Baphomet as a Composite Symbol

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“Baphomet, the Great Architect, the absolute unity, the embodiment of all, is revered by many occult and mystic schools of thought.  Amongst Pagans, Baphomet has been referred to as “the Witch God”, and is the logical result of the union of the God, or primary masculine energy, and Goddess, or primary female.  Baphomet symbolizes the union of all opposing forces in synthesis, without any being neutralized or lost.  Light and dark, male and female, man and animal, positive and negative, all co- exist in Baphomet.  Baphomet symbolizes the act of creation, the first miracle, with opposing forces joining as one resulting in something new, rather than their mutual destruction.  Baphomet has been revered by the Golden Dawn, OTO, the Illuminati, and is rumored to be the secret God of Freemasonry.  Amongst Satanists, Baphomet is also highly honored.  The example of this can be found clearly in their chosen symbol, the “Sigil of Baphomet”.

The Sigil of Baphomet was the symbol chosen by Anton LaVey for his Satanic Bible, and was for a time the symbol of the Church of Satan until they failed to secure its copyright.  The symbol is based upon one found in a French alchemic text, displaying on one side a circle with an upward pointed pentagram and a man within the pentagram with his head, hands, and feet forming the points.  Around the circle are the names “Adam” and “Eve”.  On the other side is the familiar sigil, the goats-head contained within a downward pointed pentagram within a circle.  Around this circle are the names “Sammael” and “Lilith”.  These two symbols represent the higher and lower principles of man, Adam and Eve being the symbols of man in conformity with the will of God, while Sammael and Lilith represent the self-serving urges.    The Sigil of Baphomet removes the names “Sammael” and “Lilith”, and instead replaces them with Hebrew symbols that spell out the word “Leviathan”, refereeing to one of the two great beasts of Hebrew mythology, symbols of the natural forces of the earth and sea.  Given all of this; Sammael, Lilith, Leviathan, why would this symbol be connected to Baphomet?  It is the idea of creating a composite symbol, just as Baphomet is a composite symbol.  By layering one symbol over another,  the power of the symbol is increased.  Other Satanic organizations have taken this association with Baphomet even further, adding to the symbol the “torch of illumination” and the Ouroborus, the serpent eating its own tale.  The torch of illumination symbolizes the Baphometic urge to seek knowledge from within, and the Ouroborus symbolizes self-knowledge through indulgence.

Aleister Crowley also revered Baphomet.  In calling himself “the Beast 666”, he was accepting a subordinate role to this greater force, while also acknowledging the combination represented by Baphomet within himself.  Crowley was a man, but a man accepting the role of the Beast, his opposite, and growing from this acceptance.  Satanist revere Baphomet for similar reasons; Baphomet represents self-awareness and indulgence, and while Satan may be the old Hebrew symbol for these ideas, the one most recognized by our society, Baphomet is a much closer approximation.  The idea of Baphomet in the popular imagination begins with the Knights Templar.   A monastic order founded during the first crusades, this small band of soldiers was charged with occupying the site of the first temple of Jerusalem and protecting travelers to and from the Holy Land.  From a small, poor monastery, the Templars grew into one of the wealthiest military powers in Europe, most likely because along with the occupation of the temple site, they also excavated it, and possibly discovered something of political and religious importance.  Over the time of their existence, the Templars traded in goods and ideas with the east, and from contact with other religions began to re-examine their own.  They had authority outside the Church, with the Grand Master of the order being second only to the Pope, and complete autonomy.  Their discoveries and contact with foreign ideas led them to knew and potential heretical ideas about the nature of reality and of deity.

When King Phillip IV of France and Pope Clement V brought the Templars down in an act to acquire their power and wealth, the Inquisition charged the order with heresy and devil-worship.  Yet it was not Satan that they confessed to revere, but rather Baphomet.  Baphomet may have been the corruption of terms from a number of sources suggesting the search for wisdom, or may have been an actual entity symbolizing the Templars redefinition of deity.  In either case, the destruction of the Templars burned Baphomet into history, even though the destruction of most of their writing left Baphomet also in a mysterious haze for future generations.  Future occult thinkers would discover and explore the idea of Baphomet in greater detail, as with each passing age they would have more freedom to express these ideas.  Baphomet was described as a great psychic force and a cabalistic tool of tremendous power, and as an androgynous being composed of all the elements and none of them at the same time; the prime element from which all others arise.  Baphomet was even described as the light bearer, the role of Apollo, Balder, Lucifer, and others.  Eliphas Levi tried to incorporate these ideas into his now famous image, an intelligent force composed of all things at once, active and passive in all ways.  It is this image that has captured the imaginations of the popular culture, though few grasp its full depth, and write it off as a depiction of the Devil.  Modern explorers of the idea of Baphomet have made the next leap in logic, suggesting that Baphomet is the prime force of the universe, and the universe itself.  Instead of a God that is separate and initiator of creation, Baphomet is creation itself, both the act and the result.  While normally religion and science are opposed schools of thought, in this idea, of Baphomet, they are moving in the same direction.  Albert Einstein theorized about a great unifier, in his mind represented by mathematic formula, just as Aleister Crowely described a great unifier in mystic and magickal terms.  Baphomet has become the nearest human description of this totality.

As this totality of being, Baphomet is amoral, having no guides for right or wrong.  Rather, there is that which is successful in Baphomet, and that which is not.  Baphomet is beyond intellect, being a force, but through us has the intelligence of all.  Thus, in seeking out Baphomet, we need only to look inward, and open ourselves to the possibility of tapping into that totality.  Through Baphomet, we have access to everything, and only need the will and strength of conviction to achieve that which we desire.”

– Ego Diabolus, The Baphomet Codex

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