The Enneagram and “Lord of the Rings,” Part II: Types 6, 5, and 8. By guest blogger, Kelly Gomez.

3-GaladIf Frodo’s personality type in Lord of the Rings (Enneagram 6, the Questioner) interests you, you might also be interested in checking out these quotes from the book series. Often dialogue helps us to understand a character’s motives, as they express their opinion to another character.


In the following passage, Frodo is speaking with Galadriel, the Elven co-ruler of Lothlorien. Originally rings were made and given to the Elves. Galadriel was the keeper of a ring called Nenya, and she used it to keep her kingdom safe. Sauron is the keeper of a ring, too, but he uses it for very evil purposes. The ring Sauron wears ends up getting lost in a battle and comes into the hands of Frodo. Galadriel tells Frodo to look into a magic mirror, where he can see glimpses of the future. Galadriel is aware of what might happen if she uses Frodo’s ring. She believes the ring might corrupt her, as it will corrupt anyone else who wears it. The ring is a source of great power, which is why Sauron wants it so badly.


Frodo: If you ask it of me, I will give you the One Ring.


Galadriel: You offer it to me freely? I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired this.


[Galadriel is now tempted by the ring’s power and starts to describe her possible future.]


Galadriel: In the place of a Dark Lord you would have a Queen! Not dark but beautiful and terrible as the Morn! Treacherous as the Seas! Stronger than the foundations of the Earth! All shall love me and despair!


Galadriel: I have passed the test. I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.


Frodo: I cannot do this alone.


Galadriel: You are a Ring-bearer, Frodo. To bear a Ring of Power is to be alone.


Galadriel: This is Nenya, the Ring of Adament. And I am its keeper. This task was appointed to you, and if you do not find a way, no one will.


Frodo: I know what I must do, it’s just that… I’m afraid to do it.


Galadriel: Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.  


                    The power of the ring is so great that it has become the object of Frodo’s obsession. He would like nothing more to give the ring up for good, where he would not have to fight against the evil temptations it puts on him. Knowing that Galadriel would readily take the ring eases his burden, however, and he offers it up. But Galadriel decides not to take the ring, reminding Frodo that he alone must carry it. Galadriel’s response is typical of a type 5, the Observer, to suggest that a burden must be carried alone.


                  When type 6’s are afraid, they may either respond recklessly or look to those who might be able to eliminate their anxieties for them. Remember, they are team players? Even though 6’s are dutiful with their responsibilities, they often rely on their team to help them out when they feel anxious. Frodo believes if he gives the ring to someone else, he will have escaped the anxiety caused by his responsibility, which is to destroy it in the fires of Mount Doom.






                   It is perfectly normal for anybody to be afraid of the ring’s power at this point. However, different personality types react differently when they are afraid. A Type 8 person would be more likely to charge ahead because to be afraid shows weakness. Being afraid is something a type 8 must conquer, because fear is manipulative, and manipulation is something 8’s despise. Sauron is an example of a type 8 at its worst. When Galadriel first knew Sauron, his name was Annatar. She knew him well, and mistrusted his thoughts and motives, yet never took action against him. Later his name was changed to Sauron, when he became evil with the forces of the One Ring and his personality changed to combative, possessive, and arrogant.


Because she is “Conscious of Sauron’s power, and wish[es] to thwart it, she [does] not openly use the powers of her ring as long as the One Ring [is] in Sauron’s hands. However, during the Third Age, when the One Ring [is] lost, she [puts her ring, Nenya,] to good use protecting the borders of her realm. For the powers of her ring [are] protection, preservation, and concealment from evil.”(


Galadriel is similar to a type 5 because she takes precautionary measures to secure her kingdom in a non-confronting manner. She does not make accusations against Sauron until he uses his ring to control the nations and keepers of their rings. Galadriel simply waits until he loses the one ring (now in Frodo’s possession) and does what she can to keep herself safe. She believes that whatever battle over the one ring is to take place will be between Sauron and Frodo.


The introduction to the movie, which explains the origin of the rings, can be found here:


While listening, notice the pattern in the background music that was created to represent Sauron’s character. Its intensity closely resembles type 8, the Asserter, in the Enneagram.


