The Preferential Shapes Test
Symbols and Their MeaningsThe Preferential (Universal) Shapes Test provides a window on individual experiences and needs, as well as clues to the direction of future growth. It is not intended as an index of character flaws. The processes revealed by the shape preferences are a part of everyone's experience. The potentials symbolized by each shape are present in everyone, although their expression in any individual is always unique. The experts who have explored and designed the following symbol system have determined that there are five universal shapes through which humans order (make sense of) the surrounding world. Each of these five shapes has a specific use, value, or meaning. When these shapes are placed in the order of a person's preferences certain information can be read to determine aspects of psychological importance.
Interpreting the Test Results - Part One
The Meaning of the PositionsThe first step of the test interpretation is to analyze the order of preference you selected for the shapes. As you numbered the shapes according to your preference, you created a current map of your own inner landscape, giving an overview of your aspirations, resources, needs, and fears. The descriptions that follow explain the meaning of each position in relation to the shape you placed within it.
Position 1: Where You Think You Are
The shape placed here, in this most preferred position, signals the process that now has your attention; it describes the part of yourself of which you are most aware and with which you are most comfortable at this time. The shape in Position 1 indicates your idea of the future or, perhaps, your current source of inspiration. But - and this is critical for proper interpretation of the test results - it is not the most accurate indicator of where you actually are right now. It only shows you where you think you are or where you would like to be. You may find that you often notice this shape in your environment, that you are strongly attracted to it, and that you admire the quality of the process it represents.
Position 2: Your Strengths
The shape you have chosen as your second preference exhibits an inherent strength predominant in you at this time, whether you know it or not. You demonstrate this strength to other people without effort. The shape in this position indicates areas of your nature that are currently fluid, strong, and resourceful. This shape reveals the innate talents you are using to assist the growth occurring in Position 3. Many people, who have taken this test, report that recent positive feedback and compliments they have received from others correspond to the qualities of the shape found in Position 2. Consider the recent comments that have come your way from friends, family, and colleagues. Do they align with the qualities attributed to the shape you have selected for this position?
Position 3: Where You Are
Though this shape is third in your order of preference, it is the most significant: the shape you put in this position shows your true current growth process. This shape stands for the work that is really going on, right now, at the core of your being. Very often this process is unconscious or overlooked, yet you must be aware of it in order to fully manifest the potential it represents. As with the choice-makers in fairy tales, your third or middle selection is significant. It is most often considered the right answer. It indicates where your own gifts can be used correctly now. The shape in this position can be a source of unlimited creativity and healing when you support the process it signifies. Now that you have discovered this shape in this meaningful position, you will be able to consciously acknowledge its visual presence and significance in your life. You may be surprised to find this shape all around you, where you have not noticed it before.
Position 4: Your Motivation
Position 4 points to past challenges, tests, and circumstances that have motivated your current process of change. The fourth position of preference and the shape within it discloses the motivation that triggered your move into the core work to be done that is symbolized by the shape in Position 3. This shape furnishes clarifying information about the underlying incentive that has provoked you to do things differently now. Many people have reported that the shape found in this position also describes situations they have resolved or moved beyond. You may notice this shape only occasionally: it can serve as a reminder of where you have been and to direct your attention to the shape and process in Position 3.
Position 5: Old, Unfinished Business
This shape, your least preferred, identifies a process you have outgrown or one that you dislike, still resist, or are judging. It indicates old, perhaps unfinished business. This fifth position is associated with unresolved issues you now wish to put aside. The shape placed here carries a process that you will reclaim and integrate at a later date. It is not work to which you should attend in the present; instead, it shows areas of boredom, patterns of denial, or disowned parts within yourself. When you see this shape in the world around you, you may feel disinterested, or even irritated. You seldom want to be reminded of the process it represents.
Interpreting the Test Results - Part Two
The Meanings of the Five ShapesThe second step of the test interpretation hinges on the meaning of the processes of change and growth associated with each shape. The meanings attributed to the shapes describe universal aspirations, needs, and fears; each shape symbolizes a specific inner and outer experience relevant to humankind. The following sections explain the universal meaning attributed to each shape.
