Bhattah mirrors

Elizabeth De Michelis e.demichelis at DIVINITY.CAM.AC.UK
Wed Feb 22 20:26:03 UTC 2006

Not about Bhattah mirrors, but if anyone is interested in this and related 
topics a book which probably discusses the intertwining of Indic and 
Western esotericism more fully than Deveney is:

Joscelyn Godwin _The Theosophical Enlightenment_, SUNY, 1994

Ch 9 is all on diviniation through Crystals/ mirrors or 'scrying', the 
first part of CH 13 is on Randolph, but the book also discusses 18th c 
Orientalist beliefs and interests, Rammonhan Roy and the Theosophists' and 
their associates' roles in the 'turn East' of western esotericism. It is 
also a good read overall.

Elizabeth De Michelis

Dr Elizabeth De Michelis
University of Cambridge
Faculty of Divinity      Tel +44-(0)1223-763015
West Road                Fax +44-(0)1223-763014
Cambridge, UK    CB3 9BS

--On Wednesday, February 22, 2006 11:16 -0500 Allen W Thrasher 
<athr at LOC.GOV> wrote:

There is this most interesting book:

John Patrick Deveney.  Paschal Beverly Randolph : a nineteenth-century
Black American spiritualist, rosicrucian, and sex magician. Albany: State
University of New York Press, 1997.
Randolph (1825-1874) was born  out of wedlock in New York City,  of a free
African-American woman and a white father who did not hang around, but whom
Randolph claimed to be a member of the distinguished Virginia family.
(Deveney thinks this is not impossible but there is little proof.)  He
became quite successful over decades in the occultist world, as the book's
subtitle indicates.
One of the articles he produced and sold were "Bhattah mirrors," magic
mirrors whose consecration seems to have involved sexual rituals and sexual
fluids.  Deveney thinks Randolph may have gotten some of his ideas on
mirrors on a trip to the Near East in 1861-62 where he claimed to have
contacted local occultist circles. (Randolph did travel in Europe and
Deveney things it is possible he made a trip to the Near East and even made
such contacts, but, unlike his European movements, it is undocumented.) D.
says Randolph's ideas on this were confirmed by a book given him by William
Gifford Palgrave, a Richard Burton-like figure who was successively a
British Army officer in India, a Jesuit, and a diplomat in the British
service.  But this was in 1873 near the end of Randolph's life.  So it
appears to me the use of sexual rituals in consecrating them was more
likely his own invention.  Deveney knows of no such thing in Near Eastern
Anyhow, has anyone heard the _term_ Bhattah mirrors or anything like it?
Of course, Bhatta can be a term of respect for Brahmins.

Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D., Senior Reference Librarian
South Asia Team, Asian Division
Library of Congress, Jefferson Building 150
101 Independence Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC 20540-4810
tel. 202-707-3732; fax 202-707-1724; athr at
The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of

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