Just a few Masonic symbols to help understand the fraternity.
Square and Compasses
It is a widely known symbol of Freemasonry. Both the square and compasses are architect's tools and are used in Masonic ritual as emblems to teach symbolic lessons. It is often seen with the letter "G" in the middle, which stands for “geometry”, a powerful science that helps unravel the mysteries and wonders of nature.
Ancient tradition says the letter "G” placed at the center of the symbol, represents God and Geometry. Belief in God is the primary requirement in order to become a Freemason; no atheist can be a member of this oldest, largest and most widely recognized fraternal organization in the world.
The compass (to draw circles), represents the realm of the spiritual eternity. It is symbolic of the defining and limiting principle, and also of infinite boundaries.
The angle measures the square, the symbol of earth and the realm of the material. The square teaches us to square our actions with all mankind, to be square, it is also the emblem of the Master of the Lodge because it is the proper Masonic emblem of his office. The square also represents fairness, balance, stability, giving a foundation for building upon.
Together, the compass and square represent the convergence of matter and spirit, and the convergence of earthly and spiritual responsibilities. As measuring instruments, the tools represent judgment and discernment.
It is the most iconic symbolic emblem of Freemasonry. It is the unique badge of a Mason and it is considered a tool. It’s said to be more honorable than the Roman Eagle or the Golden Fleece, the Masonic apron is literally, the badge of a Mason carried with him into the next existence. Celebrated in poetry and prose, the Lambskin Apron is the initial gift of Freemasonry to a candidate, and at the end of life’s pilgrimage it is placed on his mortal remains and buried with his body in the grave.
This badge symbolizes regeneration, or a new life. It refers to the "pure heart."
It goes back to the days of working Masonry, when masons wore a long apron of thick leather to protect them against splinter; of rock and blows from their tools. As a piece of protective clothing, the apron symbolizes hard work and at the same time it helps create and maintain the strong bond of belonging to the same fraternity.
It is said that the apron refers to the "pure heart" and is associated with purification, which – in Freemasonry - was always symbolized by the cleansing, which preceded the ancient initiations into the sacred Mysteries.
All-Seeing Eye (Eye of Providence)
It is a powerful symbol that has been used for hundreds of years, if not longer. Some scholars trace its history to ancient Egypt and the Eye of Horus. The symbol has been an important Christian symbol that can often be found on stained glass windows of churches.
In the United States, the Eye Of Providence is often associated with conspiracies, the Illuminati, the Vatican and the Freemasons, who started publicly using the symbol in 1797.The all-seeing eye of God and is a reminder that humanity's thoughts and deeds are always observed by God (who is referred to in Masonry as the Great Architect of the Universe).
Usually, the Masonic Eye of Providence has a semi-circular glory below it and is (sometimes) enclosed by a triangle.
The rough Ashlar and the perfect Ashlar are not just two pieces of stone but a clear representation of what we’ve been and what we hope to be. They symbolize Man's moral and spiritual life.
Ashlars are representation of the very beautiful symbol. The rough and perfect ashlars bear the same relation to each other as ignorance does to knowledge, death to life, and light to darkness. The rough Ashlar (rude, natural stone), which masonically, is a symbol of men’s natural state of ignorance and a symbol the profane world. The perfect Ashlar is already prepared (hewed, squared, polished and smooth) and as such it’s used in the building. It’s a symbol of the state of perfection attained by means of education.
In essence, in Freemasonry, it means that by means of education and the acquirement of knowledge, a man, who begins as a Rough Ashlar (an imperfect stone) improves the state of his spiritual and moral being and becomes like the Perfect Ashlar and makes the final journey to the Grand Lodge Above. He may leave behind a reputation as a wise counselor, a pillar of strength and stability, a Perfect Ashlar on which younger Masons may test the correctness and value of their own contribution to the Masonic order.
Light is a significant Freemason symbol representing truth and knowledge. When a candidate goes through the initiation and understands the truths of Masonry, he is considered enlightened. Though many ancient civilizations worshipped the Sun, to Freemasons light is not material but a representation of knowledge. Though many ancient civilizations worshipped the Sun, to Freemasons light is not material but a representation of knowledge and character.
To Freemasons, Acacia is a symbol of immortality of the soul. By its evergreen and unchanging nature this sacred plant reminds a person that we all should strive to follow a better spiritual path within us. Our spirituality is as an emanation from the Grand Architect of the Universe, and as such it can never die. Acacia plays an important part in the in the ritual of Freemasonry and the plant is also a symbol of innocence.