The Origin of the Baphomet, or Why Goats Are Satanic

Why Goats are Satanic
Why Goats Are Satanic

Have you ever wondered what the Baphomet stands for? Or why people think that goats are Satanic? This page explores some of these mysteries on how the goat as Satan, a figure of evil, became adopted by modern day Satanists.

Why are goats Satanic?

Between the histories of Judaism and Christianity, it was first the Jewish who used the symbolism of the goat. The goat was named Azazel, and it was used in a ceremony to represent the sins of the people.

The name came from the jewish “ez azel” the “goat” (ez) which “escapes” (azel)1 The goat became symbolic for the word “scapegoat”, one who takes the blame for other people.

From the New American Standard Bible, Leviticus 16:10, we find: “But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.”

The Azazel goat represented the sins of the people, and when it was released into the wilderness in their ceremony, the people were freed from their wrongdoings. In the ceremony, two male goats were chosen, one representing Jehovah and the other representing the scapegoat, Azazel. The goat chosen in the ceremony was sent into the wilderness to bear the sins of the people.

It was because of this tradition that the goat became symbolic of Satan, who became the scapegoat for the sins of the people. In time, Christianity adopted the symbolism of the goat and it’s representation for Satanism, and Judaism in general.

For centuries after, the goat as Satan was seen time and time again as a symbol of Satan. So it was common for Christians to scapegoat other groups and religions with their chosen symbol of Satanism. This was seen time and again, even in modern times, as explored in my essay: The Satanic Panic – Exploring the False Accusations of a Moral Panic.

The Baphomet as a Symbol of Satan

But, where did the Baphomet originate? The word “baphomet” appears as early as 1098, during the crusades, perhaps as a corruption or misunderstanding of the name “Mohammet”. Another theory on the origin of the name was the translation of a Christian soldier recorded during the crusades that named the Muslim mosques “Bafumarias“.2 This remains our most reliable source for the name. Unfortunately, history is not exactly clear on the matter, so we can only speculate on it’s true origins which are numerous throughout history.

Baphomet as an Idol of the Templars

The history of the Knights Templars also contributed to why people think goats are Satanic. During the Crusades, the Templars were money-lenders who did business with King Phillip of France. Unfortunately, Phillip owed the Templars a large sum of money, but instead of paying them, he decided to have them captured and tortured into confession.3

Several of them confessed to worshiping a goat-like figure or idol named “baphomet”. This coerced confession sealed their place in history erasing all the good they had done. Their secret society, outside of the bounds of the rule of the church, made it easy for people to suspect them of wrongdoings. They essentially became a scapegoat for evil, and it was from here that the Baphomet became associated with Satan.

Eliphas Levi Popularizes The Baphomet Goat As Satan

Why Goats Are Satanic
Eliphas Levi, Baphomet

Later on in history, it was the occult author Eliphas Levi who created the famous Satanist symbol with the image of Baphomet. From his book “Dogmas and Rituals of High Magic”, he drew comparisons between the Baphomet of the Templars and of Satan.

Levi’s Baphomet appeared as a hermaphrodite, representing both male and female energies. The Baphomet was shown with one hand up towards the heavens, and one hand pointing toward earth.

The saying “Sove Et Coagula”, serves to illustrate the idea that the spiritual will gather and dissolve and form into the gross, or dense material, and that the material will then again gather and dissolve into the spiritual. The spiritual is a reflection of the material world.

More than this, however, for Levi the Baphomet was symbolic of initiation:

Baphomet is not worshiped; it is God who is worshiped, this faceless God behind this formless form, this image which resembles no created being.  Baphomet is not a God; He is the sign of initiation.” – Eliphas Levi, Transcendental Magic

What does this “initiation” mean? According to Levi, the Baphomet was symbolic of the void and the creation that comes from it. Simply meaning, that it is the initiation or beginning from where all things come from. Through Baphomet we are taken to the source and the beginning of creation.

The Baphomet and Satanism

Where the Baphomet intersects with Satanism, it was accepted as a universal symbol for Satan. The image was reprinted and Baphometchanged by several authors throughout time, helping us to understand even further why goats are Satanic.

The goat within the pentagram was first used by Eliphas Levi with his Samael and Lilith pentagram. Within this symbol, found in the book, “History of Magic”, the Hebrew letters surrounding the pentagram spelled out the name of Leviathan. The purpose of this illustration was to show an unholy union between Samael, who was the Jewish angel of Death, and of Lilith, who was the Queen of Demons.

Later, similar versions of the goat contained within a pentagram was created by Oswald Wirth and his book on Masonry4. His same image was borrowed by Maurice Bessy for the cover of his book “A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural”.

The Maurice Bessy Pentagram was then borrowed by Anton Lavey for use in promotional photographs for the Church of Satan in the early years5. Later on  it was redesigned and trademarked to suit the Churches aesthetic needs6. But, by then the symbol of the goat and the inverted pentagram had become part of Satanism in general.

Satanists Co-Opt the Use of the Goat and Pentagram

The Goat representing Satan has survived a long and mysterious history. What once was a symbol of evil has now come to represent the ideals, philosophy and religion of Satanism. A symbol that had been used for centuries to demonize other religions and to destroy others through false accusations had become normalized in this day and age, and co-opted by Satanists for their own use.

Satanists have claimed the goat and pentagram as their own, regardless of the where the dark history of these symbols came from. In fact, Satanists even have their own monument in the form of the Baphomet on display in public.

I like that the Satanist symbol is an animal, not some human figure like other religions have. This reminds us that we are indeed, animal, and how we as Satanists will always be scapegoated. It is also easy to see through the dark origins of the figure of Baphomet why people think goats are Satanic.

 

References:

  1. A Biblical interpretation of Azazel, [http://www.johnpratt.com/items/docs/lds/meridian/2009/scapegoat.html] [accessed 8/27/2017]
  2. “The troubadours employ Baformaria for mosque, and Bafomet for Mahomet” The History of the Crusades, Volume 3 p. 497 [accessed 8/27/2017]
  3. Barber, Malcolm (2006). The Trial of the Templars (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press [accessed 8/27/2017]
  4. Oswad Wirth, “La Franc-Maçonnerie rendue intelligible à ses adaptés”, “Freemsonry made Intelligible to These Adapted”, 1931, at Google Books [accessed 8/27/2017]
  5. Satanism Today (amazon) An Encyclopedia of Religion, Folklore, and Popular Culture, James R. Lewis [accessed 8/27/2017]
  6. COS website: [http://www.churchofsatan.com/Pages/BaphometSigil.html] [accessed 8/27/2017]

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