 Kelly Gomez is a student at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in English. She was an extern for Elizabeth for two weeks during winter break, 2014.


Join the FaceBook page The Enneagram in the Movies.


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See Elizabeth’s appearance on TV talking about “The Enneagram of Death.”





Young People Talk about the Enneagram and Death, Part IV (final)


Death gets some attention, from “The Enneagram of Death.”

Death gets some attention, from “The Enneagram of Death.”


Continuing what Claus, the 8-Asserter on my panel of mostly young Enneagram types had to say about death, “I freaked out when I was a child and my mother and father were about to get divorced. I had a bad relationship with my father. I was afraid and wanted them to stay together. I said if they get divorced I would find a way. But I wanted so badly for them to wait until my younger sister was older.


“My worst case senario is if someone had a funeral and there was only a priest, the undertaker, and the photographer. What kind of life did I have if no one showed up? I’d rather be dead. When I die I want it to be spectacular.”


Brita, the 9-Peace Seeker, said, “Death was always a present thought, not necessarily a fear. I always loved staring at the stars. I see myself floating around them after I die, in and out. I remember thinking when I was little I wanted to be buried in an Egyptian sarcophagus. If I were to lose anyone so close to me—it’s okay if it’s me, but if it were one of my siblings, it would leave such a hole in my heart. It’s okay to talk about it and I do with friends.


“I was filling out a life insurance thing and my dad was a cosigner. This was a good opportunity to approach my death with him. My dad said, ‘Do you think they make those Egyptian urns?’ I didn’t know but I said, ‘Make it happen.’”




Mark Epstein (in his article, “The Trauma of Being Alive,” New York Times 8-4-13), “In resisting trauma and in defending ourselves from feeling its full impact, we deprive ourselves of its truth.” The young people on my Enneagram panel were willing, however, to tackle the subject of death and to discuss the defenses they use. Some said they’re likely to worry about something else rather than what’s really bothering them; others said they get busy doing as a defense.


Brita, the 9-Peace Seeker, has the defense of spacing out to avoid the unpleasant. “Part of what I struggle with is narcotization. I can see myself having warning signs, like chest pains or something, and ignoring them. Being here and speaking about it, I can call myself out on it. I don’t want to space out. As a 9, I work on showing up and having deep heart connections. If I allow myself to be numb to the world, isolate, and withdraw, when I do pass on I won’t have experience life and touched the lives around me. It will be as if I was never here. I’ll be damned if I’ll let that happen.”


Defense mechanisms are normal and useful, Epstein says. His article ends: “The willingness to face traumas—be they large, small, primitive or fresh—is the key to healing from them. They may never disappear in the way we think they should, but maybe they don’t need to. Trauma is an ineradicable aspect of life. We are human as a result of it, not in spite of it.” An undercurrent of trauma runs through ordinary life, shot through as it is with the poignancy of impermanence.”


That we all share in these mysteries brings us together as humans.


A Peace Seeker talks to Death from “The Enneagragram of Death”

A Peace Seeker talks to Death from “The Enneagragram of Death”




 End of series. See part I Sept. 24, Part II Oct. 8, Part III Oct. 22.


Read my blog about healing psychotherapy’s image in Psychology Today Oct. 15. 


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Young People Talk about the Enneagram and Death, Part III

From "The Enneagram of Death" by Elizabeth Wagele

From “The Enneagram of Death” by Elizabeth Wagele

Continuing what my panel of mostly young Enneagram types had to say about death at the International Enneagram Association conference last August , Max, the 6-Questioner, said, “I work in community health. One of the clients I’m seeing is drinking himself to death at age 52. He’s a pleasant drunk who acts like a 7-Adventurer and has been abusing his body. We all know that someone who refuses treatment can’t be helped. I went to his house a week or two ago. He was pissing on himself, sitting on the floor drinking his third beer at about 10:00 a.m. I told him, ‘You’re dying.’ He said, ‘Yes I know. I was taken to the hospital yesterday. The doctor told me I had one week to live.’ I sat with him that morning as he faced his death, his circumstance, and it brought me up against my own death.


