(From the book “The Spiritual Dimensions of the Enneagram” by Sandra Maitri)
Soul child has the qualities and characteristics of the heart point of our enneatype, and its core is the idealized Aspect of that point. Because these qualities were not allowed or encouraged, we suppressed them and developed our enneatype in counterpoint to them. In developing our enneatype, we tried, albeit unconsciously, to embody the qualities of the idealized Aspect of our enneatype.
When we first get in touch with our soul child, it is usually through experiencing the negative qualities of the heart point, mostly the passion in its most infantile and exaggerated form. Because the soul child is a part of us that has been hidden away in the darkness of unconsciousness, like any living thing that is shut away for a long time, it gets a little twisted.
The Soul-Child of Enneatype One (Point Seven)
Inside of the moralistic, righteous, and upstanding stance of a One is a young child who cares nothing about being good or doing the right thing. He only wants to play and have a good time and to take in all of the wonderful things that life has to offer - a little Seven. A One’s soul child wants to sample every piece of chocolate and have a bite out of all the other children’s cookies. He is a little glutton, wanting to grab exciting tidbits of everything he can get his hands on, and wanting to have three different activities going on so that he can jump from one to another whenever things get monotonous. His gluttony may reach hedonistic levels, in which the suppressed essential quality of the Yellow or Joy makes its distorted appearance as indulgent pleasure seeking. The all-too-familiar Moral Majority spokesperson or evangelical Christian who gets caught with his hand in the till or his pants down is the leaking through of this sensualist and born vivant soul child.
As a One moves beyond his judgments and self-criticism, and is able to allow this pleasure-seeking young part of himself, the distorted manifestations will gradually transform. He will understand that behind his condemnations of the sinfulness and imperfections of others is an attempts to defend against his own soul child. He tries so hard to be good because he got the message early on that his desire to have fun and play was not acceptable. Enjoyment itself was something that seemed taboo, and so life became hard work and a matter of shouldering a heavy burden. The more he penetrates his soul child’s desires, the more he will get in touch with the love and delight in life itself that underlie them. Joy in the creation, the handiwork and manifestation of Being, will suffuse his heart, and he will turn his focus away from what is wrong with everything to how wonderful it all is.
The Soul-Child of Enneatype Two (Point Four)
Behind the loving, giving and helpful outer facade of a Two lies a competitive, jealous and spiteful little Four-ish soul child. Twos try to present themselves as sweet and kind, self-sacrificing, humble, all of which can be seen as very much a reaction to the darker tendencies of their soul child. This is a little boy who wants to scream “I hate you!” to the other little boy who got the teacher or mommy’s attention, pull his hair and tell him how awful he is and how stupid he is too. He is very observant about who gets how many cookies, tries to grab the most and the best and reacts with spite and venom if he does not get what he wants. He is filled with envy, believing the other kids have what he lacks and that they are better than he, cuter and more lovable. He can be bitchy and back biting, vindictive and huffy.
For a Two, the negativity and pettiness of his soul child are often initially difficult to acknowledge and tolerate. It threatens all of his pretense of open-heartedness and harmlessness, but most of all, it puts him first. This is, in fact, the very thing necessary for a Two’s unfoldment - getting in touch with himself is central. As a Two contacts his soul child and, instead of rejecting him, judging him and pushing him away, opens his heart to him, he will become primary in his own consciousness. This is very taboo for a Two, who learned that being self-centered set him up for parental disapproval. He will find that as he focuses more on himself - listening to and filling his own needs, responding to his own impulses and taking his own initiative, recognizing his limits and setting them with others - he indeed becomes more centered within himself. This is not the negative thing he feared, signifying loss of love and becoming more selfish to him, but rather is a doorway into his personal connection with Being. The more he takes care of himself instead of others, in other words, the more he connects with the spark of the Divine within, realizing himself as the Point. Instead of having others be the point of his existence, around whom he orbits, he finds himself one with Being, a star in his own universe.
