Baphomet: A Note on the Name II

September 24, 2009


There is a tradition regarding the origin of the name Baphomet which deserves recording, even though it is not regarded as authentic, having no present-day proponents.

This tradition regards the name as deriving from “Boubastis” – the Greek name for the Egyptian goddess Bastet, recorded by Herodorus (2.137 ff). It is interesting that Herodotus identifies the goddess with Artemis, the goddess of the moon. Boubastis was regarded as the daughter of Osiris and Isis and often represented as a female with the head of a cat – cats were regarded as sacred to her. Artemis was a goddess unmoved by love and was regarded as Apollo’s twin sister (the identification of her as a ‘moon goddess’ followed naturally from this since Apollo was linked with the sun). Like Apollo, she often sent death and plagues, and was propitiated sometimes with sacrifices.

It is interesting that:

(a) “Boubasteia” is the Pythagorean name for ‘five’ [qv. Iamblicus: Theologumena Arithmeticae, 31] – perhaps a link with the ‘pentagram’?

(b) the Templars, with whom the name Baphomet is associated, were said to have worshiped their deity in the form of a cat.

The tradition recorded above, and the one described in part I, both regard Baphomet as a female divinity – and both are esoteric traditions, hitherto unrecorded. It is possible that both are correct that is, that the actual name Baphomet derives (as mentioned in part I) from the Greek “Baphmhoa”: the prefix referring to being ‘dyed/stained’ or ‘dipped’ in blood. The suffix derives derives from ‘mother’ or ‘mestress’ used in a relligious sense (qv. Iamblicus ‘De Mysteriis’). This name – Baphomet – is thus a descriptive one for the “dark” (i.e. lunar) goddess, to whom sacrifices were made, and which was actually known in former times as ‘Boubastis’ – that is, Bastet, to whom cats were sacred. Thus, Baphomet could be regarded as a form of Artemis/Bastet – a female divinity with a ‘dark’ side or nature (when viewed via conventional morality) to whom sacrifices have been, and continue to be, made. Sinister tradition regards Baphomet as the Bride of Satan/Lucifer – this would fit well since Lucifer is often regarded as a form of Apollo: Artemis is the female form (’sister’) of Apollo. Here, it must be remembered that both Apollo and Artemis were not aetherial, moral and lofty divinities (the classical gods have been romantically misinterpreted) – they could be, and often were, deadly and dark: both ’sinister’ and ‘light’.

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