What is the function of the Enneagram wings? In brief, the wings serve as an enhancement of the basic type, they bring out different centers or magnify the (body, heart, mind) center already present in the type, and they introduce different variations of the basic type. Let’s look at the two wings for Type Nine.
Type Nine with a One Wing (9w1)
We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” ― Gwendolyn Brooks
9w1s in health (or integration) are people who combine the desire for peace of a Type Nine with the responsibility and moral obligation of a Type One. They follow the rules and fulfill what is expected of them because they truly want to create a harmonious society — and feel they have a duty to do so. They desire to do good and be good. 9w1s have double body center. 9w1s are generally nice people, like all Nines, and the One wing adds judicious and tactful tendencies. The One wing helps the Nine have a sense of acceptable social behaviors and good conduct. This subtype is much more reserved and orderly than 9w8s. They are less prone to bursts of anger like the other subtype. 9w1s are often spiritually oriented people. They connect to the flow of the universe like the Nine, but the One wing allows them to channel their spiritual experiences into daily practices like yoga, prayer, meditation, the reading of sacred texts, and reflection. The One wing is so helpful to the Nine in this way because spiritual practices help the Nine to restore their inner balance when it’s disrupted. Peace (both inner and outer) is vital to a Nine’s well-being and the One wing creates a drive in a healthy Nine to devote energy to bringing peace into the world. They are adept and patient mediators, social justice initiators, wise sages showing others different paths to the Divine, and generally, they seek to create unity wherever they go. You will experience a 9w1 as a comforting, calm, person who has a firm belief that their efforts towards harmony are important in creating a better world.
In Stress/Disintegration: In stress, 9w1s goes to the low side of both numbers. They are people who desire peace no matter what. Their anger, feelings, and opinions are repressed in order to sustain this peace, and they do their very best to ignore anything that will disrupt inner and outer harmony. They will put up with abusive behavior from others, they will disregard things that are unfair, and they become inert in the face of challenges. Nines in stress check out naturally, but the One wing compounds this desire to disconnect from everything, including themselves. This detachment can extend for many years, as long as 9w1s remain stressed and cope in unhealthy ways. This can lead to many 9w1s experiencing depression. A 9w1 in disintegration will also exhibit some of the perfectionistic tendencies of Type One. They can start to be obsessively organized, stubbornly insisting that things in life be done the right way and put in proper order. A 9w1 won’t get angry, but they will have attitudes of censure and bitterness.
Type Nine with an Eight Wing (9w8)
“When two brothers are busy fighting, an evil man can easily attack and rob their poor mother. Mankind should always stay united, standing shoulder to shoulder so evil can never cheat and divide them.” ― Suzy Kassem,
9w8s in health are pleasant, agreeable people who also exude an innate sense of authority. They are also a double body center. 9w8s bring a stable, calm, firm, and solid energy into places and situations. The Eight wing brings an aura of strength to the easygoing Type Nine. Their strength is much more reserved and detached than the aggression and raw power of the pure Type Eight, though. The Eight wing helps the Nine to move through life with more common sense, directness, and a take-charge attitude. 9w8s can be leaders, CEOs of big corporations, or politically inclined. (I often wonder if President Obama is either a 9w8 or 9w1.) They are usually very cool under pressure and don’t resort to despair in the face of crisis. Other people truly like and follow 9w8 leaders because they are powerful and compelling, while also being kindhearted, serene, and pleasant.
In stress, 9w8s take on the low side of Type Nine and the low side of Type Eight. This creates a very strong internal tension because the Nine desires harmony at all costs and the Eight desires to express anger and engage in conflict. Usually, a stressed out 9w8 will be compliant and try to move away from conflict, except for the times when the Eight wing roars and the Nine suddenly explodes. These eruptions of anger serve to try to communicate to people in their lives that a Nine’s boundaries have been crossed. The Eight wing also propels the Nine to step into conflict at the very end in order to diffuse and wrap up a fight in a direct, efficient manner. This allows the 9w8 to then move back to a place of harmony as quickly as possible. 9w8s are not as upset by their anger as 9w1s would be, they don’t feel guilty about it. Their desire is to get back to inner and outer peace; their feeling of normal. One distinguishing feature of the disintegrated 9w8 is their tendency to dissociate from others and their own feelings, all while exacting revenge on people who have wronged them. They are dispassionately vengeful. And like a Type Eight, once you are on their bad side, you are blacklisted forever. They might seem nice and act socially polite, but any kind of relationship with them will be over for good.