Does anyone know of any papers on the internet about the compasses and there different settings. I do know that they are set at 60 degrees but would like to learn more and maybe do a presentation at or next stated meeting.

I suspect that the 60 degrees is a later adaptation to fill the void of the meaning of the compasses. If the compasses constitute a case of illustrated by symbol then we must look more deeply to discover what they may represent. From that we may consider whether any particular opening is relevant. I seem to recall that Christopher Knight in one of his books comments that the equinoxes at Jerusalem generate an angle of 60 degrees but do not recall the details. Of course there are major disputes about the location of the original Jerusalem (named for the Canaanite god Shalim?) with alternative sites ranging from Edinburgh to Moscow

Not every jurisdiction uses 60°. I know some use 45° http://www.freemasonry.bcy.ca/symbolism/compasses/index.html

The compasses are a tool that can be used to construct a square. One reason they are on the altar is to symbolize that a Mister is being constructed into a Brother who will act on the square. How many legs are above the square I take it to mean how ready a member is to construct others to square status. To construct a 60 degree angle it takes an infinite number of steps. It's trisecting an angle. To construct a 45 degree angle takes a very small number of steps. In high school geometry constructing a perpendicular and bisecting an angle are early lesson. That's why I take the 60 degree setting to be symbolic of the divine, and of our goal of ever increasing personal excellence by being a better man this year than we were last year.

The compasses can be used to make far more than a square. And while I have no knowledge of how many steps it takes to construct a 60 degree angle I would like to tell you a story. Upon the recommendation of a friend I read "The Alchemist" by Paul Coehlo. It is a novel about an uneducated farm boy who apprentices himself to a guild of operative stonemasons in the middle ages. In the course of his education they teach him how to do geometry with just a compass and a straightedge. I was following along pretty well until his mentor explained that it was time to draw a dodecahedron, a twelve sided Platonic Solid whose sides are pentagrams. It looks like this: That sounded impossible, so I grabbed a compass and a straightedge and started following the directions. Before long I had drawn a passable looking dodecahedron. I am not sure if there are any 60 degree angles in there but now know that you can draw some pretty complex objects using only a compass and a straightedge if you have the right instructions.

Plato tells us that the Earth is made like a duodecahedron. This has several levels of meaning. It also demonstrates that the pentagon holds the planet together. This tells us something of why the five pointed star is important in Masonry and the human is important in the planet.

That's why I love this site. A lot of mainstream info on Masonry and then the more obscure tidbits like this. KEEP TEACHING ME BROTHERS!!!!

Wow, first time I've looked at this thread and we have some very informed brothers. I don't have anything to contribute as of yet but I'll be following this one closely from now on.