PBP: “B” is for Baphomet

"And he shall separate them one from another,

as a shepherd divided his sheep from the goats.

And he shall set the sheep on his right,

but the goats on his left."

— Matthew 25: 32-33

 Spooky and adorning more than a dozen heavy metal album covers and t-shirts, this spirit is something conjured out of the middle ages; literally. An alchemical egregore, the Sabbatic goat we, as witches, tried hiding it; motivated by a need for acceptance in the mundane world. It is Baphomet...an idol descending from Knight Templar records. Steeped in archaic and Kabbalistic symbolism, which I do not pretend to begin understanding, the duality is perfectly clear even to an untrained eye. In my exploration, I am trying to answer my own questions: Is Baphomet a Deity, a Spirit, or simply a mandala for meditation and contemplative purposes?

"Baphomet", from Eliphas Levi's "Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie", 1854

"Baphomet", from Eliphas Levi's "Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie", 1854

Baphomet is hermaphroditic, having a phallic penis with swollen breasts. The snakes intertwine around the phallus, looking something similar to the caduceus of Hermes; I don't think this was by chance. His 'rod' is a wand, an extension of Hermes' creative energies and the mages' staff. At the same time, the breasts are enlarged and full of nurturing milk, inspiration. The anthropomorphic head and hooves are that of a goat, more specifically the Sabbatic Goat of witchcraft. Between the goat-headed antlers is the illuminating flame of intellect; that 'fire in the head', driving the Arte of witches and mystics from a primal/bestial place. The themes of duality continue with the placement of human hands, the feminine pointing up toward the white moon and the masculine down at a black moon, connecting as a liminal gesture signifying something like “As Above, So Below”. Written or tattooed reads the Latin words SOLVE (“separate”) on the upraised arm and COAGULA (“join together”) on the down-pointed arm.

I know...these are heavy-duty mysteries. Baphomet is a composite Be-ing that takes on all kinds of imagery from opposites, combined in a harmonious image of stark beauty. It is the 'moonchild' of Crowley's theories, a result of unifying Babalon with Chaos, the poster-child for left-hand path practitioners, who hope to become deified through apotheosis. Everything at odds within oneself at ease, working together in equilibrium, as one unit. There is no inherent “good” nor “evil”, Baphomet destroys all dichotomies of ethics and morals...why this idol has become adopted by many Left Hand Path practitioners, in the breaking of taboos and embracing ALL sides of magick. I embrace that flame and alight my heart with the fires of Baphomet's inspiration.