The Circle: Wholeness
In every culture the circle symbolizes wholeness and the experience of unity. When people are engaged in the search for wholeness they aspire to independence and individuation. What they need most is space, room in which to find themselves and develop their own identity. What they fear most is entrapment, being caught in a situation that will restrict or restrain them. Those who are undergoing the process of individuation will feel loved and trusted when allowed plenty of space. If the space they need is not offered to them, they will simply take it. When the process of individuation is resisted or not allowed to come to resolution, it may become intensely self-absorbing, even narcissistic.
Positions: The Journey of the Hero/ine
Your relationship to your own heroic journey is made clear by where you have placed the circle when you took the Preferential Shapes Test. If the circle is in Position 1 it indicates your desire to be independent and self-sufficient. This is the process that has your attention and that is a source of inspiration to you. The circle in Position 2 means that the heroic journey currently is effortless for you, whether or not you are aware of that. Your heroic behavior points out to others that your strengths are self-reliance and resourcefulness. In Position 3, the circle shows that the process of individuation is occurring at the core of your nature. When fully engaged, this process of achieving and experiencing independence will allow your natural creative and restorative abilities to flow into all areas of your life. The circle in Position 4 denotes that a past heroic journey motivated you to become responsible and self-reliant. The process of individuation was the past challenge that caused you to move to your present core work (defined by the shape you have placed in Position 3). When the circle is in Position 5, you may be resisting or denying the process of individuation. The heroic journey currently does not have your attention and you have no interest in exploring it at this time.
The Equidistant Cross: Relationship
The equidistant cross, the plus sign, universally symbolizes the process of relationship and integration. This is a coupling, synthesizing, integrating and balancing process. This process carries the need for connection - to a creative project, to a group, to another person, or to oneself. It is the symbol that demonstrates integration and balanced connection. People who favor the cross will place emphasis on the quality, not the quantity, of time shared with others. Experiencing balance will be an essential goal for them. These individuals will often ask for a specific meeting time, they love collaborative work, and they equate quality of time spent in the company of colleagues and close friends with love and trust.
Positions: The Shared Journey
The status of your relationship process, of your own shared journey, is depicted in the Preferential Shapes Test by the position you chose for the cross. If the cross is in Position 1, it means that the process of relationship is what you believe to be most important in your life. The cross in Position 2 means that the shared journey is currently an effortless process for you, though you may not know this. Your behavior makes it obvious to others that your strength is in people skills, that you develop relationships easily, and that achieving balance is natural to you. In Position 3, the cross shows that the relationship process is occurring deep within your nature. When you participate fully in this process, your originality and regenerative powers will be fully available to you. The cross in Position 4 makes clear that a past shared journey inspired you to become more attentive to partnership and teamwork endeavors. The past challenge that stimulated you to begin your core work in the present as designated by the shape in Position 3. When the cross is found in Position 5, you may want to ignore or dismiss the importance of the process of relationship in your life.
The Spiral: Growth and Change
The spiral symbolizes the process of growth and evolution. It is a process of coming to the same point again and again, but at a different level, so that everything is seen in a new light. The result is a new perspective on issues, people, and places. Those involved in the spiral process have a strong need for variety, novelty, and change. They dread routine and they are capable of doing multiple tasks well. Creative and ingenious, they are adept at initiating and following up on projects, although they may have some difficultly completing them. The challenge of this process is to grow and develop at different levels of awareness. During times of change, creativity is required to handle life's situations and challenges with integrity.
Positions: The Ever-Changing Journey
The position you chose for the spiral when you took the Preferential Shapes Test signifies the level of importance change holds for you. If the spiral is in Position 1, it shows that the process of growth is the one you believe to be the most important for you at this time. You want to develop flexibility, to handle situations differently from the way you have in the past, and to implement tangible changes in your life. The spiral in Position 2 denotes that it is easy for you to handle change, whether you know it or not. Your actions let others see that your strengths are flexibility and the ability to do many things at once. In Position 3, the spiral symbolizes that you are profoundly engaged in the process of change. It is essential to honor the changes occurring within your nature. Change and variety are necessary in your life. When you are able to trust this process, great energy will be released into all areas of your life. Locating the spiral in Position 4 lets you know that you were challenged in the past to make significant changes in your life. Meeting those challenges readied you for your current breakthrough work as shown by the shape in Position 3. when the spiral is found in Position 5, it means you are unlikely to show interest in the process of growth and change.
