WHY MENDES? Why is the Baphomet called the Goat of Mendes?

Possibilities arise:

Eliphas Levi, who drew the full figured Goat of Mendes, translated "Baphomet" as a reversed composition of three abbreviations: Tem. Oph. Ab., standing for the Latin Templi omnium hominum pacis abhas (The God of) the Temple of Peace Among All Men." Levi felt this to be a reference to King Solomon's Temple, which he believed had the sole purpose of bringing peace to the world.

Eliphas LÚvi considered the Baphomet to be a depiction of the Absolute in symbolic form; and as such this is fully explained in the article Sigil of Baphomet sold here (see AD). According to the author Michael Howard, Levi based the illustration of his Baphomet on a Gargoyle which was on a building, the Commandry of Saint Bris le Vineux, owned by the Knights Templars:

"The Gargoyle is in the form of a bearded horned figure with pendulous female breasts, wings and cloven feet. It sits in a crossed-legged position which resembles statues of the Celtic stag god, Cernnunnus or the Horned One, found in Gaul (France) before the Roman occupation."

Furthermore, Eliphas LÚvi, was the first person to adapt the 2 points up pentagram as symbolic of evil. In the Middle Ages the one point up pentagram represented summer, while the two points up pentagram was a representation of winter. [Note that the Eastern Star of Freemasonry uses the star with 2 points up. This is the true Pythagorean Pentacle which was considered a PENTAGONAS - meaning 5 angles. The PENTAGON in the center was a house; as such it is correct with 2 points up - and has nothing to do with the seasons. Eastern Star, to this day uses this symbol and they certainly do not consider it upside down, or inverted, or evil.]

LÚvi formed two illustrations of the pentagram the first, his "good" orientation, featured the five points of a man within the points of the Pentagram, the names Adam and Eve are in the star and Yshua in Hebrew letters are around it. This is called the microcosmic man and represents the four elements, earth, wind, fire and water represented as the man's limbs with his head representing the spirit (see Sigil of Baphomet for a fuller explanation without the Christian bias).

Next to the Microcosmic Man, he drew the 2 point up pentagram with the goat's head or Baphomet head in it. Samael and Lilith are written in the star, with the word Leviathan around it. In so doing, he formed, for the first time, a differentiation between good and evil symbolized by the pentagram.

The illustration below shows LÚvi's two sketches.

Also is an image of the Devil from the Marseilles Tarot (below, left). and the Devil from The Waite-Rider Tarot, 1909 (below, right)

Also shown here is a Narjolpa from "Magic and Mystery in Tibet" by Alexandra David Neel. Note he is seated in same the same position as the Mendesian Goat, arms the same way.

Also in Esoteric Tradition: Eagle, double headed Eagle: TEM OF AB ("ph" is the "F" sound) meaning Duplex Avis Generation: spelled backwards the word is Baphomet/Bafomet.

Also, from the Egyptian mystery portions: Tem: to name as in to proclaim: Tem is a title of Apep. Oph (again, the "ph" is an "F" sound as in "foe"): winged serpent or dragon. Ab hearing, wisdom, and understanding; intelligence and Will. Again, Baphomet (Bafomet) spelled backwards. In short: Serpent of Wisdom, Serpent Knowledge.

It is semi-Greek: Baphe Metis. Initiation by origin of water (baptismo) and Wisdom of Measurement as by math (metes - metric). In esoteric lodge literature there is shown the far more ancient Babylonian version of the word: Bahu Mid. Unfortunately, this is not easy to come by. The Templars, whatever else they may have been, were Roman Catholics that would be able to read the Bible in Greek. "Baphe" is pseudo-Greek, and "Metis" is proper Greek. The Apostles themselves, wrote the New Testament in Greek.

It is very possible that the Knights Templar were Roman Catholics and at the same time used the image of Baphemetis-Sophia! Sophia is not just the Goddess of Wisdom from the Hellenic and Pythagorean tradition associated with Gnosis; Sophia is also the Goddess and considered to be the Bride of God! Note also that Mary, Mar, is associated with Water - as in the Babylonian/Hebrew word Bahu "The Waters" and Miriam.

