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Witchvox Weekly Update

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Year: 2004 ...

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Year: 2003 ...

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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.










Weekly Update: 1/28/2002

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: January 28th. 2002
Times Viewed: 7,876

The Practical Goddess...

I like my Gods and Goddesses practical. So I will never be a big fan of the trickster gods. Oh, they do have their followings and I am not saying anything against either the Tricksters Themselves or those who follow that sort of Path. I happen to know quite a few Pagans, in fact, who carry off the very embodiment of the Trickster spirit quite well. You can never turn your back to them, of course, but all in all they are a joy to have around. For me, it's just a personal preference.

While I do appreciate most forms of humor, I am just too straightforward of a Witch to be able to pull off the role of the quirky Fox. For one thing, I don't look good in red-orange. I also prefer a straight answer to a straight question. I can take it. When I was seven years old, I declared to the world that I would be ripping off my own band-aids, taking out my own splinters and yanking my own loose baby teeth from now on, thank you all very much. I didn't want a kiss to make it all better either. I just wanted to get the thing done. That is still my approach today towards life and towards magic(k). And that is probably why I so very much appreciate Brigid.

Much has been written about Brigid (pronounced 'Breed') and so I won't go into that here. You can check out Brigit's Forge, Brigit of the Celts or Brigid and the Fires of Love for more basic information about the Goddess. I am also not going to get into any of the controversies over whether or not there was more than one Brigid or Brigit, if any of the Pagan Brigits were really transformed into Christian saints or if there is any historical evidence of Imbolc actually being a fire festival. Ronald Hutton does a good job with this in his various books and I will leave you to draw your own conclusions. In her aspects, Brigid is primarily associated with three things: inspirational poetry, healing and smithing. In Practical-Witch fashion, we'll just take these in order.

Inspirational Poetry: When many people think about poetry, the first things that come to mind are rhyme and romance. I think perhaps the modern-day greeting card has had a lot to do with that. But before the maudlin and flowery verse of Hallmark was the power known as "imbas forosnai". Rather than the sort of poetry that fills library shelves, imbas fills the heart and spirit with otherworldly knowledge. It was both a form of divination and a pronouncement of revealed secrets. Various heroes of the Irish myths and sagas possessed or knew how to invoke the power of imbas. This knowledge was not something that most of the people who came in contact with the possessors of such gifts actually relished. For more often than not, the revelations pointed straight to those very things that most people wished would remain safely covered up. Famous bards such as Taliesin could -and did- bring even great kings low through satire and lampoon. This is the sort of poetry that Brigid also embodies. It usually doesn't rhyme and it is not supposed to make you feel better. It is designed to make you a better person. Sometimes that may smart a bit. Having one's illusions ripped off like an old band-aid usually does. But it also lets the fresh air in and when you become accustomed to working with Brigid, you may find that all She has to do is point to that band-aid and then you'll rip the ragged, dirty thing off by yourself. Now that, to me, is true inspiration. And that also is a nice transition into:

Healing: All across Ireland and in parts of the Scottish Highlands, there are wells dedicated to Brigid. Many of these wells had trees planted close by and people who sought healing for their ailments would tie ribbons on the branches. Other wells when excavated have been found to contain coins, trinkets, jewelry and other votive-type offerings to the Goddess or spirit of the well. Brigid is undoubtedly the most beloved Goddess in those parts as the Goddess who heals and alleviates suffering. But one must remember that the people of past times led a much harder life than we do today. Many women died in childbirth and infant mortality rates were very high. Childbirth itself, while being a very natural process, is also a painful and messy business. Brigid, rather than offering a complete absence of suffering, brings forth the ability to endure. And that makes good practical sense. This life and this world will never be completely free from some sort of pain or suffering. Brigid gives us not the impossible gift that we might ask for -the freedom from all in this world that causes physical or emotional hardship- but rather lends us what we really need- the ability to endure what simply must be borne. The splinters in your finger will not magickally disappear, but you will gain the strength to dig them out. You may curse a bit. She doesn't mind. She's heard it all. And She'll stick by you while you hop around shaking your hand and crying, "Ow! Ow! Ow!" I think perhaps this might actually be an alternative invocation to Brigid. I know when I am having a bout of the 'ouchies', She always seems to come around. But then I always check to see if She just happens to have the mallet hidden behind her back...

