Anatomy of the heart.

posted from Venus Sands.


It is the school summer holidays (today is the very first day) and this means that my husband is at home for the next six weeks; so in theory I could just get up tomorrow, get in the car car and drive to Salisbury, to see if there is a copy of Maud Cunnington's Woodhenge excavation notes (M. E. Cunnington, Woodhenge. Devizes, 1929, G. Simpson & Co.) in the library there. Or make an appointment to read the notes at Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre.

It is quite a long way, and I was going to go with my husband on the back of his bike. Unfortunately (because this is at the heart of my bad mood) we decided that it wasn't sensible.

Sensible, now there's a word.

So I'm stuck,  contemplating the idea of marriage as the opposite of an abduction because I'm in a black dog of a mood.

Instead  of going there and experiencing, I've been circling through web-pages, reacquainting myself with the other theories: quesitions about alignments with sun, moon and stars, how Aubrey Burl favors the moon (specifically the midwinter moon as the land of the dead), theories about female moon+male solar conjunctions and the birth of a baby sun, and at least one person saying, hey...Woodhenge was a Cretan labyrinth.

I like that Cretan labyrinth idea, I mean it had occurred to me too.  I had spent a merry half-hour with MS Paint proving to myself that it was possible to join the dots to make the seven coils in there, so for now, just as a mental exercise I'm going to take the idea seriously and explain how the labyrinth fits in with the most recent ideas about that particular ritual landscape.

I categorically do not believe that Woodhenge was ever a Cretan labyrinth, but there is a link between the labyrinth and dancing and the circular shape of henge monuments which put me in mind of the 'Threshing floor' which was, also a place of dancing and became a sacred space. It is possible people danced at Woodhenge...threading their way between the wooden poles.

A quote from the Old Testament:

  “Then the Angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite” (I Chron. 21:18)

Agriculture provided a new way to explain how death and life were connected. The seed 'dies' under the ground to be reborn, the threshing floor became a metaphor for the process of life and death.


The word Halo derives from Greek meaning "threshing-floor" this came to mean the divine bright disk that adorns the heads of saints ...and threshing floor references are found in the Iliad: the horses of Achilles trample down the dead like oxen treading the barley on the well-built threshing-floor; the arrow rebounds from the breastplate of Menelaus like beans flying off the blade of the winnowing shovel on the great threshing-floor; the dust of the conflict that lay white on the Achaeans is likened to the whitening heaps when the wind drives off the chaff on the holy threshing-floors when men are winnowing and Demeter separates the chaff from the grain...

None of this has any definite link with Late Neolithic, Early Bronze age Britain save that farming communities all over the world share a common experience of using a threshing floor, and the observation from myth and legend that the threshing floor tends to gain a symbolic meaning, it becomes the place of sanctification and resurrection.

There is no direct connection between the labyrinth and the threshing floor, but the labyrinth has plenty of associations with death and rebirth.

It is hard to know how old the labyrinth symbol actually is; there is the Etruscan Troia link (leading on to why in England labyrinths were often called *Troy towns*)  an Etruscan pitcher of 700 BC show the image of a labyrinth containing the letters TRUTA, several armed riders are shown issuing from the labyrinth's mouth near two copulating couples.  Virgil in the Aeneid  describes the Troia as Trojan horsemanship, a complex battle formation, consisting of weaving and circling...perhaps it is from Virgil that British labyrinths became Troy towns?

The Cretan labyrinth appeared on Cretan coins in 500BC, some say there are older rock at Val Camonica with labyrinth carvings dating from 1000 to 1800 BC.


But primarily what we know about the labyrinth, the paradoxical uni-cursal - impossible to be lost in 'maze' - comes from mythology.


Plutarch (75 ACE)  list sources and versions of the Theseus myth , amongst other things he says:

Now Theseus, in his return from Crete, put in at Delos, and having sacrificed to the god of the island, dedicated to the temple the image of Venus which Ariadne had given him, and danced with the young Athenians a dance that, in memory of him, they say is still preserved among the inhabitants of Delos, consisting in certain measured turnings and returning, imitative of the windings and twistings of the labyrinth. And this dance, as Dicaearchus writes, is called among the Delians the Crane 'The Geranos'. This he danced around the Ceratonian Altar, so called from its consisting of horns taken from the left side of the head.

which is curious don't you think, that it is called *The crane dance* and that it is linked with the labyrinth as 'imitative of the windings and twisting of the labyrinth' I can't even begin to wonder at why the alter had only left sided horns.


