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Witchvox Weekly Update

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

Weekly Update: 6/24/2002

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: June 24th. 2002
Times Viewed: 6,123

The Pagan Community That Could...

Okay, I admit it. You surprised me. If there was one thing that I thought I could count upon it was the fact that the various Pagan and other related communities would rally for a cause that they believed in. Gods, was I ever wrong about that! During the last month, as the voting for the Webby Awards was already in full swing, we here at TWV remarked that it was rather an outrage that no Pagan sites were considered and suggested that you might want to cast your vote to get a Pagan site-any Pagan site- into the running.

And what did you do? Did you rally? Oh no, you most definitely did not rally. You charged. You snatched up that banner of Pagan Pride, you ran with it and you kept on going until you saw that banner firmly planted and flying high over the polls. Yeah, yeah...enough with the mounted cavalry metaphors, Wren...

But the point is, I was surprised. I, who thought that I knew you, certainly thought that I had a good handle on just what you are capable of, was simply and utterly astounded by your response. So yes, you surprised me. With all of your devotion to your faiths and religions, with your eloquent sense of identity, with your sheer determination to make an impact, you surprised even me. I am almost at a loss for words. Sit back down. I said 'almost'. You see those paragraphs down below there, don't ya? I obviously managed to scrape up a word or two. Oh c'mon, don't start counting them! Feelin' a little cocky with that Webby tucked into your belt, now aren't ya? Well, good. You earned it.

Now I know that some of you voted for Witchvox even though you don't even necessarily like what we do here. (What? You think that I don't read the message boards?) And that's okay if you don't. We know that we can't be all things to all Pagans. I know too that a good number of you embrace a faith other than a strictly Neo-Pagan path or religion. But some of you voted for us, too. And the fact that you did-even if you had to hold your nose while you did it- demonstrated a willingness to set personal agendas aside -at least temporarily- in order to support a wider goal. That impressed me. That impressed me a whole lot. And it encourages me to believe that despite our differences- as Neo-Pagans and Asatruar and Recons and Witches- that we can come to some sort of agreement in the future. Not a compromise, not a concession, but an agreement as to how we can interact with one another with more mutual respect and civility. I hope so anyway.

In the cyber world that is the Internet, we've been doing this work and maintaining this web site for a long time. We've seen Pagan web sites and organizations and Pagan message boards come and go. Many have changed, many have restructured, many are gone forever and many new ones have arisen in their stead. It is perhaps odd to think of something that is so obviously technological, so much constructed of mere metal and circuits and plastic, as being organic. But that is the best way to describe the Pagan communities of the cyber world. Just as nature builds something, which then dies off only to be rebuilt again, so have you done the same via your use of this medium. You have found that some things have a short life and some things have a longer life and that is just how it is.

You have also realized that it is okay to try something new just to see if it works. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't, but that isn't what is important. What is important is that you tried. It takes guts to be the first one to try out some new idea or format. That is how we learn. So kudos to all of you Pagan entrepreneurs and trailblazers out there. Keep on experimenting. Keep on stretching the boundaries between what seems impossible and what can be done. If anyone can teach the world a thing or two about thinking outside of that damned proverbial box, it's you.

Because we here at TWV are blessed to hear from so many of you and from so many different beliefs, paths, religions and perspectives, we feel that we are offered a wide overview of the larger Pagan communities and the groups and factions that make them up. This has been both a boon and a bane. On one hand, we get to see how much we all have in common and that is always encouraging. On the other hand, we also encounter the very serious stumbling blocks that are set in the path of Pagan community interactions. The choices thus far have been to establish more closeted communities catering to just those who follow a similar path/religion or to open up large community forums where everyone is welcome to come on in and duke it out. I've had a case of bloody knuckles myself from time to time.

Actually, these two formats are not mutually exclusive in and of themselves. It is apparent (from our perspective) that many of you do continue to visit and participate in both venues. And that is a pretty healthy and realistic approach. Sometimes one needs to just bitch with others of like mind and sometimes one desires to get out and interact with a larger community that may or may not believe as you do. (Our friends over at Beliefnet have done an excellent job creating interactive interfaith forums and also providing some areas for each special group or religion. So congratulations to the folks at Beliefnet on their well-deserved Webby!)