For Brigit is also the patroness of Smithcraft and the forge. Smiths have always been considered magickal people. Smithing was long ago a secret profession passed on only to those apprenticed to the craft. Working with the four elements of nature, smiths were seemingly capable of molding and hammering shapeless forms into something useful. Modern-day Pagan smiths are perhaps most well-known for the forging of knives and athames and swords. While these same weapons were a large part of smithing in the past as well, the practical aspects of the forge were much more prized. For literally almost no other craftsperson could perform his/her own art unless he/she had the tools of his/her trade first made by the smith. From woodcarving utensils to plows ad rakes to the very shoes on the indispensable horses feet, the smith made almost all of the other arts, crafts and basic necessities of life possible.

Smithing is hard work. And so anyone who holds in his or her mind a picture of Brigid as being little more than a glorified Fairy had better ask that apparition for some identification. Brigid is tough. She's gritty. She wields a big hammer. She is no shrinking violet when things get messy. Brigid gets her hands dirty. She's blunt. She's a very busy Goddess because She is not apart from Life; She is infused and entwined and up to her childbirth-bloody elbows in life. She doesn't do things for show; She does things. Period.

I don't like to mince words when speaking with the Gods. I don't want Them to mince words with me. I happen to like my inspiration to the point, my pains endurable and any gifts that I might receive- and in my turn to offer- to be of practical use. Not all Goddesses, after all, show up wearing a starry crown and a velvet dress. Some of them, like Brigid, may actually be more comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt. So when there is actual Work to be done for the Pagan communities and for the world, forgive me if I don't invoke any pink-light bubbles or twinkling beings wearing gossamer winged leotards.

But do send us Brigid, the Practical Goddess- She who is willing to roll up Her sleeves- and then we'll see if we can really make those sparks fly.


Walk in Love and Light,


Wren Walker
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, January 28th, 2001



Wonderful NEW Tradition Profile now UP!
(Pagan Trads Viewed 182,002 Times)

Once again, we are blessed to share a NEW Tradition profile with the community. Here is an excerpts and links to the full profile...

The Mohsian Tradition
by Dana Corby, Senior HPS (dana.corby@juno.com)

The Mohsian Tradition of Wicca was founded in the early 1960's by Bill and Helen Mohs. It was not customary at that time for Craft groups to have names or consider themselves a 'tradition, ' but when it became necessary to call themselves something, they used American Eclectic Traditional Wicca. (Not related to the American Traditional Wicca based in Hawaii and best known as the home of Scott Cunningham). Within a few years of its inception, members and friends of Bill & Helen's group were calling it 'Mohsian' and this is the name that stuck.

In about 1960, Bill & Helen were experimenting with a Ouija board and began getting messages from an entity calling itself Pan, who told them that they were to find and bring together 'my people.' Completely ignorant of mythology, all they knew was that 'pan' was the Spanish word for bread. So they went to the library and were astonished to learn that they had been contacted by one of the Old Gods. They began searching for people who could teach them, a search that took them throughout the Midwest and eventually to California. They made friends and acquired information wherever they went -- Crafters shared freely in those days. Their home coven is known to have existed by 1965 and was eventually called Pan's Garden. -- Click for the Full Profile


If you work within an established tradition, please consider writing something for us about it. We will accept more than one essay per tradition, so feel free to send us your own view, even if there are already others posted on your tradition. Please read the Editorial Guidelines page as well as the introduction on the Traditions page before sending your essay to Diotima.

Diotima Mantineia
Associate Editor - Witches' Voice
Monday, January 28th, 2002




Waning Darkness and the Light returns
Do YOU see what we see? (This just in)

Merry Meet,

I don't know if this will translate.... It was taken at our Imbolc ritual last night (Jan 26th)... Bridghid was invoked into our Priestess in Training. I was a great symbolic picture we thought.

Also, I am sending a photo where our Bree was kneeling at the North Altar and her hands on our Grove's Stone of Destiny....... look in the Mirror..... what presence to ye see? We often have spirits or Fay show up in our photos!