Yet the labyrinth has always been associated with an entrance into death and then a return to life, the left hand path is counter-sun, the Ceratonian alter would perhaps have led the dances counter-sunwise in the direction of death.


The labyrinth with its seven walls reminds me of 'The Descent of Inanna'; how Irkalla the land of the dead is in effect  a prison with seven gates in each of the seven walls. As Inanna reaches each gate she is forced to give up a precious item of jewellery, of status, of protection or power before she may continue into the Land of The Dead.


The labyrinth patten itself is a mixture of pattens of the kind found in near death experiences, or when using hallucinogenic drugs. There are four types of *form constant* : lattices (including honeycombs, checkerboards, and triangles), cobwebs, tunnels, and spirals (Heinrich Klüver). The labyrinth recalls and ressonates with that state of mind..


But back to history, another labyrinth link is the Meander river. The meander is a specific patten, and it can be expanded into a labyrinth, the meander is at the heart of the labyrinth. In ancient Greek art, the meander pattern, whatever it was called, was associated explicitly with the Cretan labyrinth. For instance, The temple to Apollo at Didyma, built in the third century B.C.E., is ornamented with the meander pattern, which an inscription refers to as a "labyrinthos."


But the labrys itself is the axe..


And at the center of Troy is the abducted woman, Helen...

Or within the Sumerian Irkalla is the abducted girl, Ereshkigal...


May day games in England in which a girl stands at the center of the Saffron Walden labyrinth and two young men race each other to reach her first..


So it is little wonder that the child at the center of Woodhenge was identified as female, are there any myths or legends about abducted little boys, or stories of boys being sacrificed, Abraham and Isaak is the only one I can think of. Or, when the bones from that central burial were examined were there good physiological reasons to identify the child as female?


The labyrinth is rich in meaning, with its themes of wondering underground from death to life, of dance, of celebration, but it also contains experiences of loss and fear.


Woodhenge is not unique, there are other, similar structures found and they don't have enough post holes for seven coils, but nor does that mean Woodhenge and other woodhenges were not labyrinthine experiences.


For more about labyrinths -no one better than Jeff Saward!

Why don't spiritual people talk about sex?
Inspired by a post from a fellow blogger.

So, why don't spiritual people talk about sex,?

I would suggest that they do but it isn't called sex. Very few religions have a framework of language to describe the experience of sex with another human being, as a Sacred and Holy experience.

Even a religion that does use sex -the Vajrayana- has been translated so that it takes the experience of sex and shifts the meanings away from the personal and real, into the spiritual.

Nothing wrong with that when it is a *scene* or a ritual, a working of some kind. Sex can be a vehicle, a way to cross over, or an offering; a time and place set apart for the purpose of personal transformation.

But in my experience religion likes to keep *real sex* and *spiritual sex* separate, and it goes too far, not only hiding human sexuality from any experience of spirituality, it describes the expression of sexuality as a spiritual failure.

This is pure hypocrisy.

Within religion sexual feelings are mapped onto something other and transcendent (not in this world). This is done by removing the true name of the feeling and the true expression of sexuality. In this way religions maintain a border between sex as physical desire and sex as something to be purified.

A bizarre and a terrible mistake.

In the Vajrayana -Tantra- 'secret' teachings, ordinary human sex shifts into symbolic sex.

Someone from the outside of the secret may know something about the ideology of the 'secret' teachings, this person may meet with and get to know people on the inside of the secret who believe so absolutely in the new set of symbolic meanings that they make it all true.

This act, this ability to change meanings is a way to cross over. It is essential for any magick.

Ultimately it is is a positive feedback loop of self-deception.
But that doesn't make it un-true.

Curiously, understanding the mechanism is an essential pre-requisite for the Vajrayana. Those on the outside (or those who are being sold a Dharma product such as a Tong Len retreat, or a Dorje Pagmo empowerment) may prefer to believe otherwise; a trust that the act of stepping, literally means that there is somewhere to step into; that Shangri La (Shambala) is within reach if only a person is good enough, practices enough, recites enough mantras and gives up meat and stops being selfish.

