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Freemasonry Officers and their

relationship to Astrology

I was recently asked by our new Entered Apprentice if there was a relationship between
the Officers of the Lodge and the Planets. From my background study of Alchemy I knew a
relationship existed and to me it appeared obvious, but as much as I tried I couldnt
recollect any masonic book or literature tackling this question directly. Many books have
been written about Freemasonry and the Mystery traditions, its history, mythology and its
symbolism, but none as able to address this question specifically.
Firstly, I would like to set a very brief historical backdrop to Hermetic Philosophy and then
focus on the details of the Planets and Officers.

Hermes Lodge No.714 Bro.. Josef. J. Kalicun M..M..


The title of this talk suggest that there is a relationship between Freemasonry and
Astrology. Many might object and say it is absurd to make such a correlation on the one
hand between the admission ritual of a Trade Guild and Astrology. I would like to argue
that in spite of such detractors, that the two are intimately connected via an underground
stream. Some may say that other than an occasional statistical correlation between some
aspects of the planet motions and the behaviour of people (1), that Astrology is discredited
and is nothing more than pseudo-science of a bygone era. I leave it to individual members
to make their own minds up using whatever criteria they see fit.
The Hermes lodge having adopted the name of this greek god, already invokes the three
fold luminary of Hermes Trismegistus (Greek for "Hermes the thrice-greatest", it is the
syncretism of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian Thoth. In Hellenistic Egypt, the god
Hermes was given as epithet the Greek name of Thoth. He has also been identified with
Enoch. This three-foldness directs our attention to examine our Masonic rites from three
different perspectives.
Freemasonry is a branch of the Hermetic Traditions of the Western Mystery Schools an
inheritors of those Ancient Mystery cults which training the selected few the principles of
the Evolution of the Soul. The Hermetic Tradition (2) comprises of a number of pathways
that work together to create the Corpus Hermeticum (the Hermetic Work). They are Magic,
Alchemy and Astrology. I will examine with illustrations how we might better understand
the Inner Workings of Freemasonry with these three influences at the back of our mind.

In the book Jung and Alchemical imagination (3), Jeffrey Raff quotes Paracelsus :
For Paracelsus, imagination belonged to the spirit (italics mine - Compasses), while
fantasy belonged to the body (italics mine - Square). Imagination discovered the
latent forces in nature, and compelled herbs to yield their power. It is no surprise
that imagination was paired with the spirit, for the spirit has been defined as the
capacity to create images. Imagination was able to uncover the powers of nature,

Hermes Lodge No.714 Bro.. Josef. J. Kalicun M..M..


because Paracelsus believed, as Boehme did, that imagination could be equated
with wisdom. The wisdom of the imagination teaches the mysteries of both the soul
and the outer world. By using the imaginative capacity, the alchemist could see
behind the outer, physical form of the herb or metal, and detect its symbolic
meaning. By so doing he came to understand its true uses and essential nature.
This was an idea that was widely held in the Renaissance; each object had a
hidden meaning beyond its physical appearance. If one could understand the secret
essence, he or she would be able to use the substance in rnagical, alchemical, or
healing ways. (3)
Now it is with this quote that I would like to pursue our journey further, a journey of the
imagination and to quote the Twiglight Zone:
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as
vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and
shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears
and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area
which we call the Twilight Zone. (4)

The role of the imagination within esoteric practices is an essential component both in the
Magickal and Mystic Arts. Thoth the Egyptian god of writing, wisdom, and magick, which
will be the subject of another talk, was considered within some circles to have reincarnated
as the prophet Enoch. Within the Cabbalistic and Talmudic tradition he was said to be be
born without father or mother and on his death bed ascended into heaven without dying
and became the Archangel Metatron, the Heavenly Recording Angel. It is with the
formulae of ascension into heaven without dying that is of interest to us esoteric masons.

Hermes Lodge No.714 Bro.. Josef. J. Kalicun M..M..


