the NachtKabarett

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All Writing & Content © Nick Kushner Unless Noted Otherwise
In collaboration with Gilles R. Maurice

The Baphomet or "Sabbatic Goat"
as drawn in 1854 by Eliphas Lévi.
Manson as the Angel / Antichrist, 1996
from the interior of Antichrist Svperstar.

The image of the Baphomet is one that Manson has often evoked with his art. The traditional and most well known depiction, as displayed above, was drawn in the mid Nineteenth Century by the magician Eliphas Levi, who also illustrated the pentagram depiction of The Tetragrammaton at this same time. Very much similar to his Tetragrammaton, thematically the Baphomet, or Sabbatic Goat, or Goat Of Mendes, is representational of the same concept in magick and the Occult. Christianity completely misunderstood what the Baphomet represented, believed it to be the god which the pagans worshiped, those it sought to subjugate and convert, thus construing the image as the antithesis of Christianity and therefore the personification of its Satan, much similarly as was done with the Pentagram and why in today's popular conscience it's inherently defined as something "evil".

'No Salvation, No Forgiveness', 1996/97 Antichrist Svperstar era tour shirt depicting a psychedelic version of Lévi's Baphomet. Manson's own drawing of Baphomet as used on a 1992 flyer for the Spooky Kids. Image courtesy of

In actuality, as stated above, the Baphomet, like Levi's drawing of The Tetragrammaton, represents that of the holistic philosophy of paganism and the Occult as all elements of nature are embodied within. Earth, as it sits atop a mound, Air, as it's adorned with wings, Fire, as smoke arises from betwixt its horns, Water, as seen around the island mound it sits upon and Ether or Spirit. The other elements which are represented are man, through the phallus, woman, through the breasts and animal, through the scales, wings and goat's head and satyr legs.

The XVth, Devil card from the A.E. Waite 1909 Tarot deck (left), was broadly re-designed after Lévi's depiction of the Baphomet. Manson would then re-interpret it in his 2000 Holy Wood Tarot deck (center), with inverted baphometic pose and attributes evoking the Lamb of God, through the head and split body in guise of wings. Manson is also wearing a Masonic apron directly borrowed from a poster promoting Léo Taxil's 1886 anti-Masonic hoax (right, click to view cover).

Most significantly is the concept of duality represented by the upraised and lowered hand pointing towards the sun and the moon respectively. In magick and the Occult, one of the most predominant facets is the concept of duality, nature embodies both good and evil so it's the heart and intent of the magician whether good or evil manifests. The upraised and lowered hands reflect this, as the choice or path which the magician (or Kabbalist, Witch or Alchemist for that matter) can follow. This is where the often used terms "right" and "left hand path" derive from. Stemming from, among other things, medieval and Renaissance depictions of The Last Judgment, where Christ is in the center in the baphometic pose where those to his right are saved and those to his left are damned, the right are ascending (upward) and the left are falling downward into the depths of Hell, just as the hands of the baphomet designate. In the occult this imagery denotes two different spiritual pursuits, the right and left hand path. The right is the more pious and spiritual path, where all the magician's objectives are towards the light and greater good, and the left hand path where the magician is concerned with the more immediate and self gratifying means as opposed to theurgy or communicating with higher spirits.

Christ in the Baphometic pose, in a depiction of
The Last Judgment by Rogier van der Weyden (1446-52).
Antichrist Svperstar era picture of the band,
with Manson holding the Baphomet pose.

It can be noted that Manson's arms in his incarnations are actually inverted from the tradition depiction of the Baphomet. With his left hand raised, the left being symbolic of the darker and sordid path, can reflect something more insidious. Symbolic of the DISINTEGRATOR RISING, the heralding of the Antichrist Svperstar, as the last cycle of the album is thusly titled. Further references to the left hand path are approached in our Amputation of Sin section.

Marilyn Manson in 1997, performing in front of a stained glass background of the Last Judgement. Still frame from The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell video showing an elaborately ornate Manson as Mary with inverted baphometic pose.

Aleister Crowley, whom Manson has been referring to ever since Portrait Of An American Family, has prominently used the name of Baphomet in his own signatures, often associated with a peculiar triple cross or "deluxe tau", which also shares ties to high degrees of Freemasonry and perfectly represents the principle "As Above, So Below" already present in Lévi's representation, with the arms pointing opposite directions. In that sense Crowley's Baphomet cross is very similar in shape and signification to Manson's Double Cross. The ultimate purpose behind Manson's several incarnations of Baphomet is therefore the same that lies behind Crowley's identification: another occurence of the union of opposites, black and white, Marilyn and Manson.

