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Non-Crowleyan Thelema

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Non-Crowleyan Thelema
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 15:08:32 GMT

Papaj418 wrote:
> 
> Cat sed:
> 
> >So, anyway, i feel that with Randolph, i can have my 
> >thelema without the added ugly Crowley bits.
> 
> True, Randolph has some redeeming
> virtues that Crowley doesn't, though it might
> well be turned around if PBR's life were
> more subject to scrutiny (he was somewhat
> ignored in his time). 

I was partly being tongue in cheek there -- PBR 
was a self-aggrandizing lair who ultimately 
committted suicide -- not a great advertisement
for HIS system of magic, either!

> I've found AC's tomes
> more understandable, but must admit that
> because of the time difference, PBR must
> have been more constrained to couch his
> revelations in cryptic terms. 

I think that the fact that Randolph was  a free man 
of colour writing about sex magic in the US before the 
time of the Emancipation Declaration certainly added to 
his "cryptic" or cautious qualities, but there is also a
more pragmatic, sociologically-based theory to
account for his odd locutions: He was an orphan whose
mother died when he was a young boy (6 - 10?) and he
lived on the streets thereafter, never attending any
school at all, and teaching himself to read by asking
passersby what the words on billboards and posters said. 
That he was a genius is not doubted -- but he was 
horibly handicapped by class and race issues and by 
emotional traumas the like of shich few of us could
comprehend. His description of his mother's death 
(of yellow fever) in a hospital is tragic -- and the
reader's knowledge that NO ONE -- not a nurse or a 
doctor or a public welfare worker -- took the time 
to find him a place to live once she was dead is 
so appalling that it makes his accomplishments all
the greater. 

> There are
> places where AC speaks plainly and
> without dissembling, though I admit there
> are others where he shows his ass. I think
> his is a classic case of the personality
> being at war with the Genius. Consider
> Wagner, who wrote some of the greatest
> of operas, but was a foul-mouthed racist
> opportunist. And yes, I know how fond AC
> was of Wagner. Unfortunately, it happens
> to many great minds, and it blinds many
> others to the nuggets of gold that may be
> found in the crap that would otherwise go
> unsifted but for dedicated souls who insist
> on making *sure* they haven't missed
> something important. Fact is, I wouldn't
> have known about PBR if not for AC.
> Doesn't that count for something?

Yes, of course! I wasn't trying to dismiss 
AC out of hand, just to offer some other 
perspectives on thelema


cat yronwode 

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This post copyright (c) 2000 catherine yronwode. All rights reserved.

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From: papaj418@aol.com (Papaj418)
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Subject: Re: Non-Crowleyan Thelema
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Cat sed:

>I was partly being tongue in cheek there -- PBR 
>was a self-aggrandizing lair who ultimately 
>committted suicide -- not a great advertisement
>for HIS system of magic, either!
>

True enough...and I normally wouldn't air it
publicly, but since you have sed you stick
mainly to usenet, I wanted to point out that
you bio on PBR implies that the main 
reason for his suicide was depression, 
while my sources indicate that, while he
*was* depressed about the lack of success
with his books and lodges, the main reason
was that he had received a crippling injury
(to his back, as I remember) connected
with a railway accident. Hence he may 
have simply given in to the pain.



Evaluating PBR's encounters with racism
is difficult because of distortions of the 
facts owing to "victor's syndrome", i.e. who
writes history? The Civil War was *not* 
fought over slavery, nor did the Emancipa-
tion *Proclamation* free all slaves...only
those in the Confederate states. Added to
this, of course, is the fact that most of his
writings were in French, and perhaps he
could afford to push the envelope a bit.

As far as the tragedy of his youth, well I 
must agree.

>Yes, of course! I wasn't trying to dismiss 
>AC out of hand, just to offer some other 
>perspectives on thelema

Yes, other perspectives are decidedly 
needed...some of the craziest people I've
ever met were ostensibly Thelemites. But
I also think that AC added an impish 
element of ambiguity to his writings 
perhaps *especially* to throw off such 
humourless fools. My personal take on 
AC's message? "Have a good time doing
whatever suits you and apologize to none.
Try not to hurt anyone in the process, but
if they insist on being hurt, so be it."

