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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 10,356,269  

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Times Viewed: 32,767

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Question of the Week: 39 - 4/30/2001

Who Are Your Gods?

Who are your Gods/Old Ones/Ancestors? Did you choose Them or did They choose you? Do you believe/perceive Them as merely evolved Beings-or are They indeed the all-powerful Masters of the Universe? Do you believe/perceive that Gods/Goddesses/Ancestors/Old Ones are extensions of your higher self, separate and distinct Beings of personality or 'all Gods and Goddesses are One'? In your times of need, do you believe that They can overturn the Laws of Karma/The Fates/The Norns for you? Why do you suppose that some prayers/pleas/invocations are seemingly ignored while others may be answered? Do you feel that the Gods/Ancestors/Old Ones may sometimes 'use' you to accomplish some greater plan than you may be humanly aware of? How do you feel about that? What has been your most powerful, meaningful or life-altering encounter with Them?

 Reponses:   There are 55 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 


The Divine In My Life Just {is}! I Do Not Think Of... May 3rd. at 5:18:01 pm UTC

Samantha (Lawrenceville, Georgia US) Age: 29 - Email


The Divine in my life just {is}!
I do not think of merely male or female; my God-dess is both. The names and forms of Gods and Goddesses that I call into my life are "personality traits" of my one Supreme God-dess. I feel that even as complex as human communication is, Humanity cannot describe God-dess within the limitations of our language. We therefore assign human appearance and qualities to different aspects of God-dess so that we may worship/ honor within our own limitations.

My God-dess does show me a non-human form. There is a thin ribbon of possibility that balances between order and chaos. S/he runs through every particle in the universe. As the ribbon teeters, life and matter is created and destroyed. The energy which is the ribbon retains information of every creation. (Do you see how human language limits description?) As that ribbon teetered through the particles that became me, every creation before me became a part of me. My God-dess is always running through me; I have a symbiotic relationship with that ribbon. Everything I do, eat, breathe, create and destroy leaves its mark on that ribbon. When my body dies, the ribbon has teetered the other way (there is always a duality, isn't there?). The part of the ribbon that has been me will become something or someone else, complete with the information of every creation before it.

This is my most life altering encounter (thoughts that occur more often when eating a cheeseburger than when meditating!). It's made me think more often and in deeper ways about where I've been, where I am, and where I going.


I Have Been Given To Understand That I Have A Sort Of... May 3rd. at 5:20:04 pm UTC

Nelli (Carmel Valley, California US) Age: 24 - Email


I have been given to understand that I have a sort of unorthodox view of deity, for a witch. This is because I practice some zen buddhism, and am also a scientist; so my spiritual understandings/theories/beliefs are are heaviliy influenced by scientific and zen ways of thinking. that being said...
I define divinity as, well, everything. I believe that the universe is infinite (no beginning, no end, encompasses EVERYTHING that is, was and is yet to be), and that the fabric of this infinite existence - the energy, power, force, whatever - is divinity. And that fabric, of course, makes up everything in existence. I think that the concept of The Force as described in Star Wars is a helpfukl model for my idea of divinity.
As both a scientist and a witch, the law of return is key for me. As is discussed on TWV homepage this week, the universe balances itself. I believe that anything that seems like fate is simply the universe restoring balance.
I believe that prayer is directed energy, only different from a spell in that a Deity is used as a medium or intermediary through which that energy is channeled. Spells and prayers sometimes work and sometimes don't, because in the end, there's a lot more going on than just our need or desire - other forces from other individuals, from past present and future, all come into play. It is only when there are no significant overwhelming opposing forces that spells and prayers work - and I would submit that this is on a continuum, so that the probablility of a successful spell or prayer is inversely proportional to the amount of opposing force. And this is a huge conversation, so I think I'll stop - anyone who is curious about more detail is welcome to email me.
I believe that Gods/Goddesses are thoughtforms that are created, sustained and strengthened by their followers. I am ambivalent about whether these thoughtforms might take on an identity separate from their creators. I also see Gods/Goddesses as archetypes that can help my focus my energy, or give me comfort or something to contemplate.
My most powerful encounter with divinity was rather simple, in retrospect - I was at a local beach just after a huge winter storm. Most of the sand on the beach had been washed away, exposing these enormous sediment formations; and the waves were still very high and strong, and the sky was stormy. As I sat there, I suddenly realized both the vast size and the incredible age of our planet, which has seen waves crashing and storms raging for over 4 billion years, and will continue to witness these global events long after our species has passed from the earth. I was filled with an incredible sense of awe, reverence, and love for the universe, for all of existence, in all it's intricacy, vastness and chaos. I saw how small I am, and how small all human existence is, and yet I also saw that we are an inextricable part of this grand, ongoing, infinite symphony of existence. Each of us contain oceans, and storms, and planets, and galaxies, just as our earth and our galaxy contains us. I had discovered anew my sense of wonder.
And boy, can I babble on and on about it! :) sorry I ran on so long...
If anyone has any questions, polite comments, or any other polite communication, you are more than welcome to email me.
Blessings, and happy Beltaine!!


