- Michael Moynihan and Stephen E. Flowers, The Secret King: Karl Maia Wiligut, Himmler’s Lord of the Runes: The Real Documents of NAZI Occultism (Waterbury Center, VT: Dominion Press, 2001), 22-31.
Important areas in which Wiligut worked for Himmler included his conceptualization of the Wewelsburg castle as the “center of the world”; the design of the SS-ring; creation of various rituals and design of ritual objects to be used in SS ceremonies; and a steady stream of reports on esoteric matters of theology, history and cosmology issued for the most part privately to Himmler.
The Wewelsburg castle is a 17th century structure located near Buren in Westphalia. Himmler first viewed the castle in 1933 while on a campaign trip of the Party. It is uncertain as to whether Wiligut accompanied him on this trip; however, it is certain that the colonel influenced him greatly on the conceptualization of the castle as a worldwide headquarters for an order of knights — the SS. (Hüsser 1982: 33, 40) Shortly after the Wewelsburg was transferred to the SS, it became the headquarters of the Gesellschaft zur Förderung and Pflege deutscher Kultur-denkmäler (Society for the Promotion and Care of German Cultural Monuments) and was subsequently transformed into a “Nordic academy” for the ideological education —or initiation — of SS leaders. It was increasingly conceptualized as an Order-Castle (Ordensburg) and was remodeled to become the ritual space for ceremonies particular to Himmler’s elite circle within the SS.
Central to this cult was the northern tower of the castle. The lowest space in this tower, the vault, came to be referred to as the “Walhalla” — the Hall of the Slain. Above this vault is the colonnade chamber, on the floor of which is emblazoned the most distinctive single symbol of the Wewelsburg:
The colonnade hall was to become the central ritual chamber of the order of SS knights which Himmler and Wiligut envisioned.
This castle was to be the ultimate command center for cultural as well as military campaigns for the spread of a new Aryan empire, and, in the conception of Himmler and Wiligut, a bulwark against the invading “subhumans” from the east — the Bolsheviks.
The Wewelsburg became a great repository for all kinds of SS traditions, rituals and objects. At the end of the war, as American troops approached the region, the castle was blown up on 31 March 1945 by SS-men acting on orders from Himmler. Three days later American troops moved in and secured the site. As to what happened to much of the material and documents originally housed in the Ordensburg, there are three answers: some of it must have been removed before the detonation of the building; some of it was looted by locals of the nearby village in the three days between the detonation and the arrival of the Americans; and the rest was looted by American soldiers.
The most important cult-object of the SS is the “death’s head ring” [Totenkopfring]. [PICTURED ABOVE ~ SEE MORE BELOW] Wiligut is widely credited with its design. (Hunger 1985: 164) The text of a document which was presented the SS-men with the ring reads:
I bestow upon you the death’s head ring of the SS. It is:
A sign of our loyalty to the Führer, our unwavering obedience to our superiors and our unshakable solidarity and comradery.
The death’s head is an admonition to be prepared at any time to risk our own individual lives for the life of the collective whole.
The runes opposite the death’s head are holy signs from our past, with which we have been newly reconnected through the philosophy of National Socialism.
The two Sig-runes symbolize the name of our protection-squad [Schutzstaffel].
The Swastika and Hagall-rune are to keep our attention on our unshakable faith in the victory of our philosophy.
The ring is crowned all around with oak-leaves, the leaves of the old German tree.
This ring may not be sold, and is not allowed to be transferred to others.
Upon your withdrawal from the SS or from life, this ring is to be returned to the Reichsfiihrer-SS.
Copies and imitations are punishable by law and you are to protect it from same.
Wear the ring with honor!
~ Heinrich Himmler
According to Hüser (1982: 66-67), the rings of the SS-men who died in battle were stored in a special place in the Walhalla; those of SS-men who departed under other circumstances were generally melted down. Husker also reports that the store of “hundreds” of rings, which had resisted the explosion and fire, as well as local efforts to loot the castle, was eventually looted by American soldiers.
It also seems that Wiligut was instrumental in creating SS-rituals and designing ceremonial objects to be used in the performance of such rituals. A complete transcript has been uncovered in SS archives for a name-giving rite that Wiligut conducted for the newborn son of SS officer Karl Wolff, and at which Himmler himself was also present. A translation of the document appears as Appendix C in this book. Wiligut also presided over related rituals at the Wewelsburg. (Goodrick-Clarke 1985: 187) Much of the ritual design seems to have centered on marriage ceremonies for SS-men and their brides. There was a eugenic aspect to these ceremonies in that leading SS-men and their brides had to demonstrate their Aryan heritage by tracing it back at least to 1750. One object which Wiligut designed was a bowl in which bread and salt were presented to the bride and groom — the cover of this vessel was decorated with a “word-sigil for Got” [TO THE RIGHT]:
This is a bind-rune for (GOT). (Hunger 1984: 164) The commandant of the Wewelsburg, Manfred von Knobbelsdorff, was an enthusiastic follower of Wiligut and enacted many rituals of Wiligut’s tradition.One of the most important, and mysterious, aspects of Wiligut’s operative “magical” work came in the form of the aforementioned enigmatic Halgarita-Sprüche (Halgarita-Sayings), which were mantras from the Wiligut-tradition intended to enhance ancestral memory and facilitate the reemergence of the Irminist faith. A complete collection of these, excerpted from archival material, is printed on pages 103-110 of this book.
