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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Great Chain of Being


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.


Where Did Runes Come From?
Over the last century or so, several theories have arisen on the origin of the runes, each having a strong body of supporters at different times. The nineteenth-century Danish rune scholar L. F. A. WimmerM, struck by the obvious similarity between ...
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The Devil
The Devil card of the Tarot: The 15th Major Arcanum image: usually a conventional-looking devil with horns and hooves standing on an altar to which are chained a man and a woman, alternatively the Pagan’s Horned God Hebrew letter: ...
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What Is Involved in Ritual Magic
By now you may be impatiently asking yourself what ritual magic is, and how to perform it. I want to point out before beginning that it is impossible to fully describe such an extensive subject in this small essay. That is why so many excellent ...
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Tarot of the Dream Enchantress Review
Summary: The Tarot of the Dream Enchantress will sweep you away on flights of fancy where you will see many strange and marvelous things, and where you will find yourself along the way. For readings and experiences that are anything but ...
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Number Symbolism
[The following is a description of the meanings of numbers as used by Corinne Kenner.] Zero. Most of us think of zero as a starting point from which we count our way up—or down into negative numbers. Because zero seems to precede all of the other ...
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"Qabalah" is a Hebrew word which means "tradition." It is derived from the root word "Qibel," meaning, "to receive." This refers to the ancient custom of handing down the esoteric knowledge by oral transmission. What the word Qabalah encompasses is ...
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An Introduction to Electional Astrology
Electional astrology is utilized in choosing the most appropriate time to begin something. The intent is to achieve a successful outcome, and the rules applied are very specifically set toward that end. Many of the rules have their foundation in ...
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Golden Dawn Time Line
1887   Westcott decodes the Cipher Manuscript. He asks Mathers and Woodman to join him in setting up the new Order. March 1, 1888 Isis-Urania Temple #3 is chartered. Westcott, Woodman, and Mathers are the Three Chiefs. Mina Bergson (Moina Mathers) ...
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Cayce's Clairvoyant Visualizations
The most famous clairvoyant visualizer of all time is probably Edgar Cayce (1877-1945). Cayce would go into a light trance and clairvoyantly diagnose illnesses of people he did not know or had not even met. Thousands of people were helped by the man ...
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Review of the Tarot of the Secret Forest
Summary: Enter a dark and mysterious world filled with hidden wonders. This double-sided deck promises a unique experience for those willing to let go of preconceived expectations. The rich, full color images on one side show one side of the Secret ...
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Techniques for Astral Projection
There are two techniques which are frequently called Astral Projection. The first one is frequently mistaken for Astral Projection but is nothing of the kind. It is actually Mental Projection. In Mental Projection you send your mind and senses away ...
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Sitting here in the dark, watching the moon shine over the autumn landscape (my favorite time of year) I find myself reflecting on the question that is most frequently asked of me: "How do I know if my house is haunted?" The question seems so simple, so endearing and direct, but it is as complex as the human mind or the spiritual realm and it... read this article
Chakras Around the World: Are There Really Seven Chakras?
How to Successfully Navigate a Mercury Retrograde
Psychic Vision: 3 Easy Ways
An Accessible Guide to the Thoth Tarot
How Strengthening My Spirituality Helped Me With My Cancer Diagnosis

Most recent posts:
How Many Chakras Do You Have?
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Cyndi Dale, author of a number of books, including The Complete Book of Chakra Healing and the new...

The Paranormal Epiphany
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Sarah Soderlund, author of the new Haunted by the Abyss. I have the honor of talking, lecturing, and...

A Fresh View of Judgement
In my opinion, the Judgement card needs a rename as much as the Hierophant. It is such an important card and so many people seem to misunderstand it....

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