Is it possible that a person can ascend to Heaven whilst still in this mortal frame? The
Mystery Traditions acclaim a definite Yes. The Merkabah (Vehicle/Chariot) Mystical
Tradition derived from the Vision of Ezekiel encourages properly prepared students to
regularly make this Journey of Ascension as part of their daily spiritual practice. In similar
manner we are invited to work the ritual of that very same Inner Journey with Fellow
Companions, through frequent attendance at our masonic meetings. This is implied but not
stated.
The blend of the Apocryphal text the Book of Enoch and Exekiels vision eventually led to
the development in the 16th Century of that vast Magickal System Enochian Magic by
John Dee (the Elizabethan magician and mathematician to the Queen of England
Elizabeth 1). In this form of magick the Adept is expected to rise through 30 Aethers (or
planes of Super physical consciousness) just as the mason rises through the Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite degrees, exploring, and recording various visionary dramatical
experiences in an attempt to gain the Hidden Knowledge and Wisdom. We can undertake
the same spiritual journey by the correct use of the imagination as we examine the ritual
roles of the officers Planetary/Alchemical images. The first degree Tracingboard draws our
attention to this journey by use of Jacobs ladder. As an initial image this is fine, but all too
passive an approach. Jacob in a dream merely observed the movement of angels going
up and down the ladder (as planes of consciousness). In the Enochian system the Adept in
a heightened visionary state undertakes the journey in an Active form, engages the various
beings encountered to distil from them their Essence of their role and duty in the Eternal
Lodge above in a manner somewhat similar to the RWM in the Opening of the Lodge.
Enochiana is a vast system and impossible to do justice in the time frame of this talk, but
we can derive a qualitative sense by examining the works of the teacher of Paracelsus,
tusing Alchemical/Astrological framework.
Salomon Trismosin (the teacher of Paracelsus) was allegedly the author of the alchemical
manuscript called Splendor Solis, which translates from Latin as Splendour of the Sun.
This manuscript depicted the various alchemical processes that needed to be undertaken
under planetary influences to transform thr Prima Materia (Base Mater) into Ultima Materia
(Final Matter). Of course this do not mean that ordinary Lead (symbol of Saturn ) can be
transformed into Gold (Symbolised by the Sun). Rather these are interior speculations on
the Nature of Consciousness, leading from Darkness to Light in a metaphysical way. There
are 22 images in the series, of which for the purpose of this talk I will only select the 7
Planetary images. The remaining can be found on-line from the link at the end of this
paper.

Hermes Lodge No.714 Bro.. Josef. J. Kalicun M..M..


The first task is to map the 7 Principle Officers to the Planets as illustrated. We are not
using the Astrological correspondence of the planets as the source of the mapping but
rather the Cabbalistic progression up the Tree of Life. In this manner the Master Mason
who takes up office will rise through the different ritual team officers and be eventually
installed in the Chair of King Solomon. So in a similar manner the alchemical Prima
Materia (rough unprocessed Elemental forces of our Nature or Rough Ashlar) must be
firstly harmonised (to become the Perfect Ashlar) before the ascension can occur (as a
Master Mason into the higher degrees).
These images serve as role akin to our masonic tracingboard, and as is in all Emblematic
Art, for the purpose of Reflection and Meditation, not logical proof of truth /falsehood.

Masonic RWM WSW WJW SD JD IG OG


Alchemy Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon
Cabalistic Moon Mercury Venus Sun Mars Jupiter Saturn

What is immediately noticeable is that the sequence is reversed between the Alchemy and
the Cabalistic. As all things of an esoteric nature it isnt always clear why linearity is at
times abandoned, but one find a deeper level of understanding in the Alchemical Axiom
Contra Natura which translates as Against Nature. This can be further understood in a
Magickal sense in that often principles are reversed on the inner planes.
The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus: "That which is Below corresponds to
that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to
accomplish the miracle of the One Thing." Thus, whatever happens on any level of
reality (physical, emotional, or mental) also happens on every other level.

Hermes Lodge No.714 Bro.. Josef. J. Kalicun M..M..


This is further experienced in undertaking Astral Projections, when encountered written
text one notices that things are written in reverse in the Astral Light. The Mercurial Nature
of Esoteric work by definition must always be of a paradoxical nature when best held
values at certain points in Spiritual Development will flip over into their reversal, causing
much confusion to the unprepared..
H.P. Blavatsky writes -However, due to its nature, the visions seen by the uninitiated are
often distorted reflections of the real:
The Astral Light . . . reflects everything reversed in its treacherous wave (both from
the upper planes and from its lower solid plane, the earth). Hence the confusion of
its colours and sounds in the perception and clairaudience of the sensitive who
trusts to its recordsbe that sensitive a Hatha-Yogi or a medium.[13]

The prototypes or ideas of things exist first on the plane of Divine eternal
Consciousness and thence become reflected and reversed in the Astral Light, which
also reflects on its lower individual plane the life of our Earth, recording it on its
tablets. Therefore, is the Astral Light called illusion. It is from this that we, in our
turn, get our prototypes. Consequently unless the Clairvoyant or Seer can get
beyond this plane of illusion, he can never see the Truth, but will be drowned in an
ocean of self-deception and hallucinations.

