No one can really say for sure where the word “Baphomet” came from. It appears in the documents detailing the trials of members of the Knights Templar, being the name of the idol or pagan god they were accused of worshipping. But before that? Some scholars believe Baphomet is actually an ideological derivation of Khnum, one of the oldest of the Egyptian gods, who was always depicted with a ram’s head. Khnum was believed to be the divine creator, modeling unborn children out of clay (the “dust of the earth” motif again) and overseeing the annual flooding of the Nile upon which ancient Egypt depended for crops. Tres exotic, but a more likely explanation is that “Baphomet” is merely a misspelling of “Mahomet,” or Mohammed, meaning that the Templars had secretly become Muslim, or had been infiltrated by Muslim ideas.
Either way it was French occultist Eliphas Levi who gave us the Baphomet as we recognize it today. The Templars, under torture, when forced to provide details of the figure they were accused of worshipping, gave wildly conflicting descriptions—almost as if they were being tortured and were just making things up to get the torturers to stop. Levi came up with the design of the goat-headed figure we all know, not the Templars.