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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

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
"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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Sensitive people have gotten a bum rap. We live in a world that doesn't embrace the values of sensitivity, so we get told that we are weak, unusual, touchy, and hard to please. The sad truth is that we hear these messages in many ways throughout our lives. Even if it is from a well-meaning teacher or parent who tries to "toughen us up," the crux... read this article
Remaining Magickal in the Midst of Chaos
Sacred Space, Tarot, and Your Magical Practice
The Magical Use of Prayer Beads
The Future of Money Magic: What Do We Put Under the Candle When Our Currency Goes Digital?
Understanding the Moon Signs of Others

Most recent posts:
The Words on the Wheel of Fortune
One thing many students of tarot find fascinating is learning what some of the mysterious symbols on the cards mean. During the Renaissance, when...

Are You a Sensitive Empath?
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Dr. Kyra Mesich, author of the new Strength of Sensitivity. I've dedicated my holistic psychology...

The Cards as Living Entities
In just a few months (August, to be precise), Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Tarot by the knowledgeable experienced, and delightful writer Anthony...




The Madness of Mercury The Madness of Mercury
By: Connie di Marco
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN
Journey of Souls Journey of Souls
Case Studies of Life Between Lives

By: Michael Newton
Price: $17.99 US,  $20.95 CAN
Wicca Wicca
A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

By: Scott Cunningham
Price: $14.95 US,  $16.95 CAN
Easy Tarot Easy Tarot
Learn to Read the Cards Once and For All!

By: Josephine Ellershaw, Ciro Marchetti
Price: $19.95 US,  $21.95 CAN
The Linestrider Tarot The Linestrider Tarot
By: Siolo Thompson
Price: $28.99 US,  $33.50 CAN