Beverly Randolph Paschal,

  Medium Beverly Randolph Paschal

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Beverly Randolph Paschal Medium

(October 8, 1825 - July 29, 1875)

He was an African American medical doctor, occultist, Spiritualist, trance medium, and writer. He is notable as perhaps the first person to introduce the principles of sex magic to North America, and, according to A. E. Waite, establishing the earliest known Rosicrucian order in the United States.


Randolph grew up in New York City. He was a free man of mixed-race ancestry, descendant of William Randolph. His father was a nephew of John Randolph of Roanoke and his mother was Flora Beverly, whom he later described as a woman of mixed English, French, German, Native American and Malagasy ancestry.[2] This background led to his being a spokesman for the abolition of slavery. His mother died when he was young, leaving him homeless and penniless; he ran away to sea in order to support himself. A peripatetic man, he lived in many places, including New York state, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Toledo, Ohio. He married twice: his first wife was African-American, his second wife was Irish-American.

Early life

As a teen and young man, Randolph traveled widely, due to his work aboard sailing vessels. He journeyed to England, through Europe, and as far east as Persia, where his interest in mysticism and the occult led him to study with local practitioners of folk magic and varied religions. On these travels he also met and befriended occultists in England and Paris, France. Returning to New York City in September 1855, after "a long tour in Europe and Africa," he gave a public lecture to African Americans on the subject of immigrating to India. Randolph thinks that "the Negro is destined to extinction" in the United States.


After leaving the sea, Randolph embarked upon a public career as a lecturer and writer. By his mid-twenties, he regularly appeared on stage as a trance medium and advertised his services as a spiritual practitioner in magazines associated with Spiritualism. Like many Spiritualists of his era, he lectured in favour of the abolition of slavery; after emancipation, he taught literacy to freed slaves in New Orleans.

In addition to his work as a trance medium, Randolph trained as a doctor of medicine and wrote and published both fictional and instructive books based on his theories of health, sexuality, Spiritualism and occultism. He authored more than fifty works on magic and medicine, established an independent publishing company, and was an avid promoter of birth control during a time when it was largely against the law to mention this topic.

Having long used the pseudonym "The Rosicrucian" for his Spiritualist and occult writings, Randolph eventually founded the Fraternitas Rosae Crucis, the oldest Rosicrucian organization in the United States, which dates back to the era of the American Civil War. This group, still in existence, today avoids mention of Randolph's interest in sex magic, but his magico-sexual theories and techniques formed the basis of much of the teachings of another occult fraternity, The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, although it is not clear that Randolph himself was ever personally associated with the Brotherhood.

In 1851, Randolph made the acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln. Their friendship was close enough that, when Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, Randolph accompanied Lincoln's funeral procession in a train to Springfield, Illinois. However, Randolph was asked to leave the train when some passengers objected to the presence of an African American in their midst.

Randolph was the principal of the Lloyd Garrison School in New Orleans when on October 14, 1865, he wrote to Garrison in Boston requesting assistance for his school.


Randolph was a believer in pre-Adamism (the belief that humans existed on earth before the Biblical Adam) he wrote the book Pre-Adamite Man: demonstrating the existence of the human race upon the earth 100,000 thousand years ago! under the name of Griffin Lee in 1863. His book was a unique contribution towards pre-Adamism because it wasn't strictly based on biblical grounds. Randolph used a wide range of sources to write his book from many different world traditions, esoterica and ancient religions. Randolph traveled to many countries of the world where he wrote different parts of his book. In the book Paschal claims that Adam was not the first man and that pre-Adamite men existed on all continents around the globe 35,000 years to 100,000 years ago. His book was different from many of the other writings from other pre-Adamite authors because in Randolph's book he claims the pre-Adamites were civilised men while other pre-Adamite authors argued that the pre-Adamites were beasts or hominids.[6]


Randolph died in Toledo, Ohio, at the age of 49, under disputed circumstances. According to biographer Carl Edwin Lindgren, many questioned the newspaper article "By His Own Hand" that appeared in The Toledo Daily Blade. According to this article, Randolph had died from a self-inflicted wound to the head. However, many of his writings express his aversion to suicide. R. Swinburne Clymer, a later Supreme Master of the Fraternitas, stated that years after Randolph's demise, in a death-bed confession, a former friend of Randolph had conceded that in a state of jealousy and temporary insanity, he had killed Randolph. Lucus County Probate Court records list the death as accidental. Randolph was succeeded as Supreme Grand Master of the Fraternitas, and in other titles, by his chosen successor Freeman B. Dowd.