Understanding the mechanism of balancing between truths does not grant one freedom though.

Me, I know about crossing over because I learnt how to do it. Sometimes I could submit so far down to the way things were supposed to be, that I could hardly remember my own name.

I'd learnt how to do it before then, in the severing of self from self.

Only, the word in a religious context wasn't submission it was called letting go.

Letting go of the things that hurt: letting go of believing in my own feelings, giving up on wanting, on needing...

But, as I've said before, in my religious context I was a whore paid in knowledge. I was his opportunity to learn orgasm control and he expected me to put religion before reality.

Now as a returned to the world kind of person I'm no longer a recognisably spiritual person so I am allowed to talk about sex. I could go back and talk about sex now but only because I'm not an *insider* anymore...

But at the time, talking about sex was almost impossible because I was an *insider*.

I remember talking to Austin about how the sensation of 'letting down' (that feeling of letting the milk flow to feed my baby) felt to me exactly the same as 'developing Boddhicita'. I did not say that the hormone that lets the milk flow is also required for orgasm; because orgasm, in the Goddess bereft Vajrayana, is a kind of incontinence. That was just about as far as I could go, oh other than when the good doctor asked me why oral sex is sexual misconduct. But he was an *outsider* and I was fairly shameless.

In any culture, and in any group of people there are ideas that cannot be spoken of, and ways to express ideas that are incongruous. Religions make use of sexual feelings, but dissociate sexuality from sex.

So, sex and spirituality are incongruous even whilst fucking.

Perhaps it will remain so only as long as there are too few words to bridge the gap, as long as any of us who practice sacred sex have not written enough, spoken enough or taken enough time to pass on what we know...?

I have lived under the shadow of maintaining my silence to maintain an appearance of spirituality, but the silence was an integral part. I gave my voice away so that I could learn, and I lived with that vow of silence until he was sealed into retreat.

So to conclude, why don't spiritual people talk about sex, well because traditionally the two things have been separated. A spiritual person praising a particularly clever, responsive cock doesn't fit the identikit image of a spiritual person.

Talking about masturbation as an offering to Jesus wouldn't work. Change the God back to Dionysus and you may be understood? Sex in a Buddhist shrine room happens all the time -but removed 100% to the virtual realm of the imagination and called something else.

Sexuality is seen as desire is seen as selfish. Giving pleasure is seen as a trap or a diversion taking a spiritual person away from spiritual values.

But this has gone on for too many words already; the answer is simple. Spiritual people do talk about sex..

SoundClick Widgets Basic

In 1905 Freud wrote a series of essays on sexuality. He stated plainly that sex — or the libido — drives our desires and impulses, whether we know it or not. And that this drive is formed early in childhood. Viennese society was scandalized.[LINK]
The "libido theory" is present throughout Freud's works, beginning with the first appearance, in Manuscript E of the Fliess papers (1950a [1895]), of the notion of "psychical libido," as synonym of "psychical affect" (p. 192, 193). This draft dates from June 1894—that is to say, before the appearance of Albert Moll's book,Üntersuching über die Libido sexualis, from which Freud claimed to have borrowed it. The theory of the libido was constantly revised and remodeled from three main angles: the developmental, the metapsychological (then associated with the theory of the instincts and the dynamic and economic points of view), and the psychopathological.[LINK]
Was Freud influenced by newly translated Tantric texts, or did Freudian theories inspire the translations of those texts? I'm no historian, but I guess that both Freud and the translators were a product of their time, sexuality (and especially how it is constrained by society) is always of great interest. Yet there was something about the turn of the century that caused sex (and especially female sexuality) to become extra fascinating.

It seems to me the version of Tantra 'we' use now cannot be seen as purely deriving from the authentic texts alone; the texts have been translated, re-written and introduced to 'the West' by people influenced by Freudian theory, even if you have never read anything by him, or don't know who he is, Freudian theory is embedded in our culture.

Tantric theory begins as a synthesis until one makes the path one's own. And the synthesis that is our contemporary version of Tantra goes something like this: Psycho sexual energy flows through channels in the body. It is an energy that can be used for procreation, pleasure, creativity or spiritual experience and heightened awareness.