Left; Seal of the Grand Master of the O.T.O., a Thelemic order Crowley was a leader of. Center; photograph of Crowley in Masonic regalia, with Baphomet signature and cross, an earlier version of which is quite similar to the evangelical cross crosslet used on the cover for Manson's single 'Arma...geddon'. Right; Baphomet of the order A∴A∴ founded by Crowley in 1907, which shows how the figure became important within the cosmology of Thelema.
“The Devil does not exist. It is a false name invented by the Black Brothers to imply a Unity in their ignorant muddle of dispersions. A devil who had unity would be a God... 'The Devil' is, historically, the God of any people that one personally dislikes... This serpent, SATAN, is not the enemy of Man, but He who made Gods of our race, knowing Good and Evil; He bade 'Know Thyself!' and taught Initiation. He is 'The Devil' of the Book of Thoth, and His emblem is BAPHOMET, the Androgyne who is the hieroglyph of arcane perfection... He is therefore Life, and Love. But moreover his letter is ayin, the Eye, so that he is Light; and his Zodiacal image is Capricornus, that leaping goat whose attribute is Liberty.”
Aleister Crowley, Magick, Book 4
The female features of Manson as the Androgyne on the cover of Mechanical Animals (1998), most notably the prominent breast are quite evocative of the Baphomet, which is emphasized on another picture from the same photo session reproduced within the album's booklet, where Baphomet's goat feet are transposed with those of the enigmatic humanoid incarnated by Manson, who also nonchalantly feigns the baphometic sign with his left hand.
The Sigil of Baphomet adopted by Anton Lavey for his Church of Satan (center), representing a goat's head within an inverted pentagram, and surrounded with the hebrew spelling of Leviathan partly influenced Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Svperstar Shock Logo as well as the infamous goat's head tattoo on his left arm.
“The goat face represents carnality. In ancient Egypt goats were considered representations as god symbols of lust, and we think lust is an important factor of biology that keeps humanity going so we value that. The five-pointed star really comes from the Pythagoreans. That is the one figure in which every element is within the golden mean of each other. It’s this wonderful mathematical symbol of perfection, organic perfection specifically. Since we are organic life and enjoy the idea of perfecting ourselves, that star is right for us in there and it perfectly fits the goat head inside. Now around it are two circles, one at the tip of the points of the star and one outside. In that are Hebrew characters starting at the bottom and going counter-clockwise spelling Leviathan. In Hebrew mythology, Leviathan was the great dragon of the abyss, this powerful earthly figure that even Yahweh was afraid of. So all these things taken together creates a symbol that Anton LaVey identified with Satanism specifically. When he started the Church of Satan, usually upside down crosses were considered Satanic, and he saw that these different elements and felt this was a positive symbol you could tie to the Satanism he was creating.”
High Priest of the Church of Satan Peter H. Gilmore, in an interview for Wikinews, 2007
Left; Manson's meeting with Anton LaVey in 1993, during which he was entitled "Reverend" of the Church of Satan. Note the Baphomet plaque in the background as well as MM's Devil's horns shirt. Right; multiple evocations of the baphomet on a 1992 Spooky Kids Flyer, with Lévi's original drawing at bottom-left, the sigil on shirt echoed with the "microcosmic man" upwards pentagram at top-left, and the band's disposition. Image courtesy of
“The Pentagram, which in Gnostic schools is called the Blazing Star, is the sign of intellectual omnipotence and autocracy. It is the Star of the Magi; it is the sign of the Word made flesh; and, according to the direction of its points, this absolute magical symbol represents order or confusion, the Divine Lamb of Ormuz and St. John, or the accursed goat of Mendes. It is initiation or profanation; it is Lucifer or Vesper, the star of morning or evening. It is Mary or Lilith, victory or death, day or night. The Pentagram with two points in the ascendant represents Satan as the goat of the Sabbath; when one point is in the ascendant, it is the sign of the Saviour. By placing it in such a manner that two of its points are in the ascendant and one is below, we may see the horns, ears and beard of the hierarchic Goat of Mendes, when it becomes the sign of infernal evocations.”
Eliphas Lévi, Dogme et Rituel de la haute magie, 1855
Translated into English by A. E. Waite under the title 'Transcendental Magic'
Left; another example of Manson's use of the Baphomet sigil and its opposite, the microcosmic man, on a detail from a Spooky Kids newsletter, a perfect evocation of the dichotomy good/evil, Marilyn/Manson. Right; sketch found on the inlay of Antichrist Superstar, borrowing from both depictions.
Left; A screen shot from the 'Dead To The World' homevideo documenting 1997's 'Antichrist Svperstar' tour, in this frame Manson is seen backstage with an officer's visor cap and a Baphomet shirt. Right; another of Manson's drawings of Baphomet heavily used on Spooky Kids flyers and newsletters in the early 1990s.
Antichrist Svperstar videos menu on the Lest We Forget DVD. 'Baphometh', 2005 watercolor by Marilyn Manson which lately surfaced
on his online art store, with correct arm positioning this time.