Will 
Love, 
Papa John


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Papaj418 wrote:
> 
> Cat sed:
> 
> >I was partly being tongue in cheek there -- PBR
> >was a self-aggrandizing liar who ultimately
> >committted suicide -- not a great advertisement
> >for HIS system of magic, either!
> 
> True enough...and I normally wouldn't air it
> publicly, but since you have sed you stick
> mainly to usenet, I wanted to point out that
> you bio on PBR implies that the main
> reason for his suicide was depression,
> while my sources indicate that, while he
> *was* depressed about the lack of success
> with his books and lodges, the main reason
> was that he had received a crippling injury
> (to his back, as I remember) connected
> with a railway accident. Hence he may
> have simply given in to the pain.

I have never heard the story that Randolph was "depressed about the lack
of success with his books and lodges" -- except from Theosophists and
Spiritualists who had socio-economic reasons to denigrate his work. 

Randolph suffered from occasional bouts of severe clinical depression
throughout his life, as can be seen from reading his books. These
depressions usually lasted for a year or ao and then lifted, at which
point he would be able to go on with his work. In the year preceding his
death he was depressed, and had even gone so far as to predict his own
death on a certain date earlier in 1875, and had been surprised to have
lived beyond that date. (Strangely -- or not so strangely, perhaps --
what DID happen on that date was that he and his seoond wife's first
child was born!) 

According to Deveny's biography of Randolph, which gives a primary
newspaper account of his suicide, Randolph was indeed injured by a fall
down a railway embankment (Randolph mentions this in his own book 1874
book "Eulis!") but his actual cause for suicide -- spoken aloud to a
neighbor woman minutes before putting the gun to his head while she
watched from her porch but could not stop him -- was that his wife Kate
Corson Randolph had spent the night away from home, with their child
Osiris Budh Randoplh, and he wrongly thought that, owing to the
difference in their ages -- he being 50 years old to her 25 -- she was
with another lover. (She was at her mother's, as it turned out.) One of
the saddest things about this suicide-by-mistake is that after her
husband's death, Kate Randolph continued his work and his publishing
company well into the 20th century, apparently as faithful a widow as
she had been a faithful wife. 
 
>  snipped for brevity>
> 
> Evaluating PBR's encounters with racism
> is difficult because of distortions of the
> facts owing to "victor's syndrome", i.e. who
> writes history? The Civil War was *not*
> fought over slavery, nor did the Emancipa-
> tion *Proclamation* free all slaves...only
> those in the Confederate states. 

You missed my point, probably through unfamiliarity with Randolph's
life. He was a free man of colour born in the SLAVE STATE of Virginia.
This was not an easy place to live under those conditions, to put it
mildly, because it was commonplace for slavers to kidnap free people of
colour, take away their identity papers, and sell them as slaves. (In
order to get free under such circumstances, one had to produce witnesses
to one's free-born estate, engage a lawyer to sue one's captor, and so
forth, and the result was a nightmare of legal entangements from which
it could take years to escape.) 

Randolph later lived in the non-slave states of New York and Californi,
but he was certainly aware of the threats to liberty that continually
attended free persons of colour when they travelled through
slave-states. Remarkably in the 1850s he undertook to travel
extrensively through the South, giving lectures against slavery and in
favour of abolition -- for instance in Louisiana, a slave-state, where
his lectures were met with great success and favourable newspaper
coverage from the abolitionist press. Even as well-known as he became,
like any free man of colour who openly lectured in favour of the
abolition of slavery, he was under a constant veiled threat when
travelling in the slave-states in the years prior to the Civil War. 

> Added to
> this, of course, is the fact that most of his
> writings were in French, and perhaps he
> could afford to push the envelope a bit.

Are we talking about the same man here? 

Paschal Beverly Randolph wrote in English!!! 

He never wrote a single book in French! 

I own one of his rare books myself -- one of them privately printed in
Toledo, Ohio, where he was living when he died -- and it is in English,
sure as you're born. 