The Soul-Child of Enneatype Three (Point Six)
Six is the heart point of Enneatype Three, so behind the efficient and composed veneer of a Three lies a very frightened child. Shy, timid, self-doubting, and insecure, this soul child experiences the world as a hostile and malevolent place. Others appear threatening, sometimes to the point that he may develop paranoia that they are out to get him, and no matter how many achievements a Three has accomplished and how much outer success he has created, he still experiences himself deep down as one of the weaklings in the struggle for survival. In fact, all of a Three’s efforts at attainment can be seen as a reaction to his fearful soul child - an attempt to overcome and counter this part of himself. This explains why no amount of success is ever enough for him. Without digesting and integrating his soul child, the inner fear and insecurity cannot be resolved by any amount of status and power. From the perspective of the soul child, a Three’s image is an attempt to camouflage this scared and immature part of himself.
Coming to grips with this child who experiences the ground beneath him as inherently shaky and unsupportive is necessary for the development of a Three. As he increasingly acknowledges his fear and sees how much of a driving force it is within his psyche, his anxious inner child will feel held and thus more secure. The allowing itself will in time transform his fear into an inner confidence, support, and ease, and a Three will understand how these very qualities that he had as a young child were not tolerated or supported by his early environment. It may be that family circumstances challenged and eventually eroded his original embodiment of essential Will, or that the ease with which he could do things made him a target of envy and hatred by parents or siblings, and undermined his self-confidence. Regardless of the psycho dynamics, as a Three’s soul child is integrated into his consciousness, the more his inner ground will feel secure and solid. Through the sense of Essence as his true foundation, his soul will relax into the support of Being. His drivenness, fueled by his anxious soul child, will in time transform into the inner calm and effortlessness of true Will.
The Soul-Child of Enneatype 4 (Point 1)
Within the dramatic, intense, and emotional facade of a Four is a bossy and pushy little One-ish soul child who is intent on all the other little kids behaving properly - seeing to it that none of them jumps the line, that their clothes are tidy, and that their manners are good. This soul child is a Goody-Two-shoes, prim and proper, and critical of all those who don’t follow the rules. She is a stickler for fairness and correctness and gets quite angry when the other kids are bad. They are the problem children who need to be straightened out, and in this we see the Four’s tendency to blame others for their problems, as well as their defensiveness when an “imperfection” about them is pointed out.
Acknowledging this self-righteous and resentful little soul child is difficult for a Four, since it feels like her biggest flaw, opening her up to tremendous self-attack and self-hatred. Rather than imploding her aggression and directing it towards herself, bringing her soul child to consciousness is really a huge part of solving her inner suffering. The more she sees it, the more she acknowledge her defensiveness and her need to be right, and in so doing, her soul is gradually able to relinquish its control. Understanding her need to control others and make them do what she wants will expose her lack of perception of perfection of things as they are and, more important, of her own perfection. As she progressively integrates her soul child, she will see how the purity, luminosity, and inherent brilliancy of her soul were not allowed or mirrored in her childhood.
Losing touch with the Aspect of Brilliancy, which she most embodied, she felt damaged, and developed in reaction a personality stype based on estrangement, abandonment, and longing for connection outside of herself. The more she integrates her soul child, the more the little do-gooder will transform into a shining sense of inner completeness, perfection and elegance. Instead of living a life based on envy or mourning, and longing from a far for contact, she will find that the completeness she seeks is within and that the grass inside is very brilliant indeed.
The Soul-Child of Enneatype Five (Point 8)
Inside of every self-enclosed, withdrawn, and quiet Five lives a little Eightish soul child who dreams of getting even and of devouring endless pints of ice cream. This soul child delights in getting down and dirty, slogging it out with the other kids, and lustfully immersing himself in life. His soul-child may show up as a Five curses the other drivers within the isolation of his own car, as he screams at the referee while watching a football game on TV, or as he condemns all of the politicians as crooks while listening to the evening news. A Five’s soul child can be a little bully and a little bigot, convinced that he is right and closed to any other possibilities. He may be defensive and denying about any perceived weakness, reacting with aggression when challenged. He can be punitive and vindictive, wanting to get even with others who he feels have wronged him.
