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This first scholarly work on Randolph includes the full text of his two most important manuscripts on sexual magic.
This is a superb piece of work. It is the only book that I know of about Randolph, who is generally considered a notable curiosity of nineteenth-century esotericism, but whom the author establishes as an absolutely central and pivotal historical character. This historiography is masterful--meticulously detailed and coherently presented. This is an important book, filling a gap that wasn't previously known to have been so substantial. It's well written, a tour de force at amassing the data. It is a must read." -- Dan Merkur, author of Gnosis: An Esoteric Tradition of Mystical Visions and Unions
This 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.
"It is fascinating, because the subject's life was filled with dramatic adventure and hardship, and touched upon so many issues of the day. Deveney's work is important in itself as a ground-breaking study of an intriguing character. I can think of no figure in nineteenth-century Western esotericism who has been more unjustly ignored than Randolph. Deveney rescues him from obscurity in this biography, which will be regarded as authoritative for many years to come." -- K. Paul Johnson, author of Initiates of Theosophical Masters and The Masters Revealed: Madame Blavatsky and the Myth of the Great White Lodge.
Table of Contents
1. Early Years
On the Streets of New York
The Black Man
Upstate New York, Spiritualism, and Free Love
John Murray Spear
Randolph the Spiritualist
Randolph's Medical Specialty: Sex
2. Randolph Abroad: 1855-1858
The World Convention of 1855
English Occultism and Spiritualism in the Mid-1850s
Emma Hardinge Britten's World
Randolph and the British Spiritualists and Mirror Magicians
The French Occult Milieu at Mid-Century
Return to America
Second European Trip: 1857
3. The Fruits of Randolph's Travels in the 1850s
4. Randolph's Recantation of Spiritualism
The Utica Philanthropic Convention
Recantation of Spiritualism
5. Dealings with the Dead: The Mature Visionary
Cosmology and Soul Monads
Soul and Spirit
Beginnings of Practical Occultism
Practice and Blending
6. The Rosicrucian
Rosicrucians on Both Sides of the Grave
History behind the Myth?
Reuben Swinburne Clymer's Myths
Randolph's First Rosicrucian Foundations
The Orient, 1861-1862
7. The Civil War Years
8. The Post-Civil War Years in Boston
The Rosicrucian Rooms in Boston
After Death; or Disembodied Man
Randolph Publishing Company
The Rosicrucians Again
9. The Great Free-Love Trial
The Great Boston Fire and Toledo
Last Visit to Europe
The Revelation of Sexual Magic
10. The Coming of the Nusa'iri
The Ansairetic Mystery and the Mysteries of Eulis
The Brotherhood of Eulis
12. Randolph and Madame Blavatsky
The Occult Duel
The Reality behind the Myth
The "Half-Initiated Seer"
The Rosicrucians Yet Again
Brothers of Luxor
Madame Blavatsky and Spiritualism
The Primordial Central Sun
Reincarnation and the Sleep of Sialam
13. Randolph, Blavatsky, and Occult Practice
The Original Purpose of the Theosophical Society
The Enigmatic G. H. Felt
Occult Practice in the Early Years
Blending and Tulku
Appendix A. The Ansairetic Mystery. A New Revelation Concerning Sex!
Appendix B. "The Mysteries of Eulis"
Appendix C. Bibliography of the Works of Paschal Beverly Randolph