Blog changes

In an effort to get this blog back on track I have simplified it, deleted some of the attached one-topic blogs
and focused on Sabbats and Esbats, which was the original intent.
Other writings will be in 'stumbling upon the path of the goddess'
and the Borrowed Book of Charms is still active.
Links in the right hand column.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricane Gustav

Light a candle and ask the Goddess to be merciful to all of her creatures caught in the path of hurricane Gustav.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

New Moon

What exactly is the new moon? For a clear and simple explanation, we go to and there we find.....

A common misconception about the moon is that a new moon occurs when the Earth blocks light from the sun, casting the moon into shadow. In fact, during a new moon the moon is between the sun and the Earth. Imagine that you're in a room that has only one light source shining into it from one side. Someone walks between you and the light source. You wouldn't be able to make out any details, but you could see the person in silhouette. That's exactly what a new moon is.

The New Moon or Dark Moon is the end and the beginning of the lunar cycle.

Rituals about forgiveness are performed during the New Moon. It is also a good time for scrying, especially if you are looking for long held secrets or you need new information about something in order to move forward in your life.

New Moon water to be used later for banishing spells can be made now. Put water into a glass jar, add a piece of black onyx, put the cap on and put the water outside during the New Moon. This is actually best done for three days, starting two days before the New Moon, so I'm afraid that I did not give you any advance notice about that one. Try it next month.

But here is a tip on time. Prosperity spells are best started the day after the New Moon. If you need to do one of these, plan for it today and do it tomorrow.

I don't have any special rituals that I perform during the New Moon, but since I was a small child I liked to go outside on a clear night and watch for the hazy glow around the edge of the Dark Moon. It is quite lovely.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

...fluffy bunny...a mini rant

No, not you, Bunny.

There seems to be a lot of talk on the internet and the podcasts about Fluffy Bunnies, most of it pretty derogatory. So I went looking to see if I could find a consensus of exactly what a Fluffy Bunny is. I found everything from 'someone who puts on the facade of Pagan because it is a cool thing to do' to a couple of detailed lists of characteristics that would include just about anyone, including Starhawk. According to some of our less forgiving brethren, the one thing required to be a 'real' Pagan is to have your sense of humor surgically removed.

I do get it. There is some very legitimate frustration with some real whack jobs putting themselves out there and in the face of anyone who unwittingly happens by and preaching Paganism. People who don't have a clue. People who talk about White Magic. People who rant about the Wiccans burned at the stake in Salem. (That sentence has so many things wrong with it, it should self-ignite.)
People who talk about following the light. (please do!)

But I honestly have to observe that this is not limited to Paganism. It's just more embarrassing when it's your turn.
Do you think that the average Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist, Evangelical Christian etc., etc. is proud to be associated with the unwashed, gospel carrying preacher on a literal soapbox in the middle of traffic? ...until the cops come and remove him.
How about the "good Christian" in the next cubicle who wears Jesus on her clothing, jewelry, hair, sleeve and computer and will hand you a Bible if you so much as slow down when you are talking work. If you were Christian, would you want to be identified with her?
And let's not even start with Islam and stereotypes.

When I meet some 14 year old Goth, dressed head to toe in black, complete with BIG inverted pentacle, who announces to everyone within hearing that she is Wiccan and worships the devil....I kind of want to slap her. Until I remember that she is just trying to get a reaction out of adults, probably her parents. I have to feel sorry for someone who has to go that far to get the attention of her parents.....all I had to do was be 10 minutes late.

She doesn't have anything to do with Paganism and nearly anyone who meets her knows that. The ones that will take that kind of kid and twist them to prove that Evil Exists In The World, are kind of twisted themselves and don't deserve any attention from rational adults.

And as for the sweetness and light version of Fluffy Bunnies, they don't have anything to do with Paganism or Wicca as I know it either, but what harm are they doing?
My Pagan beliefs have brought me great joy and if you ask I will tell you that. I think I am a happier person and it shows. I am also very aware of the responsibilities and the darker side of calling on Deities and Elements and inviting them into a sphere of sacred space.

