The square and compasses are not the Lost Symbol. Masonic Symbols and Meanings: Masonic symbols provide a visual means of attaining the beginnings of Masonic Education. These Masonic images are used to teach morals and lessons…much as we use “visuals”, today, to import meaning to an embodiment of picture images and data within a specific school of thought. The statement “A picture is worth a thousand words.” as the best way to learn, is just as true, today, as it was 5,000 years ago.
The square-and-compasses symbol has its roots, as modern Freemasonry may have, in the craft of stone-masonry. Most of the trade’s tools are represented somewhere in the symbols of the Freemasons, the world’s largest international secret society, founded in 17th-or-18th century Britain.
Masonic scholars explain that the square reminds Masons to ensure that their actions conform to a “square of virtue,” while the compasses symbolize self-control over their passions.
The symbol-rich House of the Temple, designed by Jefferson Memorial architect John Russell Pope, is one of two national headquarters for the United States’ 550,000 Scottish Rite Masons. A decidedly non-secretive attraction, the Masonic temple hosts regular children’s concerts, public tours, and the Burl Ives Collection—artifacts of the 20th-century singer, actor, and narrator of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special.