***The contents of this article involve a topic that is strictly taboo for certain people due to their religious beliefs. The information in this article is NOT about sending “hidden messages” or the promotion of any religious belief system. This article is strictly an informational piece written about a topic that I have been, and still am researching for my own understanding. The contents explained are that of a SYMBOLIC nature and NOT literal.***
For the past six or seven months I’ve been especially fascinated with the the topic of spiritual beliefs and why people believe what they do, though I have been interested in the occult philosophies since I was a teenager. The context of the philosophical content behind the occult in general are extremely difficult to understand. Like philosophy, it requires deep thinking, and sometimes years of study. Seeing that I am going through some very dramatic changes in my life (in a very positive way), I am more and more fascinated about “why” things happen, but more so, by what makes someone say “This is how it is,” based on nothing more than faith alone. Coming from a skeptical and more agnostic background, I needed rational explanations and not cryptic sentences given by wide-eyed loonies with forced mannequin smiles – be they New-Agers, Christians, or followers of some other religion. So, I began to pour into books written before the New Age movement, as well as those written by people who actually knew what they were writing about and weren’t parroting information they themselves didn’t understand. As my research has progressed, what I am beginning to discover is that this area is a rabbit hole that goes unfathomabley deep into the unconscious mind and that there is no one answer, yet, in a bizarre multi-paradoxical twist, there are multiple – and seemingly endless – answers that all relate to one another, no matter how separate those individual answers may be. Unfortunately, an in-depth summary of what my studies have concluded would literally fill a book, so I am forced to condense this topic into a very small one by using a fictitious character that brings up very deep and powerful emotions in people.
This weird journey for me began while reading Graham Hancock’s book “Magicians of the Gods.” If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it. But for the sake of time, I’ll give a brief summary, given that the content is what drove me down this wild path I am currently on. In a nutshell, the book is about the ancient world and the overwhelming evidence that humanity survived a series of global cataclysms between (roughly) 12,500 BCE and 11,500 BCE. Without getting too in-depth, this theory is becoming increasingly difficult to debunk. The geological evidence is stunningly in Hancock’s favor, and unlike “Ancient Aliens” (where a bunch of people rattle off some wild and dubious ideas as if they were passing around some good “herb”) the evidence for Hancock’s argument about not only a global cataclysm(s), but human civilization that predates the last Ice Age is uncomfortably shocking.
(For further information on this topic I highly recommend picking up the book Magicians of the Gods or looking up Graham Hancock on YouTube, especially his appearances on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast.)
Because of Hancock’s book, I was inspired to dig even deeper as so much of what Graham said in his book made so many synchronistic connections for me from previous information I was aware of long before reading this book. Over the next several months I went from book to book pouring into topics from Western Occultism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and psychology. What soon became evident to me was that “spirituality” is ultimately man’s struggle (and other’s mastery) of bridging the conscious mind with the unconscious mind. You will notice the one theme that transcends all religions, is the use of both literally and pictorial symbolism. The dogmatic stories make absolutely no sense. However, when you view the stories from the context of symbolism, the pieces of the puzzle start to come together and you can then begin to make connections to hidden meanings behind the nonsensical dogma.
For me, this idea of the use of symbolism as a means of communication from and to the unconscious mind was further solidified after reading the works of Carl Jung in books such as “Man and his Symbols.” This book explained how our unconscious mind is not logical and interprets information not through discussion and rationale, but rather imagery and emotion.
For example: Think of the last dream you can remember. Did it make any sense? Probably not. Did you see and do things that were not physically or logically possible? How were you feeling? Did you feel great like you had just won something, or did you feel terror like something was chasing you?
Whatever the answer, the reason why your dreams come to you the way they do is because while you are asleep, your conscious mind is not active, it is your unconscious mind that is meddling with information you have experienced or you are feeling in your conscious and waking life and then presenting them to you through the use of imagery/symbols and emotions.
Which brings me to the title of this article: Baphomet
In recent times mankind has found itself in a very odd spiritual position. We are no longer burning people who don’t believe in Jesus, however, there is still mass slaughter going on around this planet for other reasons involving people’s fanatical dogmatic insanity, especially in the Muslim world. Though in the west we aren’t burning people, many people of devout religious Christian faith are still attacking “non believers” verbally and through the use of societal laws to impose their will. And according to Christians, the main “culprit” of all that is evil in the world is a character named “Satan,” a.k.a. “the Devil.” Given the fact that most fanatical Christians don’t have the faintest clue about even their own religion, anything seemingly “dark” or “animalistic” is automatically registered in their mind as “being of the Devil.” While some of their perspective is somewhat true (as there are malevolent characters that symbolically represents the dark side of human nature) the idea behind Baphomet being “the Devil” or an evil symbol is complete ignorance.