“If a person is a danger to himself or others and can’t be trusted, we can do what we have to do to help them. But alcohol is in a gray area so we community health workers can’t do anything about it. Generally, the reaction of the mental health community is paranoid—to overreact. But I wasn’t told I could do anything. This man had burned all his bridges and was purposeless. Even his son didn’t want to have anything to do with him.


“I realized death is simply a transition. Most people clutch to the enjoyment of life but we don’t know what’s on the other side. It could be less difficult than life. I’ve gone through losing a father and close friends. Vicariously living through this man, I didn’t fear dying. I realized I like my attachments and friendships, but I also realized death doesn’t have to be something to be terrified of. I shared this with my supervisors and they said, if the person really wants to die….”


Bonnie, the 7-Adventurer, said, “I prefer not to think about death. I don’t like to think about negative emotions so I try to think about the good parts of death: letting go, the end of something. My own death feels more like a deadline; I only have this much time to get all the things done I want to do. It’s pressure. The only people I’ve known who have died have been very old or suffering for a long time and we knew it was coming. I’m still somewhat naïve. I don’t like thinking about the pain that would come.”


Claus, the 8-Asserter, said, “I have the sense that I’m the one in charge. I want to make sure my children and my wife are independent and capable before I die. My children aren’t old enough to take care of themselves. They have to be strong enough to be independent.


“I’ve almost never lost anyone…  I lost my former fiancée when she was very young. When I hear a story about death, it’s hard to allow that injustice. Why did that person die?


My fear is only about people around me, not me. I’m a lot more terrified of being crippled—that’s much higher on my brain than my own death. A friend’s friend’s daughter was run over by a truck that backed over her. He held her. Then she died.  She was 3. How should I ever live ever if anything happened to my daughter? When something happens to kids it freaks me out.”


Part I was Sept. 24, Part II was Oct. 8. See Part IV (more of type 8; and type 9) Oct. 29. The inspiration for this workshop was the book, “The Enneagram of Death.”



Read my blog about healing PTSD in Psychology Today Oct. 2.



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“Two Guns” Part III (final) – Guest Blog by Mario Sikora

Mario's sons

Mario’s sons

Mario Sikora is an Enneagram 8, an Asserter type. This is one of the stories in Chapter 8 on Asserters in “The Enneagram of Death– Helpful Insights by the 9 Types of People on Grief, Fear and Dying” by Elizabeth Wagele. In parts I & II on this site, we found out Mario’s cardiologist had said, “It could be no big deal, or it could be something like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

I often travel on business. Once, toward the end of a three-week trip, Alexei, son number three, said, “Mommy, I’m starting to forget what Daddy looks like a little.” Alexei is five now but he was only three during those twelve days. After three weeks the memory gets a little fuzzy; what happens in three years, or ten?

Sure, I could make one of those “dying-dad” videos, but I always imagine they end up in a closet somewhere, unwatched, or watched as something obligatory and oddly historical. My wife would tell them fond stories for a while, but life would go on and the stories would become less and less frequent and eventually stop. What terrified me was that I had not had enough time with them to leave my mark on these four little boys who I cherished, that I wouldn’t be there to guide them and shape them, to pick them up and dust them off when they fell, to hold them when they needed it or push them when they didn’t think they could go on.

One afternoon Warren Zevon’s Keep Me in Your Heart shuffled onto my iPod in the car. At the line, “If I leave you it doesn’t mean I love you any less,” the dam broke. They wouldn’t understand and I feared they would hate me for not being there.

I feared my kami would wander alone, unbeckoned and unnoticed.

When the diagnosis arrived, it too was anti-climactic: enlarged lymph nodes, non-cancerous, consistent with sarcoidosis. I had a condition with no known cause and no known cure. “It can be fatal in African-Americans,” my pulmonologist said, “but typically it just shows up in some people and in a year or two it goes away. You’ll be fine. Stay away from saw dust and talcum powder.”

