The inverted pentacle with a goat’s head is called the Sigil of Baphomet. The second word may have come from two Greek words, baphe and metis, meaning “absorption of knowledge.” It has also been called the Black Goat, Devil’s Goat, Goat Head, Goat of Mendes, and Judas Goat.
Its first appearance appears to have been during the vicious interrogation of members of the Knights Templar by the Roman Catholic Church during the Inquisition. There was little consensus among different victims’ descriptions of the Baphomet. It can probably be safely assumed that their description of the Baphomet is more a product of the Inquisition’s torture methods than of any actual statue that was in use by the Knights.
Today, the Sigil of Baphomet is the official insignia of the Church of Satan. It is also a symbol that is used by several other organizations, usually those associated with Satanism. Prior to the worldwide press given the Church of Satan—and later the publication of The Satanic Bible— the now familiar graphic had not been used as the prime symbol for Satanism. Predating the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, Satanism is usually denoted by inverted crosses or crucifixes and blasphemous parodies of Christian art. There are also images of goats and devils, and demons—along with their sigils from grimoires—all used to represent the “satanic.” However, the complete graphic which we now call the “Sigil of Baphomet” only became associated as the foremost symbol of Satanism in the public and media consciousness after the founding of the Church of Satan and Dr. LaVey’s use of it. From its inception, the Church of Satan has been constantly spotlighted in print, film, and television media all over the globe.