[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: November 1998

To: masonry-ask@MIT.EDU
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 16:00:03 -0700
From: "Amanda"

I am a 14 year old girl who recently found out that her father was a member of the mason fraternity. I asked him about it and of course he would not tell me anything about the group or answer any of my questions. One question I did not ask him was about some of the symbols I have seen. One especially is a picture of a compass with a "G" inside. Does the "G" stand for something or is it just there? The information would be greatly appreciated.

Greatly Confused,

To: "Amanda"
Subject: Re: Questions 
In-reply-to: Your message of "Tue, 10 Nov 1998 16:00:03 MST."

Dear Amanda,

Don't feel too bad. Most men who join the Masons think that most everything they are told in lodge is something they have to keep secret. Actually, there are only a few real secrets. Nearly everything else in Masonry is open to anyone with the respect and interest to learn.

The letter G stands for several things, including Geometry and the grand Geometer who designed and made the Universe.

The G in our emblem is shown inside two of the tools used by architects and stone-masons: the square and the compasses.

  • The "operative" (stone-working) masons of the Middle Ages used the SQUARE to get the angles of their stones and walls just right (proper squares and rectangles with good "right angles") and Freemasons today use the square to remind us that we should keep our actions "square and right".
  • As you know, COMPASSES are to draw circles and to lay off distances in a drawing. That's how operative masons used it. In your father's lodge (and mine) we use the compasses to draw boundary line around ourselves, between what is proper to do or have and what is "out of bounds". It helps us remember to keep our temper, to not act greedy, and so on.

You can probably think of other ways that those tools could teach moral lessons for yourself. If you do, and then you try to live by those moral lessons, then you are practicing the real Masonry, whether or not your dad or anyone else knows it!

You should ask your father to get a copy of the book The Craft and Its Symbols by Allen E. Roberts, and that after he has read it, he should let you read it. It was written by a fine Masonic author who wanted Masons to have a better idea of what their Craft was about, and to know which parts of it weren't a secret. If he can't find the book through his own lodge or grand lodge, he can get it on-line from Macoy Publishing -- you can find their page from my Pointers page. And if your dad wants to know who says that you are allowed to read it, you can tell him that "a qualified instructor from a Massachusetts lodge of instruction and six-time past master" says so. :-)

If you, or your dad, would like to ask more questions about Masonry, I would be glad to hear from either of you. I think it's great that you want to know more about your dad's interests. There are probably men all over the country who would love it if their kids showed interest and curiousity about their lodges and similar activities.

Also, you might care to know that there are two organizations for girls your age that are sponsored by Masons: Job's Daughters and the Rainbow Girls. If you were interested, you could find out if either one has a chapter in your area.


| Gary L. Dryfoos <dryfoo@mit.edu>| PM: Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Saugus GL Mass.
| P.O.Box 425400, Camb, MA 02142  |   & Mt. Scopus Lodge AF&AM, Malden ""
| http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/  | MPS; B'hood of the Blue Forget-Me-Not;
| w: 617.253-0184 f: 617.258-6875 | Internet Lodge #9659, East Lancs UGLE
|     "...one sacred band, or society of Friends and Brothers, among
|      whom no contention should ever exist, save that noble contention,
|      or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree."

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