While researching another topic, I happened to run across this on the AA World Services website:
“Q: What is the story behind the Circle and Triangle logo?”
“A: The Circle and Triangle symbol has long been connected to the A.A. Fellowship. It was adopted as an official A.A. symbol at the International Convention in St. Louis in 1955, and from that point on was widely used in the Fellowship. For the Fellowship, the three legs of the triangle represented the Three Legacies of Recovery, Unity and Service, and the circle symbolized the world of A.A. In Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, Bill W.’s 1955 speech, in which he describes the adoption of the symbol, is printed:
Above us floats a banner on which is inscribed the new symbol for A.A., a circle enclosing a triangle. The circle stands for the whole world of A.A., and the triangle stands for A.A.’s Three Legacies of Recovery, Unity, and Service. Within our wonderful new world, we have found freedom from our fatal obsession. That we have chose this particular symbol is perhaps no accident. The priests and seers of antiquity regarded the circle enclosing the triangle as a means of warding off the spirits of evil, and A.A.’s circle and triangle of Recovery, Unity, and Service has certainly meant all of that to us and much more.” (p. 139)
Nevertheless, in the early 1990s, A.A.W.S. decided to phase out the use of the Circle and Triangle symbol on its literature, letterhead and other material. It was decided to phase out the “official” or “legal” use of the Circle and Triangle symbol, and in 1994 the General Service Conference resolved that the logo be discontinued on all Conference-approved literature. However, the symbol is still associated with Alcoholics Anonymous (and other kinds of 12-Step recovery fellowships) and has a special meaning for AA members all over the world.”
There is no mention about “why” the AAWS made this decision. But the symbol is still alive and well and living among AA groups and members today! In fact, I incorporated the symbol into my own DoubleWinners’ logo/gravatar.
The Al-Anon study book, Paths to Recovery, states this about their symbol:
“Al-Anon’s logo is a triangle with a circle inside. The three sides of the triangle symbolize our three legacies: Recovery through acceptance of the Steps, Unity through acceptance of the Traditions and Service through acceptance of the Concepts. All three sides are necessary for the triangle to remain a triangle, just as a three-legged stool needs all three legs in order to stand.
The circle within the triangle has been described by some Al-Anon members as a circle of welcome that carries the Al-Anon message of hope to the many families and friends who are living in or have lived with the disease of alcoholism. In this simple symbol, we find represented the spiritual principles that unite us in our common bond; recovery from the effects of the family disease of alcoholism.”
Even today in Al-Anon, the circle inside a triangle logo signifies Conference-approved literature.
As a history-lover, I just wanted to pass this tidbit of information on to those who might enjoy it!