Friday, January 26, 2018

Bahomet Pt I

This is a very long article and i have roughly broken it into several parts. It appears to provide serious insight into pagan theology in particular as respects the Greek Mythos. That such has plausibly survived in several modern guises is no surprise and needs to be better understood as those modern Memes are apparently coming to bite us.

Most of this material i am obliquely aware of as occasional references in other works.  We now discover what we have here, perhaps a whole meme.

My first caution is to understand that these writings represent a deep understanding of the sources employed and cannot be dismissed out of hand, even when you are sure they are all on the wrong track altogether.  They are also a window into a world not otherwise encountered.

 What is impressive is the solid sources behind all the original material itself.


Meet Mete: Twyman’s Introduction to Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall’s Mysterium Baphometis Revelatum

Above: The Distinguished Charity of Mete by Jesse Peper 

(Frontispiece to Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled by Tracy R. Twyman and Alexander Rivera.)

Introduction to the first English Translation of Mysterium Baphometis Revelatum by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall, 1818.+

(Translation commissioned, edited, and annotated by Tracy R. Twyman, Copyright 2015-2017) [Read the Translation Here]

For 25 years, I have been writing professionally about history and current events, viewed through the angle of comparative mythology and the anthropology of religion. One of my areas of focus has been the influence of occult ideas and groups on civilization, particularly that of the West. Early on, I chose the subjects of Freemasonry, and the mythos of the Holy Grail as topics of research, and this inevitably led me to Baphomet, the idol allegedly worshipped by the Knights Templar. My interest in Baphomet was especially ignited by a series of personal supernatural encounters I had with this entity myself through a Ouija board, beginning in 2001. I detail these encounters in my 2014 book Clock Shavings.

These events sparked a life-long fascination and dedication to solving the mysteries of Baphomet: what it was, where it came from, what its name meant, and what purpose it had served for the Templars. The culmination of this research, which I was aided in during the latter years by research partner Alexander Rivera, was published in 2015 under the title (Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled), co-authored with Rivera.

As part of the research for that book, I hired someone to translate the contents of a very important essay written in Latin and published in 1818: Mysterium Baphometis Revelatum, or The Mystery of Baphomet Revealed by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall. It was originally published in Volume 6 of the Viennese research journal Fundgruben des Orients (Treasures of the Orient). This translator, (whom we shall call “Professor X,” for reasons I shall explain) completed his work shortly before I finished my book with Rivera, allowing us to utilize lengthy quotes from the text, as well as many of the images. However, it became clear that much work still needed to be done on this translation before I could present it in full to the public.

Therefore I scrapped my original plan, which was to include this text as an appendix to that book (now weighing in at over 600 pages even without Hammer-Purgstall’s text added), and decided instead to publish it separately after I had “smoothed it out a bit.” I of course assumed that this would not take very much longer, and of course, I was completely wrong. What you see now is the result of two years’ work on my part. In addition to “smoothing out” the text, there were many segments that needed to be retranslated entirely, mostly because the meaning of the esoteric concepts behind the images presented is so ambiguous and multi-faceted.

I was repeatedly reminded of the words of advice given to readers by the authors of the cryptic poem Le Serpent Rouge, published by the French secret society called the Priory of Sion: “Meditate and meditate again. The dense lead of my writing may perhaps contain the purest gold.” I mentally mumbled this mantra thousands of times through hundreds of rough hours spent pouring over the muddled mélange and menagerie spread out upon my desk: printouts of the original text and pictures (at which I could often be seen gazing through a magnifying glass); printout of my translator’s English version; my Latin dictionary; the Bible; plus several reference books on Gnostic sects, European history, Greek mythology, and Western philosophy. In addition, both versions of the Mysterium text were usually open on my on my two computer screens also, along with at least two browsers: one for Google Translate and Lexilogos; the other for the average 250 tabs I had open at any given time, researching various subjects related to the contents of the text. This was why, on the days that I chose to work on this project, the nights always ended with a terrible headache.

In my opinion, Mysterium Baphometis Revelatum is, in addition to being a study of history, also a piece of history itself, and is history’s most important document pertaining to Baphomet, aside from the Templar trial documents themselves (including the recently-revealed “Chinon Parchment,” discussed below) and Jules Michelet’s coverage in his History of France. This is because, as we demonstrate amply in Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled, while the story of Baphomet (as an entity under that name) may have begun with the Templars, it really developed as a concept mostly since Hammer-Purgstall’s time, under his influence, both directly and indirectly.

My research, and that of my partner Alexander Rivera, makes it quite clear that Mysterium Baphometis Revelatum was the source upon which occultist Eliphas Levi based his own speculations about Baphomet a few decades after Hammer-Purgstall’s writing. It was the inspiration for his famous illustration of the Baphomet figure as a hermaphroditic goat-man/woman. It is clear that he was referring to it in Magic: A History of Its Rites, Rituals and Mysteries, where he wrote about the Templars that:

They even went so far as to recognize the pantheistic symbolism of the grand masters of Black Magic, and the better to isolate themselves from obedience to a religion by which they were condemned beforehand, they rendered divine honors to the monstrous idol Baphomet, even as of old the dissenting tribes had adored the Golden Calf of Dan and Bethel. Certain monuments of recent discovery… offer abundant proof of all that is advanced here.

