Raised in a strict Jewish home, the teenaged Regardie originally started embracing the doctrines of Madame Blavatsky of Theosophy fame. His interest then shifted to Yoga and--going from worse to worst--he became interested in Aleister Crowley. Aleister, then in Paris, offered the not yet 21-year-old a post as personal secretary. Israel had to sanitize things a big to secure his father's permission to travel. It wouldn't do for him to tell his father that he was going to stay with the man who had been vilified in the press as "the wickedest man in the world." Israel set sail for Paris in October l928. Soon Crowley was meeting the introverted young man at the Paris train station with the words "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." Crowley then asked Regardie if he had any money. The young man handed his savings over. Reportedly, it was spent on quality champagne and cognac.
The young Regardie was worried about social protocol as he ate his first meal with Crowley and his current Scarlet Woman. He presumably felt more relaxed when, at the meal's end, Crowley pounced on his ladyfriend and made love on the floor in front of his young guest. No one ever accused Aleister of being inhibited.
In March of l929 the whole trio got kicked out of Paris. Crowley was kicked out for allegedly being a German spy and drug addict. His girlfriend Marie and Regardie got the boot for associating with him. Nor could Regardie enter England for the same reason--he was considered undesirable because of his relationship with Aleister. For awhile he had to remain in Brussels. Eventually Crowley could no longer afford to keep Regardie as his secretary.
In l937 the two men had a big cat fight for reasons far more complicated than can be sorted out on these pages. Regardie apparently was eclipsing his master in successful publications. Regardie sent Crowley a copy of a recent publication and a kind note. Aleister responded by making fun of the name "Francis" which Israel had recently added. Israel then responded with his famous "Dear Alice, You really are a contemptible bitch" letter. Aleister responded with a scurrilous letter about Regardie, accusing him of everything from ingratitude to masturbation. And Aleister sent his letter to all of Regardie's acquaintances! (Ref. Gerald Suster, CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE.)
Regardie became interested in psychoanalysis, working with ideas of Freud, Jung and finally Wilhelm Reich. As he saw his own patients, he blended magical principles with psychiatric ones, as needed. Regardie's masterpiece THE ART OF TRUE HEALING presents the idea of a life force which exists in each of us. This life force, which is libidinal energy, can if properly used "...heal every affliction and ailment to which mankind is heir. We have only to become aware of this force. If we fail to do so, we face nervous depletion, depression, and very likely early death. One means of tuning in to this libidinal energy life force is the practice of the Middle Pillar Exercise, where one vibrates the Hebrew God-names of the stations of the Middle Pillar of the Qabalistic Tree of Life.