I Feel That Every Form Of Divinity On This Earth Is Right... May 4th. at 12:37:09 pm UTC

D.J. Bitter (Covington, Kentucky US) Age: 17


I feel that every form of Divinity on this earth is right, for the simple fact that the rituals and prayers and beliefs are the same. I am a (this is my own term) CathloPagBuddhist. I know I believe in Jesus because I love his light. I
love the Goddess Cerridwen because she was my mother. I also understan the Buddha's way of life. So I believe in every deity; Goddess, Jesus, Buddha, Allah and SHiva


I Worship The Goddess Ashera And The God Yahavah. They Are The... May 4th. at 1:36:07 pm UTC

Dovid (Amherst, Massachusetts US) Age: 29


I worship the Goddess Ashera and the God Yahavah. They are the ancient gods of the Hebrew people. I can safely say they called me. I "met" my God when I was young, He revealed himself in suttle ways and since the modern collective religion of the Hebrew people focuses basically entirely on Him I got to know Him pretty well. We have had a good relationship for many, many years. The Goddess however was a mystery to me. I knew only as Mother and Goddess until recently. I discovered Her name at a Beltain ritual and also saw a pendant. When I purchased the pendant our bond was almost instaneous. It is wonderful to have the connection with her and I am getting to fully know her. In the "traditional" observance, we focused on the female aspect of God on Friday nights, under the name Schinah. I now have the proper name to attach to that more abstract one. In the faith of the Hebrews, the masculine God surrounds the world, perhaps like the Father Sky; the feminine God(dess) dwells in the world, rather like Mother Earth or Mother Nature.
I do consider both to be united as one in a way not fully comprehendable by humans and I do consider them to be "higher beings" who were never human. I don't quite perceive them as All Powerful Rulers but rather as guides and co-creators with us. Traditional Judaism does teach that God works with humans to create our lives and the universe but that God does have a kind of veto power and can step in when things really get out of hand. Sometimes what we consider out of hand they may not. Also, our belief structure does seem to indicate that God (or the God and Goddess) learn. Indeed, we have a tradition that this is the second creation because God broke the first one by accident!
Concerning using me, I do beleive they do because I've asked them to. I don't think they would normally use someone without permission but that in extreme cases they do step in.
I can't say that I've had a life altering encounter other than to say that as I grow to know them more it has a profound impact on my life and I am really happy to have met both the God AND the Goddess of the Jewish/Hebrew people. I hope more of my people and the world at large also get to know them.
I should also say that I do believe the Gods and Goddesses to be one but they relate and exist in different ways concerning the names and our personal understandings behind them. I wouldn't say someone should consider that my understanding of the Divine Ones is exactly the same as thier understanding but I do think that as below so above, meaning I beleive all life is interconnected and it the deepest level we are all one.


My Gods... I Believe That There Are So Many Gods Out There... May 4th. at 2:33:55 pm UTC

Nick Taylor (Robins AFB, Georgia US) Age: 16 - Email


My Gods...
I believe that there are so many Gods out there, as many as there are stars in the heavens. But I also believe that the Gods who have ultimate power over you are the one to whom you devote yourself to. My Gods are that way. When they speak to me, it is only because they know that I long for their Graces and Time. The main Gods I worship are the Divine Creator, which is a sexless being who, like many pagans know, is the mix, and origin of the Goddess, and the God. I don't view the Goddess and the God as Seperate polarities, but as different types of wavelengths that resonate to gether in harmony, but yet at different, but fitting, frequencies. It is safe to say that the Goddess, and God are only names for additional sexless (Or androgynous) entities who represent the same things in the world that the Goddess and the God do.
To me, everything is a wave, and a consciousness, and the Divine Creator is the wave at which all things resonate. hat is why It is Harmony... Along with those of course are the Gods of Egypt, and Greece. They too, are waves, and consciences that resonate.