With these qualifiers, let us now undertake this journey through the masonic officers. So
everything now is experienced as an interior state. The world of the profane has been left
behind. The lodge is close tyled.

Hermes Lodge No.714 Bro.. Josef. J. Kalicun M..M..


Seven Flask
The flask (Vas) is only depicted in these painting when alluding to the planets. This
represent the Temenos, or the Hermetically Sealed Magick Circle of the adept, or in
masonic parlance, the tyled Lodge.

1. Saturn Dragon and Child (Lead).


Bearing in mind the paradoxical way that Reflection occur on inner subjects
let us examine this first Planetary Image. The Dragon is the unrefined
instincts, and the innocence of the Child the beginning stage of the work. The
Planet Saturn represent the Ordered Principle, Discipline and Control, as well
as Cruelty, Oppression. Restriction.
Masonically we could say the Planets operating in two octaves, the Square
(lower aspect) and the Compasses (the higher aspect). We will see how these polar
opposites met on the Centre.
Compass Octave RWM as Saturn
The Saturn represents the supreme governor, and
therefore is fitting to be associated with RWM. Here
the Master governs the lodge. The Master is
responsible for laying out the plan of the work. So for
the mason, this principle is that which govern life
within due bounds as suggested by the ideo of God
as a Geometrician. To quote Plato God
Geometrizes Continually.
Square Octave Outer Guard as Saturn
Usually in our Order it is the role of the Past Master to act as an OG having been
accustomed to the inner and outer workings of the ritual and of sufficient masonic
experience and knowledge that they can handle any sort of emergency of the lodge, be it a
visiting member arriving late, a cowan, or a candidate seeking admission. On a esoteric
level, its how do we handle those intrusive thoughts and feelings. Are they to be admitted
into the Temple of our Consciousness as part of the work or rejected as not being properly
prepared for admission? In magick this is the charging of the magick circle against
unwelcome energies. In Alchemy its the Hermetic Seal (Rings of Saturn) that prevents
new material entering the Alembic, else the products of the Distillation leaking out, yet this
appears quite ridiculous when viewed scientifically. Boyles law states that as the
Temperature increase the Pressure increases accordingly. If there is no pressure release
valve the container is likely to eventually exploded. The Candidate may experiences the
Saturnian pressure to be quite negative, that nothing really happened in the ceremony,
there was no wow factor. It makes them doubt that Freemasonry is for them, In actual fact
this null experience is what is required. The alchemist saught The Blessed Nigredo, for
they new it was a precursor to the rising dawn of light to come. That is the Leaden feelings
of Saturn.

Hermes Lodge No.714 Bro.. Josef. J. Kalicun M..M..


2 Jupiter The Three Birds ( metal - Tin)
Jupiter (Zeus) is the God that eventually overthrew the
previous god Saturn from Olympus and took over the
rulership. His qualities are Guardian of the Abstract Mind,
The Teacher, Philosopher, Expansion, Hope, Compassion.
Negative trait, yet prone to exaggeration, avoidance of
caution, always wanting to keep the peace.
In the vas are the three depictions of Nigredo, Albedo and
Rubedo of the work in the form of the three birds, alluding to
the process of evaporation expansion of consciousness.

Comapss Octave WSW


The WSW will eventually replace the Previous
Ruler the RWM as Saturn, after a period of the
Yearly Solar Cycle. The old king is slain, long live
the New King. As the WSW is responsible to
having seem that every brother has had his due,
so this notion invokes the Laws of Karma, that all
the workers are paid according to the skill and
ability. As the Higher Mind great demands are
made to constantly push towards the final goals of
attainment through the overcoming of the
Saturnian limitation of the Collective yestayear,

Square Octave WJW


At this level the differences arent so noticeable. Here the WJW is responsible for the
social well-being of the members, and to call from labour to refreshment and to labour
again, so that profit and pleasure may be the result. This is picking up on the
Compassionate and Benevolence effect of Jupiter in the expanding of Consciousness, and
making the effect fruitful to the mason. Yet many find the WJWs chair difficult to handle.
The ritual pace is different, Its solid, static role, and unlike the other ritual officers, moves
hardly at all. Here the WJW first encounter the instruction of the EA. There is the rare over
abundance of wanting to teach, or more often than not, the recognition of ones own
inadequacies, and not knowing what to teach, especially if one hasnt received sufficient
masonic training in their journey.

Hermes Lodge No.714 Bro.. Josef. J. Kalicun M..M..


