Bio of Israel Regardie
Francis Israel Regardie was born in 1907 to an Orthodox Jewish family in the East End of London, an impoverished area that twenty years previously had been the stalking ground of Jack the Ripper. When he was still a teenager, he emigrated along with his family to the United States, settling in Washington, D.C.
Regardie was early on attracted to the writings of Madame Blavatsky and her Theosophical Society, in addition to Qabalistic and Rosicrucian studies. While living in D.C., at the age of 20, Regardie became an Initiate of a Rosicrucian group there.
RELATIONSHIP WITH ALEISTER CROWLEY
Shortly after, Regardie came across a book of Aleister Crowley's and was immediately awestruck by the elder magician's talent and evident genius. In 1928 He began a correspondence with Crowley, who was then living in Parib, and was eventually offered a job as Crowley's personal secretary.
Regardie travelled to Paris to join him at a great personal sacrifice and while there he served as Crowley's secretary. He also provided the British magician with some financial assistance needed to help the latter maintain his outlandish hedonistic lifestyle. The arrangement may have been ideal for Crowley, who utilized Regardie's services as secretary and errand-boy, while pursuing women and drugs to his heart's content. It was less than idyllic for Regardie, who became disillusioned by Crowley's failure to truly teach him the higher secrets of magic, which he had to get from extensive reading instead. The whole episode came to an end less than a year later, when Crowley was deported from France, accused of being a German spy.
Regardie then attempted to return to the land of his birth, but England would not have him due to his known association with the already-infamous Crowley, whose patriotism was in question due to his having worked for a pro-German newspaper in New York during the Great War.
Despite his association with, and admiration for, Aleister Crowley, Regardie never considered himself a Thelemite. It is telling that he joined an offshoot of the Golden Dawn in 1933, over thirty years after Crowley himself terminated his association with the order. In fact, Crowley was actively involved with the Ordo Tempi' Orientis during the 1920s and later, yet it appears that Regardie either had no interest, or Crowley did not invite him to participate therein.
Regardie's resonance with the Golden Dawn derived in part from the intuitive knowledge that he demonstrated in his 1932 book, The Tree of Life. With the sponsorship of Dion Fortune, he joined the Stella Matutina in 1933 but quickly became disillusioned with its egotistical leadership and departed less than two years later after attaining the grade of Adeptus Minor. Three years after that, he published his landmark collection The Golden Dawn, making the "secret" rites and teachings of the on-again, off-again Order available to a wider public for the first time, and making possible today's resurgence of interest in the Order.
Several years later, Regardie and Crowley parted company after an acrimonious public clash of personalities. Regardie returned to the United States and studied chiropractic medicine in New York. He served in the Army during World War II, and afterward moved to Los Angeles to open a chiropractic clinic and also work as a Reichian therapist. He had studied psychology and psychiatry with several notable teachers and was a strong proponent of Jungian analysis all his life, as well as the more controversial work of Wilhelm Reich.
Both writers are known among the 20th century's most unique and controversial psychological theorists, whose writings straddled the border between science, religion and myth, and incorporated a strong element of sexuality. It is easy to see how this emphasis blended well with Regardie's magical and esoteric studies.
DR. CHRISTOPHER HYATT
It was in Los Angeles in the early 1970s that Regardie met Dr. Christopher Hyatt and served as a mentor to the younger man by introducing him to the Golden Dawn tradition of magic as well as Reichian Therapy. Regardie served as a much better mentor to Hyatt than Crowley had to Regardie; in any case, Regardie's and Hyatt's similar backgrounds (both were Jewish and inclined to psychotherapeutic methodologies) helped them mesh and eventually led to a branch lineage of the Golden Dawn formed by Dr. Hyatt. In Phoenix, Arizona, in the early 1980's.
In a sense, Regardie went beyond his erstwhile mentor Crowley in terms of bringing the practice of medieval mysticism into the modern world by tying it to the new science of psychology. Regardie's most well-known works, The Middle Pillar, A Garden of Pomegranates, The Tree of Life, and of course his Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic are some of the most
widely read books on the art of magic today. Regardie introduced the Golden Dawn system to a far wider audience than it had ever had before. Unlike Crowley, whose works are infamous for being "difficult" even for readers familiar with magic in general, Regardie's books were always written for a broader audience and made a point of explaining esoteric concepts in a rationalistic fashion that mid-20th century readers, already exposed to the discoveries of psychology, could accept.
Regardie died, in retirement, in 1985, in the magically powerful area of Sedona, Arizona. Before passing to the other side, Regardie helped establish Falcon Press, now New Falcon Publications with his student Dr. Christopher S. Hyatt Ph.D. Today New Falcon Publications proudly publishes much of Dr. Regardie's work while keeping his great work alive through out the world.
"Without Regardie, the Golden Dawn would have perished in the flames of history." —David Cherubim, Israel Regardie Foundation
"As a writer, Regardie has long been hailed as one of the most coherent proponents of Western magic. His work is refreshingly humble and honest: he is able to convey difficult, abstract concepts with clarity and openness to inquiry. Never one to talk down to readers, he focuses instead on the patient teaching of esoteric knowledge: his warm style coaxes readers toward further investigation. He invites the reader to join him in the journey on the Path of Light. And it was through Regardie s writings that we began our own Rosicrucian adventure." —Chic and Tabatha Cicero
Israel Regardie (1907-1985) was an Adept of the Golden Dawn. At an early age, Regardie worked as Aleister Crowley's personal secretary. Regardie was the messenger to the modern world charged with preserving and perpetuating the teachings of Aleister Crowley and the Golden Dawn. He takes his place among such luminaries as Madame Blavatsky, S. L. MacGregor Mathers, Aleister Crowley, and Dion Fortune. Even in such distinguished company, Regardie stands out as a figure of central importance.