In 1996, the biography Paschal Beverly Randolph: A Nineteenth-Century Black American Spiritualist, Rosicrucian, and Sex Magician by John Patrick Deveney and Franklin Rosemont was published.


Published works.

1854 Waa-gu-Mah

1859 Lara

1860 The Grand Secret

1860 The Unveiling

1861 Dealings with the dead on Internet Archive

1861 Human Love and Dealing with the Dead

1863 Pre-Adamite Man1

1863 The Wonderful Story of Ravalette

1863 The Rosicrucian Story

1866 A Sad Case; A Great Wrong

1867 "Clairvoyance, How to Produce It," Guide to Clairvoyance

1868 Seership! The Magnetic Mirror

1869 Love and Its Hidden History3

1870 Love and the Master Passion

1872 The Evils of the Tobacco Habit

1873 The New Mola! The Secret of Mediumship

1874 Love, Woman, and Marriage

1874 'Eulis!: The History of Love' on Internet Archive

1875 The Book of the Triplicate Order


Randolph also edited the Leader (Boston) and the Messenger of Light (New York) between 1852 to 1861 and wrote for the Journal of Progress and Spiritual Telegraph .

It is also attributed to Randolph "Affectional Alchemy and How It Works" (c. 1870)

1 under the pseudonym "Griffin Lee".

2 as anonymous.

3 under the pseudonym "Count de St. Leon".




Paschal Beverly RandolphPaschal Beverly Randolph is an enigmatic and fascinating figure. A free man of colour born in the state of Virginia in 1825, he was an orator and spokesperson for the Abolitionist cause before the Civil War. He was also a well known spiritualist and trance-medium, and a world-traveller in the best Victorian fashion, who visited England, France, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, and other regions in search of esoteric wisdom. His investigations into Rosicrucianism led him to the then highly controversial field of sex-magic, and along the way he also wrote a definitive treatise of the use of hashish as an aid to trance possession (1860), and an equally important book on clairvoyant scrying with magic mirrors (1860). As a medical doctor and occultist, Randolph attempted to transcend the coercive racial stereotyping of 19th century America, but although he took as his motto the word "Try!" and developed a tremendous force of will, he felt continually checked in his ambitions. In 1875 he succumbed to what seems to have been a long-standing case of depression and ended his life by suicide at the relatively young age of 50, leaving behind a wife and infant son.

Randolph is thought by some modern authors to have been the fore-runner who paved the way for the ceremonial sex-magic practiced by members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Ordo Tempi Orientis, and related groups. His best-known book is the 1874 volume "Eulis! The History of Love: Its Wondrous Magic, Chemistry, Rules, Laws, Modes, Moods and Rationale; Being the Third Revelation of Soul and Sex, also, Reply to 'Why Is Man Immortal?' the Solution to the Darwin Problem, an Entirely New Theory." This work, with its mention of Cabbala [Randolph's spelling], the Hindu Chrishna [ditto], Hermes, the celestial Alkahest, and the mystery school of Alexandria is certainly the product of someone who had studied comparative philosophy and religion, and in its statement that the author is the "Grand Master of the Order" it seems to promulgate a formal, albeit cryptic, system of organized spiritual training. The claim is not entirely without substance: from 1857 through 1860, Randolph was the head of the Third Temple of the Rosie Cross, which he had founded in San Francisco, California, to carry forth his beliefs. This Rosicrucian group fell into disrepair through the Civil War era, but Randolph reformed it in Nashville, Tennessee in 1874 as The Brotherhood of Eulis, presumably to work sex-magic. Shortly thereafter, in San Francisco again, the order was once more re-established, thereafter to be known as The Triplicate Order Rosicruciae, Pythianae, and Eulis -- with Randolph the "Supreme Hierarch, Grand Templar, Knight, Prior, and Hierarch of the Triple Order."

