by Sir Don Webb, Master of the Trapezoid
published in Uncle Setnakt’s Nightbook, available from Lodestar. Reproduced with permission.
One of the most notorious parts of the Temple of Set is the Order of the Trapezoid, a Knighthood dedicated to the Honor of the Two Beasts—Aleister Crowley and Michael Aquino. Its primary expression is Germanic occultism, and its secondary language is the Mythos of Lovecraft. The Order was founded in the darkest of the places, the Hall of the Dead in Himmler’s Castle.
There are few symbols of wrongful empowerment of the psyche as potent as the Nazis. They practiced a simple and effective self-deification magic and did not couple it with virtue ethics. They are forever the Sign in history that you can not give the Powers of Darkness to humans that do not place these powers around a core that believes in freedom and diversity—and also believes that this core is not only part and parcel of the Gift of the Prince of Darkness, but that fighting for freedom actually makes the Black Flame burn more brightly on this Earth.
During my stay in the Temple I have seen both Jewish and Black Grandmasters of the Order. All races of mankind take their turns as victims and tormentors—yet all humans can not only be better humans, they can be semi-divine. But woe onto any who scheme to destroy mankind’s freedom of joy. If you do not realize that making yourself into a God also means that you are making yourself into a Demon, then you must flee the dark path.
I wrote the following essay for Runes (the private journal of the Order of the Trapezoid).
Persons of a certain level of being can utter words of power—words that can cause others to do and feel things—words that can open into worlds.
One such word is Walhalla, the watchword of the current manifestation of the Order of the Trapezoid. Heard and Uttered by Sir Michael Aquino on October 19, 1982 in the Hall of the Fallen of Himmler’s Castle, this Word Remanifested an Order of Knighthood that protects the liberating effect of human desire on Earth.
On the surface it would seem to be an unlikely word for a group of men and women pursuing real world change in a Left Hand Path religion. It comes out of a super Right Hand Path environment—the Nazis weren’t big on individuality. It refers to an afterlife state—sounds more like Christianity than Satanism. It does not seem to promote life worship. Yet the Order of the Trapezoid is the largest order of the Temple of Set, a vanguard for the Left Hand Path in the West—and has cast its sinister shadow into the occult community, the illusion-filled land of conspiracy theory and even into academia and the military.
At times the face of the serpent is seen. This is one such time. Let’s look at the implications of the Word and a few preludes to its Utterance. Here is the bedrock magical principal: Changing the past is subjective, changing the future is objective.
Most humans struggle daily with changing the past. The limitations on their lives were placed there in the past. Someone may have told them that they were stupid, lazy or ugly and they wear and resent these labels every day of their lives. We can sympathize with the young woman who was told in her early life that math wasn’t for girls, and didn’t discover her gifts until age 30. She can’t change the bad grades and wasted time of her youth—those things are objective—but she can change her attitude everyday.
The future however is malleable. If you and I agree to meet for coffee tomorrow, we have created an event (if we are both true to our word and the world doesn’t overcome this plan). The further we cast our vision into the future the easier it is to cast that vision. You may have tomorrow scheduled and can’t meet for coffee, but if we make a date for next week you may be freer, and certainly next month has nothing staining the fair pages of its calendar.
Walhalla is the future. It is an enclosure built to hold warriors, who are not enjoying the divine hypostasis of the Christian heaven, but who by merit have won a place to train for the next evolution of the cosmos. It is not the final goal, which would be Unknown, but a target. It is a target that requires objective action in the world now, and magical action of assuming/creating a fraternal bond in the future.
Here are the Secrets of the Order:
Just as the Temple of Set is the creation of the light side of Michael Aquino, the Order of the Trapezoid is a creation of his dark side. Just as the Temple of Set is about Being, the Order of the Trapezoid is about Doing.
The Temple gives people the tools to discover what they really are, the Order gives people the tools to shape what the world may yet become.
One Lives in this world and the next by seeking after the unmanifest and bringing it into being, or by making the Unknown Known.
The Order of the Trapezoid has roots in the work of Aleister Crowley, 20th century German occultism and other sources. I wanted to share a few of the electrifying preludes of this stone of precious water.
When the Hyksos ruled Egypt they brought ideas of horse-culture and honor. Although the Hyksos were not Indo-Europeans, they did bring the Indo-European notion of rule by cavalry elite to the Nile valley. This led to changes in Egyptian thinking in the XVIII-XX dynasties. It saw the emergence of a military elite, the mari’annu, who considered honor as a key to personal immortality, a method of thinking that Egyptologist Jan Assmann has described as a “theology of will.” The mari’annu took over the higher positions of the Egyptian priesthood to end economic corruptions of offices. They instituted the fortified temple with its large trapezoidal pylon gates, and they revived an ancient and near-forgotten god, Set.
