An Introduction to the Dodecagram
From the Perspective of the Enneagram
Introduction: Classically speaking, the psychology and personality of a human being was
recognized and defined by a set of four distinct temperaments. The temperaments
themselves directly derived from the four classical elements, which were known to
compose everything in the changeable world; and the understanding that one element held a
predominate position over the others. This principle was understood to apply to everything
in the changeable world, ranging from material bodies like plants and animals to immaterial
bodies like the psyche and thought-forms.
The Enneagram of Personality was an, albeit incomplete, expansion upon the fundamentals
of personality understood in the ancient mystery schools of antiquity. My goal is to remedy
the information found within the Enneagram with classical wisdom. However, before I can
establish the comprehensive system I seek to replace the Enneagram with, it is paramount
that you, the reader, understand the specific constituents which form that system; it's
therefore necessary that I detail those constituents in a concise and accurate manner so that
you may be able to correctly understand what it is I'm trying to convey.
The Elements: The Elements themselves are not literal, physical entities. They are
fundamental forces incapable of tangible sensation. It is through the mind that these
immutable forces are perceived. The physical entities used to represent them are purely
metaphorical, but are nevertheless accurate in their representation.
Human beings are profoundly affected by their elemental composition. The effects can be
seen in the process of their mental faculties, as distinguished by Jung when he formulated
his theory of cognitive functions, and they can be seen in the overall personality of an
individual. A individual's elemental composition is the quintessential defining force of his
or her individuality; it operates as the very foundation by which men and women alike
distinguish themselves from one-another.
A Description of the Elements:
Fire: Fire is an active, masculine, force. It's fixed and unalterable. It most readily relates to
Will or Willpower. It forms, pushes, creates, moves, and acts upon something else. It
possesses a two-fold quality, being the spark of creation and simultaneously a force of
destruction. Jung attributed Fire to the Intuitive function.
Air: Air, like fire, is an active, masculine force. Air is most readily related to intellect and
the realm of concepts and ideas. It facilitates knowledge and understanding, language and
communication. It acts as a mediator for Fire and Water, allowing for the harmonization of
these two complimentary, but opposite, forces. Jung attributed Air to the Thinking function.
Water: Water is a passive, feminine, force. Antithetical to Fire, Water is a changeable,
malleable substance; it morphs and shapes to the form it's given. Water most readily relates
to emotions and feminine qualities. It's volatile, conforming, indecisive, gentle, and
sensitive. Water, like Fire, possesses a two-fold nature of creation and dissolution. Jung
attributed Water to the Feeling function.
Earth: Earth, like water, is a passive, feminine force. Like Air, Earth facilitates the
harmonization of the Fire and Water elements. However, where Air is free forming and
expansive, Earth is rigid and absolute. Earth most readily relates to solidification and
material form. It's the crudest, and densest of the four Elements, with Fire being the least
dense. Everything relating to physical sensation originates from this element. Jung
attributed Earth to be the Sensing function.
Consider the scenario of a Blacksmith forging a sword:
In the Blacksmith's mind is an ideal form of the object he desires to create, in this case a
sword. He begins by heating metal to the point where it becomes malleable. When the
metal becomes malleable, he molds and shapes it in conformity to his desires(will). The
resulting sword is an inherently flawed physical manifestation of the conceptually perfect
form of a sword.
The conceptual, ideal, form of a sword is analogous to the principle of Air.
The physical metal and sword is analogous to the principle of Earth.
The malleable state of the metal is analogous to the principle of Water.
The shaping and conforming of the metal to the Blacksmith's will is analogous to the principle of Fire.
Tria Prima: Known as the law of 3, the Tria Prima is an Alchemical
understanding and formula which aids an Alchemist in his attainment of the Philosopher's
Stone. The elements which compose the Tria Prima are Sulfur, Mercury, and Salt. These elements
work in tandem with the Classical Elements, and like the Classical Elements, these
elements are not indicative of the literal substances they're named after, but the
metaphysical forces they describe.
