November, 2016

Merry Meet

November, 2016







We have a wonderful Issue for you this November…



This month starts a new column on Gods called GoodGod! This month features Odin.





Wondering if you need to pick up the Newest Witches” Almanac? Well maybe read our review first.


one year wiser book cover



Looking for a New Journal for the upcoming New Year, one with Wisdom & that you can color?  We
review for you this month One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal.





Learn all the attributes of Rose Quartz and how it can help you!





These Floral  “Plant Wands” are stunning, fragrant, and a great tool to add to any altar/ritual/spell.  Learn how to make them yourself in WitchCrafting.



Ever hear of the Goddess Vinayaki?  Would you like to learn about her?

Plus tons more for your reading enjoyment…

Blessings & Enjoy!!



Join us on Facebook  & Twitter!!



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Autumn Pickings

November, 2016

I saw a crow carrying a hedgehog today. The hedgehog was dead, crushed by a car whose driver was oblivious to its small, spiky presence. Maybe that driver was in a hurry, or didn’t see, or simply didn’t care.

The crow waited for a gap in the traffic, and, just a few yards in front of me, it glided smoothly down to the tarmac, grasped the sorry, squashed creature in its beak, hopped ungainly a couple of times to catch its balance and flew on to the railing separating road from grass verge.

Nature’s cleaners, I thought. It immediately struck me that this wouldn’t be everyone’s reaction. Probably more like gross or something along those lines. But without carrion eaters, our roadsides would be a mess of maggots and rot. Mind you, even the maggots ensure there is less decaying meat hanging about and making the countryside smell bad.

Autumn is all about dying. In the wheel of the year, winter is often named as the season of death, but autumn is where it all starts. The leaves fall in a shower of spectacular beauty, but the colours soon fade and crumble into a crust of browns and blacks. The day becomes shorter; a hunched, elderly shadow of its former glory. Fungi spring forth everywhere, their mycelium eating away at their hosts. Even the fruit still clinging to brambles, hawthorns, elders and rowan trees reminds us that the season of plenty is coming to an end; these are the last pickings of the year. Best grab them while you can.

So of course, as a witch, I tend to listen to nature. I grab: I take my young son out after school, and we pick rowan berries and the last of the blackberries, some stubborn crab apples and even a few sloes. We bask in the golden, autumn evening, and we talk about how different the woods will look soon, when the leaves have all left, and the trees are skeletal shapes haunting a frosty cemetery. Nathan doesn’t shy from asking about death, and I’m glad about this. His lack of awkwardness makes it easier for me to be open with him, so we talk about the season dying in the same tone that we sometime talk about our own mortality.

I wonder if it’s odd for a six year old to be asking about death, but he often asks me how long I’m going to live for, and when I will die, and he talks about his own death in quite a matter-of-fact manner too. I try and match this attitude by not couching death in different terms; if something is dead, it is dead. It’s not ‘passed’ or ‘sleeping’. Life is confusing enough, and its ending is both fascinating and terrifying. No need to make it more confusing than it already!

He often asks about my ancestors and when they died (When did your great-nanna die mummy? How did she die? How old was she?) and although the only deaths he has experienced are of beloved pets, he seems to both understand the concept and be incredibly ready to speak about it, including articulating the different ways he feels; sad, puzzled, intrigued and at times unsure. I think this is something we lose as we grow older: the ability to see death as a part of life, albeit a puzzling and often devastating part. Perhaps it is the devastation that makes us shy from discussing it, but wouldn’t it be easier if we could reach out to someone and say exactly how we felt, without feeling awkward or clumsy about it?

These seem like deep thoughts to have come from a poor, flattened hedgehog! But I often find myself reflective around the autumn equinox. Day equals night in a point of both balance and liminal potentiality. We are not quite into the chills of later autumn but we certainly can’t call it summer any more. There is death on the horizon, the death of the season and, eventually, the eternal promise of the return of the sun and the longer days.

