Helen Palmer Announces Her Retirement

September 23, 2020 | By TNE Core Faculty

helen palmer

“The Narrative Enneagram Board of Directors wants to wish Helen Palmer a happy and healthy retirement. Both individually and collectively, we will miss her presence and spirit, but her contributions will continue in support of furthering the mission of TNE and the work she so loves. As one of the first Enneagram teachers, Helen’s leadership was instrumental in bringing the Enneagram to the world. We are grateful to Helen and her inspiring work from which we all have learned and grown. We will miss you, Helen!”

TNE Board of Directors

Helen Palmer and David Daniels, MD co-founded the Enneagram Professional Training Program (EPTP) in 1988, the first program of its kind. Now, 32 years later, the EPTP is still going strong and has certified more than 1,000 Enneagram teachers and practitioners. Helen and David were an impressive team! They were smart enough, inspiring enough and persistent enough to enroll many of us as supporters and organizers, teachers and trainers who became part of their vision and helped to establish today’s programs and networks in the United States and worldwide.

Helen Palmer video

Beginning in the mid 1970s, Helen began teaching the Enneagram to her students and the public via her Center for the Investigation and Training of Intuition (CITI). These classes established the panel method, now known as the Narrative Tradition, which presents the nine types through direct interviews of people speaking about their own experiences in work, relationships and in religious and spiritual practice. Her goal throughout the next 45 years has remained constant – to integrate sound psychology with spiritual method using the Enneagram map. As a teacher of psychology and a scholar of the world’s religious traditions, Helen was well placed to make this synthesis.

To paraphrase Helen, the spiritual folks need good psychology and the psychologists need to recognize the authenticity of spiritual experience. The obstacles to spiritual growth and psychological health are largely the same – our own type structure with its patterns and defenses.

Since the arrival of her first book, The Enneagram – Understanding Yourself and the Others in Your Life in 1988, Helen’s books have sold more than a million copies in 28 languages. This did not happen without opposition from established schools of inner work, including many of Helen’s contemporaries. Some held the position that the Enneagram was sacred knowledge that should only be available to the few, dedicated seekers in the traditional lineages. Yet Helen was committed to making the transformational power of the Enneagram available to all who wanted and needed it. She is a true egalitarian.

In a watershed moment in April 1991, Helen, backed by her publisher HarperCollins, won the copyright lawsuit brought by the Arica Institute in the U.S. District Court (Southern District of New York). If Helen had not fought and won this lawsuit on all counts, there likely would be no Enneagram books or Enneagram movement today.

An empty space is created when a pioneering leader in the field nears the end of their life work. If they have succeeded in passing on their vision, this space becomes filled with younger leaders who collectively take a role in continuing and developing the work. Not all leaders, however brilliantly they teach, succeed in transferring their knowledge to the next generation. Helen has accomplished this transfer.

As an educational nonprofit, TNE is the only IEA Certified Enneagram School that sustains and promotes Helen and David’s groundbreaking work. We have many memories of being with Helen, in good times and stressful times. We have experienced panels that brought us to tears, deep meditations in churches and community halls, and dancing at night after working all day. It’s been an amazing journey – from the Berkeley YMCA in the 1970s to the first International Enneagram conference at Stanford University in 1994, from Europe to China to Australia to South Africa and back.

We speak for ourselves, and for many other Enneagram students, teachers and practitioners about the profound impact of Helen’s work and how it has changed our lives. Thank you, Helen, for your courage, persistence and brilliance in the 45 years you have been teaching the Enneagram. We will carry you in our hearts and will carry the work forward. We wish you and Chris a well-deserved retirement.

TNE Core Faculty
Peter O’Hanrahan, Terry Saracino, Renée Rosario and Christopher T. Copeland

TNE Adjunct Faculty
Marion Gilbert

TNE Staff
Ed Self, Evangeline Welch, Jo Anne Smith, Pat O’Hanrahan, Sarah Duet, Satoya Foster and Nyree Hubbell

TNE Board of Directors
Joyce Plaza, Sheryl Cohen, Mike Alexander, Evan Barbee, Felicia Lee, Kirsty Spence, Mónica Tinoco and Brian Vent



Personal reflection Professional Training The Narrative Tradition TNE


Julie Fasciana says

The Enneagram: Understanding Yourself and the Others in Your Life was life-changing for me. I re-read it at least once a year – after reading from it daily for at least five years when I first started my Enneagram journey in 1999 with Anne Muree as a guide. I was lucky enough to have my copy of the book signed by you when you came to St. Paul for a workshop. My cats, your book, and a few other treasured artifacts are the things I would grab if my home was ever on fire. Thank you for sharing your brilliance with the world and enjoy your retirement!

