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Unveiling Baphomet and Signs and Symbols: Imagery in America in Light of Truth
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Unveiling Baphomet and Signs and Symbols: Imagery in America in Light of Truth

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I participated in a religious procession a few nights ago. On the eve of the feast of the Dormition — the falling asleep of the Mother of God — we processed around the church with a shroud bearing an image of her in repose, just as we Orthodox Christians do on Holy Friday with Christ’s shroud.

These images are symbolic, representing Christ’s very Body during Holy Week, and the body of the Mother of God here in August. However, for the faithful, they are not symbols merely according to the shallow modern usage of the word — one thing representing another, but rather they are symbols in the deeper, more ancient meaning, where a visible reality makes manifest an unseen reality.

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Through Church rites, the faithful are mystically present at the events being commemorated, and Christ and His saints are invisibly present with us.

This image of the peaceful repose of the Mother of God, who departed this life in faith and holiness, is a stark contrast to another symbol that dominated the news recently.

On August 16, the Satanic Temple held its own religious rite when it rolled out its 8-ft bronze statue of the demonic goat-headed monster Baphomet at the Arkansas Capitol building.

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Whereas the beauty of the image of the Mother of God inspires deep peace in the soul, the Baphomet statue is intentionally disturbing and intentionally grotesque.

True, the Satanic Temple, based in Salem, Massachusetts, wouldn’t call the temporary installing of the statue a religious rite, and it doesn’t even conceive of itself as strictly-speaking religious, claiming instead to be a nontheistic, politically-oriented activist group that uses satanic imagery to further its secularist cause, and essentially to push buttons.

But this only speaks to the lack of seriousness in their approach to life and their devastating lack of discernment in the religious matters they are fooling around with.

Just as the symbol of the Mother of God we carried in procession is not merely a symbol, so demonic and satanic symbols are not merely symbols in the modern sense. You cannot invoke satan and proudly present his images without him being there. It does not matter that the Satanic Temple does not intend to be religious, because the demons do not honor human free will!

Further, the Satanic Temple’s purpose was to protest the installation of a Ten Commandments monument — that is, to directly wage war on the honoring of God’s word. That is a demonic matter.

And it wasn’t only Satanic Temple members who attended the anti-Ten Commandments rally, but also some people identifying themselves as Christians, who say they were there to support the separation of church and state and religious tolerance. Unfortunately, it is rather clear that these so-called Christians are also sorely lacking in discernment. How could someone apply the name of Christ of to themselves and yet gather under demonic imagery, for any cause?

From earliest times, Christians have believed that the entire universe is filled with symbols and signs pointing to God — the contemplation of which reveals truths about the Creator of that universe. The great Apostle Paul says as much: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead (Romans 1:20). The incomparable 7th-century theologian St. Maximos the Confessor puts it this way: “To those who have eyes to see, all the invisible (spiritual) world is mysteriously presented in symbols of the visible world; and all the natural world depends on the supernatural world.”[1]

The problem that we are seeing with the Satanic Temple and their Christian compatriots is that they have lost this spiritual knowledge, and thus have no discernment as to when truth and goodness are being manifested, and when falsehood and evil. Christendom suffered a major split a millennium ago, and as the Catholic church and its Protestant offshoots go in their own directions, they lose true theology and the spiritual gifts that come with it, including discernment.

There is no longer an understanding that “symbols rule the world,” as says Vigilant Citizen, a website that examines the occult symbolism in popular culture. Whether Vigilant Citizen’s many claims are legitimate or well-founded is not the point here, but nevertheless, it is undeniable that satanic, occult, and anti-Christian symbolism is used at times in popular culture.

Rock ‘n’ roll is a particularly rich source for such symbolism, and often you don’t even have to scratch below the surface to see that charges of rock being the devil’s music are not unfounded. Even someone as seemingly-benign as Billy Joel openly admits that those fiery 1950s preachers were right, and he’s far from the only one. Christians used to still have discernment on such matters.

It’s debated whether the Rolling Stones’ 1973 album Goat’s Head Soup is a reference to Baphomet, but they put out the album Their Satanic Majesties Request in 1967 and had a hit the next year with the song “Sympathy for the Devil” sung from the devil’s point of view, for crying out loud! In the 1968 film Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, Mick Jagger clearly has an image of satan on his chest.

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It’s not a matter of debate that the fourth Led Zeppelin album contains occult artwork and that Jimmy Page had a sincere interest in the occult and black magic. He even went so far as to buy the Boleskine House, previously owned by the 19th-20th-century black magician Aleister Crowley, a man who said he believed the Protestant Brethren faith to be true but that he simply chose to side with satan. His works had a profound influence on rock ‘n’ roll. Make sure to check out the cover to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

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Robert Johnson, a Mississippi bluesman and the foundation of rock ‘n’ roll, is said to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his guitar-playing skills. Whatever the truth, Johnson undoubtedly did go from a talentless hack to a legend in a mysteriously short time, and he had no problem invoking the demonic mythology in several of his songs. His influence, bot musically and in symbolic choice, has continued in rock ‘n’ roll.

