Finding your Enneagram type

One of the most amazing tools I’ve ever found for self-discovery is the Enneagram. Unlike many other personality typing systems, the Enneagram doesn’t just give you a description of your type and then leave you dangling and wondering how you can possibly overcome your fears and hang-ups. Instead, it provides you with a road-map for growth, and it gives you red flags for the times when you are stressed and regressing to former less healthy, fear-based reactions instead of responding with empathy, love and your true nature.

The Enneagram is centuries old. Some date it as far back as the Ancient Greeks, and a more developed theory is found in Sufi mysticism and Christian desert mysticism. Modern teachers such as Don Riso, Russ Hudson, Helen Palmer, David Daniels, and Tom Condon, among others, see it as an elegant psycho-spiritual tool for self-development.

It is better to discover your own Enneagram type than to have yourself typed by someone else. This is because only you can know your true motivations for what you do and what you believe. Motivation is more important to typing than actual behavior.

For example, I may nurse you when you are sick. If I do this out of a sincere desire to help you during a time of difficulty, it is a different motivation than if I do it because I want you to think I am a really good person whom you should depend upon and need so I will feel safe in our relationship. Only I can know why I helped although others probably guess at our true motivations far more often than we give them credit. Indeed, we may need to do a little digging to face our true motivations. Sometimes we don’t want to face our darker inclinations. The Enneagram helps us do that.

There are lots of Enneagram resources on the Internet. The Enneagram Institute, where I was trained, has great examples of each type and tests you can take to help you determine your type.  I’ve also included two handouts to help you explore your Enneagram type.

The first, At_a_Glance, is a two-page PDF that I have used in Enneagram trainings and classes that describes each type in a nutshell. The source is mostly my Enneagram training at the Enneagram Institute with Don Riso and Russ Hudson, but it also has information from other sources, which I have noted at the bottom of the PDF. You will probably see other people in the descriptions at first. You may even find yourself vacillating between two or three possible  descriptions for yourself. If so, look at the descriptions of the numbers before and after. One of those will be your Wing. I am a Four on the Enneagram with a Three Wing. I sometimes think I may be a Six, but I have more Four qualities. Also, I had a Six mother and a Six sister. Four is what works.

The second handout, Chakras and the Enneagram, is taken directly from Mary Horsley’s book, The Enneagram for the Spirit, and is used with permission. It describes how imbalances in each chakra might affect each Enneagram type and which essential oils are most effective in crating balance.

If these handouts tweak your interest, I hope you will spend some time researching the Enneagram. Chances are there are workshops near you.  Learning about your type is fun and informative and can be a tool for spiritual growth.

Essential Oils

Tea Tree Essential Oil


One of my favorite and most frequently used oils is tea tree oil. It’s been called a first-aid kit in a bottle, and I’ve certainly found it to be true.

The melaleuca alternafloria plant is found in New South Wales, Australia, and it yeilds beautiful flowers like the pink and white ones above. However, it is the leaves that contain the healing oils.

The indigenous Aborigines of the area use the leaves of the plant for healing. One way they do so is to crush the leaves and inhale the odor to relieve coughs and sinus stuffiness. Inhalation is the way I most often use tea tree oil myself although I use the distilled essential oil rather than the leaves.

Another way the Aborigines used the plant was to make an infusion from the leaves, which they drank. In fact, that is how the plant got its name. Captain James Cook observed the natives drinking the infusion and gave the plant the name tea tree. You should avoid drinking the essential oil, however.

Research done in the 1920’s found that essential oil from the melaleuca plant was eleven times more potent than the leading antimicrobial of the time. That means it is still powerful antiseptic, a good thing to know in these days of super-bugs tat are resistant to antibiotics. Plus, tea tree oil doesn’t contain the toxicity of manufactured antiseptics.

Tea tree oil can be used to treat cuts and scrapes, burns, blisters, cankers and cold sores, and a variety of skin conditions such as dandruff, acne, athlete’s foot, and Candidiasis.

It is often found in cleaning solutions such as household cleaners, soaps, hand sanitizers, shampoos, toothpastes and mouthwashes; in antibacterial and antifungal ointments; in baby wipes; and in makeup and skin care products. It has even been used to treat the bacterial and fungal infections of pet fish!

