Regardie, Francis Israel

Regardie, Francis Israel (1907-1983)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Best known as secretary to the infamous Aleister Crowley, Regardie was born in England on November 17, 1907. He came to the United States in 1920. Eight years later, on a visit to Paris, he met Aleister Crowley. Regardie had been fascinated by the occult for many years, having been introduced to it through the writings of Charles Stansfeld Jones. Well versed in Crowley's writings and activities, he soon became the writer's unpaid companion and secretary—a position he held for six years. Crowley nicknamed his amanuensis "The Serpent." On occasion however, as Francis King notes, Crowley referred to Regardie as "that worm."

In 1932 Regardie wrote The Tree of Life (Rider, London)—dedicated to Crowley (as "Marsyas")—and its companion volume, The Garden of Pomegranates (Rider, London). In 1934 he became an initiate of Stella Matutina (Order of the Morning Star), a temple of the by-then-defunct Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He immersed himself in the teachings of this secret magical order and rose through the ranks. Convinced that the teachings were doomed to obscurity, he decided that they should be revealed to the public. Between 1937 and 1940, he published the teachings as The Golden Dawn: an Encyclopedia of Practical Occultism (Aries Press, London). In doing so he broke his oath of secrecy, albeit for the overall good of mystery teachings. With this publication, the Stella Matutina came to an end.

Francis King tells an interesting story about the artifacts of the organization's sister order, Alpha et Omega. All its banners and magical implements were buried in a box in a cliff-top garden on England's south coast. By 1966, the cliff had eroded to the point where the box fell to the shore below. There it was discovered by passing tourists; the Daily Telegraph, later declared that the box was the property of some long-dead Witch!

Regardie became a chiropractor, settling in Studio City, California. He wrote what is considered by many to be the definitive biography of Aleister Crowley: The Eye in the Triangle (Llewellyn, 1970). In an interview with Christopher S. Hyatt, a few months before his death, Regardie said that he felt life was a "bloody weird business."

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