According to Paracelsus, Sulphur represents the soul and the omnipresence of life. It's
considered to be the binding agent of the universe. Mercury represents the spirit and is
considered to act a mediator for the transformative process and facilitator of the higher self
and the lower self. Salt is the physical body and base matter. Paracelsus gives the analogy
of burning wood to describe these three elements. The fire itself and its flammability was
attributed to Sulfur. The smoke related to Mercury, in it's fusibility, and the resulting ash
was equated to Salt. In other words, Sulfur is an active, pro-generative force, Mercury is a
counter-active destructive force, and Salt is the begotten preservative force derived from
the intercourse of the Sulfuric and Mercurial principles; hence the esoteric analogy to the
Father, Mother and Child. For our purposes, however, we only need to understand the gross
meaning of the forces being described.
In the context of the Dodecagram: Sulfur represents the pure, volatile, and active types.
Mercury represents the refined, counteractive types. And Salt represents the mellowed,
balanced, solidified types.
Forging the Dodecagram: Before unifying these three seemingly separate concepts into a
single system, it must be well understood and accepted that the Enneagram is a helplessly
incomplete system. As it stands now, the Enneagram does little more than inhibit students
from fully realizing the legitimate forces of personality. It leads them to speculate about
unimportant things like behaviors, motivations, and exaggerate over general terms like
“innocence”, “survival”, “envy”, “pride”, “apathy”, etc.
In answering the necessity for a system which incorporates and founds itself upon Perennial
wisdom, the Dodecagram is established. Unlike the Enneagram, the Dodecagram does not
limit or hinder Traditional beliefs. It allows for the full incorporation and synthesization of
the four centers of intelligence necessarily become:
Will(Fire) - 8,9,1
Intellect(Air) - 7,6,5
Emotion(Water) - 4,3,2
Sensorium(Earth) - 11,12,10
With the Dodecagram established, opposition is present and the polarity of the elements is
Fire opposite to Water, Air opposite to Earth.
8 opposite to 2, 9 opposite to 3, 1 opposite to 4.
5 opposite to 11, 6 opposite to 12, 7 opposite to 10 .
8 – 4, 9 – 3, 1 – 2
5 – 10, 6 – 12, 7 – 11
Tria Prima and the Centers of Intelligence: With the Dodecagram and the Classical
Elements established within it, it becomes necessary to exhibit the subtle differences
between the fixations of any given center of intelligence, through the knowledge of the Tria
The Sulfuric Types: 2,5,8,11. Embody the volatile essence underlying their respective
center of intelligence.
The Mercurial Types: 1,4,7,10. Embody the refined counteractive essence of their respective
center of intelligence.
The Crystalline Types: 3,6,9,12. Embody a mellowed, more solidified essence of their respective
center of intelligence.
Sulfur – Masculine force / Father
Mercury – Feminine force / Mother
Salt – Androgynous force / Child
Note: The following are metaphors to accentuate the subtle nuances between each type.
Fire center of Intelligence:
8: A spontaneous explosive, like black powder.
1: An Enduring flame, like a furnace.
9: Smoldering ash.
Water Center of Intelligence:
2: A Tsunami, powerful and abrupt.
4: Turbulent waves, waxing and waning.
3: A stream, constantly in motion.
Air Center of Intelligence:
5: A Tornado, consuming everything in its path, bridging the heavens with the Earth.
7: A breeze, flowing wherever it leads.
6: Static air, discomforted by change.
Earth Center of Intelligence:
11: Granite, blunt. A devastating rock slide.
10: Wet mud or tar, calm; not easily disturbed.
12: Dirt or soil, protective.
Conclusion: The Enneagram is an adequate introductory tool to facilitate self knowledge,
but it falls short at piercing past the egotistic facade innate to mankind. Proper
understanding and inevitable mastery of the elements is the most essential task for those
who truly desire to "know thyself".