Israel Regardie (1907 – 1985)
Written and compiled by George Knowles.
Francis Israel Regardie was an occultist, author and one time secretary to the legendary Aleister Crowley. As an adept of the now defunct secret order known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, he became infamous among the occultists of his day for breaking his oath of secrecy and publishing the order’s complete rituals in his book “The Golden Dawn”. Today this book is a classic best seller and has been revised and re-issued several times. Overshadowed by his association with Crowley, much of his work has been left unappreciated by those outside of the realms of high magic and occultism.
Regardie was born Francis Israel Regudy in London, England on the 17th November 1907. His parents were poor Jewish immigrants and during the course of WW1 when his older brother joined the army, his name was accidentally written down as “Regardie”. Rather than change it, it was then adopted as the family name. Later Regardie also dropped the use of Francis, preferring to be known simply as Israel Regardie.
In August 1921 at the age of 13, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Washington D.C. There Regardie was educated and studied art in schools in Washington and Philadelphia. A bright an intuitive scholar, even at that age, he became interested in the theosophical works of Madame Blavatsky, yoga, and Hindu philosophy. He would often be found at the Library of Congress conducting his own studies. Soon after he found a Hebrew tutor who taught him to read Hebrew, an ability that aided him enormously when he started his Qabalistic studies.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
On the 18th February 1926, Regardie applied for membership to the Washington College of the Societas Rosicruciana in America (S.R.I.A.). He was initiated into the Neophyte grade on 18th March 1926 and advanced to the Zelator grade on 2nd June 1927. It was during this time that Regardie became interested in occultism and having discovered a book by Aleister Crowley, was soon captivated by his activities and writings.
Regardie wrote to Crowley in Paris and eventually received a reply. Soon after he was offered the job as his secretary in Paris. Regardie saw this as an opportunity to learn magic from a published authority, and in October 1928 he traveled to France and accepted the job. For the next three years Regardie tried to get Crowley to teach him the magical arts. However Crowley never offered and Regardie, a reserved and modest young man, did not pursue the matter. Instead he continued to study on his own, reading every book, article or manuscript that became available to him.
would happen with Crowley, fueled on by the British tabloids, his reputation got
the better of him and the French authorities asked him to leave the country.
Crowley returned to England and later married
his second wife Maria Ferrari de Miramar in 1929.
In an effort to repair Crowley's damaged
image, Regardie co-authored with P.R. Stephenson (another of Crowley’s
associates), the book called “The Legend of Aleister Crowley “.
It was published in 1930, by
which time they were gradually drifting apart.
Regardie continued with his occult studies and already established as a co-author, published the first of his own books A Garden of Pomegranates and The Tree of Life in 1932. The first contained his Qabalistic studies and was based on research and knowledge gleaned from various sources. The Tree of Life however was based on the teachings of the Golden Dawn, which had ceased to exist in 1903. When published it caused a lot of excitement among the occult elite and was considered one of the most complete and understandable texts on practical magic ever written. That same year 1932 he became secretary to the British author/poet Thomas Burke.
Although the original Golden Dawn had ceased to exist, it continued to live on through its descendant orders, the Stella Matutina and the Alpha et Omega. As a result of The Tree of Life and with the encouragement and assistance of one of its members, Dion Fortune, Regardie was invited to join the Stella Matutina in 1933. However as had happened to the original order, there was much infighting among its leaders and the order was in an advanced state of decline. Regardie due to his extraordinary abilities made rapid progress through the grades, but considered the chiefs to be more concerned with attaining grandiose titles than with the practice of magic. He also concluded that the Order and its teachings would not survive much longer without some effort to place its teachings in the hands of a greater number of people, those who could appreciate them. After reaching the grade of Theoricus Adeptus Minor, he left the Order in December of 1934.
That same year in 1934, Aleister Crowley became embroiled in a famous and sensational libel case in which he sued Nina Hamnett, a prominent sculptress. Losing the case he was forced into bankruptcy and could no longer afford to keep Regardie on as his secretary. As a result, and as would happen with many of Crowley’s friends and associates, they suffered a complete falling out. Regardie was deeply wounded by the break-up of their friendship, and was only able to pardon him in later years. Regardie throw himself into his work writing The Art of True Healing, and doing his groundwork for The Philosopher’s Stone.
Regardie next turned his attention to psychology and psychotherapy, and began studying psychoanalysis with Dr. E. Clegg and Dr. J. L. Bendit in London. He also continued writing and in 1936 published My Rosicrucian Adventure followed by The Philosopher's Stone, a book about alchemy from a Jungian perspective. At the time he didn’t believe in the validity of laboratory alchemy, (but later in the 1970’s while working with practical alchemists such as Frater Albertus of the Paracelsus Research Society, he changed his mind on the matter. Unfortunately one of his alchemical experiments went wrong and he seriously burned his lungs in the lab. He gave up the practice of alchemy and suffered from the effects of the accident until the end of his life).
