instincts and art: collages


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When we collect and arrange images of our choosing into a collage, we have an implicit way of presenting the most important things about us. Instincts are the most deeply embedded pre-verbal processes operating within us that manifest clearly in the images that appeal to us. The Enneagrammer team has found that this is the single most accurate way of testing for instinct. Testing with words is a flawed method since language itself was developed as a social instrument.

David Gray's collage cards for each of the six instinct stackings (sold at Enneasite) are an accurate and beautiful way to exemplify the energy of each stacking. After developing these cards, he and Emeka Okorafor discovered that one could accurately determine a person's instinct stacking by analyzing a collage they've made.

We find it's best not to codify this method too distinctly because then the natural intuitive process of creating the collage can be tampered with. However, below are some brief observations to look for in a collage of each stacking using examples submitted by members of the Enneagrammer facebook group:


  • energy of "home" life, hovel, place to settle

  • "stuff"

  • higher ratio of earth to sky/people within images

  • romanticizing places/land

  • can do sexuality as pornographic or "body gore"


  • large expanses

  • higher ratio of sky to earth within images

  • "kingdoms" ex. large pillars, structures, castles, with or without people

  • body as a canvas for a message

  • collective, idealistic

  • utopia/dystopia

  • icons/symbols, antlers, swords

  • sexuality can have some social issue laced into it such as "roles" or religion/politics


  • airless and dark, suffocating,

  • the atmosphere charged with sexuality

  • patterns on skin, snake themes

  • no space between bodies, sensuality

  • death and rotting/grime themes

  • the body is solid object ready to burst, in contrast to SX/SP complete body transformation


  • transformation of the body, fire/electricity, loss of self

  • underground feeling

  • entangled energy, veins 

  • sexual energy, mystery, things could slip into something more


  • sparkly dispersed patterns, playful

  • royal themes/status references, the social sphere charged with sexuality

  • multiplicity, multiple focal points

  • icons, head-on portraits "who I am and what's interesting about me"

  • the vibe of being "cool"


  • singular objects of sexual focus as opposed to SO/SX multiplicity, solipsistic, single cleaves as focal points

  • SX but with the conscience of social

  • attraction/repulsion response, but more elusive than SX/SP due to the abstract audience of SO

  • the theatre of sex

Synflow stackings SP/SO SO/SX SX/SP

  • intimacy between objects/people within the images, and between the images and the viewer

Contraflow stackings SP/SX SX/SO SO/SP

  • solipsistic energy, turning away, harder to reach