For a Five, these tendencies of his soul child can be challenging to acknowledge and allow, since they betoken a zesty and gutsy engagement with life that appears very threatening. As a child, his wholehearted and passionate engagement in life for one reason or another was not supported. His vibrancy and aliveness, his strength and his courage - his embodiment of the Essential Aspect of the Red - was damped down. The vindictive and self-avenging tendencies of his soul child when it first appears may well be his soul’s response to this stifling. In reaction to his Red not having been allowed, a Five withdrew and cut himself off from his own vitality. As he allows his lusty and dynamic soul child to surface, a Five will gradually reconnect with his aliveness and will progressively feel more part of life itself. As he integrates his soul child, his knowing becomes more embodied and inclusive since his heart and his belly also become involved. As he contacts the courage to face the unknown, his life becomes more and more of an exciting and engaging adventure that he is fully and heartily immersed in.
The Soul-Child of Type Six (Point Nine)
Within every Six is lazy little one - very Nine-ish - who just wants to stay under the covers, doesn’t want to go out and face the world, wants only to be comfortable and entertained. Because of this, Sixes are often afraid that if they relax into themselves, they will become inert, never moving or bestirring themselves again; and they fear that they will neglect what they need to in their lives. This is, of course, because hidden from consciousness is this young part that does not want to do anything at all except luxuriate in leisures and distractions. This inner indolence is really the heart of a Six’s fear - she is perhaps more afraid of this tendency in herself than of anything else, fearing that if she stops pushing herself with her false will, all will be lost and she will sink into a swamp of laziness. If she is not making efforts, she is afraid that nothing will happen and that her life will go down the tubes.
When a Six courageously allows herself to stop striving and lets herself be, she may initially experience an immobility or lack of desire to do anything at all. In time, the inertia and indolence of her soul child will transform into what it is replicating; the loving holding of Being, a sense of being held in embrace of the Divine, knowing herself to be made up of love and one with all of existence. The sweetness and benevolence of the universe - the dimension of Living Daylight - will become part of her sense of self, and the fear in her soul will gradually subside as she realizes more and more completely her inextricable connection to Being. Eventually the whole mind-set of being frightened of others will disappear as she recognizes that her nature is the same as all that exist, and that all sense of self and other is illusory. Without Being as her inner ground and her perception of its continuity in all outer forms, she has indeed found the rock she can truly stand on.
The Soul-Child Of Enneatype Seven (Point 5)
Within every seemingly magnanimous and happy-go-lucky seven is a very miserly, withholding, and withdrawing soul child -a little Five. She holds on to what she has tenaciously, storing all of her candy and her toys away so that the other kids cannot get at them and take them from her. Driven by fear of loss and an inner sense of scarcity, she feels empty inside and afraid that no more sustenance will come her way. For all of a Seven’s apparent gregariousness, optimism, and interest in life, this young place inside wants to hide from life and connect with it from a distance. This soul child can also be a nerdy little know-it-all who relies primarily on her intellect. It is likely that in a Seven’s childhood, her reclusive, self-enclosing, and solitary tendencies were not allowed, and that she got the message that she needed to be more externally oriented and buoyant. It is also likely that her mental skills got supported and developed at the expense of a more innate and intuitive understanding, turning her into a little egghead who felt disconnected from the other kids. A Seven’s sunniness became a way of masking and defending against her inner sense of scarcity and of not belonging, not feeling part of the group or family and not fitting in. It is very difficult for a Seven, with her need to be cheery, optimistic, and enthusiastic about things, to acknowledge this withdrawn, frightened, and reclusive young part of herself. What feels the most difficult is the sense of scarcity that drives her soul child - the parched inner emptiness and dryness - which initially feels life threatening for a Seven to make contact with. The more she does not judge and reject this part of herself, the more the avaricious and isolating tendencies will transform, especially as her sense of being an ultimately separate entity - and thus one who is cut off from the rest of existence - is challenged. Her geeky, nebbishy, and bookish qualities will transmute into true embodied knowing, that of the Diamond Consciousness. As her sense of ultimate separation from being and from others comes into question, and her inner desert blooms with all of the flowers of Essence, her soul will truly know directly. She will feel part of the Whole, understanding experientially that separation is impossible, and her okayness will be real rather than reactive.
