Recovering the Primal Gnosis
Eliphas Levi's "Baphomet," from Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie.
My present research explores deep symbolic parallels between the shamanistic elements of European witch-lore and the archaic Egyptian cult of Osiris. One of the common threads running through all of the European witchcraft testimonials is the claim that the Devil appears at the Sabbath in the form of a black he-Goat which is adored by the celebrants through transgressive rites. This black goat, so reviled by the inquisitors as a figure of utmost diabolism, is a distorted image of Banebdjedet, the sacred ram deity of Mendes, a manifestation of the god Osiris. Eliphas Levi’s Baphomet was a re-imagining of the mysterious idol of the Templars in terms of the much older iconography of the ‘Goat of Mendes,' The transformation of the ram-headed Banebdjedet into a goat-headed god occurs already in ancient Greek sources, which identify him with the god Pan. From a very early period, the Greeks formed the belief that the fertility rites in honour of Banebdjedet involved sexual transgressions: Herodotus and Pindar claim that human women had intercourse with a sacred he-goat in the cult of Mendes.[Herodotus, Histories 2.26; Pindar, quoted by Strabo, Geography 17.19.]. The early Christian authors, who identified the lustful Pan with their Devil, could draw support from these older Greek testimonials, which linked the worship of the goat-god to sexual perversion. The seeds of the later stereotypes of the Sabbath, in which witches allegedly had intercourse with demons or the Devil himself, can be traced to these early depictions of very ancient Egyptian fertility rites.
Banebdjedet bearing the ankh-djed scepter. The djed pillar (from which the city of Djedet was named) was symbolic of the backbone of Osiris and the power of resurrection latent in the nocturnal sun. From the 20th dynasty tomb of prince, Montuherkhepeshef, son of Ramses IX.
Homepage of occult scholar, author and practitioner, Dr. Tomas Vincente