Meredith Gardner says

Hello Helen,

Thanks to you, you helped me see and experience how the anger I was holding as a Type 8 …just wasn’t going to be useful, healthy, etc. You and your insights helped me be accepted and loved by others – rather than
ostracism and rejection. I hold you forever in my heart. With honor, love and respect from
Meredith Gardner in New York City.

Theresa Abbott Gale says


Your teachings and presence in my life have been the foundational cornerstone to my awakening and returning to my essence as well as my movement from that precious space into the world. I will forever be grateful for that but most importantly, I will carry you in my heart as I carry on your work into the world. I will always hope that I make you proud!

With love and abundant gratitude,

Jerome Freedman says

Dear Helen:

I want to thank you very much for all your teachings on the enneagram and awareness practices. In my daily meditation practice of Touching the Earth, I take refuge in the three jewels, my family, myland ancestors and my teachers, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, Swami Rama, Swami Veda Bharati, Bhwagwan Shri Rajaneesh, Father Eli, Gabrielle Roth, Anna Halprin and YOU. I learned so much about myself during and after the certification program and lately with the Enneagram Prison Project. I am leading a small group like the one I was in with Dale Knudson after we completed the training together.

In 2008, I was ordained in the Order of Interbeing in the Plum Village tradition and have been leading the Mindfulness In Healing sangha since 2009. I am now enrolled in the Sounds True Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach.

I would love to connect with you again for a sushi lunch at Kirala when possible!

Love and Blessings,


Steve Liggett says


Thanks for everything

Big hug,

Peggy Yakimov says

Helen, I will always bless the day I decided to enroll in the Spiritual Awareness workshop you led with Terry in the summer of 2017. Your very kind but direct manner was perfect for me to develop trust immediately, and your hilarious story telling tickled my funny bone continually. You gently led me on a journey of discovery where ultimately I confronted my antipathy towards and fear of the Catholic church, and the deep pain associated with my childhood, and connected directly with my spiritual self and the universe of selves. Words fail me, but it was a profound experience which changed my life. Having myself discovered the joys of retirement, I am very happy for you although it is a personal loss for all of us who have come to know you. Thank-you for sharing your soul with so many and for passing on your incredible legacy to amazing people like Terry. Be well and please let us hear from you from time to time. With huge love and endless hugs. Peggy

Veleka Gray says

Like most orphans, I had a hard entry into this world without a supportive loving family. But I was sustained first by my religion with Jesus Christ as my mentor, then by John Pentland at the Foundation in New York, and then by Helen Palmer’s teachings in Berkeley. I am sure I would not have survived or thrived without these three lines of spiritual training. And in 1984 when I had a crisis that was to break me out of a shell and set me free, it was Helen I phoned who regrounded me in reality. Thank you, dear Helen, for all you have done for all of us. God bless and keep you, and may you enjoy your retirement and find joy and love in every day. ♥

Kathy Heuser says

Helen, you likely do not remember me, but we met early 2000’s when I went through the professional training in CA. I also attending some events with you at the center in OH mid-2000s. In addition to your presence and transmitted wisdom in the group settings, you and I had some brief, life-changing one-to-one interactions. For example, you once approached me shortly after dawn in one of the gardens in the Menlo Park space, shared an intuition you had about my life, and IT FUNDAMENTALLY OPENED MY EXPERIENCE to both myself and to the world. This conversation probably lasted no more than just a few minutes, then you simply, gently and silently walked away. Thank you, in so many ways. With eternal gratitude, Kathy Heuser

Bob Aucone says

Dear Helen:

Thank you so much for your tremendous contributions to the millions of people worldwide who are living more informed and enlightened lives because of your teachings. We have benefited from thIs self knowledge which not only enhances our own lives but also those around us.

Enjoy your retirement Helen knowing your legacy will endure on this planet for centuries to come.

