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Baphomet Demystified

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.satanism,alt.politics.satanism,talk.religion.misc,alt.christnet.demonology
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Baphomet Demystified (was Baphomet or Satan?)
Date: Sun, 18 Jul 2004 11:29:50 GMT

SOD of the CoE wrote:

>         c) LaVey's Baphomet was a found object of very
>            simple design; its components are a point-down
>            unicursal pentagram, whose meaning is given
>            by stargod enthusiasts and their inversos as
>            the victory of the concrete over the spiritual,
>            triumph of the demonic over the angelic, etc.;
>            the Goathead is typically ascribed to 'Azazel',
>            which see, and the Scapegoat of Jews which
>            sets into motion the martyrdom of neuvo-
>            religious, plus there are comparisons made
>            between the 'sheep' of Christian churches
>            and the 'goats' of Satanist grottos; the
>            Hebrew letters at the five points are those
>            implying the name 'Leviathan', a monstrosity
>            from Jewish scripture (artist may have been
>            Oswald Wirth, but I don't remember a firm
>            identification: cf. MAquino's or someone
>            else's analysis which is archived in Google
>            or at

The original drawing was by Oswald Wirth. LaVey took as his form of
this image a simplified and less precisely rendered version of the
Wirth art that had been redrawn by an anonymous graphic designer at a
French publishing house in the 1960s for use in stamping the cloth
cover of an encyclopedia of magic by Maurice Besey. Inside the book
the original Wirth illustration was run without credit to Wirth,
further complicating matters.  


cat yronwode

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People's Commissar wrote:
> "Stone Wolf"  wrote

> > Actually, the Sigil of Baphomet historically originated with the
> > Templars.

I think not. I think you will find it originated in the art of a 19th
and early 20th century European occultist named Oswald Wirth, a Tarot
card designer and excellent artist of occult insignias.
> > When the Templars were persecuted, some of them made 
> > claims that the order worshipped a mysterious entity or idol 
> > called Baphomet.

Their "Baphomet" was described by their persecutors as a "bearded
head," specifically. 

The Templars offered no image or sigil of Baphomet at all, their own
symbol being two men riding on one horse, to indicate their vows of

> > They were imprisoned and since they were presumably not in contact
> > with each other, their stories couldn't have been collaborated
> > between each other, yet, several of them did talk about the same 
> > entity,Baphomet. That's one of the mysteries surrounding the
> > Templars.

There is no mystery there. Torturers are known for their ability to
elicit whatever kind of speech -- including specific words -- will
result in a temporary cessation of the torture. You and three of your
friends whose names were picked at random could, God forbid, be picked
up and tortured in three separate jails as a demonstration of this 
Within two weeks, all three of you could be made to "confess" to
having formerly ingested "purple daisies," to having had a shared
password such as "pompadour tea" or to having sworn allegiance to an
entity named "teekanne." That's why confessions under torture have
proven so unreliable -- the victims will say whatever is suggested in
order to bring the pain to a halt. 

> > exactly did they come up with the Baphomet? What was it's
> > significance? What did it mean?

Perhaps a mispronunciation of Mohammed, a term their accusers wanted
to put into their mouths, thus painting them as traitors to

> > The Church, in it's 'infinite' wisdom immediately assumed the
> > Baphomet was a demon, or an allusion to the devil. There ya go.
> > Baphomet de-mystified. Kinda.
> The original did not have the letters that spell "Leviathan" in it.

Anton LaVey's "original" is a crude copy by a publisher's in-house
graphic designer of a detailed drawing by the Swiss artist Oswald
Wirth. It most certainly does include the five Hebrew letters that
spell "Leviathan" on it, just as Wirth designed it. 

Wirth's original also has, in the Latin alphabet, the names "Samael"
and "Lilith." These names were left out of the simplified rendition of
Wirth's emblem that was adapted as a cover-stamping device by the
publisher of Maurice Bessey's encyclopedia of occultism, from whence
LaVey copied it. The full version of Wirth's sigil appears inside
Bessey's book, "A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural."

It is important to note too that Wirth's Leviatahan-Samael-Lilith
sigil  was designed as a counterpart to another sigil, also of Wirth's
devising, in which a naked human figure in an upward-pointing
pentagram is surrounded by the five Hebrew letters spelling "Yeshua"
(Jesus) and, in the Latin alphabet, the names "Adam" and "Eve." 

Wirth was constructing a dualistic, Biblical emblem-set based around
the concept of the upward and downward pentacles as applied to the
Book of Revelations: Upward was humankind (Adam and Eve) and their
saviour Jesus; downward was demonkind (Samael and Lilith) and their
commander, Leviathan. 

Anyone with a grounding in Christian occultism can understand these
symbols -- and can recognize that they have no actual relationship to
the Knights Templar o to Baphomet, either historically or as claimed
by Wirth, who certainly knew better than that and whose drawing was
appropriated by LaVey long after his death. 

Incidentally, Wirth's use of a goat head to represent the downward
facing demonic pentacle (rather than the more typical sea-monster
Leviathan of the Book of Revelations) probably derives from his
indebtedness to Eliphas Levi and Levi's famous "Solve et Coagulum"
drawing of the 1850s, which was published in "Transcendental Magic." 

Wirth had begun his career as an occult artist by illustrating Eliphas
 Levi's notations for an occult tarot deck. He later drew a second,
more sophisticated tarot deck of his own, which is still in print from
U.S. Games Systems and is well worth the price, as it is quite lovely.
He also wrote a book on the tarot, published in French, which
influenced the British and American occult revival of the tarot, at
least among those who, like Crowley, Waite, Mathers, et al, could read
French. It is currently available in English translation under the
title "Tarot of the Magicians," and i recommend it highly.  

If you obtain either the Oswald Wirth Tarot, or better yet, his "Tarot
of the Magicians," you will immediately recognize his artistic style
and see his hand as the creator of the emblem that LaVey and his
followers have wrongly dubbed the "Baphomet sigil."


cat yronwode

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