About 60 years after his death, sometime in the 1930s, i think, when
Randolph's works had fallen into the public domain, some of his stuff
was traslated (VERY BADLY) into French and apparently "edited" with a
view toward creating an interest in Randolph among the French by
highlighting only the most sexual parts of his thelemic system of
magic.  Weirdly, these bad French translations were then RE-TRANSLATED
into English -- because they are public domain, no doubt -- and some
people get the idea from this that Randolph was a French author who
lived in the 1930s rather than that he was an American author who was
born in 1825.  

> As far as the tragedy of his youth, well I
> must agree.

What really gets me is how, despite such a terrible bad start for a
child, Randolph went on to become a world traveller, a famous lecturer,
the founder of a magical lodge system, the nation's leading importer of
hashish (then legal), and a writer whose works were regularly published
in magazines and books. 

These are essentially the same sorts of things that Crowley did 50 years
later, but Crowley came from a background of extreme privelege and
wealth, making his accomplishmens less stellar to my mind. 

Or, to put it another way and omit any comparisons, Randolph's
incredible resourcefulness and wide-ranging successes argues greatly for
his mastery of the thelemic magical disciplines he taught. 

> >Yes, of course! I wasn't trying to dismiss
> >AC out of hand, just to offer some other
> >perspectives on thelema
> 
> Yes, other perspectives are decidedly
> needed...some of the craziest people I've
> ever met were ostensibly Thelemites. 

Crazy or not, thelemites come in all forms. The only ones who bother me
are those who proclaim a belief in thelema -- the primacy of will --
while bending the knee to hierarchs who, like religious leaders
everywhere, tell them what to do, think, feel, be, and have in regard to
the nouveau religion of Crowleyanity. 

> But
> I also think that AC added an impish
> element of ambiguity to his writings
> perhaps *especially* to throw off such
> humourless fools. 

Ah, yes, the "impish" thing. I agree that it helps to define Crowley as
a stylist. And some readers like it more than others do.

> My personal take on
> AC's message? "Have a good time doing
> whatever suits you and apologize to none.
> Try not to hurt anyone in the process, but
> if they insist on being hurt, so be it."

Well said. 

cat yronwode 

Lucky W Amulet Archive --------- http://www.luckymojo.com/luckyw.html
Karezza and Sacred Sex ------ http://www.luckymojo.com/sacredsex.html

No personal e-mail, please; just catch me in usenet; i read it daily. 

Lucky Mojo Curio Co. http://www.luckymojo.com/luckymojocatalogue.html
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and receive our free 32 page catalogue of hoodoo supplies and amulets

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Pearlz & Maggie-the-Cat wrote:
> 
> Cat,
> 
> Where can I find some of Randolph's writings?
> 
> Thanks,
> 
> - Pearlz -

Hi, 

I'd start with Deveny's recent biography ("Paschal Beverly Randolph")
which is available through Amazon, i'm sure. It includes the complete
text of some of PBR's rarer pamphlets, plus long extracts from other
books. I believe that Kessinger has reprinted some of the books. I
myself have a complete copy of "Eulis!" and since it is long out of
copyright, i consider it a prime candidate for scanning and putting on
the web -- but although i have the archive space at my web site and the
knowledge to write an intro and commentary, i simply do not have the
time to undertake the scanning project. Here is an open offer to anyone
reading this who has an interest in 19th century sex magick: i will 
photocopy "Eulis!" for scanning, if someone i trust undertakes the job.
The reason i say "someone i trust" is that i cannot be bothered to
photocopy the book for everyone who wants it, obviously. I know who the
"real" folks in alt.magick are and so do y'all -- so if any of you want
to get P. B. Randolph online, phone me at (707) 887-1521 during business
hours (PDT) and we can talk! I also have copies of two rare public
domain books on karezza -- George Washington Savory's "Hell On Earth
Made Heaven Or The Marriage Secrets of a Chicago Contractor" and John
William Lloyd's "Karezza: the Art of Magnetation; the Lover an Artist in
Touch" -- that i would like to see online, and the same deal applies to
them.

cat yronwode 

The Esoteric Archive --------- http://www.luckymojo.com/esoteric.html

No personal e-mail, please; just catch me in usenet; i read it daily. 

