Since the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, it has been heighted in film, print, and television globally. One of the most common symbols associated with the church in the public eyes is the Baphomet. Additionally, Eliphas Levi in his work Transcendental Magic wrote on the symbolism of the Baphomet. This led to the uptake of the sigil of Baphomet as it is now referred in Satanism as a foremost symbol in the Church of Satan. But what exactly is this symbol, its history and its meaning. This article seeks to provide these answers.
What does the Baphomet look like?
The most modern form of the Baphomet image was the one depicted by Eliphas Levi in his book Transcendental magic: Its Doctrine and ritual. According to him, it is a winged creature that has a goat’s head but a human body. There is a torch between the goat’s horns and a pentagram on the goat’s forehead. Its arms has the Latin words Solve and coagula meaning separate and join together respectively.
The history of Baphomet
The now prime symbol of Satanism has not always been used by the church of Satan. It history dates back to 1098 when it is the earliest known of the use of the word Baphomet. This was in a letter written by a French crusader in 1908. The word was described as being used by crusaders who were enemies of the Holy Land. The crusaders who were believed to be the Knights Templar in France called upon Baphometh before battle. However, the name could have been Mahomet which is the old French name for Mohammed the Islam prophet.
During this time, the worship of Mohammed by Islam worshippers was viewed as idolatry by Christians from Europe. It is believed that many of the Templars were accused of joining Islam and tortured by King Philip IV of France to confess although these accusations are assumed to have been fabricated.
In 1818 Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall in one of his essays referred to Baphomet as a stone figure which was hermaphroditic that had been borrowed from Egypt and worshipped by the Templars. The release of this essay saw museums in Europe catalogue Baphomets that were carved idols that were said to be associated with the Templars.
The Church of Satan Baphomet
The sigil of Baphomet as depicted by Levi is a sabbatic goat with an inverted pentagram on its forehead. It is used as the Church of Satan logo.
- The Latin words on the goat’s arms references the powers that church leaders claim to have been taken from God by people.
- The two finger salute gesture on the Baphomet according to Levi represents the perfect harmony in terms of mercy with justice.
- Levi also co-opted the Greek symbol of two serpents around a staff that symbolizes negotiation, trade, and reciprocity.
- The inverted pentagram seeks for people to reconsider their values by looking at the available evidence.
- The torch between the horns is a central symbol to the Church of Satan beliefs and it encourages the pursuit of knowledge.
In conclusion, the Baphomet as the prime Church of Satan symbol is not a representative of a supernatural deity. It is a symbol representation of personal freedom, enlightened inquiry, and eternal rebel.