THE SYMBOLS OF
Freemasons are “Builders”. Firstly builders of
themselves. Next, by living an example and exemplifying
standards of a human society built upon values.
major task is to form oneself, to become a stone fit to be a part of
the “Temple of Humanity”.
To do this, Freemasonry has adopted the tools of the ancient
stonemasons to teach moral lessons. A brief description of these
tools is set out below. Modern Freemasonry is about building the
individual as a temple, not made with stones. (know
ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in
you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
1 Corinthians ch6 v19).
SQUARE is a symbol of rectitude or rightness of behavior and
has been so for 5000 years, long before Freemasonry came into being.
Ancient civilisations used it as a symbol in this way. So common is
the symbolism of the square that it has become part of our language.
e.g. a square deal. Since the try square was so valuable a tool for
the operative mason in testing the dressed stones it is easy to
understand why the speculative mason adopted it as one of the
symbols to moralise upon, symbolising as it does the testing of our
lives to see if by rectitude we are fitted to be stones in God's
compasses are used to delineate a circle. There is an
area enclosed within the circle or circumscribed by the circle. Such
an area has a clearly defined limit or border beyond which is space
outside of the parameter of the circle. Thus symbolically the circle
defines the limit of human behaviour which is acceptable and good
and beyond which we must not go
SQUARE AND COMPASSES. These two are frequently taken together
since they symbolise for all Freemasons rightness of behaviour and
an area of good behaviour. From where does this rightness of
behaviour come? From the Volume of the Sacred Law. What defines the
limits of good and evil? The Volume of the Sacred Law. Thus it is to
symbolise these things that, while the lodge is open, the square and
compasses lie on the Volume of the Sacred Law as a clear lesson to
24 inch Gauge is a symbol of time well spent. It
represent 24 hours of the day and serves as a reminder that part of
our daily life should be spent in our usual vocation, part in rest
and recreation and part in the service of our Creator
COMMON GAVEL was used by the mason to trim the stones to
ensure a better fit. It has been adopted as a symbol in Freemasonry
that we must so trim our own lives, thereby so that we may become
spiritual stones and become more acceptable to our Creator.
PLUMB LINE As the operative mason erects his temporal
building with strict observance of the plumb line which will not
permit him to deviate one hair's breadth from the perpendicular, so
the speculative mason, guided by the unerring principles of right
and truth inculcated by the symbolic teaching of the implement, is
steadfast in the pursuit of truth, neither bending beneath the
frowns of adversity nor yielding to the seductions of prosperity
LEVEL is used to lay stones level. As a symbol it represents
equality. It thus relates to the Masonry concept of God as the
Father of Mankind and all men as brothers to one another. All are
equal in the sight of God irrespective of colour, or language or in
the possession of material things. This symbol teaches Freemasons to
treat others as brothers without discrimination of any kind and to
live our life on the level.