The Soul-Child of Enneatype Eight (Point Two)
Within the tough and no-nonsense Eight who delights in testing her grit and that of others, dominating and controlling life, and triumphing over any adversity lies a needy, clingy and lonely little Two-ish soul child who is desperate to be loved and held. An Eight’s soul child wants to snuggle up to others, getting as close as possible, and can be insistent and demanding about it. Beneath an Eight’s show of strength is this soul child who is filled with all of the emotions she considers weak- needing others, fearing rejection, insecurity, and a deep sense of sadness and loneliness. With the sense that her contactful and loving qualities were not wanted as a child, an Eight reacted by essentially saying “Fuck you!” to everyone she felt dependent on, and set out to prove she didn’t need anyone or anything. She hid what felt like her vulnerable soft underbelly behind a veneer of callousness and in the process closed down her openness and receptivity.
As an Eight contacts the defensiveness behind her pride and the sense of rejection and neediness that underlie it, it may feel as though her whole world will collapse. She has done everything she can to not experience these “weak” places in her soul and often feels she will not survive if she allows them to emerge. As she lets herself contact her neediness and pain, her heart can open again and her soul can become permeable. She can be touched once again, and as she contacts reality with less and less of a thick and defended skin, she will gradually feel more connected with life. Instead of trying to wrestle life for what she needs, she will find her soul relaxing, melting and merging with her essential nature, whose honeylike nectar fills her soul in the form of Merging Gold. Instead of fighting with reality, she will be united with it; and as she progressively surrenders more and more fully to his Being, she will find fulfillment and loving union rather than the capitulation she had feared.
The Soul-child of Enneatype Nine (Point Three)
The heart point of Enneatype Nine is Point Three, so a Nine’s soul child first makes her appearance in a tendency to deceive and lie in order to present to another what will get approval. Like a little child who takes a cookie when mommy has told her not to, or plays hooky from school pretending to be sick, a Nine’s soul child pleads that she did not do it and that she really does have an upset stomach. Beyond the passion of lying, within every Nine is a young place that wants to be seen, wants to shine, and wants to be the center of attention. So there is a little show-off, wanting to do her dance and be applauded. Behind a Nine’s self-abnegating tendency lies a drivenness and often a ruthlessness about succeeding - usually well hidden and pushed out of consciousness. Nines are often afraid of appearing too pushy and taking up too much space, which is the shadow of their soul child falling across their consciousness. The focus on doing underlies a Nine’s inertia, and often Nines are afraid that if they start an activity, they will become driven and not be able to stop.As a Nine allows herself to get in touch with this structure inside and its qualities, she will progressively experience herself as a more complete person. Exhibitionist tendencies will transform into a sincere recognition of her person hood. She will see that being a person n her own right was not supported during her childhood, and so she became accommodating and self-absenting in order to get approval. Reclaiming herself as personally valuable and lovable will lead her toward the realization of herself as a personal embodiment of Being, the Pearl Beyond Price, a radiant and luminous presence independent from the constraints of her conditioning. She will gradually become free of any self-image or mental construct defining who she is, and be able to contact and interact in the world liberated from the sleep of the personality.