The meeting of Ódhinn and Set along the southern road had all of the markings of the Order: the use of the deep past as a key to the future, the emphasis on personal and clannish honor as a mechanism of personal immortality, the safe-guarding against temple corruption, and the use of the symbols of power to communicate these goals to all realms of being. During mari’annu times the Empire spread both southward and eastward, archeology and library-keeping began, and the word for an individual first appeared in hieroglyphs.
I. The first use of the Sacred Trapezoid in Western Magic was the Freemasons’ Apron. Proportioned at 6, 5, 10 it reflected the values of the name of Jehovah. The Yod (י = 10) is the base, the two Hehs (ה = 5) are the sides and the Vau (ו = 6) is on the top. Sir Albert Pike traced the apron somewhat fancifully to the white sheep skin worn by the priests of Jupiter-Amon, who provided the oracle legitimizing Alexander the Great’s rule. The Freemasons, whose network of secrets and belief in equality and brotherhood brought about the American and French revolutions, are a prototype of our Order. We likewise believe in the equality of members, the use of fraternal bonds to achieve worldly power and the long-term importance of secular human freedom.
II. Young Howard Stanton Levey caught a flick in 1943 that was to change his life. The Seventh Victim, a Val Lewton production, featured a group of Palladian Masons—devil worshippers—who possessed the power to alter their members’ fates. Their magical focus is a parallelogram. The screenwriter DeWitt Bodeen claimed to have visited an actual Satanic group in New York. The eeriest and (perhaps) most magical part of the film is composer Roy Webb’s score.
This little film introduced Howard to four important magical ideas: 1) the power of music as spell-casting; 2) the use of a geometrical symbol as group focus/inspiration; 3) the power of people that are devoted yet “hidden” in the roles of prosperous, hard-working men and women; and most importantly he learned that 4) popular images of magic can be used as gateways to magical states with as much validity as (for example) Hindu tattvas. All of these principles not only shaped the magical career of the man better known as Anton Szandor LaVey, but became his magical legacy that lives on in the Order of the Trapezoid of the Temple of Set.
The film also hooked him on Lewton’s frequent director Jacques Tourneur, and when 1957 brought The Curse of the Demon, Tourneur’s version of the classic M.R. James story “Casting the Runes”, Howard was quick to pick up on the magical references. In his later life Howard dated the foundation of the Order of the Trapezoid to 1957; although in reality the Order and its rune-casting were more of a creature of ink than reality during the Church of Satan’s heyday.
III. In March 1929 Weird Tales magazine brought out Frank Belknap Long’s short story “The Hounds of Tindalos.” This story inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft featured an odd sort of magical being—the hound-like stalkers of “angular time.” Long had created a new paradigm. Unlike linear time (the progressive time of history) or circular time (the mythic/religious time that mirrors the seasons), Long had created a time for the creatures that had truly fallen by eating the apple of knowledge. Angular time is partially based on will and partially based on unseen obstacles. It could be likened to the processes that the mind goes through when solving a problem. One vector may move quickly, then direction has to be changed when encountering an obstacle. Things may leap ahead, crawl ahead or backtrack.
Long’s description was a perfect model for the human thought process, and showed its “evil” nature—since it was out-of-sync with the orderly processes of nature. Long’s bogeys, which are described as immortal, became the model for Magus LaVey’s Rite of the Is-To-Be, which used the notion that the wants of the magician could enter into the minds of mankind via angular gateways. This notion is hidden in the word Tindalos. In Melanesian folklore, a tindalo is the spirit of a man who had possessed great mana in his life and now could control fate. A tindalo can enter the body of a snake or shark, or in rarer instances a human.
From these Roots, you can gain insight into Walhalla. The knight who gets a name for him- or herself and wills to exist in a post-mortem state that continues to influence the world through magical technologies—while awaiting a final battle that represents the next leap in consciousness—is the Knight of the Order. He or she will generally look like any hard-working pillar of society, yet he or she is willing to battle (even die) for human freedom. He or she is in magical contact with others that are of the same current, and his or her magical weapons can come from the distant past, the imaginary present and most importantly from contemplating their future state of being. Their deeds manifest that future.
Like a new idea popping into one’s head they disturb, even shatter, realities—but their position in society not only helps new Knights with jobs and advice, but makes sure that the forces of stupidity can’t shut down the process. In one sense they are battling Ragnarok today, having already been in Walhalla—in another sense they are the inheritors of all those who have used magic and secrecy as part of the battle for human freedom.
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