A guest article by Tai Carmen at Parallax. Parallax: exploring the architecture of human perception…. For part I read here:http://madamepickwickartblog.com/2011/05/mystery-of-the-masons-part-i/
Tai Carmen (http://taicarmen.wordpress.com/):
In the 19th century, the name of Baphomet became further associated with the occult when Éliphas Lévi published Dogmas and Ritual of High Magic, in which he included the now-famous image of Baphomet, a depiction he had drawn himself. Levi explained the figure in symbolic terms, the goat-head representing “the sinner,” while the fire above his head represented man’s potential to obtain higher knowledge.
The Baphomet of Lévi was then further utilized in supposedly symbolic terms by occultist (and Freemason) Aleister Crowley in the early twentieth century. Crowley described the goat-headed figure as representing the Union of Opposites, and hence spiritual perfection.
Baphmoet’s connection with Freemasonry, however, remains dubious, as the first accusation — by Christian evangelist Jack Chick, who claimed that Baphomet is a demon worshipped by Masons – was based on a 1890′s hoax by Léo Taxil. Taxil employed a version of Lévi’s Baphomet on the cover of his sensationalized paperback “exposé” of Freemasonry — which, in 1897, he revealed as a hoax satirizing ultra-Catholic anti-Masonic propaganda.
Misunderstanding another creed or culture’s symbols is a common source of prejudice. While a human skull on a scholar’s desk might strike some as morbid, even death-worshiping or evil, to an old-world alchemist, or even a modern day occultist, it can represent a meditation on impermanence, and the inevitability of death; the goal of which is to better live one’s life.
That being said, to a Theistic Satanist, it could also represent the Dark Lord. Such is the mercurial and fascinating nature of symbols. Considering the men who have been involved in Freemasonry (Einstein, Franklin, Washington, Twain,) I am inclined to personally disbelieve the Baphomet accusation.
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