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Francis Israel Regardie
November 17, 1907 – March 10, 1985), known simply as Israel
rɨˈɡɑrdi/, was an occultist,
a writer, and Aleister
Crowley's personal secretary and transcriptionist, widely known
for his books and commentaries on the Hermetic
Order of the Golden Dawn.
Regardie was born Francis Israel Regudy (Франсис
in London to
Barnet Regudy, a cigarette maker, and his wife, Phoebe Perry, poor
Jewish immigrants from Zhitomir,
Russia. His family
changed their surname
to "Regardie" after a clerical mixup resulted in Israel's
brother being enrolled in the British
Army under that name.
Regardie emigrated with his parents to the United
States in August 1921 and settled in Washington,
DC. He studied art in Washington, DC and Philadelphia,
PA. With a Hebrew
tutor he gained a linguistic knowledge which would prove invaluable
in his later studies of Hermetic
With easy access to the Library
of Congress, he read widely and became interested in Theosophy,
philosophy and yoga.
He also joined the Societas
Rosicruciana in America at around this time.
reading Part I of Book
4 by the occultist
Crowley, Regardie initiated a correspondence which led to his
return at 21 to the U.K. at Crowley's 1928 invitation to become his
secretary. When the two parted company four years later, in 1932,
Regardie distanced himself from Crowley personally, but still
retained a great deal of respect for his writings.
In 1931 he wrote A
Garden of Pomegranates, a primer on Qabalah
based on notes he had taken while working for Crowley.
In 1932 Regardie published The Tree of Life, a book many
consider his magnum opus. In it he states:
to the traditional philosophy of the Magicians, every man is a unique
autonomous center of individual consciousness, energy and will –
a soul, in a word. Like a star shining and existing by its own inward
light it pursues its way in the star-spangled heavens, solitary,
uninterfered with, except insofar as its heavenly course is
gravitationally modified by the presence, near or far, of other
stars. Since in the vast stellar spaces seldom are there conflicts
between the celestial bodies, unless one happens to stray from its
appointed course – a very rare occurrence – so when the
realms of humankind there would be no chaos, little conflict and no
mutual disturbance were each individual content to be grounded in the
reality of his own high consciousness, aware of his ideal nature and
his true purpose in life, and eager to pursue the road which he must
Regardie would later write a biography of Crowley, The Eye in
the Triangle, and continue to edit and republish Crowley's works
up until the 1970s.
In 1934 Regardie joined Stella
Matutina, a successor organization of the Hermetic
Order of the Golden Dawn.
When the group disbanded, Regardie acquired the bulk of the Order's
documents and compiled the book, The
Golden Dawn, which earned him the enmity of many of the other
former members and the reputation of being an oath-breaker because of
the information it revealed. However, the book transformed the work
of the Order into an entirely new branch of the Western Occult
Tradition. As Regardie observed in his work A Garden of
Pomegranates, "...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 – their spiritual
The various occult organizations claiming descent from the original
Golden Dawn, and the systems of magic practiced by them, owe their
continuing existence and popularity to Regardie's work.
In 1937, at the age of 30, Regardie
returned to the U.S., entering Chiropractic
College in New
York City. In addition, he studied psychoanalysis with Dr. E.
Clegg and Dr. J. L. Bendit, and psychotherapy with Dr.
Nandor Fodor. He opened a chiropractic office and taught
psychiatry – Reichian,
– retiring in 1981 at the age of 74, when he moved to Sedona,
from a heart
attack in the presence of close friends during a dinner at a
restaurant in Sedona,
Arizona on March 10, 1985 at the age of 77.
Regardie is a principal reliable source for much of what is known
about the Hermetic
Order of the Golden Dawn. His writings and the students he taught
or influenced provide much of the foundation for modern Western
occultism. In addition to preserving the knowledge, Regardie also
preserved a valid branch of the initiatory lineage of the Golden Dawn
The second significant task carried out by Regardie was,
as an Adept, to bring a valid branch of the initiatory lineage of the
Golden Dawn to America the alchemical melting pot where the New Age
was incubating. Such tasks are not always easy. A. M. A. G. waited
here four decades until the threads of the pattern came together.
Then, in one of those graceful synchronicities which often play
midwife to significant magical events, a couple in Georgia were
inspired—at that time scarcely aware of what they were
undertaking — to build a Rosicrucian Vault, the powerful ritual
chamber required to pass on the Adept Initiation, at precisely the
time when 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. And A.M.A.G.,
with the right to confer the Initiation in such a Vault, was the
connecting link among them. And so, in one remarkable weekend,
Regardie presided over two Initiations into the Inner Order, the
first and the last which he ever performed; and the Lamp of the Keryx
was passed into American hands. — Forrest, Adam P. in Cicero
(1995), p. 541
Note: in the above paragraph, A.M.A.G. refers to Regardie.
Participants in the Order took on a pseudonym or magical
motto. In Regardie's case, his motto was Ad Majorem Adonai
Gloriam which means "To the Greater Glory of Adonai".
Garden of Pomegranates
The Tree of Life
My Rosicrucian Adventure
The Art of True Healing
The Middle Pillar
The Philosopher's Stone
The Romance of Metaphysics
The Art and Meaning of Magic
Be Yourself, the Art of
New Wings for Daedalus
Twelve Steps to Spiritual
The Eye in the Triangle
Roll Away the Stone
1998b, p. xxi.
Chic and Sandra
Tabatha Cicero (1995). Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple.
Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero (1997), Israel
Israel (1936), My Rosicrucian Adventure, Chicago: Aries Press
Regardie, Israel (1998a) , The Tree of Life: A Study in
Magic, York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, ISBN 0-87728-149-1
Regardie, Israel (1998b),
The Middle Pillar: The Balance Between Mind and Magic (3rd
ed.), St. Paul: Llewellyn, ISBN 1-56718-140-6