You have also become much more proactive in your approach to challenges than you used to be. It doesn't take a claim of religious discrimination or a negative news article to get you all fired up anymore. Now, you come out for and support positive changes and community projects (and not just Pagan causes) and- wonder of all wonders- you even initiate these projects yourselves. Pagans have a lot of fire. We've had to have it to get where we are today. Even those of us who have been around for a long time (And I can't believe that I just used that so obviously 'Old Guard' phrase myself) would be hard pressed to put our fingers on just the moment when the shift from reactive to proactive occurred. But it did occur. What we do with that newfound perspective remains in the future. But I, for one, am excited to know that we indeed have a future. I trust that we will not squander it away by fighting amongst ourselves, but that we will -together- use it wisely.

Paganism is not a fad. We are not going to fade away or jump on the next new and flashy crystal-waving faith-based bandwagon to come along. We are in it for the long haul because this is about who we are just as much as it is about what we believe. Paganism is both a cultural and a spiritual revolution of thought and of practice. The various communities have beaten the odds, overcome the resistance and proven their right to be seriously considered. New Pagan and/or reconstructed/revived Heathen religions and paths exist. They exist...Do you realize how rare an occurrence that really is in the vast expanse of human development and evolution?

New religions, such as modern Wicca, are not formed every day. Even less are the odds that a new religion will survive the death of its founder and still be going and growing after ten, let alone some fifty, years. Attempts at reconstructing (I like the term 'reviving') a religion such as Asatru also face daunting odds. Yet a word, which many of us had never even heard of twenty years ago, is now well known throughout the Pagan world and continues to build upon its foundation and lore. While these two religions seem to be the two opposing sides of the scale in belief and practice, they do share one thing in common: They have survived. By the Gods, they have survived!

The rise of Paganism isn't a rally; it's a rout. Pagans are indeed everywhere and nothing proved that more than the turnout and vote for the Webbys last week. (I would love to get my hands on those numbers!) The Webby was never about Witchvox; it was always about you. You, who are our inspiration. You, who are both the daemon we sometimes wrestle and the guiding spirit that we always embrace. It was all about you. It is always about you for me and for us at TWV. And yet, still, you surprised even me. With your exuberance, with your passion, with your fire, you surprised even me.

I have always believed that the Pagan/Heathen communities had the potential to be great. I have always believed that the Pagan/Heathen communities could do anything that they set their hearts and spirits to do. I have always believed in what the Pagan/Heathen communities could in theory do.

But you surprised me. You showed me, you showed us, and you showed the world, just what it is that the Pagan/Heathen communities alreadycan do.

And did.

Wren Walker
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, June 24th., 2002

Photo Credit: Photo of Daniella Waterhawk (right WebSite) and Dana Davis (left WebSite) taken by Fritz Jung.

Protection Magick Needed...

Monster Fires Burn out of Control in the US West!

All week long Americans have been watching several fires in the US West gain power and momentum. This is the mother's way! As we went to press MSNBC was reporting a merger (today) of a 150k acre fire with that of a 30k acre fire. The following email from Adamina best explains a plea for help... Can YOU help?


My name is Adamina, I am 17 years old and I live in northern Arizona. You may or may not have heard of our crisis in this area. We have a very large forest fire called the Rodeo Fire that is burning out of control and as of 2:00pm we have lost over 60,000 acres of land. It is spreading fast and we have had to evacuate several towns and even pull out many fire fighters because it has become so dangerous. Homes and lives have been lost. The wind is picking up and now the fire is heading toward Show Low, Arizona.

I live in Holbrook which is 40 - 50 miles away and our town is full of smoke and ash that the wind has carried, thats how bad this is. The fire men are working hard but they have stated that they are running out of things to try, it's just getting too bad.

So I have written you to ask if you could perhaps post something on your site asking people for their support and prayers. We need the help of our Lord and Lady in this time of devestation. We need to band together. I thank you.