My Goddess Is Danu, A Celtic Goddess. She Is, And All Gods... May 4th. at 5:10:43 pm UTC

Silb (Harleysville, Pennsylvania US) Age: 15


My Goddess is Danu, A Celtic Goddess. She is, and all Gods/Goddess's, I think, just there, but as to all gods and goddess's being one- that is probably closer than anything else I've come up with. Different aspect of society could be expressed by facets of one person, which is why we only have one or two gods or goddeses with the same expertise. and to if they change things for my benifit- no, they could but most of the time it better (and easier) to do things the mundane way. my religion is rather passive as far as magickal workings go because it is less time consuming to do them normally.
I do believe there is something they want us to do, because why else would they give people gifts, or make peolple realize them if thier latent. Danu has given me a gift, the gift of sight empathy. I can sense what other people are feeling by the color of their bond to me, and because everyone is connected the bond is a colored band of light, to everything. The down-fall is that sometimes the bonds are so bright that my astral body misaligns its self, which is very distracting. It only takes a couple minutes to fix, but I can't meditate very well in school.


Who Are My Gods? My ŌgodsÕ Are Your ŌgodsÕ. My Goddess Is... May 4th. at 6:44:23 pm UTC

David Aquarius (Renton, Washington US) Age: 42 - Email


Who are my Gods? My ŌgodsÕ are your ŌgodsÕ. My Goddess is your Jesus, is your Buddha, is All. Does this make my version of the Divine Spirit any more or less important than yours? No, in fact, it makes the Divine that much more wonderful. I see my ŌgodÕ in the form of Gaia, the Earth Mother. That is my connection to the Divine, not yours, or your cousinÕs, or the troll that lives under the Fremont bridge. My version of Gaia is perfect; She is as real to me as my own breath. I know there are others who also follow Gaia, but none in exactly the same way as I do. She is many things to me, an expression of the life force that gave birth to all upon this world. Yet She is many things to other folks, things I will never experience regardless of how long I follow Her.

The reality of our ŌgodsÕ relies on our own spirit. Each of us has the means and the opportunity to craft our own personal ŌgodÕ out of the mysteries we have experienced, the faith we have acquired and the spirit we were born with. Yet, I have been brought to task for this belief. How can we ŌcreateÕ the Creator? The Divine Spirit is all things to all people, to all life on this world. Do we see the Creator as our cat sees it, or our dog? How can we impose our vision of the Divine onto others when the Divine is so much more than anything we could imagine?

The Divine Spirit approaches us in the way best for us to find this connection. The Way is different for each of us and thatÕs why it is so special. The Divine finds the perfect means to arrive at our soul, sets it before us and allows us to follow the path forward. The old adage that states Ōit isnÕt the destination that is important but the journeyÕ couldnÕt be truer. Only the Divine Spirit knows the outcome of our travels. We can only walk our path with respect and an open heart.

How, some have asked, can our paths be so unique when humans have joined together in the fellowship of religion? Why are there thousands of people who follow the same faith? To answer this one must look at the nature of humanity. We are social animals, needy of companionship and interaction among our own kind. Just as we have congregated along territorial, economic and cultural lines; we have also gathered amongst religious lines. But this doesnÕt contradict the premise of spiritual distinctiveness. We gather together to profess our faith with others who are like-minded, but we are still unique. As our religions prosper, they change with the individual. We shape them to the needs of the group and ourselves. Members craft the faith according to the ideas that come from our diversity. As we walk our path, we encounter others who have some beliefs in common with us. They are companions upon our path as we are on theirs. We walk together for a bit, then part company when our paths diverge. The time together can be rich with new ideas, new thoughts, and fresh perspectives. We may walk our path by ourselves, but we never walk it alone.

