Gurdjieff’s enneagram and traditional astrology

A couple of months I met by chance a very remarkable man – someone with Regulus rising in his chart 🙂 – giving a lecture about planetary types according Gurdjeff enneagram and I decided to take a short course.

The course was based on recognizing the seven different planetary types from the shape of the body. It was terrific and I liked it very much. Moreover I find organizing people according planets is easier than by temperament especially when one is familiar with planetary characters.

Luckily enough there were only a couple of modern astrologers there – the teacher was not involved with astrology – so I should not hear too many “he is an Aries sun, she is a Gemini native” from the audience; in fact I should admit that every time I hear something like that my heart stops some seconds and I cannot help shivering 🙂 especially when talking about the shape of the body which no author has never, never, never, connected to the Sun position in different signs.

Before talking about astrology  let’s investigate a little about the origin of this method:  putting together  a couple of Wikipedia pages the story is easy to tell (at least it seems so to me).  Gurdjieff introduced the enneagram saying it was the fruit of ancient eastern and western knowledge, a symbol of the perennial wisdom mentioned by Kirchner and Lull. For what I understood it was P.D.Ouspensky who connected planets to the enneagram. He wrote in In Search of the Miraculous:

Examining the enneagram further I saw that the seven points could represent the seven planets of the ancient world; in other words the enneagram could be an astronomical symbol. And when I took the order of the planets in the order of the days of the week I obtained the following picture

385I did not try to go any further as I did not have the necessary books to hand and there was very little time.

Some years later Rodney Collin, a protĂ©gĂ© of P.D.Ouspensky, wrote a book where planetary types were linked to with enneagram in a less casual way. Collin – for what I understand- was the usual British astrologer with spiritual interests we can easily meet in the first part of the 20th century.

Collin was a better astrologer than Ouspensky. He arranges planets on the enneagram according their traditional order, the order of spheres.

planets octaveFrom 1 to 8 we find Moon, Mercury, Venus,(Sun), Mars, Jupiter, Saturn.

It’s interesting to notice that Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are disposed according their orb too. In this way Neptune is Moon higher octave and Pluto is Mercury’s one, not Mars’one. Without indulging a lot about this, it’s evident that domiciles and meaning of outer planets were not so obvious and took for granted in 1954 (the year the book was published) as we do now. Moreover Pluto is more similar to Mercury than Mars, that’s obvious to me – let us say that they share many vices.

Collin writes:

If we consider the moon and planets in relation to the earth (and we must never forget that this is the only point of observation from which scientific study of the solar system has ever been made), they are found to fall naturally into three groups: (a) Visible to the naked eye, inside the earth’s orbit -Moon, Mercury, Venus. (b) Visible to the naked eye, outside the earth’s orbit -Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. (c) Invisible to the naked eye, outside the earth’s orbit -Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.

Then he adds something very uncomfortable for a modern astrologer 🙂

Let us see then where our division of planets into visible and invisible leads us. In the first place, the ‘visibility’ or ‘invisibility’ expresses itself in more than one way. For instance, the planets known to antiquity are not only physically visible, but their cycles repeat several or many times in the span of human life, and they can thus be studied by a single man in all their aspects. By contrast Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are not only physically beyond the range of human sight, but their temporal cycles (84, 164, 248 years respectively) are also beyond the range of human life.

and eventually gets something like that

solar system

the seven planetary types: the Lunar, the Mercurial, the Venusian, the Jovial, the Martial, the Saturnine, the Solar.

circulation of light

That’s is an interesting diagram.

1) planets are disposed according their orbs;

2) masculine planets – Saturn, Jupiter and Mars- are on the left side, feminine planets – Venus, Mercury and Moon- are on right side (in fact Mercury prefers Virgo rather than Gemini)

3) even synastry rules follow traditional astrology. Every planet LOVES the one which rules the opposite sign, Mars ruling Aries and Scorpio loves Venus which rules Libra and Taurus and the opposite, Mercury ruling Gemini and Virgo loves Jupiter ruling Sagittarius and Pisces and the contrary, Saturn which rules Capricorn (and Aquarius) loves Moon (and the Sun). For example KĂ»shyâr ibn Labbân << from the ascendant of husband, their days together last a long time.>> (Introduction to Astrology, III,14 – edited and translated by Michio Yano).

 Collin does not mention any astrological method in order to determine the native’s planetary type in his book. In my opinion the usual method – Lilly’s method- could be easily adapted and works always very well. In fact to call someone a Martial or Choleric is exactly the same, true?


RODNEY COLLIN, The Theory of Celestial Influence. Man, the universe, and cosmic mystery (Vincent Stuart, London, 1954)

P.D. OUSPENSKY, In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching (New York, Harcourt, Brace,1949)


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