Emblems are a visible symbol representing an abstract idea.
(think in terms of a logo)
Emblems do not represent something else that is invisible. It is
what it is.
That said, many Masonic writers, historians and websites (both now in in the
past) use the words "Masonic emblems" and "Masonic symbols", interchangeably.
This Masonic square and compasses is an emblem of the fraternity. In
fact, the Square and Compasses is trademark protected by the fraternity.
For centuries, the square and compasses have represented the fraternity of
Freemasonry. It is an emblem because its only meaning is that it
represents the fraternity.
When you view it, you would not confuse it with
representing any other entity other than Freemasonry. It represents an
abstract idea, (that of a group of people who conform to specific beliefs.)
When you see the image of the 2 symbols (the Masonic square and compasses) in
this configuration, together, they emblemize the fraternity. They are a
visible "sign" of the fraternity.
All Masonic emblems are symbols, but not all symbols are emblems.
Emblems only have one meaning, however, symbols can have multiple meanings.
Symbols are something visible that by association or convention represents
something else that is invisible. (has more than one connotation)
There are 2 symbols used within the Masonic square and compasses emblem,
They are the Masonic square and the Masonic compasses.
Separately, they are symbols because each of them can have multiple
Masonic Square Symbol
The word "square" could be taken to mean:
1. A carpenter's square, used to create true lines.
2. A Masonic square, which symbolizes a state of moral rectitude.
Masonic compasses symbol
The word "compass" could be taken to mean:
1. A compass used by an architect which when a base point
will create a perfect circle around the base point to
ensure that the
work has the correct proportions, thus giving it
beauty, stability and
2. A compass used by a mariner which has a magnetic needle
dial or card by which he directs his course over the
3. A compass used by an aircraft pilot which also has a
by which he directs his course in the air.
4. The Masonic compasses symbolize an implement of virtue
by which we
are taught to circumscribe (create a boundary around)
and keep our desires within due bounds.
The old chart, below, contains a list of the most important Masonic emblems
during the time in which it was created.
These are Masonic emblems because
they symbolize only one thing. Each emblem represents a Masonic degree.
Masonic Emblems of the Fraternity
Here are some of the many Masonic emblems within the
fraternity and its appendant bodies:
Masonic Square and Compasses Emblem
This Masonic emblem is representative of Freemasonry.
Order of the Eastern Star Emblem
The Order of the Eastern Star (or O.E.S.) is an appendant body within Freemasonry. Members are both
male and female, but predominantly female.
It is the largest organization
in the world to which both men and women may belong. It is a social order
comprised of persons with spiritual values.
It strives to take good people
and through uplifting and elevating associations of love and service, and
through precept and example, build an Order which is truly dedicated to charity,
truth and loving kindness.
The 5 points of the star represent 5 strong
women in history, 4 of whom are in the Holy Scriptures.
The Scottish Rite is an appendant Masonic
organization which continues a Master Mason's education of the first 3 degrees.
It is believed to have been founded on the European continent in the 1700s.
The Scottish Rite consists of the 4th
through the 32nd degree and an honorary 33rd degree, which is awarded for
Their charitable work includes Rite Care Childhood
Language Program, youth programs, scholarships, and disaster relief.
The Ancient Order of the Nobles of the
Mystic Shrine (A.O.N.M.S.) commonly known as Shriners was established in 1870.
It is an appendant body of Freemasonry, based in the United States.
social organization is best known for their ongoing charitable work
in providing funds for the 22 Shriner's Hospitals for Children.
Daughters of the Nile
The Daughters of the Nile is an international fraternal
sociable and charitable organization.
Founded in 1913, for women 18 years or
older, these women volunteer their time to sew garments for children who are
patients in the Shriner's hospitals. (Many of these children require
special garments due to their massive injuries or burns.)
Job's Daughters Emblem
Job's Daughters International is an
appendant organization of young
women between the ages of 10 and 20. They perform service projects to help
their community and the less fortunate.
They actively support the Hearing
Impaired Kid's Endowment (HIKE) which purchases hearing assistive devices for
hearing impaired children.
Rainbow Girls Emblem
The International Order of the Rainbow Girls is an appendant organization for female members between 11
and 20 years old.
This organization encourages its members to be
strong in spirit and kind in heart, respectful toward nature, and giving toward
DeMolay is an international appendant youth fraternity for young men
ages 12-21. Founded in Kansas City, Missouri in 1919 by Frank S. Land.
DeMolay derives its name from Jacques DeMolay, the last Grand Master of the
DeMolay has several cardinal virtues, which are the sole
structure of what they follow.
These cardinal virtues are: filial
love (love between parent and child), reverence for sacred things, courtesy,
comradeship, fidelity, cleanliness and patriotism.
The Philalethes Society Emblem
("Fiat Lux" is Latin for "Let there be light.")
The word Philalethes (pronounced: fill-a-lay-thess,
with the accent on the 3rd syllable, "lay") is derived from two Greek words,
philos and alethes. Philos means love. Alethes means truth.
Together, they mean "lover of truth."
The Philalethes Society was founded in 1928 by a group of Masonic students.
It was designed for Freemasons desirous of seeking and spreading Masonic light.
The sole purpose of this research society is to act as a clearinghouse for
Masonic knowledge. It exchanges ideas, researches problems confronting
Freemasonry, and passes them along to the Masonic fraternal or appendant bodies.