It has been held by many that the Templars were followers of the Goddess Sophia or at very least instrumental in reestablishing the feminine aspect of divinity that had been excised by the church. It should be remembered that their patron, St. Bernard of Clairvaux had an absolute obsession with Mary and was responsible for her being named the Queen of Heaven and the Mother of God. Mary is today considered the Mother of God in Catholicism. Whether the Templars were devoted to the Goddess or simply respectful of Wisdom, it cannot be disputed that Schonfield's Atbash cipher theory is among the most plausible explanations of the etymology of Baphomet.

Dr. Hugh Schonfield, one of the scholars who worked on the Dead Sea Scrolls believed the Word Baphomet was applied with the Knowledge of the Atbash Cipher. "This is a Hebrew code which substitutes the first letter of the alphabet for the last and the second letter for the second last and so on. When Baphomet is applied to this code, it generates the Greek word Sophia which is translated in English as Wisdom. The Greek Goddess Sophia is brought to mind here." Sophia in the New Testament is also brought to mind as some Born Again Christians have pointed out: there is a Goddess in their Bible. "

As early as 500 BC Scribes writing the book of Jeremiah used what we now know to be the ATBASH cipher. This cipher is one of the few used in the Hebrew language. The cipher itself, ATBASH, is very similar to the substitution cipher. A substitution cipher is one where each letter of the alphabet actually represents another letter. In the case of the Atbash cipher, the first letter of the alphabet is substituted for the last, the second for the second last and so on." I.e., for us the letter A becomes "Z", the letter "B" becomes "Y" and so on.

Schonfield became very interested in the charges of heresy leveled against the Knights Templars and the etymology of the word Baphomet. Schonfield decided to apply the Atbash cipher which he was convinced the Templars were aware of, to the word Baphomet.

If one writes the word Baphomet in Hebrew and remember Hebrew letters [not shown here] read from right to left, the result is shown here with our letters shown left to right. Applying the Atbash cipher, Schonfield revealed the following:

The word Baphomet: Bet Pe Vav Mem Taf BAPHOMET

With the Atbash Cipher: Shin Vav Pe Yud Alef SOPHIA

Although written in Hebrew it reads as the Greek word Sophia that translates into "Wisdom" in English. No matter what you use, Wisdom is always coming up with regards to this word, whether you use Sophia, Bahu Mid, or Baphemetis.

Schonfield's Atbash cipher theory and what it showed when he applied it, is just one more excellent explanation of what "Baphomet" means - and we note that all the explanations yield the same meaning in the inner sense. In other words, Schonfield did not get a word that meant "love" or "war" when he applied it. He got SOPHIA! What does all of this show? Sophia is Shekina! Sophia is also Wisdom. Baphe Metis means Initiation into Wisdom? Baphe is some kind of lingo jargon made from the either the word baptismo or bahu. Water and Spirit (kundalini) are Bahu and Shekina! Even if using the Arabic corruption (see below) it comes out to mean "Source of Understanding" - in the inner sense, this has the same meaning.

The Hebrew Scribes or Tanaim actually used to write manuscripts like this, and they called it "plowing the field" (a Hebrew name that means that) because when you read it you are supposed to read right to left on top line, left to right on second, right to left in third... etc. Like back and forth It is also called the SERPENT way.

Sofia is upper Wisdom. Sofia Achamoth is Lower Wisdom or the "waters." The Waters (or Bahu, Baphe) is the root of the Christos (also called Logos). In a sense, it is the mother of Christos, where this force in people springs out and up from. Who is the mother of Christ? Mary. What does Mary mean? Sea. Hence, the waters. Layers of code are here. The Templars were Catholics - but they were HERETICS at that time for believing this. They were branded heretics. The name for this symbol in Templars was BAHU MID or Baphe Metis. The goat in the star is not the devil or satan. Even the Wiccans know that. It is simply the androgyne goat and might have been less goatish at the time. Ram heads were also used, I've seen the symbol with a Ram in it. In the Bible, Satan is not a goat or a horned headed being. It is a spirit, and in Christianity/Catholicism, Satan is a liar, a deceiver. Not a victorious rebel figure.

