Each Lodge has in principle seven officers:
– Three principal officers.
– Three subordinate officers
– A minor officer that keeps the relations with the outside world.
They represent seven aspects or faculties of consciousness, psychologically interactive, and co-ordinated into a unity to form a “just and perfect Lodge”. A man whose faculties are in disorder, or uncoordinated, is said to be insane.
In the same way a Lodge would be imperfect, and incapacitated for effective work, if its functional mechanism were incomplete. Seven is recognised in the entire world as the number of completeness. The time-periods of creation were seven, the spectrum of light is made up of seven colours, the musical scale has seven notes, our division of time is made of weeks of seven days, our physiological changes run in periods of seven years. Man is also a seven-fold organism and, for a long time, his life was assumed to last seven multiplied by ten years.
The “Master” or Chief Officer in man is the spiritual principle to which all his other faculties should be subordinate and responsive. When the Master’s gavel knocks, the Wardens repeat the knocks. When the Divine Principle in man speaks in the depth of his being, the remaining part of his nature should respond in his own ways. Without this Divine Principle in him man would be less than human. By cultivating his consciousness of it, he may become one with it. It is the permanent light of a Master Mason that, being eternal, will continue to light even after his death.
The Master’s Chief Executive Officer, the Senior Warden, is his antithesis and opposite. He personifies the soul, the psychic principle in man, which must be illuminated by the light of the spirit, or Master-Principle, because he has no light of his own. Being in the west, he can only reflect and transmit the great light from the East as the moon reflects the sun. In Masonry the light of the Warden is known as the moon. In Nature, when the moon does not receive the light of the sun, it is invisible or non-existent for us but, when the sun illuminates it, it is resplendent. In the same way human intelligence is valuable if it is illuminated by the Master-Light of the Divine Principle; if this illumination stops, then it is more or less useless. In the former case it is the chief executive faculty to act as transmitting medium of the Supreme Wisdom, in the later it can only display brute-reason.
Half way between the Master-Light from the East and the “Moon” of the West we find the Junior Warden of the South, symbolising the third greater light, the “Sun”. In the Craft, the “Sun” is the illuminated human intelligence and understanding, or better, the material brain-mind illuminated by the Spiritual Principle. It is symbolic of a state of balance; the Junior warden personifies the balance-point, or meeting-place, of man’s natural reason and his spiritual intuition. He represents the enlightened mental condition and he asserts that, in the Second Degree (the degree of personal development), he has discovered a sacred symbol placed in the centre of the building and alluding to the G.G.O.T.U. It really means that the mason who has reached the second degree has now seen that God is inside him and overshadows his own “building” or organism. He should now follow this discovery with greater zeal so that he becomes thoroughly unified with this Divine Principle. This process requires time, effort, and struggle, as the unification is not sudden. There are “enemies” and obstacles on the way, due to the aspirant’s imperfections and limitations, which must be overcome. It is what is meant in the degree: the candidate for advancement desires to cleanse his heart and throw away all evil to purify himself to be able to reach a closer alliance with the pure Light. It is only with the help of this “Sun-Light” that he will be able to see into the inner part of his nature. This is the “Sun” which he prays to “stand still”, and whose light should remain with him until he has defeated all his enemies. Of course the Masons know that the sun does not stand still. The “Sun” referred here is an enlightened perceptive state required to undertake the task of self-conquest and “fighting the battles of the Lord” against his own lower nature.
We have seen that the Senior and Junior Wardens are described as the “Moon” and the “Sun” but both their lights are extinguished in the darkness of the Third Degree. In the process of self-transformation they are lights and helps up to the point where they are of no avail anymore. Afterwards the Master-Light, or Divine Principle, takes over and complete the regenerative process.
The four lesser Officers and Tyler represent the three Officers’ energies transmitted into the lower faculties of man’s organism. The Senior Deacon, as the Master’s Adjutant and emissary, is the link between East and West. The Junior Deacon, as the Senior Warden’s Adjutant and emissary, is the link between West and South while the Inner Guard acts under the control of the Junior Warden in co-ordination with the Outer Guard or contact point with the outer world of sense-impression. These seven Officers typify the mechanism of human consciousness; they represent a series of discrete, but co-ordinated parts, connecting man’s outer nature with the Divine Principle and they provide also the channels for reciprocal actions between the spiritual and material poles of his organism. In other words, man is potentially a seven-branched golden candlestick. Potentially, because he has not yet transmuted the metal of his nature into gold, or lit up the seven candles, or parts of his organism, with the fire of the Divine Principle. That symbol of what is possible to him is offered for his reflection and contemplation.
In summary, the seven Officers are the image of the following seven parts of the human mechanism:
Worshipful Master (W.M.) Spirit (Pneuma)
Senior Warden (S.W.) Soul (Psyche)
Junior Warden (J.W.) Mind (Nous, Intellect)
Senior Deacon (S.D.) The link between Spirit and Soul
Junior Deacon (J.D.) The link between Soul and Mind
inner Guard (I.G.) The inner sense-nature (astral)
Outer Guard (O.G.) The outer sense-nature (physical)