eliphas levi

The meaning of the Baphomet by Eliphas Lévi:

“The goat which is represented in our frontispiece bears upon its forehead the Sign of the Pentagram with one point in the ascendant, which is sufficient to distinguish it as a symbol of the light. Moreover, the sign of occultism is made with both hands, pointing upward to the white moon of CHESED, and downward to the black moon of GEBURAH. This sign expresses the perfect concord between mercy and justice. One of the arms is feminine and the other masculine, as in the androgyne of Khunrath, whose attributes we have combined with those of our goat, since they are one and the same symbol. The torch of intelligence burning between the horns is the magical light of universal equilibrium; it is also a type of the soul exalted above matter, even while cleaving to matter, as the flame cleaves to the torch. … The caduceus, which replaces the generative organ, represents eternal life; the scale-covered belly typifies water; the circle above it is the atmosphere, the feathers still higher up signify the volatile; lastly, humanity is depicted by the two breasts and the androgyne arms of this sphinx of the occult sciences. … The dread Baphomet henceforth, like all monstrous idols, enigmas of antique science and its dreams, is only an innocent and even pious hieroglyph….  Baphomet is not a God; He is the sign of initiation.”

- Eliphas Lévi - Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual

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Scans of Eliphas Levi’s “The Magical Rituals Of The Sanctum Regnum, Interpreted By The Tarot Trumps”, published in 1896 and edited by William Wynn Westcott. The images are placed according to their order of appearance.

Baphomet is the symbolic painting of Eliphas Levi, which he used to represent his secret magickal agent: the Astral Light. The Astral Light is a power everywhere present, claims Eliphas. The magician who learns to harness this power according to Will has the power to create.

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Eliphas Levi - Great Prototypal Man, “ The Book of Splendours: The Inner Mysteries of Qabalism”.

“Synthesis of the World, formulated by the human figure, ascended slowly and emerged from the water, like the Sun in its rising. When the eyes appeared, Light was made; when the mouth was manifested, there was the Creation of Spirits and the world passed into expression. The entire head was revealed, and this completed the first day of Creation. The shoulders, the arms, the breast arose, and thereupon work began. With one hand the Divine Image put back the sea, while with the other it raised up continents and mountains. The Image grew and grew; the generative organs appeared, and all beings began to increase and multiply. The form stood at length erect, having one foot upon the Earth and one upon the Waters. Beholding itself at full length in the ocean of Creation, it breathed on its own reflection and called its likeness into life. It said: Let us make man - and thus man was made. There is nothing so beautiful in the masterpiece of any poet as this vision of Creation accomplished by the prototype of humanity. Hereby is man but the shadow of a shadow, and yet he is the image of Divine power. He also can stretch forth his hands from East to West; to him is the Earth given as a dominion. Such is Adam Kadmon, the primordial Adam of the Kabbalists. Such is the sense in which he is depicted as a giant; and this is why Swedenborg, haunted in his dreams by reminiscences of the Kabbalah, says that entire Creation is only a titanic man and that we are made in the image of the Universe.”

Eliphas Levi - The Magical Head of the Zohar, “Histoire de la Magie”, 1860.

The Magical Head of Zohar is a cabalistic design illustrating the concept of opposites, the principle of “As Above, So Below”, implying that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one.

From Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual:

“The goat on the frontispiece carries the sign of the pentagram on the forehead, with one point at the top, a symbol of light, his two hands forming the sign of occultism, the one pointing up to the white moon of Chesed, the other pointing down to the black one of Geburah. This sign expresses the perfect harmony of mercy with justice. His one arm is female, the other male like the ones of the androgyne of Khunrath, the attributes of which we had to unite with those of our goat because he is one and the same symbol. The flame of intelligence shining between his horns is the magic light of the universal balance, the image of the soul elevated above matter, as the flame, whilst being tied to matter, shines above it. The beast’s head expresses the horror of the sinner, whose materially acting, solely responsible part has to bear the punishment exclusively; because the soul is insensitive according to its nature and can only suffer when it materializes. The rod standing instead of genitals symbolizes eternal life, the body covered with scales the water, the semi-circle above it the atmosphere, the feathers following above the volatile. Humanity is represented by the two breasts and the androgyne arms of this sphinx of the occult sciences.”

* Image & Text by Eliphas Levi

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Scans of Eliphas Levi’s “The History Of Magic, Including A Clear And Concise Exposition, Its Rites, And Its Mysteries” published in 1922 and translated, with preface and notes, by Arthur Edward Waite. The images are placed according to their order of appearance and these are 11-20.