All the best,

Bob Aucone

Judith O'Connor says

Dear Helen,

It is with great gratitude that I am glad to be able to share a few words with you. When I read that you are finally moving away from active participation in the school that you and David created, I felt happiness, not because you are departing, but because I felt, and still do feel, greatly blessed for having crossed your path spiritually. I was one of the many who attended and graduated from your program around 2004. It’s been so long, the specific year does elude me.

What I do know is that the Enneagram has and will always be held close to my heart. I recall the first time I read your words and cried because I felt you knew me more than I ever did. When I attended the institute,
my loves and appreciation deepened. Your presence, and the training itself resonated deeply within my Soul. The Enneagram, especially the oral tradition, remains a cornerstone of my evolution.

I wish you always the best that life has to offer. I pray that your retirement will be filled with peace and contentment , joy and adventure knowing that you have deeply opened many, many hearts and souls — for I am but one of the many who have been blessed by knowing you and experiencing your work.

With Love and Appreciation — Always,

Judith O’Connor

Jaye Andres says

Thank you, Helen, for bringing this work forward – especially your Spiritual Freedom Series in AZ. The AEA is forever grateful for your support in the founding days of our organization. May your retirement be filled with peace, joy and lots of love.

Marcia Morehead says

Thank you, Helen! and congratulations on an amazlingly fruitful career.
You fought for having the Enneagram available to all and I appreciate your many contributions.

Marcia Morehead

Susan Galvin says

As a Psychology major with a MDiv in Pastoral Counseling, your integration of spirituality and psychology through the Enneagram speaks to my soul. In the many classes I’ve attended on this subject, nothing has touched me as deeply as studying with you at Menlo Park last summer. Helen, your eagerness to connect was life giving. May you be blessed.

Jane Z Howard says

Dear Helen,

Thank you for all your work over so many decades to bring the enneagram to a wider audience. I don’t remember how I first came to know about the enneagram (probably in the ether here in Marin County in the 80’s) but somehow I ended up with your first book and then I saw you speak at the conference at Stanford in 1994. (I was there for a pre-day conference only as I couldn’t afford the whole thing.) Now some 20+ years later I teach short workshops on the enneagram and use it in my executive coaching practice. Your work in the field has been monumental and you will be missed.

Jane Howard

Kate Keller says

Dear Helen. Many thanks for sharing your learnings and insights over the years. From my initial contact with David in NC the journey with all of you has been so enriching. All the best to you in your retirement years.

Dale Rhodes, Enneagram Portland says

Helen, you’ve been a brave and masterful teacher who has helped keep this content grounded, accessible and practical without losing its connection to the sacred. More importantly, you have been a * community organizer * for people to broaden and deepen without ennea- popes, pop-stars, heirs or restrictive dogma. Your preferred teaching methods show your trust in a community of people trying to be awake, and it all came through well. Brava to you, a risk-taking trooper! I consider it lucky fortune and privilege that you have been one of my best teachers, a model to follow, and a friend during such rich chapters in our lives. Wishing you, Chris and the Narrative Tradition Community the best.

Marilyn Burns says

Thank you for all that you have given over the years. I deeply appreciate the impact you had on my life.

André de Vere says

Deepening Spiritual Awareness was the first event I attended in Menlo Park in August 2015.
I had a number of experiences during these days. Yet first of all I enjoyed being challenged as well as deeply moved alike by your spiritual and thoughtful guidance.
Unforgotten to me when ober lunch I talked about F. Richard Rohr’s older concept of “root sins” as a rather judgemental language for the vices of the 9 types. Your simple response: “Root sins? I have them all”
Keep that sense of humour in your quieter days ahead.

Laurelyn Borst says

Thank you for the inspiration, guidance, and introspection. I’d be dead without it.

I’m grateful for all your writing and teaching. Many of your comments are permanently inscribed on my brain. One workshop dyad experience has positively altered my life in many good ways. I won’t forget.

With great appreciation and gratitude,
Enjoy your retirement journey,

Laurelyn Borst

Pamela Richmond says

Best wishes Helen, and a big thank you. I think it’s fair to say that you changed my life when you took our class to a class that Claudio was giving.

