Sevenfold consciousness and the Golden Dawn officers

I was reminded of this interesting piece of Golden Dawn lore ( as I received it) the other day during some correspondence with a fellow magician. The outer order Golden Dawn officers, and their Godforms, can be attributed to the seven planets. I think that paragon of what it means to be a good GD camper, Pat Zalewksi, first published these attributions in one of his Z series of books. I really cannot remember if his attributions tallied with what I have been taught or not. Look it up! Anyway, the remaining Sepher Yetzira correspondences to the Invisible Stations, have not, to my knowledge, been published. So we have:

Kerux – Anubis of East – Beth – Mercury

Hegemon – Tham-ae-est – Gimel – Moon

Dadouchos – Thaum-Asech-Nia-eth – Daleth – Venus

Stolistes – Aura-Mo-Ooth – Kaph – Jupiter

Hiereus – Horus – Peh – Mars

Hierophant – Osiris as Lord of Underworld – Resh – Sun

Sentinel – Anubis of West – Tau – Saturn

And because a picture does seem to help things cohere, we can display this graphically:

Initiating Body of the GD Outer Order

Initiating Body of the GD Outer Order

All seven together form an initiating body, a collegiate expression of the will and blessings of the Inner Order, as directed by the Dais Officers. In this body, all parts are important, equally essential and equally holy. Just as the hexagram of the seven planets becomes inoperable without any planet, so too does this body become inoperable without any officer.

From this, we can see:

  1. The officers are drawn from the ranks of the general members, from the outside of the initiating body. They then become members, in the older sense, when the word was a euphemism for the penis, of the initiating body. However, they do not give up being general members of the Order, and this is where the Double nature of the Letter they represent applies; they are dual, active and passive – part of the initiating team, and part of the Order. They thus mediate the lessons and blessings they learn as an officer, and the great powers they represent, back to the egregore of the general membership.
  1. The Hierophant is not drawn from the Outer at all, but from the Inner, which is hidden at the centre of the initiating body. She of course is also dual in nature and mediates the performance of Outer rites back to the egregore of the Inner Order, whereby it is connected with and vivified by the lower mysteries enacted under its presidency. As the diagram shows, the regular members are ‘next to’ the initiating body; they can see the process for the installing of the outer officers – as it is done at the Equinox Ceremony – but they have no insight and cannot see the selection and installation of the centre of the hexagram, the Hierophant.
  1. The Hierophant, as the solar force, is the centralising consciousness. She is the heart of the initiating body. Here we are using the term ‘heart’ in the older, classical sense of the higher, more refined consciousness. It is not the ‘heart’ sung about in pop songs. It is not the sexually empowered desire of Yesod or the even the higher emotional connection of Netzach, which are personally based, and which classically were attributed to the spleen not the heart. It is the higher love and consciousness of Tiphareth whereby the personal segues into the transpersonal.

Just as the sun shines on sinner and saint alike, so too the exposition and direction of the inner mysteries, in Outer form, is delivered from the Hierophant to all members of the Outer Order equally. Of importance here is that while these blessings can be in theory be accessed from the centre, by connecting with the direct ‘solar’ force they are normally accessed as mediated by the six other planetary forces – the officers. Again, this is shown clearly in the rubric of the Neophyte Ceremony where the Hierophant rarely leaves her throne and takes another Godform when she does so. The current of the Inner Order, as directed by the Hierophant, is therefore present, though mediated in a particular way, in each of the officer Godforms. This linking and subsumption to the current of the Hierophant is set up at each equinox ritual when the officers are installed.

We see here a reason why, in my not so humble opinion, the classical method of the Supreme Hexagram of the Sun, where the power is analysed and approached through all six outer planets – six different hexagrams – rather than a single invocation, is the better option. I go into this in more depth in my book, By Names and Images.

The fact that the Hierophant is the centralising consciousness of the initiating body, which mediates the mysteries to the regular members, means the Hierophant is in charge. Again, from the Neophyte ceremony (Stella Matutina redaction): “I am the Master of the Hall, governing it according to the laws of our Order, as He whose Image I am, is the Master of all who work for the Hidden Knowledge.”

The sense of the word ‘Master’ here is not that of someone who bosses us around, but a power that literally Masters us, moves us, about whom we revolve. The reference to the ‘laws’ of the Order shows that even the Hierophant is constrained by the structures created by the Inner Order and Chiefs. However, she is the only one within the Outer who has the operative and consecrated connection to the Inner, and the only one working at the solar level of consciousness. She is literally on a different plane, and if people were planets (in the magical metaphor) the officers and members would automatically fall into line with and resonate with the arc and direction of the Hierophant.

An important note here is that any other Inner Order member, if a general member or taking an officer role, does not activate and express their Inner Order connection while in Outer lodge. This does not mean they do not perform the role to the best of their magical ability, only that they do not act as a mediator for the Inner Order, producing a second sun in the Hall.

Another way of looking at the importance of the role of the Hierophant as the centralising consciousness is to expand the metaphor of the initiating body, comprised of a heart (Hierophant) and six other ‘limbs’, the officers. These officers should only be directed by the will of the Hierophant – as clearly indicated in the rubric of the rituals. The officers, like the limbs of our body perform action in the world (Hall for the officers) on behalf of our consciousness which is ‘within’ our body (just as the Hierophant is within the centre of the hexagram).

If we were to make a cup of tea and our right arm fussed up, not ‘wanting to’ or being recalcitrant, we would consider that a pathology and go to the doctor or whatever to fix the problem. So too, with officers – if they are not resonant with and in line with the centralising force of the Hierophant, something needs to be adjusted.

OK – hope this helps someone, sometime 🙂


  1. Pingback: A defence of the traditional six solar hexagrams | Magic of the Ordinary
  2. Tony Fuller · November 10, 2014

    A most interesting article Peregrin – the attributions published by Pat Zalewski are taken from a lengthy Whare Ra paper written on the symbolism of the outer Grades.

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