What Does The Freemasons “Square & Compass” Symbol Really Stand For?

By Richard Cassaro | November 28th, 2009 | Category: Archive, Freemason Symbols | Comment

The Masonic Square & Compass…

Very well known, but very poorly understood, even by scholars.

Square And Compass Freemason Symbols

What secrets does it hold? What mysteries does it enshrine?

The answer is, the Masonic Square & Compass relates a powerful ancient wisdom, now lost.

It’s the symbol of man—of you and me.

More specifically, it symbolizes both our outside and inside.

But what exactly does that mean, our outside and inside?

It means every human being is made up of two parts.

There’s the part we see when we look in the mirror each day.

But there’s also a part that we don’t see.

The part you see is your body, but the part you don’t see is your soul.

The Square symbolizes your body, the part you see.

The Compass symbolizes your soul, the part you don’t see.

When placed together, the Compass & Square is designed to teach us that we’re more than just the body (the part we see).

Deep down underneath it all, we are an eternal soul (which we don’t see).

It’s that simple, that powerful.

This is not an opinion, not a hope, not a religion.

It’s an eternal truth, a wisdom unchangeable.

And it forms the basis of a profound Sacred Science, which once informed Freemasonry.

As Deman S. Wagstaff, author of Wagstaff’s Standard Masonry (1922) explained:

“There is one sign which has never changed its meaning anywhere in the civilized world—the Compass and the Square. A sign of the union of the body and soul.”

(I can give similar quotes from a dozen other books.)

Now, let’s delve a bit further.

Let’s start with the Compass, which appears atop the Square.

The Compass symbolizes your soul or spiritual side, the part you don’t see.

The Compass, as an instrument, draws a Circle:

Circle - Freemason Symbols

With no beginning and no end, the circle signifies eternity.

The circle has signified eternity among cultures far and wide for thousands of years.

The Compass is higher of the two.

This is because the soul is higher than the body.

The soul is spiritual and eternal. It was never born and never does. It is pure being.

According to the pronouncements of ancient philosophy, the soul existed before the body and survives the body’s death.

In the heights of the soul are our highest and noblest qualities.

Now, let’s turn to the Square.

The Square is the lower of the two. It is depicted beneath the Compass.

The Square represents the body, which is physical and temporary.

The body was born a short time ago and will soon die a horrible death.

In the depths of the body lie our lowest desires and carnal appetites.

The Square, as an instrument, draws a four-sided square.

The four-sided square is an age-old symbol of the material world, where the physical body is born and dies.
Square - Freemason Symbols

The number four and the square has always epitomized the material world:

  • The Four Cardinal Points (North, South, East, West)
  • The Four Seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall)
  • The Four Elements (Earth, Air, Water, Fire)
  • The Four States of Matter (Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma)

When placed together, the Compass & Square convey the once-secret teaching that we are more than just the animal body we now find ourselves clothed in; the aging egotistical animal we see in the mirror each day.

There is a spark of divinity within us, which is the eternal soul beneath our animal body—the spiritual part of us that animates the body and that departs when the body dies.

Notice how the Masonic Compass (our soul) is always drawn with its point toward the heavens as though falling from the sky, while the Square or body is drawn with its point toward the earth as though emerging from the earth.

This is because, according to the ancients, when we are born the soul falls from our true home and eternal source in the divine heavens. It falls into a human body—a body that arises here on earth.

In Western religion this story is known as the “Fall of Man And His Descent Into Matter” (Matter being the material world in which we now live).

The Compass & Square, when placed together, convey exactly this Fall of Man teaching.

The Compass & Square denote Man’s “double nature” after the Fall—a soul inside a body.

In Morals & Dogma, Freemason Albert Pike wrote:

“The Compass, as the Symbol of the Heavens, represents the spiritual portion of this double nature of Humanity…and the Square, as the Symbol of the Earth, its material, sensual, and baser portion.”

This knowledge pertaining to the Body and Soul of man forms the foundation of a tremendously advanced “Sacred Science” that was once common to all the ancient empires on earth, from the Egyptians to the Incas—a Sacred Science that is nothing less than the Lost Wisdom of Freemasonry.

(For more on this, visit www.DeeperTruth.com and download my PDF report.)

Here are some more interesting thoughts:

“According to this mystic doctrine…all souls have pre-existence and have descended from the spiritual world into the earthly prison of the body…” —John Yarker, The Arcane Schools, late1800s

“…ancient mythicism considered and named those souls incarnated on earth as “the dead.” “To die” was to incarnate; “death” was…the “tomb” of the flesh.” —Alvin Kuhn, mid 1900s

“The human body is the “tomb of transformation” ; the grave into which the soul descends for the purpose of working out its own salvation, for transforming and improving itself, and ascending out of it the stronger and wiser for the experience.”
W.L. Wilmshurst, early 1900s

The Greek philosophers went as far as to say the soul is “imprisoned” in the body, because the human body is not the true home of the soul but an imperfect and transitory vehicle.

The body imprisons the soul because the body must be cared for. In order to survive, the body must constantly:

  • Breathe
  • Eat
  • Drink
  • Maintain A Constant Temperature
  • Fight Disease

Even if the body can endure for decades, death will eventually destroy it.

The soul is thus imprisoned in these conditions over which is has no control.

However…the soul is not completely powerless.

Because it is eternal, the soul comes complete with its own inherent powers—powers that can be rediscovered and exercised right here in the material world.

Though in a “fallen state” the soul never lost these powers; they have merely been “covered up” by the body, rendering them unrecognizable.

As CS Lewis tells us:

You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.

Again: You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.

Masonry exists not only to reveal to Man the presence of his inner soul, but to help him rediscover its higher powers—powers that have been covered up by the body.

Let me repeat. Masonry exists not only to reveal to Man the presence of his inner soul, but to help him rediscover its higher powers—powers that have been covered up by the body.

And this rediscovery is by way of the Sacred Science of true Freemasonry, which is symbolized by the Compass & Square.

Of course, we can’t get into any of it here. Suffice for now for us to recognize that the Compass & Square are a doorway to parts unknown, about our world, our lives, ourselves.

We know we have a body, a Square. It’s clear. We see it in the mirror each day.

But the Compass teaches us about the part we can’t see, the part we can’t touch, hear, taste or feel—the higher “soul within” or “god within,” which is who we really are.

And it’s this part that is more powerful than we can imagine. Remember, our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

If you want more light in Masonry you won’t ever get it without first knowing that the Compass & Square symbolize—they are symbols of—your soul and your body.

Your soul inside your body.

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