The Enneagram and the Zodiac

The Missing Zero, the 4.5 Point and the Function of Time in the Enneagram

The following excerpts, taken from The New Way, Vol. 3; a Study in the Rise and the
Establishment of a Gnostic Society (2005)
by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, expresses what she
sees missing in the modern interpretation of the Enneagram.


The Gnostic Circle, the orignial Gnostic Circle was designed by Patrizia Norelli Bachelet, the image was formated by Lori Tompkins
'We observe in the Gnostic Circle [a synthesis of Enneagram and Zodiac] that the 4.5 Orbit is where the power is locked, or where the knots are formed in consciousness-being that obstruct the seeker's rise to the summit, imaged in the Circle at a further point in time. It is the position of the 'masked Transcendent', representing the fall of the seed into the denser oceans of being. It is the point opposite to the 0/9 Transcendent, the apex of the sacred triangle of 9, 6, and 3. The tremendous importance of the 4.5 Orbit in the transformative process imaged in the Gnostic Circle cannot be stressed too often, for in coming to terms with what this Orbit represents in the development of consciousness, a large part of the transformative work is done. But it is found that this Orbit is often overlooked or dealt with in a manner that leaves an incomplete or twisted result. In this context is well to mention the way in which its critical nature is entirely ignored by seekers, and by those one would expect to understand the true position.

'We find this lack of understanding reflected in G. I. Gurdjieff's work with the Enneagram, the 9 division of the Gnostic Circle, as well as that of P. D. Ouspensky of the same school. Attention was focused on the Enneagram in such a way as to miss its wholeness and hence the real secret it holds, which is revealed precisely by vision of unity. In the first place, the Enneagram, as presented by Gurdjieff's, does not incorporate the Zero. Thus the number 9 cannot express its truest function because of this omission. There is no way one can understand from the diagram Gurdjieff's groups use the unity of spirit and matter, represented by the 0 and the 9 respectively. Hence, the real function of the symbol is lacking. Gurdjieff's rendering of the design relies on the Law of Seven for its construction via the numbers obtained in reducing the fraction 1/7 to an integral number (0.142857) which includes all numbers, but 9, 6, and 3, and they are then inserted as the triangle. However, the real purpose in obtaining this set of numbers in order to form the Enneagram in a particular way is missed. Stress is placed on the order of the numbers and use is made of the design by jumping from 1 to 4 to 2, etc., as the drawing shows, for whatever purpose deemed necessary and the work of transformation. This may have its place, as for example in the movement and dance exercises Gurdjieff taught, but there's more to the matter. The real key to the Enneagram and the reason why the lines are drawn as they all the basis of the Law of Seven is to emphasize the area of the Circle, which plays the most critical role of all, the area where the power is locked and which hold captive the entire human species, the area which is the great reversal point in the evolutionary/evolutionary movement, the area which closes the lower hemisphere and opens the gates to the higher.

'If one simply looks at the diagram in its integral form, one cannot fail to see that it's very structure is such that it guides the seeker's attention to this area, - the 4.5 Orbit. Yet a simple seeing of this nature, revealing as it does the real magic of the Enneagram, is missed in the Gurdjieff presentation because the diagram is dissected in such a way that attention is focused on fragments of the design and a manner which impedes a total vision and understanding.

'It is not known where Gurdjieff obtained the Enneagram in his early quest for knowledge. What is evident, however, is that its real function was never revealed to him, and this is its true connection with Time. Followers of his system have since sought to make a connection between the diagram and time, but the results have been unimportant, speculative, and abstract. Yet, without a relation to Time, the diagram is meaningless, since that is the essence of the 9-part circle. For this key, the incorporation of the Zero is essential, the key India offered the world.

'It is well to point out, however, that one of Gurdjieff's aims in the work he carried out with his pupils was to bring about a transformation of a somewhat integral nature. This consisted in harmonizing the functioning of the three major centers in man, - the mental, the emotional, and the physical. In view of the fact the Gurdjieff carried out his mission during the same years Sri Aurobindo and the Mother established their work in Pondicherry, and that there is a similar emphasis in both schools on integral development and harmonization, the perceptive student cannot fail to see a connection albeit esoteric between them. If we add to this the work of the Third [PNB] in which the Enneagram has occupied such a central position, the connection becomes even more evident. This also offers us an example of how various individuals across the globe are involved in a specific aspect of the transformation and contribute to the establishment of a new and Gnostic society without the need of any actual open link between them. One recognizes the collaboration simply by understanding the line of Knowledge they are involved with. . . .

'. . . A guiding consciousness exists and is central to the Work, but it extends beyond the physical; it is global, and transcends communication barriers in space and time. Furthermore, it may be pointed out that such communication is not necessary, those involved in the Work fulfill the aspect allotted to them by birth. They come already with the seed of their mission established as they incarnate on the planet. Contacts are made during their lifetime, which draw the seed to fruition, but this may not necessarily involve a close and recognized link between individuals occupied with this particular transformation. Recognition of the involvement and collaboration is obtained only by understanding the nature of the Work through the Knowledge these individuals possess and pass on to humanity.

