Hi, this is Anna. Welcome to the eighth installation of the video series “The Enneagram and the Major Arcana.” In this series I’m looking at the gifts of the Enneagram and connecting them to their corresponding card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot.
Embracing the Power Within!
The eighth gift of the Enneagram is the gift of Power or Powerfulness – being able to live in Power. People who are born with this gift have Power in their bodies. They walk into a room and they emanate this energy. They can be great leaders, they can be boisterous and funny. They’re relaxed in their body. They don’t censor themselves or overly obsess over what other people think. They’re just really in their own skin in a comfortable and Powerful way. They also can really enjoy adventures, and they like to do fun and wild things. They’re also willing to engage in confrontation and they’re not afraid to stand up for somebody who’s being wronged. So it’s a wonderful gift.
Enter the Bull in the China Shop
But like all the gifts of the Enneagram it comes with a distortion. When we are young there is something that happens to us that causes us to doubt the natural flow of our gift. We begin to try to make the gift happen, to emanate the gift in an artificial way. And we introduce anxiety and control to the natural flow of the gift. In the case of the Powerful person that distortion is an avoidance of weakness or vulnerability. In their mistaken understanding from the distortion they believe that vulnerability endangers their gift of Power.
A person living in the distortion of the gift of Power is probably not going to be very sensitive to people around them, maybe they’ll even blow people off who are feeling hurt or sad. They’re not kind to themselves, they don’t let themselves cry or feel sad or feel their own sorrow or pain. So they can become up come off as very boorish and unkind and even maybe sometimes kind of cruel.
I’ve met people who are living in the distortion of the “8” who were very upset by the fact that they hurt people. They didn’t want to hurt people but they almost couldn’t stop themselves. They had no way of regulating their Power and so they became afraid of their Power, and try to tamp it down and control it.
When Power is Loved
But the truth is that the actual flow of Power is always good. It always fights and supports the good. That’s why I think it’s wonderful that this gift of the Enneagram is matched with the eighth card of the Major Arcana which is the card of Strength. In this card we have a perfect picture of what we’re describing in the matured gift of the “8”. We see this vital energy source, represented by the lion, being tamed and loved and gentled down by the angel. The Strength comes from the angel’s willingness to trust the lion and engage the lion in a loving vulnerable way. The lion responds by accepting this connection and responding to it. Here the lion is not caged up, which is what we might do if we’re afraid of Power. Instead the lion is released and gentled and taught how to serve the highest good by the angel who ministers to him.
The Path to Unleashing Our Power
This to me is the story and the lesson around Strength. We are often afraid of our own vital energy because it has hurt people or we’ve been accused of being too wild or too unruly, and we blame ourselves because other people have been offended or upset by us. So we’ve caged in that vital energy, which only makes things worse. Because now our energy becomes like a caged lion, restless and frustrated and grumpy, and starting to roar. If it ever breaks free it wreaks havoc – which is exactly what happens to distorted “8”‘s when they try to tamp down their energy. They get frustrated and it blows up on them. Instead of following that distortion and bringing anxiety around the Power, we learn how to embrace it and love it and see it for what it really is -a huge asset to making things happen in the world.
Just like people born into the “8” are powerful leaders and powerful defenders and are always willing to speak the truth and get to the heart of things, the gift of this vital energy is it gets us straight to the point of things. But it needs to be gentled and directed by our highest self. So we want a relationship between our vital body energy and this beautiful guidance of the soul.
Bridging the Body-Soul Disconnect
So many times in religious life we’re taught the body and the spirit are fighting each other. That does not have to be the case. In fact that really does not work for anyone. It is so much better for the spirit and the body to have this lovely symbiosis, where the body is connected to wisdom and the wisdom’s connected to vital energy and together they create something really special.
I love this card as a corrective to the distortion of Power – as a way of
reclaiming Power for those who are born into the gift and for those of us who are getting connected with our own vital energy. It is necessary to make friends with your Power again, not to box up or control it but to trust it. It is there to serve you and to serve the world. We just have to set aside this conflicted relationship and realize a relationship of faith and
kindness is possible. See you next time for our final installation in this