Consecrated by the Prince of Darkness, in his image as Wotan Helljäger of the One Eye, the Order of the Trapezoid is a chivalric order of knighthood within the Temple of Set. Its members are adept black magicians who have sworn fealty beyond death to the spirit of their fylgja, or guiding shadow self. These knights are dedicated to the quest for the Grail by seeking the angular mysteries of the Trapezoid, partaking of the Black Flame, and achieving a highly dynamic state of development known as Walhalla.
The Order of the Trapezoid has many areas focus and experimentation, ranging from the esoteric traditions of Northern Europe, to mad lab experiments and the martial arts, and to neo-mythology and mathematics as gateways to altered states and higher dimensions. All of these, and more, are united by this four-fold approach described more fully in the introduction to the Order’s Mysteries.
The history of the Order of the Trapezoid is that of a formula for the emergence of the Hidden into the awareness of those touched by the Black Flame of consciousness. Many attempts have been made at this formula, yet while it has yet to be fully realized, our Knighthood has developed it to its furthest manifestation thus far. This section will trace its development through the contributions of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Anton Szandor LaVey, Dr. Michael A. Aquino, and Dr. Stephen E. Flowers.
Our history begins with the most ancient artifact of intelligent life, the human pre-rational consciousness. It is from this primal landscape that H.P. Lovecraft found inspiration for his fantastic tales. Otherwise conservative and staunchly materialistic, Lovecraft allowed his deeper fears of water, dark places, and strange animals to come alive in his writings. In this, his work was much like that of many other expressionists of the time.
Unlike his contemporaries, however, Lovecraft was well-read in the natural sciences. He was among the first authors to explore the new physics of Planck, Einstein, and Schrödinger, and express the human implications of their works in fiction. By combining depth psychology with cutting edge cosmology, Lovecraft had stumbled upon the primal dreams of another world. The world of Lovecraft struck a deep chord among his readers, reminding people of something that they would rather forget: a world so real that people have been searching for the “real” Necronomicon ever since.
Enter the Magus Nemo
Decades after they were written, Lovecraft’s tales would inspire a creative and iconoclastic showman, a Magus who proclaimed himself the “Black Pope” and gave the late sixties and early seventies a name: Indulgence. Anton Szandor LaVey ushered the Lovecraftian Mythos into the ritual chambers and postmodern culture of the Church of Satan. Seeing the correlation between the “strange angles” of Lovecraft, and the “negative architecture” described in de Lafforest’s Houses That Kill, LaVey formulated the aesthetic function of this geometry in the Greater and Lesser Laws of the Trapezoid, in which certain angles that were harmful to most people, would be beneficial to those who were properly initiated into their mysteries. The latter was visually demonstrated in the photographs of Mortensen’s The Command to Look, and verbalized a century earlier when Immanual Kant likened the experience of the sublime to standing atop a high cliff that simultaneously attracts us to move closer to its ledge and repels us to scramble for safety.
Further inspired by a Lovecraft tale that introduced the Starry Wisdom Sect among its protagonists, who utilized a shining trapezohedron to communicate with an entity beyond the stars, LaVey formed the Order of the Trapezoid within the Church of Satan. As stated in a 1970 issue of The Cloven Hoof:
The O.Tr. is the ‘board of directors’ and security staff of the Church. Its functions are many, and its members are chosen by appointment, according to the special abilities and attributes of each. All Priests and Priestesses are automatically admitted into the Order, although identities of most members of the Order are unknown even to each other. Members of the Governing or Grand Council of the Trapezoid are known only to the High Priest, who solicits their aid when required.
Although LaVey grasped the aesthetic correlations of the trapezoid in Lovecraft’s tales, and the Weimar-era Expressionism of pre-war Germany, the LaVey-centered political organization of the O.Tr. kept it from becoming a proper order within the Church of Satan. The formula remained a thought experiment throughout the demise of the Church, and the ascension of the Temple of Set, where it was alternatively used to designate the Council of Nine and the Magistry.
