Israel Regardie - The Philosophers Stone (610.0 Kb)
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My book has been praised as a good meaningful book by some reviewers and by many readers, to judge from the mail I have received during the past thirty years. It is patently an open sesame to one level of interpretation. The Occult Review, now defunct, published a critical review by Archibald Cockren who took me rather severely to task for asserting that alchemical texts should be interpreted solely in terms of psychological and mystical terms. He himself, I subsequently discovered, had written a book Alchemy Rediscovered an... More >>>
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My book has been praised as a good meaningful book by some reviewers and by many readers, to judge from the mail I have received during the past thirty years. It is patently an open sesame to one level of interpretation. The Occult Review, now defunct, published a critical review by Archibald Cockren who took me rather severely to task for asserting that alchemical texts should be interpreted solely in terms of psychological and mystical terms. He himself, I subsequently discovered, had written a book Alchemy Rediscovered and Restored. Of course I immediately procured a copy. Since I was peeved by his review, I did not feel that his book had very much to offer--so I dismissed both offhand. I was about to write the editor of The Occult Review a scorching letter, but reason intervened so that fortunately it never got written.
The opportunity is rarely given to an author in his lifetime "to eat crow" and to enjoy it. This lot, it pleases me to say, is mine--after thirty years. Not that I would significantly change much of what I wrote then. I admitted that I had not "proceeded to the praxis" but I felt then and still do that a mystical and psychological interpretation of some alchemical texts was legitimate. There is unequivocally this aspect of the subject. Certainly Jacob Boehme and Henry Khunrath, for example, cannot be interpreted except in these terms.
The Philosophers Stone with these preliminary comments, should answer a wide-felt need which has called forth this new edition. I hope, being in print once more, it will bring new light and knowledge and values to present-day students who may be still groping in the dark areas of the occult towards alchemy, where a guiding hand needs to be extended.
So, to close this Introduction, I must use the ancient Rosicrucian greeting, and the close of a Golden Dawn ritual:
May what we have partaken here sustain us in our search for the Quintessence the Stone of the Philosophers, True Wisdom and perfect Happiness, the Summum Bonum.
Israel Regardie (Francis Israel Regudy) (born on November 17, 1907 in London, England, died March 10, 1985 in Sedona, Arizona) was one of the 20th century's most significant occultists and a renewer of occult literature. He is the principal reliable source for much of what is known about the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. His writings and the students he has taught or influenced provide much of the foundation for modern Western occultism.
Israel Regardie was born in London to poor Jewish immigrant parents. His family chose the surname 'Regardie' after his brother due to a mixup was enrolled in the British Army under this surname. Regardie emigrated to the United States at the age of 14, and studied art in Washington, DC and Philadelphia, PA. With a Hebrew tutor he gained a linguistic knowledge which would prove invaluable in his later studies of the Qabalah. With easy access to the Library of Congress, he read widely and became interested in Theosophy, Hindu philosophy and yoga; he also joined the Rosicrucians at around this time. After reading Part One of Book Four by the occultist Aleister Crowley, he initiated a correspondence which led to his return at 21 to the UK at Crowley's invitation to become the latter's secretary in 1928. The two men parted company four years later in 1932.
Two years later in 1934, he joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. When the group disbanded, Regardie acquired the bulk of the Order's documents and compiled the book, The Golden Dawn, which earned him the enmity of the other former members and the reputation of being an oath-breaker because of the information it revealed. However, the book transformed the work of the Order into an entire new branch of the Western Occult Tradition. As Regardie observed in his A Garden of Pomegranates, "... it is essential that the whole system should be publicly exhibited so that it may not be lost to mankind. For it is the heritage of every man and woman - their spiritual birthright." The various occult organizations claiming descent from the original Golden Dawn and the systems of magic practiced by them owe their continuing existence and popularity to Regardie's work.