B is for Baphomet.
Baphomet, or his symbol, is a rather controversial figure.
To the masses, the symbol of Baphomet is one of Satanism and evil.
Yet, these same people would have you believe Witchcraft and Paganism is also evil.
Baphomet is depicted as being a symbol of the Devil, even the Devil himself.
The Church of Satan has used Baphomet, as a goat’s head outlined in an inverted Pentagram, as their sigil since the founding of the church by Anton LeVey in 1966.
But the symbol of Baphomet has been in existence long before this time.
Baphomet has been linked to the Knight’s Templar and the Freemasons from the beginning of the 19th century.
There is thought, that the name, Baphomet, springs from a corruption of the Islamic prophet, Mohammed, which was Latinized to the name of Mahomet.
Baphomet appears in the Rider-Waite Tarot card as The Devil.
The Devil card has meanings of power and imbalance, in the form of material over spiritual.
This meaning would align it with the beliefs of The Church of Satan, who ascribe to the theory of materialism over spiritual belief.
The Devil represents personal power, but also the abuse of that power.
The Devil is a complex card and closely studying the symbolism makes it even more so.
Notice that the elements of Earth (Baphomet’s horns and the grape tipped tail of the woman), Air (Baphomet’s Wings), Fire (Baphomet’s torch and the tail of the man), are all present.
The glaring exception is the element of water, which symbolizes the soul, love, compassion and intuition.
Have the couple lost their compassion? Their ability to love? Their very souls?
The Devil mocks the love and blessings of The Lovers card, cursing the couple and reversing the blessings bestowed by the angel, which graces The Lovers.
So, Baphomet isn’t a shining light of positivity in the Tarot either.
It was Eliphas Levis’ who drew the depiction of Baphomet, which appeared in his works, Dogmas and Rituals of High Magic, in 1861.
Looking closely, we can see the many esoteric symbols within this depiction.
Also note, that in this original depiction, Baphomet outlines the Pentagram top side up.
In his book, Eliphas Levi stated:
“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, 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.”
-Eliphas Levi, Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie
In these writings we can see a clear connection to modern-day occult practise and the goal of reaching the level of adept, becoming one with the Divine.
It is a symbol of balance and unity, a must for anyone seeking the divine and balance within the self.
In Levi’s image we see all things are balanced.
One arm is that of a woman, the other a mans.
One pointing towards the waxing moon, the Maiden aspect, growth and femininity, the other to the darkness, wisdom and achievement of the dark Goddess, the Crone.
This is also very similar to the pointing hands of The Magician Tarot card, symbolizing As Above, So Below, which is commonly used in Magick and ritual.
The Caduceus is pictured as a phallic symbol and is also given balance by the breasts on Baphomet’s chest.
The Caduceus is the staff carried by Hermes in Greek Mythology, Messenger of the Gods.
The way this rod is entwined and seemingly emanates from the base chakras, brings to mind the raising of Kundalini.
Kundalini is often visualized as a powerful serpent.
In the unenlightened majority, he lays dormant, curled around the base of the spine, asleep.
In this yogic philosophy, the awakening and raising of Kundalini is a profound experience.
Climbing its way up through the body, it activates, and super-charges, the chakras.
As the serpent reaches, and resides in the crown chakra, it brings awakening and spiritual enlightenment.
There is much more to this, and it can also be dangerous to awaken this sleeping serpent without the proper guidance and care.
The torch on Baphomet’s head signifies the Divine light, knowing and understanding Divinity.
This could even be symbolic of the burning force and enlightenment of the fully risen Kundalini.
The most obvious symbol is that of the head of the goat and his horns.
The connection of the horns to the Pagan Horned Gods cannot be missed.
The wings would be the balance to this.
Wings are symbolic of the element of Air.
Air is the sky, the clouds, the moon, the Lunar Goddess.
While I was surfing the net for this post, I found this amazing interpretation of Baphomet.
Unfortunately, I can’t find the name of the artist.
This depiction returns Baphomet to his roots.
Here Baphomet is an inclusive symbol of divinity.
He is the God, The Goddess, The Earth, The Moon and The Sun.
He is life, spirit and the Universe combined.
He offers a way forward, the path towards connection with the Gods and the life force behind it all.
Far from a symbol of evil and Satan, Baphomet is a symbol of Pagan belief, divinity and balance.
He unites the concepts of Deity, Aspect, God and Goddess, Earth and the Universe.
He is one and all, he is us, he is everything, he is life, death and divine wisdom and the wisdom to connect with these things.