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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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Magic is making the everyday sacred. A bath is more than a physical cleansing; it's your emotional and spiritual purification. You can make your bathtub the altar in the temple of your bathroom. Think of it as your path to transformation. It is a sacred oasis, a time to connect to your Spirt, a playtime, a dreamtime. Doreen Virtue has said that... read this article
Birds: Our Spiritual and Magical Allies
The Most Haunted Place You've Never Heard Of: 3 Places to Explore in Revelstoke
Jupiter in the Signs
3 Ways Yoga Changes Your Life for the Better
Reclaiming the Dark Face of the Feminine Nature

Most recent posts:
Grow Your Spiritual Team While Bathing
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman, author of The Book of Sacred Baths. People often report feeling alone...

Knowing the Question
Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin always have something interesting to share. Their ideas range from connections based on intense research and solid...

A Strange Little Place
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Brennan Storr, author of A Strange Little Place. If there is such a thing as a reluctant paranormal...




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