Merry Part!

Rev. Cyn De Fay, D.D.
High Priestess of the Sacred Grove at Oak, Rowan & Yew
Portland, Oregon
Email: Lady Cyn priestess_pan@yahoo.com



Introducing a NEW Section here at TWV!


This WEEK we launch a long over due chapter here at TWV entitled Pagan Protection Tips... From Professionals with some hidden articles from the past related to physical protection and smart living and some brand new stuff on fighting Spammers both Pagan and Professional.

The up-coming year promises to be a very active one for the Pagan community. We at The Witches' Voice certainly encourage Pagans to become actively involved in these events and let your voice be heard. However, public scrutiny does bring with it some matters of concern..the most important being the issue of personal safety.

The Witches' Voice is fortunate to have friends and colleagues who have been associated with various law enforcement agencies and who can write about these issues from that perspective. They have also graciously consented to share some of this knowledge and their recommendations for staying safe with us. We appreciate their willingness to share what they have learned from "the insiders'" point of view. With their help, we can make 1997 not only a landmark year for Pagan Rights, but a safe one for all.

Thank you, Steve, Tim and Chuck, from the Witches' Voice and the Pagan Community...

Physical Protection (tips from Pros):


Pagan Spam/Greed... Correct and for the good of ONE!
Your NON response give them YOUR power.

OK Let's say that you've just been spammed.
(And if you haven't been spammed yet, then you probably just bought your computer last week.)

How do you KNOW that it is spam? You know because YOU never signed up to the email/announcement list. YOU never registered as a member on that particular bulletin board. YOU did not inquire about the 'service' or product being offered, You have never even heard of the person or company that sent you the special message on how to make money fast, grow more hair overnight, speed up your modem connection or meet the girl or boy of your dreams.

Whether someone is trying to sell you a product/service, get you to go check out their web site of "hot pix" or invite you on over for a pot luck supper, if you did not ask to be sent this information, then it is indeed 'spam'

Although we do not encourage you to respond to commercial spam, We DO encourage YOU to fight back against Witch, Wiccan, Pagan Spam. When you delete Pagan spam you send the message that it is OK for your brothers and sisters to steal your email address from the Internet and push their agenda on you without a care as to whether you are interested. Plainly stated Pagan Spam is a breech of your trust and disrespectful.

Call Pagan Spammers on this, Hold them accountable for their actions... complain to THEIR ISP... Respond and ask them where they got YOUR email address, ask them WHY they added to you to their list, ask them why they are making assumptions for you.

ISPs don't like Spammers either: I have never met an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that supports spam. I am sure there are a few but I am also sure it's a tiny few (that are most likely in on it for some cash). In fact anti-spam policy is written into the Terms of Service agreement at just about all ISPs. You see, ISPs and IPPs (Internet Presence Providers) pay for their bandwidth and spam eats up precious bandwidth. Spam also angers more and more of us daily basis and the only one we CAN go to for quick resolution ARE the ISPs. They have the power to shut down the account. In fact just this past week, spam complaints were made to Drak.net, they verified the claim, and killed the account, stopping the Spammer cold (thank YOU Drak.net). Remember to forward or redirect (don't copy and paste) the spam TO the ISP because this will include the critical info that they need to act both legally and ethically.

Witchvox and hundreds of other Pagan sites list contact info for your networking needs. "Self-Serving Greedy Pagans" steal these names in an effort to get you to follow their cause, join their group, or shake you down for money (via 'poor me' emails or commercial promotions). IN FACT there are thousands of ways for Pagans to promote their agenda, group/list, or commercial ventures. Here at Witchvox we have worked very hard to offer just that. Over the past 6 years we have exposed groups, events, shops etc. to literally MILLIONS of potential customers and members. Yet, all of this is just too inconvenient to a few... They simply steal the emails and push their agendas.

YOU have the power to stop this. It is YOUR power they want, don't give it to them. Fight Back!

In-depth and Comprehensive articles about Spam
  • How THEY get your Email and How to Block them. New this week by Steve McManus
    A valuable new addition to TWV, which includes details on HOW they get your email address off the net, and how you can fight back. Also included are details on how to set up your email to 'auto trash' this junk.