The basis for this concept is a belief that the moment of conception requires three elements: male 'essence', female 'essence' and 'bliss' (Sanskrit word -Sahaja). Bliss is within all beings from the start of life, and bliss remains within the heart as long as we live. The images of figures yab yum (translates as 'mother' 'father') is a reenactment of the original conditions for life, and the means by which bliss is called forth.

Technically speaking, the art is to mix the streams of consciousness with the original (pure and spontaneous) bliss. At this moment subject/object dissolve (one enters 'eternity' timelessness).

This is to call ordinary human pleasure - with its very human characteristic's of rejecting, discriminating, fear, greed, pain and want- as less than perfect (missing out the fact that such discrimination's are often useful, and without want and need we would just sit down and die!).

When one enters those moments of utter bliss (the glittering edge just before the cliff of orgasm) and learns how to balance upon that precarious edge the technical language of Tibetan Buddhism (pseudo-scientific language,even) would say human pleasure now free from conceptual thought becomes self-arising wisdom...
My translation 'the glittering edge just before the cliff of orgasm' the Tibetan version 'human pleasure now free from conceptual thought becomes self-arising wisdom'.

Am I missing something or am I spot on?
The practice continues, the inner fire practice ends up replaying the experience of death -when earth dissolves into water, and water dissolves into flame and flame becomes air- with all the attendant hallucinations -Timothy Leary is the Buddha of this place if you ask me!

Contemporary Western Tantra continues, most people (or so the Tantric mythos explains) simply allow the energy to churn a cauldron of chaotic thoughts and emotions or lose the energy in a superficial pursuit of pleasure, but a yogi or yogini consciously accumulates and then directs it for specific purposes.

My problem is, I'm caught between the older, for want of a better term -Babylonian version- and the Orthodox Karma Kadgyu. For instance to illustrate my problem, there is a conflict for me in a statement such as: 'most people simply allow the energy to churn a cauldron of chaotic thoughts and emotions or lose the energy in a superficial pursuit of pleasure'. I disagree with that idea, my 'Babylonian' heart cannot see it that way at all.

A compromise is to rest with this statement: the nature of mind is the bliss that it was born with.

But meanwhile, even terms such as 'Nature of mind' become complicated in Tibetan Buddhism, bogged down in massive theories until resting in the nature of mind translates as only something a Superior person could do.

Likewise the techniques one uses to enter bliss; terms such as Mother tantra -completion stage- are experienced by anyone of us when losing ourselves in a computer game (that moment when the game IS real). It is said that only in completion stage can there be control over the vajra body (which is made of the subtle winds, drops, channels existing within the envelope of the real body). The technical language continues, all completion stage practices are linked with inner fire. Through inner fire, one gains full control over the vajra body and to bring the mind to clear light...

Ah me, what do I do?

Blue Moon.

"Beautiful art thou, O Babylon, and desirable, for thou hast given thyself to everything that liveth, and thy weakness hath subdued their strength. For in that union thou didst understand. Therefore art thou called Understanding, O Babylon, Lady of the Night!"
Tonight the moon is blue (meaning -second full moon of this month) and eclipsing (mid-point 19:24 Universal Time). Some kind of cocktail is called for; lemon juice and gin, blue-Curacao; creme de violette would be good.

Ice would not be good.
Not the temperature my hands and feet are at right now!

The quote is from Crowley, I've been sorting out my notes on his tarot pack and trying to put them into order...I just liked the tone of it.

So, where were we? We have me being frozen (psychologically) unable to touch him in case I make him feel inadequate causing me to feel under used -my needs not being met (unloved). We have him feeling that I don't want him because I never make the first move!

My first remedy was to say, "well then, tie me up! That way I can't move, can't criticise, and you have total control" but that made him feel that he was doing something I'd asked for ...and yet I wasn't responding in the right way.

Sure there have been other mods, and each one has gone wrong, this blog records most of them.

Yet this process is OK, all is fine, the crossed beams (Don't cross the beams!) the misunderstandings and the bleakest of bad times are not the kind of thing that worry me; I know what real bad things look like -often banal, sometimes involve knives, threats to kill my children, rape or religious fervour- I have walked away from those real-life places and will never return.

But in this case? perhaps all is OK and fine because I said that I would open up the pathways into the virtual places.