Baphomet was first illustrated by the French Occultist Éliphas Lévi in 1856, though the character of Baphomet is centuries older. The image of Baphomet is that of a hermaphrodite, half-human, half-goat. It has wings, a goats head with extending horns and a flame above it, a goats legs, a woman’s breasts, fish scales on its abdomen with a caduceus, and it’s arms are in the up (right) – down (left) position with index and middle fingers pointing in each direction.
So let’s discuss the meaning of Baphomet.
Baphomet is an occult symbol for the forces of creation. No, Baphomet is not worshipped as an actual being or deity. “It” is a representative illustration. For those unfamiliar with Eastern and Western occultism, there are four creative elemental forces for life: Air, Fire, Water, Earth (This is also true for Indian philosophy, where as they use the term “Tattvas.” I am not, however, going to discuss Tattvas in this article). Baphomet is a representation of all four creative elements… and more. The wings symbolize the element “Air.” The flame on the top of the head represents the element “Fire.” The fish scales on the abdomen represents the element “Water.” Lastly, the solid cloven hooves represents the element “Earth” (there is more in-depth information on the elements and their meanings both online and in occult books).
Baphomet is a hermaphrodite as well as a Chimaera (hybrid of species both real and mythological). In the occult, the metaphorical symbolism of the hermaphrodite is perfection. It is the merger of both sexes making the two halves into one. The fact that Baphomet is a Chimaera of half-man, half-goat is symbolic of a time when goats where a valuable commodity of sustaining life. The goat was food, money, clothing – all in one. And like the concept we have today of needing food, clothing, and shelter, to survive, the same concept is used and understood for the goat in the pre-industrial world.
In the abdomen of Baphomet in front of the fish scales we see the caduceus. The caduceus is a staff with two intertwined snakes. It is the symbol used by modern medicine today and is also the symbol for the Greek god of wisdom, Hermes (Thoth in Egyptian, or Hermes Trismegistus). This is to represent that the figure of Baphomet is that of wisdom. It is made up of all the elements required for life as well as contains the “wisdom” of life and creation – as represented by the caduceus.
Next there is the pentagram on the forehead of Baphomet. The pentagram is a symbol of the four elements essential for the creation of life along, with the fifth element known as Akasha in the East and Aether – or Either- in the West. Akasha is the “life force” which the four elements come from, as well as that which gives the combined four elements “life” as we know it. The image of Baphomet is also used by Satanists, however, the subtle difference between the use of Baphomet in the Satanic practices compared to the occult symbol is that the pentagram on the forehead of Baphomet for Satanic practitioners is faced upside down.
Lastly (and probably the most recognized yet least understood symbol by religious conspiracy theorists) is the position of Baphomet’s arms. The right arm is pointing up with its index finger extended and the left arm is facing in the opposite direction with the same gesture. On the right forearm is written in Latin “Solve” and on the left arm “Coagula,” which, in English, translates to “Dissolve and Coagulate.” The term comes from Alchemy and is a representation of creation through breaking down elements and combining them with others to create a new form. In other words – from an alchemical standpoint – it is the breaking down of an individual’s conscious soul and creating a “more perfect” one.
However, the symbolism doesn’t stop there. The arms and their directions are also representative of the philosophy “As Above, So Below. As Within, So Without.” This concept is one if the fundamental basics of Hermetic philosophy. The idea is that we as humans create our world from the microcosm -the internal- and manifest in the macrocosm -the external; As above, so below. As within, so without. Even more simply put, you are a reflection of your thoughts, feelings, and actions manifested on the physical plane.
I hope the reader has enjoyed this essay. In conclusion, my understanding of the topic at hand has taken me close to 15 years, and even still I am only scratching the surface. As I mentioned in the opening, I am going through some life changes myself and my curious mind always has a thirst for trying to find the meaning of “why” in everything. I am not religious and I am naturally a skeptic. So for me, researching this topic is not only helping understand the human mind and nature, but my own as well. I hope that this article may have answered some questions and piqued the interest of others who are more or less curious about symbolism, philosophy, psychology, and the occult.
“Human history has become too much a matter of dogma taught by ‘professionals’ in ivory towers as though it’s all fact. Actually, much of human history is up for grabs. The further back you go, the more that the history that’s taught in the schools and universities begins to look like some kind of faerie story.”
― Graham Hancock
Author: Jay Gondolfo is a six year Coast Guard veteran who has a love for personal freedom, esoteric/occult studies, offensive and intellectual comedy, and music.
Feel free to contact Jay at firstname.lastname@example.org