Baphomet and Opfer
From Opfer, Fenrir Vol. II, no 2
The word ‘opfer’ generally refers to the sacrifice that occurs – symbolic or otherwise – during certain rituals. There are, generally, two types of opfers:
(1) Associated with rites to open a nexion (or ‘Star Gate’), between Aeons – when such an opfer(s) is considered necessary in terms of the ‘energy’ required;
(2) Those associated with traditional beliefs regarding the ‘working of the cosmos’.
‘Opfers associated with death rituals form a third type. The second type, according to tradition was chosen once every 17 years and this sacrifice was regarded as necessary to retain ‘the cosmic balance’ – in modern terms, keep a nexion open (and thus preserve the associated higher civilization etc.). The chosen one was made an honorary Priest (this type of opfer was always male) and there was a joining between him and one or more women, as Priestess. This joining was a simple type of ‘hierosgamos’, and the offspring of the union(s) were given great honor. At the ceremony itself, the head of the opfer was severed and displayed – usually for a night and a day (although this period may have been longer in the very distant past). The Rite was conducted outdoors in a ‘sacred’ place – often a circle of stones or hill top.
The chosen one was able, because of the sacrifice, to partake of an acausal existence – becoming thus an Immortal. Thus ‘willing sacrifice’ was possible, although it is easy to imagine that in later times, the opfer was not so willing. Traditionally, this type goes back to Albion, and while originally the ritual was probably a community affair, it became more secretive. What survives to the present day (The Ceremony of Recalling with ‘opfer’ ending) probably reflects the essence of this earlier tradition rather than the detail (the words, chants etc.). This essence may be apprehended in the role of the Mistress of Earth – representative of Baphomet, the Dark Goddess. It was to Baphomet that the sacrifice was made – hence a male opfer. Indeed, the whole ceremony (of Recalling) can be seen as a celebration of the dark goddess – the Earth Mistress/goddess in her darker/violent/sinister aspect. The severed head was associated with the worship of Baphomet – the cult deriving from Albion – hence the traditional representation of Baphomet.
The identification of Baphomet as the Bride of Lucifer/Satan probably dates from around the 10th or 11th century, as does the use of the name ‘Satan’/Satanas as the Earth-bound representative of the Dark Gods.
It is important to remember that in earlier times (e.g. in Albion during the Hyperborean aeon) there was no clear and/or moral distinction between the ‘light’ and the ‘sinister’: the two were seen as different aspects of the same thing. Thus, what we know as the Mistress of Earth (the ‘goddess’) was both what we now call Baphomet (the dark aspect) and Gaia (the Earth Mother). Likewise with the male aspect – Satan and Lucifer – or Dionysus/Kabeiroi and Apollo. We now understand all such symbols as unconscious/conscious projections onto ‘reality’ (where ‘reality’ = the region of causal/acausal mergence) – as ‘gates’/nexions to the acausal itself, with the seven spheres of the Tree of Wyrd being a ‘map’ of these gates understandable by ‘non-Adept’ consciousness. Thus, the sphere of Mercury represents Lucifer/Satan – Mercury, Mars and Sun being “male” spheres, and Moon, Venus, Jupiter the “female” ones (Saturn beyond such opposites – Chaos itself).
The cult of Baphomet was the worship of the dark aspect of the “female” energies – where in this context, worship means a striving toward understanding/conscious integration. Traces of the worship of the ‘light’ aspect survive in the Septenary tradition in the name “Aktal Maka” and the natural form of the Nine Angles rite. The darker aspect survives, in essence, in the Ceremony of Recalling and the traditions associated with the Mistress of Earth and Baphomet. As to the original name of the goddess in both her aspects, there is a tradition which gives ‘Darkat’ (early form of Lilith) as the name used before Baphomet became the common usage. However, ‘Azanigin’ has also been suggested – as has ‘Aktal Maka’ for the ‘light’/Gaia aspect, although both these are merely 20th century suggestions, not based on any oral tradition. Some aspects of the cult of the (dark) goddess are said to have survived into Greek times in the form of the ‘mystery cults’ (qv. Kabeiroi – and also Eleusis for the ‘light’ aspect), this being an ‘indirect survival’, the ‘modern’ Septenary tradition being a direct one, from Albion.
The use of the name ‘Baphomet’ probably derives from the 10th or 11th century although the traditional pictorial representation of Baphomet is undoubtedly much older. If there was an oral tradition connected with the origin of the name Baphomet, it has been lost.
Thus, there are no indications as to the ‘original’ names of the ‘light’ and ‘sinister’ elements on the ‘male’ side – known to us as ‘Lucifer’ and ‘Satan’. These latter names probably also derive from around the 10th or 11th century – although ‘Karu Samsu’ (or something very similar) has been suggested for the ‘Lucifer’ aspect and ‘Sapanur’ as the ‘sinister’ aspect.
The rites associated with the first type of opfer – such as ‘The Sinister Calling’ – cannot be either dated with certainty or seen to be derived from an earlier tradition. In all probability, they derive from the 12th or 13th century, although it is quite possible that earlier versions/forms existed. Some have even considered The Sinister Calling as a later version of the Ceremony of Recalling. Again, if there was an oral tradition, it has been lost – all that remains are the rituals themselves.
The ‘Black Mass’ itself (and indeed most of the ceremonial rituals in the Black Book of Satan) probably originated around the same time as the Sinister Calling. The original Mass was said in Latin, although by the middle of the 20th century a translated version had found its way into the Black Book – of necessity, although some Latin chants remained.
The significance of the 17 year cycle is unclear. In the past few decades, some theories have been advanced, but they are unconvincing.
Aktlal Maka is a chant sometimes used in the natural Nine Angles Rite by the Priestess if the glade has a spring of water. It means ‘the flowing waters of Earth’ and is chanted in homage to Gaia since natural springs are regarded as her children.
The ‘mysteries of the Kabeiroi’ (Sometimes spelt Cabiri) is one of the esoteric traditions associated with the Hellenic Aeon. In its original form, ‘the mysteries’ concerned certain deities often represented in the form of griffins and connected with the sea as well as Demeter – the ‘mother Earth’ or Gaia. According to esoteric tradition, the mysteries concerned the Dark Gods – in various ‘shapechanging’ forms – and related how Demeter gave the first Initiates of this tradition a crystal (later venerated at a shrine near Thebes where a sacred grove to Demeter existed) as well as showing how an individual, through various rites which involved Gaia, women, sacred marriage and so on, could be transformed to a different realm of consciousness. This transformation, as in other Greek Mystery Cults, was achieved mainly through personal involvement in ritual/ceremonial action often of a mythological kind.
Later, this tradition became divided – Eleusis representing the ‘Apollonian’ element, the Kabeiroi, the ‘Dionysian’ or darker aspects, for it is said that all Initiates of the Cabiri had to have committed a crime greater than common ones.
The mysteries of the Kabeiroi were often celebrated in mountain shrines (certain combinations of rock and underground water being regarded as sacred – that is, capable by their magickal power of transforming the consciousness of individuals (cf. various sacred sites of the Yezidi who upheld a more garbled version of Dark Gods tradition) and to reach these shrines was considered part of the process of Initiation.
Greeks called the Kabeiroi the ‘great gods’.