Book: The Tree Of Life An Illustrated Study In Magic by Israel RegardieIsrael Regardie wrote The Tree of Life, a book many consider his magnum opus, in 1932. It has continued to sell for decades. And no wonder. Up until the time this book was published, very little information about true high magic was available to the public.
In this book, Regardie reveals the secrets of real magic. He begins with an explanation of what magic is and, just as importantly, what magic is not. He explains that it is a spiritual study and practice which, along with forms of yoga, forms the two branches of the tree that is mysticism. Magic is not being a medium or a psychic. Then he explains the tools of the magician, what they mean, and how to use them. He explains the techniques of evocation and invocation, skrying, and astral travel. He shows how the Qabalah unites everything. He even gives a description of the secrets of sexual magick. All of this is in a clear, lucid writing style. This book is simply a must for anyone who is, or aspires to be, a real magician.
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.
Although Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero were friends of Regardie and are Senior Adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, what changes could they have made to this classic book? Well, they did change the spelling from British style to American. And they did change his transliterations of Hebrew into the more popular style he used in his later books. But nothing vital was changed or removed. Everything else they added was complementary to the text that was there. And what incredible additions they are! Extensive annotations throughout every chapter; over 100 illustrations; more descriptive contents pages; a glossary, a bibliography and an index. They've even added a Biographical Note on Regardie and the importance of this book to him and to the occult world.
I'm glad they changed Regardie's old spelling of Hebrew words like Sephiros to Sephiroth to make them conform with the way modern magicians say these words! Sure, you can still buy the old Weiser edition, but if you do, you won't be getting over a hundred illustrations, great footnotes, a table of contents that you can ACTUALLY read, a 50+ page glossary of magical terms, and a comprehensive index. I know which edition I use more often, and it isn't the Weiser one!
Regardie's Tree of Life is invalueable to the student of both Qabalah and magic, introducing us to the methods employed by Aleister Crowley, the Golden Dawn and the Goetia. Regardie has extensively studied rituals of the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks and outlines simple formulas for performing the most complex rituals founded upon ancient knowledge. Also outlines the Augoeides working.
This book contains some of the finest occult writing that has ever been produced. And with the new material by the Ciceros, it becomes a must-have for any magician!
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