3 Mars Triple Headed Bird (metal Iron)
Mars of god of War is forever engaging in battles. The Archetype of the
Warrior. The defender of the weak, and macho man. Negative qualities
are prone to anger and aggression, bullying. Here the three birds are
united as a triple headed bird, suggesting a horminsing and blending of
the process.

Compass Octave WJW


Here the WJW is the Marshal of the Lodge, to whom
the Inner Guard notifies of any Alarms or Reports.
Thus the WJW relieves the Inner Guard as a Junior
member of the Executive responsibility of decision
making, but relays back to the RWM the state of
affairs that exist in the outer world for evaluation form
a higher Wisdom perspective.
Square Octave Junior Deacon
The JD has to deal with the after effects of the Martian
energy. This energy is quite dangerous if left in an
static state, so the JD together with the SD has to
keep the energy circulating around the lodge. So that
it never remains congealed or congested in one place
for too long. Leadbeater speaks of the symbolism f the
wands being crossed as dispersal of excess energy
called forth which the individual may not be able to
handle. Note that the Compasses Octave of the JD is Venus. Here in this configuration
both Venus and Mars are attributed to the same office. So too must the JD manage the
Masculine and Feminine energies of the lodge as Active (Mars)and Passive (Venus) forms
of lodge dynamics of the Elementals.

Hermes Lodge No.714 Bro.. Josef. J. Kalicun M..M..


5 Sun Triple Headed Dragon (Metal Gold)
The Sun representing Apollo, is the illumination that travels across the
sky. In astrology Apollo represent the Logical Mind of Rationalism, the
appeal of reasoned arguments. Negatively being pedantic, over thinking
things, focussing on the minutiae.
The dragon has appeared again, but with the 3 stages of alchemy, suggesting that the
previous stage has transformed the dragon to cooperate with the unfolding of the work.
The lower asoppect of the dragon is unified with the higher aspect of alchemy.

Compass Octave Senior Deacon


Square Octave Senior Deacon
A most curious phenomena occurs at this
level. The Compass and the Square aspects
carry the same Planetary influence in both
realms. Characteristic of the Dragon in the 3
colours of alchemy. From this we might
speculate that this is a special traditional point
in which the two octaves are in balance. This a
the Solar centre, A point within the Circle,
astrologyical glyph of the Sun. This is the only
officer with a single planet in both alchemy
and astrology.
In this role, the SD is link between the 3
Principle Officers and the 3 remain Junior Officers. From this we might infer that the
rational mind has subdued the passions so that consciousness may ascend further without
the excessive baggage of the personality. In other words the vision remains clear and
precise. Whether we look upwards to the higher realms for assistance or lower our gaze to
the lower realms to serve, the full light of the conscious mind examines closely the
demands of the journey and way up the pros and cons of any decisions.

Hermes Lodge No.714 Bro.. Josef. J. Kalicun M..M..


5 Venus - The Peacocks Tail (Metal Copper)
In alchemy the presence of the Peacock Tail heralds the Dawn of the
completion of the Great Work. It was an intermediately state where the adept
could rest a little bit before the final stage. The planet Venus represent
sensual love, desires, aesthetics, Nature, but also vulgarity, crassness,
superficiality.

Compass Octave Junior Deacon


The Junior deacon must work with the links that connect the
personal and the collective without being swamped by either
side. In the Laurdadale ritual, they are charged with managing
the Elemental Forces of the candidate, because he/she sees
them not. Exposure to these forces can vary between the thrill of
the supernatural, where one feels at one with Nature , but really
as been been over pioneered by the elemental forces which
diminish the ego strength, to that a sudden interest in the
Ecological movement and saving the planet from the ravages of
technology of Mercury and Apollo. Similarly there can be a
tendency to value the baser side of human existence in the
realm of drug experience or other mental disturbances that
diminish the soul.

Square Aspect WJW


A WJW in their ritual office with the pillar of Beauty has a natural affinity with this planet.
Their richly adored pillar expresses that exuberance that goes well with caring for the
welfare of the members. This represent and intuitive form of relating, that helps build
fellowship between members. It requires quite an effort for a WJW to pull this off,
especially when most members of the Order are drawn to the esoteric and most likely to
also be of an introverted or intrspective nature.

Hermes Lodge No.714 Bro.. Josef. J. Kalicun M..M..