Bill Hughes says

Dear Helen. I’m experiencing mixed feelings! 1) The important one first: Profound gratitude for all the wisdom and insights you’ve given me and so many others in your books and through your workshops (for me mostly in Cincinnati). All of that continues to give me the ability to do the work I need to do to maintain clarity, compassion, openness, and growth in my life. I admire your relentless (!) ability to help panelists tease out new understandings of ourselves and others, always done with humor and compassion.
2) I know you will be missed at the “home office” and also at gatherings that you can now choose not to attend in retirement.
3) I welcome you to this side: retirement. May it be joyous, satisfying, and full of new discoveries and the kind of loving relationships that you have helped so many find. Bill Hughes, Terre Haute, IN

Anne Gillis says

I attended a weekend workshop in Toronto in March of 2013 with Helen and Terry. Helen invited the participants to close their eyes while she spoke (for about an hour). It was one of the most spiritual times that I have had. With much gratitude for Helen’s (and David’s) ‘work’, along with all others who continue this work.

Tim Smith says

Thank you, Helen, for all you have given to so many. Your work has helped me and hundreds through me to better understand themselves in ways that resonate through life’s passages. May your retirement be as fruitful and meaningful for you as you have been for so many of us.

Susanne Palombo says

Meeting you and having the honor of learning from you has been one of the highlights of my life. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us all. Wishing you a wonderful retirement! I am so grateful for you.

Kevin G. Thew Forrester says

I am forever grateful for your wisdom and guidance. I experienced you as one of the most important teachers of my soul, and your presence remains woven into my heart as I continue my journey. May you thrive in new ways in your retirement. gratefully, kevin

Bettylynn Stoops says

Helen, your first book was the inspiration to learn more about the Enneagram, written by a professional and a woman with wisdom and power. I will never forget the training and tutelage I had from you as a member of the audience, sitting on panels and personal discussions we have had at Menlo Park!

You are the main reason I am a teacher of this wonderful tool as a focal point of engagement and influence with executives and influencers.

Thank you for your wonderful work, especially with we who lead with type 8 and as you say, smell the BS a mile away. Your capacity to speak and challenge wisdom that gets to the heart of the matter is invaluable.

Patricia Berry says

I wish you happy and fulfilling years moving forward. Your first book became the guide for my understanding of myself and others. Your presentation of the Enneagram is so humane and all encompassing and accessible.
My gratitude for your gift to all of us,
Patricia Berry

David Fletcher says

I remember being paired with Helen in an exercise during the training I did at Menlo park several years ago. I tried to suppress the awe and inadequacy that were competing for my physical and spiritual presence. We were asking a repeated question with a flat affect helping the partner “go deeper.” Yeah, like I was going to help Helen Palmer “go deeper.” But Helen was as committed to the process as a senior practitioner as I was as a relative neophyte. One of my best Enneagram memories.

Sherri Gerard says

Helen, going to your intensive workshop and meeting you was one of the most enjoyable and thought provoking events of my life. Now, 6 years later I have discovered I am an empath. Being a 6 and remembering things you shared about yourself gives me courage to lean into this. I am so grateful for all of your hard work and sharing for all these years. All the best to you and may you enjoy many more fun years!


Rajesh Ramesh says

Dear Helen,
All that I can say is ‘Thank you so much’. Your presence and work has made such deep impact in my life, I cant sufficiently describe in words. Hearty wishes and good luck. Love.

Shannon McLaughlin says

I appreciate the trainings I took from you and David. Your guidance then and your books still on my shelf continue to influence my own work with others. Enjoy a well deserved retirement.

Pam Michaelis says

Dear Helen,
I bow with gratitude for the clarity of your teaching voice and the resonant joy of knowing, which enrichens my life and so many of my students. Thank you for all those times spent with you in Berlin, Paris, Walderberg, Brussels, Assisi, Bristol and more. What an incredible life journey, what memories, and above all, thank you for telling me to open my own school -your work carries on. I love you Helen.

