Baphomet means nothing whatsoever to the bulk of Christians. But they all recognize the image and claim it is Satan himself.  What is it all about?

 Many historians state the word is a corruption of "Mahomet" (Mohammed) and that it relates to an ascribed debauch of Muslim worship perpetrated by 12th-14th century Christian monks called the Knights Templar. The wealth and power of these Templars, it is said, had grown so tempting that the King of France and his Pope that in order to pillage their wealth, their political enemies
disbanded them in the early 14th century under the mandate of trumped up charges of heinous heresy and scandalous treason. Central was the accusation that, they worshipped an idol named Baphomet, which is said to have taken the form of a head or sometimes a Black Cat.

New Age author Dr. John Rodgers, believes that the "idol" worshipped by the Knights Templar was the folded-up "Shroud of Turin" which depicts a bearded man in negative. (se Shroud of Turin)

19th century writers such as Eliphas Levi and Albert Pike made much of the 500-year-old false accusations against the Knights Templar to fabricate from the name Baphomet a veritable deity of Hedonism and Rebellion against a Christian establishment.   It
the original Baphomet

was Levi who, in the mid-1800s, first drew and published the now-familiar image shown here of Baphomet as a seated, hermaphroditic, winged, goat-headed being.

Spanish artist Francisco Goya painted a "Witch's Sabbath" in 1800 in which a group of seated women were offering their dead infant children to a seated goat.  Levi also incorrectly identified Baphomet with The Goat of Mendes, an ancient Egyptian god whose name should more properly

  be translated as "Harpocrates, the Ram of Mendes," a sheep-god who was the Creator and tutelary deity of his region (the city of Mendes). Harpocrates was a granter of fertility, but he was not associated with debauch or lust -- and, most important from the standpoint of this investigation into mythography, in animal-form, he was a ram, not a buck goat. .

The 16th trump card of the tarot, The Devil,  constructed circa 1910 by Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Coleman Smith, appears to be Baphoment..

Earlier forms of this tarot card do not look much like the Smith-Waite version, which seems to have been inspired by Levi's 19th century drawing of Baphomet,

Followers of Aliester Crowley say that Baphomet is one of the names of their master,    whose
notorious character and sly publication record secured him some attention in the 20th century. Crowley did sign many documents with this name, as well as other fanciful non-de-plumes, such as "To Mega Therion" (Greek for "The Great Beast"). However,  the 16th major trump card of Crowley's tarot deck, produced in collaboration with Frieda Harris, depicts the ram standing beneath a stylized phallus, as a friendly four-legged, multi-eyed animal-god, not a demonic half-human hermaphrodite.

Typically, among modern eclectic occultists, the term Baphomet is not associated specifically with the qualities of a Creator God such as The Ram of Mendes. Rather, it is usually given antagonistic qualities, pitting it against such a fashioner-of-our-cosmos. One also encounters modern attempts to link Baphomet with Gnostic dualism and similar ideas of trans-archonian worship and, thus, without much believability, to so-called "Gnostic" orgiastic sex worship.

Satanists from the Church of Satan, founded by Anton LaVey in 1966, usually claim that Baphomet is the name of their identifying sigil, a point-down pentacle enclosing a goat's head, surrounded byfive Hebrew letters spelling out LVYThN ("Leviathan"), shown to the right. Some of these same individuals will claim that their cherished symbol is related to and derives from the Knights Templar or from some Masonic source (probably because Albert Pike was a Freemason and made something of a splash by plagiarizing Levi and lauding Lucifer and Baphomet as important esoteric symbols). However, no copy of the sigil has yet turned up in any works by Levi or Pike -- and the earliest known example of this sigil as LaVey used it occurs in a 1961 French encyclopedia of occultism, Histoire en 1000 Images de la Magie by Maurice Bessy, a copy of which LaVey owned. (The book was later published in English as A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural and was widely available in the U.S.and Great Britain.)