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The Sacred Dance of the Enneagram: The History and Meanings Behind G. I. Gurdjieff’s Enneagram Movements

Issue: Vol 11 No. 1 (2016) Special Issue: Fieldwork on G. I. Gurdjieff and the “Work”

Journal: Fieldwork in Religion

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/firn.31359


This article explores George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff’s (c.1866-1949) Enneagram Movements. Gurdjieff used the symbol of the enneagram in his teaching to demonstrate the ‘perpetual motion’ of his cosmic Laws of Three and Seven, which govern his cosmological system. The symbol is composed of a circle encompassing a triangle representing the numbers 3, 6, and 9 (the Law of Three), and a six-sided figure representing the numbers 1, 4, 2, 8, 5, 7 (the Law of Seven). This article sets out to investigate the meaning of the enneagram and the significance of the Enneagram Movements, which enact the motion of the symbol. As well as examining primary and secondary sources on Gurdjieff, the author draws from first-hand experience of the Movements, particularly her work studying the Movement ‘Enneagram 5’ in a Movements class in Sydney, Australia.

Author: Johanna Petsche

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