11 Nov Secrets & Symbols Of The Freemasons
The Freemasons are a world-wide religious fraternity, shrouded in secrecy and speculation. They were formed from stonemasons’ guilds in the Middle Ages.
Legend has it that the origin of the Masons goes back much further – to the Knights Templar in the time of the Crusades, and even all the way back to Solomon’s temple, and it’s chief architect, Hiram Abiff. There is no proof however, that these are anything more than myths.
The first and oldest Masonic Lodge (that we know of) was formed in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the 15th century. Stone carvings found there are also the oldest known depictions of Masonic initiations.
By the 1600s, there were multiple Lodges throughout England and Scotland, admitting members who weren’t practicing stonemasons. And it didn’t take long for the order to spread to America, continental Europe, and beyond.
The requirements for entry came to be defined as:
- You must be a man (though there are now some lodges with all women members)
- You must be free-born
- You must believe in God, or a Supreme Being
- You must be of lawful age
- You must join of your own accord
In the late 19th century, there was a great schism between the United Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Orient de France, which resulted in a separate branch of Freemasonry, called Continental or Liberal Freemasonry. Those lodges belonging to the Continental branch have more lenient entrance requirements – namely, they don’t require a belief in God.
Members of the order are initiated by degrees. Most lodges have just three degrees: Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason. But some orders recognize many more (like the Scottish Rite, which has 33 degrees).
Each initiation has it’s own rituals, myths and symbols that are used to instruct members in morality and spiritual mysteries. Let’s take a look at some of those symbols, and the meanings behind them.
Symbols of the Freemasons
The primary symbol of the Freemasonry (pictured above) combines many symbols in one – each with their own various meanings and interpretations.
The Square and Compass
The square and compass are tools of the mason, or architect, and symbolize measurement, judgment, planning, intelligent design. The square represents the Earth (a flat plane, or the four dimensions of physical existence), and the compass represents Heaven, the spiritual realm, the eternal (the continuous circle, the heavenly spheres).
The square and compass are also aligned in such a way as to insinuate two inverted triangles – a hexagram or six-pointed star. This is a powerful symbol in it’s own right, with many layers of meaning. It represents the reflection of the Creator in His Creation (“as above, so below”), that the way to understand God is through studying Nature and the universe.
It can also be interpreted to represent the union of opposites (male and female, water and fire, light and darkness, etc.). Those Masonic orders and lodges which are more occult or “hermetical,” consider the hexagram to be “the Seal of Solomon,” a sign of power, protection, and perfection.
The Letter “G”
The square and compass are frequently seen framing the letter G, another symbol with special meaning in Freemasonry. The letter G stands for God, the Grand Architect of the universe, as well as Geometry, the science employed by the architects and stonemasons of old. In the Hebrew alphabet, the letter G (“Gimel”) has a numerical value of 3, and thus it can also be said to represent the threefold nature of divinity, or the Holy Trinity.
Sometimes, instead of a letter G, the square and compass will instead frame a pentagram, or a blazing star. This symbol can be interpreted a number of different ways.
It is sometimes said to represent the five elements (earth, air, water, fire, and Spirit). Others interpret it to be a symbol of humanity – we have five senses, five extremities, five fingers on each hand, five toes on each foot, etc. Thus, the saying, “every man and every woman is a star.”
In ritual magic, the pentagram is a powerful sign of protection
The All-Seeing Eye
Another symbol of Freemasonry, the All-Seeing Eye (a.k.a. “the Eye of Providence”), is perhaps the most familiar. It’s part of the Great Seal of the United States, and appears floating above an unfinished pyramid on the back of every one dollar bill. The All-Seeing Eye is a symbol for God, the Great Architect, which most Masons believe is an omniscient Presence watching over us and all that we do.
We carefully selected some artwork which carry the symbol of Freemasonry, and we hope you like them: