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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.


Throughout history, several people have contributed to the collective knowledge of the Western Esoteric Tradition or Western Hermetic Tradition, a tradition in which the Golden Dawn plays an important role. Such individuals as Pythagoras, ...
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Reincarnation (rebirth) is caused by a desire for life. It is the creative urge for self-expression that maintains the cycle of reincarnation for us on the Cosmic Planes of Manifestation. Above the highest Aethyr, LIL, there is no time or space as ...
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The Well Worn Path Review
Summary: A deck that is specifically directed toward Pagans, Witches and Wiccans. Not a Tarot, the forty cards represent foundational Pagan concepts. While not for Rider-Waite-Smith purists, this deck is well-suited to the many tens of thousands of ...
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Concise Dream Symbol Dictionary
This concise dictionary was developed by Dr. Joe H. Slate and is excerpted from Chapter Seven of The Llewellyn Complete Book of Psychic Empowerment. The interpretative significance of a dream symbol depends on a number of factors; among them, the ...
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Precession of the Equinoxes
A slow shift in the positions of the Earth’s axis relative to the sun and the fixed stars, precession is the source of a great deal of myth, speculation, and esoteric theory. The Earth’s axis is tilted at an angle of just over twenty-three degrees ...
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The Work of the Medsen Fey - the Leaf Doctors of Haiti
Loulou Prince is the medsen fey (leaf doctor/herbalist and shaman) for a Haitian community of around 1,500 people who live in the vicinity of Jacmel, a small town close to the border with the Dominican Republic. In his daily practice, he deals with ...
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Review of the Dark Grimoire Tarot
Summary: As dark and mysterious as the mythic world created by H. P. Lovecraft, The Dark Grimoire Tarot is strongly recommended for those mature enough and brave enough to examine their darker sides, and by coming to know and control those aspects ...
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Muladhara - The Root Chakra
Element: Earth Color: Red Verb: I have Attributes: Survival, grounding, solidity, the body The first chakra is found at the base of the spine, the point you are sitting on right now. Its name, Muladhara, means "root," and the paths of energy in ...
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How To Perform Hypnosis
First you must either have the hypnosis routines memorized or have them typed and handy so you can easily read them. Next come a myriad of things to consider: tone of voice; pace of speech; where to position yourself and your subject; lighting ...
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Review of the Tarot of the Sweet Twilight
Summary: The Tarot of the Sweet Twilight is a unique and beautiful place where kindnesses are more poignant and pains evoke tenderness. Opposites blend and dance highlighting the beauty in the darker aspects of life and showcasing joy tinged with ...
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Shamanic Healing
Shamanic healings have long been shrouded in mystery, misunderstanding, and superstition. Still, as we learn to better understand the shamanic philosophy of life, we can begin to have clarity about this special form of healing. Basically, the shaman ...
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Sitting here in the dark, watching the moon shine over the autumn landscape (my favorite time of year) I find myself reflecting on the question that is most frequently asked of me: "How do I know if my house is haunted?" The question seems so simple, so endearing and direct, but it is as complex as the human mind or the spiritual realm and it... read this article
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