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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

Divination
The word divination is based on a Latin word that means "the faculty of foreseeing." The word comes from the Latin word for "divine power," or "of the gods." This indicates that the true meaning of the word divination is "to make divine." Far from ...
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Extrasensory Perception
The knowledge of, awareness of, or response to, events, conditions, and situations, whether past, present, or future, independently of our known sensory mechanisms or processes. Among the common forms are telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and ...
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Review of the Golden Tarot of Klimt
Summary: More than an art deck recreating some of Gustav Klimt’s styles and techniques, the Golden Tarot of Klimt is executed with taste and the judicious and delicious use of gold stamping. It is close enough to the Rider-Waite-Smith for ease in ...
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Review of the Mayan Tarot
Summary: The Mayan Tarot is a doorway into another world, into a culture, into the past. Just like any lost civilization, this one gives teasing glimpses of what might have been and invites discovery. By losing oneself in the art, by letting ...
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Imagining Health
When the patient came to the University of Oregon Medical School, he was barely alive. The 61-year-old man was suffering from a particularly deadly form of throat cancer. His weight had dropped from 130 pounds to 98 pounds. He could barely swallow, ...
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Litha Ritual
Setup Items for the Litha Ritual include: Six candles for the altar; A basket of cut flowers; enough to lay out your circle (there can be space in between them); A basket of marigolds; Drums, rattles and other percussion instruments. If working solo ...
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Near Death Visions of Tomorrow
A strange new aspect of the NDE phenomenon has come to light through the investigation of University of Connecticut psychologist Kenneth Ring. He has found that during the out-of-body phase of the event people sometimes are given information ...
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Shamanic Healing Through Soul Retrieval
Soul retrieval – a contemporary therapeutic practice rooted in the ancient spiritual tradition of shamanism - is attracting significant attention in the modern world as the holistic healthcare movement continues to gather force. Shamans believe ...
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Review of Dame Fortune\'s Wheel Tarot
Summary: Dame Fortune’s Wheel Tarot is an elegant marriage of historical research and practicality. It celebrates the Tarot’s introduction as a divinatory tool, stripping it of modern esoteric burdens. The result is a deck that is eminently easy to ...
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Imbolg Ritual
Setup The items needed for this ritual include: Six green candles for the altar; Enough candles to place at the perimeter of your circle; A white altar cloth (white is the predominant color to symbolize winter’s hold, with the green candles ...
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The Sensual Wicca TarotReview
Summary: A brilliant attempt to present the Tarot, Wicca, and the Wiccan aspects of sexuality that doesn’t quite succeed due to limitations of format and skill. Still, at times this deck soars above the limitations and is filled with brilliance and ...
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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
The Memory Jar The Memory Jar
By: Elissa Janine Hoole
Price: $11.99 US,  $13.95 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