Claudio Naranjo's work - Book recommendation

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I am always a silent observer in the forum but since no one has talked about this I really wanted to share it with you.

Probably because Claudio Naranjo was not a native English speaker, even though he lived much of his life in the US, his work hasn’t been acknowledged that much outside of Spanish speaking countries. But his impact was huge.

For example, he was disciple of Fritz Pearls and spread the word on gestalt therapy around the world. Also, he was one of the first people to research the possible use of psychedelics in psychotherapy (back in the sixties). He, for example, organized the first ayahuasca ceremony in Europe. Sadly, many of his books are only available in Spanish. 

Well, what I wanted to talk about is his work on the Enneagram. 

The enneagram is not just another personality type indicator. It is THE indicator, it’s a very important map, I’d say as important as spiral dynamics. They say it comes from the Greek philosophers (maybe even older) and that many mystic traditions around the world have studied it over the years (Sufism, some schools of Christianity, Kabbalah…) but it was always spread orally since it was sacred knowledge.

What did Naranjo do?

Naranjo had a master, Ichazo, who had been student of the mystic Gurdjieff. Ichazo told Naranjo that if he spent some weeks with him in the Arica desert he would awaken (if I remember correctly) and also get to know everything about the enneagram and protoanalysis (identifying people’s enneagram type), but that he would not teach him the latter. Naranjo went to the desert and there he had some awakenings and also, he spontaneously channeled from Source everything on the enneagram (then and in the following years I think). Up to that moment, the West and most of the world did not know about the enneagram (although Gurdjieff had taught it to some groups of people). He decided to start to teach it to some groups with an initiation and a commitment that they would not teach it themselves because it is very nuanced, and they could get some things wrong. What happened is that some students ignored it and started teaching, missing important information, since they did not have all the notes he had from channeling. Also, Don Riso was a Jesuit who happened to find notes in the library were Naranjo was teaching and wrote a book about the enneagram (and got some things wrong, for example “wings” do not mean anything).

Because of so, Naranjo decided to write his own book “Ennea-type Structures: Self-Analysis for the Seeker”. The work of Riso got a lot of success, but Naranjo’s not so much. I think there are two reasons for that, first of all, because Naranjo’s is more directed to seekers and not just any person, and second, because he was a type 5 and they are known for being blunt. Riso is a 4, and they are more careful with their words. Anyway, I was just here to recommend Claudio Naranjo’s book, that, since it was channeled, is extremely, extremely accurate. This book, if read properly, will make you cry. Except for personal history, SD, social conditioning and genetics, it is explaining your whole personal way of functioning. It reveals all your motivations, secrets and fears, all your pain and also your gifts. I cannot explain how accurate it is in explaining why you are the way you are. This book will help you accept yourself and give yourself the love you deserve. Also, because you’ll understand yourself deeply, you’ll start having compassion for other people’s “fixations”, a term explained in the book. I don’t know what else to say, just read the book. :) Thanks for reading until here, I wish you the best in your journey. Also sorry if I don’t reply, I’m not a very good conversationalist. 

PS: he also has a book on enneagram subtypes (yes, there are 27 subtypes in total, having each of the 9 types 3 instinctual variances), which is only available in Spanish. I’ve found this webpage which is a summary of the information provided in the book: It will make more sense after reading the book I recommended.

PS 2: They say 4s and 5s are the ones most aware of their ego mask and most unhappy, and therefore more drawn to spirituality, so maybe if you're a seeker you are a 4 or a 5, although you could be just any type.

Edited by act2000

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@act2000  Thank you for sharing. I was unaware of this book-  Ennea-type Structures: Self-Analysis for the Seeker”.


I want to read this. I agree with your assessment of where Riso's work fits. I first learned the Enneagram through Helen Palmer's work. Like Riso, she kept it at a surface/personality level. On the other hand, though, I've heard it argued that this has allowed for more people to become acquainted somewhat with the Enneagram that otherwise wouldn't have.


I have a counterphobic type six personality. Based on fear/doubt/cowardice - the Devil's advocate,,,


I've read Character and Neurosis in the distant past. He wrote about 'the fanatic' that is a subset of counterphobic sixes. Made me squirm in my chair.

One reason I value A H Almaas is because he was a long time student of Naranjo.  His book on the Enneagram, is Facets of Unity.


I'm checking out the website you referred to.

Thanks, 🙏

"To have a free mind is to be a universal heretic." - A.H. Almaas

"We have to bless the living crap out of everyone." - Matt Kahn

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@Loving Radiance :) thank you for your interest, I hope you like it

@Zigzag Idiot well the book is very similar to Character and Neurosis so maybe it's not worth reading it. I think it's like a shorter version, where he doesn't include his theories on correlation with mbti, homeopathy...

You're right about Riso and Palmer reaching more people, it's cool that nowadays so many people have heard about the tool.

My sister is a six as well, it was hard for me to understand the type until I observed her behavior a lot, now I'm happy I understand her more. I am a four myself. 

I will check out A.H. Almaas book, sounds good. :)  Love reading anything on the topic. 

Sorry for the late reply!

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What do you mean by "wings don't mean anything", that the teaching is false?

I read this book and liked the traits outlined. It seemed a bit like ranting some places. He attributes ethnocentrism to type 1s, do you think it's conflation with stage Blue?

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@cypreswell, it’s not that there never was a term called wings but that what is generally thought as wings isn’t right. apparently Naranjo wrote in one of his books that Riso might have invented it because Naranjo never talked about wings as some subtype, but just called wings the numbers next to one type.

I am guessing Naranjo used the term wings to talk about commonalities, for example some next to each other belong to the same triad (instinctual, emotional, or mental) or share similarities (fours and fives have low self esteem). But if you’re looking for subtypes then it’s sexual, selfpreservation or social. I still like Riso’s books though, they’re also useful.

i agree it seems like he rants a little but if you listen to his interviews it’s always his style (I think there are some in English). 

It might have a bit of correlation but I think background and environment influences SD stages most. For example I know ones that as part of being perfectionists are very caring of others regardless of origin, even accentuate this because equality is a good standard and ones look for societal standards.

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