The Law of Seven (or the Law of Octaves) is said to be the basis for the seven notes musical octave. The idea is that in nature, and in the universe at large, nothing continues forever in a direct line. Everything must deviate at definite intervals. If you take the standard seven note octave, plus the first note to a new octave, you get eight notes: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si, and Do. What the law of seven says is that within these eight notes there are two definite intervals, one between mi and fa, and one between Si and the new Do. The intervals are called the Mi/Fa interval and the Si/Do interval.
On the energetic level, this means is that the vibrations, which are increasing (or decreasing) at a consistent rate naturally slow down at these two intervals. Octaves can be ascending, where the vibrations increase, or descending, where the vibrations decrease.
The seven-tone scale is the formula of a cosmic law which was worked out by
ancient schools and applied to music.
The period between one do and the next, that is, an octave, is divided into seven
unequal parts because the frequency of vibrations does not increase uniformly.
In relation to the musical seven-tone scale it is generally considered that there are two semitones between each two notes, with the exception of the intervals Mi-Fa and Si-Do, which have only one semitone and in which one semitone is regarded as being left out – or missing.
In this manner twelve notes are obtained, seven of which are fundamental: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si; and five are intermediate: Do#, Re#, Fa#, Sol# and La#.
As we can observe, the piano has 12 keys, 7 whites for the fundamental notes and 5 black keys for the intermediate notes.
Not coincidentally, in Astrology we speak about 7 visible planets and 5 “invisible” planets.
The keys to the ancient knowledge are hidden in plain sight.
The lack of these semitones raises the necessity for additional shocks.
The right development of these octaves is based on what looks an accident. It
sometimes happens that octaves going parallel to the given octave, intersecting or meeting it, in some way or another fill up its ‘intervals’ and make it possible for the vibrations of the given octave to develop in freedom and without checks. Observation of such rightly developing octaves establishes the fact that if at the necessary moment, that is, at the moment when the given octave passes through an ‘interval’, there enters into it an ‘additional shock’ which corresponds in force and character, it will develop further without hindrance along the original direction, neither losing anything nor changing its nature.
According to the Law of Seven, Gurdjieff speaks about 7 distinctive type of human beings, call them Man number 1, number 2, number 3, number 4, number 5, number 6 and number 7.
In order to evolve, man needs ‘additional shocks’ – pushes from outside.
Although Gurdjieff starts the numbering of his diagram from Re, I think the correct note corresponding to Man number 1 would be Do, Man number 2 would be Re and Man number 3 would Mi. These are the 3 basic human typologies, Gurdjieff says we are born in. To evolve into Man number 4 man needs a push from outside, an ‘additional shock’.
Also, the evolution from Man number 5 into Man number 6 requires and additional-shock.
These ancient laws were duly incorporated into a particular formula or diagram which has been preserved up to our times.
Gurdjieff used an altered depiction of the Enneagram – a nine-pointed star – to showcase his Law of Seven. But actually, Gurdjieff speaks about the Heptagram which is a seven-pointed star with an additional triangle connected in one point to the star and with two points ‘out’ to introduce the two ‘additional-shocks’.
For a more elegant presentation, he has chosen the altered image of the Enneagram and to draw the attention to the additional-shocks, he connected the points of the star that normally would not be connected creating a disruption (2-4, respectively 5-7).
Now, if we observe the Heptagram, we ca notice the circuit of energy following the arrows: Do-Fa-Si-Mi-La-Re-Sol-Do. It’s a ‘circle’, a constant and infinite flow.
This type of energy flow is not possible within the Enneagram because the Enneagram is basically a succession of disconnected 3 triangles. The first triangle is 1-4-7 (blue); the second is 2-5-8 (green); and the third is 3-6-9 (red).
The correct numbering of these triangles is a very interesting topic, but definitively deserves a separate discussion and requires of knowing and understanding the Law of Three.
The Enneagram of Personality.
The origins and history of many of the ideas and theories associated with the Enneagram of Personality are a matter of dispute. The contemporary understanding of the Enneagram derived from the teachings of Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo. Naranjo’s theories were partly influenced by the earlier teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff who bring the Enneagram to the attention of the general audience.
Ichazo, for instance, claims that he identified the nine ways in which a person’s ego becomes fixated within the psyche at an early stage of life. He’s teaching also refers to the “mechanistic thought and behaviour patterns” which are, coincidentally, fundamental parts also of the teachings of Gurdjieff.
The very idea of the Enneagram of Personality is an alternative to the traditional 12 signs zodiac. While some people may consider Astrology an ancient and unsustainable belief, the Enneagram of Personality offers them a more intellectualized and fancy version of categorizing people. It might be very appealing for those who are attracted into Jung and his juggling with abstract notions such as conscious and subconscious, respectively anima and animus – which were transposed to some extent in the form of ‘wing personalities’ in the Enneagram of Personality.
But while Gurdjieff’s teaching relays and overlaps all the other esoteric teachings, building upon the same philosophical and structural foundation, modern alternatives are rarely well argued and demonstrated.
But then again, it seems more an issue of belief, rather than a matter of reason.
And can’t argue with emotions!
Although I’m not very familiar with the ideas of the Enneagram of Personality, I think I understood the basics.
The nine types of personalities are easily associated to the Numerological model proposed by Sepherial (1913) and Cheiro (1926) where to each number a specific planet was attributed.
The nine types of personalities are:
1 – Reformer
2 – Helper
3 – Achiever
4 – Individualist
5 – Investigator
6 – Loyalist
7 – Enthusiast
8 – Challenger
9 – Peacemaker
Although, the numbering differs, the nine planets are:
1 – Sun
2 – Moon
3 – Jupiter
4 – Uranus
5 – Mercury
6 – Venus
7 – Neptune
8 – Saturn
9 – Mars
Nor Sepherial, nor Cheiro explained or argued in any way their choices of association. I tried to make sense and find a reasonable explanation, but I didn’t.
I only suspect that they tried to correlate the Pythagorean meaning and interpretation of the numbers with the significance of the planets in Astrology.
A possible correlation between the personality types and planets would be as follow:
1 – Reformer – Uranus (4)
2 – Helper – Venus (6)
3 – Achiever – Jupiter (3)
4 – Individualist – Saturn (8)
5 – Investigator – Mercury (5)
6 – Loyalist – Neptune (7)
7 – Enthusiast – Mars (9)
8 – Challenger – Sun (1)
9 – Peacemaker – Moon (2)
I only can hope that nobody will go that far to put two extra keys on the piano keyboard only to prove that 9 makes sense.
„Speaking in general it must be understood that the enneagram is a universal
symbol. All knowledge can be included in the enneagram and with the help of the enneagram it can be interpreted. And in this connection only what a man is able to put into the enneagram does he actually know, that is, understand. What he cannot put into the enneagram he does not understand. For the man who is able to make use of it, the enneagram makes books and libraries entirely unnecessary. Everything can be included and read in the enneagram. A man may be quite alone in the desert and he can trace the enneagram in the sand and in it read the eternal laws of the universe.
And every time he can learn something new, something he did not know before.
“If two men who have been in different schools meet, they will draw the
enneagram and with its help they will be able at once to establish which of them
knows more and which, consequently, stands upon which step, that is to say, which is the elder, which is the teacher and which the pupil. The enneagram is the fundamental hieroglyph of a universal language which has as many different meanings as there are levels of men.” (P.D.Ouspensky, In the search of the miraculous, Chapter Fourteen, page 301.)