  • That Pesky and Obnoxious Spam by Fritz and Wren
    This is a powerful article that details what spam is and what the laws REALLY are. This piece was composed a few years back and rings true today.
YOUR Spam Filter -- how to filter out this obnoxious junk To check out this new section, surf to Pagan Protection Tips... From Professionals.


Worth Celebrating again...

Counseling Basics for Wiccan/Pagan Clergy
by Judy Harrow, Marjorie Nelson-Brambir and Gwyneth Harrow

"If you're a coven leader, sooner or later a covener will ask you to help them figure out some problem in their life, using the insights and values of our religion. Most of us have had no formal training in counseling, but experience can be the best teacher of all. This site has a collection of materials intended to help working coven leaders understand how much they already know and extend it further. What is presented here started out as workshop handouts for a Counseling Basics workshop, designed by two High Priestesses with Masters Degrees in counseling."

From the Counseling Basics Info Page: "The Counseling Workshop was first taught as a series of five weekly classes by Judy and Marjorie, later as a series of two-day retreats by Judy and/or Gwyneth. Really learning to counsel takes much more than just a weekend, but even in the short time available for our workshops, we can work on acquiring some of the basic counseling 'survival skills.' The Counseling Workshop continues to evolve -- we invite you to let us know what we could do to improve it. "

"You will not become a counselor by reading these notes, or any other book. Real training in counseling is experiential, in-person and in-depth. On the other hand, most working priest/esses have learned a lot about counseling from the hard school of experience. Reading can help you put your experiences in context and integrate the skills and understandings you have developed through your work".

Visit the Counseling Basics for Wiccan/Pagan Clergy website for a plethora of critical information.
Also hit the The Proteus Library while you are there.



Notes from a Pagan WebCrafter
This week we begin YEAR 7!

Greetings Witches, Wiccans, Pagans and Heathens!

This week marks the 5th anniversary of The Witches' Voice and the 6th anniversary of our doing this work. As we enter our 7th year online, we are amazed at how much as changed and how much has not. To Wren and I and the current staff (Peg, Diotima, Steve, Waterhawk, Daven and Darragh), one thing is clear: the journey has been the reward... it always has been.

Witchvox has been 'successful' because of YOU. You supplied the words, the events, and most importantly, the actual magick.

This started for us in late '95. We tossed up a page and gave this 'net thing a ride. By early 1996, we had a loose version of the WLPA (Witches' League for Public Awareness) on the web and we haven't stopped since! Wren and I left the WLPA in Dec. '96 and launched The Witches' Voice on the following month.

The following stat profile has never been posted here but has been passed along to the media to show growth from our perspective for years. A loose interpretation indicates a doubling of interest/traffic every year. I don't personally expect to see our numbers double again this year, but predict a 40% increase in traffic based on continued/limited interest in the Pagan path. It is my observation that, at any given time 30%, or our 'action' is based on individuals that are either coming or going.

How it played out (for TWV)...



Notes: Not included are the 1996 WLPA stats (243,000 page views) or traffic stats from this month (1.2 Million MTD). These summaries are culled from our daily detail database of page views that we've maintained from day one.

It has ALWAYS been the daily detail work that evolves this site. Every day YOU make the choice of which TWV pages you choose to view and read. And every day, we can see where you have been. So when Witchvox leans towards one or more aspects/paths in our community, it is a direct result of that tracked interest.

Some factions of the Pagan community have criticized us for not gearing the site more toward their particular view of Paganism. But it is not our mission to shape the communities into any one path or direction including that of our own personal beliefs. We believe that the 'Big Picture' IS more reflective of the reality that is modern Paganism and that that isn't something that *we* can control (even if we wanted to). As much as this 'reality' may be frustrating to some, these communities cannot and will not not be coerced, forced or 'guilted' into being any more scholarly, ceremonial, traditional, musical, political, environmental, Wiccan, Pagan, Heathen, historical, degree-based, commercial,free, or even more *valid* (now there's a loaded word) than they decide on their own that they will be. We make every effort to celebrate the many talents, skills and agendas of this community in a fair and balanced manner. We will not be the bully pulpit for any one group.

