Deflating Demons: the Devil and Type 6

The Holy Idea of Enneagram type 6 is Holy Faith, represented in the Tarot by the Devil (card 15, 1+5=6). This is such an interesting and odd correspondence, as the Devil seems a figure who is representative above all of the 6s defense mechanism of projection and their ‘sin’ of fear.


And indeed, both fear and projection are core elements of this card. The Devil, according to ‘Meditations on the Tarot’ represents the creation of “artificial demons” to which we have given life by the force of our will and imaginations. The figures in the card are the demons *parents*, they (or we-as the male and female persons represent 2 sides of ourselves) have birthed this creature out of fixation on fear, essentially, and now are bound to it.

So how do we get to Faith from here? In the ‘Wisdom of the Enneagram’, Riso and Hudson remind us that “Faith is not belief, but a real immediate knowing that comes from experience.” So the Devil here, as an *experience* is offering type 6 (and all of us) the way from mere belief to true Faith.

The experience, or maybe more appropriately the invitation here is that of confrontation, requiring 6s to embody their ‘virtue’ of courage. The figures in the Devil card are not looking at their evil progeny, and thus are engendering it with authority. Richard Rohr says “Above all [type 6s] must dare to look their fear in the eye and call it by name. When we call the demon by name, we have power over it and can unmask it.”

The author of ‘Meditations’ tells us the same thing, that these demons, these unconscious complexes, must be brought to the light of consciousness. “A demon perceived is a demon rendered impotent.”

The Devil card feels like a deep initiation, particularly coming in the 3rd line of the Major Arcana, where spiritual transformation and rebirth are well in progress. And there’s another element to it besides confronting our fear, naming it, and rendering it impotent. I think the next piece is *honoring* it.

Type 6s are sometimes called ‘The Devil’s Advocate’, a parallel that cannot be ignored here. They work toward Faith *through* doubt and *through* fear, and so those qualities must be recognized as the critical ingredients that they are. They are not merely shackles keeping type 6s from essence, but are the very path to it. In ‘Meditations’ they talk about the process in the church of declaring a new saint, and the required procedure with an ‘advocatus diaboli’ (Devil’s Advocate). “Because one is ‘righteous’ and ‘holy’ only if good *and* evil fall into agreement that it is so.”

You cannot achieve Faith except through this experience of the Devil, and 6s must find the courage to both disarm it and to hold it with compassion.