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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.


Visualization Power
Visualization is an extraordinarily powerful instrument. In focusing our psychological and psychic powers and drawing on the untapped potential of the unconscious, we are dealing with forces that in some ways seem almost magical. One writer on ...
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In Scottish folklore and modern Pagan practice, a group of Witches. The traditional number of members in a coven is thirteen, and Margaret Murray, whose writings on medieval Witchcraft were a major source for modern Wicca, insisted that this was an ...
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Astrological Aspects
There is an angle between every two planets in the horoscope which is measured in degrees. When the angle produces a significant interaction between two or more planets, they are said to be "in aspect."† The angles which give rise to the "major ...
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Review of the Samurai Tarot
Summary: A deck that delicately imitates the soft pastels of colored Ukiyo-e art in an attempt to shoehorn a brief look at Samurai concepts into the Western Tarot paradigm. The art must be appreciated as should be the dedication of the designer. ...
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Review of The Labyrinth Tarot Deck
Summary The Labyrinth Tarot takes the reader on a journey, as all labyrinths do. The theme is subtle, woven symbolically throughout the deck by way of evocative imagery, astrological symbols, Hebrew letters, and other symbols. While the feel is ...
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Enochian Deities and Hierarchies
Enochian Magick denies the existence of a personal, absolute Deity, or God. Instead, the Enochian view of God agrees with the Buddhist teaching of a plurality of deities, with none supreme. The word supreme implies an end beyond which we cannot go; ...
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Corto Maltese Tarot Review
Summary: The famous artwork of comic book luminary Hugo Pratt provides magnificent impressionistic watercolors. As an art deck it is a wonderful collection yielding feelings of travel, adventure, and romance in distant lands a century ago. The ...
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Visuddha - The Throat Chakra
Element: Sound Color: Bright Blue Verb: I speak Attributes: Sound, vibration, communication, creativity Chakra 5 is located in the region of the neck and shoulders and is the center of communication and creativity. Its color is a bright turquoise ...
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From Inner Space to Outer Space
In Brentís program, students gather in a relaxing atmosphere, either sitting in comfortable chairs or lying on the floor, while the lights are dimmed to ensure a minimum of distractions. Members of the group are encouraged to talk with one another ...
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Magical Oaths
The two oaths taken by the GBG members can be seen to be used to describe the importance of understanding the true nature of a magical oath—which is to establish a new relationship with your Higher Self that puts meaning into life. I swear ...
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The power to change things in conformity with will or desire. It is a function of focused consciousness accompanied by a force of Love intending change by reaching down into the Universal Field where everything exists as potential until affected by ...
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A few years ago, my youngest son was arguing with his friend about the age of Honey, our wild golden retriever. His friend insisted that Honey was five, because the dog had been alive that many years. Said Gabe, "Sometimes Honey is really one, like when he chews our shoes; sometimes he's 89, like when he pretends he's too old to listen when you... read this article
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