Baphomet: The Templar Knights’ Dirty Secret (Angels & Demons Explained)

Today’s episode is brought to you by Wondrium   Many of us are familiar with the Knights Templar  – or simply, the Templars – a Catholic military   order formed in the mid 12th century who rose  to surprising heights of power in such a short  

Space of time. The Knights themselves were often  thought to be some of the most skilled warriors   in Crusades and donning foreboding armour, those  that were not without their distinct white mantles   bearing the red cross, they were  certainly a force to be reckoned with  

And not one that you’d want to be on the bad  side of. But most of the Templars weren’t   actually fighters but were instead more  like financiers and those more interested   in the economic infrastructure throughout  not just in their own Christian kingdom,  

But the rest of the world too. In fact, it can be  argued that given the global reach of the templars   during their century long operation, that  they were the first multinational corporation.   But when the Holy Land was lost and support  for the order waned, rumours about the Templars  

Began to circulate, those very rumours which  came to cast a most ominous and spine-chilling   shadow around this most suspicious group.  In fact, these rumours became so palpable   that King Phillip IV of France, who happened to  also be in debt to the order – took advantage  

Of the Templars’ decline and seeking to erase his  debts, had many of the Templars arrested, tortured   and executed. After harassing Pope Clement V for  long enough, the Pope disbanded the Templar Order,   but those rumours that had permeated the air  would live long throughout the ages and spur  

On speculation that the Templars were far more  sinister than one might’ve realised… perhaps even,   owing to the supernatural. Amongst those rumours  was the idea that the Knights Templar worshipped   not the Christian god to whom their operations  seemed to revolve around, but instead a more  

Fiendish and hellish deity known as Baphomet. Today’s video is brought to you by Wondrium.  [You’ve heard me talk about The Great Courses  Plus before… well, the folks behind The Great   Courses are making big moves to create even  better, broader, bigger, and more mind-blowing  

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Amongst the crimes that the Templars were accused  of, some were more outrageous than others.   Accusations of the usual heresy, homosexual  activity and spitting and or urinating on the   cross were all quite typical, but the latter  of these crimes – the spitting and urinating  

On the cross were thought by some historians to  have actually been conducted by the Templars so   as to mentally prepare them for violations  they might have been forced to commit should   they have been captured. But interestingly, there  exists accounts that the spitting on the cross was  

Also a ritual commanded by the cult of Baphomet  and that this was seen as an initiation process   within the Knights Templar. With this idea, the  Templars, or at least a sect of them, were not   actually Christians and were using the image of  Christ as a guise for much more sinister antics. 

In his book The Knights Templar and their  Myth, Peter Partner states that one of the   main accusations made against the Templars  was their worship of the deity Baphomet,   but that the description of Baphomet  varied from confession to confession,  

Leading many to believe that the Templars who were  accused of this were tortured for their admissions   until they just made something up. Some were  resolute in their denial of Baphomet and explained   that they knew nothing of this deity, but others  would confess that they had worshipped the deity  

And described him as being anything between  a severed head to a being with three faces.   Others spoke of it taking a zoomorphic form and  possessing limbs and features incongruent with   the standardised image of God. Yet despite these  accusations, there did not seem to be any concrete  

Evidence from this time period that suggests  the Templars were in league with Baphomet,   further suggesting that those who confessed did  so out of desperation to end their suffering.  Another idea proposes that the Templar  Knights who were posted in the Crusader states  

Had come to adopt Islamic doctrine into their own  beliefs and either discovered a dual faith, or   had outright converted. This would of course have  been viewed as the utmost heresy in a time where   Medieval Christians believed that the Muslims  were idolaters and that the prophet Muhammed  

Was a false prophet. In fact, Muhammed would have  been referred to as Mahomet in Old French and by   some, it was believed that the name Mahomet was  at some point transformed into Baphomet. Mahomet   would also become ‘mammet’ in old English and as  one might imagine, it would become the definition  

Of a false god. It might also be the case that  Baphomet had more Byzantine Greek influence   and that the name Baphomet originated from the  Greek name for Muhammed – Moameth. This is further   substantiated by the fact that the Templars were  exposed to Greek culture in the first crusade  

And would have come to learn of Moameth  and the sinister reputation he had   amongst the contemporary Greeks. BIblical scholar Hugh J Schonfield argues   in his book The Essene Odyssey that the word  Baphomet came about with the Atbash substitution  

Cipher in mind – a complex system which replaces  the first letter of the alphabet for the last,   and the second for the second last and so on.  Using this system, the word Baphomet becomes   ‘Shofya’ which can be interpreted as the name  Sophia – meaning wisdom. With this, not only  

Does Baphomet become a more androgynous figure  as the name Sophia is adopted, but also comes to   stand for sagacity and intelligence – elements  that perhaps the Templars were keen to absorb.  Another idea regarding the Templars  association with Baphomet comes from a  

Belief that the Templars were actually gnostics  and thus, subscribed to polytheism. Of course,   Baphomet was thought to be one of these deities  that they worshipped, though given their secrecy   it’s possible that this was kept under wraps so as  to avoid public outcry and political admonishing.  