Blessed Be.
Friday, June 21st., 2002

(Sunday Night follow up from Adamina)

I am writting you again to update. Saddly it is bad news. We have another fire burning called the Chediski fire that has merged with the Rodeo fire. As of today (Sunday June, 23rd) at 1:00 pm these forest fires have consumed over 300,000 acres of land. Now there is a wall of fire that is 50 miles long. The towns of Pinedale, Pinetop-Lakeside, Linden, Showlow, Heber, and Clay Springs have been evacuated as well as others. More than 180 homes have been lost. Many people have fled to evacuation sites with only what they could fit into their vehicle. The fire is now nearing the town of Show Low. No percentage of the fire has been contained. It is spreading wildly and so far it is looking very hopeless. Firemen are doing all that they can, but this is truely an enormous monster that isn't going to give up. This is a devestating catastrophe and we need all the help that we can get. Again, thank you for your part.

For more information you can visit these websites: and

(Sunday Night from Stormseer)

Dear Wren,

Two fires have destroyed nearly 300,000 acres of land in the northeast area of Arizona. Reports indicate that it will be well after July 1st before any containment can be reached. There will be around 5000 fire fighters on the front lines of this blaze. Towns are being evacuated. Nothing is known of the fate of the vast wildlife, including elk, that lived in these areas. Forest officials have never seen anything like this. There is an overwhelming feeling throughout our state that can't be explained.

The coming monsoon season brings us hope for rainfall. I believe I speak for followers of the Earth Mother when I request all weather witches, all druids, and all individuals that care for nature to please send their energies to the entire state of Arizona so that balance, harmony, and a normal cycle of Sun and rain be restored. I thank all of you in advance.

Bright Blessings,
Chief Druid of Awen Grove
Phoenix, Arizona

Photo Credit: Barn burning photo by Jeff Jung

Celebrating Our Community...

Free Spirit Gathering XVII
June 12-16, 2002 (Laurel, Maryland, USA)

Review by H. Byron Ballard
Photos by Diotima

I've unpacked, distributed gifts, done laundry, dealt with the e-mail. Now the processing begins.

You see, I just returned from my first Free Spirit Gathering. This was #17 and, as always, took place at a beautiful 200-acre summer camp in northern Maryland. The amenities are very good. No "roughing it" here--hot showers, dining hall, two swimming pools.

The camp really is lovely and I'm glad I had a chance to be on the land before the 700+ participants arrived. The gently rolling hills, large trees and view of the small pond were relatively unobscured and I enjoyed the feel of the land around me.

I arrived a day before the first official day of the gathering because I was traveling with one of the trustees of the Free Spirit Alliance, the host organization--The Witches' Voice's own Diotima Mantineia. She was a delightful hostess--carefully introducing me to all the staff, most of whom are personal friends of hers. It made my first major festival a little easier, knowing so many people. Thanks, Dio!

We arrived mid-afternoon and it was hot. I don't do well with hot so I was relieved when it cooled down toward evening. I slept alone in a cool cabin with eight empty beds and one large mosquito. -- {Full Review)

Witch Hunts - Exposing The Lies
A new series by Kerr Cuhulain

(coming to Witchvox on July 1st.)

Do Witches worship Satan? Are Pagans the members of a secret underground cult that sacrifices babies? Are some 'unsolved' murders really covered ups perpetuated by law enforcement personnel as part of an evil conspiracy to overthrow Christianity and to promote a devilish agenda?

The answer would be 'yes' if you believed the claims of people such as Michael Warnke (The Satan Seller), Bill Schnoebelen (Wicca: Satan's Little White Lie) or Lawrence and Michelle Pazder (Michelle Remembers).

And many people DO believe.

Weaving a web of outrageous claims, these authors and the others like them, wage their insidious campaigns against Witches, Wiccans and Pagans with unbridled venom. Their books - in which they describe their 'firsthand' accounts of the 'Pagan' crimes that they claim they either witnessed, participated in, or were the victim of- have sold tens of thousands of copies worldwide.

Who are these people? Are they really ex-Pagans and/or ex-Satanists who have now 'seen the light'? Are they truly the victims of satanic occult abuse? Or are they something else entirely?

For many years, Kerr Cuhulain, working with other investigators and members from various Pagan communities, has followed the murky trail of allegations in order to uncover the truth behind these twisted tales of sorcery, secrecy and subversion.