Randolph's association with hermetic and Rosicrucian orders is noteworthy in light of the fact that most modern occultists tend to identify African-American practitioners exclusively with folk-magic and to discount the contributions people of colour have made to the development of formal occultism and ceremonial sex-magic. In fact, although he was a black man from the South, Randolph rarely mentioned down-home African-American hoodoo folk magic directly. However, he did manufacture and sell a product he called the "New Orleans Magnetic Pillow" -- a love-magic charm containing lodestones and magnetic sand -- so it seems obvious that he was familiar with that tradition as well as with the more rarified aspects of sacred sexuality, sex-mysticism, and sex magic.

All that aside, to me the value of "Eulis!" and Randolph's two shorter works, "The Mysteries of Eulis" (1874) and "The Anseiratic Mystery" (1873) lie primarily in their unique and direct passages about "the Anseiratic Mysteries," Randolph's own version of the ritual sex practices of the Nusa'iri tribe of Syria, in which, according to Randolph, the exchange of electrical-magnetic energy between men and women takes place in "the seven magnetic points of the human frame" and "the pellucid aroma of divinity" suffuses the sex act.

Randolph describes "the marital office and function" (e.g. sexual intercourse) as "material, spiritual and mystic," and he boastfully proclaims that "my doctrine...alone declares and establishes the fact that the marital function is unquestionably the highest, holiest, most important, and most wretchedly abused of all that pertains to the human being." Leaving aside the vanity of this claim, it is interesting to note that among the "abuses" of the marital function that Randolph lists are inconsideration (e.g. marital rape or non-satisfaction of one's partner) and "the murderous habit of incompletion of the conjugal rite," presumably through coitus reservatus.

In other words, Randolph celebrates sexual union as a metaphysical and holy ritual, but only when it produces full and complete orgasms for both partners. This places him in conflict with the theories of traditional Hindu tantrikas, who hold that male orgasm expends rather than enhances male spiritual energy. Randolph's theory also places him in partial conflict with his contemporary, Alice Bunker Stockham, who believed that maintaining heightened states of arousal just beneath the peak of contractive or ejaculatory orgasm would spiritually benefit both men and women. I call their conflict of opinions "partial" because while Stockham advocated non-orgasmic sexual intercourse, which Randolph abhorred, she also believed that orgasm itself was holy, and that it was not to be avoided categorically or prejudicially, as in Hindu tantra.

Randolph's emphasis on sacred orgasms rather than sacred sexuality is most clearly set forth in a portion of "Eulis!" where he postulates an elaborate, multi-tiered and multi-dimensional cosmos that extends "to realms beyond the starry spaces." Speaking of the moment of orgasm, when we are, he says, in metaphysical contact with powerful spiritual entities in these extra-dimensional elsewheres, he writes:

It follows that as are the people at that moment [orgasm] so will be that which enters into them from the regions above, beneath, and round about; wherefore, whatsoever male or female shall truly will for, hopefully pray for, and earnestly yearn for, when love, pure and holy, is in the nuptive ascendent, in form, passional, affectional, divine and volitional, that prayer will be granted, and the boon be given, But the prayer must precede  [the moment of orgasm].

Interestingly, despite his rejection of coitus reservatus and her promotion of it, Randolph and Stockham agree on one basic tenet: because a controlled orgasm  itself is holy, a sincere prayer given at the "nuptive moment" will be granted -- by the Christian God in Stockham's view, and by unknown higher spiritual forces in Randolph's. This concept of the orgasm-prayer is not found among Hindu tantrikas -- but even they will ask a boon during their prostrations before the sacred vulva during the ceremony of yoni puja. Most sex-worship is magical as well as religious, insofar as it is bent upon effect as well as adoration, and it is my opinion that Randolph was both a "sex mystic" along the lines of Alice Bunker Stockham or the average Hindu tantrika as well as a "sex magician" who used sexuality as an adjunct to control of the phenomenal world.

