge this truth in a manner similar to the to how the torus 'represents' this achievement graphically. Stepping Out of the Double Bind Citing Evans and Fudjack's analysis of the Shri Yantra, contemporary philosopher of science John Schumacher (1989) describes how the diagram succeeds in '... opening attention, as it were, to the periphery of the visual field', that part of the field that is normally relegated to the background of consciousness. 'Consider the Shri Yantra', he says, ... an apparently symmetrical figure that actually has no center of symmetry - staring at such a figure turns into a constant shifting of the focus of attention from the whole to the center and back again, and again, until ultimately we resist the shift to the center, opening attention as well. (John Schumacher, Human Posture,State University of
New York Press, 1989, page 162)
When Schumacher speaks of the 'opening' of attention, he has in mind a special state of consciousness that is relatively uncommon and is tantamount to 'dropping through' the center of the diagram, as opposed to merely bouncing back and forth between center and periphery. This state is sometimes referred to by the yogic term 'samadhi', as Evans and Fudjack originally pointed out. As they mentioned, the Shri Yantra is actually a visual DOUBLE-BIND that pits the tacit 'assumption of symmetry' (subtly suggested by the whole drawing) against the actual fact of the ABSENCE of a point of symmetry in the diagram. For the viewer, the only way 'out' of this visual double bind is to consciously RECOGNIZE the built-in contradiction, and then ... ... the realization that the diagram is a trick approximates 'enlightenment' insofar as this realization is concommitant with dropping the assumption that the diagram is symmetrical... (Evans and
Fudjack, CONSCIOUSNESS, 1976, page 78)
This realization is commensurate, they explain, with the third stage of Yoga as described in the Yoga Sutras, according to Taimni - in which one is 'purged of assumptions or attitudes in respect of the object of meditation', and there is a 'reduction of the subjective role of the mind to the utmost limit'. In Taimni's The Science of Yoga this 'third stage' is described as 'a new kind of movement or transformation of the mind in which consciousness begins to move IN DEPTH, as it were', instead of merely deflecting restlessly from one object to another. As a result of meditation practice the individual increases her capacity to hold the same object of attention firmly in attention, while simultaneously concentrating or diffusing awareness at will, and the object '... is denuded of its coverings or non-essential elements' and can actually be psychically entered INTO in a way that it not normally possible in everyday consciousness. Evans and Fudjack suggest that the 'denuding' process that Taimni describes is tantamount to removing the object from its contextual underpinnings, resulting in a radical reorientation of the individual toward it. A dropping off of the individual's habitual 'implicit attitudes toward the object' are the result, and the object is seen in a totally new light, as it were. The individual passes into or through the empty 'center' or ESSENCE of the object. This
special movement of mind, which breaks through the objectness of the object, may be construed as producing an altered or transcendent state of consciousness in which, in the words of Eliade, there is 'recovery, through Samadhi, of the ORIGINAL NON-DUALITY'. In his work, Taimni lists a total of nine 'stages of samprajnata and asamprahnata samadhi', 8 which the meditator works her way through in progressing toward 'full enlightenment'. In the following passage, Atum O'Kane describes the role that samadhi plays in the seven-stage inner 'alchemical' process taught by Sufi Pir Vilayat, in which the individual's personality is 'dissolved' and 're-created' in a manner that he connects with Ouspensky's work. It is in the 3rd stage of Vilayat's process that the 'whole personality has dissolved', and the 'movement of consciousness' from the personal to the transpersonal dimensions is completed. O'Kane explains -
This is experienced in meditations that promote SAMADHI, dissolving one's sense of individuality and returning to a state beyond all forms as in a deep sleep. The purpose in descending from SAMADHI back into individuality is that personality can be re-created. The last [four] stages are concerned with this reintegration of the personality. (Atum
O'Kane, 'The Art of Spiritual Guidance', in Sufism, Islam, and Jungian Psychology, 1991, ed. J. Marvin Spiefelman, New Falcon Publications, Scottsdale Arizona, page 68)
So, turning our attention back to the Shri Yantra, we can conclude that the anomalous asymmetry that has been cleverly designed into the center of the Shri Yantra not only generates the attentional 'vicious circle' ('samsara' in Sanskrit) that causes the viewer to repeatedly expand and contract her scope of attention in a never-ending search for the elusive center of symmetry. It also demonstrates that this kind of systolic/diastolic movement of mind, when permitted to be taken to its ultimate conclusion, provides its own antidote and is capable of transcending 'cyclic' consciousness altogether. The 'trick' is to move THROUGH the center, through the undifferentiated state AT the center, and back out again, but in such a way that everyday
consciousness has been turned 'inside out'. In the case of the Shri Yantra this is simulated when the individual becomes conscious of the anomaly that is central to the design. One must become aware of it AS anomaly, and of the central role of that anomaly as generative 'mystery'. If, after being acknowledged, it remains the focus of attention, the lens THROUGH WHICH we see the myriad forms in the 'differentiated' world, consciousness has been, in effect, turned 'inside out', and its liminocentric nature is subject to continuous conscious appreciation. The Self as Central 'Anomaly'
Following the path described by a spiral we approach the center, but only indirectly, in a 'round about' fashion
A two-dimensional rendering of a torus, with the central 'hole' reduced to the size of a point.