There is also the promise of the darkness; of rest, rejuvenation, and time to oneself. The promise of cold, white mornings and mysterious mists. The whisper of snow in the distant weeks. I don’t always crave the light, the sun and the heat. Sometimes I like to feel the touch of ice, like the crooking of a skeletal finger, to remind me that I am alive, and I feel all things: happy and sad, joyful and angry; energetic and lazy. I am whole, yet flawed, broken even… and that’s OK.

Summer dies, and that’s OK too. I miss the long, luscious days but I crave the long, cosy nights. I can be safe in my home, by my hearth, watching the world outside die slowly or move into hibernation. And the crows… well they are there all year round, clearing up the corpses and tidying the entrails away.

I have my own crows that pick up the rotten bits in my mind and carry them away. They aren’t always active, but when they are, I am grateful. Hail to the carrion eaters, reminding us, like our children, that death is a part of life and when it gets messy, there is always someone who will enjoy the gloppy bits.

Originally posted on Moon Books Blog, 21st September 2016

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The Kitchen Witch

November, 2016

Super Quick California Cream Soup.


With the coming of the holidays and all the shopping and partying and everything that must-be-done, isn’t it nice to have a quick soup to make up when you come home all tired out and want something that’s thick and filling but still nutritious and yummy good? “Super Quick California Cream Soup” is perfect for these kinds of days.

I love canned cream soups – Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Onion, Cream of Celery and all the others – for casseroles and quick gravies. This soup uses Cream of Potato soup. I’m not even sure where I picked this can of soup up – it must have been Aldi’s – because normally I would just make mashed potatoes and just add extra milk for a cream of potato soup. But I’ve had this can in my cupboard for so long, I decided to use it in something. And yes! I did look at the date on the bottom of the can!


You also need a bag of frozen “California Mix” of vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. I confess that I didn’t have a bag at the time and used fresh but it worked out the same. I think the cooking time might be a little less if you have frozen vegetables. Mine were still a little crunchy, but I like crunchy vegetables.


Super Easy California Cream Soup

¼ cup celery, chopped fine

¼ cup onion, chopped fine

1 teaspoon butter

Splash of olive oil

1 can cream of potato soup

1 can milk (use the empty can)

½ cup white wine

1 cup Colby-jack cheese, grated

4 cups California Mix, steamed according to package directions

Melt the butter with the splash of olive oil and sauté the celery and onion in it until they are soft. You don’t want them to get brown. Add the cream of potato soup and the milk. The best tool for mixing this is a whisk.


Next, add in the grated cheese until it’s smooth and creamy and then all the white wine.



After this, all you have to do is add in the steamed vegetables.

Let simmer for at least ten to fifteen minutes up to thirty minutes – however long you need to prepare the rest of your meal. Serve garnished with more grated cheese and a piece of crusty bread. Bon appetite!


This recipe keeps well – I put it in a container and reheated it the next day and thought it was even better! So if you want to make it ahead and perhaps serve it in a bread bowl or take it to a holiday meal, this would work out just fine. Quick and easy and yummy too! Pure magic!


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Crystal Connections

November, 2016

Rose Quartz



Soft pink in color, Rose Quartz has a way of inviting you into its loving aura. It’s obviously a therapeutic stone for the heart chakra but really this crystal has the ability to harmonize with all of the chakras. Each chakra resonates with the loving energy that flows from Rose Quartz, gently drawing off any negative energy and replacing it with loving vibes.

Rose Quartz is undoubtedly a powerful crystal with the purist love energy. You’ve probably heard or have been told to add a piece of Rose Quartz to your bedroom nightstand to revitalize your relationship, this is great but can also be overwhelming. If the energy feels a bit overpowering just add a piece of Amethyst to bring the good loving vibes down a notch. Amethyst is also a loving crystal just not as intense as Rose Quartz, so they work well together and compliment each other nicely.

This crystal is my go to when I’m feeling low or down on myself. Meditate with it and allow its loving energy to envelope you. In my opinion this lovely stone is one of the first crystals that I would suggest when someone is just starting on their crystal healing journey. You just can’t go wrong with a crystal that emanates unconditional love, emotional healing, infinite peace and gentleness.

