I don’t hide that I’m a Satanist – obviously, that’s part of my website’s theme. But of course, having a Satanic themed website isn’t all there is to being “out” as a Satanist. I say things like “unholy gods of the pit,” or “Satan give me strength,” in lieu of more traditional swears or oaths. I outright tell people who ask about my religion that I’m a Satanist. And I wear my Sigil of Baphomet in public.
I get asked about it fairly often. Not one to hide who I am, I usually try to tell the truth. But, “What does your necklace mean?” is kind of a loaded question, with no quick and easy answer. I usually tell folks it’s a symbol of enlightenment, and while that may be true (for me, at least; after all the only meaning or power symbols really possess is the meaning or power we as individuals assign them), it isn’t exactly the whole truth. The whole truth is a little more complicated than that, and to get to it, we’re going to need a little history lesson.
As with any mythological figure, Baphomet’s origin is a little obscure. The name first appeared in the Inquisition of the Knights Templar in 1307. Now, we believe the word is a corruption of the name Muhammad. Either way, it’s doubtful that, whatever the Templars were up to, they were actually worshiping a goat-headed deity called Baphomet.
That image didn’t come around until much later, in 1856, when Eliphas Levi, a French occultist and author, included the drawing in the second volume of his Dogme et Ritual de la Haute Magic. His is the one most people are familiar with – the goat-headed deity in the as-above-so-below stance, bare breasts, and phallic caduceus perched in its lap.
But while Levi drew the image of Baphomet, he did not draw Baphomet’s sigil. That honor goes to another occultist, by the name of Stanislas de Guaita, and his Sigil of Baphomet is the one I wear.
When describing the meaning of his sigil, he says it is a “symbol of iniquity, perdition, blasphemy; its two points in the air become the horns of the foul Goat threatening Heaven, and whose head is framed with a stellar pentacle, with its low ears in the side branches, and its beard in disorder in the single lower point.” He does not explain the words Samael and Lilith, nor does he explain the letters in Hebrew. Any further meaning, therefore, must be assigned by the wearer.
The letters in Hebrew spell out Leviathan. At least, so I am lead to believe. I do not know Hebrew, nor do I care to learn, so, for the moment, I’m going to take the word of those who claim to know better than I. Leviathan is a figure most people will recognize as a great sea monster which will play some role or another in the Apocalypse of Revelation. Many people think of it as a giant demonic whale, or some tentacled Lovecraftian monster. I personally tend to think of a giant coiled sea snake, much like Jormungandr, the Midgard Serpent of Norse mythology. Either way, Leviathan is an entity shrouded in mystery, sparking the imaginations of thousands.
Samael is on of the many names assigned to Satan. I’ve also seen him described as the angel of death, but I believe that tends to be a more obscure reference. Being one of the many names of the adversary, it makes sense to find it on a symbol which is associated with Satanism, but the fact that the name is paired with Lilith gives it a whole new significance.
Samael is the name of the angel Lilith took as her lover while she wandered through the wilderness. He was castrated and cast out of Heaven for it.
Which of course brings us to Lilith. Lilith was Adam’s first wife, made from the same clay as he. She left Eden (some stories say she was cast out; others say she left voluntarily, and that she refused to come back after God pleaded with her to return) because she refused to obey her husband. There are those who like to believe she left because she refused missionary sex; those people are full of shit. Adam wanted a servant for a wife, and Lilith knew better than to let that be her. She later became known as the mother of demons, most likely through her relationship with Samael.
And now we come to the goat-head itself. Most Satanists nowadays don’t associate Baphomet with iniquity or perdition as de Guaita did (blasphemy, on the other hand, we can totally get behind). Now, we see Bahpomet representing balance (solve and coagula), androgyny (exhibiting both male and female sexual traits), and the hunger for knowledge (the torch on top of its head).
So, I’m not totally lying when I tell the ignorant that my Sigil of Baphomet is a symbol of enlightenment. But it is so much more than that. It stands for balance, for creativity and imagination. It’s a reminder to keep asking questions, to never stop doubting. It tells other s that I’m a strong and independent woman, and I don’t need no man (though he’s welcome to stick around, as long as he can behave himself). And, it’s a reminder to be kind to the outcasts, because I myself am one of them.