Paying Intuitive Attention: the High Priestess and your Enneagram Type

The High Priestess is the archetype in the Tarot where we access our intuition. But what *is* intuition? Webster’s defines it as “the ability to understand something immediately” or what we “know from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning”.So, one could describe it as a 6th sense. But is everyone’s experience of intuition the same?


The Enneagram teaches us that our type influences *everything* about our experience of the world. It truly is the lens through which we see it all. So our type has everything to do with how we experience our intuition, or, rather, what we experience intuitively. Each type has a different ‘sixth sense’ that is natural to them. So when we talk about the High Priestess as intuition, we are saying very different things to very different people.

1s intuitively see the perfect potential of a given situation. They are tuned into the highest possibility available.

2s intuitive gift is empathy.

3s intuitively adapt to the desires and expectations of others, which they can read expertly.

4s intuitive talent is matching the feelings of others, ‘vibrating at the same frequency’ of those around them.

5s experience intuition through detachment, a sort of ability to see ‘from above’.

6s are intuitively aware of the unspoken intentions of others, and of potential threats in the environment.

7s are intuitively gifted at making connections—seeing how systems fit together, how to weave threads together into a whole.

8s intuition is around energy—taking the measure and sensing the quality of the energy of those around them.

9s intuitively ‘merge’ with others, physically taking on the mannerisms and qualities of others.

Because these styles of intuition—or intuitive attention—come so easily to our types, they are also terribly easy to misuse. Intuition by nature isn’t conscious, and without an awareness around what our intuitive style is we end up veering off into very unhealthy territory.

The 1s ability to see what is possible becomes a preoccupation with error.

The 2s natural gift of empathy can easily be replaced by fantasy and assumption.

The 3s intuitive reading of other’s wishes drowns out personal desire and identity.

The 4s intuitive attunement can become emotional one-up-manship.

The 5s detachment all to easily becomes a defense against real involvement in their lives.

The 6s perception of other’s intentions veers off into projection and paranoia.

The 7s intuitive ‘storytelling’ with information can drift into nonsense.

The 8s energy reading can become simply another way to measure themselves against others to gauge power differentials.

The 9s merging can become so all-encompassing that they forget their original self and their separate identity.

When we work with the pure archetypes of the Tarot, unless we do so in tandem with a firm commitment to self-observation, our understanding of the cards is all too easily warped by our type. The High Priestess’s invitation to be guided by our intuition becomes a fall back to the ‘6th sense’ we developed in childhood to help us manage our strongest fears. But if we use the energy of the High Priestess within the framework of the Enneagram, we can begin to make distinctions between the inner voice of the soul versus the functional mechanics of our type.