Thanks to the 'net (including e-lists), ALL of the factions noted above can gather together with others of like mind and evolve their own Paths, Traditions, guidelines, codes of behavior and even religions. In fact, there are well over 8,000 Pagan web sites, thousands of e-lists and few dozen 'Zines that celebrate and promote ALL of the above and much more. There are also many sites which do what we do here and this adds to the amount of news and networking available and the flow of information that is so critical to us all.

Our Community is truly diverse and most do agree that this is a both a strength and a weakness. We DO have elders who should be respected for the work they have done (but never just because they've put in the time) and a historical past (of arguably about 40 years) that has yet to be properly documented. The net is currently THE platform for the documentation of mass amounts of stats and facts. Not everyone can afford books, lectures, courses or has access to local *valid* groups, but it seems just *about* everyone DOES get online, at home, at work or by visiting the local library. One of the many projects on our 'White Board' is to catalog Modern Pagan history for the years 1950 to 1996. Working toward that goal, we've done everything that we can to celebrate every piece of news since 1996. This info can be found in our weekly Home Page archives and on Wren's Nest News. We will make a concerted effort to solicit the wisdom of our elders to pull much of this back into focus for the many who simply are not aware of our history.

As with all communities, we have our good and our bad, our givers and our takers, our healers and our warriors. We have those who respect your right to choose your path and we have those who scorn you for not following their rules or beliefs. Almost every day here at Witchvox central, we receive emails asking us to police, validate or remove a listing/article/post because...and the 'becauses' go on and on. We don't have the desire, the professional skills, or even the time to police or validate any Pagan or group. Yes, we have our fair share of takers and criminals in this community. If such a person is in your community then, we encourage you to turn them to the local authorities. You are not doing the next victim a favor by ignoring illegal behaviour in the name of 'protecting the craft'. I would rather that society at large know that- unlike the Catholic Church (and other mainstream spiritual paths)- the Pagan community does NOT tolerate or cover up this type of behaviour. Over the past several years, the words Witch, Wiccan and Pagan have become strong words in the mainstream media and WILL hold up to social scrutiny if we do the right thing. You can thank the thousands of Pagans who have educated the masses for the past two decades for this.

"It Doesn't Have to be about Money"

Many have expressed to us their shock that we haven't cashed in, put up merchandise, taken advertising or grabbed a book deal, Not interested. Even more are shocked to find out that we do this 'part time' and for zero cash compensation. Yes, we do solicit sponsorship and yes, it does pay for all of our communication charges. But our deal has always been a simple one: We will work for YOU and for FREE with all of our heart and spirit as long as you help us pay the office and communication expenses. The bills are quite large for this level of traffic. During our peak month, we delivered over 100 gigabytes of information to those visitors who hit this site. Mercifully, there have always been enough of you who do value TWV, so we have never had to agressively promote sponsorship. YOU kept this site alive. We exist today because a small group of you have enabled Witchvox to be available to MILLIONS for free and without ANY advertising. Hail to the Witchvox Sponsors!


In closing, we never dreamt that when we started this project that it would be around for even THIS long, yet here we are... entering our seventh year of community service. We can honestly say that Witchvox is a website built BY the Modern Pagan community. YOU have done us all proud! You have changed the world! Thank you for allowing US to participate.

Give Yourselves a Round of Applause!

In your service,

Fritz Jung
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, January 28th., 2002



A Call for Submissions

Witchwords is a website "for all those Pagans who understand the power and magick in the written word." It features original articles, poetry, reviews, rituals, fiction, recipes, spells, and more.

The collection at witchwords is always growing - but not fast enough! If you want to have your voice be heard, to express your thoughts and ideas on a site that is designed specifically as a showcase of some of the great original writing that is being produced in the Pagan community today... send your work to mitzi_witch@yahoo.com and/or visit http://witchwords.faithweb.com



FINALLY - We know WHO to Thank!
Since our first website went online in late 1995 we have asked the question... "Where are these surfers coming from"? With the peppy new Witchvox.com server we can finally answer that question. Most of our visits come from 'bookmarks/favorites" (60%). Second to that (and to our surprise) are results from the internet Search engines (27%). I say this because only once have we ever submitted TWV TO any search engines (Lady Alexcia did this for us back in early 1997). Since we now have both the headroom and the horse power to write/rip referrer logs and do reverse domain lookups, we are proud to reveal the first round of results.