It is good for keeping insects away. It makes a great natural mosquito repellent. One of my clients recommends it for treatment of lice. It is much safer than the OTC remedies, and it works.

One of my favorite uses is in the inhalation oil recipe below. It is relatively inexpensive and is an oil no medicine chest or first-aid kit should be without.

Safety caution: Tea Tree oil is generally used externally. You may need to dilute it with a carrier oil if you have sensitive skin. Furthermore, you should not put it on your pets. If they lick it, it could make them sick. It has been reported to be fatal for cats.

Recipes using tea tree oil

Chief Two-Trees Infusion Oils for Sinus Congestion and Headaches
• 3 drops Eucalyptus EO
• 3 drops Peppermint EO
• 3 drops Tea Tree EO
Boil a cup of water and remove it from the stove. While it is still steaming, add the oils. Immediately cover the cup and head with a towel and inhale for 3 minutes. Keep your eyes closed.

Nail Fungus
• 4 tsps. apple cider vinegar
• 1/8 C. distilled water
• 6 drops tea tree EO
• 10 drops lavender EO
Mix well and apply to nails with a polish brush or cotton. Store in a glass bottle.

Disinfectant/Spray for Mold
• 2 tsps. tea tree EO
• 2 C. distilled water
Put in spray bottle and spray on problem area. Do not rinse.

Skin Care/Vaginal Ointment
• 1 T. aloe vera gel
• 6 drops tea tree
Mix tea tree and aloe vera gel together. Apply to affected area

Essential Oils

Patchouli Essential Oil

leaves mortar and pestleA couple of summers ago, I bought a patchouli plant at Little Green Things in Hildebran. I looked for one this year, but didn’t find it. I love the earthy, sweet aroma of the leaves and was surprised to learn it is a member of the mint family. The plant flowers reluctantly, but even if you don’t get blossoms, you can use some of the fragrant leaves in potpourri and to make sachets to repel moths in my off-season clothes. It smells so much nicer than moth balls.

The essential oil is made from the leaves, which need to be aged before the oil is extracted by steam distillation. Then the oil itself needs to be aged. It thickens, changes color and smells better as it ages.

I first smelled the exotic scent of patchouli in incense, perfumes and soaps, but I’ve started using the essential oil for a variety of other benefits besides just the wonderful aroma.

Patchouli essential oil is good for fungal infections, including athlete’s foot, ringworm, and dandruff, and for bacterial infections. It makes a great-smelling insect repellant and relieves the itching of insect bites. It rejuvenates cells and is thus helpful in healing wounds and scars. It is a good topical remedy for other skin conditions, too. Use it for acne or eczema and for inflamed, cracked, chapped and irritated skin.

Patchouli essential oil helps to reduce anxiety and nervous tension and eases insomnia. Its uplifting fragrance is grounding and provides a connection to the earth that gives us emotional support. Many meditators use it to center and quiet the mind. It is even said to be useful as an aphrodisiac.

Patchouli is often used in essential oil blends. I have a cream that I use and sell in my massage practice from Natural Options Aromatherapy that blends lavender and patchouli. It smells heavenly, and is really relaxing on the table you can get a whole body massage with it for $5 extra, or you can just ask for it for the back or feet as a treat at no extra cost. (You can also buy it for at home use for $16.)

You can make your own patchouli blend using the recipe below. This recipe comes from Aura Cacia and is said to adapt to your own body chemistry to produce a unique personal essence and to be balancing in its effects..

Personal Essence Oil
Ingredients: 10 drops bergamot essential oil; 4 drops rose essential oil; 6 drops patchouli essential oil.
Directions: Mix the base oils in a dark-colored glass bottle. You can vary the aroma with the addition of other oils. Aura Cacia suggests that “the rich, floral aroma can be lightened with the addition of complementary topnotes like lavender or lemon. The rose heart of the essence can be developed into a more complex floral note with the addition of neroli or jasmine. Clove and cinnamon will produce a more spicy fragrance.”

I hope you’ll give patchouli a try. It’s not just for hippies anymore.