Furthermore, some ideas – chiefly from Viennese  Orientalist Jacob Freiherr von Hammer-Purgstall,   suggests that Baphomet was indeed an  androgynous figure based on various stone   antiquities that share the same name. These  Baphomets were thought to be hermaphrodites   and possessed additional limbs or even features  that were placed in unconventional places.  

Hammer-Purgstall argued that many of these  stone ‘Baphomets’ were inscribed with Arabic,   furthermore suggesting an Islamic origin,  but this link is hard to determine.   There are also claims by Hammer-Purgstall that the  Templars carried these Baphomets in their luggage   and that these were indeed articles that  served as idols, but again these claims  

Are almost certainly born out of assumption. By the mid 19th century, Baphomet would become   popularised by the French esoterosit and poet  Eliphas Levi who likened Baphomet to that of the   Sabbatic Goat. In fact, in his book Dogma and  Rituals of High Magic, he illustrated his own  

Idea of Baphomet that would become known as the  Goat of Mendes. It’s likely that this followed   the account by Greek writer and geographer  Herodotus, who spoke of the God of Mendes   (Mendes being an Egyptian city) as having a goat’s  face and a goat’s legs. Levi depicts the deity  

As a winged humanoid goat that much like  Hammer-Purgstall’s idea, also possessed   breasts and thus adopted a more androgynous form.  There was also a torch sported atop the goat’s   head where the sign of a pentagram can also be  found. Baphomet’s hands are also positioned to  

Form the sign of the occult, according to Levi,  with one hand pointing up to promote kindness   and love and the other pointing down to promote  judgement and limitation. It was believed by Levi   that the positioning of Baphomet’s hands  promoted the perfect harmony between mercy  

And justice – one hand that expressed love  and the other which expressed judgement.   One of his arms is female and the other is male,  yet again incorporating the blend of both sexes   and forming something of a representation  for everyone in existence. The torch  

Positioned between his horns was thought  to be either symbolic for intelligence   or symbolic for the soul itself, which through  Baphomet could elevate beyond the physical state.  Levi tells us himself in Dogma and Rituals  of High Magic: “The beast’s head expresses  

The horror of the sinner, whose materially  acting, solely responsible part has to bear   the punishment exclusively; because the soul is  insensitive according to its nature and can only   suffer when it materializes. The rod standing  instead of genitals symbolizes eternal life,  

The body covered with scales the water, the  semi-circle above it the atmosphere, the   feathers following above the volatile. Humanity is  represented by the two breasts and the androgyne   arms of this sphinx of the occult sciences.” The depiction of Baphomet by Levi  

Was also believed to have been a  symbol for a more heretical tradition   that existed outside of typical religious belief  and that the symbol stood for the emancipation   of humanity and a perfect social order. He  would also come to speak of his own belief  

In the ‘astral light’ that shone from between the  horns of Baphomet – that which was a magical light   that promoted the progressive idea of blending  religion and science. Or at least, advocated a   social system that championed both religion  and science without one impeding the other. 

But many might be wondering why a goat was  used for Baphomet’s face at all – other than   the possible inspiration that Levi may have  drawn from Herodotus. Well, Herodotus did   speak of goats being revered creatures in  Egypt and that by one of his observations,  

He saw a woman having sex with one – thus was the  prominence of the goat in the region of Mendes.   Furthermore, some goats that were worshipped  were even believed to have been given ceremonial   burials when they died and that public  mourning of the goat was not uncommon. 

Fans of Aleister Crowley might also be interested  to know that the Occultist recognised Baphomet   as the ‘hieroglyph of arcane perfection’ and  that this deity was a reflection of ourselves.   Baphomet would become an important figure  within Crowley’s cult of Thelema in the early  

20th century and he would also be recognised by  Crowley’s writing as an androgynous being that   stood for life and love. As anyone who’s studied  Crowley for more than a minute, you’ll know that   sex magic played an integral role in his beliefs  and according to Crowley, Baphomet was also  

Symbolic of the ‘magical child’ that was produced  through such sex magic. With this in mind, it was   believed by Crowley that Baphomet represented  the convergence of opposites; especially in this   instance where the magically infused child would  be conceived through the physical act of sex.  

Both magic in the ritualistic copulation  and the biological fusing of sperm and egg   would in a sense become a representation of  Baphomet, he who resembled the opposites.   Interestingly, this is not the first time that  Baphomet has been addressed as a deity who marries  

Up the opposite elements, for Levi himself in  his illustration of the Goat of Mendes details   him as having the Latin word Solve (meaning  dissolve) on one arm and the Latin word Coagula,   (meaning coagulate) on the other- yet again  supporting this idea of two opposites coinciding. 

But let me know of any tales that you might have  heard in regards to Baphomet in the comments below   and as always, if you’ve enjoyed today’s episode,  then don’t forget to give this video a thumbs up   and don’t forget to subscribe  for more content just like this. 

Until next time

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