I have a scar at the base of my throat (which I jokingly tell people was from a knife fight if they ask). I saw the hospital bill that my insurance company paid. A quarter of a million dollars.

“Stay away from talcum powder.”

Six months later, the symptoms were gone.

I wish I could say something was different, that having stared into the abyss and survived I had some profound insight or made a significant change in the way I live my life. But life goes on pretty much as it did before.

My one aim, my one straight and true goal, is to last long enough to matter to my sons. I don’t feel an urgency to mold them like clay (St Paul’s potter I am not), but I’m acutely aware that every inadvertent moment leaves a mark, and gives the kami breath.

The quartet

The quartet

So every once in a while in the midst of the chaos when everyone is yelling and we’re in a hurry to get them out the door to school and son number one can’t find his shoes and son number four is flailing on the floor because he wants the car that son number three is playing with and son number two realizes he forgot to do his homework and says you know I don’t like jelly on my sandwiches, I take a moment to remember Sisyphus. I feel my muscles brought alive by the weight of the rock and my heels digging in to the dirt so as not to lose traction. I take a slow breath and I press my cheek against the cool, rough surface, losing awareness of where the rock stops and I start. In such moments all sounds are muffled, and everything happens—briefly—in slow motion. I look down the hill and see a long way to the bottom; I look ahead and see a long way to the top.

Feeling momentarily in on the joke, I raise my face to the gods and I smile.

Mario Sikora is an executive coach. He is the 2011-2012 president of the International Enneagram Association and he has an Enneagram certification program for professional users. Visit him at and

Please visit Elizabeth’s improved Famous types page and subscribe to this and her Psychology Today blog.

“Two Guns,” Part II, Guest Blog by Mario Sikora

Mario's sons

Mario’s sons

Mario Sikora is an Enneagram 8, an Asserter type.

This is one of the stories in Chapter 8 on Asserters in The Enneagram of Death – Helpful Insights by the 9 Types of People on Grief, Fear and Dying by Elizabeth Wagele.

I hadn’t gotten used to the fact that there was someone in the world who I was calling “my cardiologist;” by Saturday afternoon I had an oncologist and a pulmonologist as well.

Five days in the hospital and seven more waiting for the results of the biopsy of the nodes scraped from my chest through an incision at the base of my neck. This provided a lot of time to think. Twelve days is a long time when you’re waiting for that kind of news.

My thoughts didn’t turn to the afterlife; I’d long ago stopped speculating on such things. The threat of hell and enticement of heaven had lost their efficacy when I was twenty. There is a certain appeal to Eastern notions of the dance of Shiva or recycling through continuing stages or of somehow becoming one with some universal consciousness, but we’re adults, right? So let’s be serious.

Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele

Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele

I can’t count the times I’ve read Camus’ “Myth of Sisyphus.” Camus takes what others see as the bleakest of fates—Sisyphus condemned to endlessly push a rock up a hill only to let it roll back down and do it again—and turns it into something noble. Like each of us must do, Camus’ Sisyphus has come to terms with his fate, and thus “one must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

My view of the life after death had settled into what I like to think of as a mildly Shinto-istic existentialism: that we leave a mark on those things and people we interact with; they carry our memory, they are reshaped by our having come into contact. While our lights may go out when that last electrical spark emits from the brain, others carry us with them and the way we shaped them lingers on, and thus do we. Like Shinto’s “kami,” or spirits, the memory of us lurks in those we have touched, longing to be seen.

I met a man once who was wearing the shoes of his son who had died five years prior. I always thought of those shoes as the most sacred of shrines, an intimacy beyond the comprehension of most of us. Speculations on the afterlife feel hollow in the face of such acts.

On the occasion or two that thoughts about what happens next did cross my mind over the course of those twelve days, they passed quickly. Pascal’s Wager had always seemed a coward’s ploy to me and I wasn’t going to blink now.

So here were the choices–it could be no big deal, or I could be in for a long sickness and unpleasant treatment or I could be dying. The pain in my chest and shortness of breath that sent me to the doctor in the first place were real. They weren’t stress—sure I have stress, I’m self-employed, our fourth son had been born a few months earlier, but I’m not that way. So maybe it was no big deal, but it was something.