Eliphas Levi’s Baphomet

By “monuments of recent discovery,” he is referring to the “Baphometic Idols” that Hammer-Purgstall presents line drawings of. These consisted mostly of statuettes, coffers, cups, and coins that he claimed had been found in churches on formerly Templar properties, all located in what are now Austria, Germany, France, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.

Hammer-Purgstall believed that these were all actual Templar artifacts that demonstrate the truth about their secret doctrine and rituals. This would be amazing if true, as many of these objects depict orgies involving children and animals, as well as child and animal sacrifice. Hammer-Purgstall claimed that these pictures show the secret religious practices of the Templars, and that they were actually Ophite Gnostics rather than Christians, something that Pope Pius IX also accused them of.

Hammer-Purgstall’s artifacts present strange images of both human and inhuman or quasi-human figures with breasts, beards, and horns. Some of the figures have eyes all over their bodies, or multiple faces, and there are some that are just heads, including some with two faces, much akin to the descriptions given by some Templars of the Baphomet head. One image in particular, from the lid to a coffer allegedly found in Burgundy (which writer Thomas Wright calls the “most interesting” of the artifacts), shows a bearded, full-breasted figure crowned with towers a la the goddess Cybele of the ancient world. She shown holding a pair of chains, with shackles and the bottom that seem to have just been broken off from her legs. The Sun is attached to the top of one chain, and the Moon is attached to the other. The solar and lunar faces are shown upside-down and looking angry. Below the figure’s feet are a seven-pointed star, a pentagram, and a humanoid skull.

While ridiculed by fellow scholars at the time, and by many historians since, Hammer-Purgstall’s revelation of the Gnosis of Mete found a fertile medium in which to grow in the Satanic stylings of Anton LaVey and Aleister Crowley, particularly the latter. Aleister Crowley not only adapted many of Eliphas Levi’s ideas about Baphomet and ritual magick, but saw himself as a reincarnation of Levi. He took on “Baphomet” as his own initiatory name in the magical order he headed: the Order of Oriental Templars (a.k.a. “Ordo Templi Orientis,” or “OTO”), when he proclaimed himself the “Caliph” of. He had taken over leadership of an older German order (many members of which carried on without him), and made it his own. As for the meaning of the name of the Templar demon, Crowley wrote in his Confessions:

Baphomet was Father Mithras, the cubical stone which was the corner of the Temple.

He also mentioned that the word “totaled 729” when interpreted cabalistically. TI have discovered indications that Crowley based some of the elements of the rituals he wrote for the O.T.O. on this text (as I shall explain).

Like Crowley, almost none of the historians who wrote about Hammer-Purgstall’s essay had actually read it all the way through. In addition to the text being in Latin, the messages found by the author on the “Templar artifacts” were often found written in Greek and Arabic—both separately, and in combination (sometimes with Greek words written in Arabic letters, or vice versa). Therefore, a working knowledge of all of these languages would have been necessary to understand it. It has also been hard to get ahold of, historically. Up until my friends and I got involved, there were no copies of the full set of illustrations available anywhere besides the original copies of the periodical it was published in.+

Several historians, most of whom seem not to have looked at Hammer-Purgstall’s work themselves, have claimed that these are not genuine Templar items. Some even accused Hammer-Purgstall and his patron, Louis, Duc de Blacas, of deliberately trying to pass off forged antiquities. This would be extraordinary if true, considering that Hammer-Purgstall’s influential works on other subjects are still referred to by scholars quite often, from his definitive History of the Assassins, to his translation of Ancient Alphabets and Hieroglyphic Characters Explained by ibn Wahshiyya, which contains what may be the first pre-Templar mention of a demon called “Bafomid.”[1]

Illustration of demon “Bafomid,” from ibn Wahshiyya’s De Alphabetis Incognitis

Various portraits of Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall, and postage stamp from 1981

Included on Hammer-Purgstall’s illustrious resume is the fact that he was the first president of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the Austrian Oriental Society in Vienna still bears his name as a tribute in their longer formal title. Today they teach German to immigrants, amongst other things. In addition to working closely with the powerful and connected Duc de Blacas, Hammer-Purgstall was friends with Johann von Goethe and Ludwig von Beethoven. He provided them both with his translation of the Koran, which influenced them both notably in different ways. Despite the attempts by some to trash his good name, he is still considered a national treasure in Austria, and has even been featured on a postage stamp.

While not all critics of his Baphometic artifacts have outright accused Hammer-Purgstall of fraud, many have doubted their authenticity. Charles William King didn’t think much of them when he took up the subject in his 1887 book The Gnostics and Their Remains. There he proclaimed that any “sober archaeologist” would conclude them to be:

…Nothing more than a portion of the paraphernalia of those Rosicrucian or alchemical quacks, who fattened upon the credulity of that arch-virtuoso, Rudolf II, ever since whose reign these “fonts” have been treasured up in the Imperial Cabinet.