The Divine Spirit has all the answers and is waiting for us to ask the questions. We ask for help and guidance and expect an answer, short and sweet. We become disenchanted if the answer we receive doesnÕt fall under our expectations. Such frustration is natural but it must not be allowed to take root. We must use it to get beyond the easy, the Ōshort and sweetÕ. The spiritual path is no walk in the park, difficulties abound, and pratfalls lurk behind every corner. Yet the Divine Spirit places these obstacles in plain sight before us so they will only trip us when we walk with our eyes closed.

So, there it is: one personÕs opinion about the nature of the Divine and the means to connect to it. I cannot judge my faith by the number of folks who agree with me or find fault with it. I can only judge my faith by how I see the path before me and how I use it to add to the betterment of humankind. Others cannot see the world through my eyes, nor I through theirs. But together we have a more complete picture of the World than if we used but one set.

To my friends, both known and unknown, Pleasant Journeys!


I Am A Celtic Reconstructionist, As I Have Often Mentioned, Mostly Of... May 4th. at 10:00:45 pm UTC

Aedh Rua (Prophetstown, Illinois US) Age: 35 - Email


I am a Celtic Reconstructionist, as I have often mentioned, mostly of an Irish Gaelic type, but with Gaulish moments. The most important deities I worship are Irish. This is not the place to go into an essay on Traditional Irish theology, so I will go into detail only on the deity I most worship. This Goddess is Danu, also called Anu, and by a number of other names.

I see Her as the Supreme Goddess, the Mother of the Gods, the Ancestral Goddess, the Lady of the Well, patron of wisdom, of fertility, and of nurturing. Her darker aspect, as it were, is the Morrigu, who is also the Supreme Goddess, associated with fate, sexuality, war, prophecy, ravens, and frenzy, among other things. In my view Danu and the Morrigu are one and the same, and may also be indentified with the Tri Morrigna, or "Three Morrigans": Macha, the Goddess of sovereignty, motherhood, and horses, the Badb Catha, the "Battle Crow" who brings victory, and Nemhain, the bringer of terror and nightmares. She may also be identified with Eriu, Banba, and Fotla, the three epoymous Goddesses of Ireland.

I also worship the other Tuatha De Danann, or Irish deities, and a number of Gaulish deities who are basically forms of the Irish Gods, or vice versa. In addition, I worship, at least in theory, the class of deity called "Erlamhai" or "Erlamheanna" in Irish Gaelic, the patron deities of crafts, places, tribes, and major natural features such as mountains, rivers, and so on. I also worship the spirits of the Earth, and my own ancestors, including family members recently dead.

Danu definitely chose me. I am not actually of Irish descent, something a bit uncomfortable to me, which at times makes me feel as if I shouldn't be following Irish religion. However, I began having a certain type of spiritual experience when I was very young, which I do not feel describing in detail here and now. After much research on my part, I satisfied myself that these visions were coming from Danu, at times in Her form of the Morrigu. I guess that Danu has the right to choose anyone She wishes to be Her worshipper, no matter of what ancestry. In a sense, I suppose that I am a sort of "sean-ghall", or Gaelicized foreigner. There are other elements of my spiritual experience which seem closer to ancient Gaulish than Irish spirituality, so I am not quite exclusive in the particular names which I use.

I wish to be clear here that , although my own practices involve a very specific cultural tradition, that in no way is it superior to or "more Pagan" than any other practice. Eclectic Wicca can be a perfectly fulfilling form of spirituality to those drawn to it, and I have known many wise and good people of any number of traditions, including some very eclectic traditions.

I do draw the line at those who claim to be what they are not, who attempt to pass off eclectic Wicca as Irish traditional religion, for example, or to pass off their own researches as a tradition gained from their grandmothers. This is a particular danger within the Celtic traditions, where groups of "Atlantean Crystal Druids", who somehow alone hold the True Ancient Wisdom, are rife.
I got my tradition from my own research and from the work of other, more learned scholars. It is neither better or worse on this account than any other tradition.

I think it is wise for all of us to keep in mind the importance of honesty and sincerity to any spiritual practice, for this is the element which the best groups, teachers, and traditions all have in common.


