A Nineteenth-Century Black American Spiritualist, Rosicrucian, and Sex Magician
Author: John Patrick Deveney
Publisher: SUNY Press
View: 745This is the fascinating story of Paschal Beverly Randolph, an African American who carved his own eccentric path in the mid-nineteenth century from the slums of New York’s Five Points to the courts of Europe, where he performed as a spiritualist trance medium. Although self-educated, he became one of the first Black American novelists and took a leading part in raising Black soldiers for the Union army and in educating Freedmen in Louisiana during the Civil War. His enduring claim to fame, however, is the crucial role he played in the transformation of spiritualism, a medium’s passive reception of messages from the spirits of the dead, into occultism, the active search for personal spiritual realization and inner vision. From his experiences in his solitary travels in England, France, Egypt and the Turkish Empire in the 1850s and 1860s, he brought back to America a system of occult beliefs and practices (the magic mirror, hashish use and sexual magic) that worked a revolution. The systems of magic he taught left their traces on many subsequent occultists, including Madame Blavatsky and her Theosophical Society, and are still practiced today by several occult organizations in Europe and American that carry on his work. This is the fist scholarly work on Randolph and includes the full text of his two most important manuscript works on sexual magic.