John Patrick Deveney has written a lengthy biography, "Paschal Beverly Randolph, A Nineteenth Century Black American Spiritualist, Rosicrucian, and Sex Magician" (State University of New York Press, 1997) that reveals a great deal about Randolph and his times. Thanks to Deveney's pioneering research, one can clearly see the effect that Randolph's writing had upon Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy. Deveney also lays the groundwork for an understanding of how the late 19th and early 20th century sex magicians Theodor Reuss and Aleister Crowley were influenced by Randolph's Triplicate Order (and its subsequent spin-offs after Randolph's death, the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor and the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light) when they organized the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), a sex-magical order founded by Reuss and subsequently modified by Crowley. In particular, Crowley's famous catch-phrase, "Love is the Law, Love under Will" seems to derive directly from Randolph's aphorism, "Will reigns Omnipotent; Love lieth at the Foundation" ("Mysteries of Eulis," 1874).


The major difference between Randolph's sex magic on the one hand, and that of Reuss and Crowley on the other, is that the former was working from a standpoint of gender parity and the latter were male-centered exclusively. In practical terms, this means that Randolph sought to produce spiritual and magical effects through prayers or invocations agreed upon prior to the mutual orgasm of both partners ("the nuptive moment"), while Reuss and Crowley believed that women were little more than passive vehicles for male spiritual attainment and that male orgasm, followed by the male's ingestion of his own sperm (mingled with his partner's vaginal juices or feces) was the golden secret to (male) spiritual mastery. Further, Crowley often employed prostitutes as his magical sex-partners, while Randolph believed that this practice invariably prevented the possibility of completing a successful magical act.

The successful results that Randolph claimed for his form of sex magic included telepathy, communication with discarnate spirits, increased wealth, forecasting the outcomes of financial transactions, preparing magical sachet powders for lthe purpose of drawing love, rendering adulterous husbands and wives "sexively cold to others," improved health, the power "to derange the love relations of those not one's lover," the power of preparing amulets and charging them, the ability to secretly know others' designs and plans, the power to direct others, and the gift of spiritual revelations.

From "The Mysteries of Eulis" come the following instructions, which set forth a few of Randolph's practical sex magick techniques:

If a man has an intelligent and loving wife, with whom he is in complete accord, he can work out the problems [of how to achieve magical results] by her aid. They are a radical soul-sexive series of energies...The rite is a prayer in all cases, and the most powerful [that] earthly beings can is best for both man and wife to act together for the attainment of the mysterious objects sought.

Success in any case requires the adjuvancy of a superior woman. THIS IS THE LAW! A harlot or low woman is useless for all such lofty and holy purposes, and just so is a bad, impure, passion-driven apology for a man. The woman shall not be one who accepts rewards for compliance; nor a virgin; or under eighteen years of age; or another's wife; yet must be one who hath known man and who has been and still is capable of intense mental, volitional and affectional energy, combined with perfect sexive and orgasmal ability; for it requires a double crisis to succeed...

The entire mystery can be given in very few words, and they are: An upper room; absolute personal, mental, and moral cleanliness both of the man and wife. An observance of the law just cited during the entire term of the experiment -- 49 days. Formulate the desire and keep it in mind during the whole period and especially when making the nuptive prayer, during which no word may be spoken, but the thing desired be strongly thought...

There is much more to Randolph's system of sex magic than the above excerpts can supply -- in particular he advocates mirror-scrying, breathing exercises and the use of hashish, and teaches three magical techniques he calls Volantia (the calm exercise of will), Decretism (decreeing something must be so, especially at the "nuptive moment"), and Posism (sinking into a receptive mental and physical posture to receive that which has been willed and decreed).

For a brief extract from Randolph's own works, in which he describes the 19th century African American use of hoodoo love powders and demonstrates his cultural grounding in African American conjure or folk magic, see the web page  "Charms, Love-Powders, and Magic in Hoodoo, Voodoo And Mesmerism" by Paschal Beverly Randolph at the  Southern Spirits Archive of African American Spirituality.

Those interested in a complete overview of Randolph's life and magical teachings should seek out John Deveney's excellent book, cited above.

by catherine yronwode with slight alterations and additions



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