Lucky Mojo Curio Co. http://www.luckymojo.com/luckymojocatalogue.html
   Send e-mail with your street address to catalogue@luckymojo.com
and receive our free 32 page catalogue of hoodoo supplies and amulets

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Gnome d Plume wrote:
> 
>  wrote:
> 
> >Pearlz & Maggie-the-Cat wrote:
> >>
> >> Where can I find some of Randolph's writings?
> >
> >I'd start with Deveny's recent biography ("Paschal Beverly Randolph")
> >which is available through Amazon, i'm sure. It includes the complete
> >text of some of PBR's rarer pamphlets, plus long extracts from other
> >books. I believe that Kessinger has reprinted some of the books. I
> >myself have a complete copy of "Eulis!" and since it is long out of
> >copyright, i consider it a prime candidate for scanning and putting 
> >on the web -- but although i have the archive space at my web site 
> >and the knowledge to write an intro and commentary, i simply do not 
> >have the time to undertake the scanning project. Here is an open 
> >offer to anyone reading this who has an interest in 19th century sex 
> >magick: i will photocopy "Eulis!" for scanning, if someone i trust 
> >undertakes the job. The reason i say "someone i trust" is that i 
> >cannot be bothered to photocopy the book for everyone who wants it, 
> >obviously. I know who the "real" folks in alt.magick are and so do 
> >y'all -- so if any of you want to get P. B. Randolph online, phone me 
> >at (707) 887-1521 during business hours (PDT) and we can talk! I also 
> >have copies of two rare public domain books on karezza -- George 
> >Washington Savory's "Hell On Earth Made Heaven Or The Marriage 
> >Secrets of a Chicago Contractor" and John William Lloyd's "Karezza: 
> >the Art of Magnetation; the Lover an Artist in Touch" -- that i would 
> >like to see online, and the same deal applies to them.
>
> Here is a point we can really agree on: the importance of P. B.
> Randolph. He created the O.T.O. "Ninth Degree" nearly 150 years ago;
> not just the idea, the philosophical theory and practical methodology.

I would not have claimed that for him, but as soon as i read what you
just wrote, i thought, "Damn if you're not right!" 

He did. He actually laid the whole thing out. 

Thanks for pointing this out to me. I mean, i've been harping away on
Randolph's promulgation of the Law of Thelema before Crowley was born
("Will reigns Omnipotent; Love lieth at the Foundation" ("Mysteries of
Eulis," 1874)) but i completely overlooked the OBVIOUS relationship
between Randolph's "nuptive moment" sex-mysticism and the O.T.O. IX
degree. 

Well, as Bertha Cool used to say, "Fry me for an oyster!" 

> He is also the creator of "fluid condensers", "volts" and a number of
> other practical techniques attributed to Franz Bardon. (I don't fault
> Bardon for not crediting Randolph because Randolph's teachings had
> already become "S.O.P." in the Fraternity of Saturn and other
> European Lodges by the time he {Bardon} came on the scene.) 

I am not too familiar with Bardon except through usenet and the web --
but another connection between Randolph and those who came later --
including, again, Crowley -- is the fact that *Yarker* bought copies of
Randolph's instruction pamphlets from Kate Corson Randolph, P.B.R.'s
widow. It is, in fact, Yarker's inscribed copy of one of the rare
Randolph "printed but not published" pamphlets (so called to avoid
running afoul of postal laws against mailing indecent or pornagraphic
books) that Deveny reprints in his biography of Randolph! 

> Let's have a big Huzzah! for the forgotten founder of much of  modern
> Western Magick, Pascal Beverly Randolph. 

HUZZAH!

And after we are through huzzah-ing, let's work at bringing him out of
his "forgotten" status, shall we? 

> (and he was an American Black man....)****

Yes, he was, and i think his current obscurity may rest in part upon
that fact. Certainly Blavatsky, who knew him and plagiarized from him,
made his skin colour an issue in the malicious tales she spread about
him after his death. 

