Baffled by Baphomet
A “baphomet” is an idol. Since the 1800s it is depicted as a half human, half goat figure, equal parts male and female. It’s recognized by modern Satanists and pagans; actually it’s recognized by a whole lotta people; what I mean is, it has symbolic meaning for those folks, and for the vast majority of them it is not anything they or anyone else would or should consider “evil.” For the purpose of this article, I am interested predominantly in the history of the term.
It comes from the Middle Ages, when the Knights Templar were charged with heresy. They were said to have been found worshipping a figure called “Baphomet.” In actuality, the word may well have been a corruption of “Mahomet,” which is an alternate form of Mohammed. Were the Templars really pronounced heretics and assassinated because they’d gotten too chummy with the Muslims they lived amongst, because they’d adopted certain customs from their Muslim neighbors and supposed “enemies”? I find it an intriguing possibility. Could the actual charge against the Templars have been that they’d secretly converted to Islam? Too bad there aren’t any left for us to ask them.
Anyway, there’s a Baphomet statue in Birmingham, Alabama, smack in the buckle of the Bible Belt. The statue is called “The Storyteller” and its sculptor, Frank Fleming, claims to have had no knowledge of his work’s satanic symbolism. I’m sure this Fleming guy, and the members of the Birmingham Arts Association, who commissioned the piece, are all secret Muslims out to weaken the moral fabric of Birmingham. And, as anyone who knows anything about Birmingham can tell you, it don’t need no whole lotta help in that department.