Masonic Emblems & Symbols ~ Definitions and Differences
When speaking of Emblems and Symbols within Masonic and Freemasonic Bodies, it is important to remember the difference between the two words. While any Emblem may be said to be a Symbol, or symbolic of a notion or idea; all Symbols are not Emblems. More specifically, an Emblem is- more or less- a logo which represents “something”, such as an appendant body or an organization. It then follows that a Symbol might be recognized as an Emblem, but more often than not, a Symbol will be used to convey an idea or a frame of reference to an idea.
Consider the Square and Compass.
When placed together, the Square and Compass are universally recognized as the emblems of Craft Masonry. But they are also, in and of themselves, symbols used to convey powerful lessons which form the basis of Masonry. However it works out, Masonic writer and historians have used the terms interchangeably for a good while, and for the most part, things work out in spite of the ambiguity which sometimes arises because of that use or miss-use.
Consider the Square
A carpenter might utilize a square to create lines that are true to each other and which he is able to duplicate throughout a project, always rendering the same true and square perspective. Masonically speaking, the square is similar in that it provides an ever present basis for morality, which should always be square and true with that of our Brethren and fellow beings.
The Compass, without the Square
The compass- within the building and navigational trades, is an instrument that can be used to trace constant lines, and to measure distance. Masonically, the compass accomplishes nearly the same feat, albeit in a much more spiritual manner. Masons are taught to measure their desires and fervor, as passion, by the always true and predictable compass. In this way, exact boundaries are measured for a Mason’s conduct within and without Lodge.
While this holds true for the Square and Compass, it might not always be the case for others within the Fraternity. There are many other symbols within Craft Masonry that one will learn of as he progresses through the degrees. As such, it is not appropriate to visit all of them in this forum. However, let us briefly discuss some of the Emblems representing different bodies and aspects of the Freemasonic family. These are commonly known, which are above or beyond the first 3 degrees of Craft Masonry, as Appendant Bodies.
Square and Compass- These Symbols together constitute the Emblem of Craft Masonry.
Emblem of the Scottish Rite (Northern Jurisdiction U.S.A.)
A member of the Scottish Rite seeks to:
- Exault the dignity of every person, the human side of his daily activities, and the maximum service to humanity.
- Aid mankind’s search in God’s universe for identity, for development and for destiny, and thereby produce better men in a better world, happier men in a happier world and wiser men in a wiser world.
The Scottish Rite is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry that a Master Mason may join for further exposure to the principles of Freemasonry.
Attainment of the third Masonic degree that of a Master Mason, represents the attainment of the highest rank in all of Masonry. Any Master Mason stands as an equal before every other Master Mason, regardless of position, class, or other degrees.
Additional degrees are sometimes referred to as appendant degrees, even where the degree numbering might imply a hierarchy. Appendant degrees represent a lateral movement in Masonic Education rather than an upward movement. These are not degrees of rank, but rather degrees of instruction.
Shriners International is a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth. There are approximately 375,000 members from 191 temples (chapters) in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Panama.
Shriners International support Shriners Hospitals for Children, a one-of-a-kind international health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs. Since 1922, Shriners Hospitals for Children have significantly improved the lives of more than 865,000 children. The Shrine was originally founded in New York City in 1872.
Emblem of York Rite Masonry
The York Rite is a general term used to describe three appendant organizations within U.S. Freemasonry – Royal Arch Masons, Cryptic Masons, and the Knights Templar.
In order to join these additional Masonic bodies, you must first become a Freemason.
The man who comes to the Grotto had his Masonic origin in a Symbolic Lodge. Where he was taught to revere the name of God and pray for guidance. He came on through the degrees where his knowledge of the dignity of Masonry was expanded and the Grotto was provided for him as a place where he might join with his brothers in letting human instincts for fun, pleasure and amusement prevail.
The Grotto was not and is not a place for Masons to exercise practices that would not be tolerated in the Masonic bodies, or which are taboo among gentleman. The Grotto stands for all of Masonry and wholesomeness in life. It stands for letting in the sunshine on discouragement, grief and woe and it stands for substituting hope for despair at all times.
Without the formalities that attend the Degrees in Masonry, it brings members in close fraternal touch and it breeds confidence among wearers of the Fez. The Grotto has always been made up of men from all walks of life …men you are proud to know …men who travel by preference along the sunny side of the street and who play a fair game all the time.
Membership in the Grotto gives a man the right to wear its emblem and to participate in its good work, as well as enjoy all its pleasures. For more information click on the link below.
Five Pointed Star- The Emblem of the Order of the Eastern Star
What our Beautiful Star Represents!