Upper Sofia and lower Sofia Achamoth (Sophia or Sofia).
Same as upper Shekina (Binah) and lower Shekina (Bahu, the Hebrew word for the waters).

I (Tani Jantsang) realized this is:
Same as Vajra sattva and Vajra dhara (the regular Eastern terms for this).
Same as Dorje Sempa and Dorje Chang (cultural terms for it that I rarely use).
Note the words Vajra or Dorje in those last two - that is same as Logos. The Flame!

I should point out that Baphe is not a Greek word, ancient or Biblical, that means Wisdom, Initiation, Holy Spirit, Cleansing, or anything normally related to Baptism in everyday speech. Baphe is a noun in Attic Greek that means "dye" as in coloring. However, Baptein means the verb "to dye" as in to color something by dipping it. Baphe, as a word used to mean "Baptism" or Initiation" came after the word Baptismo, a word perculiar to these cults that practiced immersion into water, and it meant what we understand it to mean by Baptism - always by water. It is related to Bahu, but not linguistically as far as anyone knows. The Templars may have originated the use of the word Baphe and stuck it on Met after they encoded Sophia with the Atbash Cipher. Not the other way around! If you know that they meant Sophia, you can figure out how they came up with Baphomet by using what Schonfield used. (If you are familiar with esoteric meanings: A word that means Dye = color, is being used to mean Bahu. Orphic Doctrines about Demiurge and colors. You either know what this means, or you don't. ). Scholars debate the origin of a word that sounds like Baptism connected to the practice of the religious rite - this predates even Greece by thousands of years. Scholars usually stick to Neolithic times to search, and they debate while thinking the Greeks got the idea/word from cultures nearby, either Asia Minor, or Egypt. They may have gotten it from India since Panchakaram and Pentagrammon are the same word - one is Sanskrit, one is Greek. If you wish to take the notion of immersion in water back to a time prior to the Neolithic Age, it may have arisen as a tribal duty to simply bathe and wash dirt off (thereby changing color) or as a rite similar to the "first rite of hunting" performed by peoples living near shores and eating fish as normal diet: swim underwater to catch the fish as a first rite of passage. Or it may have just felt good to bathe in ocean water. This rite of bathing in "sacred water" is still performed in India. While water has nothing to do with the Bahu, it is symbolic of the Bahu and in magical thinking, as above so below - and as below so above.

From standard Attic Greek:

The Dye, The Dying as in coloring something (nouns) Baphe

A dyer (noun) Bapteus

Dyed (adjective)

To dye as in to color something (verb) Baptein

Additional Usages: ba^ph-ê A dipping (The Perseus Project, Tufts University)

SOPHOCLES, AJAX [bold added for emphasis] 650 GREEK

"kagô gar, hos ta dein' ekarteroun tote, baphêi sidêros hôs ethêlunthên stoma pros têsde tês gunaikos: oiktirô de nin chêran par' echthrois paida t' orphanon lipein. all' eimi pros te loutra kai paraktious"


"For even I, who used to be so tremendously strong--yes, like tempered iron--felt my tongue's sharp edge emasculated by this woman's words, and I feel the pity of leaving her a widow and the boy an orphan among my enemies."

AESCHYLUS, AGAMEMNON [bold added for emphasis] 610 GREEK

"ouden diaphtheirasan en mêkei chronou. oud' oida terpsin oud' epipsogonphatin allou pros andros mallon ê chalkou baphas."


"in all this length of time never having broken any seal. Of pleasure from any other man or of scandalous repute I know no more than of dyeing bronze."

Another explanation for "Baphomet" is that of Idries Shah, who, in his book, The Sufis, suggests that the term was probably a corruption of the Arabic abufihamat (pronounced "bufihimat"), which means "source [father of] of understanding." Of note, many of these traditions consider the Source to be Mother, not Father. Understand that the "source of understanding" has always been equated with the "waters of life" or Bahu, and the kundalini rising within! Jesus said, I think talking to Nicodemus, that one must be born of Water, not just of Spirit. There it is again: Water and Spirit - In Hebrew this is: Bahu and Shekina! Bahu means "the Waters" (the Demiurge), and Mid means "ten."