Maybe the Fluffy Bunnies aren't ready for that knowledge. MAYBE no one has ever offered them that knowledge. Maybe they just picked up the wrong book when they went looking and found out they could be a priestess in 10 Easy Steps and didn't really want to know any more because they weren't really looking for a spiritual path, they were looking for something to make them feel good for a little while. (Or a reason to wear a really cool black outfit.)

A few of the truths of Paganism that attracted me are.....
*The Path is mine, to discover, to choose, to follow. No one to lead me unless I ask, no one proselytizing (please!!!), the responsibility is ultimately mine.
*Non-judgemental. I know what I believe, you don't have to and while I may not get, on any level, what you believe's your path, not mine.
*The Deities reveal themselves to different people, in different ways, at different times and different speeds. Who are YOU to judge how the Deities choose to behave? Maybe that Fluffy Bunny needs a very long taxi strip to get ready for real flight.

So the next time you meet a Fluffy Bunny think about trying to
*ignore them
*engage them in conversation and find out if they are sincere and ignorant or just airheads
*if they are sincere, point them at some good books, a legitimate meeting place etc.

I think it is unbecoming of Pagans in general to treat Fluffy Bunnies like this...

Monday, August 25, 2008

book review...Cottage Witchery

Cottage Witchery

by Ellen Dugan

Published by Llewellyn Press second edition 2005

I love this book. Does that make me a fluffy bunny? Well, then so be it. I wanted to do a book review and recommendation on a light, fun book that was worth reading and here it is.

I am a middle age professional woman. I have been walking the path of the Goddess for years, but I don't live in a fantasy world, I don't live in robes surrounded by incense and candles (I might if I could!). My normal days are not about Drawing Down the Moon, mine are about rush hour traffic and doing a good job for my clients and taking care of myself and the dogs, getting the car in for an oil change.... In other words I am just an ordinary American with a busy life.

I don't want to relegate my connection to the Goddess and God and the Elements to the special times when I have time and energy to create sacred space and center myself and commune with them. I would like to do more of that than I actually do, but a close second is making sure than my environment and my day includes constant reminders of the Deities and little moments to say 'thank you' or 'help me.'

That's what I like about this book. Suggestions for tiny altars in honor of the Goddess or one of the Elements tucked into bookshelves, kitchen shelves, living room decorations. Tiny reminders, tea light to burn and say a quick thank you, instead of big in-your-face altars that are really better suited to a more private place in your home.....unless all of your friends are Pagan or you just like justifying yourself to everyone who walks in the door.

Lots of little protection charms, lots of suggestions for cleansing a new home, new (used) furniture or other household goods. Garage sales are fun and you can find some treasures, but what do you do when you get your latest find home and start wondering what kind of energy you are dragging into your home? How about this charm?

Take a moment to picture the Elements present around you. Hold the item in your hands..."Forgotten and dusty/rusty, I now make you brand new. Transform from mundane to magick my need is true. By the powers of earth, air, fire and water, I will conjure up love, good luck health and laughter. By the powers of earth and sea, as I will it, so must it be."

And enjoy your new found treasure in peace.

There is a delightful chapter on getting along with any fairies that are inhabiting your garden, hearth or house This one can save you a lot of aggravation.

There is advice on bringing the natural world indoors with seasonal plants and decorations. A permanent natural presence is beautiful if you can master the art of having happy houseplants, here are some hints and help.
And for those of us who work at home...

"Elements four, gather 'round this work space of mine, Inspiration and comfort you bring at all times. Bring passion and commitment to the work that I do, Circle about me now with magick so strong and true. By the strength of hearth and home, the spell is spun, As I will, so mote it be and let it harm none"

I swear my desk sighed.

Is this book Paganism 101? no

Is it graduate studies in theology for Pagans? no

Is it a delightful reminder that our Paganism does not start and stop with the Circle or the Coven and we should strive to bring the Goddess into our life everyday? A resounding yes, and fun read.

Next time...Does this make me a fluffy bunny?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

quarter mark

Tonight is the waning half moon, one of two quarter marks in the lunar cycle.

If you mark this phase in the moon cycles, tonight is the night.

From now until the new or dark moon, the power of the moon to help you banish unwanted baggage from your life is strong.

The new moon arrives on August 30.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Waning Gibbous Moon... the current phase of the moon.

