Israel Regardie - The Tree Of Life a Study in Magic, Part 1 (1934 Edition) (91.5 MB)
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I've read the material contained in The Tree of Life a hundred times in a hundred other books. Those books are a but a shadow of this one. Each of those others list this one in their bibliography while they try to re-tell it as well. None have succeeded. Those other books have their place, but this very well written tome is at the foundation of modern magick.There are a couple of things I might mention to the potential reader. Though containing a good explanation of the Qabalah, contrary to the title, the book is really abou... More >>>
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I've read the material contained in The Tree of Life a hundred times in a hundred other books. Those books are a but a shadow of this one. Each of those others list this one in their bibliography while they try to re-tell it as well. None have succeeded. Those other books have their place, but this very well written tome is at the foundation of modern magick.
There are a couple of things I might mention to the potential reader. Though containing a good explanation of the Qabalah, contrary to the title, the book is really about Ceremonial Magick in its many forms. At times, Regardie approaches the subject as an apologist arguing around Blavatsky's Theosophical Society's tenants, which were the fashion at the time of the writing. The debate is mostly lost on modern readers but doesn't detract from the work and is completed in the early chapters.
Regardie's only stumble, in my option, is his chapter on alchemy, the last "narrative" chapter of the book. Here Regardie describes the art of alchemy as a spiritual process only and doesn't delve into the possibility of an actual chemical practice. Regardie's book The Philosphers's Stone carries on this narrow interpretation that the author later admitted, I believe, didn't wholly encompass the craft.
As for the Ciceros' contribution to the work, I can't comment since I'm unfamiliar with earlier editions. However, I found the pictures, footnotes and corrections meaningful and helpful for the most part. Where they weren't helpful, I ignored them. Feel free to do the same.
It's also good to see a Llewellyn book not printed on paper-towel quality stock, but durable bonded paper. A book this good should last. A hard copy would be the only improvement upon the printing.
I wholly agree that if Regardie had done nothing else but write The Tree of Life, the world of magick would be forever in his debt. The only other book I can think of that impacted the magick world as much as this one, is Regardie's own Golden Dawn. This book belongs in every magickal library and deserves to be read no matter how well you think you might know the material.
Reviewed by J. Worthen
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.