Israel Regardie - The Tree Of Life a Study in Magic, Part 2 (1934 Edition) (45.2 MB)
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This book is absolutely amazing, after reading it I went out and bought several of Regardie's books. This is definitely the best introduction to magic that I have read, and it definitely seems to be a major source that many contemporary introductions to magic are based on. I would, nevertheless, recommend people approach this book with: 1) a bit of familiarity with the basic premises of the Qabalah and Tree of Life (Dion Forutne's "The Mystical Qabalah" is a great place to start), and 2) an ability to decipher long and wordy... More >>>
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This book is absolutely amazing, after reading it I went out and bought several of Regardie's books. This is definitely the best introduction to magic that I have read, and it definitely seems to be a major source that many contemporary introductions to magic are based on. I would, nevertheless, recommend people approach this book with: 1) a bit of familiarity with the basic premises of the Qabalah and Tree of Life (Dion Forutne's "The Mystical Qabalah" is a great place to start), and 2) an ability to decipher long and wordy sentences.
Other reviewers have complained about Regardie's writing style. I definitely agree the first chapter is a bit over the top, but throughout the rest of the book I fell in love with his style. It makes readers use conscious effort in order to gain understanding, because Regardie wraps many layers of meaning into what he writes. After the first chapter, I found the writing style extremely poetic and beautiful, although I definitely feel it could be simplified. Regardless of the writing style, Regardie's treatment of the topic is straightforward and clear... especially considering the veil of secrecy that cloaked discussion of magic in previous centuries.
The book is divided into two major sections. The first is basically more theoretical, covering the theory of the Tree of Life... a topic that perpetually reveals more and more depth intricate layers. The second (and much larger) part is more practical, though it really deals with the theory behind magical practices. This section really helps to demystify the meanings behind magical practice, and has helped give me a more clear direction in my own path.
Particularly valuable are the treatments of WILL and IMAGINATION, the two key ingredients in practical magic... many exercises are weaved into the text, and the reasons as to why these and other elements are essential is very clearly covered. The best part of this book was definitely the chapter on the astral plane and exercises to develop abilities for astral projection... I would have paid for this chapter alone!
This book has immense benefit for both the "armchair magician" (stuck in theory with no practice) and the practicing magician. It is a great overview for aspiring magicians, and I sense it would only reveal more as readers become more experienced. I will come back to it again and again...
Regarding the connection with Crowley... although the back of my edition says the book is "the most comprehensive introduction to the... writings of Aleister Crowley", I find this insulting almost. i am a huge fan of Crowley, but Regardie relaly stand on his own, he does not need to piggyback on others' reputations. the publisher probably put it on to increase sales, because the book really has very little to do with Crowley, although it does explore many concepts found also in Crowley's book, but in a much more straightforward way.
At the very least, reading The Tree of Life helped expand my perspective and open my mind. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Reviewed by Michael Herman
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.