The complete cycle of the moon is new to full to new. It takes approximately 29 days to complete a cycle. The quarter markers are the half moons, one waning or decreasing and one waxing or increasing. I think the waning or waxing moons are most dramatic when they are crescents at about 25% of full. Tomorrow the moon will be approximately 75% visible.

The waning moon, as the appearance of the moon shrinks, is traditionally the time to concentrate on what you want to lose, get rid of, banish from your life.
Early morning before the moon sets is a good time for spellwork.

If you are a gardener, the waning moons in the fall are a good time for pruning and cleaning up in preparation for winter.
Use the energy of the waning moon and get rid of that clutter that you are tired of looking at. It will leave more easily right now.

This should be an energizing time, getting rid of the unwanted will leave you open to new things to come into your life during the waxing phase.

The very little crystal magick that I do, I do during the waning moon. Many crystals repel, protect or guard. It seems natural to make use of them to send unwanted feelings, clutter or pounds away.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

book review coming up....

I have decided to do some book reviews. I have to do research to expand my knowledge in order to write this blog. I had planned to go back thru my favorite books and I have a list that I haven't read but planned to as this goes along. I might as well offer a review as I do this. This will be off and on as the blog continues.
Anyone who has a favorite - or least favorite - book that they would like to see a review on, please email me at
Obviously this limited to books that are neo-Pagan in nature.
If you want to include your own review I can use it, or at least part of it, along with my own. Please make it clear in your email if you want your comments included in the blog or not.
I think I am going to start with a fun book rather than a heavy serious one.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Esbats and meanderings....

Sabbats, already briefly discussed, are based on the sun/earth cycles and are used as days of celebration. Esbats are based on the moon/earth cycles and are used as days of power. Followers of the Goddess use her symbol, the moon, to draw and focus and use power. Not only the full moon, but the new moon, quarters and half moon are all used to draw power and work magick. The full moon is for many the most powerful day for magick.

I would imagine that for some one who is very adept at magick there is a difference between the working on the full moon and working the day before or day after, but I am not that good at it and find that there are several days around the full moon that work just as well for me. Because of this I have developed a personal ritual for the full moon that I am going to share with you.

I think that many of us, perhaps most of all those of us raised in a Christian faith, get into kind of a bubblegum machine mentality when it comes to our religion. We go along calling ourselves xxxxx, something big happens in our lives and we need help, we drag out the prayers or the spells, we make all sorts of promises to the divine and ka-ching....we get an answer to our spell/prayer and life goes back to normal.

I think this is why as a kid I really got into the Catholic High Mass on Christmas and Easter. We weren't asking for anything. We were just celebrating. A lot of people thought those High Masses were boring, which is why the Church did away with them. I thought they were great, sort of befitting a God. But they only came around a couple of times of year....the rest of the time I played with the gumball machine. Everyone that I knew did.

Paganism was a big eye opener for me in the fact of having an everyday appreciation and relationship with the Deities. A day to day connection and sense of being able to call on the divine. I know that there are people in the mainstream religions who have this, but I sure wasn't one of them. I was just playing the gumball machine except for maybe two days a year.

You think I have totally lost track of the reason for this post, don't you?
Hang on, I'm going to tie this all together.

I am so grateful for the daily presence of the Goddess in my life that I try to do a small ritual during the full moon that is not intended for power raising or magick. And as I already said, I am not so good at raising energy that one day one way or another makes any difference in my magick. I can raise all the power I can handle on another day.

On the night of the full moon, I try to get outside during the full moon, even if only for a few minutes, even if it is cloudy.
I take a few minutes to calm my mind and draw a little energy.
I do not cast a circle, but I do call the Elements and ask them to be witness.
I ask the Goddess and the God to hear me.
I thank the Goddess for her presence in my life.
I offer whatever I am feeling in my heart about being guided to her path.
Then I tell the Elements to leave (I may ask them to come but I tell them to leave. I don't want them hanging around with nothing to do.)
I thank the Goddess and the God for hearing me and ask them to leave in peace.

That's it. No big ritual, no magick. If I am inside I use some candles but just because I like candles. I'm sure some will think that this a waste of an opportunity to use the available power, but there are 13 full moons in a year, if I need to use one for power there are lots to choose from.
Maybe this is my payback for all those years of gumball religion. I don't know, but it feels good.

