Randolph's was also familiar with Afrikan American folk-magic, though he infrequently made specific reference to it. 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 is obvious that he was familiar with the tradition. And it is more than likely his familiarity with this tradition that made him an excellent trance-medium in the occult circles. Randolph does explain Afrikan spiritual beliefs in his book Seership! published in 1870. (For more on this click here.)
Randolph is credited with bring Rosicrucianism to America. In 1858 a first Temple of Rosicrucia was founded under Randolph’s patronage in Boston. Early in 1861 Randolph made a highly successful California lecture tour, where he formed a Grand Lodge of Eulis, perhaps his most successful effort in organizing. Subsequent years were characterized by meetings with celebrated persons, forming of local bodies, organization of the so-called "Rosicrucian Rooms" and publication of a number of metaphysical works, in which he places great emphasis on the importance of Will, and concentration. But more importantly, Randolph is credited with being the first person to introduce sex magic to the West. This makes him the forerunner to the ceremonial sex-magic practiced by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Ordo Tempi Orientis, and related groups. Randolph learned the technique during his travels, especially to Syria. He adapted what he learned there calling it the Anseiratic Mysteries." Randolph's explained that this ritual sex practice based on the Nusa'iri of Syria, was an exchange of electrical-magnetic energy between a man and a woman that takes place in 7 chakras, which he identified as "the seven magnetic points of the human frame" and the serpent’s fire rising up the spine ("the pellucid aroma of divinity") suffuses the sex act.
However, Randolph’s doctrine differed from the standard Tantric of Taoist doctrines of the period. True to his Afrikan core, Randolph’s practice of sex magic was marked by a reciprocal or egalitarianism of the genders. He praised marriage and its function" (e.g. sexual intercourse) as "material, spiritual and mystic," and raised it unquestionably to the highest, holiest, most important, of human activities. He conversely critiqued it as a most wretchedly abused institution as well. By this he meant marital rape, non-satisfaction of one's partner, and coitus reservatus. It is this last point that separated Randolph from other sex magic traditions.
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 other schools of sex magic. These schools argue that the male semen must be retained and orgasm avoided thereby nurturing and enhancing spiritual growth. Randolph emphasized sacred orgasms, clearly setting this idea forth in his book The Mysteries of Eulis!, where he states that it is at the moment of when we are in metaphysical contact with powerful spiritual entities, and should focus on the object of our desires and that “prayer will be granted, and the boon be given, but the prayer must precede [the moment of orgasm].” Randolph's system of sex magic was quite extensive and employed breathing exercises and the use of hashish, and included additional magical techniques.
The successful results that Randolph claimed for his form of sex magic gained him great renown. His practice of sex magic he said offered the practitioner powers that included telepathy, communication with discarnate spirits, increased wealth, forecasting the outcomes of financial transactions, preparing magical sachet powders for the 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. According to Randolph, “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 employ...it is best for both man and wife to act together for the attainment of the mysterious objects sought.”
Randolph’s fame and abilities attracted the attention of other occultists and he is said to have had a direct effect on a number of them including Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy. Moreover, in a new biography entitled Paschal Beverly Randolph: A Nineteenth-Century Black American Spiritualist, Rosicrucian, and Sex Magician, by John Patrick Deveney, he shows how Randolph's Triplicate Order (and its subsequent spin-offs after his death, the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor and the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light) laid the groundwork for the late 19th and early 20th century sex magicians, Theodor Reuss and Aleister Crowley, who were influenced by him when they organized the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), a sex-magical order (founded by Reuss and subsequently modified by Crowley).
However, there was a major difference between Randolph's sex magic on the one hand, and that of Reuss and Crowley on the other. The latter, true to their Western dissociated personality, distorted and perverted Randolph’s teachings. Randolph’s writing were based on gender reciprocity, while Reuss, and especially Crowley, emphasized a very were male-centered teachings. (Crowley was racist, sexist, pansexual, and a class snob.) Randolph sought to produce spiritual and magical effects through prayers or invocations agreed upon prior to the mutual orgasm of both partners, while Reuss and Crowley believed that women were little more than vehicles for male spiritual development. Crowley often employed male and female prostitutes as his magical sex-partners, which Randolph believed invariably prevented the possibility of completing a successful magical act. Randolph argued that the success of a sex magical act required the adjuvancy of a superior woman. THIS IS THE LAW! He stated that 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.’
Randolph was clearly aware of the subtle and even overt racism he faced. He felt that his Afrikan American background in the end proved more important to the some the admirers of his ideas more so than the man and his work. Jealousies existed with esoteric circles and supposedly when Madame Blavatsky heard the news of his demise, she exclaimed, “He’s shooting at me, the Nigger. Ah, now the Devil’s got him." Randolph died in Toledo, Ohio, at the age of 49, under disputed circumstances. According to biographer Carl Edwin Lindgren, many questioned the The Toledo Daily Blade article that stated he died "By His Own Hand." According to the article, Randolph died from a self-inflicted wound to the head. However, many of his writings express his aversion to suicide and R. Swinburne Clymer, a later Supreme Master of the Fraternitas, stated that years after Randolph's death, 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. It is unfortunate that Randolph’s great works and teachings have largely been forgotten, while those he influenced like, Reuss, Crowley and Lavey, are celebrated. I wonder if his race has anything to do with it.