Israel Regardie was a well known occultist of the 20th Century. His full name was Francis Israel Regardie, he became known as Israel Regardie later in life. He was a prolific writer producing many works in the course of his life including A Garden of Pomegranates, The Tree of Life, The Golden Dawn, The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic, Ceremonial Magic, and Foundations of Practical Magic. In his later life Regardie was a Reichian therapist and chiropractor.
Regardie was born in 1907. He became interested in the occult early in life and began studying the works of Madame Blavatsky as a teenager. At the age of twenty Regardie secured the position of secretary for Aleister Crowley. This association with Crowley exposed him to Crowley's writing and in particular The Equinox series which contained a great deal of the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. During this period with Crowley as he says, "I soaked myself in the volumes of the Equinox," and he acknowledges this period as having a very maturing effect on him. (Hyatt, p. 53)
When the end of his involvement with Crowley occured in 1932 he wrote his first published work, A Garden of Pomegranates. This caught the attention of Rider Publishing who commissioned him to write The Tree of Life. (Hyatt, p. 54) This work was a rather full treatment of the subject of magic, or the divine theurgy as stated in the book. The Tree of Life came to the attention of one of the last functioning Golden Dawn temples in Bristol England through the medium of Dion Fortune, and he was asked to join the order. Regardie acknowledges joining the order as one of the wisest things he ever did.
In 1937 Regardie edited the writings and teachings of the Golden Dawn and published all of the teachings and secrets that he was in possession of as a means of preserving them and spreading them to a wider audience for the benefit of mankind. This lead to his split with many old line members of the order.
Throughout his life Regardie has sought to expose the teachings of the Golden Dawn to as many persons as he could. He later revisited the teachings of the order and after acquiring further source material produced a second expanded work, The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic. This work comprising ten volumes under one cover contains the most complete published set of original materials from the order.
Another area of literary pursuit for Regardie was editing and introducing many of Aleister Crowley's works. These include: Gems from the Equinox, Roll Away the Stone, Magick Without Tears, and The Law is For All.
One of the last undertakings of Regardie's life was the initiation of Tabitha Cicero into the Inner Order of the Golden Dawn, thus securing a line of initiation to continue the work of the Order.
His life's work could be most easily summed up by citing a point from the obligation of an Adeptus Minor in the the Golden Dawn:
I 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 myself to my Higher and Divine Genius, and that in this event I will not abuse the great power entrusted to me. (Regardie, publishers preface page unnumbered)
Regardie died while eating dinner with friends on March 10, 1985.
Hyatt, Christopher S. (1985) An interview with Israel Regardie: his final thoughts and views. Phoenix, Arizona: Falcon Press
Regardie, Israel (1982) The golden dawn. St. Paul, Minnesota: Llewellyn