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Israel Regardie

From Thelemapedia

Israel Regardie (November 17, 1907 - March 10, 1985) was an occultist/psychologist. His magical motto was Ad Majorem Adonai Gloriam ("To the greater glory of Adonai," a variation on the Jesuit motto Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam).

Table of contents


Early Life

Born Israel Regudy to Jewish immigrants in London, Regardie moved to Washington D.C. with his family in 1921 at the age of 13. He developed an interest in occult matters early on and joined Societas Rosicruciana in America in 1926.

Association with Crowley

After reading a copy of Book Four by Aleister Crowley, Regardie started a correspondence with Crowley, later moving to Paris to become Crowley's secretary in 1928. In his diaries, Crowley called Regardie "the Serpent." In 1932 Crowley and Regardie had a rather large falling out with snide words said on both sides, but later Regardie made his peace with Crowley.

Regardie was an initiate of Ordo Templi Orientis under Crowley, and after Crowley's death, he was sometimes seen as a neutral arbiter of claimants to the work of that Order.

Regardie wrote a full-length biography of Crowley called The Eye in the Triangle. Crowley's magical theories and techniques are very evident in Regardie's magical textbook The Tree of Life. Regardie also served as an editor for many of Crowley's posthumously published books, including Gems from the Equinox, The Law is for All, Magick Without Tears, and Roll Away the Stone.

Exposing the Golden Dawn

In 1932 Regardie joined an offshoot of the Golden Dawn called Stella Matutina and quickly found the order was starting to fall apart. In order to preserve the knowledge of the order, Regardie took the bulk of the Order's documents and compiled the book, The Golden Dawn (1937), which earned him the enmity of the other former members and the reputation of being an oath-breaker. In this respect, he was following in Crowley's footsteps; the older man had published condensed versions of the Golden Dawn rituals and instructions in The Equinox two decades earlier. The greater accessibility of Regardie's book cemented the status of the order's work as a wellspring of occultism for 20th century practitioners.

The various occult organizations claiming descent from the original Golden Dawn and the systems of magic practiced by them owe much of their continuing existence and popularity to Regardie's writings. In 1983, Regardie accepted honorary initiation to the 6=5 Adeptus Minor grade from one such group headed by Pat and Chris Zalewski in Wellington, New Zealand. In the following year, he finished The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic, a book which featured full ritual texts and instructions from the original Golden Dawn, rather than the later Stella Matutina revisions.

Psychology Career

In 1937 Regardie moved back to America and took up the study of psychology and psychotherapy and later started up his own practice. He grew frustrated with the doctrinaire qualities of the various psychological schools, though he claimed a certain adherence to the work of Wilhelm Reich. He was disappointed by his own brief experience with the Jungian school.

Throughout his later life, Regardie was an outspoken critic of the therapeutic establishment in medicine and psychology.


Regardie died from a heart attack in Sedona, Arizona on March 10, 1985. He was posthumously awarded the 7=4 Adeptus Major R.R. et A.C. grade by the Thoth-Hermes Temple in New Zealand.


"It really makes little difference in the long run whether The Book of the Law was dictated to [Crowley] by preterhuman intelligence named Aiwass or whether it stemmed from the creative deeps of Aleister Crowley. The book was written. And he became the mouthpiece for the Zeitgeist, accurately expressing the intrinsic nature of our time as no one else has done to date." --Israel Regardie 1970 (Introduction to The Law Is for All)

"One of [Regardie's] pet hates, was people associating him with Crowley's brand of Thelemic Magic, and the Book of the Law....I can still recall him thumping the table at dinner one night saying 'Dammit, I'm a Golden Dawn man and not a Thelemite, and I wish people would realize it.'" --Pat Zalewski

"On the other hand, I cannot separate Crowley from The Golden Dawn, because Crowley was The Golden Dawn and The Golden Dawn was Crowley." --Israel Regardie (An Interview with Israel Regardie: His Final Thoughts and Views 55)

"This elaborate Golden Dawn system became part of Crowley's own inner world ... He carried it further than even the Golden Dawn principals had envisaged. I know of nothing within the Order documentary that even hints at the kind of visionary and spiritual experience that Crowley managed to get out of it." --Israel Regardie 1970 (The Eye in the Triangle)

Israel Regardie's Books


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