Who – Or What – Is Baphomet?
Back in 2015, the unveiling of a controversial statue sparked widespread protests. And this event brought even more curiosity. The Satanic Temple commissioned it in the US. The infamous statue depicts a goat-headed figure.
But who or what is this enigmatic being? And why did it generate such a stir?
Let’s delve deeper into the story behind this satanic monument.
The name “Baphomet” first appeared in historical records. These records date back to the 11th century. The Knights Templar got accused of worshipping this false idol two hundred years later. It led to their persecution under the Inquisition. The statue of Baphomet gained fame in the 19th century. When questions got raised about the Templars’ suppression and persecution. Some occultists thought Baphomet was linked to the Gnostics and the Templars. In contrast, others saw it as a deity or even a demon.
The French occultist Éliphas Lévi played a role in shaping the image of Baphomet. In 1856, he introduced the symbol of the “Sabbatic Goat”. The goat portrayed Baphomet as a figure with binary elements. And this represents the balance between opposites. Similar to the – half-human and half-animal, male and female, good and evil. Of course, Baphomet’s influence didn’t stop there. Aleister Crowley, a British occultist, included Baphomet in his work. Crowley even featured Baphomet in his “Gnostic Mass”.
The Satanic Temple’s commissioned the statue of Baphomet. But it wasn’t the first time America gripped with controversy. The horned figure got linked to many debates. The entity became the target during the “satanic panic”. The panic happened in the 1980s in America. And in a time when society feared things related to the occult. The alarm led to Baphomet becoming an embodiment of darkness and evil.
Many people blame the statue for their sinful acts. And they even embraced it as a satanic symbol. But why has this ancient and beguiling figure been shrouded in controversy? These misconceptions may stem from Christianity. And their association of any horned figure with the Devil. Christian leaders sought to undermine other religions. They deemed other religions as worshipping false idols. Baphomet, a pagan deity, became a target of their disapproval.
The Public Unveiling Of The Baphomet Statue
It seems that the “satanic panic” never ended…
The first unveiling
The nine feet bronze statue made its first appearance in Detroit in July 2015. At an event organized by the Detroit chapter of The Satanic Temple. The plan was to have the statue displayed alongside the Ten Commandments. Displayed outside the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds.
But the Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered the Ten Commandments monument be removed. So The Satanic Temple withdrew their request. This didn’t deter The Satanic Temple. They shifted their focus to erecting the Baphomet statue in Arkansas. The state passed a bill to erect a Ten Commandments monument in Little Rock. Seeing an opening, The Satanic Temple tried to erect Baphomet alongside.
The second unveiling
Again, The Satanic Temple got turned down. An emergency-session bill blocked their application. And it required legislative sponsorship for all monuments. The Satanic Temple started a crowdfunding campaign. And they tried to bring Baphomet to Arkansas. They met their goal, and top donors even engraved their names on Baphomet’s back.
On the day of the big event, more than 100 Satanists gathered. Along with atheists and a few Christians. They met in Little Rock as the goat-headed statue arrived at a flatbed truck. While Baphomet’s fans were thrilled, not everyone welcomed the arrival. Many had issues with the “demonic visitor.” Protestors showed up with Bible verses and signs reading, “Honk AGAINST Satan!”. And even a shocking display of Confederate flags.
During the ceremony, The Satanic Temple’s co-founder Lucien Greaves arrived. And he introduced the crowd to Baphomet. He presented the statue as an emblem of pluralism. And a legal quality, free inquiry, and freedom of conscience. Despite the grand unveiling, Arkansas said no thanks to the First Amendment. The stand-off and the Baphomet statue got moved. It got moved to an undisclosed location.
The Symbolism Behind The Baphomet Statue
The first depiction of Baphomet was by Éliphas Lévi, a French occultist. Let’s explore the significance behind Baphomet in detail. By decoding its hidden meanings, we can uncover the symbols. Symbols that make this figure so intriguing.
If you look closely at Baphomet’s hands, you’ll notice something. Two fingers on the right hand are pointing upward. And two fingers on the left are pointing down. This gesture signifies the concept “as above, so below”. This represents the connectedness of the spiritual and earthly realms. It suggests that what happens in one realm occurs in the other.
On Baphomet’s stomach, you’ll find an ancient Greek symbol called the caduceus. It depicts two serpents intertwined around a staff. Its imagery comes from Hermes and heralds in general. The caduceus represents negotiation, trade, and reciprocity. Concerning Baphomet, it symbolizes the harmony of opposites.
In Lévi’s depiction of Baphomet, one feature is the presence of breasts. This reflects the intersex nature of Baphomet. And represents the concept of “male-female dualism.” It highlights the harmony between masculine and feminine energies. This feature is absent in The Satanic Temple’s Baphomet statue. Because they wished to avoid becoming mixed in a gender debate. The boy and the girl show the concept of male-female dualism.
Two young children
The presence of a young girl and boy by Baphomet’s side signifies innocence. It serves as a reminder that the statue should be a work of art. And not something people should fear.
The pentagram is a well-known emblem mistaken for Satanism. It appears on both Baphomet’s forehead and the throne behind it. The pentagram is a powerful symbol representing the astral light. According to Lévi, the pentagram signifies the dominion of the mind. And over the elements and the various spiritual entities. The pentagram on Baphomet’s head suggests the “soul’s eye” or third eye.
Torch between the horns
Positioned between Baphomet’s horns is a flaming torch. It symbolizes the pursuit of knowledge and enlightenment. It represents the importance of intellect and curiosity. And the elevation of the soul above material constraints.
Inscriptions on the arms
Baphomet’s arms bear the Latin SOLVE, which means “separate”. And COAGULA, meaning “join together”.
Where is the Baphomet statue today?
They attempted to erect the Baphomet statue in Oklahoma. And at the Arkansas Ten Commandments monument. But it resides at the Salem Art Gallery. Which is open to the public for viewing. It’ll stay here until moved to other religious statues on private property.
What is The Satanic Temple?
The Satanic Temple is a non-theistic religious group. Who promote egalitarianism and social justice. And the separation of church and state. They do not promote a belief in a personal Satan, as most understood. The temple members view Satan as an abstraction. A literary figure embodying rationality and scepticism. And individual and religious freedom – not a deity.