Throughout the years 1933-1939, Wiligut produced a number of reports for Himmler on a variety of topics relevant to esoteric religion, theology, history, and even political policy. One document outlines Wiligut’s ideas on the necessity of re-confiscating properties appropriated by the Church from the indigenous followers of the ancient faith. (Hüser 1982: 205)
During these years of high activity, Wiligut was already an elderly man in his late sixties and early seventies. His health and general level of energy were apparently not well-suited to the hectic pace at the center of the German National Socialist bureaucracy, so he was “treated” with drugs by SS physicians. It seems that these drugs had the effect of causing certain personality changes, including the colonel’s increasing dependance on tobacco and alcohol.
In the course of Wiligut’s life he had encounters with a number of other well-known esoteric nationalists. Some of these appear to have been his teachers, many were his students and others his colleagues. It is uncertain as to how well Wiligut knew men such as Guido von List and Lanz von Liebenfels. His ties to the latter seem to have been stronger, as so many of his own contacts were members of the ONT. Of course, Wiligut’s chief students were Emil Rudiger and Friedrich Teltscher, who further developed and published ideas rooted in Wiligut’s system. But beyond these there are others whom Wiligut encountered during his SS years and who merit discussion.
One of the most enigmatic figures of the SS was Otto Rahn (1904-1939). As a young man, Rahn spent time in the late 1920s and early 1930s in the Pyrenees region of southern France conducting research on the Cathar sect and the possibility of the Holy Grail being a part of their still-hidden treasure. In 1933 he published his most important work: Kreuzzug gegen den Gral (The Crusade against the Grail). But toward the mid-1930s financial problems forced him back to Germany where, in April of 1936, swept up in the Movement, he joined the SS. Rahn had been in personal contact with Wiligut and was a civilian employee of the SS for about a year before this. He was immediately made part of the Reichsführer-SS personal staff, and so worked closely with Wiligut. Rahn, like “Weisthor,” entered the SS with a personal secret. Rahn was a homosexual, which could result in a death-sentence if discovered. While in the SS Rahn undertook research trips to locations in Germany and even to Iceland, although he was never on an official SS expedition to southern France as is sometimes reported. In 1937 Rahn published his second book: Luzifers Hofgesind: Eine Reise zu Europas guten Geistern (Lucifer’s Retinue: A Journey to the Good Spirits of Europe). This is a kind of esoteric travelogue in which Rahn recounts the significance of various landscapes and monuments from southern France, Italy, Germany and Iceland. Rahn lectured within SS-circles on the theme of Luzifers Hofgesind, i.e., that Lucifer is the bringer of enlightenment and the enemy of the Jewish God, and that the retinue of Lucifer includes all those “good spirits” who fight for this enlightenment. Rahn was very well-liked by both Wiligut and Himmler. Himmler tried to give Rahn every opportunity to survive in the SS in the face of persistent reports of his homosexual activity. It is most likely that Rahn came to believe he would meet a dishonorable end in the SS, so to prevent this he wandered into the mountains near Soil, Austria, drank a bottle of liquor and allowed the winter cold to take his life. Himmler personally mourned the loss of Rahn.
Another esotericist with whom Wiligut had positive relations was Gunther Kirchhoff (1892-1975). On the surface this might appear to be an unlikely alliance since Kirchhoff was a member of the Guido von List Society. Wiligut had begun to correspond with Kirchhoff in the spring of 1934, and reported enthusiastically to Himmler about Kirchhoff’s writings. With Wiligut’s good recommendation, Himmler supported Kirchhoff, but the Ahnenerbe, which had a higher level of scholarly standards, rejected Kirchhoff’s writings as “fanciful.” However, Himmler continued to support Kirchhoff, who wrote reports on esoteric matters for the Reichsführer-SS as late as 1944. Many of Kirchhoff’s ideas seem to have been drawn from List and/or Wiligut; however, his geomantic studies, which he blended with an esoteric geopolitics, are what make his works noteworthy. Toward the end of his life, Kirchhoff wrote an analysis of events based on his theories entitled “Das politische Ratsel Asien aus Ortung erschlossen” (The Political Riddle of Asia Solved through Location). (See Mund 1982: 260-274) Based on the idea that certain power-points on the surface of the earth are arranged in hexagonal patterns, those who know this secret could use it to their advantage. This theory explains the Austrian city of Vienna as the key to controlling Asia, and explains the secret relationship of Vienna to certain “power points” in central Asia.
Other esotericists of the day were not so well-received by Wiligut. It is said that it was the influence of Wiligut which had Ernst Lauterer arrested and interned in a concentration camp. As observers have noted, Lauterer was a man with a personal mythology similar to that of Wiligut. In 1911 — under the name “Tarnhari” (the Hidden-High-One) — Lauterer wrote to the old master, Guido von List, and told him how he was the head of the secret Volsung-clan of the semi-divine hero Siegfried. This correspondence is outlined in J. Balzli’s official biography of Guido von List published in 1917. Lauterer-Tarnhari subsequently became a member of the Guido von List Society. One may speculate on the nature of the friction between Wiligut and Lauterer.