From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"The goat which is represented in our frontispiece bears upon his forehead the sign of the pentagram with one point in the ascendant, which is sufficient to distinguish him as a symbol of the light ; he makes the sign of occultism with both hands, pointing upward to the white moon of Chesed, and downward to the black moon of Geburah. This sign expresses the perfect harmony of mercy with justice. One of the arms is feminine and the other masculine, as in the androgyne of Khunrath, whose attributes we have combined with those of our goat, since they are one and the same symbol. The torch of intelligence burning between the horns is the magical light of universal equilibrium; it is also the type of the soul exalted above matter, even while connecting with matter, as the flame connects with the torch. The hideous head of the animal expresses horror of sin, for which the material agent, alone responsible, must alone and for ever bear the penalty, because the soul is impassible in its nature, and can suffer only by materialising. The caduceus, which replaces the generative organ, represents eternal life; the scale-covered belly typifies water ; the circle above it is the atmosphere ; the feathers still higher up signify the volatile ; lastly, humanity is depicted by the two breasts and the androgyne arms of this sphinx of the occult sciences."— Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (1854-56) by Éliphas Lévi, Waite translation
Baphomet was a deity that the Knights Templar were accused of worshipping, and that subsequently was incorporated into occult and mystical traditions. The name Baphomet appeared in trial transcripts for the Inquisition of the Knights Templar starting in 1307. It first came into popular English usage in the 19th century during debate and speculation on the reasons for the suppression of the Templars.
Since 1856, the name Baphomet has been associated with the "Sabbatic Goat" image drawn by Éliphas Lévi, which contains binary elements representing the "symbolization of the equilibrium of opposites" (e.g. half-human and half-animal, male and female, good and evil, etc.). On one hand, Lévi's intention was to symbolize his concept of balance that was essential to his magnetistic notion of the Astral Light; on the other hand, the Baphomet represents a tradition that should result in a perfect social order.
- As above, so below
- History of the Knights Templar
- Knights Templar legends
- The Magician
- Medieval Christian views on Muhammad