What Are Wings?

roan-lavery-542074-unsplash.jpg“If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.” ― Coco Chanel

Each Enneagram number has two Wings. The wings are the numbers on either side of each number, therefore it would be impossible for a Type Seven to have a One-wing. A Seven would have either an Eight-wing or a Six-wing—or possibly both. There are some schools of thought that say a person will have one dominant wing in the first part of their life and switch to the other wing in the second part of their life.

What is the point of wings? Many people find them confusing, but actually, wings help clarify Types. They help students of the Enneagram become increasingly specific about the ways in which a person moves about in the world.

According to Riso & Hudson on page 69 of The Wisdom of the Enneagram, “Wings help us to individualize the nine (more general) types of the Enneagram. Each wing is a subtype of the general type. Knowing the wing enables us to narrow down the issues that we must face on the [path to self-knowledge].”

One thing to remember is that a wing does not change a number, rather its characteristics are serving the purposes of the basic Type. The wing operates to further the drive of the Type number.

For example, a Type Three with a Two-wing (3w2) in health will tend to look like a regular Three but with a dose of Two charm and helpfulness. The Two-wing brings a concern for others plus generosity. 3w2’s are excellent in mentoring and coaching. They are more seductive Threes. They tend to be highly popular from a young age as the Two-wing brings a dose of heart. The Two-wing helps the Three to be keenly perceptive about what is going on with other people, they become more sensitive and caring for the needs and feelings of others. A 3w2 in health will be more extroverted, expressive, talkative, and enthusiastic than a 3w4.

A Type Thee with a Four-wing (3w4) will have a different energy and body language—more of an inward orientation. The Four brings a curiosity about the Three’s inner life and spirituality. They are attracted to the meaning of life, becoming less materialistic and more introspective. A 3w4 will prefer more independent activities, be quieter, and speak with fewer words. Because of their search for depth and meaning, they can more easily move away from the Three projected “successful” image. They will have the ability to present themselves in a more authentic way. The Four-wing can bring a more creative orientation, expressing feelings through the arts. A 3w4 will have a certain elegance, show good taste, appreciate beauty, and have a well-developed aesthetic.

Both are Type Threes. Their wings serve to lead the Three, and others, into a deeper understanding of their internal motivations and exterior behavior in a fine-tuned way.

To reiterate, “…your wing is the ‘second side’ of your personality, and it must be taken into consideration to better understand yourself or someone else. For example, if you are a personality type Nine, you will likely have either a One-wing or an Eight-wing, and your personality as a whole can best be understood by considering the traits of the Nine as they uniquely blend with the traits of either the One or the Eight.” (The Enneagram Insititute, Wings) harry-quan-486229-unsplash.jpg

Wings reveal a particular shade in the rainbow of humanity.

What are your questions about wings? Leave a comment below or email me through the contact page!

*Photos by Roan Lavery & Harry Quan on Unsplash

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