The next full moon is tomorrow, Saturday August 16.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Christian AND Wiccan? I don't think so.

I know, this was supposed to be about Esbats, time for that later. Now it is time for a short rant.

I have been cruising around on the internet and finding blogs and podcasts and articles by people who claim that they are both Christian and Wiccan. I was puzzled, then I was annoyed, then I decided to post an opinion about this.

My opinion is....these people don't get it.

I wrote this several times and each time it devolved into a rant with lots of side trips on various topics. Not what I want to do. Then I came up with this way to explain how this idea just doesn't work.

You are standing on the curb in need of a ride (a spiritual path). Two vehicles pull up and offer you a ride.

The first is a bus. The bus driver is The Goddess. The bus is full of Deities and Spirits and Elements. They all have wisdom to share and help to offer. You have to make the first move, be respectful and make a connection. Then they will help you. You can speak to anyone on the bus that you want to, no one will be offended about who you choose to talk to. All the doors and windows are open, others outside the bus join in the discussions.

The second vehicle is a car. The driver is the Christian God. He also has wisdom and help to offer, but there is one restriction. If you are going to have a relationship with him, you cannot have a relationship with any of those guys on the bus. It doesn't matter why, it's just the way it is.

You cannot ride in both vehicles. You have to choose. You can stop the vehicle and change rides if you want, but you cannot ride both at once. You cannot follow the rules of one while you ride in the other.


If you are Christian and are attracted to witchcraft or mysticism, it may be possible to incorporate them into your Christian beliefs.
Wicca does not equal witchcraft. Witchcraft is part of Wiccan spiritual practices, but witchcraft exists outside of religion.

But Wicca is a religion that at it's core is the opposite of Christianity. Wicca is pantheistic, Christianity is monotheistic. Christianity is based on a concept of heaven and hell, good and evil, God and the devil.
Wiccans don't even believe that the devil or hell exist.

How can you possibly be honest in your beliefs and say that you believe in both?
I know it is hard for some people, but you cannot walk these two spiritual paths at the same time. If you are having trouble with your spiritual path, perhaps you need to take a good look at it and at others and find the one that speaks to you, rather than trying to mix things that just don't mix.

Next time...back to Esbats

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Holidays, Holydays and Sabbats

Here is a brief comparison of the major celebrations of Wiccans and Christians……not all celebrations apply to all sects, this is just a general overview for comparison.

I will take the prerogative to start at the beginning of the Wiccan calendar and list the eight Sabbats.

Samhain, the Last Harvest, falls at the end of October. The secular holiday is now called Halloween, taken from the Christian name All Hallows Eve. It is the day before the Catholic holyday of All Saints Day, which honors the dead martyrs and other saints of note. It is interesting that in some pagan paths the dead are also honored on this day. In the earth based religions, the end of the harvest is celebrated.

Yule, the Winter Solstice. The Christian holyday is Christmas. The secular holiday goes by the same name. This was an incredibly important day back when the majority of people were hunters, gatherers or farmers. The days had been getting shorter since the summer equinox, the darkest day of the year meant that the days would soon be longer (and warmer) and was a cause for celebration and hope. It is no wonder that important days of religious celebration became attached to this day.

Imbolc, around the first of February is also known as Candlemas, Brigid’s Day and St. Bridget’s Day.

Ostara, the Spring Equinox. The Christian celebration is Easter. Spring is in full swing, daylight equals dark, it is a time for the celebration of the rebirth of the earth.

Beltane, May Day and the Pentecost are minor celebrations that occur approximately 40 days following Ostara or Easter.

LItha or Midsummer, the Summer Solstice. There is no corresponding date of equal importance on the Christian calendar. Perhaps early Christians were busy just trying to stay out of the Coliseum during the hot summer.

Lughnasadh, the Early Harvest, around the 1st of August and Mabon, the Autumn Equinox. We are in this period now. There are no major Christian celebrations that correspond to these days. There are several secular holidays that cover the period from early summer thru late fall, including Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day and Thanksgiving, which is a late harvest celebration.

