The background of today’s Masonry is found deep in the time when men built the cathedrals, abbeys, and castles of medieval Europe. The stonemasons who created these awe-inspiring, Gothic structures formed craft guilds to protect the secrets of their building trade and to pass on their knowledge to worth and deserving apprentices.
By the time the need for this type of “operative” Mason declined, in the Seventeenth Century, the practices and customs of the operative craft had left such an impression that men who had no inclination of being operative builders sought membership. These speculative builders were learned and well-thinking men, men of integrity and good will. With their admission, “speculative Masonry” evolved. The speculative Fraternity of Freemasons used the symbols (tools) which the operative Masons used in Cathedral building as symbols (tools) in CHARACTER BUILDING.
The two principal tools were the Square and Compass — which together form the most familiar Masonic “trademark” in the world to this day. The letter “G,” in the very center of this emblem, reflects the true Masonic belief that God is the very center of ALL life.