Toby Chappell -- author of Infernal Geometry and the Left-Hand Path: The Magical System of the Nine Angles (Inner Traditions, May 2019) -- discusses the history and development of the unique practice called angular magic in the early Church of Satan and later in the Temple of Set. Angular magic takes the "strange angles" of H. P. Lovecraft's fiction, the number mysticism of Pythagoras, the photograph composition theories of William Mortensen, and Anton LaVey's Law of the Trapezoid, and combines them into a coherent system of magical theory and practice.
Central to the current manifestation of these practices is the semiotic theory of magic -- the use of signs and symbols in communication with the various phenomena the magician wishes to affect. The principles behind Anton LaVey's "Die Elektrischen Vorspiele" and Michael Aquino's "Ceremony of the Nine Angles" -- both published in The Satanic Rituals (1972) -- have been further developed within the Temple of Set, while only rarely commented on publicly.
Toby Chappell is a musician and writer currently residing in Georgia. He has been enamored with the esoteric and the strange for as long as he can remember, pursuing these as gateways into unraveling the mysteries of existence and self- awareness. He has been a member of the Temple of Set since 2000, and Grandmaster of the Order of the Trapezoid within the Temple since 2015.
He is the author of Infernal Geometry and the Left Hand Path: The Magical System of the Nine Angles (May 2019 on Inner Traditions), which explores the history and development of angular magic within the early Church of Satan and then in the Temple of Set starting in 1975. (Angular magic is a system that draws on Pythagorean number mysticism, semiotics, and the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and other contemporary authors to create a post-modern magic with deep roots.)
Some of Toby's interests include the connections between Starry Wisdom and the Left Hand Path, the study of how semiotics and language reflect and enhance effective thought and action, and the Northern European esoteric traditions including the Runes. Influenced by the treatment of the unusual, the esoteric, the imaginal and the mysterious by such authors as Fritz Leiber, Herman Hesse, Stefan Grabinski and H.P. Lovecraft, his quest is always to seek the deeper Mystery behind the things that capture his interest (knowing that the truth always remains partially hidden).
Toby's music and occult pursuits intersect in the solo projects Eyes of Ligeia (starry wisdom and ambient doom), and Misdreamt (found sounds, electro-acoustic experimentation, and apophenia).