Square and Compasses

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Carved into a foundation stone in England

The Square and Compasses (or, more correctly, a square and a set of compasses joined together) is the single most identifiable symbol of Freemasonry. Both the square and compasses are architect's tools and are used in Masonic ritual as emblems to teach symbolic lessons. Some Lodges and rituals explain these symbols as lessons in conduct: for example, that Masons should "square their actions" and learn to "circumscribe and keep us within due bounds toward all mankind".[1] However, as Freemasonry is non-dogmatic, there is no general interpretation for these symbols (or any Masonic symbol) that is used by Freemasonry as a whole.[2]

As measuring instruments, the tools represent judgment and discernment.

With a "G"

In English speaking jurisdictions the Square and Compasses are often depicted with the letter "G" in the center. The letter is interpreted to represent different words jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Among the most widely accepted interpretations are that: [G] stands for God, and is to remind Masons that God is at the center of Freemasonry. In this context it can also stand for Great Architect of the Universe (a reference to God). In a different context, the letter stands for Geometry, described as being the "noblest of sciences", and "the basis upon which the superstructure of Freemasonry is erected."[3]

Notes

  1. Malcolm C. Duncan (2004). Duncan's Masonic Ritual and Monitor. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 36. ISBN 9781417911134. 
  2. Gilkes, Peter (July 2004). "Masonic ritual: Spoilt for choice". Masonic Quarterly Magazine (10). Retrieved on 2007-05-07.
  3. Duncan, pp. 77–78.

References

  • Curl, James Stevens (1991). The Art and Architecture of Freemasonry: An Introductory Study. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press. ISBN 1585671606. OCLC 493971613. 


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