Check back here on July 1st. for Part I of this informative new Series - Mike Warnke: The First "Survivor"

Walk in Love and Light,

Wren Walker
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
June 24th., 2002

Notes from a Pagan WebCrafter

You Wanted it, You Earned it... and by the Gods, as Pioneers of Spirituality on the 'net... You Deserved it!

Greetings Pagans, Witches, Heathens and Wiccans!

What a wonderful week it has been for so many! Solstice celebrations all over the world saw record attendances (and the press was 'all over it'), Pagans working their best protection spells to keep their neighbors safe from the fires raging in the west, and YOU, my friends, took the Webby Award in the Spirituality category.

A Record Setting Week: This past week saw records being set everywhere! Record size/destruction fires in the US West, record Solstice coverage worldwide in the press, a record number of Pagans in the News posts over at Wren's Nest, and an amazing record number of submissions to the Witchvox Networking Section (over 1,600 new or modified listings).

Oh Yes! The Webbys

This past Tuesday night, in a small ceremony in San Francisco (California - USA), it was announced that the Witches' Voice had indeed won the People's Voice Webby award for best Spirituality site on the internet. This was not the judged award, but by a vote of those of you who surf the net.

Who Really Won? Simply stated, it was Pagan Pride that carried the vote and took the prize... The Witchvox staff would like to thank all of you who voted for Witchvox over at the Webbys, and yes, while Witchvox DID technically win, it is our belief that the 'win' was really a vote based ON Pagan Pride. To anyone who even pays casual attention to this site and what it stands for, it is obvious that TWV is a site by and for the community. Hence, the Webby award goes to the community itself. Kudos!

On Friday, the Webby folks contacted us and we cheerfully accepted the award FOR Pagans World-Wide.

The Drama: I found the process and the competition fascinating! I live for a few things in life and numbers, trends and how people react and respond to various types of information are on the top of my list. To the best of my recollection, here is how the Webby Drama played out in the spirituality category...
  • Week 1: The Pagan community didn't give much thought to the Webbys. The five nominees grab many early votes. Beliefnet led the pack with 38% of the Vote, the Vatican was second with 18% and the other 3 nominees had about 11% each... Write-ins were at 12% at that time. (These percent of totals are based on my vague recollection at the end of the first week when I first took a peek.)

  • Week 2: For us, it all started with a single piece of email (a week after the voting started) letting us know that NO Pagan sites were nominated for the Webbys (AGAIN!)... Since Pagan websites pioneered spirituality on the net AND continue to dominate in countless areas, we found this oversight both disturbing and unacceptable. That week, we noted this reality on our weekly update and encouraged you to 'Write in ANY Pagan site' that you'd like to see win. Immediately many of you did just that.

  • Week 3: By the beginning of this week, the Pagan community was clearly starting to make a statement. Witchvox was in 3rd place and climbing. Many Pagan Websites were celebrated by their fans as write-in votes and by comments in the site reviews section... By the end of Week 3, Witchvox was in first place with 38% of the total vote and Beliefnet had dropped into second place with 19% of the Vote.

  • Weeks 4 & 5: Very little changed during this period. The Pagan vote continued to be strong pushing the total percent of write-in votes to near 60% of the total (It is clear that the Pagan community held over 50% of this number with Witchvox still holding at 38%)... Early in week 5, Beliefnet started a major push for votes and comments on their intro page, their discussion index and via pleas by many of their forum moderators. Since they see over a million unique visitors a month (compared to our 374, 000), they started to climb back. Witchvox continued its front page 'one paragraph' campaign encouraging YOU to vote for ANY Pagan site that you like.

  • Weeks 6: During the final week, Beliefnet made a major push by asking for votes via their daily mailings (a few million emails a day) and this grabbed back nearly 6 percent of total. Witchvox fleshed out our 'Vote Pagan' statement on our home page for the last two days with a wonderful note by Wren. Mercifully, Pagans continued to vote in a big way and Witchvox only slipped 3% in the onslaught of the last minute blitz. In a bizarre and unprecedented move, the folks at the Webbys decided- without warning - to hide the results with 48 hours remaining (an effort to render the final results a secret until the awards ceremony). At that time, it was Witchvox 35% and Beliefnet 24%. What actually happened in the last 48 hours may never be known.