> Good Magick!
> (good Voodoo too!)

This brings up again, if only in passing, the fact that Randolph never

cut himself entirely loose from African-American folk-magical culture,
no matter how far he went into Spiritualism, Rosicrucianism, Scrying,
and Sex Magic. I, for one, would love to have a copy of his recipe for
the hoodoo-style "New Orleans Magnetic Pillow" he used to sell by mail.
I know what it was and how to make it ... but wouldn't it be great to
have an exact account of Randolph's ingredients and procedures from 150
years ago? Well, i can dream....

cat yronwode 

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice -- http://www.luckymojo.com/hoodoo.html

No personal e-mail, please; just catch me in usenet; i read it daily. 

Lucky Mojo Curio Co. http://www.luckymojo.com/luckymojocatalogue.html
   Send e-mail with your street address to catalogue@luckymojo.com
and receive our free 32 page catalogue of hoodoo supplies and amulets

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Gnome d Plume wrote:
> 
>  wrote:

> >"In 1908 all authority possessed by the Hermetic Brotherhood of 
> >Atlantis, Luxor and Elphante was transferred to the Confederation of 
> >Initiates, of which it remains an active part. "
> 
> I'm sure you must be aware that the H. B. of L. repudiated the major
> sex magick methodology of P. B.  Randolph (the creation of the astral
> pre-form magical child, i.e. the O.T.O.'s 9th Degree) in very emphatic
> terms while continuing to use most of his other related ideas and
> methods without credit. They even used Randolph's suicide as an
> example of what happens to those who practice such abominations. At
> this juncture most of us have outgrown such prudish and restrictive
> "thou shalt nots" in the practice of magick. Has this latest
> permutation of the H. B. of L. returned to the original "Mysteries of
> Eulis" ? *****

Man, that's the sixty-four dollar question in a nutshell, ain't it?! 

Randolph's suicide caused a lot of potential followers to wiggle away
from him, especially coming as it did smack in the middle of the 1870s,
when the entire Spiritualist movement (of which Randolph had been an
early guiding light) was going through the throes of a self-wounding,
schismatic, and recriminatory flame war due to the exposures of an
assortment of "materialization" frauds (which Randolph never practiced,
he being a trance medium). 

With all the troubles besetting organized Spiritualism at the time, not
to mention a rising political backlash against African-Americans in the
wake of the Reconstruction, Randolph's unseemly ending of his own life
was just too much for some people to accept. It seems that no one wanted
to admit to having known or been influenced by him after he ended his
life in such a spectacular way. H. P. Blavatsky, a Spiritualist
materialization fraud-artist seeking to reinvent herself as a
neo-Buddhist under the guise of Theosophy -- who was highly anti-sexual
and racist to boot -- wrote a scurrilous post-mortem on Randolph's death
that in my opinion, was one of the prime factors in the subsequent
discounting of his Spiritualist heritage, the "burial" of knowledge
about his mixed-race ethnicity, and the outright abandonment of his
sex-magical workings by some of the very occult orders that most
assiduously claimed to follow him. 

In regard to the "burial" of knowledge about Randolph's race and his
contributions to the Spiritualist community, it should be noted that as
recently as the mid 1980s, in "Radical Spirits," Anne Baude's scholarly
book about inter-relationship between 19th century Spiritualism, the
Abolition movement, and the female suffrage movement, there is NO
MENTION of the African-American Abolitionist lecturer and a Spiritualist
P. B. Randolph at all -- and the author manages to confine ALL mention
of African-American Spiritualists to a mere TWO PAGES (pages 29 and 30,
if it matters).  