The God of Mendes, (or the Greek Mendesius, a name given to Lower Egypt in pre Christian days), was the Ram Headed god Ammon or Amon, the living and holy spirit of Ra. Amon Ra or Ammon Ra - same as Void-Vajra - same tradition i.e., the Boundless Darkness and the Light burning within it. Esoterically, this was Pan. Now, Ammon's shrine was at Pa-Bi-Neb-Tat or Ba-neb-tettu, which was called Binedi in the Assyrian inscriptions; the Greeks called it Bendes and then Mendes from Mendesius. The error in the names served everyone well so they kept it. During Ptolemaic times, Mendes was famous for its goat-god, who was said to mate with women in religious festivals, a very Pan type tradition. According to Sir E.A. Wallis Budge in his Gods of the Egyptians: The title Ba-neb-Tettu was sometimes held to mean the 'Soul, the Lord Tettu', and this was the name at Mendes of the local form of Khnemu, whose symbol was a ram. . He was regarded as the virile principle [yang or Vajra] in gods and men, and is styled 'King of the South and North, the ram, the virile male, the holy phallus which stirreth up the passions of love.' Even today, you can see renditions of the Baphomet with a ram inside it instead of a goat.

In late versions of the Set-Osiris myth, myths continuing well into the Roman Empire after Christ, Set was considered to have dismembered Osiris. Isis recovered all Osiris's fragments except - noteworthy - his phallus; that, was eaten by a letos fish. The symbolism here is: donkey cults (literally, Sethians, Semites) murder dark cults. There was always a war within the Semite groups between the dark mother cults and the patriarchal solar father group, see "The Hebrew Goddess" by Patai. When Mother Goddess cults try to put the dark cults back together, they are emasculated by the FISH: fish representing Christianity! Noteworthy also, a later Gnostic heresy of Clement of Alexandria's followers known as the Sethian heresy, claimed that Seth was an earlier incarnation of Jesus. There were mystical Essenes in the first century AD called Ebionites, who believed that the Holy Spirit was female. Some of these became Christians and developed into the second century Clementine Gnostics. They believed the Virgin Mary was a vessel of this Holy Spirit. It is well known that Christianity persecuted any mother goddess cults. And don't think the mythopoetic telling of this tale ends so long ago. In Mahdia (pronounced MAK-tee-ah) the story goes that the cults managed to kill the fish, get back the phallus and plant it: and out of it grew the GOAT OF MENDES! BAPHOMET (Bahu Mid, Baphe Metis) was born - the war sigil of 3 cooperating groups was made and an alliance was born: Pythagoreans, Ophites, and remnants of Wicca-type groups or Arcadians.

There is much more shown on Levi's Goat of Mendes than just the goat. See our article "Sigil of Baphomet," available from us by mail. ( This article was used by Kaiden Fox to teach a class on Satanism at the University of Wisconsin. It is quite detailed.

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A few years back it was being stated by members of another organization, that Peter Gilmore of the Church of Satan got the name of his magazine, "The Black Flame" from their organization's use of the same term. This is untrue. The Temple Of Set also uses the term Black Flame. This is not a modern invention. It is possible that both these individuals came up with the notion on their own; that's possible.

From the ZOHAR: Black Fire is a term for the Absolute Light and Wisdom; "black" because it is incomprehensible to our senses; it is not light (photons) as we know it. It is, however, PERCEIVED as a kind of light.

LIVING FIRE: Hermetic figure of speech for a Deity concept (not a being, but a force) meaning LIVING FIRE. It is like the slang expressions: "fiery speech" or "let's get fired up." It refers to vitality or a vital force, aliveness. Theurgies (remnants of Pythagoreans) regarded Fire as the symbol of the Deity within, the Serpent within. The Kundalini specifically.

Sanskrit: KALI was regarded early on as one of the Seven Tongues of Agni, God of Fire, hence "black fiery tongue."