Samar Al Gamal says


I met you first years ago through your book and then l was blessed by meeting you last year in Menlo Park and being exposed directly to your teaching and wisdom. I still remember your poke of my third eye, can hear your voice in the long hour teaching/meditation. Your attention to every word that was said by the participants during the panels filled me with awe!
It was such a privilege having even more time en tête à tête to listen from you about your journey the whole way from the activism against the war in Vietnam till the court affair with Ichazo, till Allahu Hay..Allahu Haqq! The whole experience had a great impact on me. l am deeply grateful to the contribution that brought to this field, grateful to have received such a gift and grateful to all those who made it possible for me to be there for 10 days in Menlo Park. I wish you a wonderful retirement

Warmly from Cairo
Samar Al Gamal

Jenny Ritchie says

Dear Helen,
It’s with a joyful heart that I’m sending a message of ‘go well’ to you on your retirement. Words will never express the sincere gratitude to you and the narrative enneagram for all the wisdom you have shared and generosity of spirit you have instilled in us all. I will miss seeing you here in Australia and abroad, but I will carry you always on my journey. Enjoy your retirement, with Love, Jenny

Martin Hawkes says


Thanks for the gift of the Enneagram which I first experienced at Milltown, Dublin during your annual visits in the 1990’s. We are all indebted to your courage in bringing the teachings to public attention against considerable odds. The EPTP has been a milestone in my own journey to greater awareness, for which I will be eternally grateful to you and David.

May your retirement be as happy as your work has been transformative. Enjoy.



Dear Helen,

Thank you for being such an innovative teacher of the Enneagram. I initially learned the Enneagram from you in 1983 at JFKU, when you and Regina ran a class that was mandatory – I believed myself to either be a five or a two, or perhaps a nine – all these decades later I realise that I had not recognised the extent to which I was an adult survivor of extreme childhood emotional abuse and extreme childhood emotional neglect (I could never fully accept that while my mother was alive). You typed me as Enneatype 9, and it fitted well for twenty eight years (an entire Saturn return), until my mother died!!! I experienced a tremendous shift, a relief when she died, despite my life suddenly turning upside down to care for my Dad. I attended a retreat run by Claudio Naranjo and he really didn’t believe I was a nine. So, I sat in with a few other types, and discovered that my belief that I was a nine that merged with seven culture (humanistic and transpersonal psychology) was not true – I actually am an Enneatype seven!!!! Since my entire identity was as Enneatype nine, I had a minor breakdown – feeling that I was a fraud for having taught something as a type nine, and of course self-deception can be part of the pathology of a seven. I had very little to do with people involved in the Enneagram at that time – I felt like a fraud, I experienced tremendous shame, and perhaps more importantly I understood why we were told “the Enneagram is solely for healthy neirotics, not for those I who are more damaged”. I don’t actually agree with that now – having had decades more therapy. However, I do see how the abuse led me to be more compliant in seeking the acceptance of others in life. It has been quite a journey, and you have been part of this journey. I am sorry to see you retire, I love the way you value all forms of intuition in ways that, for example my Psychosynthesis trainers have not revered in the same way. I am no longer a counsellor/psychotherapist, and am currently retraining as a Psychosynthesis Life Coach – I know I will bring the Enneagram into my work when I see clients again. In the meantime, thank you again, for all your innovative work, for being a fabulous role model of how to stand your ground, in a competitive world, and retaining the essence of spirituality and transformation in your teachings. I hope you have a fabulous retirement. Namaste

Pam Parker says

Dearest Helen,
You truly changed my life in so many profound ways. I feel so blessed to have done so many training and seminars with you. I will be forever grateful. Some days I still think I hear your voice in my head. My favorite inspiration was when you suggested that I wake up each day and try to be a 7 which for a 1 is amazing advice. It has brought fun and optimism to my life quieting the inner critic. Big Hug Pam

Sergio M. Alba Posse says

De algo estoy seguro Helen, que su vida tiene sentido. Ayudar seguramente a descubirnos, la motivó todos estos años dedicados a sostener este método de la Tradición Narrativa. Jubilarse no es retirarse, quizá sea un nuevo estado, más profundo para seguir ayudando a encontrarnos y abrazarnos.

Robert Hodge says

Dear Helen,
I treasure my Teaching Certificate signed by you and David in August 1994. Your support led me on a path that has included teaching the Enneagram and teaching mindfulness meditation in the Theravada tradition. I still recommend your book as the classic text in the Enneagram. Your commitment and contributions ae stellar. I wish you loving-kindness and joy!

