Paschal Beverly Randolph: A Nineteenth-Century Black American Spiritualist, Rosicrucian, and Sex Magician
Paschal Beverly Randolph (October 8, 1825 - July 29, 1875) was born according to conflicting sources in New York or Virginia, a free man of mixed-race ancestry.
His background led naturally to his being a spokesman for the abolition of slavery, and he trained as a doctor of medicine. However, he was also a spiritualist, and an advocate of the use of hashish to create trances; and after initiation by Eliphas Levi founded the Fraternitas Rosae Crucis, the oldest Rosicrucian organization in the United States, which today avoids mention of Randolph's assiduous interest in sex-magic.
Famous occultists and practitioners of sex magic, Theodor Reuss and Aleister Crowley were heavily influenced by Randolph in both organizing the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) and in their sex magick rituals. However, The major difference between Randolph's sex magic on the one hand, and that of Reuss and Crowley on the other, is that Randoplh 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.
In 1875 Randolph committed suicide, aged 49, and 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 Devaney and Franklin Rosemont was published (ISBN 0791431207).