My Alchemical Romance: “What is Alchemy?”

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Bro. Bryan Godwin is the Emmy nominated owner and CEO of shade visual effects, the worlds leading invisible visual effects facility. As a serial entrepreneur and tech investor, he has built and managed teams and companies in the creative technology space for two decades. His newest venture, Viraxis Virtual Prototyping, is leading the way in rapid, virtual, prototyping and analytics using virtual reality and augmented reality to test consumer products, goods and services.

Bro. Bryan’s Masonic career began in 2012 at Culver City Foshay No. 467 where he is newly appointed to the office of Marshall. He is 32nd degree Scottish Rite mason, Cryptic Mason and active member of Santa Monica Bay Royal Arch Chapter #97. He is also a leading member of Culver City Foshay’s Esoterica committee, and he writes the monthly Esoterica column in CCF’s trestle board. Bro. Bryan, his wife Jennie and daughter Liberty live in Venice Beach California.

Godwin Marshall

What is Alchemy?

Bro. Bryan Godwin

Culver City-Foshay Lodge No. 467, F&AM

Culver City, CA

Esotherica Group, February 2015


Alchemy was the forerunner of modern chemistry. In fact, early alchemists contributed to the development of many useful chemical compounds for ink, leather tanning, glass making and all manner of distillations. To most of us though, the idea of alchemy conjures up images of arcane scientists boiling chemicals and herbs in a medieval laboratory in hopes of changing lead into gold. Indeed, the alchemist’s work was the process of ritual purification of base elements into something greater, more noble and more valuable. This process probably sounds very familiar to most Freemasons.


Alchemy in its most basic sense, is a series of steps or a formula that changes something simple into something that is greater than the sum of its parts. From an esoteric perspective, Freemasonry is alchemy of the self. One of our core precepts is that we “make good men better.” The process or formula that Freemasons adhere to as they progress through the degrees of Masonry makes a man more than what he already is.
A Masonic Temple is not exactly a laboratory in the traditional sense, but we do create a space for the transmutation of oneself into something more noble and pure, perfecting that philosophical stone. That is the secret and hidden alchemical layer of our work. Indeed, If we are to take the latin roots of the word “laboratory” we will find “labora et ora,” which translates to “work and pray;” two concepts that find themselves very much at home in the transformative laboratory of Freemasonry.


Thank you Bro. Bryan Godwin for continuous help on keeping this column supplied with much needed information.

If you would like to be a contributor to My Alchemical Romance: A Primer on Esoteric Freemasonry, send me an email. 

I hope you will.

S&F, J

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