I was naively planning to include major Jewish celebrations in this comparison, but I found this on the website Judaism 101
and opted out…
"The Jewish calendar is based on three astronomical phenomena: the rotation of the Earth about its axis (a day); the revolution of the moon about the Earth (a month); and the revolution of the Earth about the sun (a year). These three phenomena are independent of each other, so there is no direct correlation between them. On average, the moon revolves around the Earth in about 29½ days. The Earth revolves around the sun in about 365¼ days, that is, about 12.4 lunar months.
The Gregorian calendar used by most of the world has abandoned any correlation between the moon cycles and the month, arbitrarily setting the length of months to 28, 30 or 31 days.
The Jewish calendar, however, coordinates all three of these astronomical phenomena. Months are either 29 or 30 days, corresponding to the 29½-day lunar cycle. Years are either 12 or 13 months, corresponding to the 12.4 month solar cycle."

I wanted this blog to be educational for me….I had no idea. I have calendars that list the major holidays for major religions, but they do not explain how those dates are arrived at. After looking over this site I decided that a simple list of dates would be a pitiful attempt to fit things into my calendar.

The Wiccan system of Sabbats (the sun cycles) and Esbats (more on esbats later, they are based on the moon cycles) seems almost childishly simple by comparison with this. So I will leave it with the comment that obviously the changing season of the earth played a major role in the traditional celebrations of Jewish life.

I did not get very far sorting out the Islamic calendar either, which is also a lunar calendar. I think that further study of these two calendars with a comparison to Neo-Pagan calendars will have to wait for another day, but I will definitely get to that. For now I will settle for this quick overview of Neo-Pagan and Christian celebrations.

This connection with the natural cycles of the earth was, at one time, important to all people. As the world becomes more urban, more people forget our connection with the natural world.

Wicca and some other neo-Pagan religions are about renewing that connection.

Next time....a quick talk about Esbats

Friday, August 8, 2008

August full moon, The Corn Moon

August is the start of the harvest season. It will continue until the coming of winter. The completion of the harvest is celebrated on Samhain, also known as Halloween.
As the year winds down and the harvest begins, you don’t have to live in a forest during the Bronze Age to notice and enjoy the changing of the seasons. Everything around you is intensely alive. The trees are dark green, flowers are blooming, even the weeds are growing. Sit quietly for a moment in your backyard, on your patio, in a park or if you are lucky, in a quiet natural setting. The birds are extra busy, as are squirrels and other small animals that aren’t afraid of being seen by you. Winter is coming and everything needs to get done NOW. Animals are storing food. Plants are in a near riot of blooming and getting ready to go to seed.

Do you feel that the idea of being involved in the harvest season does not include you because you live in the city? Go and visit your local farmer’s market. Those apples, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and lettuce are fresh, newly ripe, grown somewhere near you, and taste better than anything you can find in a grocery store. Why? Because they were allowed to ripen naturally, harvested when they were ready and sold quickly to be used. They were not trucked halfway around the world, turning the colors of ripe fruit as they travelled.

Go outside early in the morning and smell the change in the air. Take note that the sun is beginning to go down a little earlier than the last time you noticed. Buy an apple at the farmers market and bite into the juicy ripe tartness. Welcome, you just took part in one of the changing cycles of the earth. It doesn't have to be complicated. Enjoy it.

Ideas for rituals...
If you are planning to honor or petition the Goddess during this full moon, yellow candles are appropriate, as are rosemary and basil. If you have a petition to make and plan to call on the Elements, Fire is especially powerful at this time and red or orange candles are looked on with favor. If you use crystals in your rituals, try tiger’s eye, garnet or red agate.

Plan ahead. The full Corn Moon is on the 16th.

Next time…holidays, holydays and sabbats, part 1
The great photo of a corn moon was borrowed from flickr, no credits were listed.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Magic or Magick? Which is Witch?

Let’s get this over with, otherwise it will just get confusing for some folks later on.

First, what is NOT a witch…

David Copperfield is not a witch, he is a magician. His art is illusion and he is a Master of Illusion and good entertainment. No magic here.

The cast of Harry Potter are not witches and do not do magic. It is fantasy. It is great fantasy with fabulous special effects. Not a documentary, not witches, not magic.
Same for Charmed, Mists of Avalon, Lord of the Rings and assorted other fantasies about magic.