Well, i could rant at length ... but you get the picture.  

cat (mumble mumble) yronwode

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Harold Piser wrote:
> 
catherine yronwode  wrote:
> 
> >In regard to the "burial" of knowledge about Randolph's race and his
> >contributions to the Spiritualist community, it should be noted that 
> >as recently as the mid 1980s, in "Radical Spirits," Anne Braude's 
> >scholarly book about inter-relationship between 19th century 
> >Spiritualism, the Abolition movement, and the female suffrage 
> >movement, there is NO MENTION of the African-American Abolitionist 
> >lecturer and a Spiritualist P. B. Randolph at all -- and the author 
> >manages to confine ALL mentionvof African-American Spiritualists to a 
> >mere TWO PAGES (pages 29 and 30, if it matters).
> >
> >Well, i could rant at length ... but you get the picture.
>
> The Book of RosicruciÊ (Vol. 2, page 174) states that P.B. Randolph's
> mother, "Flora Beverly, a native of Vermont, was of mixed East Indian,
> French, English, German and Madagascan blood , not of negro descent as
> stated by so many writers.

Well, that's novel, to say the least. Randolph's father was white, but
his mother was neither "a Queen of Madagascar" as he once claimed; nor
of the exotic mixture your source states. She was a mulatto. 

Randolph was known to Garrison and other Abolitionists as a Free Man of
Color and as a mulatto -- and he lectured as such during his
Abolitionist days. His first wife was a Negro woman, with whom he had
several children and established a mail-order occult supply company. 

At a later time, after he dropped the Abolitionist portions of his
work,  he hit upoon the idea of giving his beloved (and deceased) mother
Flora a very exotic background, of which "The Book of Rosicruciae" gives
only one variant. 

At a later time in his life, Randolph claimed to be of "pure Spanish
blood" -- especially after he married Kate Corson, who was white. He
also wrote some sad, intense passages (in "Eulis!") about how a white
woman (e.g. his second wife Kate), having once given birth to a
mixed-race child (e..g. Osiris Budh Randolph) with a Negro husband (e.g.
himself) would never again bear a fully white child, even if she took a
white husband, because her blood would have "mingled" with that of her
Negro husband. (Shades of "Showboat."). Obviously this matter would not
be of concern to a "Spanish" or "East Indian" Randolph, but it mant a
lot to the mulatto Randolph. 

The Deveney biography addresses Randolph's early honest claims of a
mixed African- and European-American background and his later attempts
to hide his origins in exotic or "Spanish" guises. He also cites
contemporary accounts in which Randolph's associates noted that he was a
mulatto. 

cat yronwode 

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice -- http://www.luckymojo.com/hoodoo.html

No personal e-mail, please; just catch me in usenet; i read it daily. 

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Gnome d Plume wrote:
> 
> One thing I think we should
> clarify about P.B.R.'s medium ship: he was a clairvoyant and a
> "medium" but, like Frederick Hockley, he was dead-set against the
> then-current practice of trance mediums opening themselves up to any
> and all astral garbage without some sort of protection ritual and
> prior magical training. In this sense he was very much a magician.
> This is still good advice even in these more enlightened and
> permissive times.

Gnome -- i really am enjoying this colloguey on Randolph.   

Again thanking Deveney for the great research -- it is interesting to me
that Randolph wrote that he gave up trance mediumship and broke with
Spiritualism temporarily at one point in his life because he felt that
engaging in repeated unprotected trances (as he did nightly on his
lecture tours) had caused him to lose some essential sense of "self" and
to bring on a lengthy depression. Given his later history of depression,
i am not sure whether unprotected trance mediumship was the sole cause
of the earlier depression, but he believed it was and he never again let
himself partake of mediumistic trances without first protecting himself.

For those unfamiliar with 19th century trends in Spiritualism, it needs
to be explained that in his early career, Randolph practiced a form of
trance mediumship akin to what is now called "channeling" -- he was
never one of those Spiritualists who "materizalized" ectoplasm or
ghostly visitors from the Summerland. He later took up mirror scying,
considering it on the whole a more reliable form of clairvoyance than
trance possession and safer for the practitioner.

