We’ve often heard of goats being associated with witchcraft and Satan himself. The Bible never seems to have many good things to say about this creature (Matthew 25:31-46), so it should come as no surprise that one of the statues of the Satanic temple, known as Baphomet, has a goat’s head.
Although the statue in the BBC article hit the news only five years ago, this name has a history that traces back to the Middle Ages, having connotations with evil practices and idol worship, and, no surprise, Satan.
In this article, we’ll dive into the odd history of Baphomet, how the image of Baphomet has changed (or stayed the same) over the years, and why we should care about this figure.
What Is Baphomet?
As mentioned previously, this Satanic statue or idol has a goat’s head.
This makes sense if we analyze the history of pagan and polytheistic religions. The Egyptians had a goat god known as Mendes. The Greeks revered a mischievous figure known as Pan. The Celts had Cernunnos. Perhaps this sheds even more light on why Scripture doesn’t often have good things to say about goats.
Also, most depictions of Baphomet contain a pentagram on its forehead and is part-animal, part-human as well as part-female, part-male, a conglomeration of opposites.
Many of the more modern depictions of Baphomet include phallic and sexual symbols as well as more contrasting elements such as white and dark moons. Most modern depictions often have Baphomet doing a two-fingered salute, a common occultist gesture.
Why Is Baphomet Associated with Goats?
As mentioned before, Satan is often linked with goat images in Scripture. According to the Crosswalk.com article:
"Goats represent a number of things in Scripture, but to go to the source, we need to explore one of the most famous Jewish Holidays: Yom Kippur, otherwise known as The Day of Atonement. During this holiday, two goats would be used (Leviticus 16). One, the azazel goat, would have all the sins symbolically placed on it when the high priest laid hands on it. Once the sins “were placed” they would drive the goat out into the desert, thus driving out Israel’s sins into the desert. For more information on the two goats used during Yom Kippur, check out this article here. The goat here, the azazel goat, represented Satan, or evil. No wonder Jesus found Satan out in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). Deserts represent cursed places, devoid of God’s blessing. God’s blessing often comes through the form of rain."
As the article continues, it discusses why Scripture often has an aversion to goats. They're rebellious, individualistic, and they often destroy everything in their paths. No wonder the Church of Satan likes to hoist the figure of Baphomet on their shoulders and in their sanctuaries. Because goats represented everything antithetical to Christianity.
Christianity calls us to be one body. Goats, on the other hand, like to focus only on themselves. They do not do well with others. Selfishness is often the root of sin. No wonder the Bible paints goats in a negative light.
The Bible tells us to build each other up. But goats will destroy everything in their path. Shepherds protect the sheep from things outside the flock. Goatherders protect things from outside of the flock from the goats.
The History of Baphomet
The history of Baphomet has been broiled in debate. Many have claimed that the name Baphomet itself has roots in the name of the prophet Muhammed.
For our purposes, we won’t look that far back. We’ll start in the 1100s-1300s. The knights of the Templar worshipped a gnostic idol known as Baphomet, or the first known description of Baphomet comes from a 1098 account of the Siege of Antioch, but again, this version seems to mean “Muhammed” rather than a half-goat, half-human hybrid.
Baphomet skirts the sidelines of history until we hit the age of Enlightenment. In 1861, a French occultist, Éliphas Lévi, created a world-renowned image of Baphomet, “imagined as a Sabbatic goat.”
And, as featured in the BBC article, the most recent image of Baphomet, a public one, was said to have been commissioned as a protest of public statues of the Ten Commandments. The Church of Satan will do everything in its power to tear down Christian monuments and statutes. Therefore, when they placed a statue in public, they did so in a facetious way.
Many who adhere to Satanism might use a depiction of Baphomet in some way in their worship.
Baphomet’s Influence Today
Baphomet’s influence plays an important role in the Church of Satan today. But it can also be seen frequently in pop culture, as well as other Satanic symbols and sayings such as “Hail Satan.”
As stated in the linked New York Times article, Baphomet shows up as a character in the popular show “Sabrina.”
Other shows that seem to have devilish symbols include the canceled shows “Good Omens” and “Lucifer,” which is now on Netflix. We can see a slow acceptance of goat imagery in pop culture. In fact, it has made its way into children's television now! According to CBN, Disney has a children's show called "The Owl House," that teaches children to use witchcraft to "fight evil." This goes even beyond the Harry Potter controversies from 20 years ago. In the show a king of demons teaching the main character Luz the ways of witchcraft. If it wasn't enough that the set of the show takes place in a dark fantasy world full of witches, the demon king character takes the cake.
Several pop artists such as Celine Dion and Billie Eilish have resorted to symbols and lyrics that explicitly depict common elements of Satan worship. In the case of Celine Dion, her gender-neutral clothing seems to come from Satanic influence.
Why Should We Care about Baphomet?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve developed a pit in your stomach even lightly researching the subject of Baphomet. This often happens whenever we encounter something evil and Satanic.
As Christians, we may want to turn a blind eye to spiritually dark things, to act like evil practices and symbols have not seeped their way into media, into ideologies, and into our very own lives.
Satan loves to work in the shadows. He often operates under half-truths and lies that sound close enough to almost be real. For a good example of his tactics, check out Genesis 3.
We should know and care about Baphomet because we should understand whenever we encounter a Satanist or occultist symbol. We fight spiritual battles every day, and therefore, should at least know what we’re fighting against.
We should also have an awareness of these symbols and how they’ve found their way into the lives of our children and the media they consume.
I should note that the most recent depiction of Baphomet has two children smiling up at the statue. Satanists want to paint a clear picture that Baphomet is something good, something comforting, something children can look up to.
If we do not remain vigilant, any Satanic symbol can do the same. It can convince us and our children that it’s not all that bad, or worse, something even good.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Edalin
Hope Bolinger is an acquisitions editor at End Game Press, and the author 21+ books. More than 1400 of her works have been featured in various publications. Check out her books at hopebolinger.com for clean books in most genres, great for adults and kids.