  • Award Night: On the night that they announced the winners, I am embarrassed to admit that I had been Webby'd out for a few weeks and simply went to sleep. Wren, ever the vampire, did stay up and celebrated the win with Jen from Draknet on the phone. I found out the next morning.
Two Spirituality Awards: Over this past week, there has been much confusion about who won what... Basically, there are TWO awards for all of the categories... The Judged Award, which was a vote by the 300 Webby academy members (a 'panel of experts') on the 5 nominees, and the Peoples Voice Award that included the same 5 nominees, but also offered the option for YOU to write in your choice. is an amazing site and the Witchvox staff would like to congratulate them for winning the (well deserved) judged award. Apparently, Beliefnet founder Steve Waldman did fly out to the ceremony in anticipation of winning an award. He didn't go away empty handed; Beliefnet DID win the judged award in the Spirituality category! His 5-word acceptance speech was... "Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, talking."

So what did Wren and I do to celebrate? We purchased a couple of Logitech Wireless Mice and a 45-dollar plug-in that enables us to FTP Witchvox pages directly from the database that stores them. This will save us much time in the tweaking department. Better than champagne and no hangover.

For weeks, I have been wrestling with the decision to single out a few dozen Pagan sites as the best, the biggest and the most interesting (I sure do have my faves Bookmarked), but past experience has shown me that this tends to anger some of those that we don't mention. I do believe I'll take the safe way out and besides, you sure don't need my suggestions to inspire your Pagan net surfing.

Since the 1995, we have been thrilled to point you to thousands of wonderful crafted Pagan websites. Over the years we-and you- have built one of the most extensive Pagan search engines in the world... To fully experience the Pagan web, and to view countless 'Award Winning Pagan Sites', visit our VoxLinks Pagan Search section.

Good Show, Everyone! Thank you for everything that you do and everything that you are!

Proud to be in YOUR service,

Fritz Jung
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, June 24th, 2002

Divination Practice Without Borders:
An Examination of Tarot Certification

by Thalassa

Since the issue of certification in Tarot has gained momentum in the last decade, one must consider whether sufficient parallels between disciplines such as business, medicine and law can be drawn to divinatory practice, and if so, whether it is worthwhile to pursue this model. The suspicion with which the unseen, the sacred and the uncanny are viewed in the modern world often causes practitioners of divination to operate in a sort of shadow realm which can make it difficult to achieve mainstream credibility. It is assumed that the proponents of Tarot certification are attempting to address this issue.

All human endeavors, be they art or religion, science or government, have produced charlatans and mediocrities as well as brilliant stars and careful, steady practitioners. However much we would like to protect ourselves against the former and avail ourselves of the latter, it is not always possible to ascertain which is which. The desire to guarantee consistent quality of practice has driven many professions and industries to establish accreditation boards and certification programs to augment and enhance their training. Whether they have succeeded is highly debatable. In the light of almost continuous scandals great and small, one cannot avoid questioning whether the certification offered in business and professional disciplines actually enhances the quality of services provided. One of the most crucial questions to be asked is: realistically, what can certification can accomplish? -- (Full Essay)

Mini-Review of "Death by Magic" (UPN - 6/21/2002)

by Chris Johnson

Aside from the possible exception of the title, I liked it. Typical good vs evil. A magician, heir to Merlin, looks for a replacement to continue the fight. He finds it in the person of a street magician, a chosen one destined from birth to make the choice between the path of good or evil. He is trained by the old magician in the use of magic. The street magician has a sister who is used by evil to try and trap him. In the process the old magician is killed, the choice is made to fight on the side of light, and he new magician's sister is set adrift by the evil doers leaving her to be sought by her brother.

Great series pilot plot.

Lots of mythic symbols in this. Joseph Campbell would have had a field day with it. The battle, the chosen one, the choice, the lost, and the search are all mythic symbols reminiscent of Star Wars as well as many other stories from all eras.

They defined magic as a force of nature that was all around and which could be tapped and used. For the characters in the story the energy of magic was something that was visible and tangible. Many of us would recognize this point of view, as would those who saw Star Wars. But then many myths repeat and cross cultural Boundaries including this one.

I liked it, with the possible exception of the title. Some marketing weasel probably got hold of it and picked it out of a hat or otherwise decided that it was sexy.