Johnson was murdered in 1938 at the age of 27 by the husband of a woman he had been sleeping with.

But pop culture changes with the wind, and anyways, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin aren’t even American, though they were heavily influenced by American blues musicians. But symbolism is deeply embedded in American history as well, and even occult symbolism.

It’s safe to say that George Washington is the most famous and perhaps central figure in American history — a fact that is immortalized by Constantino Brumidi’s 1865 fresco The Apotheosis of Washington, as seen in the dome of the rotunda of the United States Capitol Building. The painting is blatantly religious, with Washington achieving god status in Heaven, surrounded by a number of Roman goddesses. You look up and see our first president looking down on you from Heaven, just where you would expect to see Christ, or perhaps His mother in a church.

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It’s often said that America was founded as a Christian nation, though many are quick to respond that no, the Founding Fathers were Freemasons. Such religious syncretism is certainly on display in The Apotheosis. It would be one thing to have a prominent painting of Washington to honor his role in the shaping of our nation, but to depict him as a god, even symbolically, is an odd way for a Christian nation to honor a Christian man, though it is American exceptionalism and American civil religion at its best.

Of course, Washington is also immortalized on the dollar bill, which is fully of interesting imagery, with most discussion, or even controversy, centering on the pyramid and the floating eye. The explanation could be as simple as the pyramid representing the Trinity, and the eye Divine providence — the all-seeing eye of God.

But then again, many see in the images an homage to the Freemasonry that they would argue has been the real moving force behind the scenes in American history (and not just American). The pyramid is for the Freemasons a symbol of the continuity of their wisdom down through the ages from ancient Egypt until today. It is said that Moses and the Jews brought Egyptian metaphysical secrets out of Egypt with them, which the Knights Templar later discovered in the Temple Mount, and which were later inherited by the Freemasons. The eye is not that of God, but that of the Great Architect of the Universe of the syncretistic Freemason religion. Under the pyramid are the words “a new order of the ages” in Latin. Christians have traditionally been forbidden from becoming Freemasons and joining in their pursuit of a new order—new necessarily being a rejection of the old, Christian order. The benign lower levels of Freemasonry cover over more sinister higher degrees. This imagery, from the U.S.’s Great Seal, was added to the dollar bill in 1935, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt supposedly being drawn to the Masonic symbolism and the civil religion notion of a new world order.

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There are also many theories about the architecture and layout of Washington D.C. being filled with Masonic symbolism, the more prominent of them claiming that the street layout surrounding the White House forms satanic pentagram (as does Baphomet’s goat head), that the streets also form a templar cross, and that the Washington Monument is in fact a satanic obelisk (a similar shape is used on the cover and in the various pictures of Led Zeppelin’s album Presence). Many see these symbols as again pointing to the demonic Freemasonry that supposedly rules American policy and life.

Perhaps America’s most famous symbol is the Statue of Liberty, gifted to the U.S. in 1876 by France. Like the Apotheosis painting, the robed woman also has clear pagan connections — she is in fact the Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty, who also flanks George Washington in his deification fresco. The sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi was undoubtedly a Freemason. Everything from the torch that Lady Liberty bears, to the prevalence of the number seven in the measurements of the statue point to the statue’s pagan and Masonic links according to many.

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President Grover Cleveland said at the statue’s dedication: “We are not here today to bow before the representative of a fierce and war-like god, filled with wrath and vengeance, but, instead, we contemplate our own peaceful deity keeping watch before the open gates of America, and greater than all that have been celebrated in ancient song. Instead of grasping in her hand the thunderbolts of terror and of death, she holds aloft the light that illumines the way to man’s enfranchisement.”

Though many have simply lost all realization of it today, there are symbols all around us, often manifesting deeper realities, as in religious rites, including of those who even refuse the title of religious. Satanic imagery of Baphomet, upside crosses, and Crowley-inspired occultism is more obvious, but even our American landmarks and very culture are also infused with symbolism, perhaps dark symbolism.

For Christians who have maintained authentic spirituality, the maze of signs and symbols can be successfully navigated, leading one to truth and goodness — to God, while those who lost such discernment are easily blown about in the wind of popular culture and the civil religion that runs deep in America.


[1] The Path of Mysteries, as quoted in The Universe as Symbols and Signs: An Essay on Mysticism in the Eastern Church by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Author: Jesse Dominick