The symbol Anton LaVey chose was a pentacle with a VAJRA in it (lightning bolt). LaVey had this as his own amulet which was different from the Baphomet. That Vajra IS the flame, in Tantra the five-fold flame lighting up the Five Fold Truths on the pentacle - in Tantra these are the Five Dharmas (truths). In E. Star: Blazing Star. Again, it is possible that LaVey came up with the symbol on his own and possible that he used the Vajra as a Rune instead since he seemed wholly ignorant of real Left Hand Path Dark Traditions of the East. He may have used it due to his fear/fascination for the Nazi SS who also used (misused) this symbol. We don't and can't know what his reasons for using it were.

At the time I personally saw an ad for a magazine called simply "The Black Flame" and then saw the star with the Vajra in it, I had no idea this was connected to the Church of Satan. I thought it was a Tantrik magazine! I recognized the symbol immediately and knew exactly what it meant. It's from my own culture!

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A note on the Pentagram. By Metadromos and Commissar

Penta (Five) Gram from Grammon (grammer). The Pentagram is a master glyph wherein each interior and exterior angle, each line, and each "alpha" (pentalpha - five alphas, letter "A" formed by the symbol) has complex and specific meaning. This is Pythagorean knowledge and is explained in article "Tantra, Vajrayana and Pythagoreanism" (

Baphomet, as interpreted by the terms Baphe and Metis, literally, "immersion into measurement" (or the Babylonian Bahu Mid) has a technical meaning of "initiation," but not in the sense used by neo-pagan "spiritual" paths. Satan is the Great Initiator of Cosmos; in this sense, Satan is the unmanifest essence from which all comes, and back to which all goes. Thus, the "immersion" which truly occurs is one which places a man or woman in the perspective that s/he is totally and utterly alone. Within this concept there inheres ideas of profound importance which should not escape the Satanist. This needs to be understood in terms of Gnosis, in balance with other factors, such as connections to the entire web of manifest life.

It has always been the method of teaching in the Esoteric or Dark Tradition to begin with the macrocosmic, or large scale, and elucidate downward to the microcosmic or small scale. In other words, one might begin by discussing the Emanation of Cosmos from the ever incognizable Karana, the "causeless cause of all causes," or the "Sat," and describe the processes which unfold from this source in more detail until the smallest of particle is ultimately touched. There is no "brotherhood of humanity," for although all do ultimately spring from the same source and return back to that one source, Cosmos exists entirely for the Individual and for the Egoic focus of the energic currents. There is a "brotherhood of all things," but to make this exclusive to humanity would be to misunderstand the Web of All Life. Again, one is connected to, part of, the Great Web, but one is also entirely alone, in that sense, an isolate intelligence. You are both. This is not a contradiction or paradox.

The Pentagram then, as it is represented by the left-hand-path, with a single point down, is correct and is in no way "inverted." It is the ultimate symbol of the Individual, showing firstly that all of Cosmos does indeed bend to the will of the truly individualistic magician, and secondly that the entire Emanated Cosmos depends entirely upon the singular point for it's very existence. This "focal point" indeed supports and maintains all of the Cosmos. This does not mean that you can move planets with a thought.

Now, "Sat" means "Being" in the sense of that unmanifest BEINGNESS which acts upon matter though never manifests itself. When understood in Cosmic terms, it is the root and essence of all that exists, but when applied to the individual's creative and imaginitve powers, the meaning of the Baphomet is more fully expounded. That which exists is perceived by the cognitive part of man. It is precisely because man springs from the same source as all that exists and all that he sees that he is able to see things as they are. It may be said that man "mirrors" the Cosmos, or also that the Cosmos "mirrors" man, but these are half-truths told by those blinded by the white-light devoid of the darkness around it. Man IS the Cosmos and the Cosmos IS man. In other words, a man or woman is truly alone and individual because he looks around and perceives "others." What the "spiritual" paths have attempted is to say that all of this is one interconnected entity experiencing different parts of itself and only that. This again is a half-truth. The Cosmos truly is one interconnected entity, however, that entity is also one individual. The Satanist has but to understand that he IS Cosmos HIMSELF. This can be confusing when reasoned out too much. In other words, what the symbol of Baphomet teaches us is that there exists nothing at all but the One individual that is You but also that the "you" is All - and the All is Sat - and yet the Sat is One. One cannot intellectualize this concept, for it does not conform to pure logic.

