Updated march 26th 2020. Baphomet, or the Goat of Mendes, is a symbol that throughout history has played a mysterious and often misunderstood role. And though symbols and their meanings alter with time and society. It would seem Baphomet’s roots are not something society has held fast to. Instead allowing it to become a catch-all image for any line of witchcraft, occult, and esoteric thought. But is Baphomet a dark figure? In this article, we’ll take a look at the symbolism of Baphomet.
One of the first mentions of Baphomet can be traced back to an eleventh century letter penned by a crusader named Anselm of Ribemont. Who describes a Templar ritual to Baphomet and God held before a battle.
In more recent times The Church of Satan, created by Anton LeVay in 1966. Has adopted the image of Baphomet as their insignia. Calling it the “Sigil of Baphomet,” and using it to suggest that logic—specifically Luciferian logic—stand as an individual’s guiding “moral” force. Yet, at its core, Baphomet is not a deity meant to be worshipped. nor is it a steadfast representation of Luciferian logic. But instead something bigger, more widely encompassing.
The symbolism of Baphomet.
Eliphas Levi has given the most famous depiction of Baphomet. In an 1857 illustration from his book “Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Maggie. ” Levi sketches Baphomet out in solemn detail and poise. Levi then explains the image and it’s detailed, symbolic meaning.
“The goat on the frontispiece carries the sign of the pentagram on the forehead. With one point at the top, a symbol of light, his two hands forming the sign of Hermeticism (as above, so below). the one pointing up to the white moon of Chesed. The other pointing down to the black one of Geburah. This sign expresses the perfect harmony of mercy with justice. His one arm is female, the other male like the ones of the androgyn of Khunrath. The attributes of which we had to unite with those of our goat because he is one and the same symbol. The flame of intelligence shining between his horns is the magic light of the universal balance.
The image of the soul elevated above matter, as the flame, whilst being tied to matter, shines above it. The ugly beast’s head expresses the horror of the sinner, whose materially acting, solely responsible part has to bear the punishment exclusively; because the soul is insensitive according to its nature and can only suffer when it materializes. The rod standing instead of genitals symbolizes eternal life, the body covered with scales the water, the semi-circle above it the atmosphere, the feathers following above the volatile. Humanity is represented by the two breasts and the androgyn arms of this sphinx of the occult sciences.”
Christianity and the beast.
Baphomet is a symbol that is meant to represent the sum total of all things in the universe. Acting both as parallel and paradox, showing the observer and student alike that concepts like “good” and “evil” exist only through perspective. That all creatures, things, and ideas have a dark and light side within. Through Levi’s description we find that Baphomet is a symbolic representation of balance and necessity, in all things.
In looking at Baphomet, there is a striking resemblance to other horned deities. Like Rome’s Bacchus, Greece’s Pan, Egypt’s Hathor, Celtic polytheism’s Cerennunos. We may suggest that this is not accidental.
As Christianity swept the world. Allocating all other religious figures and ideals into the occult or “other. ” It is likely that Baphomet rose up as a composite image/deity of the other horned gods. Otherwise forgotten or mistreated by the ruling religion’s mighty hand.
Whether Christianity then appropriated Baphomet as a representation of the devil. Or the devil and Baphomet coexisted with some success, is unclear. But the equation happened nonetheless. Baphomet now stands as a complex image, seemingly representing all levels of the occult, and perhaps this is fitting for a god that represents all and the balance of all. Baphomet stands as a literal, figurative, and meta-composite symbol. More interesting with each glance.
Certainly this isn’t everything about Baphomet. This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. For more about the symbolism of Baphomet. You can follow us on Twitter here.
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