Randolph was, by all reports, incredibly gifted in the field of scrying
and he made a good part of his living from the importation, manufacture,
and sale of charged scrying mirrors and books of instruction on scrying.
His method of charging his "black mirrors" was held as a secret, but
circumstantial evidence and hints left in his writings indicate that the
charging was done during a ritual of sex magic performed by him and his
wife and that the charged coating within the mirror probably contained a
"magnetized" mixture of hashish and their sexual fluids. None of the
many scrying mirrors he made or imported is known to exist today -- but
it is likely that at least a few are laying about unidentified in
antique collections. It has long been one of my fantasy-desires to
locate one of Randolph's scrying  mirrors in some little antique store
in Toledo or some other town where he lived. I have a feeling that i'd
know it if i saw it! 

cat yronwode 

Karezza and Sacred Sex ------ http://www.luckymojo.com/sacredsex.html

Lucky Mojo Curio Co. http://www.luckymojo.com/luckymojocatalogue.html
   Send e-mail with your street address to catalogue@luckymojo.com
and receive our free 32 page catalogue of hoodoo supplies and amulets

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Gnome d Plume wrote:
> 
> catherine yronwode wrote:

> > Randolph was, by all reports, incredibly gifted in the field of 
> > scrying and he made a good part of his living from the importation, 
> > manufacture, and sale of charged scrying mirrors and books of 
> > instruction on scrying. His method of charging his "black mirrors" 
> > was held as a secret, but circumstantial evidence and hints left in 
> > his writings indicate that the charging was done during a ritual of 
> > sex magic performed by him and his wife and that the charged coating 
> > within the mirror probably contained a "magnetized" mixture of 
> > hashish and their sexual fluids. None of the many scrying mirrors he 
> > made or imported is known to exist today -- but it is likely that at 
> > least a few are laying about unidentified in antique collections. It 
> > has long been one of my fantasy-desires to locate one of Randolph's 
> > scrying  mirrors in a little antique store in Toledo or some other 
> > town where he lived. I have a feeling that i'd know it if i saw it!

> One of Randolph's original skrying mirrors would be great to have as a
> collectable relic, but according to his own teachings (see *Sexual
> Magic*) it would have long ago lost its charge. 

Yes, Gnome, but think of the DNA evidence! :-)

Actually, i am one of those nutty collectors who -- along with
collections of late 19th athrough mid 2th century items such as garden 
tools, fruit crate labels, Fiesta ware, catalin jewelry, illustrated
recipe pamphlets, books, postcards, pyroxylin vanity ware, pyrographic
boxes, and Roseville pottery -- collects magical and religious
artifacts. In particular, i place great value on objects that were once
consecrated or charged for use in magical rites or which were sold in
commerce for their magcal or luck-enhancing qualities. 

To take this to a more serious level, though --

I have to say on my own part that i found it odd that Randolph and his
wife were willing to offer their own fluids up to strangers. I feel the
same way about the workings of the Crowleyan Gnostic Mass, by the way,
so this is a personal opinion, obviously. 

The fact that Randolph often complained of "vampirism" and being
"drained" by his work as a trance medium would seem to indicate that he
DID extend his essence too far toward other people, leaving not enough
in reserve for his own use. 

In the years that i was a professional astrologer, i had the same
problem, so i understand the issues of over-extension of one's gifts to
the benefit of others and the loss of one's self. Yet, i also know full
well the ease of working, generosity of spirit, and even economic
temptations that can lead someone with a particular talent or gift to
extend themselves so far. 

My resolution to the problem of "draining" was to reluctantly withdraw
from the professional practice of astrology for strangers. But Randolph,
although he withdrew from trance mediumship for strangers, continued to
charge scrying mirrors for others to use -- a practice that i think
might have been self-defeating for him.   

> I think if Randolph
> was alive and able to post on this news group (if he would condescend
> to enter our little snake-pit) he would caution us not to put all our
> faith in fluid condensers, volts and other alchemical adjuncts to
> magick. He (like Bardon) was a natural clairvoyant but (like Bardon)
> he also realized that magick begins in the mind. When we skim over
> Randolph's work we often gravitate to his "formulas" and forget the
> rigorous mental training he also recommends. 

I agree -- his system of training the mind for magical work is the
central pillar of his teachings. I personally have taken the time to
apply his instructions in volantia, decretism, and posism to my own
hoodoo-influenced sex-magical spell-work, and the results have been
IMPRESSIVE in terms of heightened success. Randolph offered some of the
best practical information about magical workings that i know -- and his
work in that area is of use to anyone with an interest in the subject. 

