Biography of Israel Regardie

Israel Regardie (1907-1985) became infamous among the occultists of his day for breaking his oath of secrecy and publishing the order’s complete rituals in his book “The Golden Dawn”.  Today this book is a classic best seller and has been revised and reissued several times.  Overshadowed by his association with Crowley, much of Regardie’s work has been left unappreciated by those outside of the realms of high magic and occultism.

Francis Israel Regudie was born in England but emigrated to the United States with his family at age 13. Ritual magician, student of Aleister Crowley, and later a chiropractor who utilizes the thought of Wilhelm Reich in his work. Beginning in 1928 he traveled through Europe as Aleister Crowley's lover, secretary and student. In 1934, after parting with Crowley, Regardie joined the Stella Matutina, a schismatic offshoot of the former Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Regardie eventually broke his vows of secrecy, and published the order's rituals and magical teachings in 1937.

Despite his rationalizations, this act nearly destroyed both the Stella Matutina and the Alpha et Omega. In 1937, at the age of 30, Regardie returned to the U.S., entering Chiropractic College in New York. In addition, he studied psychoanalysis with Dr. E. Clegg and Dr. J. L. Bendit, and psychotherapy with Dr. Nandor Fodor. He opened a chiropractic office and taught psychiatry -- Freudian, Reichian and Jungian -- retiring in 1981 at the age of 74, when he moved to Sedona, AZ. He died from a heart attack in the presence of close friends during a dinner at a restaurant in Sedona, Arizona on March 10, 1985 at the age of 77.

The publications of Israel Regardie have recently engendered a host of modern, American groups on the Internet calling themselves “Golden Dawn,” but having no connection to the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in Europe in 1888. In move to give themselves at least some veneer of legitimacy, certain Regardie-based groups have deliberately created a myth of a “Regardie Golden Dawn lineage.” Such a notion, however, is highly problematic.

Israel Regardie knew that he had no authority to initiate or grant a charter to anyone and honestly admitted this on numerous occasions, as for example in the attached letter. To begin with, Regardie was never even initiated in the Golden Dawn but rather only in the schismatic Stella Matutina, founded by former Golden Dawn Adept turned rogue, R.W. Felkin. Moreover, Regardie was never granted dispensation to initiate anyone by the G.H. Chiefs of the Stella Matutina and certainly had no authority to grant any sort of charter or even to consecrate a Vault of the Adepti.

Fully aware of these facts, Israel Regardie nonetheless did consecrate a Vault of the Adepti in 1982 in order to initiate his student, Cris Monnastre, into the Adeptus Minor (5=6) grade. These events provided fertile soil for a myth of a “Regardie Golden Dawn lineage” to be deliberately cultivated by certain Regardie-based groups following Regardie’s death. It should be noted that, in his life, Regardie only had four students. These were Cris Monnastre, William Kennedy, Larry Epperson, and Alan Miller (Christopher Hyatt). Regardie never endorsed any “Regardie-based” Golden Dawn group or order, although this imprimatur has been putatively claimed by a variety of organizations following his death.

One could potentially argue with some legitimacy that Israel Regardie has become the progenitor of his own occult school with its own lineage deriving exclusively from Israel Regardie, as is the case with numerous lineages deriving from teachers in Zen and Tibetan Buddhism in the East. In this limited sense, the Regardie-based groups could perhaps honestly claim a “Regardie lineage.” Dishonesty enters and public confusion arises, however, when Regardie-based groups deliberately attempt to conflate such a “Regardie lineage” with a “Golden Dawn” lineage, which by his own clear admission, was never Regardie’s to bestow.