Masonic Emblems and Their Meaning
Masonic symbols are used by Freemasons to represent various aspects of their beliefs and tradition. These symbols have a long history, with some of the most recognizable ones being used since the Middle Ages. The symbols often show up in artwork, architecture, and literature. In this article, we will discuss some of the more common Masonic symbols and their meanings.
The Square and Compass: The square and compass are the most recognizable symbols of Freemasonry and represent the fraternity's focus on morality and ethics. The square represents morality, while the compass represents the brotherhood of man and the G represents God. Most commonly found on Master Mason Rings.
The Level: This symbol represents the equality of all members of the fraternity and the importance of leveling all prejudices and biases. It also represents the importance of moral uprightness
The Plumb Line: This symbol represents the importance of moral uprightness and the need to always strive for perfection. Most commonly found on Master Mason Rings.
The Trowel: This symbol represents the importance of spreading the teachings of the fraternity and building strong connections with others. Most commonly found on Master Mason Rings.
- The Compass, Sun, and Quadrant, and in most jurisdictions a Square. Past Master is the term used to indicate a Freemason that has been Master or Head of a Lodge in the past.
The Gavel: This tool represents the importance of self-control and discipline, and is used to teach that members should strive to control their passions and desires in order to become better men. Most commonly found on Past Master Rings.
- The Top Hat: Considered a symbol of authority, wisdom and knowledge. It represents the idea that the wearer has achieved the highest level of understanding and enlightenment within the fraternity, and that they have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with others.
- The Double-Headed Eagle: This symbol is most often associated with the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. The symbol represents the universality of the fraternity and its teachings, and it also represents the power and authority of the Scottish Rite.
The 32nd Degree: It is a degree within the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. It is the highest degree that a member can attain within the Scottish Rite and awarded to members who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and service to the fraternity.
The 14th Degree: It is a degree within the Scottish Rite, features the symbol of the Yod as one of its central emblems. The Yod is a Hebrew letter that represents the Divine name of God, and is the first letter of the Hebrew name of God, Yahweh. The 14th degree is all about the pursuit of spiritual knowledge.
- The 33rd Degree: It is the highest degree in the Scottish Rite, an appendant body of the fraternity. It is an honorary degree, awarded to members who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and service to the fraternity. It's also known as the "Sovereign Grand Inspector General" and is only conferred upon a select few members, who have been nominated by their peers and voted on by a panel of their peers.
- The Mystic Shriner: The main symbol of the Shriners. It consist a scimitar, stands for the backbone of the fraternity, two claws or crescent, represents philanthropy and the sphinx, stands for the governing body of the Shriners. The five-pointed star represents the thousands of children helped by the philanthropy each year.
- The Fez Hat: It is a traditional head covering worn by members of the Shriners, an appendant body of Freemasonry. The fez is a symbol of the fraternity's Middle Eastern heritage, and it is also a symbol of the fraternity's commitment to philanthropy and the mission of the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
- The Camel: Common on Shriner rings is a symbol that harkens back to the group's founding. According to tradition, at the first meeting of 13 Freemasons who formed what would later become known as “the Covenant,” an Arab chief appeared surrounded by 13 camels wearing blankets with Masonic symbols on them.
The Crown & Cross: It is a symbol that has been used for centuries by Masons to represent faith, loyalty, and dedication to their organization. The Crown and Cross are known as one of the most meaningful symbols in Freemasonry, along with the square and compasses. It has been historically associated with authority, royalty, justice, law enforcement, and spiritualism.
- The 16th Degree: It is a degree of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, also known as the "Prince of Jerusalem,". This degree is based on the historical events surrounding the building and dedication of King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. It teaches the lessons of fraternity, charity, and the importance of building a spiritual temple within oneself.