6 Mercury the White Queen (Metal Mercury/Quick Silver)
Mercury as messenger represent the Communication link between the
Heavenly Realms and the Earth. Represents boundaries, and large
stones were placed in the ground to mark territories and were call Herm
Stones. Guardian of the Threshold. God of Lies and Thieves. Here we se
the first human form, the White Queen representing the Albedo, or
Purification of the mater. This is a time of jubilation and represent the First
Conjunction the production of metal Silver, as mercury, the union of opposites of solid
and fluid.

Higher Octave Inner Guard


This is fitting symbol for the IG who together with the
OG patrols the threshold in and out of the lodge. Just
as the OG challenges us on our Outer values and
preconceived ideas, so does the IG do the same from
an inner perspective. Some people enter a mystery
school looking for a substitute for what is missing in
the outer life, that familial sense of fellowship, and are
strangely confused when many people dont behave
in a so called spiritual fashion, instead they press
buttons, and make us behave out of character. This is
the Mercurial effect at its best and keeps us on that
sub-liminal edge between sanity and insanity, the in-between world, where magick exists,
where we want it to make sense for us, yet it persistently defies us.
Lower Octave - WSW
For the WSW at this level, there is the threshold of what is to come in the Chair of King
Solomon. This liminal state can induce a sense of dread. People may can undermine their
own integrity, filling them with self doubt. Are we worthy to become a master, will the
brethren vote for me if they really knew how I am inside?. These are the dual nature of
Mercury in his Thoth aspect as recorder of the weighing of the Heart on the Scales of Maat
(Truth) after judgement of the 42 Assessors. Will we be paid our due rewards, can we get
away with the gods not noticing our short coming.

Hermes Lodge No.714 Bro.. Josef. J. Kalicun M..M..


7 The Moon The Red King (Metal Silver)
In Alchemy the Red Kings symbolises the completion of the transformation.
We have now reached the final level, of the Ultima Materia. The fully realised
Self, from the crude Prima Materia we have been raised by successive
heatings and distillation to become the Philosophical Gold, the Universal
Panacea and the Perfect Wisdom. No longer can the Masonic Adept be
tarnished by the impurities of the lower realms. We are one with Osiris,
triumphant over Death and have attained the final Symbolic Godhead.
The Moon represents Mother nature, the mystical Intuitive Realm, deep mysterious forces,
Psychic powers. Also the dangers of possession, delusions and smothering.
Compasses Octave Outer Guard
At this level the OG acts as the reflective Mirror in
Consciousness and is the first point of contact with the Inner
world. Remembering the axiom, as That which is Below
corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above
corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle
of the One Thing, we find ourselves strangely at the
beginning and yet also at the end of our journey, as if we
never started. We have become the Alpha and Omega. We
are the accomplishment of our own Unfoldment from the Root
Cause of our coriginal oming into Being. Having discovered
the Light we return back to the outer world and mingle with
the cowans again. Yet we are no different from them other than that strange mysterious
sparkle that we glistens in our eyes. We have seen the light, and no longer walk as if with
a blindfold. We are now Guardians of the Mystery, and as in the ritual of many Orders we
say to Candidates - Thou cannot pass by me unless thou knowest my Name. Such is
the Challenge of the Sphynx - To Will, to Know, to Dare, and to Be Silent.
Lower Octave RWM
At this level the Inner Master is awoken. What was before the apron as a badge of our
rank and office, now is transformed into a different garment. It is a Cloak of Invisibility, our
illumination is shielded from the outer world for it cannot yet comprehend that light. So we
must veil our acquired Knowledge and Wisdom and speak Sub Rosa, in parables,
allegories and peculiar systems of morality with double talk, to confound that part of the
uninitiated mind that want straight scientific explanations. At the end of the night the All is
just the reflection of the Moon on the ripples on the surface of a pond of The Mind.

Hermes Lodge No.714 Bro.. Josef. J. Kalicun M..M..


Conclusion
This paper was not intended to be a linear exposition of these relationship but rather a
serpentine meandering around themes for consideration in the circuitous Journey we call
Freemasonry. So what have we achieved in this paper? We have examined the back drop
of the Hermetic Tradition as applied to Freemasonry. This sheds light on the continuous
thread that runs down through the centuries hinting at the availability of inner experiences
suitable for the modern era via masonic ritual. We have seen how by using a juxtaposition
of Alchemy and Astrological attributions when linked with the officers, gives us a particular
speculative understanding of the Inner work of the lodge officers. We have seen briefly
how the planetary attributions can be used to uncover both personal and collective lodge
dynamics and how the journey from Darkness to Light is strewn with paradoxical markers
so typical of the Hermetic Tradition.

Hermes Lodge No.714 Bro.. Josef. J. Kalicun M..M..