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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Great Chain of Being

DEFINITIONS

Great Chain of Being:

The belief in a hierarchical structure to the universe, from God down to angels, fallen angels (or demons), astronomical features, royalty, common folk, animals, plants, and down to precious and then common minerals. The concept began with Plato and Aristotle, but achieved a high level with the Neoplatonists and Kabalists. Since this structure was believed to be decreed by God, it gave royalty—including kings, queens, princes, and all nobles—superiority over common people, a belief that existed until the Enlightenment that began in the late 17th century and culminated in the American and French Revolutions.




ARTICLES

Herbal Codes — Or, You Don't Need to Kill a Black Cat
Many grimoires and books of magic use animals and their parts as codes for herbs and other materials. Here are a number of them, some from the Greek Magical Papyri (see PGM XII:401-44), a work composed between 200BC and 500AD. Others come from Galen ...
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Santeria
Santería is an Afro-Caribbean religion that comes to us from Cuba and to this day it is practiced worldwide. Its original form, called Ifa, is an ancient Yoruba religion that comes from West-Africa and is declared by UNESCO as one of the ...
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The Great Rite
THE GREAT RITE is a term for a sexual union, either actual or symbolic, that is usually part of the third-degree initiation ceremony in many Wiccan/Witchcraft Traditions. The Great Rite is the wedding of the masculine and feminine, the God and ...
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How to Have an OBE Through Levitation
Introduction. OBE Levitation is an interactive induction procedure that uses impressions of physical weightlessness to facilitate astral disengagement from the physical body. Spontaneous OBEs are often initiated by sensations of slowly drifting ...
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Hypnosis
If you were to ask a dozen "experts" to give a definition of hypnosis, they would give you a dozen different answers. No matter what anyone says, there is no such thing as an accepted definition of hypnosis. No one knows exactly what it is. Some ...
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Review of The Llewellyn Tarot
Summary: Close enough to the RWS deck to be usable by beginners and yet filled with the beauty of the Welsh legends, something that will fascinate anyone intrigued by that myths of the Mabinogion or who spiritually lives with that pantheon. A must ...
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What is the Tarot?
The Tarot is a deck of cards that is primarily used to foretell the future. Forecasting the future, however, is only a superficial use of the massive powers of the Tarot. The Tarot is a very powerful tool that allows you to look deep inside your ...
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Psychic Self Defense
What is your chance of being psychically attacked at some point in your life? It is fairly high, the evidence suggests. That does not necessarily mean that you will be victimized in a dramatic, life-threatening way, but it is distinctly ...
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Review of the Harmonious Tarot
Summary: The Harmonious Tarot is a beautiful homage to the artwork of Walter Crane and an interesting exploration of an era. The serene, gentle (at first glance!) images calm you, invite you in to explore the intricate details, and then, just when ...
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Enduring Beyond Oppression - The Truth About Vodou
Vodou is a religion born in slavery, which blends together a number of traditional African beliefs with elements from other faiths, notably Catholicism, the religion of the slave-owners, with which it has always been an uncomfortable bed-fellow. It ...
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Magick
Readers familiar with the writings of Aleister Crowley will recognize the somewhat unusual spelling of the word "MAGICK." Crowley did this to distinguish Occult "Magick" from the "magic" of legerdemain, and also to separate the new Occult Magick ...
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I am often asked how I catch some of the most incredible evidence ever captured on a battlefield. It is relatively simple, but many people are not willing to do what is necessary to capture a paranormal event. If, however, you are one of those rare individuals who not only want to experience the paranormal, but capture it—read on! As a means of... read this article
Gettysburg: Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt
Celtic Tree Magic: 6 Ways to Work with Sacred Trees
Ritual: Thelemic Refuge
The Dark Side of Your Moon
3 Ways (Yoga Included!) To Shift Your Body Image

Most recent posts:
Lost Souls
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Patrick Burke, co-author of the new Ghost Soldiers of Gettysburg. As an expert on battlefield and...

Samhain Thoughts...
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Sonja Sadovsky, author of the new Priestess and the Pen. The wheel turns, and another Samhain is...

Empowering Readings, part 1
When someone asks “what if” they are usually worried about the outcome of something they are considering doing. They may be looking for assurances...




Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar
82nd Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

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Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook
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Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Calendar
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Llewellyn's 2015 Daily Planetary Guide Llewellyn's 2015 Daily Planetary Guide
Complete Astrology At-A-Glance

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Llewellyn's 2015 Moon Sign Book Llewellyn's 2015 Moon Sign Book
Conscious Living by the Cycles of the Moon

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Price: $11.99 US,  $13.95 CAN