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Paschal Beverly Randolph: A Nineteenth-Century Black American Spiritualist, Rosicrucian, and Sex Magician (SUNY series in Western Esoteric Traditions) Paperback – 14 Nov 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (14 Nov. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791431207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791431207
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 244,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"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

"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

From the Back Cover

Paschal Beverly Randolph, an African American who carved his own eccentric path in the mid-nineteenth century from the slums of New York to the courts of Europe, performed as a spiritualist trance medium. 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 educating Freedmen during the Civil War. His most enduring claim to fame 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 solitary travels in England, France, Egypt and the Turkish Empire, he brought back 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 Madame Blavatsky, her Theosophical Society, and many practicing occult organizations in Europe and America today. This is the first scholarly work on Randolph, and it includes the full text of his two most important manuscripts on sexual magic.

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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 11 reviews
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5.0 out of 5 starsFantastically Written Bio of a Fascinating Man
8 October 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
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Jeffrey Bohn
5.0 out of 5 stars"You take the Red Pill....and i show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."
24 August 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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Charles S. Giles
5.0 out of 5 starsCorrecting the historical record.
22 February 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
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