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The Baphomet Mythos

1 April 2010 9 Comments

Central to the accusations brought against the Knights Templar was that they worshipped an idol, said to have taken the form of a head or sometimes a black cat. The Fifth category of accusations states that the brothers practiced idol worship of a cat or a head.

Although the popular mythology related to the Templars gives this idol the name of Baphomet, the fact remains that in all the testimonies against the Templars, the term Baphomet was used but twice.

That this one aspect of the Templars mythos, could generate so many theories as to its true origins is amazing. The interest in the Baphomet has survived over 600 years and taken many forms. The opinions on the Baphomet vary greatly from scholar to scholar and mystic path to mystic path. The purpose of this section is to shed some light on some of the theories and the connection, if any, to the Knights Templar.

One thing that is certain is that writers of the nineteenth century were prone to believe that the Templars were Devil worshipping Occultists, while historians of the twentieth century were of the belief that the Templars were party to the machinations of a corrupt government and church. It remains to be seen what the common consensus of this century will be regarding the order. While twentieth century historians may have believed in their innocence, the Baphomet mythos did survive. This is indicated by the following dictionary definition:

“Baphomet was the deity worshipped by the Knights Templar, and in Black Magic as the source and creator of evil; the Satanic goat of the witches’ Sabbath and one of the names adopted by Aleister Crowley.”

Dictionary Of The Occult And Supernatural by Peter Underwood

The Popular Conception Of Baphomet

The image of the Baphomet is as varied as the explanations as to its etymology. Below is an illustrative image of the Baphomet by the nineteenth century Occultist, Eliphas Levi and a listing of some of the more common descriptions of it.

  • An idol with a human skull
  • Ahead with two faces
  • With a beard
  • Without a beard
  • With the heads of a cockerel
  • With the head of a man
  • With the head of a goat and the body of a man but with wings and cloven feet

Levi’s illustration (above) shows the more popular appearance of the demon, said to be a symbol of lust, generation and wisdom.

  • The head of the goat
  • The upper body of a woman (maternity)
  • Cloven feet
  • A pair of wings
  • A candle on its head
  • a symbol of revelation combining male sexual potency with the four elements and intelligence.
  • The Templar Connection
    Theories on the etymology of the Baphomet are many. To some it is believed to be a corruption of the Moslem prophet “Mahomet” or in English Mohammed. The Templars fought along side Moslem Assassins during their time and it is held that they may have adopted Islamic beliefs. This doesn’t really hold water to anyone familiar with Islam as the religion forbids all forms of idolatry.

    Another train of thought is that Baphomet is really a joining of two Greek words meaning absorption into wisdom. In either case the fact remains that the Templars were accused of practicing their initiations and rituals in front of a large idol of the demon Baphomet.

    How did this belief come to be? Since King Philip of France sought to own the vast Templar wealth, he along with his puppet Pope Clement V had the Templars captured and tortured. During these tortures they made many confessions, among these, the disclosure that they had worshipped an idol said to be the Baphomet. Were these claims true? Perhaps we’ll never know. Jacques de Molay, who had earlier confessed his and the Templars guilt slowly burned at the stake insisting the order was innocent of all but one offence, that of allowing torture to cause them to lie and confess untruths.

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9 Comments »

  • Peter Mc Kimm said:

    I am trying to contact Steve Mc Kim to use a graphic he has (I think) of the burning at the stake of Jacques de Mulay.
    Have you got his email address.
    By the way the claim is that the head was that of Christ.
    Peter Mc Kimm

  • admin (author) said:

    He’s not hard to find.
    http://www.stevemckim.com/
    e-mail can be found there.

  • kdlneal said:

    Just the point that in the Song of Roland, there are several references to the worship of images of Mohamet. The ‘fact’ now known of Islamic aversion to idols is contrary to the ‘fact’ known in that time to the public who would be the consumers of the trials used to justify the executions. Accusing the KT of being both islamic and idolaters might have gone down very easily in that place and time.

  • DC said:

    @kdlneal

    The fact known in that time has to present a proof of itself being a fact. Explanations are not facts, facts need to be explained. And a mere song penned by a human, hundreds of years after the period in context, doesn’t justify the idol worship. Idol worhip was never a part of Islam.

  • Architect said:

    Dear Team/Readers,

    I love this website. Some really fascinating stuff here. I thought I would post a message and ask for a little advice:

    I am currently working on a short fiction that centres around the Crusades, and I am looking for a way to introduce the Baphomet Mythos into the plot. Is it feasible that the KT entered Jerusalem upon its conquest in 1099 and used their discovery of Baphomet to bribe the church, thereby bringing about their meteoric rise to fame? Or is this perhaps a bridge too far? Open to ideas.

    A

  • admin (author) said:

    Historically speaking, it is not feasible, as the Templars did not begin until about 20 years after the First Crusade. As to the finding Baphomet, many nonfiction books have made similar claims, so I think it would work well for a short fiction work.

    Thanks for the kind words about the website – Stephen Dafoe

  • Architect said:

    Stephen,

    Thanks for the swift reply.

    I take your point about the Templars arriving two decades after the First Crusade. It is, I’m beginning to realise, both a luxury and a setback that there is such a wealth of options to choose from regarding the origins of the myth.

    I’m playing around with an idea that has been mentioned by Kevin Bold in another article on this website:

    http://blog.templarhistory.com/2010/04/baphomet-a-mystery-solved-at-last/

    The idea of a pseudo-heretical Sufi mystic is an interesting one. I wonder if it’s possible that the Templars, initially established with the pure intention of defending Jerusalem, discovered the severed head of a saint which was found to give them some sort of occult power? Sounds sublime bordering on ridiculous, but not really any more outlandish than most of the other ideas.

    Your opinion, as always, is welcome feedback.

    A

  • javier said:

    Idol?? Humm let me see..catholics have a load of them and they called the templars idol worshipers the only thing I can think of them being wrong was walked away from god and focused on the wealth…

  • javier said:

    Torah,Kabalah,sufism,zoroastrianism and unadultered gospels,apocrypha=truth..unlike manipulated religions to control the masses

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