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masonic matters

EMBLEMS & SYMBOLS

by Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Minnesota


Dear Brother,

In the last issue of Masonic Matters I asked the question: "Emblem," What is an Emblem? And is there a difference between an Emblem and a Symbol?

Some may have thought that I had forgotten that I had asked that question. Well hereís an answer to the question.

An Emblem is a representation of something unknown or concealed by a sign or a thing that is known. For instance the Square in Freemasonry is an Emblem of morality, the Plumb Rule an Emblem for uprightness of conduct, and the Level an Emblem for Equality.

Although the words Emblem and Symbol are many times used synonymously, the words donít express exactly the same meaning.

A Symbol is more extensive in itís application, it includes every representation of an idea by an image. So what makes something a Symbol? They are Symbols because they stand for something else or remind us of something. For instance the Octagon shape of a stop sign is a Symbol we all recognize. The American Flag is a Symbol of the United States of America. So Symbols are kind of like a quick way to remind us of something.

We could say that while all Emblems are Symbols, all Symbols are not Emblems. 

The death of Harold Stassen, former Governor of Minnesota has been reported in the national news this week, (he died Sunday March 4th). You might want to know that the former Governor was our Brother; he was a member of Fellowship Shekinah Lodge #257 of St. Paul, MN

Masonic tradition tells us that our Brother Prince Hall was initiated on March 6th 1775 into the mysteries of Freemasonry in Lodge # 441 which was a Military Lodge working in Massachusetts under the Grand Lodge of Ireland and attached to the 38th foot under General Gage, of the British Army. The Master of the Lodge was Brother John B. Batt.

Grand Honors? What are private Grand honors? What are public Grand Honors? Weíll discuss this in the next issue of Masonic Matters.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014