I have been realizing how indebted I am to one particular tarot website for the interpretation of the Ace of Pentacles in the tarot deck. All of the other cards-- and I'm particularly interested in the Minor Arcana here-- I have come to an understanding of through the Enneagram, particularly thanks to Sandra Maitri's in-depth explanation of the nine Enneagram types' psychological patterns, but the Aces don't lend themselves that easily to transfering meaning from the Enneagram to Tarot.
A few years ago, there was a video circulating around the internet of a blogger who was trying to start a blog, but kept getting distracted with Facebook and Reddit, so he posted an ad on Craigslist for someone to sit beside him and slap him across the face every time he got distracted. Apparently the experiment was relatively successful. Maybe not everyone has wished for a personal slapper, but everyone has certainly experienced the dissapointment of having started at point A with every intent on reaching point B by a certain time, and then, hours later, found themselves deep in something else.
I'm essentially blogging my way through this book, The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three. It was going spectacularly until chapter 4 where Bourgeault goes out of her way, in fact devotes an entire chapter, to make it very clear that the Gurdjieff camp is right and the Enneagram of personality camp just accidentally happens to have a good point, and we're just catching a ride on the back of a more fundamental cosmic truth- the "linear progression of the Law of Seven" intersecting with the "verticalizing dimension of the triadic points" coming together to "invoke and receive the cosmic processes binding life in time to life beyond time". Can someone with such a breathtaking writing ability be so ... prickly?
She complains that the Enneagram of Personality "movement" has "collapsed" the outer circle, that we mechanically circulate on the closed 1, 4, 2, 8, 5, 7 and 3, 6, 9 circuits "like a dog chasing its tail", as "felicitous hitchhikers on the back of a powerful cosmic law". She can't stop herself! Clearly she doesn't know her own type- I've got to assume it's Type 1 at this point, because this woman has a black marker in her hand and is hankering to draw a very dark line between two things and has chosen the lonstanding Gurdjieff school as "good", and the people who are working with their personality as spiritually and intellectually lazy. She's going a bit overboard with the shadow-casting. If I was her publisher, I'd be like, "Read the room, Cynthia. Who do you think is going to be reading this book? Guaranteed, you're going to have Enneagram of Personality students reaching for this book to ... wait for it... learn about the Law of Three."
The repeated jabs are self-indulgent and unncessary and I'm sure the Enneagram of Personality probably emerged in the fashion of some cosmic law, like perhaps we're the second do to arise at point three in the octave that the Gurdjieffians thought they were playing all by themselves. The irony is that while she brilliantly unpacks the Law of Seven in the most effortless and graceful way I've ever seen- as a "coiled spring that inevitably propels its expansion into new octaves, each one representing a more subtle level of realization than the initial thrust", in the very next sentence, she's begging the readers to see the two camps as separate and distinct, having barely anything to do with each other but a cosmic accident.
She wields the term "Enneagram of Personality" as a pejorative and keeps calling us a "movement" like we're consciously linking arms together to stick it to the Gurdjieffians or something. Obviously, she has met people who were like, "Oh yeah, I know the Enneagram. I'm a Type 7, that's why I do all the crazy stuff I do and I'll never change. Thanks for the permission to remain my deeply unintegrated self and have fun doing it!" and she came away devastated and misunderstood. I can see why she'd think that was a deeply hurtful aberration to her beloved symbol.
Make no mistake, this woman is brilliant and her prose is a true gift, but her need to highlight our separateness over and over again just makes me think she's unaware of her personality type at work within her. And whatever, we all do that. As I said on Friday, hopefully since she's written this book, she's had a chance to see the incredible redemptive value in knowing her type and experience integration and healing to her deepest hurts along the dynamic vertical dimension of the Enneagram's circle. Perhaps the reason we haven't made it over to the Gurdjieffian table yet is because there's just so much to work with that Palmer, Riso, Hudson, and others have given us. But it is possible to have your mind blown twice in one lifetime, and because there's not one, but two shock points after the initial do in the Enneagram, I'm sure it'll happen a third time, and some day I'll be complaining that "the youths of today don't understand how to use the Enneagram of personality correctly!"