LEAF AND FLAME : An Introduction to the Dynamics

As far as we know the Enneagram was born with Gurdjieff, however he claimed an ancient yet secret heritage for it.

It is true that ‘the nine’ appears, in one form or another, in nearly all the traditional mythologies.

With the possible exception of the Egyptian’s, where the Ennead of ‘Divinities’ plays a central role, in most of the others ‘the nine’ appears to be ‘peripheral’ and a somewhat hazy conception.

This may suggest that the matrix for these forms was indeed by this time secret and possibly far too secret to be passed down in anything other than a rudimentary form.

The Matter of Britain derives from the Celtic Mythos and in the Celtic Mythos we have the conception of Nine Maidens around a Cauldron of Inspiration.

This could refer to the Enneagram.

The Celtic Cosmology utilised a three-fold pattern of worlds which with the advent of Celtic Christianity came to look a little like this:

1. The Stellar World of the Constellations. (Universal Being)

2. The Solar World of the Sun and visible Planets. (Christos and Angelic Powers)

3. The Lunar World of the Moon and Earth. (Saints and Humans)

It is tempting to depict this triadic cosmology thus:

1Figure 1

And even more tempting to stand that figure upright, which here for both spatial and psychological reasons, for the moment at least, we will not do.

But this conception rests upon a far older one and is really merely the exoteric rendering of that esoteric truth which recognises a far more complex pattern thus:

2Figure 2

In this cosmology we have:
1. The Over-World of cyclic patterns visible above the horizon and symbolised by the Moon, the Sun and the Stars.

2. The Mid-World of Flora and Fauna and other entities which within it reflects the triadic pattern as;
A. An Upper Zone of Climatic Conditions and augury through bird flight.
B. A Middle Zone of Four Directions which delineates a model of the Sacred Realm.
C. A Lower Zone, of caves, wells and springs.

3. The Under-World of ancestral beings and other entities controlling the mysteries of life, death and re-birth.

Clearly each world and zone depends upon the other.

Thus far then the Macrocosm…

For the Microcosm we turn to Gurdjieff…

To be continued…

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Post originally published on Stuart France

4 thoughts on “LEAF AND FLAME : An Introduction to the Dynamics

  1. Wonderful post, Stuart! Interestingly the revised Christian motif didn’t do much for me, but as you described the more ancient cosmology I found myself nodding and picturing it as you said. Here is my memory, at least with respect to certain modes of thought in ancient Ireland. The three within the three, three realms, three within the middle realm, makes the nine. The vertical three, cosmos, earth, and otherworlds, and the horizontal three, sky, animal and tree world, underground world. That forms a plus or an x. This is the symbol used for applying a number onto itself, in other words, multiplication…three times three. Where the two outer threes meet, you find the third three, intersected within. Mapped out there, a microcosm like you said. The internal three is, I think anyway, the center of the +. And that is your nine. Three threes within the world. The nine for an age of a person is for inception/potential, action, and outcome, and for that reason is a number of power. And I am told this is why, at least around the second century and perhaps a bit before, children began to focus their knowledge into what we’d call a vocation at the age of nine. Three is the binding number, in words and deeds, and laws, and also worlds. It holds fast whatever exists or is done or said in three. So each three in the nine is interwoven with itself and each of those sets of worlds interconnected in themselves…for instance, all the internal worlds connected and woven together, each of those worlds in three bundled together are also intertwined. So there is interdependence, between the worlds and between each realm of worlds. The result is the pattern of what is.


    1. Thank you Eilis, yes, you have elucidated the ramifications of the system beautifully… Vocational considerations at age nine would make perfect sense wouldn’t they…? ‘The pattern of what is’ sounds like the title of something… significant.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. The pattern of what is: I have very limited understanding. I see it as the whole, the all of what is, that light which forms and manifests and lives between and weaves together all worlds. Everything.


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