In 1937 breaking his oath of secrecy to the Stella Matutina, he published the bulk of the Golden Dawn's rituals and teachings. Written in four volumes he called it simply The Golden Dawn. It caused a storm of protest at the time and some people openly criticized him for his actions, although many Adepts of the Order were secretly grateful to him. His reasons for doing so he explains in his book My Rosicrucian Adventure:
"...it is essential that the whole system should be publicly exhibited so that it may not be lost to mankind, for it is the heritage of every man and woman and their spiritual birthright. My motives have been to prove without a doubt that no longer is the Order the ideal medium for the transmission of Magic, and that since there have already been several partial and irresponsible disclosures of the Order’s teachings, a more adequate presentation of that system is urgently called for. Only thus may the widespread misconceptions as to Magic be removed."
Later that year Regardie returned to the U.S. where he entered the Chiropractic College in New York City to study psychology. Studying psychotherapy under Dr. Nandor, his training encompassed Freudian, Jungian, and Reichian methods and techniques. A year later in 1938 he published The Middle Pillar, which gives a step-by-step account on how to perform the practical exercises of Golden Dawn’s ceremonial magic. In the same book he also compares these magical techniques to the methods and hypotheses of psychoanalysis. He sought to remove the synthetic walls that had been erected between magic and psychotherapy.
After graduating in 1941, Regardie served in the U.S. Army till the end of WWII, during which time he explored Christian mysticism and wrote about his ideas in The Romance of Metaphysics published in 1946. After leaving the army he relocated to southern California and set up practice as a chiropractor and Reichian therapist. He taught psychiatry at the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic and contributed articles to various psychology magazines. He also wrote several more books including: The Art and Meaning of Magic, Roll Away the Stone, Twelve Steps to Spiritual Enlightenment, A Practical Guide to Geomantic Divination, How to Make and Use Talismans, and Foundations of Practical Magic.
During the 1960's an old acquaintance of Aleister Crowley moved into Los Angeles and made herself known to him. They met occasionally for he and Sybil Leek had much to reminisced about the great man.
Through out his career, Regardie’s own achievements were often overshadowed by his association with Aleister Crowley, which often frustrated him, but his charitable nature and his ability to be forgiving toward his old friend was evident when he authored perhaps the most definitive biography on Crowley called The Eye in the Triangle. But he was also irritated when people linked him solely to Crowley’s teachings:
“One of his pet hates was people associating him with Crowley’s brand of Thelemic Magic and the Book of the Law. I can still recall him thumping the table at dinner one night saying "Dammit, I’m a Golden Dawn man and not a Thelemite, and I wish people would realize it", writes Pat Zalewski author of The Secret Inner Order Rituals of the Golden Dawn.”
Regardie retired from his practice in 1981 and moved to Sedona, Arizona where he continued to write. His later books included Ceremonial Magic, The Lazy Man's Guide to Relaxation, and The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic. While retired he continued to give advice on health and magical matters until the end of his life. He died of a heart attack on the 10th March 1985 while having dinner with friends at one of his favorite restaurants. Although he is gone, his legacy remains in his written works, which continue to teach and inspire new generations of students.
of Regardie’s primary objectives throughout his career had been to preserve
the teachings of the Golden Dawn, but he had also set himself another task.
As an Adept
of the Golden Dawn,
he felt it was down to him to bring a valid branch of the initiatory lineage of
the order to America. He waited
patiently for four decades before he was able to achieve his goal. A couple in Georgia were inspired to build a Rosicrucian
Vault, the powerful ritual chamber required to pass on the Adept Initiation.
At the same time two magicians (one on the east coast of the United
States and one on the west coast), unknown to each other or to the Georgia
couple, came to be ready to receive that Initiation.
Regardie was the connecting link between them and using his title and
order motto A. M. A. G. he had the right to confer the Initiation in such a
Vault. And so in one remarkable weekend, Regardie presided over two
Initiations into the Inner Order, the first and the last that he ever performed,
and with the following oath the Lamp of the Keryx was passed into American
further promise and swear that with the Divine Permission, I will from this day
forward, apply myself to the Great Work, which is:
to purify and exalt my Spiritual Nature so that with the Divine Aid I may
at length attain to be more than human, and thus gradually raise and unite to my
Higher and Divine Genius, and that in this event I will not abuse the great
power entrusted to me.”
A.M.A.G. - Ad Majorem Adonai Gloriam - “To the Greater Glory of God”
To be posted later
First published on the 09th December 2001, 17:07:20 © George Knowles
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Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
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- Pentacle / Marks
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Power / The Witches Hat
esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism
Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1
/ Part 2 / Part
3 / A
history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope
Innocent VIII /
papal Bull /
Malleus Maleficarum /
An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum
/ The letter of approbation
Nider’s Formicarius /
Heinrich Kramer /
/ Montague Summers /
/ The Albigenses
The Hussites / The
/ Shielding (Occult
and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Rituals:
Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Unicorn / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Joseph John Campbell / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest
Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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