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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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Is that clown doll looking at you funny? It may very well be. Haunted objects are the subject of my new book, Haunted Stuff: Demonic Dolls, Screaming Skulls, and Other Creepy Collectibles, and I'd think twice before picking up that doll house at the next yard sale, bub. Here are ten of my favorite haunted items from the book. Lady... read this article
Samhain Grave Minding Ritual
The Evolving Soul and Your Life Purpose: Connecting the Dots of Past Lives
On Wings of Change: The Dragon in Celtic Magic
Ceremonial Magick: Reuniting Yourself with the Natural World
Casting a Circle for Clairvoyant Readings

Most recent posts:
A "Thank You" to BKS Iyengar
BKS Iyengar passed away today. In the midst of a frantic morning I heard the news and suddenly paused, realizing the great impact one person can...

Lucky in Lenormand
Rana George’s The Essential Lenormand is quickly gaining a reputation for being a very approachable guide to this fascinating system. Her decades...

Does the Old Magick Reject Psychology?
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Aaron Leitch, author of several books, including Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, The Angelical...




Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar
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Llewellyn's 2015 Magical Almanac Llewellyn's 2015 Magical Almanac
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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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