Three Dots In A Triangle: A Venerable Masonic Mark

The emblem of the All-Seeing Eye inside a triangle, although employed in Freemasonry, has been utilized by various cultures, countries, and other fraternal groups (such as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows). When three distinct dots are inside a triangle, however, this connotation is exclusively a Masonic one. Many Masons from the late nineteenth century to this day officially sign their names preceded by “Bro\

The noted Masonic scholar Dr. Albert G. Mackey, 33°, used the phrase “three points” instead of the modern phrase of “three dots.” The following is how he defines the three points or dots in his Encyclopedia of Freemasonry:

Three points in a triangular form (\) are placed after letters in a Masonic document to indicate that such letters are the initials of a Masonic title or of a technical word in Freemasonry, as G\M\ for Grand Master, or G\L\ for Grand Lodge. It is not a symbol, but simply a mark of abbreviation. The attempt, therefore, to trace it to the Hebrew three yods [ייי], a sign of the Tetragrammaton, or any other ancient symbol, is futile. […] it is probable that the idea was suggested by the sacred character of the number three as a Masonic number, and these three dots might refer to the position of the three officers in a French Lodge. […] A common expression of anti-Masonic writers in France when referring to the Brethren of the Craft is Fréres Trois Points, Three Point Brothers, a term cultivated in their mischief survives in honor because reminding the brotherhood of cherished association and symbols.

In my view, the three points are very special indeed, as they allude to the Mystic Tie of Masonic Brotherhood. On occasion, even I have adopted the custom of our nineteenth-century brethren by incorporating the “three points” after my surname if the word “Brother” is not feasible to print. Usually, I do it among well-known Masonic friends, immediately using it as an abbreviation for the word “Brother” as in “Bro\ James A. Marples.”

We must use this abbreviation only in prudent situations, but it proves to be a convenient way whereupon one brother might know a brother, when otherwise they might not be aware of each other’s fraternal affiliations. It is an implied “fraternal greeting” to all who recognize the symbolism behind it.

As for the Frankfurt coin minted in 1773 with the “Three Points inside the Holy Triangle” (see photo), the “three-points” design on this coin is a decidedly Masonic reference. Not surprisingly, Frankfurt am Main was a city which was very much associated with Freemasonry during the Enlightenment. The symbolism may look ordinary to non-members, yet to the Masonic observer, it has the added allusion to the Three Great Lights of Masonry. Like the All-seeing Eye on our US dollar bill. This is not a monetary symbol but rather a sign of reverence for our Creator, Almighty God. Both currencies – the eighteenth-century Kreuzer and the contemporary American dollar bill – are constant reminders in daily life to be thankful for the Blessings which money buys us, for we owe everything to the grace of Almighty God.

by James A. Marples, 32°, Staff Writer, The Scottish Rite Journal

Reprinted by kind permission from the “Scottish Rite Journal”

A one Kreuzer coin, minted in 1773 in Frankfurt am Mein. Note the three dots in a triangle surrounded by a glory.

The All-Seeing Eye of Providence from the Great Seal of the U.S. on the one-dollar bill.