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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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Traditionally, when performing magic, a practitioner has an altar of some sort on which to work. The altar, of course, can be anything from an elaborately carved table to a dresser top or even just a cleared section of kitchen counter; any available space can be utilized as long as it is large enough to hold the necessary tools and spell items. An... read this article
Fall in Love with Yourself This Valentine’s Day: Uncovering Your Amazing Gifts through the Five Elements
Surviving Venus and Mars Retrogrades
How to Use Affirmations That Work
The Moon as Calendar and Timepiece
Nature Spirituality From the Ground Up: Exploring the Totemic Ecosystem

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Tarot Journaling and the Star
At the beginning of a new year, people often make a resolution to keep a journal. Keeping a journal has many benefits and can be done any number of...

5 Secrets of Self-Healing
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Amy B. Scher, author of the new How to Heal Yourself When No One Else Can. Do you know self-healing...

The Importance of Giving Back to the Totems (And Other Spirits, Too!)
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Lupa, author of New Paths to Animal Totems, Plant and Fungus Totems, and the new Nature Spirituality...




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