I asked the cards, Mr Crowley's pack is my pack of choice. I asked 'Why?' why the reservation, the holding back, the fear in him? what lies at its foundation -answer: swords, the image of the solar heart pierced by fractured swords. Further images of the 'palace of the sun' as a place in which to heal, the swords embedded within a rose surrounded by the names of archangels engraved in crystal, indicating the need for stability; order.

I asked what needed to be done?
Answer, stop using swords, use wands. Meaning pay attention to primal feelings, core energies. I asked, 'OK but exactly how does one do this?' answer 'strife' the five of wands.


I asked for more by researching what Crowley says about his own cards:
"The Five of Wands is therefore a personality; the nature of this is summed up in the Tarot by calling it "Strife".

This means that, if used passively in divination, one says, when it turns up, "There is going to be a fight". If used actively, it means that the proper course of conduct is to contend. But there is a further point about this card. It is governed from the angelic world by two Beings, one during the hours of Light, the other during the hours of Darkness. Therefore, in order to use the properties of this card, one way is to get into communication with the Intelligence concerned, and to induce him to execute his function"
So, thanks Mr Crowley. I agree, there is no place for the cutting apart, the dissection that is the sword; but the wooden staff in its place may be fierce, but not cruel and burns with the energy of the Phoenix.

But me? well I'm still puzzled by the statement (from my home town) that the imaginary sexual consort is more powerful than the physical one. In ordinary, non monastic life the imaginary consort is found in porn; and the real as is one's wife or girl-friend.

Was that idea (the imaginary consort being more powerful than the real) just a way to keep monks in order? Or does it have some truth in it? I'm fascinated by the way the erotic image accesses energy.

To quote the Dalai Lama:
Tantric texts stress that practice with consorts is not a form of sexual indulgence, but rather a form of controlled visualization that uses the special bliss of sexual union. It is restricted to very advanced practitioners, yogins who have gained control over the emanation of a subtle body and have awakened the mystical heat energy... Those who have not advanced to this level are not qualified to practice with an actual consort; people without the necessary prerequisites who mimic tantric sexual practices thinking that they are practicing tantra are simply deluded, and may do themselves great harm.

Basically meaning if you think that sex is all there is to, no! You need to have done your Nundro, taken refuge with a Lama, done three year retreat with the heavy promises of Bodhisattva vow. On the other hand, from a non-Tibetan Buddhist perspective I don't see any way tantric sex could harm anyone at all. The idea that sex is dangerous (spiritually dangerous) unless sanctified in some way is very familiar. I'm not saying that the Dalai Lama is wrong, but that image of the sacred as somehow non-sexual (totally spiritual)or rather sex used to sublimate desire into something pure brings me back to the virtual and the way I use it.

The importance of liminality, so the border-edges fizz with potential energy; a safe space for transgression.

Sex as absolutely sacred.

At the moment.
At the moment sex is very good than you.

All the errors are still there, but recognition and ways out of the crash get's faster with practice.


My latest passion Kraut rock
(bland and eternally looping music hahahah) I post you Specific. Sadly as I was using my laptop and am toooo lazy to put all my game-oggs and wavs onto a gig-stick there isn't a single out-of-doom metallic crash anywhere in this one.

But play it loud. The visualisation is of being on a massive carousel,full of pretty horses spinning the spindle-drive of infinity onwardsinto the heart-beat of the universe.

The image in the film is a poster in our hall; no significance to it, just wanted to see what fun I could have with MovieMaker.

The river Tethys..
This mp3?

Anyway...Tethys...if you can work out how to play it!!!
I got fascinated by binaural beats (a 'sensation' of hearing another note, or beat where there is none, as a result of two similar tones and some kind of processing error of the brain). I'm not sure if the binaural thing happens, I forgot to listen!

Because the river Tethys is perhaps more fascinating, kind of allied to the idea of The Kur (that which washes me away...)the name supposed to be originally Tiamat.

Anyway, lj as much as I love you (and I really do, everyone on my list of freinds -your writing often blows me away...the man of the vine, Sannion (spelt wrong no doubt!) and Lady Bellweather....the computer guy from my town, all of you. My problem is, lj that facebook sometimes tells my facebook people when I've posted.


I saw Death once.

He sat alone at a table in McDonald's; I was there because my daughters then aged three and four both thought The Happy Meal a truly happy thing.

