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
Reeves, M. Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
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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 Matutina
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.
Sources
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.