Regardie, (Francis) Israel (1907-1985)
Regardie, (Francis) Israel (1907-1985)
Ritual magician, student of Aleister Crowley, and later a chiropractor who utilized the thought of Wilhelm Reich in his work. He was born in England on November 17, 1907, but emigrated to the United States with his family at age 13. He discovered the theosophical writings of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, which provided him an entrée into the occult. Then through the writings of Charles Stansfeld Jones, he became more aware of the occult tradition and fascinated by Crowley's outlook and exploits.
Beginning in 1928 he traveled through Europe as Crowley's secretary and student. Although he later parted company with Crowley, he defended him from those who disliked his exploits in magic and sexual liberties, and spoke of his "real genius and grandeur." Regardie was well aware of Crowley's more controversial exploits, but was willing to overlook much that might be objectionable because of what he recognized as Crowley's true magical genius.
Regardie began to write in the early 1930s, his first books being The Tree of Life (1932) and The Garden of Pomegranates (1932). In 1934, after parting with Crowley, he joined the Stella Matutina, an offshoot of the former Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He despaired of the corrupt nature of the order's leadership and saw no hope of reform. Enthused with the rituals, he broke his oath of secrecy and revealed all he had learned in a book, My Rosicrucian Adventure (1935). Several years later he published the complete rituals in a four-volume set, The Golden Dawn: An Encyclopedia of Practical Occultism (1937-40). (While angering his fellow magicians, these published rituals interested only a few until the renewal of the occult revival in the 1960s, when Regardie's compendium was reprinted in a revised and enlarged edition in 1969.)
Regardie later became a chiropractor and, following the outbreak of hostilities with Japan, served in the U.S. Army. After the war he settled in southern California, where he practiced chiropractic and psychoanalysis. He had studied with Nandor Fodor in the mid-1930s in New York City and later became an enthusiastic supporter of Wilhelm Reich and his theories of orgone energy.
In his highly individual linking of the Golden Dawn teachings with Reich's psychophysical therapy, Regardie created a unique synthesis of mysticism, occultism, and psychotherapy. In his introduction to the second edition of The Golden Dawn (1969), Regardie notes that, "Reich has succeeded in building a bridge between the modern psychologies and occultism. What he had to say, and the therapeutic method he developed and called vegetotherapy, have been found of inestimable value in my life, and the two hundred hours of therapy I had years ago comprise an experience that today, in retrospect, I would not be without."
Regardie retained his respect for the Golden Dawn teachings, and during the last years of his life he accepted a few magic students and nurtured the birth of several new organizations that drew inspiration from both the Golden Dawn and Crowley. In 1983 he visited New Zealand, where a Stella Matu-tina lodge had been founded by R. W. Felkin in 1912 and continued to function.
Regardie died March 10, 1985, at age 77, in Sedona, Arizona, where he lived for several years after he retired from some 30 years in practice as a Reichian therapist in Los Angeles. The forename "Francis" was adopted by Regardie in the 1930s at the suggestion of Winifred Burke (wife of the famous novelist Thomas Burke), who thought that his spiritual direction was reminiscent of St. Francis of Assisi, noted for his faith, humility, and love.
Regardie, Israel. The Art and Meaning of Magic. Dallas, Tex.: Sangreal Foundation, 1964.
——. The Eye in the Triangle. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1970.
——. The Garden of Pomegranates. London: Rider, 1932. Reprint, St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1970.
——. The Golden Dawn: An Encyclopedia of Practical Occultism. 4 vols. Chicago: Aries Press, 1937-40.
——. Middle Pillar. Chicago: Aries Press, 1938. Rev. ed. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1971.
——. My Rosicrucian Adventure. Chicago: Aries Press, 1936. Reprint, St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1971.
——. What You Should Know about the Golden Dawn. Phoenix, Ariz.: Falcon Press, 1983.
Israel Regardie (1907–1985)
Israel Regardie (1907–1985)
At the time of his death on March 10, 1985, Dr. Francis Israel Regardie was considered by many occultists to be the last living adept of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a magical tradition that had numbered among its members William Butler Yeats (1865–1939), Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), and Dion Fortune. Regardie had demystified many esoteric mysteries surrounding the occult and presented understandable texts on practical magic.
By age 19, he began to correspond with Aleister Crowley. In 1928, he accepted the position of Crowley's personal secretary, hoping that the magician would tutor him in the mystic arts; however, Crowley left him to independently study magic. When Crowley's publisher declared bankruptcy, Regardie lost his job.
Although the Golden Dawn had ceased to exist as a functioning magical society as early as 1903, it continued to exist in various descendant orders, such as the Stella Matutina and the Alpha et Omega. In 1932, Regardie's distillation of the teachings of the Golden Dawn was published in The Tree of Life, and at once he was embroiled in controversy with those occultists who associated him with Crowley. While some demanded he never again dare to mention the name of the society, others, such as Dion Fortune, invited him to join the Order of Stella Matutina. In 1937 Regardie published four volumes entitled simply The Golden Dawn. It was Regardie's belief that the heritage of magic was the spiritual birthright of every man and woman and that the principles of such magical systems as the Golden Dawn should be made available to all who wished to pursue the ancient wisdom teachings.
Regardie's work The Philosopher's Stone (1937) was written from the perspective of Jungian symbolism. In 1941, he took up practice as a lay analyst, and in 1947, he relocated to California where he taught psychiatry. Regardie retired from practice in 1981 and moved to Sedona, Arizona, continuing to write until his death.
bonewits, p. e. i. real magic. new york: coward, mccann & georghegan, 1971.
monnastre, cris, and david griffin. israel regardie, initiation, and psychotherapy. [online] http://www.tarot.nu/gd/initiat.htm.
regardie, israel. the tree of life: a study in magic. new york:
samuel weiser, 1972.