It is quite common for one religion to assimilate things from another religion. It has been done often in the history of Christianity; for instance, our word "Easter" has pagan origins. Taking things from other religions and Christianizing them is useful and healthy, adding variety. It also happens that other religions take elements of Catholicism and adapt them to another religion. Voodoo did that: mixing Catholicism with African superstitions, but it is a harmless example because people do not consider it to be Catholic since it was never made to appear Catholic. But there are times when Christian elements are assimilated into another religion and there is an effort to deceive and trick good people into their religion.
New Age does this. The attendant spirit of a witch is traditionally depicted as a black cat and called a "familiar", which is unacceptable to Christians, but instead of a black cat, picture the familiar as a person with wings and long robes, and instead of calling it a "familiar" call it an "angel", and now Catholics can be tricked into accepting it. Or if a crystal pyramid is used to gain magical powers, no good Catholic would listen to such a foolish notion; substitute a container of Lourdes water for the crystal, and suddenly you've gotten the Catholics' attention. Good Catholics are attracted by talk about angels and Lourdes, or about creation and prayer, and often take it for granted that whenever people talk about such things, they mean what people normally mean. Actually they were assimilated into the New Age religious system and given new definitions. That's how formerly good Catholics, even priests, can be tricked into accepting another religion, sometimes without ever even realizing it.
The Sufi Religion
The Enneagram was developed from the Sufi religion, though it was not made up by the Sufis. It was introduced to the West by a Russian, George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, who sought to use it to foretell the future. It later gained acceptance among some Catholics. The Enneagram as we have it now was invented in Chile. Many Sufis are very similar to witches. They believe they have the power to cast spells (they call it projecting "baraka"), to travel through time into the past and future, to heal, to read minds, to communicate telepathically with each other, and they have a superstitious belief in supernatural powers of certain things (certain kinds of candy and flowers). Clairvoyance and ESP to them are simply normal parts of life.
These Sufis believe in using their powers for the sake of the Design. This "design" is God's plan for mankind: the direction God wishes human evolution to take. Only the Sufi masters are privy to this secret design; the Sufis are Gnostics in the sense that they believe in esoteric knowledge (but they do not believe in a good god vs. an evil god). They believe they must safeguard this hidden design or pattern; whenever human beings anywhere in the world do something which harms the design, they must use their supernatural powers to put things right. (There is also a vague connection between the Sufis and Freemasonry, because of the similarity of symbolism used by a 9th century Sufi, Dhul Nun, who was associated with the Order of the Bannayin (Builders), and modern Masonic symbolism.)
The Sufis believe the "design" ("naqsh") is hidden underneath appearances, which are false: reality lies beneath appearances. They must see through outward appearances to find the truth, the reality, under them, where the design can be found. This especially includes looking beneath their own appearances. They must come to know their "real selves" and only then they can know "Reality". To know Reality, and then act on it, is the ultimate goal of the Sufi religion.
The Enneagram is a system of assigning a number from 1 to 9 to oneself and every human being. This number is said to reveal the hidden motivation for everything a person does. Intelligence is given three "centers": thought, emotion, and instinct. Mainly because of the environment, the three centers are always imbalanced. The result of this imbalance is that a person's "true self" is always hidden beneath a "false self". The Enneagram is supposed to enable a person to gain knowledge of his true self, exposing the true motivations for actions and illusions developed regarding himself and regarding how to deal with the world.
Discovering one's "true self" and the real motives for everything one does, concealed as the Sufis believe they are beneath false appearances, is vital to the Sufi religion; it is not part of Christianity. On the other hand, goodness and holiness, to know, love, and serve God on Earth and be happy with Him forever in Heaven, are the proper goals of the Christian, and these are not goals for the Sufi. If evil must be done for the sake of the design, that is not a problem for them. They believe the ends always justifies the means: it makes no difference at all whether human evolution is set right through good or through evil actions on the part of the Sufi.
In promoting the Enneagram, an effort is made to take Sufi objectives, their kind of self- knowledge and knowledge of others, for the sake of promoting Christian objectives. But it's the opposite that happens: Christian goals are used for the sake of promoting the aims of the Sufi religion: the Catholic religion is assimilated into the Enneagram and the Sufi religion. Catholics using the Enneagram talk about things like saints and sin and faith and "fruits of the spirit". Using these words makes it sound legitimate. But they are only adapting these terms to the Enneagram, by giving them different definitions.
The word "saint" is used in the Sufi religion, but can have an entirely different meaning. It has nothing whatever to do with holiness. A Sufi "saint" ("wali") is a person who is illuminated to Reality. This is the word used in the Enneagram (even by Catholics): a "saint" is a person who overcomes his false self and knows and acts according to his true self.
The word "sin" is used a lot, but with a new definition. Sin is not a deliberate transgression of God's law. The word is redefined into personality traits that separate people from God or their real selves. Sin is the sinister motivation everybody has for everything they do, a part of human personality. It must be accepted and brought under control. The number assigned to a person by the Enneagram indicates what their one "root sin" is and will always be. "Sin" is also called "addiction".
"Original Sin" has nothing to do with Adam and Eve. Their "Original Sin" is a psychological condition, meaning that a person is never at any time in his life undamaged or free, but is always exposed to harmful forces. It describes the conditions in the environment which cause the imbalance among the three intelligence centers.
Another term used in the Enneagram is "fruits of the spirit". These have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. In the Enneagram, the fruits of the spirit are good inclinations a person gets according to his number in the Enneagram. The "Holy Spirit" according to the Enneagram is not a Person at all: He is a synonym for "power" or "energy" in Enneagram spirituality (unlike the Father and Son, who are recognized as real persons).
"Prayer" is talked about as part of the Enneagram, but their definition of prayer has nothing to do with God: prayer is absorbing elements from the environment into oneself, or projecting oneself into the environment, or delving into Nothingness. "Redemption" in the Enneagram has nothing whatever to do with Christ. It is the same as maturity, which is what they call freedom from one's "false self" to one's "true self". This true self is also called the "soul", another redefined word. Even "Heaven" is given a new definition: it is only a symbol for the perfection of freedom from one's false self to one's true self.
Two other terms which are given new definitions according to the Enneagram are "faith" and "obedience". According to their definitions, a person cannot have true faith unless he has doubts. A person cannot be truly obedient unless he refuses if he disagrees; in fact, in the very act of defiance, a person is being truly obedient according to the Enneagram's definition of obedience.
Taking words from our religion and changing their meanings can give things, even an entire different religion, the outward appearance of being Catholic. Some people are satisfied that something is good just because they hear a Christian vocabulary being used. That makes the slip into apostasy very gentle and painless.
Copyright © R. Kephart 1994
For Further Study
Vatican Document - Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian reflection on the New Age