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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

Spiritual Nature of Numbers
Beyond the visible divinatory interpretations of numerology, pioneer Madame Blavatsky, in her Secret Doctrine, gives the mystery-language symbols for the first nine numbers. 1. A living, standing being, divine, celestial 2. Imperfect state, ...
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Nemeton: Sacred Space
A clearing marked off for ritual was called a nemeton in Gaulish. It’s shape was usually either square or rectangular, but sometimes round. The square or rectangle represented the heavens. Round nemetons represented the earth and the manifested ...
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What is Divination?
Prophesy and information by "occult" methodologies.  By reading naturally produced signs ranging from the shape of clouds to the positions of planets (astrology). By reading artificially produced signs ranging from tea leaves to the throwing ...
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Who Were the Druids?
To mention the word Druid is to evoke images of ancient wizards and wonder-workers from old Irish sagas, Welsh legends, Caesar’s Gallic Wars and Scottish folktales. If you have read about the Druids, you’ve probably retained one of their many images ...
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Gerald Brousseau Gardner
English civil servant, author, occultist, and Witch, 1884-1964. Easily the most important figure in the creation of modern Wicca, Gerald Gardner spent most of his life as an English colonial bureaucrat. Born to a wealthy family in England, near ...
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Precognitive Visualizing
Sometimes there is an element of precognition (the ability to foresee the future) in visualization. The image the visualizer conjures up may not be from his imagination, as he thinks; it may be a glimpse of an actual physical environment or ...
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Unconscious in the Astral
We have been speaking of the projection of consciousness, but strange as it seems, it is also possible to project unconsciously—to leave one’s body and not even know that one has done so! Take, for example, the peculiar experience of a New York ...
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The Tarot of Princesses Review
Summary If you have a penchant for Princesses, both real and literary, you’ll quickly bond with this unusual and lovely deck. Princesses, being, after all, human women, allow us to connect on a personal level with the power captured in each ...
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Images of ESP
In recent years parapsychologists have conducted extensive research into what Charles Honorton, a pioneering investigator in this area, calls "internal attention states." Honorton and others have shown that ESP can be significantly enhanced if the ...
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Universal Goddess Tarot Review
Summary: Discover your own wisdom and beauty in this intriguing and layered tribute to goddesses from around the world and throughout time. Maria Caratti journeyed through the Tarot and visited with goddesses to create a deck that reveals both with ...
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What Is Rune Meditation?
Before the runes can be effective for works of magic or divination, they must be understood on the intuitive level and made to come alive in the unconscious. This will occur over time simply by using them, but the process can be encouraged through ...
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My new book, Haunted Plantations of The South, has just hit the bookshelves. In the book, I share brief histories and ghost stories of nearly one hundred separate plantations throughout eight southern states. Some of the plantations are successful bed and breakfasts, while others have unfortunately been all but forgotten. However, with each story... read this article
Traditional Lughnasadh with a Modern Twist
5 Gemstones to Help You Balance the Masculine Within
The Moon in Midlife
5 Ways Dreams Can Help at the End of Life (And How You Can Help Your Dreams Now)
The Natural Psychic... It's Time

Most recent posts:
Respect Is a Necessity When Hunting Ghosts
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Richard Southall, author of How to Be a Ghost Hunter, Haunted Route 66, and the new Haunted Plantations...

Llewellyn Titles Win 2015 COVR Awards
The annual COVR (Coalition of Visionary Retailers) awards were announced this weekend at INATS in Denver. Two Llewellyn titles won 2015 COVR...

Your Tarot Ethics
My friend Michael thought having me write about tarot ethics would be interesting. I think I might disappoint him because I don’t have a set of tarot...




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Llewellyn's 2016 Magical Almanac Llewellyn's 2016 Magical Almanac
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