Chris Johnson

American Airlines/American Eagle Employees form new Resource Group
(for followers of Pagan and other minority/alternative religions)

We are an eclectic group founded by employees of American Airlines/American Eagle who follow spiritual paths which many are not familiar with or may have misunderstandings about. It is our goal to build bridges of understanding through education and community activities.

The word pagan in this document is used to refer to people who follow an earth based spiritual path or those who adhere to religions of their ancestral heritage. This might include but is not limited to Wicca, Shamanism, Asatru, Druidism, Hellenism and Eclectic Paganism. It is understood that some of these groups prefer to use other terms than pagan to refer to themselves but for the sake of simplicity the most commonly used word was chosen as an umbrella term. We are also available to followers of Ba'Hai, Buddhist, Hindu and other faiths not already representedby an ERG. In fact anyone in the American Airlines/American Eagle family who advocates religious tolerance and acceptance of views of the divine beyond their own is cheerfully welcomed to join us regardless of belief or non-belief. We only ask that members try to live up to our mission statement and guiding philosophy.

For complete Details visit the web page at:

There will be NO Essays at Witchvox for July

Diotima is taking a well deserved month off from collecting and editing the essays. Look for Essay topics for August thru December to be posted here at TWV in the near future.

Adult Essay Topics for the August...
    Topic: Lughnassad/Lammas
    Do you celebrate Lughnassad, Lammas or another early harvest festival? If you do, tell us how you celebrate it, when, and what myths, stories and rituals are important for you around this time. -- Go Here for details

    Topic: The Mineral Kingdom
    The use of stones and crystals in religious practice spans many cultures. Do you use stones or crystals as part of your magickal, meditative or ritual practices? What part do they play in your practice? Have you gotten information on the stones from a tradition, from personal experience, or both? -- Go Here for details

    Publication Date: August 11th
    Submission Deadline: August 4th
Teen Essay Topics for the August...
    Topic: Lughnassad/Lammas
    Do you celebrate Lughnassad, Lammas or another early harvest festival? If you do, tell us how you celebrate it, when, and what myths, stories and rituals are important for you around this time. -- Go Here for details

    Topic: The Mineral Kingdom
    The use of stones and crystals in religious practice spans many cultures. Do you use stones or crystals as part of your magickal, meditative or ritual practices? What part do they play in your practice? Have you gotten information on the stones from a tradition, from personal experience, or both? -- Go Here for details

    Publication Date: August 11th
    Submission Deadline: August 4th

See Ya all next week!...

In YOUR Service,

The WitchVox Staff
The Witches' Voice Inc.
Monday, June 24th., 2002

Last Week at Witchvox

"You Always Take the Weather with You..." a thought provoking piece by Wren Walker    Starhawk! Nobody works harder for the good of all! -- New Book coming in August 'Webs of Power' (New Society Publishers) and an amazing story "The Boy Who Kissed the Soldier"    New Page Books announces three new releases... "The Practical Pagan: Common Sense Guidelines for Modern Practitioners" By Dana D. Eilers -- "Clan of the Goddess: Celtic Wisdom and Ritual for Women" By C.C. Brondwin -- "Secrets of the Ancient Incas: A Modern Approach to Ancient Ritual and Practice" By Michael Peter Langevin (Witchvox welcomes all Publishers of Pagan books to share their product announcements)   Notes from a Pagan WebCrafter: 44,000 Emails tested, over 'dead' 3,000 listings removed, over a thousand updates and tweaks by the community   Peg's Jumping the Pond Again...This past week Witchvox Media Coordinator Peg Aloi landed in England "I am happy to say I will be taking a short trip to England and, for the first time, Scotland!" - Expect a full report when we returns   I AM 2 Campaign counts down to the Solstice... With the Summer Solstice just days away, Pagan Unity Campaign would like to remind the Pagan community of the importance of working for the Pagan rights movement with this easy but powerful way.   Summer Solstice MP3 Tune... Free to you from Witchvox just for the Solstice (Click HERE for last weeks Feature!)

So What Happened to the Other Weeks Features?
If you missed any of our Weekly updates,
DO KNOW that we archive the WitchVox Home Pages...


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