And Death was there.
I knew it was he because of the black line around him, the intensity of darkness, the excessive gravity.

I ignored him, but was secretly pleased to see the guardian of dissolution. A reminder that the gates may be located in the most unlikely places.

In my dreams Death's servant took me to the Golden Man. In real life I watched the Golden Man step across a cable -a sizzling line of high frequency- and transform into Lucifer.

Alas, just one more fallen angel seeking transcendence: the Lord of Absolute Zero, the beloved of god in exile, promising unimpeded gigavolts...

Heaviness and talk of plutonium, the symbol of the black hole (a modern version of the older black sun). I think the first thing I ever read by Maggie Macary was an untwisting of its heavy braids of darkness, she wrote the black hole into meaning, portraying the horror of the frozen images, and forever located *The Palace of Stasis* on the event horizon.

Maggie never wrote out the other symbol of plutonium, the blue fire. James Hillman mentions it, but never directly.

I quote from James Hillman:

Building the psychic vessel of containment, which is another way of speaking of soul-making, seems to require bleeding and leaking as its precondition. Why else go through that work unless we are driven by the despair of our unstoppered condition?

The shift from anima-mess to anima-vessel shows in various ways: as a shift from weakness and suffering to humility and sensitivity; from bitterness and complaint to a taste for salt and blood; from focus upon the emotional pain of a wound - its causes, perimeters, cures - to its imaginal depths; from displacements of the womb onto women and "femininity" to its locus in one's own bodily rhythm (Blue Fire 161).

I am wary of doctrines that seem to elevate suffering, the metaphor of beating gold to increase its purity and yet it is true; writing is hard work and I know of no other way to see in the dark.

But back to the subject; psychic plutonium has two allotropes, the first ascends from the realm of Pluto, it is found on the earth anywhere; even in McDonald's. It is experienced as a force acting upon the soul. It compels the writer to write, it compels the victim to turn to the doctor and ask for help, it is the sensation of wolves and smells of decay.

It is not Prima Materia.

Psychic plutonium is rich and powerful, lethal and deceiving. Prima Materia is found within oneself, plutonium exists outside of oneself and within this world and when a woman goes to bed with it, she sleeps with Death as his partner.

All who walk between worlds must sleep with death.

Of course in the past there was no word for plutonium, no dreaming of the spinning atoms, the fragile neutrons and their demonic transformations, no image of Hiroshima, no knowledge of black rain (I don't mean the film....).

But there was always an apprehension of luminosity within darkness. The periodic table sets out many rich dishes of metaphor...

The second allotrope is a transformation of state -from solid to plasma- the atoms no longer arranged in universes, instead there is a cloud of bright energy.

When people find plutonium some consume it willingly, others in ignorance; I belonged to the latter. I had been contaminated, experienced the heavy-black line that signals its presence, but I had no idea that I'd been so fortunate; for plutonium brings ghosts in its wake. Its gravity warps the borders between the worlds, and the colours I tasted were mauve and pale blue, silver and black; the taste was of smoke and metal, sandalwood and orange. I let ghosts slip between my legs into ripples of orgasm, my subtle channels enriched with the gift from the underworld. Within me plutonium existed as plasma; blue fire.

But something happened and the plutonium switched states; became the heavy-metallic form.

Because I lost The Beloved.

So far...
And so my journey; first the plain of Arali, a region between life and death, a place of lost dreams. I learnt that here and only here may I embody Ereshkigal. Down here my partner was Nergal, a mixture of Hades and Mars. In the plain of Arali are the two pillars that lead to ‘the threshing ground’, this is a new place for me…not one to enter lightly.

Returning to the river, we take the most beautiful mythical river I know of, the Eridanus…in the bottom of the boat there is a mirror that shows me the state of my soul. I have been cut to ribbons; I’m in a bad way and I really did not know this.

The Kur.
I am journeying to find The Kur, I'm looking for all dreams, stories and ideas associated with this...unknown thing. Please anyone, do you have any theories about its nature, or the meaning of The Kur?

For me so far it seems to be a different kind of 'mind' to ours and indeed all animate creatures posses, it seems to be a force that can use matter?

It can hurl stones, churn water, it seems to be a mountain, a land, and death.

Please let me know your thoughts, experiences and stories so that I may 'see' more clearly.

Many thanks..


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