The animation shows the inner ‘perpetual motion’ that sustains the circulation and transformation of energy within any living organism or process. This is not a complete rendering but it accurately demonstrates some of the principles. The circulation of the blood in the human body would be one example. The eternal movement of the Law of Seven, or Octaves, can be seen as developing directly out of the Law of Three.
The development through time of the actions of any organism or any process as a whole is described by a linear movement around the circumference of the circle. The example shown in the animation is a simple demonstration of the principle, but to define any particular process or series of actions it is necessary first to know whether the process is descending (anticlockwise) from fine to coarse, or ascending (clockwise) from coarse to fine, just as a musical scale goes up or down — either rhythmically or irregularly depending on the energy available. The example above shows an ascending octave.
The first key to understanding the Enneagram is to recognise that the perpetual inner circulation and the progress around the circumference are inextricably linked but operate in different continuums of time and space. For instance, as human beings we go about our business from birth to death whilst all the time our life is being sustained by inner processes with an enormous range of frequency and energetic existence both above and below the normal range of perception.
The next key to understanding is the meaning of the inner triangle. It represents not only the hidden threefold matrix that sustains every phenomenon but also how other forces, external to the particular cycle or period the symbol is describing, are required to enter the process to keep it going. In other words, the inner triangle also represents the provision of the ‘shocks’ necessary for a single octave to continue to completion.
In another sense, although every ‘complete’ being is an enneagram, many phenomena exist only on one level and the inner triangle is also limited to that level. But in other phenomena which have functions or possibilities in more than one sphere or level, the inner triangle represents the presence and connection to higher elements, higher energies.
For an octave to maintain its original direction two special impulses, or ‘shocks’, are needed between Mi and Fa and between Si and Do. The symbol shows clearly that in an ascending octave, point 3 of the triangle represents the ‘shock’ between Mi and Fa. Yet point 6 of the triangle falls between Sol and La where there is no interval.
Resolving this apparent confusion is another step to completing the enneagram. The ‘shock’ given at point 3 is in fact the Do of a new octave, which itself proceeds in parallel with the original octave. Thus point 6 of the triangle falls at the Mi-Fa interval of this second octave where, to fill the interval, a third octave begins, proceeding in parallel with the first two octaves to its own Mi Fa interval at point 9. Thus, three octaves interact together, like this:
When these three octaves are superimposed onto a single figure, the result is an enneagram that shows all the relationships of energy within a living being existing on three levels. Only three new lines need to be added, 4–7, 5–2 and 8–1. The figure is now symmetrical and complete – in the sense that all the possibilities of the law of three are now represented. An enneagram showing only a single circulation shows only the interaction of two triads – 1-4-2 & 8-5-7 – three simultaneous circulations need to be shown to demonstrate the interaction of all six triads. This is the basic figure that shows the development of energy at all three levels of a human being (or any other cosmos), physical, subtle and causal, sustained by three octaves of the metabolism of food, air and impressions.
The animation above can be related to the three levels of function of a human being, physical, mental and emotional.The three octaves are shown by the three sides of the triangle and the circulations of energy around points 9, 3 and 6. The right hand side of the triangle represents the cerebro-spinal nervous system, which controls all voluntary movement – ‘Doing’. The left hand side of the triangle represents the autonomic nervous system which controls involuntary instinctive processes as well as everything regarded as emotion – ‘Feeling’. The base line of the triangle represents the forebrain, the screen upon which the input from the first two is reflected as conscious experience – ‘Knowing’.
In the final animation (below) the two triads, 1–4–2 and 8–5–7 that sustain the inner circulation around point 9 are shown interacting simultaneously. (8–5–7 in primary colours, 1–4–2 in secondary colours.) The twenty-two accumulators of energy are shown at the points where the lines of the inner octaves of circulation intersect with the sides of the triangle, drawing, transforming and distributing all the energies necessary for life from the central source of pure Consciousness. The three points of intersection inside the triangle represent the three aspects of the ‘large accumulator’ (the energetic aspect of the Atman, at the centre) which feed the chains of small, paired accumulators and which are themselves fed by food, air and impressions.
To represent a complete human being it would be necessary to superimpose the two further circulations of energy around points 3 and 6 so that all six triads were represented. (4–7–5 and 2–8–1 around point 3, and 7–1–8 and 5–2–4 around point 6). The figure would then also show the interaction of energy at all three levels, physical, subtle and causal.
This figure is the basic plan, the blueprint of a human being, showing the subdivisions of each function and the circulation of energy between them. Point 9, at the top, represents the seat of energy in the pelvis. The accumulators (see this Cosmology page) along the left-hand side of the triangle represent the seven great autonomic plexuses which are paired with the corresponding plexuses of the spinal nervous system along the right-hand side of the triangle. The input from the left and right sides of the triangle are reflected onto the conscious screen (‘conscious’, depending on the state) of the base line which represents the two sides of the forebrain, paired left and right. Access to the central higher Self (Atman) is through the emotional parts of centres – the mid-section of each line of the triangle.
This is the fundamental scheme from which everything else follows. It raises many more questions which are left unanswered, but to make it one’s own it is still necessary to do some work oneself. From this basis, anyone sufficiently motivated to take it further can use it to answer their own questions.