Israel 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.
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.
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!
Pagan News Review by PaganNews.com
This is not an easy book to read, but then, when it comes to the Qabbalah and the Golden Dawn, there are very few books that are. However, Regardie's book scores over some of the other Ceremonial Magic books out there because he was Aleister Crowley's secretary for a number of years. If you intend to study some aspect of the Golden Dawn, ceremonial magic, or the O.T.O, you will at some point run into Crowley's writings. Regardie has a good grasp on Crowley because of his long term personal experience with him, and also presents information in an easier to read manner.
Even so, despite being written in the sixties, the language is very much that of intellectual England between the wars, and can get a bit bogged down. Regardie does however cover some key truths in incredible clarity, and if you are intending to read his epic works on the Golden Dawn (The complete system of Magic, for example), I strongly recommend you take the time to read this first, to get a good overview and understanding of the reasons why things are done a certain way. Some of those reasons you may find surprising!