It is our desire to finally automate this process and list the top referring sites on one of our front pages in the near future. It's the very least we can do to thank those that really do send traffic to TWV.

Top 100 Referrers to Witchvox
(Date Range: Jan. 1-15 -- Type: Non-search engine referrals)

Note: This listing does not contain only Pagan Sites, but is simply a list of Websites that sent their surfers to TWV and the number of times they did. Since our fundamental mission is to educate the general public about who we are and what we do, we are always happy to get visitors EVEN from sites that we may not personally agree with.


/CENTER>

For the complete list of our Top 300 Referrers ---> Click HERE  


Witch Cinema #6: The Year Behind, the Year to Come

by Peg Aloi

Well, quite a year it was, with Harry Potter and the Sorcerers' Stone and The Fellowship of the Ring in theatres, as well as the long-awaited mini-series of The Mists of Avalon and the DVD release of The Wicker Man. But we had some other films which appealed to pagans, because of their stories, deign elements or themes which ran through them. I want to recommend some of these in case you missed them this year. Moulin Rouge (a spectacular fantasy musical by Baz Luhrmann, gorgeous to look at and thrilling in an old-fashioned way which owes nothing to its amazing cutting edge special effects); Waking Life (an absorbing and unusual film which looks animated although it is live action painted by hand-a young man can't seem to awake from a dream-that's all I'll say, but go see it!); and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (adapted from the hot Broadway musical about a German transgendered singer who finds love after a life of pain).

There's also Memento (clever thriller about a man who cannot form new memories); The Crimson Rivers (French thriller set in the Alps with plenty of conspiracy theory); Session 9 (a spooky piece about the energies and spirits left behind in an abandoned mental hospital and how the place affects four men working there); Mulholland Drive (David Lynch's beautiful, inscrutable mystery about two women; that's all I'll say) Songcatcher (a Victorian musicologist discovers a rich source of folk music in Appalachia); The Price of Milk (Australian romantic comedy with magic realism and Aboriginal mythic elements) and Before Night Falls (true story of an exiled gay Cuban poet). I also loved Bridget Jones' Diary (Reneee Zellweger is great!), The Taste of Others (French ensemble comedy), A Love Divided (true story of a Protestant/Catholic Irish couple whose community turned against them), Life as a House (moving story of a dying man's final task), L.I.E. (well-acted story of a gay teenager's identity crisis), and Intimacy (Mark Rylance and Kerry Fox in a powerful exploration of a sexual relationship that refuses to remain casual)... -- Full Article


Peg Aloi
Media Coordinator - The Witches' Voice
Monday, January 21st, 2002
Email: [Staff Page Link]


YOUR Voice Wanted!

Adult Pagan Topics for February:
  • Imbolc
    What does the Sabbat of Imbolc mean to you? How do you celebrate it, and what myths do you associate with it? Also, since it is a "cross-quarter", do you celebrate it on the traditional date of February 2nd, or on the astrological midpoint of 15 degrees of Aquarius (February 4th this year)? -- Go Here for details
  • Hexing to Heal?
    There's an old saying that goes "The Witch who can't hex, can't heal". Do you think this is true? Is the ability to hex an integral part of the ability to heal? -- Go Here for details

Young Pagan Topics for February:
  • Imbolc
    What does the Sabbat of Imbolc mean to you? How do you celebrate it, and what myths do you associate with it? Also, since it is a "cross-quarter", do you celebrate it on the traditional date of February 2nd, or on the astrological midpoint of 15 degrees of Aquarius (February 4th this year)? -- Go Here for details
  • Hexing to Heal?
    There's an old saying that goes "The Witch who can't hex, can't heal". Do you think this is true? Is the ability to hex an integral part of the ability to heal? -- Go Here for details


In Closing...

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do." - (Edward Everett Hale)


In YOUR Service,

The WitchVox Staff
The Witches' Voice Inc.
Monday, January 28th., 2002






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