I Am Still Searching For So Many Things In My Life That... May 5th. at 8:52:56 pm UTC

Margaret Quin Lyons (Albuquerque, New Mexico US) Age: 20 - Email


I am still searching for so many things in my life that I think it would be impossible for me to name just one god or goddess. The goddess that I most closely follow is Persephone, a lower goddess of the Greek pantheon. I find that I relate to Her more closely than to any other goddess that I have come across. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I am a young woman and can relate to Her troubles with Her parents, Her love life, etc. I cannot even find a name for my god, but I know what He appears as to me; probably the closest named god to Him for me would be Pan. I have been searching, perhaps too hard, for my gods, and I think that while this search has brought up these two, maybe they are only the ones that I am relating to for now. I am not sure if I see the gods as beings that can overturn the fates, but more beings that work with the fates in order to help us follow the path that is best suited for us, if we are willing to listen. I find them more to be my closest friends, most trusted confidantes, and most comforting places.


The Divine Is Something That Is Hard For Someone To Put One's... May 6th. at 4:36:59 pm UTC

Ailsidhe (Dallas, Texas US) Age: 23 - Email


The Divine is something that is hard for someone to put one's finger on. This one says that there is no higher power whatsoever and leaves it at that. Another says that there are many gods and that they are not too different from flawed mortals. Another says that there is one jealous God and that there is no alternative. (Incidentally, what does one God have to be jealous of???) Another thinks that the gods are archtypes from the collective unconciousness. I have gone through all these phases.

I was raised Baptist and fully lived the religion. I read the Bible. I went to church. I walked the walk. So was my path at the time and I had to walk that road to get where I am today.

When I first discovered Paganism, I whole-heartedly embraced the Goddess and everything she stood for. Here was my Mother Earth that I had longed for. I also embraced the God, but I had trouble imagining him outside the constructs of society's Judeo-Christian-Islamic Patriarchial dude with a permanent cobb up his rear. It took me a great deal of time and research to get over that.

As time went by, I began to see the duality of things and realized that the God is warm and beautiful as he is fearsome.

And then I began to think of them both as archtypes. I became semi-agnostic in my belief in deities. The Gods are symbols, they are part of my psyche. They are nothing more than myths that teach valuable mysteries about life. This worked for a time.

After a while, I became more interested in Celtic Paganism. I learned that in order to get a full taste of what it is to be a Celt, I had to relearn how I thought of the gods. I saw them as heros, as kings, and as the ancestors that still watch over their decendants. I saw them as beings that had evolved into something greater and that were, unfortunately, forgotten.

And then, it happened. I had been studying the Celtic goddesses: Morrigan, Brighid, Cerridwen, Epona, Arianhrod. I love them all. But it was Brighid that stood out. I found that the things that she stood for: fire, smithery, hearth; healing, animals, motherhood; inspiration, poetry, and creativity. These were things that already coursed through my veins. One day, I looked into the sky and saw an outline of a woman in the clouds pointing to the horizon and I heard a feminine voice tell me, "Something is coming." From that moment on, I lived in anticipation of that something. And a year later after a huge spiritual awakening, I dedicated myself to Brighid.

I sometimes feel that I am her pet. I know it sounds silly, but I have done little to deserve such an honor. I feel like she has a plan for me and that I might as well sit back and enjoy the ride. And every day, I am finding that that gut feeling is true... when I look back on how the events have played out in my life--cliche as it might sound--she has guided my path. I cannot help but be grateful.

Is this Goddess who has taken so much interest in me the actual Brighid of Celtic legend? I do not know for sure. I do know that I am in good hands and that I am enjoying the story so far.


I've Always Felt There Was Some Sort Of Force Out There, Beyond... May 6th. at 5:05:58 pm UTC

Lone Cat (Somewherein, Texas US) Age: 20 - Email


I've always felt there was some sort of force out there, beyond our understanding, even though my parents are atheists and I'm quite a scientist (I'm right now studying to be a biologist). I admire people like Carl Sagan and Albert Einstien, and love learing about how the natural world works. Ironically, sometimes while I'm doing that, that is when I feel Deity the most. The fact is, human beings will NEVER understand how all this works. I dislike arrogant scientists who believed everything can be explained away by us puny human beings just as much as I dislike fundamentalist Christians who oppose teaching the Theory of Evolution in schools.

