In store, we have a large selection of statues of deities from many religions/faith paths. Weekly, I’ll be introducing you to each deity we stock and provide a little information on their significance.
The Siege of Antioch- Baphomet or Mahomet?
When hearing the name Baphomet, the most common image conjured in people’s minds is of the Goat headed hermaphroditic figure sitting crossed legged with each hand pointing two fingers up and down as first depicted by French Esoteric poet Eliphas Levi. Baphomet is a widely misunderstood figure, commonly being mistaken for Satan or satanic practices. This, however, is not the case. The first mention of Baphomet comes from an 11th century letter written during the First Crusade (1098). The letter, focussing on the Siege of Antioch, states that the captured Turks were calling out to Baphomet for help and protection. Poetic works from the time of the siege used the name Bafomet, perhaps a misheard pronunciation of the name Mahomet (the prophet Muhammed), and called a mosque a Bafumaria.
The Knights Templar
During the 14th century, King Philip IV started a widespread purge and torture of the medieval order the Knights Templar. The confessions of those tortured were recorded and many mentioned Baphomet. The widespread belief that Baphomet is a satanic deity may originate from these confessions, as those put on trial in 1307 were accused of defacing a crucifix and worshiping a human head with three faces that promised them worldly riches if they worshiped it. It was not until the 19th century that the Templar’s apparent worship of Baphomet was examined through different eyes, with scholars of the time believing those taking note of the confessions did indeed mishear the French pronunciation of Mahomet and that the Knights Templar may have simply converted to the Islamic faith. The Freemasons, however, claimed that the Knights Templar followed a Gnostic faith and that the name Baphomet was a derivative of the Greek for ‘Baptism of Wisdom’ (baphe metous). Whilst the Freemason’s claimed the origins of Baphomet was from the Greek language, some believe it in fact derives from the Hebrew language Atbash- in which the first and last letters etc are substituted for each other. If the name Baphomet is spelled using the Atbash system, it becomes Shofya. This once again can be interpreted as having Greek origins, as Shofya would become Sophia, meaning wisdom.
As mentioned earlier, Eliphas Levi brought to life the Baphomet many know today in his works Dogma and Rituals of High Magic (1854 and 1856). In these works, Levi presents Baphomet as a figure of worldly balance, stating that “This sign expresses the perfect harmony of mercy with justice. His one arm is female, the other male…”. This quote from Levi shows how his rendition of Baphomet was not a force of evil or darkness, but one of balance in opposites and equality. The details in Levi’s Baphomet reveal more of these balancing opposites. For example, the inscriptions on Baphomet’s arms- solve and coagula- represent two opposing methods in alchemy. The positioning of Baphomet’s hands depict another, the left hand is pointing upward with the right pointing downward- depicting the Hermetic concept of As Above, So Below. This phrase comes from a Hermetic source known as ‘The Emerald Tablet’ and is traditionally used to show how different levels of life influence another. Perhaps the most obvious depiction of opposing balance in Levi’s Baphomet is the hermaphroditic representation of female breasts and, rather than a phallus, the Caduceus. Baphomet depicts each of the elements- on the stomach are scales surrounded by a semi circle, representing both water and air. Baphomet is sitting cross legged on a circle depicting Earth, whilst a torch of fire sits between the horns. All of the symbolic features of Levi’s Baphomet show how the deity is one of harmony and duality in the world.
Baphomet has played a large role in the history of the occult, the left hand path and Thelema- the spiritual philosophy founded by Aleister Crowley in the
1900s. The now famous image of the head of Baphomet
set in an inverted pentagram became the symbol of LaVeyan Satanism which is practiced widely around the world today. Baphomet is used in the world wide best selling tarot deck Rider-Waite, representing the card ‘The Devil’, which represents balance- taken from the original significance of Baphomet. We stock three beautiful statues to represent this much misunderstood deity. One representation of Baphomet himself- available in both black and in white with gold detailing- is true to Levi’s depiction of Baphomet. The other is a depiction of Baphomet’s Alter being tended by two hooded skeletal figures with a cauldron in the centre and the more modern depiction of Baphomet’s head in an inverted pentagram hanging above. Whichever form of the deity is your preference, they are a wonderful way to show your respect for this deity of harmony and balance.
The Dark Lord (White and Gold) £31.25
The Dark Lord (Black) £27.50
Baphomet's Alter £55
Rider-Waite Tarot Deck £15