What Do Squares Mean?


Squares, being four-sided, bear some of the same meanings as crosses:

  • Four seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter)
  • Four directions (north, south, east, west)
  • Four elements (fire, water, air, earth)


Because the number four is associated with very material things – the physical elements, the directions of the world, the natural growing cycles of the seasons – both squares and crosses are often used as symbols of the material world itself. Squares, however, are quite possibly even more associated with materiality than crosses because of their visual solidness. A square has volume. It contains space. Crosses don't.

Pairings of circles and squares are sometimes used to represent heaven and earth or spiritual and material. Circles are commonly spiritual because they are unending and, thus, eternal.

Order and Stability

Squares are also seen as particularly stable and orderly, standing for firm foundations both literal and metaphorical. There are very basic reasons why most building footprints are squares or rectangles: they are stable and encourage permanent structures. The square can be seen as a symbol of civilization. In nature, things generally have rounded or uneven sides. Temporary structures are generally not square. Cities, however, are filled with buildings with square or rectangular footprints.

Lack of Spiritual Meanings

Squares generally do not bear the more overtly Christian meanings of crosses such as sacrifice and salvation. After all, Jesus died on a cross, not on a square. Those associations have more to do with the physical appearance of an object (the crucifixion cross) and less about the shape in general.


Shapes with symbolic meaning most often have sides of equal length. As such, while rectangles have many of the same properties of squares (four sides, four corners, all corners at right angles), rectangles are far less often used symbolically.

Magic Squares

Magic squares are squares that have been broken up into smaller squares, each with a number within it, and each column and row of numbers add up to the same value. They are sometimes used to construct occult sigils (including some planetary seals), and each magic square is associated with a particular planet.