Masonic Square and Compass

One of the most common symbols of Freemasonry is the symbol of the crossed compass and set-square. The compass and square are architect’s tools, and symbolize God as the architect of the universe, among other things.

As measuring instruments, the tools represent judgment and discernment.

The compass, which is used 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 represents fairness, balance, firmness, etc., which is reflected in phrases such as “on the square” and “squared away.” Something that is squared is something that is stable, 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. The two symbols together form a hexagram, the union of earth with the heavens, matter and mind, etc.


A personification of Geometry with square and compass(Laurent de la Hyre)

Related Symbols:

HexagramSkull and Bones (crossbones)Vitruvian Man

Related resources:

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Religious Symbol Dictionary |
November 30, 2009 at 1:03 pm


Al October 4, 2017 at 2:50 am

I see the symbol as relating to the pythagoreans to some extent. The compass is the active principle, the square is the passive one, and the interaction between these two symbols resides at the essence of creation. Euclidean space in 3 dimensions may be defined by an xyz matrix of intersecting right angles. This matrix is formless and void unless acted upon by a point energy object, which forces a uniform spherical fluctuation to emanate from its center. This point is of the noumenal realm, and its interaction with space gives rise to the phenomenal, or temporal one. This object is the first being, also known as the ‘monad’. The monad polarizes and becomes the dyad (positive/negative charges), which produces an atom, the building component of matter.

Chas Inca August 13, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Masonic Symbols are like fingerprints. Each Mason has his own unique perspective. There is no “definitive” meaning to any of them but rather a plethora of meanings among which one is free to pick and choose.

While I take the compasses (heaven) and square (Earth) to have one general interpretation, there are other many other interpretations that are equally valid.

Freemasonry is NOT Dogmatic – despite the distorted perspective of some.

GERHARD PARDOOF April 14, 2013 at 11:59 pm

actually if you would prolongate square to the tip of compas and draw a line you get the symbol for “female” , the same goes for compas , funny ol’ world it’nit ?
David , are U a stonecutter ? I’m willing to bet you laid the basics of life as we speak ? Freemasonry is not anti-social , it just that way ever since people rejected free thoughts and started to live in chaos … . Where their lies money or wealth their also lies greed and hate , an complete contradiction of the allseeing eye , or symbol for Sun , which is used in alchemy to denote “Gold” . Goodmorning .

David August 21, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I don’t “hate Masonry because it lives in a far more ancient place than the dominant religions of today.” I hate Masonry because it’s anti-church and anti-nationalist and in every other way antisocial. It does not (as claimed) work for the betterment of mankind or self-improvement. It works only for the promotion of its own members at the expense of society. And I hate Masonry because it’s Luciferian and gnostic in its dogma. And I hate Masonry because it lies when it says its not a religion when in fact it preaches and teaches gnosticism.

Masonic Hammer July 7, 2012 at 11:32 am

The Mason that posted on here earlier is actually correct. Those of us Master Masons are actually more amused by the conspiracy theory interpretations sites like to put forward.

Your Friendly Master Mason and Senior Deacon.

Seeker13 January 17, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Actually I believe the author of this article to be correct. If you review Albert Pike’s commentary and associated symbolism as noted in the following link ( you will see that the tool’s meanings are defined by their use. The square is of the earth the compass is of the heavens, one is linear (male) the other circular (female).

On a personal note I look forward to the day all the anti-Masonry started by a fearful Church still in competition with the Mithraic Tradition and the concept of their Christ figure of light, who made the light bringer synonymous with the Devil, when he actually warred against their Devil figure, Ahriman can be fixed. One day we will understand the true wisdom is mankind’s relationship to the universe and the golden rules. Please don’t hate Masonry because it lives in a far more ancient place than the dominant religions of today.

Love and Light.

Kabi September 21, 2011 at 3:58 am

Is this architect symbol?

Anthrax August 12, 2011 at 4:33 am

Right! Funny how they don’t want us to know what it really means.

LEAVE BABYLON July 24, 2011 at 12:52 pm

lol did anyone notice how the 3 sources are not found. kinda expected that

CURIOUS September 3, 2010 at 1:09 am

do you happen to have a link with such info???

A Mason June 27, 2010 at 2:17 am

The meaning you have posted incorrect. In general the compass is referred to in Masonry as the symbol of mans passions (lust, anger,sloth, ect.) circumscribed by his will, thus the compass. That particular symbol has nothing to do with god.

Jennifer July 7, 2010 at 12:08 am

Actually, if you investigate further, you’ll find the symbol as such was in use for much longer than modern freemasonry, and as an inherited emblem, inherits also its earlier meanings. :)

William June 20, 2010 at 12:11 pm

I’d also like to tell that the three related sources are not found (404).

William June 20, 2010 at 12:10 pm


I loved this website, very good information and straight-forward.
I also read that the compass symbolizes man (active principle) and square symbolizes woman. Is it correct?

By the way, why masons love so much this connecion of opposites, like woman and man?

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