For an example of a spell i wrote that integrates typical hoodoo folk
magical practices with Randolph's teachings, see "A Dressed letter Spell
to Attract Love From Afar" at

   http://www.luckymojo.com/lovespells.html#dressedletterlove

> Personally I don't think
> anyone should put a fluid condenser on a magick mirror until well
> after he or she has learned to use it un-enhanced. After that -- well
> like mother said about chicken soup: "it couldn't hurt."

Why do you think this, Poke? Do you believe that there is some sort of
spiritual, mental or moral "danger:" inherent in untrained minds working
with such a fluid condenser on a mirror, or that the fluid condenser is
a merely decorative adjunct to the real work of scrying and that
inexperienced scryers who rely on such a thing will be disappointed? 

cat yronwode 

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice -- http://www.luckymojo.com/hoodoo.html
Karezza and Sacred Sex ------ http://www.luckymojo.com/sacredsex.html

No personal e-mail, please; just catch me in usenet; i read it daily. 

Lucky Mojo Curio Co. http://www.luckymojo.com/luckymojocatalogue.html
   Send e-mail with your street address to catalogue@luckymojo.com
and receive our free 32 page catalogue of hoodoo supplies and amulets

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Gnome d Plume wrote:
> 
>  wrote:
>
> > Do you believe that there is some sort of
> > spiritual, mental or moral "danger:" inherent in untrained minds 

> > working with such a fluid condenser on a mirror, or that the fluid 
> > condenser is a merely decorative adjunct to the real work of 
> > scrying and that inexperienced scryers who rely on such a thing 
> > will be disappointed?
> >
> I think fluid condensers work,
> but in the same subtle area that magickal visions work , and thus
> should not be employed until magickal visioning talent is perfected 
> -- but they still could be subtly dangerous to the untrained or the
> unwary. 

I am not convinced of this "danger," whether subtle or gross. Perhaps we
are closer in thought than appears, though -- i see the danger inherent
in magical workings of this type being based not on the use of fluid
condensers or other material items (amulets, selas, etc.) but rather on
the sheer attractiveness of magical workings to people who are socially
ineffectual or sexually loneley and who may also use psychotropic drugs
to achieve quick effects -- and basiocally end up running their train
off the tracks. This is not to say that MAGIC per se -- even sex magic
-- is dangerous, merely that, by its nature, it may attract reckless
people. 

> When a person is ready, through either Randolph or Bardon's
> training cycle, to actually start using fluid condersers, they would
> certainly not be merely "decorative". 

Good; i'm glad we agree on that, at least! As you know, my major 
interest is in folk magic, and in most regional traditions of folk
magic, Bardonesque "fluid condensers" (usually given more earthy names) 
are the stock-on-trade of sexual spells as well as some luck-drawing
spells (e.g. peeing on your hands before you go to play cards). I have
found such personal bodily concerns to be the single most effective
material adjuncts to magical workings. 

> The problem here is that it
> becomes a "kitchen witchcraft gimmick" if used before the mental
> training is accomplished, and  far too many people attracted to 
> magick are just looking for a gimmick and a psychic free lunch. End 
> of sermon....

You see, i have no trouble with "kitchen witchcraft" -- and do not see
its adjuncts (menstrual blood, urine, sexual fluids) as a "gimmick," but
as an essential element. In fact, my prejudices turn in the opposite
direction -- calling the mixture of semen and baginal fluid a "fluid
condenser" as Bardon did or an "elixer" or "amrita" as the alchemically-
and Hindu-influenced Crowley did seems sort of high-fallutin' and prissy
to me. But then, i'm just an old dirt-hippie. 

> But the DNA in the fluid condenser on an  old Randolphian
> magick mirror was a good thought (End of semen....!)****

Hehehe. That was a good'n.

Seriously, though, using such a fluid consender in a ritual of
necromanctic invocation was what i had in mind. Don;t you agree that it
would be fabulous to call forth the spirit of Randolph? *He'd* at least
see the humour in it, mediumistic Spiritualist that he was! 

Cordially, 

cat yronwode 

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