The universe is so huge and vast and complex that our puny little ape brain will never be able to comprehend it. However, obviously we sense there is something more to the world than what we can see or feel, so we call it God, or the Great Spirit, or whatever, to help our minds grasp the concept better.

Before I started studying Wicca I felt that there was something out there, but hadn't named or defined it. After reading up for a while I decided it was okay to put a face on this force to help me relate to it. For a while I just saw them as the generic Wiccan Lord and Lady, but gradually they've taken shape more and more for me. My Goddess from the beginnning has been the Earth Mother, or Gaia, or whatever you may call her. I go to her for comfort and strength, like I would with my mom, if we had a better relationship.

A couple of weeks ago I got a book on goddesses, since I have always been interested in mythology. The different stories were interesting, but I was really drawn to the story of Diana, Roman goddess of the moon. I like her strength. She seems to show me that girls can be tough too, and I don't have to take any crap or think I'm weak because I'm a female. I was quite inspired by her and have added her to my pantheon. I have a lot of problems with self-confidence and self-esteem, and hope Diana can help. That give me a mother and a maiden, but no crone goddesses have grabbed me yet. Maybe some day one will.

As for gods, I usually see my God as the classic Wiccan Horned God, and after reading about Cernunnos in another book on Celtic gods, I decided he was it. He's the Lord of the animals and guardian of wild creatures, and also a god of fertility. Sort of like Pan, only a little more serious and mature. He also seems to merge a bit with the god of sun for some reason I don't quite understand, but I go with it. I also have another aspect for my god, the Sky Father (which is what the Native Americans from this area called him), who I think may be the same god as Thor. I really felt his power yesterday driving home in the middle of a thunderstorm!

Did my mind form these gods? Maybe. I really don't know. I'm not even totally sure exactly what the connection is between them and the Great Spirit. I don't know if the Spirit manifests itself as them to help us out, or we made them ourselves. It's just that when I think of spiritual matters, these are the gods that come to mind. Since everyone is different, everyone has different preferences on what gods they like (if any at all), and that's fine with me. I'm sure my gods will change as my life goes on and I change, and get new information and ideas.

I'm sure there is no one true god, and frankly I don't think the gods even care whether you worship them or not. I think worship makes a much bigger difference to the human doing the worshipping than the god being worshipped. I think it just comforts us to do the rituals, or go to church, or whatever. I also don't believe what some religions do that human beings are somehow special, and more important to God than any other creature. I think if the Great Spirit or whatever cares about what happens to us Earthlings, it wouldn't make a distiction between a human being, or a blue jay, or an oak tree. Everything on the Earth is important and connected to everything else. Nothing is more important or worthy than anything else.

Do the Gods interfere in our lives, answer our prayers, use us for things, etc.? I really don't know that either. I think that the world can run itself pretty well, but a human doing a spell or a prayer may be able to tweak a situation in one direction, if there's a good chance of it either going in one way or another. Is there some God doing the pushing or some power within the human doing it? I don't know, but I don't think there's much of a difference between the two. God is in everything, including humans, so maybe it's the same thing after all. I don't believe that anything is predetermined. A situation may be more likely to go one way or another, but it can be changed, just like a stream will go in the path of least resistance, but someone can block it and make it go another way. I don't think even the gods know how things will turn out in the end.

Okay, this is getting really long, but I want to make just one more point. I don't believe there is any such thing as an evil god. Since there is nothing evil in nature, and my gods are nature gods, than there are no evil gods. Things in nature that may seem evil from one perspective may seem good from another. A volcano can destroy forests and cities, but also builds rich new lands for new species to colonize. A wolf killing a deer is bad for the deer, but the wolf has to feed it's family. The only true evil I have ever seen in the world is that created by humans. I don't know what went wrong with humans, but they're certainly capable of doing some horrible things. Maybe the gods made a mistake fasioning some apes to be more and more intelligent until they got us. Anyway, we really need to get our acts together or I think we'll be really sorry.

I guess this is plenty long enough now (sorry about that). I just want to make sure you know (if you're still reading this by now), that I'm not sure about any of this, and could be totally wrong, so I really don't have room to say any of you are wrong. Thanks for reading.


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