For the most part, I put it out of my mind. It seems like they shouldn’t, but the events of the day go on–and it is surprisingly easy to fill up the time and be distracted.

But I’ll let you in on something; I’ll tell you what woke me up at night, what filled me with terror and heartache and despair, what made me get in the car by myself and drive fast and scream until nothing more would come out and I thought my throat would bleed: the knowledge that my sons would forget me.

Read Part III (the final) of Two Guns Tuesday October 30.

Mario Sikora is an executive coach and the 2011-2012 president of the International Enneagram Association, and he has an Enneagram certification program for professional users. Visit him at and


Please visit Elizabeth’s improved Famous types page and subscribe to this and her Psychology Today blog.

“Two Guns,” Part I Guest Blog by Mario Sikora

Mario Now

Mario twenty years after the first gun incident.
Photo by Tanya Sikora.



This is one of the stories in Chapter 8 on Asserters in The Enneagram of Death – Helpful Insights by the 9 Types of People on Grief, Fear and Dying by Elizabeth Wagele. Among other things Mario can’t control he copes with the possibility his sons will not be old enough to remember him if he dies now. Mario Sikora is an Enneagram 8, an Asserter type.

It sticks in your mind, I can tell you, the first time someone points a gun at you in anger.

More than twenty years ago but it feels like last night; the feel of the carpet under my bare feet, and smell of the bourbon on his breath. John, my housemate’s brother who was sleeping on the sofa until he got back on his feet, had been on the short-end of a bar fight and came back for his brother’s gun with the intention of settling the score. Roused from bed by his girlfriend’s screams, I went downstairs to see what was going on. When I got between him and the door he pointed the Browning Hi-Power 9 mm, a gun I well knew to be loaded, directly at my nose.

As I said, it sticks in your mind.

I wish I could say I had a more profound thought at that moment. Oddly enough, I’m writing this at an outdoor cafe off Boulevard des Philosophes in Geneva, home of Rousseau and Calvin, a long way from that Southwest Philly row home. Perhaps an insight on civility and society in honor of Rousseau, or more apropos, something on the perseverance of the saints or the ramifications of God’s hand in human affairs in honor of Calvin. (“Hath not the potter power over the clay…” as St. Paul wrote to the Romans.)

But all I could think at the time was: I refuse to die at the hands of this idiot.

I was younger then, of course. Fast and good with my hands. John was drunk so his reactions would be a little slow, maybe giving me a slight edge. But he was a bad drunk and I didn’t know how much time I had and I wasn’t waiting around to see which way things would go. I had coiled my legs just a little to get some spring and I was trying to shift my angle ever so slightly to see whether John had released the safety when he lowered the gun and eventually calmed down.

Anti-climactic, perhaps, but not when it’s you. I went to bed a little dizzy and wondering if I would have felt the impact of the bullet or if the lights just would have gone out.

Mario and his family

Mario and his family

The second gun pointed at me was metaphorical.

“It could be no big deal, or it could be something like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” my cardiologist said. “But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. On Monday I’ll call a pulmonologist I know–he’s very good–and we’ll get you in to see him as soon as we can.”

It was late on a Friday afternoon. Five minutes after I hung up I called him back.

“Doc, I’m not a sit-and-wait kind of guy. I won’t make it through the weekend just waiting. I need to do something today. Right now. This hour.”

I had gotten to know him over the preceding weeks, as one test after another had shown nothing to be wrong with my heart. But my symptoms were “troubling” to him and he kept looking. A CAT scan the previous day had proved irregular. Probably an Asserter himself, my cardiologist said, “Okay, go to the hospital, I’ll admit you. We’ll get some tests done over the weekend.”

Read Part II of Two Guns here Tuesday October 23.

Mario Sikora is an executive coach and the 2011-2012 president of the International Enneagram Association, and he has an Enneagram certification program for professional users. Visit him at and

Please visit Elizabeth’s improved Famous People page and subscribe to this and her other blog on Psychology Today.