'The idea of the Self', Jolande Jacobi tells us, 'is solely a limiting concept comparable to Kant's 'thing in itself' [and] is thus essentially a trancendental postulate...'. 9 This 'center' that is the 'Self', is, in other words, not itself available as an 'object of attention' and is thus MOST aptly represented by ANOMALY or ASSYMETRY, such as the one present at the center of the Shri Yantra. It therefore cannot be approached 'directly', but only tangentially, in a circumambulatory way,
which, according to Jung, can be represented by the geometrical figure of the 'spiral'.
'The conscious mind is forced to stand the tension [between conscious and unconscious] by means of CIRCUMAMBULATIO. The magic circle thus traced will also prevent the unconscious from breaking out again, for such an irruption would be equivalent to psychosis'. (Jung, in Spiritual Disciplines, page 386). Speaking of the Shri Yantra, Jill Purce says -
From the marriage between the central point (the original nonmanifest seed Bindu), which is the pure consciousness of Siva, and his own first manifestation as the initial involuntary and creative vortex of the female Sakti (the downward triangle [at the center]), comes the differentiation of the entire manifest world. Jill Purce, The Mystic SpiralJourney of the Soul,1974, The Hearst Corporation, footnote 61)
But both the vortex and the entire differentiated world to which it gives birth owe their existence to the 'anomaly' at the center. Like Emerson's 'wounded oyster', who 'mends his shell with perl', the flaw at the center of the Shri Yantra gives birth to an additional figure at the innermost reaches of the yantra, the superfluous NINTH triangle about which we spoke in an earlier paper. Whereas the pseudo-shri-yantra in the diagram above needs only eight triangles (four upward and four downward) to complete the figure in a pleasing fashion that has both horizontal and vertical symmetry, the anomaly at the center of the actual Shri Yantra brings into existence this remarkable ninth triangle, the curious 'black sheep' of the arrangment. But like 'the stone which the builder refused' in the Psalm of David (118:22), the piece that eventually 'comes to be the cornerstone' of the building, the ninth triangle winds up as the manifest centerpiece of the arrangment. 'Sometimes the very sin of omission or commision for which we've been kicking ourselves', composer Stephen
Nachmonovitch tells us, in a passage that is curiously reminiscent of the miraculous appearance - the veritable virgin birth - of the ninth triangle in the Shri Yantra, 'may be the seed of our best work'. This principle, a basic one in the TANTRIC psychology out of which the mandala emerged, is the theoretical basis on which the 9 'sins' or 'drawbacks' that are manifested respectively in the 9 Enneatypes can be correlated to 9 'enlightened qualities'. Nachmanovitch might as as well be speaking about these characterological pitfalls associated with the Enneagram types when he says ...
The power of mistakes enables us to reframe creative blocks and turn them around. ... (In Christianity they speak of this realization as FELIX CULPA, the fortunate fall.) The troublesome parts of our work, the parts that are most baffling and frustrating, are in fact the growing edges. We see these opportunities the instant we drop our preconceptions and our self-importance. Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free
Play - the Power of Improvisation in the Life and the Arts, page 92
As we have seen in earlier parts of this series, the eruption of the sacred into the mundane is a central motif in the mandala. But now, in the Shri Yantra, we see for the first time precisely how this eruption occurs - in the form of the 'superflous ninth' that is conjured into existence as a result of honoring anomaly. When the fortunate 'mistake' (in the form of a 'gap', or acausal event, or incongruous element) is recognized as anomaly, and that anomaly is honored as the centerpiece of the arrangement, as 'mystery', then that which is marginal, fringe, 'liminal', is made central. And out of that creative matrix that resides at the center comes a different KIND of 'object' - an object with a somewhat different status, as 'unborn' yet 'manifest'.