The Satanist SEES Maya in Matter, SEES the illusion and manipulates it, uses it as a tool to accomplish anything s/he desires. The Satanist is not taken in by promises of "absolute truth" or "otherworldly" rewards or punishments, but rather is HERE NOW and ALWAYS IS such.

The Satanist is the Absolute Authority in ALL matters regarding the Self, whatever they may be. Should s/he choose at this moment to embrace ANY belief system or operate on ANY level, s/he does so completely at will and utterly free from the restrictions placed on those who hide in these beliefs as an escape, believing the dogmas to be the absolute truth. The Satanist understands that HE ALONE is the One absolute truth in the Cosmos, as regards him/her Self.

The House is aright. It is your dwelling, your vessel, and it exists alone and independant of all, blazing forth as the symbol of liberty and complete freedom to be, to feel, to think, and to do.

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BAPHOMET Put to poetry by Andre Soly and Tani Jantsang

Footsteps swallowed by desert sand, three ancient clans meet at Mahdia.
They must speak of a dire situation afoot, and share their news.
An alliance is needed, demanded by the minds and hearts of intelligent people,
against the tyranny of Christians and their allies the Setian-Jews* or Sethians or Sethites:

Ancestral blood of the Chaldees stain the Magis' robes,
To try to wash it off would be disrespectful at the least.
The third clan is wary, for they were persecuted relentlessly
And forever yearn for their Arcadian land in Greece.

Sitting in the burning desert, knowledge simmering to a peak;
All is silent until the Pythagorean Guilds devise a symbol
To represent the coalition they seek.

"It must be our Blazing Star, one point down representing the Root and Foundation of our House."

"It must have the Ophite-Jewish Serpent of Wisdom, Leviathan, Our serpent striking to arouse!"

The Ophites said: "Put each Hebrew letter at each point Winding sinistrally, and put the Lamedh at the Root."

The Pan Cult said: "But what of us, our Goat symbol is so complex, How can something so geometrical and angular be the proper suit?"

They decided to use just the head of the Goat:
They fit the horns on the points above,
The ears on the two beside, nose to beard at the Root,
And the eyes of the Goat in the House.

They looked at their symbol, and all agreed: it was good.
They swore oaths to each other: Liberty! Equity! Unity! To the Death!
They swore the oaths on the spilled blood of their slain ancestors.
Then they set out to war: for Freedom, for Life: BAPHOMET!

Dedicated to Albert Pike, the last to Hold Fast with the Palladium.

*Setian Jews. This is an old expression from the Ancient World, see article on "SET" (dd-ad.html) or figure it out from TeVelde's book "Seth, God of Confusion." Such Jews were not the same as Ophite Jews, they were Aristotelean or "Christianized" as perceived by those who called them this.

Mahdia was a place in Tunesia where the FATIMITE DYNASTY arose (Fatima, female line from Mohammed, used for this pseudo-Islamic dynasty). Assassins and others arose from this Dynasty and the Baphomet was, indeed, the Assassins' sigil. What they fought for is in the poem, and fought against in the poem, too. The three cults are shown on the Baphomet which is a three-fold symbol. Pan cults from Arcadia, Pythagoreans with star and Ophites. The first two are where the so-called Masonic "Egyptian Mysteries" come from which are literally ELEUSINIAN Mysteries. Osiris is Dionysus to the Pythagoreans. Horus is Hermes-Thoth. It is the same as Athena, Hera and represents the "anima." Soly got the idea for the poem from what he read of the history of this sigil in a French Pythagorean book in Canada at a relative's house. The symbol on the cover of the book had the Pythagorean pentacle and a ram's head. It did not have any Hebrew letters. Anton LaVey got the Baphomet from a book which showed the French version of this and showed the Baphomet he liked and used. He was correct in saying that the Templars used it but DeMolay (famous with Masons) did not found the Templars and their sigil had no word "Leviathan" in it. Hugh dePayens founded the Templars, and he was a Master in the Order of Assassins. The "Setians" referred to here have no relationship to the modern day Temple of Set since the Set they use is from a completely different source and has totally different meaning.

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