Bob Hodge

Mauro Vedovello says

Dear Helen,

Thank you so much for these years together and for what you shared with us.
I’m feeling blessed in calling you “my teacher” and equally to have the opportunity to train people in Italy thanks to the method you and David developed.
I wish you the best for the times ahead as I hope I will have the chance to meet you again.
With my personal love for the special person you are.

Martin Quigley says

Helen, it was a privilege to have studied under your tutelage whether in Dublin, Menlo Park or Zeist. You will continue to be an inspiration for me. Wishing you a long, healthy and happy retirement.
Martin Q

Jill Karen Foulger says

Dear Helen
I am so blessed to have done my Enneagram training under you and David. I always remember the first training I did with you when I came over to America. You were so generous with the time you gave me, I was so far from home, and the wise and insightful words you spoke to my heart are still guiding me today. Thank you.
Many warm wishes for your retirement.

Donna Chase says

Dear Helen,
There really are no words to adequately express my gratitude for the influence of your presence and teachings throughout the past 2+ decades of my life. You are a blessing. Thank you. With love and gratitude, Donna

Eric Wheeler says


You and David are my beloved teachers. Then, now and forever. The enneagram is with me every day. Huge gratitude to you.

Eric Wheeler, Portland, Oregon

Brigitte Riom-Tendron says

Dear Helen,
I would like to express my gratitude to you for who you are, for your teaching, meditations, books and generosity. I’ll never forget the moments I spent in Menlo Park…
I’m also on the way of retirement, but I know it will never be a retirement from Enneagram!
I wish you the best for the future as you like it will be.
Warm regards,

Jérôme Virouleau says

Dear Helen,
first of all I wish you a wonderful, joyful, peaceful and healthy retirement. I thank you for everything you have given us, for your teaching so precise, clear and filled with compassion. I have always appreciated our meetings, your so clear and deep meditations. These meditations are powerful and help us a lot during the EPTP. And thank you for the courage you had in making the enneagram known to everyone. very warmly. with Love and gratitude. Jérôme – Nantes

Lynda Roberts says

Congratulations, Helen! Thank you for your incredible contributions to the Enneagram field and spiritual awakening. Your work will live on through so very many people you have influenced. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to know and experience you and your work through tie IEA. Wishing you the very best in your retirement!

Love and blessings,

Marlene DeNardo says

Thanks you, Helen, for the years of inspiration you and your teachings have been for me since the 1980s when first I met with you in a private session and attended many of your Enneagram teaching panels and classes. Your writings, wisdom and guidance continue to inform my life and spirituality.
In this new chapter of your life my wish is a wish best said by Rumi : “May blessings drop their blossoms all around you.”
Marlene DeNardo

Richard Page says

Unforgettable! You may recall when I suggested that you set up an escrow fund for Metatron…

Ronda Pretzlaff Diegel says

Dear Helen,
Congratulations on your retirement! You are among my most beloved and respected teachers (and for this school-aholic who experienced many teachers that’s a highly esteemed position in my heart). Your teaching and invitation to me to step into “right action” changed my life. Thank you for teaching the Enneagram with such wisdom and compassion. Thank you for seeing me. I send wishes for much joy, love, and wonder as you move into all the what’s-nexts.
With much love and gratitude, Ronda

Stephanie Davis says

Thank You Helen! You had such an impact on me. Your amazing teaching and deep meditations, the wonderful conversations we had at Vallombrosa and at conferences, and especially the “crazy” things you would say to me once in a while to jolt me out of my passion and fixation. I consider you one of my greatest mentors and have so much gratitude for your presence and guidance. Your wisdom and dedication to the growth of the Enneagram is sure to transform many more lives in years to come. May you have a wonderful and joyous retirement! Much Love, Stephanie Davis

Ridard Chantal says

One of the best things I do in my life is to discover human being with Enneagram.
A great Thanks to Helen Palmer.

Carol Weiss says

I first encountered you in the mid 90s in Chicago. Over the years I have found the psychology and spirituality of the Enneagram to be a source of profound strength, support and understanding. Many, many thanks.