Nine-Tiers, Nine Strata We have thus come to a point in our analysis at which we can begin to view the nine tiers along the inner column of the torus not merely as discrete 'stages' of development of consciousness, but also as 'strata' - everpresent layers of the structure which can be (and are) brought
into relief by the systolic/diastolic focusing of selective attention in the manner perscribed in the Yoga Sutras. As Mookerjee and Khanna remind us, the Shri Yantra is
For a web site that provides an in-depth description of these nine mandalas, click here
sometimes called the 'Nava Chakra', since it is composed of 'nine circuits, counting from the outer plane to the bindu [center]'. When the Shri Yantra is sculpted in three-dimensional form, this results in a ninetiered central structure (literally nine STEPS), which is often understood as the superimposition of 9 mandalas, stacked one on top of the other, like the chakras in the central channel in the individual. According to Mookerjee and Khanna,
Through contemplation on the Sri Yantra, the adept can rediscover his primordial sources. The nine circuits symbolically indicate the successive phases in the process of becoming. ...The nine circuits within the Shri Yantra move from the gross and tangible to the sublime and subtle realms. (Mookerjee, page 59) For Heinrich Zimmer, the Shri Yantra was 'a kind of chart or schedule for the gradual evolution of a vision while identifying the Self with its slowly varying contents, that is to say, with the divinity in all its phases of transformation'. 10 'The nine [triangles]', he explains, 'signify the primitive revelation of the Absolute as it differentiates into graduated polarities, the creative activity of the cosmic male and female energies on successive stages of evolution'. 11 Here, as in the enneagram, the number nine is associated with successive phases in the process of spiritual growth, and in the mundane processes of birth
Number Nine, As Spiral
and death, 'becoming' and 'deconstruction'. And the 'nine steps' are also steps in the 'evolution of consciousness' - nine phases, increasingly subtle, in the conscious integration of 'differentiated' and 'undifferientiated' consciousness, nine stages in the reconciliation of 'emptiness' and 'form'. But even more importantly, the nine constitute 'strata' - layers superimposed, one on top of the other. Like nine steps, each built on the previous step, or a nine-storied building, with each level presupposing the previous level, there remain some trace of previous layers in the present one. Like 9 Chinese boxes, one within another, arranged in a liminocentric fashion, so that the innermost box opens on the outermost - each hold an ambiguous place in its relationship to the other. It can be construed as either container/context for another box (indeed, for the entire series of boxes), or as a content WITHIN the others. The difference is only a matter of perspective. Likewise, whether consciousness is experienced as 'differentiated' or 'undifferentiated' at any given moment is really a matter of perspective - a matter of how wide (and inclusive) or narrow (and exclusive) the SCOPE of the focal part of our awareness - our ATTENTION - is at the moment in question. As we will see in the next paper, this fact about the nature of consciousness impacts in a most important way on how we choose to view the Enneagram as a personality typology. For only from our deepest faults can we extract the most unfathomable treasure. And this process - whereby ignorance is alchemically transformed into wisdom - requires us to intimately know the channels in which consciousness runs.
1. I.K. Taimni, The Science of Yoga, 1961, Theosophical Publishing House; Madras, India; page 38. back to text 2. See, for example, the ﬁgure on page 174, in Lama Govinda's Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, 1960, Samuel Weiser Inc, New York. back to text 3. A. Mookerjee and J. Khanna, The Tantric Way, 1977, Boston, The Graphic Society, pages 49 and 51 back to text 4. A. Mookerjee and J. Khanna, The Tantric Way, 1977, Boston, The Graphic Society, pages 50 and 62. back to text 5. This may be why Jung, who was not himself part of a living lineage, missed the fact that all traditional Mandalas, due to the meaning that they carry by virtue of the iconographic meaning of various aspects, are 'doublemandalas' in the sense in which Von Franz uses this term. back to text 6. A. Mookerjee and J. Khanna, The Tantric Way, 1977, Boston, The Graphic Society, pages 56 and 62. back to text 7. Fortune, The Mystic Qabalah, 1935, Ibis Books, New York, pages 252-4. back to text 8. I.K. Taimni, The Science of Yoga, 1961, Theosophical Publishing House; Madras, India; page 38. back to text 9. Jolande Jacobi, The Psychology of C.G.Jung, Yale University Press, 1962, pages 127-9. back to text 10. Heinrich Zimmer, in Mookerjee and Khanna, The Tantric Way, New York Graphic Society, 1977, page 50. Mookerjee remarks that the nine circuits mentioned by Zimmer are associated with nine classes of yoginis (female
yogis). back to text 11. Heinrich Zimmer, Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization, edited by J. Campbell, 1946, New York:Pantheon books, page 140 back to text
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