Rudolf II was the Hapsburg Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. His political failures, leading to the disastrous Thirty Years’ War, are often blamed by historians on his preoccupation with the occult. Clearly, King thought that Hammer-Purgstall’s artifacts may have been items collected by the emperor because of their seemingly esoteric nature, but with no real connection to the Templars. In more modern times, Peter Partner wrote in his 1987 Templar history The Murdered Magicians that:

A few of the archaeological exhibits may have been forgeries from the occultist workshops; there is an especially suspicious pair of so-called “Templar caskets,” found after the publication of Hammer’s first article, which were supposed to have been medieval artefacts of Templar provenance. The Gnostic “orgies” depicted on these supposedly medieval caskets are uncannily like the late classical objects which had a few years earlier been published in the original “Baphomet” thesis. The “medieval” caskets had come into the possession of the Duc de Blacas. Since Blacas was a leading figure in the reactionary French government, and a close personal friend of the renegade Freemason Joseph de Maistre, it is not impossible that they were forged on his behalf. Whether they were forged or not, Hammer failed to prove that they had anything to do with the Templars.

The caskets that Partner calls “especially suspicious” are, in fact, referring to the two caskets I found in the catalog of non-displayed items at the British Museum, where the antiquities collections of the two Ducs du Blacas (Pierre and his son Louis) now reside. I discuss these caskets in greater detail later on. So did these items, in fact, have nothing to do with the Templars? If not, who made the decision to present them as such? Were the artifacts found by chance and incorporated into the plot, or were they created specifically for that purpose. What was the point of the plot in the first place?

Peter Partner sees Hammer-Purgstall’s theories as an outgrowth of the paranoia, rampant during his time, about Adam Weishaupt’s Bavarian Illuminati, a real secret society that had operated through Masonic lodges in Europe to foster republican revolutions against the crowns. Partner accused Hammer-Purgstall, (and, by implication, all of his informants involved in the research for Mysterium Baphometis Revelatum), of being part of their own vast right-wing conspiracy to discredit the French revolution by connecting it, via the Illuminati, then Freemasonry, and then Templarism, to heresy, Satanism, and debauchery. Partner derides Hammer-Purgstall as “a writer enrolled in the service of rampant conservatism, whose duty it was to demonstrate that advanced radical thought was subverting the foundations of Christian civilization….” His evidence seems to be that Hammer-Purgstall worked as a diplomat for the government of Austria, and that some of the artifacts he showed in his book were owned by Louis, Duc de Blacas, whom he calls a “reactionary.” Partner wrote:

Hammer was not employed by Metternich [the Austrian Empire’s foreign minister], the greatest conservative minister in western Europe, for nothing. The whole drift of Hammer’s argument is in the sense of that used by the ubiquitous Abbe Barruel.[2] Everything connects, from the Gnostics of the early Church, to the Albigensians in the west, the Assassins in the east, thence to the Templars, thence to the Freemasons, thence to the revolutionary anarchists. In 1818, the political order of European conservatism was making its greatest effort to master the threat of radical ideology and radical sedition. The center of that effort was in Vienna, where Hammer was employed by the Austrian Chancery.

Louis, like his more famous father Pierre (also an antiquarian), was indeed a Legitimist (in support of the rule of the older Bourbon dynasty and against the revolution that had dethroned them). Like his father, he was very highly ingratiated within this political group. His godfather was the King of France himself, Louis XVIII, for whom his father had worked as one of his most trusted ministers. Pierre had also worked as the French ambassador to the Holy See in Rome.

Furthermore, Pierre’s interest in antiques was such that he was been involved in discovering and unearthing the Temple of Castor and Pollux in Rome, and was responsible for creating the Egyptian Museum within the Louvre. So I suppose it is possible that his son had both access to the means for faking antiquities, and the motivation, if you believe that he concocted all of these artifacts to make the Templars look bad, so as to, in a roundabout way, cast aspersions on the Revolution.


Louis, Duc du Blacas 

Pierre, Duc du Blacas. 

The “Blacas Cameo” from the collection of Louis, Duc de Blacas at British Museum. Wikipedia describes it as “an unusually large ancient Roman cameo” with a bust of “Augustus I.” The same source continues: “He has thrown the aegis, an attribute of Jupiter, over his shoulder.”

The “Projecta Casket,” alleged wedding furniture from the “Esquiline Treasure” of Louis, Duc de Blacas at British Museum. Wikipedia reports: “In spite of the Christian inscription on the Projecta Casket, the iconography of the figurative decoration of the treasure is purely pagan, a common mixture in Roman metalwork from the period to about 350, when Early Christian art had not yet devised iconography for essentially secular decoration. Three sides of the Projecta Casket’s lid are decorated with pagan mythological motifs – these include the deity Venus on a cockleshell, nereids (sea-nymphs) riding a ketos (a dragon-like sea monster) and a hippocamp (a monster with the front quarters of a horse and the tail of a fish). The mixture of Christian and pagan inscriptions and symbols may have been a compromise reflecting the affiliations of the bride and groom’s families.”

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