The circle, on the other hand, has always represented the soul.
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The Compasses, however, are bounded by the Square; our circle is bounded by our body. Human life is vulnerable and temporary, in stark contrast with the invulnerable and permanent soul.
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A sign of the union of the body and soul. In the case of the compasses… they represent…the Spiritual.
We have all fallen and descended into matter, which is the material world in which we now live. The body cannot endure forever, and will eventually be destroyed by death, at which point the soul is free again. The soul, though trapped in the human body as we are today, is far from 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.
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 very body he inhabits. The recognition of these inner powers is the key to squaring your circle, or becoming a god living on earth as a mortal rather than a mortal striving to become a god.
This idea is what the ancients call the Vitruvian Man:. Note how da Vinci draws The Vitrivian Man inside a squared circle: he understood the implications of the Masonic doctrine. Da Vinci was not the only famous artist to create a Vitruvian Man, neither was he the only artist to associate it with both a circle and square:.
The Vitruvian Man lives in a perfect state of balance, enjoying a well-intentioned life, esoteric, stable, kind, capable and abundant. The circle is his eternal soul. The square is his temporary body. He knows this; he is illuminated into its gnosis. This is because they understood Freemasonry, unlike the modern Freemasons who have lost the depth and symbolism of their tradition. Above: The Apotheosis of Washington is a masterful piece of artwork that appears inside the dome of the U.
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Capitol in Washington D. All of this Square and Compass wisdom is based on ancient wisdom, and not just from one ancient culture. Within thirty years, the fraternity had spread throughout Europe and the American Colonies. Freemasonry became very popular in colonial America.
source url Over the centuries, Freemasonry has developed into a worldwide fraternity emphasizing personal study, self-improvement, and social betterment via individual involvement and philanthropy. During the late s it was one of the organizations most responsible for spreading the ideals of the Enlightenment: the dignity of man and the liberty of the individual, the right of all persons to worship as they choose, the formation of democratic governments, and the importance of public education.
Masons supported the first public schools in both Europe and America. During the s and early s, Freemasonry grew dramatically.
At that time, the government had provided no social "safety net". The Masonic tradition of founding orphanages, homes for widows, and homes for the aged provided the only security many people knew.