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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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Of the many esoteric subjects studied by ceremonial magicians, alchemy is often considered one of the hardest and most arcane, while the tarot is thought to be one of the most accessible and "hands-on." Historically the language of alchemy, with its inscrutable riddles and metaphor, has baffled many students, while the images of the tarot are more... read this article
Things That Scare Us...And How to Get Over Them
Llewellyn's Classic Tarot
The Union Screaming House: The Haunting Continues...Long After the Doors Are Shut
365 Ways to Attract Good Luck
The Oracle of the Angels

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