The Church of Satan adopted the image of the “Sabbatic Goat,” an image drawn by occult author Eliphas Lévi, and based on the concept of the Baphomet, a pagan idol.
A horned, winged, sexually ambiguous, goat-like deity, Baphomet is usually depicted with a goat’s body and cloven hooves, a woman’s breasts and enormous, flared wings. A flame protrudes from the top of his head, and from his lap a staff with two snakes wrapped around it: a caduceus.
Lucien Greaves (a.k.a. Doug Mesner), one of the people who commissioned the sculpture, that now sits in a warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn, asked the sculptor — we’ll call him “Jack” — to forgo the breasts. This Baphomet is smooth-chested and muscular, with thin, shapely lips and rectangular pupils. The sculptor based his physique on a blend of Michelangelo’s David and Iggy Pop. Mesner is one of the founders of The Satanic Temple.
When the piece is completed, Baphomet will be seated on a throne underneath an inverted pentagram. On either side of him, two children — a boy and a girl — will gaze up adoringly. On this day the little girl was absent, visiting another artist for some finishing touches. The boy was in place, his lips parted, his unpainted, dimpled Afro reminiscent of a giant golf ball.
Photos by Jena Cumbo for the Village Voice.