The 5 points of the star refer to stories which are inspired by biblical heroines in the Bible.Each biblical figure is represented by a color on each of the star’s 5 points.
Biblical Heroines Reflected As Eastern Star Symbols
Adah,(Blue), Jephthah’s daughter, (from the Book of Judges)
Symbol: A sword and shield, symbolizing how she sacrificed her life to save her father’s honor.
Symbol: A sheaf of barley (grain), representative of Ruth, the poor widow in the Bible, who gathered left over barley stalks as her means of survival.
Esther, (White), the wife
Symbol: A crown and scepter. Queen Esther was a great and noble spirited biblical queen, known for her willingness to sacrifice her life for her people.
Martha, (Green), Lazarus’s sister, (from the Gospel of John)
Symbol: The broken column, symbolic of the uncertainties in life.
Electa,(Red), the mother, (the “elect lady”, friend of St. John, from II John)
Symbol: The cup, symbolic of charity and hospitality. Her color, red, is symbolic of love. She accepted God’s will in spite of persecution.
Inside the center of the star, a pentagram (5-sided figure) with an altar is the logo’s focal point. The open book upon the altar signifies obedience to God’s word.
Each of the 5 points of the star are represented by a woman who represents that character within the lectures.
Each woman is dressed in a costume, symbolic of which of the 5 heroines she represents.
Each of these biblical characters share a lesson in the Masonic virtues:
(From Mackey’s Revised Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry, page 303, copyright 1929)
- Adah – Respect to the binding force of a vow
- Ruth – Devotion to religious principles
- Esther – Fidelity to kindred and friends
- Martha – Undeviating faith in the hour of trial
- Electa – Patience and submission under wrong
Emblem of Job’s Daughters
Job’s Daughters International is an organization of young women with members in the United States, Canada, Australia, the Philippines and Brazil. We have fun together at activities such as swimming parties, dances, family picnics, slumber parties, miniature golf, marching in parades and so much more. In Job’s Daughters you will make new friends that will last a lifetime.
Job’s Daughters perform service projects to help their community and the less fortunate. We actively support the Hearing Impaired Kids Endowment (HIKE) Fund, which purchases hearing assisting devices for hearing impaired children.
Job’s Daughters can qualify for various scholarships that are offered on a state and national level. We also gain valuable leadership experience, serve as part of a team, and learn democratic principles as they run their own meetings, decide our own activities, and plan our own events.
In short, Job’s Daughters International offers the qualities that today’s young women want and need from organizations that earn their commitment: fun, friendship, helping others and the chance to learn organizational and leadership skills.
Emblem of Rainbow Girls
Rainbow is a nonprofit organization that strives to give girls the tools, training, and encouragement to let their individual spirits shine bright. By providing members with a safe, fun, caring environment where responsible, older girls can interact and mentor younger girls through family involvement.
Rainbow Girls Are Busy!
By participating in fun events and activities, keeping up with new friends, and traveling to different cities and states, members experience the excitement of what a productive life has to offer.
Rainbow Girls love a challenge!
From volunteering for different charities, to working to improve their public speaking, to mastering the lessons of Rainbow, members tackle lots of challenging hurdles but ultimately walk away with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Rainbow Girls are ready for life!
Whether they dream of becoming a successful veterinarian, a talented musician, or a loving mother, Rainbow Girls learn that they can accomplish anything and that they can make a difference.
Emblem of DeMolay
DeMolay is an organization dedicated to preparing young men to lead successful, happy, and productive lives. Basing its approach on timeless principles and practical, hands-on experience, DeMolay opens doors for young men aged 12 to 21 by developing the civic awareness, personal responsibility and leadership skills so vitally needed in society today. DeMolay combines this serious mission with a fun approach that builds important bonds of friendship among members in more than 1,000 Chapters worldwide.
DeMolay alumni include Walt Disney, John Wayne, Walter Cronkite, football Hall-of-Famer Fran Tarkenton, legendary Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne, news anchor David Goodnow and many others. Each has spoken eloquently of the life-changing benefit gained from their involvement in DeMolay.
The Philalethes Society Emblem
The word Philalethes is derived from two Greek words, philos and alethes. Philos means love. Alethes means truth. Together, they mean “lover of truth.”
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.
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.
More Appendant Bodies
There are several more Appendant Bodies of the Freemasonic Institution, perhaps too numerous to mention in this short listing. However, this is a brief overview that might serve to satisfy some questions that you may have regarding this very diverse and rich in history group of organizations and the people who compose them. This is a cornerstone in Masonry- that it is an Institution made up of individuals, all working towards a common goal- the betterment of all mankind!
So Mote It Be!