A guest article by Tai Carmen at Parallax. Parallax: exploring the architecture of human perception…. For part I read here:/2011/05/mystery-of-the-masons-part-i/
Tai Carmen (http://taicarmen.wordpress.com/):
In the 19th century, the name of Baphomet became further associated with the occult when Éliphas Lévi published Dogmas and Ritual of High Magic, in which he included the now-famous image of Baphomet, a depiction he had drawn himself. Levi explained the figure in symbolic terms, the goat-head representing “the sinner,” while the fire above his head represented man’s potential to obtain higher knowledge.
The Baphomet of Lévi was then further utilized in supposedly symbolic terms by occultist (and Freemason) Aleister Crowley in the early twentieth century. Crowley described the goat-headed figure as representing the Union of Opposites, and hence spiritual perfection.
Baphmoet’s connection with Freemasonry, however, remains dubious, as the first accusation — by Christian evangelist Jack Chick, who claimed that Baphomet is a demon worshipped by Masons – was based on a 1890′s hoax by Léo Taxil. Taxil employed a version of Lévi’s Baphomet on the cover of his sensationalized paperback “exposé” of Freemasonry — which, in 1897, he revealed as a hoax satirizing ultra-Catholic anti-Masonic propaganda.
Misunderstanding another creed or culture’s symbols is a common source of prejudice. While a human skull on a scholar’s desk might strike some as morbid, even death-worshiping or evil, to an old-world alchemist, or even a modern day occultist, it can represent a meditation on impermanence, and the inevitability of death; the goal of which is to better live one’s life.
That being said, to a Theistic Satanist, it could also represent the Dark Lord. Such is the mercurial and fascinating nature of symbols. Considering the men who have been involved in Freemasonry (Einstein, Franklin, Washington, Twain,) I am inclined to personally disbelieve the Baphomet accusation.
With all the conjecture and speculation about the Masons, it is rare to have any personally verifiable fact relating to the fraternity. And so, to close, the author will share a trumily story about an experience her mother had with a bona-fide Freemason occult ritual.
My maternal grandfather was a Freemason. My mother does not think he was very “high up” and remembers him only involved to the extent of a newsletter correspondence course (though how many little girls know the full nature of their father’s nocturnal activities?)
As my mother remembers it, she was around nine years old, when her father asked her to come “help him with something.” She entered his bedroom, which was darkened by closed blinds, a single candle lit on the left-hand corner of his vanity mirror. Without further explanation, her father sat down in the corner of the room and asked her simply to gaze into the mirror.
Fifteen or twenty minutes later, my mom was bored out of her nine-year-old mind. Just as she was thinking about how much she’d rather be playing outside, her reflection in the glass suddenly transformed from a freckly nine year old visage into the head and shoulders of an unknown black woman in a turban. The image, she said, was as clear and real as her own reflection had been a few seconds before.
She screamed with surprise to see her own face replaced with a stranger’s. Her mother came running into the room, crying, “What are you doing with my child!” and with all the commotion, the image promptly disappeared.
My mother found out later it had been a Masonic exercise to see past lives — her father had been trying the exercise without success, and decided to see if it would have a better affect on a child without expectation.