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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.


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 Klimtís 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 Ė 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 Fortuneís Wheel Tarot is an elegant marriage of historical research and practicality. It celebrates the Tarotís 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 winterís 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 doesnít 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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While most people are probably familiar with legendary creatures such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Chupacabra, and Jersey Devil, there is a myriad of weird beasts that are less known, but equally as elusive. What is surprising is that there are accounts of modern encounters with these enigmatic monsters on record, indicating that there... read this article
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