“Not everything that is buried in Westphalia is dead.” - Heinrich Heine
On October 19th, 1982, Dr. Michael Aquino, Magus of Xeper, High Priest and founder of the Temple of Set, took the thought experiment to Walhalla, the subterranean inner sanctum of the Wewelsburg Castle in the storied Westphalia region of Germany. This was the site where another experiment had gone awry: where the positive aspects of German romanticism—dynamism, life-worship, irrationality, artistic alchemy, and xenophilia—had tragically become the tools of totalitarianism, negative tribalism, and brutal acts committed on a mass scale.
Dr. Aquino performed the rite at Wewelsburg to recapture the positive elements of this Romantic stream from the place where the dark arts of the North were last attempted. There, he combined this stream with that of Lovecraftian expressionism, a genre with which he was familiar having previously served as LaVey’s “left hand man” in the Church of Satan (and having written the “Ceremony of the Nine Angles” and “The Call to Cthulhu” as contributions to The Satanic Rituals (1972)). The marriage of German romanticism with Lovecraftian expressionism was a powerful one indeed, perhaps even too powerful. To ensure that the magical Arts which emerged from this alchemy would never be misused again, Dr. Aquino reestablished the Order of the Trapezoid as a chivalric order of Knights sworn to uphold the highest standards of honor and ethical conduct. The formula had come alive.
For the first time since it was conceived, the Order of the Trapezoid had become a working organization with a working formula. Four years later, the Grandmaster chair of the Order was passed to Dr. Stephen Edred Flowers, Yrmin-Drighten of the Rune-Gild, scholar of Germanic magical traditions, and author of numerous books on European magical systems. During his nine year tenure as Grandmaster, Dr. Flowers developed the Indo-European Northern roots of the Order, articulating its historical sources, and establishing a rigorous methodology for awakening traditional systems. Organizationally, he established a system of lodges and houses, and an inner council of advisors within the Order.
The work of Dr. Flowers gave rise to a particular school of mysticism within the Order. This school linked concrete accomplishments in objective reality to the knowledge of deeper mysteries which transcended rational thought and sense perception. This combination of objective and subjective endeavor became known as the two-fold path of initiation, and its method known as the Polarian Method. From the deeper mysteries of his own work, he became the Magus of the Word Rûna, the seed of all Runes and essence of mysteries represented by a geometric yantra comprised of the Nine Angles of the trapezoid plus pentagram, and articulated in the formula Reyn til Rûna.
Continuing the Quest
The Work of later Grandmasters and other Knights and Dames has continued to shape the Order and foster its collective understanding of its own deeper Mysteries. This has included such influential Order-wide projects as weekend-long workshops studying Rûna and the Nine Angles, the compilation of an Order Necronomicon including our own ritual and theoretical works in the realm of neo-mythology (inspired by writers such as H.P. Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, Charles Hope Hodgson, and Fritz Leiber), and the private publication of an Ordenbuch known as the Codex Trapezoidicus.
The last nine years have seen a series of Workings exploring each of the Nine Angles for a year at a time, culminating in magical Workings open to all attendees at the annual Temple of Set International Conclaves.
Manifesting the Hidden
The Order of the Trapezoid is an order of knighthood characterized by strict personal honor and faithfulness to the quest for the Grail. The Order is a knighthood in that its members are pledged to the traditional chivalric virtues as appropriate to each situation encountered. By honor is meant a sense of justice, ethics, and responsibility prior to personal comfort, convenience, or advantage. This honor is known by one’s faithfulness to the Quest for the Grail, which is the self, soul, or psyche made perfect through conscious refinement and exercise of the Will. Attainment of the Grail results in transformation of the individual into a state of dynamic existence energized by the psyche, not by the physical body derived from the material universe. Hence that which is signified by the Trapezoid is the gate to psyche-centric immortality beyond physical death.
“Let none who fears
The spear of Wotan
Adventure across this fire!”
- Richard Wagner, Die Walküre
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