Marilyn Wolf says

Hi Helen,
I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from you in person on a few occasions. (in NC and Ohio). Your teachings deepened my understanding of and access to the what I consider to be the true wisdom of the Enneagram. It changed not only how I use the Enneagram in my own life but how I teach and guide others to do the same. What you and David did in the early days to bring this body of information to the public was truly inspired by the powers of the Universe. You were called, you said “yes,” and I am grateful to have been your student, both in person and in spirit. Speaking of spirit, yours will live on as you enjoy your retirement and find new vistas to explore. Blessings on you always.

Joan Tonyan and Mary Hudak says

Dear Helen,
Welcome to the golden age of Wisdom and Grace.
Sending you love with memories of the early days at the Berkeley Y,
Joan and Mary

Gerry Fathauer says

Thank you, Helen, for your inspirational teaching of the Enneagram, your meditations, your Presence. I feel blessed to have taken the EPTP from you and to have had so many additional opportunities over two decades to learn from your insights and wisdom. Thank you, too, for small but significant kindnesses you showed me over the years. I shall miss you. With love and gratitude, Gerry

Lynette Sheppard says

Dearest Helen, For the last 30 + years, the Enneagram has guided my personal and professional life every single day. My deepest gratitude to you and the teaching for enriching my life (and Dewitt’s) far beyond what I dreamed possible. Enjoy your retirement -much love, Lynette Sheppard (and Dewitt Jones) me ke aloha pumehana – with warmest affection – from Hawaii.

Joni Harris Minault says

Congratulations Helen! I can tell you without a doubt (even for a six!) that having you and David for my first enneagram teachers 20 years ago set me on a trajectory for which I am grateful beyond words. Many thanks and many blessings to you. Joni

Sammylane Wirth says

You & David in your teachings of the Enneagram have forever changed my perspective on my life & the lives of students of mine. I have been asked to teach another class at my church & agreed, after I moved & got settled in my new space. That was a year ago–& we all know about the impact that COvid 19 has had. Hope to teach the class in person when our church doors are open once again.
But more importantly, your life’s work has touched my life in ways that no other has. I can only say “Thank you” for your years of work, your books, your teaching, & the sweetness & gentleness in which your life has touched mine. I wish you many years of healthy & happy retirement.

carole pertofsky says

Dear Helen,
Thank you so much for your amazing contributions to so many, whose lives are more enriched and more enlightened because of your teachings over these many years. May you discover new beginnings in the spaciousness of mysterious and wonderful retirement years.
Carole Pertofsky

Robin L Cameron says

Dear Helen,
As a one of my major core teachers in the enneagram, your teaching from Day 1 has been foundational to my understanding and deep appreciation of the enneagram of personality. It has become core to who I am. Your contribution to this international community of practice cannot be overstated. You will long serve as an icon of its wisdom. I am honored to have been one of your students. With love and blessing, and best wishes for a rich and joyous retirement.

Maisie Mc Guinness, Ireland. says

Dearest Helen,
What a life you have lived! Thank you for bringing the Enneagram to so many people. A very special calling for a very special person and you answered that call. As I read the words of one of the oldest Celtic prayers “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” this is how I feel you have lived your life.
“I arise today
Through the strength of heaven,
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendour of fire,
Speed of lightening,
Swiftness of wind,
Dept of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.”
I feel so privileged to know you, to have been your student in America and later at seminars in Brussels and London. Enjoy every moment of your well deserved retirement. Sincerely, from my heart, Maisie x x x Ireland.

Pat O’Hanrahan says

Most happy for Helen retiring in good shape to enjoy life at home with sweetheart Chris, her family, and reading & writing at her hearts desire… I met Helen in 1976, when as a young seeker, I fortuitously landed in her Intuition class at her home in Berkeley… she then turned our Holistic bodywork group onto the 1st public Enneagram presentation by Naranjo in Berkeley, & we went on to become students of Kathleen Speeth in both 4th Way work & the Enneagram, then started hosting the 1st Enneagram Panel classes at our Berkeley center, as Helen was also teaching at the YMCA… She’s been a guiding support to us, and was at our wedding 35 years ago at Healing Ourselves center! I got to spend mega time together with Helen in the last 15 years – after re-engaging and becoming Certified in the EPTP …following the breath in and down, through her brilliant guided meditations, discovering & receiving “the life force” in our biannual pilgrimages to Vallombrosa Retreat Center in Menlo Park… along with producing enneagram panel series with Helen, Peter, & Sharon for 5 years at the 1st Congregational church near Berkeley campus, then for the next 5 years trekking into SF to CIIS grad school to produce Enneagram panel series twice a year to the next generation of students. We’re all deeply thankful for the understanding she brought to the Enneagram and our intuitive knowing – while keeping the Enneagram Relevant through the years and her ability to keep the Enneagram in the public domain with her pioneering teaching & books, and courageously fighting the lawsuit. Cheers to Helen! Onward⛲️

