The third and final of the higher offices which begin with the Greek Aspirate is the Hegemon. I was imagining this word was like the others – derived from or related to something religious or spiritual. Nope. The root word means “a leader, commander, chief”, and this includes the connotation of “guide” (1) and “an authority figure” (2). Primarily, the word in context is used in relation to having power over another who might otherwise be seen as a peer.
When I shifted my search terms a bit, I did discover that a fraternal organization called Tau Kappa Epsilon also uses this word for an officer position. Considering how similar in verbage the TKE is (building better men for a better world) to the Masonic stated mission (making good men better) and tossing in the founding of the TKE in 1899, I have to idley muse on whether or not the GD had any influence at all on the naming of this officer position (since all the major male movers of the original GD were Masons and I know for a fact there is no Hegemon officer position in Free Masonry). No idea though not very probable, and I don’t really care enough to go digging for it, but it amused me to imagine so. Regardless, the TKE DOES have an officer position called the Hegemon, and according to their website the position is the Educator who is responsible for “the preparation of Candidates for Initiation” and “manage the Candidate education program and monitor the progress of Candidates towards Initiation” (3).
So what does the Hegemon do in the GD-descended traditions?
My station is between the Two Pillars of Hermes and Solomon and my face is towards the Cubical Altar of the Universe. My duty is to watch over the Gateway of the Hidden Knowledge, for I am the Reconciler between Light and Darkness. I watch over the preparations of the Candidate and assist in his reception and I lead him in the Path that conducts from Darkness to Light. The White color of my robe is the color of Purity. My ensign of office is a Mitre-headed scepter to symbolize Religion, which guides and regulates life. My Office symbolizes those higher aspirations of the soul which should guide its action. (4)
When I was reading the description, the image that came to mind was Maat – the Egyptian goddess of Balance and Truth, among other things. Interestingly, this is indeed exactly who this office is supposed to be. (5) Also, the very statement “I lead him in the Path that conducts from Darkness to Light” is a very educator statement which I am translating as “I lead the candidate from ignorance into knowledge.” Ma’at is actually one of my favorite of the many pantheons of Gods/Goddesses because of her role in the entrance to the Underworld. She tests all candidates by weighing their heart against a feather, and only those who pass are allowed into the afterlife.
Personally, I take this to be a test to see whether or not the earthly existence has been left behind. If a heart is heavy with regret or sorrow, the soul is still attached to the material plane and simply cannot proceed further. I don’t really take this to mean that the spiritual aspirations are better than any other aspirations, but I do think that if the heart is heavy then the focus is behind to what might have been or has been, rather than ahead to what might be. A journey simply cannot proceed when the attention lies on steps already taken.
But I digress. I think how I will choose to view the title of Hegemon is that the word was chosen for this office because it’s the office that will help the candidate gain power over themselves through education into a larger Truth.
About the Featured Image: Scene in The Dark Crystal. Every time I think of the standing between the Pillars of Hermes and Solomon, I just hear Aughra’s voice saying “What was sundered and undone, behold! The Two made One.” That’s not a direct quote from the movie, but it’s my memory of the prophesy: What was sundered and undone/Shall be whole, the two made one. The ultimate in balancing – the Skeksis being the manifestation of the Pillar of Might and the UrRu being the manifestation of the Pillar of Mercy. Individually unbalanced, incomplete. In this scene, the two unbalanced halves of the whole are literally being reunited. Brilliant effing movie!!!!
4 Regardie, Isreal. Golden Dawn. Pg 119