'Thus Gurdjieff was a part of a larger action, and the use he made of the Enneagram, for example, reflects this; but he was restricted to certain limits, in his usage of the design in the same manner Sri Aurobindo was in his work, because of which he could not reveal all the details of his revolutionary supramental yoga, before the full stages of the Descent* had taken place.

'The limitations Gurdjieff was subject to reveal an incomplete knowledge of the Enneagram, - that is, the great secret it holds in the incorporation of the zero at the apex, as well as the nature of the 4.5 orbit at the nadir. However, it is important to point out that the dance movements he introduced in the West, which were based on the structure of this unique symbol, created the tensions which exist in the cosmos and are lodged in man. That is, these movements created the Enneagram via the dancers, and therefore in them the 4.5 Orbit's nature and function would have been realized in the pattern their movements drew, though they may have been unaware. Moreover, a large part of Gurdjieff's teaching lays emphasis on the creation of will in order to do. We can see that this is also a primary objective in the third level of Sri Aurobindo's work, albeit arrived at in a different matter. In the Gurdjieff school it is the individual will that is shaped. Here it is the transformation of the instrument in order to house the Divine Will. . . .' pp. 325-327

'. . . It is Interesting however that the veils covering the Eye that Sees are so thick that even seekers who accept the challenge and try to grapple with the matter in its integral implications are confused in their seeing, evidenced by the way in which the real secret of the Enneagram has been withheld from those who cherish it most, (much the same as the Ashram Sri Aurobindo founded dealt with the material presented in this study, which should have been the cherished answer to many painful enigmas left hitherto unsolved in his and the Mother's work). . . . .

'The 4.5 Orbit is the station of the Nirvana experience. The very significance of the Sanskrit word points to the connection. It means dissolution, and indeed at the 4.5 Orbit there is a shattering and dissolving. For the Buddhist or the Vedantin the threads of relatedness which join Heaven and Earth are dissolved. In the process however one is automatically obstructed from a continuity of the journey to the point of fulfillment of the Divine Will in creation and on Earth. Whole Time**, the means for this achievement, in an unknowable dimension for the escapist. This experience of the 4.5 Orbit - mistaken for the Apex itself and not seen as its shadow or reflection alone, because of the waves the lower strata of consciousness-being throw up in the act of manifestation - is simply the gateway to the upper hemisphere. . . .' p. 328

'. . . In the Gnostic Circle . . . [the 4 and the 5] are the two numbers (orbits) that surround the 4.5 Orbit, said to be 'where the energy is locked', or where the right action must be taken which will release that energy . . .

'The Enneagram is especially revealing of the tension that the play of the 9 engenders, and in its inspired structure based on the Law of Seven all stress is seen to converge on this Orbit, on either side of which are found the numbers 4 and 5. In the Gnostic Circle the division of the circle into 9 parts is used to incorporate the solar system into the time key the wheel offers, a function not easily appreciate in the Gurjieff presentation. Nonetheless, a play of 9, whether it be cosmic or earthly and human, will always result in this particular pattern reflecting the lines of stress which converge at the 4.5 Orbit.

'The 9 circle is a harmony deeply connected to the human gestation process. It is a cycle of birth. One may therefore observe the Enneagram in this light and its unusual pattern becomes even more meaningful. The entire design is a visual image of the stress and strain of the labour of Birth. It reveals all the powers and their interaction which are needed for such a birth. This is the great sense of the Enneagram. Therefore, the 4.5 Orbit represents the area through which the 'child' issues forth. The design appears as an image of the female reproductive organ, where she carries the child and where she releases it. However, the Enneagram refers to any 'birth' - that is, human or otherwise, of a person, a movement, a planet, or whatever. In particular it refers to the 'birth' . . . the emergence of a new consciousness and a new species. . . .

'. . . In this age the Enneagram is the supreme symbol because it offers the true image of the great sense of our times. In it we can come to appreciate the trials and tribulations of the Great Labour; and also the mechanism by which we are assured of a fortunate issue, namely by an understanding of the Sacred Triangle of 9, 6, and 3 - the 'shock points' of Gurjieff's presentation - in relation the work of [the Supramental Descent].' pp. 368-369


* Here PNB is referring to Sri Aurobindo as the 9, the Mother as the 6, herself as the 3 of a Triadic Descent of the Supramental Consciousness the purpose of which is to birth the 0/1 or Consciousness of Unity, Origin . . . to Light up the Inner Sun in the Darkness of the normal mental consciousness.

** "Whole Time" describes a cyclical understanding of Time, a consciousness of unity with relation to Time in which the Seed or 0 point, unfolds through a process in time, along the lines of the Circle, and returns to its origin as the 9. PNB writes that we currently experience fragmented time, and return to the origin via death at the 6 point of the circle. The ranges of consciousness beyond the 6 point of the Circle Enneagram are considered by PBN to be Supramental in which the Being can return to his origin via a new birth within his/her own being, within matter, WITHOUT dissolving/dying. Sri Aurobindo's yoga concerned this evolutionary leap of consciousness.


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