George Gordon says

Dear Helen, Abundant Blessings to you as you follow this evolving transition. I cannot imagine that it will be a traditional retirement, but whatever form it takes, may it be filled with an abundance of enriching experiences. I join all of the others in expressing sincere gratitude to you for your contributions to my spiritual growth. Thank you for your persistent emphasis and explanation of both the Inner Observer and “Going in and down.” These two aspects of spiritual transformation as you have articulated them have been catalysts that have helped unlock rich reservoirs of blessing and growth for me, and I trust many others also. Thank you for your dedication to the oral transmission of these teachings. The written word struggles to match the personal passage of the message from one person to another. You will be perpetually fondly held in my prayers. Again, richest blessings, George

Hemla Makan-Dullabh says

Dear Helen,
I want to say thank you for your generosity and for your amazing contributions that have enriched us. I am grateful that I got to experience your meditations and your teachings at Vallombrosa. I wish you a happy retirement, may your time from here onwards be filled with wonder and adventure.
With deep gratitude, Hemla Makan-Dullabh.

Andrea Purcell says

Dearest Helen
Thank you for “giving me a place to hang”, for knowing that I needed to be met where I am, for your piercing insights. This “lace curtain eight” holds you in her heart with deep gratitude, love and appreciation. Wishing you a blessed and safe retirement.

Uranio Paes says

Dear Helen, Thank you for the teaching that respected and honored the depth and the spiritual dimension of the Enneagram; for the personal advising moments outside the classroom; and for the early theory development and fights that made things easier for is who came later. We all know you won’t stop thinking of and channelling Enneagram content, but may you have more fun time with Chris!

Jane Tight says

Wonderful Helen….I’ll never forget walking into Vallambrosa thinking I was learning about the nine types and after hours of your guided meditation, knew I’d dropped into a much more profound world awareness. You have changed my professional, personal, relational, and spiritual life by your courage to bring this work forward for many. I am grateful. I wish you well on your continuing journey. In gratitude and love, Jane

Cheryl McMillan says


You and the Enneagram changed my life! I’m so grateful to have extra time with you at Bergamo. Enjoy your well deserved retirement. I will miss you.

Natalia Brajak says

What a gift you have been to me. I feel grateful to have been in your presence an a few occasions over the years. Your devotion and commitment to bringing this work forward has touch me deeply and will continue through to the people I work with. Many blessings to you and this next phase of life. I hear your voice inside of me almost like my mother’s voice – it comes with wisdom, calm and passion in just the right moment. With love and gratitude, Natalia

Michael Huber says

Best wishes on your retirement, Helen. I was always delighted to sit in on your seminars and workshops in Chicago. I’m so delighted we were able to have a couple of brief chats about Eastern Orthodox spirituality and your interest in that. Again, best wishes for your future.

Anke Thiele says

Dear Helen,

Thank you so much for your tremendous contributions to the world! I feel so grateful to have been able to study with you and experience your gifts.

I wish you all the best! Hoping we see each other again, maybe run into each other in Berkeley one day ☺

With love and gratitude – Anke

Marcia and Steve Ceccato says

Dear Helen, We are so grateful for all that you have done to bring the gift of the Enneagram to the world. Our lives have been deeply enriched by you and your work. Thank you for your dedication and love in sharing your life’s work.

Linda Pino says

Helen looks and sees with great care and sincerity – she really ‘saw’ me, all the years ago. Beyond type – just me. And so, helped me see myself. And every time I see her, I feel that understanding and kinship between us. She is very special to me, and that is for always.

Veronica Whitty says

Dear Helen,
Congratulations on your work for the Enneagram community and being so brave in the early days during the legal difficulties.
You have been an inspiring teacher and worked tirelessly to teach and spread the work of the Enneagram. So many of us have benefitted from this knowledge.
Enjoy your retirement.
Veronica Whitty

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