Enneagram Sp

The Magician - The Self-Preservation Instinct

The Self-Preservation instinct is one of the twelve core enneagram types, and one of the three instinctual tendencies.


Self-preservation is a drive that gets us preoccupied with our safety, our needs, and our survival. This includes meeting our needs, maintaining comfort, ensuring that our needs and future is set. This also includes avoiding things that will hurt or damage us. People who pursue self-preservation have often come out of environments that felt unsafe and threatening. Magicians struggle with feelings of shame for what they have done to keep themselves safe and to maintain their needs. 

People who have met the needs of self-preservation in a stable way are often very secure individuals with a lot of latent inner capacities and a strong inner power. Because of their need for control, and for accounting for and preventing negative outcomes, they can often resemble Magicians. Powerful, magnificent, and of endless inner reserves and capacity for greatness. 

Core motivation

To preserve, to protect, to uphold a natural order.


Self-preservation types are one of the three instinctual types, known to lead by instinct, seeking to feel safe, secure, and at peace.

Primary fear

To be controlled, used, to bring disorder and chaos.

Big 5

High outgoingness, high openess to experience, low conscientiousness, high agreeableness. Neuroticism varies depending on health.


Have a high need for peace and work hard to ensure their needs are met. Fearful of losing this peace, and ashamed of what they have done in the past to survive.


The Ruler (8) who’s thirst for power and authority threatens the order the Magician (Sp) seeks to protect.


Sp/Sx: When Sps work to preserve or to keep a loved one safe and alive, they take on qualities of the sexual instinct.

Sp/5: When Sps work to gain skills and abilities that will improve their chances of survival, they take on qualities of the 5.

Big 5 Profile 

Enneagram Sp

Self-preserving Enneagram types tend to score as outgoing, open-minded, and agreeable types. They are typically among the least conscientious of all types. In practice, they always tend to have a project they are working on, and they are often busy, diverse, open-minded and broad.

Their agreeable nature makes them prone to feeling manipulated and controlled by others. Their low conscientiousness makes them somewhat careless in how they work with others and how they execute decisions. They are known to fear their own power and ability and for making decisions that are unethical, if these decisions can keep them safe and can keep them from harm.

The Magician aspires towards gaining awareness of and channeling the forces around them in a way that brings harmony and maintains peace in the world. The goal is to reject ambition for the sake of peace, and to gain a sense of trust in one’s instincts and higher intuitive awareness, while rejecting one’s personal urges and desires.

Overall description

A magician may be concerned by rejecting power and wealth in return for higher understanding and awareness. The magician will also strive to reject their personal instincts and desires, their own sense of what they want, in return for a greater sense of harmony and peace.

There can be shame and fear in this, as the magicians can feel guilty for selfish impulses. Magician types may be afraid of becoming corrupted if they are given power, and therefore reject it out of fear. At other times, magicians may be accused of being passive in times of injustice, ignoring wrongs and issues in the world or waiting too long to act.

Their avoidance to intervene can stem from shame over past mistakes, failures when they asserted their own idea of what was right and ended up causing harm to others as a result. This distrust towards the self and the trust towards some intuitive universal force or a natural flow is both a strength and a blindspot of the type. The magicians do not allow themselves to be a part of the normal world but constantly keep themselves away from it. They maintain balance but do not insert themselves into and let themselves become absorbed by the greater balance. This can keep the type from relationships, normal attachments, and a normal life.

MBTI & The Magician

Magicians come in all forms and become a flavour of your cognitive functions, directing them and guiding how you execute your mind and your inner capabilities. Magicians are noteable for having a strong first, second, and third letter, but a weak fourth letter. 

They may have immense powers and abilities but struggle to move forward and can cling to safety at times, avoiding goals or necessary change. Struggle with embracing their own influence and can at times feel ashamed of their gifts. Fearful of using their cognitive functions in the wrong way, causing unanticipated harm.

Emotional stability

Emotionally stable and secure Magicians tend to be known to bring peace and prosperity around them. Able to keep themselves and the people around them safe from harm. Understand that change is sometimes necessary and that risks are necessary at times, but can pull from seemingly infinite resources within to solve problems and to keep themselves and people around them from harm’s way during these times.

Neurotic Magicians are sometimes accused of selfishness and putting other people in harms way in order to protect themselves. They can also be known to lie, manipulate, and cheat the rules because they don’t feel safe in a particular environment. They can also prevent necessary progress out of a fear of change and of chaos. They may be unwilling to do what is necessary out of fear or general cowardice.