There are two people more responsible for the rebirth of magick in the second half of the twentieth century than anyone else. The first is publisher Carl Llewellyn Weschcke. His publication of classic and new books on magick and astrology, as well as some of the first accurate books on Wicca and Witchcraft, literally changed the world.
One of the things he did was purchase the copyrights to books written by a contemporary author who, for the most part, had been forgotten. Francis Israel Regardie had written some of the clearest books on magick ever published. He also dared to publish the complete teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at the start of WWII. The war, combined with the publication of their secrets, decimated the number of members of the Order, resulting in most temples closing. But the book also saved the teachings for posterity.
So when Weschecke republished Regardie's book The Golden Dawn and some of his other books (as well as works by Ophiel, Aleister Crowley, Gareth Knight, Louis Culling, William Gray, and others), it started an occult renaissance that continues to this day.
My Meeting with Francis
I had started writing to Regardie through a mutual friend. Eventually I had a chance to meet him around 1975, about a decade before his death. My own father had died some 15 years previously, so the writings of Regardie had "fathered" me in my occult studies. Dressed in a jacket and tie, I drove from San Diego to Hollywood to meet him. He was sitting at a dining table, looking at me through thick glasses, drinking a martini. "Hello, Dr. Regardie," I said rather nervously, extending my hand to greet him.
He looked at me and with a firm voice and slight English accent said, "What's this Dr. Regardie $*!%? My name is Francis." We laughed and my tie and jacket came off, followed by a wonderful discussion of magick, psychology, his time with Crowley, and more. It was a great loss when he died in March of 1985, just days ahead of my birthday.
The Golden Dawn has probably directly and indirectly influenced more occultists than any other modern book. It literally shows you how to have spiritual experiences and run an occult order. Many of its secrets have been ignored and it still reveals so much. Few are experts in it.
However, two people whom I know are experts are Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero. I knew Francis, but they were his friends. They have gone through his works and explained them better than anyone I've ever known. They have fully annotated and added to three of Regardie's most important works. In The Middle Pillar, you'll discover the important basic techniques of magick, including the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, how to vibrate words, and the Middle Pillar ritual itself. In A Garden of Pomegranates you'll learn how the Qabalah can be directly applied to spirituality and magick. Finally, in The Tree of Life, Regardie gives a complete explanation of magick and how it relates to everything from yoga to psychic powers. The massive additions to these books by the Ciceros make them understandable and expands upon them to new levels.
These four books form a complete course in magick and should be on every magician's bookshelf.