I’m not a Chaos Magician and don’t view the world through a Chaote perspective. So I’m not of a mind to review The Book of Baphomet by Julian Vayne and Nikki Wyrd — I couldn’t do them justice because I disagree with many of Chaos Magick’s basic premises, the entrenched opinions found in it, etc. So I’m just going to jot down some thoughts and impressions.
The first two thirds or so of the book is a treasure house of Baphomet lore. If you have any Baphometic inclinations you should read the book for the lore alone. There’s no way I could summarize this section so if interested — and I know many of you are because my Baphomet post is my most popular to date — then just read the book.
The book then turns into an excursus on entheogens and sex magic. Not the lore or techniques but the experiences. It was interesting at first but I got bored with the sex and drugs after a while. But even here there are some passages of moving poetic beauty, like finding occasional twenty dollar bills while on a long walk through the mud. —It could be that I’m just jealous because I’m fresh out of entheogens, have no one to watch over me while I’m tripping, and my partner isn’t into magic, not at all. Yes, I’m jealous, but the section was still boring at times.
Then came an extended Baphometic working, Chaos Magick style. If you’re into Chaos Magick then this will prove most interesting to you. If you’re also into Baphomet you’ll probably want to give this section a try.
It’s a good book, Vayne and Wyrd’s Book of Baphomet. It’s a good read, all told.
One of the first two magic books I ever bought was Liber Null and Psychonaut by Peter J. Carroll, the most famous of the founders of what soon became known as Chaos Magick. In the Psychonaut half of the book, Carroll incorporates a cool Baphometish illustration and devotes a couple of pages to Baphomet. To him, Baphomet is the perfect notion of what a God should be to the Chaos Magician. He sees Baphomet in Hir androgyny, Hir mixtures of various species and phylums, of apparent good and evil, as the perfect picture of reality in miniature. And the ultimate reality to Carroll back in those days was the Kia, the universal life force/Chaos/Source/atmospheric I/etc. Baphomet has since then evolved into the God(dess) of the biosphere. Or the egregore of the biosphere, i.e., the giant thoughtform or “living notion” of the biosphere. Anyway, it’s all very Chaotick, in the best of ways — I enjoy reading Chaos Magick, I just don’t practice or believe in it — but this idea of the nature of Baphomet leaves a funny taste in my mouth.
Baphomet as Deity of the Biosphere … this seems almost like an article of faith. They make a case for it being true, and a pretty good one, but I think if ones calls the shots as they see them, this idea is a Chaote axiom. Axioms are truths so basic they can’t be parsed any further. —I don’t agree with this axiom. The authors of course have a lot of personal experience from their years of working with Baphomet. I don’t have a lot of personal experience. But there’s nothing stopping a possible original Baphomet from existing alongside a Chaote Baphomet. Or maybe Baphomet grew a new limb, so to speak, one that Chaotes interact with. Or … and on and on and on … the possibilities are endless. But it smacks of an article of faith to me, something Chaotes say they don’t have (but of course, like all humans, they do). No matter how enjoyable the book is, I disagree with its most fundamental idea.
Above I wrote I don’t have a lot of personal experience working with Baphomet. But I’ve been trying to establish contact via a magical image of Hir (Levi’s famous illustration, of course). A few days ago, I established a slight connection, I think. The pre-verbal echoes were echoing away in my head but my mouth only caught one word out of those reverberations to speak aloud: Wisdom, my lips said of their own accord. What kind of wisdom? What’s the subject here, what’s the verb? —I don’t know yet, but I intend to continue to try and find out.