The people you see around who spend way too many hours dressed up like Harry Potter, or a character from Lord of the Rings are not witches and do not do magic. They are people who got into a fantasy, decided it was more fun than their real life and may have read a book or a blog somewhere and know a few phrases that they can use to tell people how magical they are. Not.

So what is magic/magick, in the context of Wicca?
Magick (Many writers including myself use the affectation of ‘magick’ to keep separate from ‘magic’ or pulling rabbits out of hats.) is the harnessing of energy to make changes. Everything is energy. We are all made up of these little fast moving bits of energy. It composes us, surrounds us, affects us.
With concentration, visualization and the help of ritual and the deities, it is sometimes possible to briefly control a bit of energy to make changes in our lives. It is possible to work magick outside of religion, but since Wicca is a religion and magick is used within the bounds of that religion to make positive change and that is what this blog is about….we will not get into other forms of magick.

There are some guidelines followed by most Wiccans such as, power comes thru the Goddess, God and Elements and as such, must be treated with respect. Rituals, tools and spells are just tools to help focus and concentration. Some Wiccans do not use tools. Tools and rituals do not create power or energy, they just help us with our (often wandering) focus.
Positive change in your own life should be the express purpose. Messing around in someone else’s life is not a good idea, even if you think you are doing good. Not your call to make. Loves spells, nasty little spells to get even with someone will come back to revisit you in the most unpleasant way. Concentrate on your own life and purpose.
That's a very brief explanation, hope it covered the basics.

Coming up next…the Corn Moon on the 16th of this month.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A little bit about me and this blog...

Like many Wiccans I was raised Catholic and was very devout as a child. As I got older I realized that I was drawn to the rituals but not to the substance of Catholicism. I think many my age can relate to the awesome rituals of Latin Mass, Gregorian Chants, candles and incense and question and response.
Some of that may account for the initial fascination with Wicca, which also embraces ritual.

But on a deeper and more important level, earth based religion has always drawn me.
The concept that the divine is everywhere, eternal and nurturing, resonates with me.

The angry, punitive god of so many faiths lost his ability to intimidate me at a very early age. I rejected even the idea of the existence of that god.

The path of the Goddess and the God, a path of peace and connection with the earth and acknowledging the value of all living things and living in awareness of natural cycles strikes me as a good thing on a very intuitive level.
And the lack of a central organization, no clergy to tell me what to do and when and how....that puts the responsibility for searching, learning and connecting with the divine right on my own shoulders.

On the other hand, because I believe that the divine is everywhere and reveals itself to us in many ways, I believe that there are many spiritual paths and it is important to walk the one you choose in honesty, trying to better yourself and not dominate others.

OK, so that is my philosophical point of view. Now to the reason for this blog.

Ever since I began seriously studying Wicca I have been fascinated by all of the natural cycles of the earth and how they relate to Wicca. But I keep getting side tracked and NOT keeping up with all the changes. A wonderful ritual planned for the full moon goes undone because the full moon just zipped right by. A spell for focusing energy on losing weight, which need to be done during the waning moon as that is the time of the month to get rid of things.....I keep remembering it during the waxing moon.

So, in my research for this blog, I hope to make myself more aware of what is coming up next, in time to celebrate it....rather than watching what just went zooming by without even a nod.

Wheel of the Year or not....we all live in a busy, fast paced, hectic society. I am going to try to slow my mind down enough to acknowledge and enjoy the passing of the seasons of this year.

Today we are nearing the first quarter of a waxing moon. The next full moon and a lunar eclipse is on Saturday August 16. The waxing moon is the time to focus on what you want to add to your life. Now is the time to petition the Goddess for good health or ask the Elements to help you be strong in your focus on getting that new job. It is the active cycle of the moon.

Coming up next...magic or magick?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Welcome to my exploration of the Wheel of the Year. I plan to follow the changing seasons for a year, tracking the phases of the moon and explore the celebrations and rituals that accompany these changes. I may wander off this path every once in a while as interesting topics come along.
Please feel free to share how you mark the days of the year. If you have a ritual or celebration that you would like to share, send it to me at and I may be able to post it here.

August 1 was Lughnasadh, the early harvest. The new moon arrived the same day. The next full moon is August 16, it is the corn moon.


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