The Triangle: Goals, Dreams, and Visions
The triangle is associated with pyramids, arrowheads, and sacred mountains. It carries the theme of self-discovery and revelation. This shape stands for goals, visions, and dreams. People experiencing the triangular process are intensely focused on identifying and pursuing a goal; attaining it is extremely important to them. They have the innate gift of vision and their greatest need is to follow their dreams. Their worst fear is that there will be no dreams to pursue. They will persevere despite substantial obstacles and delays for as long as their goals have meaning for them. They need, however, to avoid becoming so absorbed in the plans for the future that they accomplish nothing in the present. That is a pitfall of the triangular process if it is taken to excess. People in this process will feel loved and accepted when others share and value the visions they hold. Relationships will benefit when family and friends express respect and tangible support for the visions and goals this person pursues.
Positions: The Goal of the Journey
In the Preferential Shapes Test, your degree of attention to current goals and dreams is measured by the position you chose for the triangle. If the triangle is in Position 1 the process of envisioning seems most significant for you now. You desire to manifest certain goals and dreams within reachable time frames. The triangle in Position 2 indicates that you carry the gift of vision naturally, though you may not be aware of that. Your behavior indicates to others that you are a visionary, that you can create goals and attain them. In Position 3, the triangle means that the process of envisioning is central to your current development. It is essential for you to honor the goals and dream that are important to you. When you are completely involved in this process, your efforts will assure that your full powers of inspiration and envisioning are easily accessible to you. Now is the time actualize your goals and dreams. The triangle in Position 4 shows that your own process of following dreams in the past motivated you to make meaningful changes in your life. Past visions and goals prepared and inspired you to move in the direction of your core work in the present, designated by the shape you have placed in Position 3. When the triangle is found in Position 5, you may be resisting the process of honoring your dreams and establishing goals. The need to manifest your goals or to envision new possibilities is not a desired process for you now.
The Square: Stability
The square symbolizes stability, solidity, and security. The act of drawing a square mirrors perfectly the process of constructing a foundation. Harriot Beecher Stowe validates the positive aspects of the square process when she says, "To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization." Those attracted to the square are ready to build, to implement a plan, and to manifest ideas. These people have a strong need for consistency, accountability, and completion. Their fear is that nothing will be accomplished and that their efforts will be only a waste of time and energy. They want results. They value integrity and authenticity, as well as responsibility and accountability. Congruity is especially important to them.
Positions: Planning Responsibly for the Journey
Your present location with the process of stability and responsibility is shown in the Preferential Shapes Test by where you have placed the square. If it is in Position 1, stability and authenticity have your attention and are sources of inspiration to you. You value the alignment of words and actions. The square in Position 2 indicates that your inherent strengths are responsibility, authenticity, and the ability to be fully committed when you give your word. You may not be aware of this ability. Your actions tell others that you are reliable and you are known and valued for your integrity. In Position 3, the square means that the process of stability is occurring at the core of your nature. It is vitally important for you to stabilize and implement your creative endeavors. You need things to be tangible and productive. Expressing your authenticity is essential for you at this time. When you participate in this process with all your attention, untapped creativity and well-being will become available to you. The square in Position 4 announces that past issues of responsibility and accountability led you to make substantial changes in your life. Past situations requiring consistency and stability prepared and motivated you to move in the direction of your present core work as shown by the shape in Position 3. When the square is in Position 5, you may be denying the process of stability and responsibility. The need to be consistent and congruent is not a primary focus for you, nor are you interested in exploring it now.
Did your favorites explain a lot about you? Do they align
with your current path? Mine always seem to.