The modern representation of Baphomet originated in 1861 with the French occultist Eliphas Levi, who drew an image of the “Sabbatic Goat or Baphomet of Mendes” in his book Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (Dogmas and Rituals of High Magic). Levi’s image is a hermaphroditic figure, sitting cross-legged, with the head of a goat. The figure contains several opposites: one male arm and one female, women’s breasts but a Caduceus phallic symbol, one arm pointed up at a white moon and the other pointed down at a dark moon. The contrasts were to symbolize conflicting forces in the universe that must be balanced to make true light. Levi meant to combine several icons: the Templar figure; Satan; the fertility god-goat of Mendes, Egypt; and the goat that witches supposedly worship at their Sabbats, or pagan holidays. The goat-like appearance of Baphomet also resembles Pan, Puck, and the demonic Celtic Cernunnos. Levi claimed the name Baphomet came from reading the Latin abbreviation for “the father of the temple of universal peace among men” backwards.
stanislas de guaita
In 1897 Stanislas de Gauaita adapted the head of Levi’s Sabbatic Goat to fit inside a pentagram. De Gauaita’s version of Baphomet included an upside-down, five-pointed star surrounded by two circles. Between the circles are five Hebrew letters, one on each point of the star, spelling the Hebrew word for “Leviathan.” Around the arms of the star on the top is the name Samael, the angel of death in Talmudic lore; and on the bottom, Lilith, a female demon who was Adam’s first wife according to pagan beliefs. In 1969 Anton LaVey adopted the pentagram goat for his Church of Satan and definitively identified it with Baphomet.
Aleister Crowley, the occultist of the late 19th to mid 20th century, interpreted Baphomet as the “divine androgyne.” Crowley rejected the concepts of the biblical God and followed the Gnostic teaching that Satan brought wisdom to mankind.
The myth of Baphomet has grown over the last few centuries via occult symbolism and numerology. Christians should obviously avoid the use of Baphomet; the ideas it represents are patently unbiblical. It is the Lord God alone who gives wisdom (Proverbs 2:6), and to seek for wisdom or enlightenment from a source other than God is to be led astray: “The idols speak deceitfully, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false” (Zechariah 10:2). We should have nothing to do with Baphomet or other blatantly occult icons. As Joshua told the Israelites who were inheriting the land of Canaan, “Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them” (Joshua 23:7).