Many of you have heard of the Goat of Mendes, also known as Baphomet. This is a very evocative mythical figure that tends to induce strange sensations in the psyche of many people. It is a hermaphrodite figure of human form with a goat’s head. It symbolizes transcendental magic. Pictures of Baphomet show a black moon in the bottom left hand corner, with Baphomet’s arm pointing downwards. The black moon symbolizes the ida path used for selfish purposes. The pointing arm indicates that the misuse of psychic powers, such as in black magic, will eventually lead to a downfall and adverse personal repercussions. It seems that all people who tread the ida path for selfish reasons have a tendency to crash and pay the penalty. If you care to read The Occult, a book by Colin Wilson, you will be firmly convinced of this fact. All the famous occultists whom he mentions suffered through misuse of their powers. They rarely find happiness in life.
The other hand of the Baphomet points upwards to a white moon in the top right hand corner. This shows that the path of ida can lead to spiritual ascension, if psychic powers are not used for selfish purposes.
The ida and pingala pathways are also shown in pictures of Baphomet. But they are only depicted rising from mooladhara chakra through swadhisthana to manipura chakra.
They ascend no further. This is open to many interpretations. In the context of the diagram we understand this as meaning that selfishness in outer activities (pingala) or in inner psychic abilities (ida) will prevent the individual rising above the level of understanding represented by the manipura chakra. You may possibly have a better interpretation.
Hermes was the ancient Egyptian personification of wisdom. He is also associated with Hermes Trismegistus who is believed to have originated the science of alchemy. There is much confusion between history and myth, but this doesn’t concern us here. Hermes is usually depicted holding a unique rod in one hand, with two wings at the top end and entwined with two serpents. This is called a caduceus and is illustrated on the right hand side of the diagram under the heading entitled Svmbolism of Ida and Pingala’ in part 1 of this discussion. This symbol is no other than the ida. pingala and sushumna of yoga. If you count the number of intersections of the two serpents you will find that there are six. These represent the junction of ida and pingala at each of the six chakras from mooladhara to ajna. The two wings at the top of the caduceus are the exact equivalent of the two lotus petals that symbolize ajna chakra in yoga, the highest chakra where ida and pingala merge to become one. This mystical symbol is the exact equivalent of ida, pingala and sushumna of India.
Incidentally, this caduceus is the official symbol of the medical profession. In this context it is called the Staff of Aesculapius (the wand of Hermes and Mercury ). This may seem a little fanciful but actually the adoption of this symbol is perfectly logical. Medicine is concerned with balance, for it is imbalance that causes disease. Balance means good health while imbalance implies illness or bad health. This balance or lack of balance applies at all levels of subtlety; it is directly associated with ida and pingala. Illness can be caused by physical, pranic and mental imbalance. In a wider sense, illness is caused by spiritual imbalance. In the extreme sense, we can say that only a person who has achieved the highest stage of spiritual life, unitive life, is truly healthy. The balance of ida and pingala is the prime concern of any system of healing, including medicine, which is why the caduceus is used as the symbol of medical science.