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She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

November, 2016


This Goddess makes me so very happy. Finding her started last Yule when my husband gave me a statue of Ganesha. I was surprised because my spirituality is Goddess-based only. I placed him amongst my Hindu Goddesses. A couple of months later, looking at Him, it occurred to me that there just HAD to be an elephant-headed Hindu Goddess. Frantic research ensued, and voila……I give you Vinayaki.


(Photo Credit:

Little is found in Hindu scriptures about Vinayaki and just a few images exist of Her. She is most generally associated, of course, with Ganesha and is assumed to be his Shakti. She is also said to be the 5th of Ganesha’s 32 forms. In this form, She would be the protector of the householder, vanquishing evil and bringing peace to the home.

She is known by various names, such as Sri Ganesha, meaning female Ganesha; Vainayaki; Gajanana, meaning elephant faced; Vighneshvari, meaning Mistress of Obstacles and, in Tibet, Ganeshani.

She is very often seen as part of the 64 Yoginis. The 64 Yoginis was a cult of mystical, female dakinis, now usually called yoginis, between the 9th-13th centuries. It is thought that their worship was a blending of Shaktism and Tantric. A yogini is used to refer to the forms of Devi, the Great, Supreme Goddess, and/or different parts of Her body. A dakini is most often thought to be a messenger or attendant to Devi. Devotees of Devi were also called Shaktas. There are believed to be nine 64 Yoginis Temples located in India.


(Photo Credit:


(Photo Credit:

At the 64 Yoginis Temple in Chausath, She is the 41st of the 64 Yoginis and is named here as Sri Aingini. She is slender, with full breasts. She is also depicted in Chitrapur Math Shirali, holding a sword and a noose.

In Satna, there is an image of five Goddesses, one of which is the cow-headed Vrishabha, who is holding the infant, Ganesha. Vinayaki is portrayed holding an elephant goad, or bullhook, much like the adult Ganesha. This could indicate that Vinayaki and Ganesha are siblings.

One myth tells us that the demon Andhaka wanted the Goddess Parvati for his wife. Shiva fought Andhaka, but each drop of his blood made another demon. Parvati called on all of the Shaktis, which included Vinayaki, to drink the demon’s blood before it hit the ground and Andhaka was destroyed. At this time, Vinayaki became a handmaiden to Parvati.

Some see Her as part of the Matrika or Divine Mother Goddesses, a group of Hindu Goddesses always depicted together, which may or may not be the same group of Shaktis called upon by Parvati in the above story. In this stone tableau of the Matrikas, you can see Vinayaki on the far right.


(Photo Credit:

The fourth day after a new moon is called Vinayaki Chaturi. Even though this day is sacred to Ganesha, it is named after Vinayaki.

In Buddhist traditions, She is an independent Goddess and is called Ganapatihrdaya, which means “heart of Ganesh”.

Whatever Vinayaki may be – Yogini, Dakini, Matrika, or independent Goddess, She is more than welcome into the pantheon of Hindu deities.


(Photo Credit:

Goddess Blessings to All!


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Magic: From the Middle Ages to Today

November, 2016

When I was doing an online course about magic in the Middle ages, a question was posed: How does magical thought differ today, from that in the Middle Ages?

One thing that magic in the Middle Ages and magic today has in common is that it is always a form of transformation. The sick are healed; the weather is changed; a shapeshifter moves silently through the night; a lover changes his/her mind. The main difference that I can see is that there was so little understood about the world in the Middle Ages, almost everything could be seen as a magical act.

A woman who used Willow bark to ease the pain of a loved one would have been branded a witch, but today we call it Aspirin and sell it in pharmacies worldwide. Western practitioners of Magic in the 21st century accept scientific rationality and work alongside this (for the most part) to continue and even enhance their magical practices. Without realising it, the sorcerers of the Middle Ages were doing this too, but unknowingly, with herbs, chanting and music (which can alter our brain waves), hallucinogens and of course fear; fear of the fairies, demons and even god.

I think it’s a generalisation to say we have ‘prejudices’ against this period, as most folks with an interest in the period will do some research to see how things really were, and those that have no interest will probably not even be aware of the magical practices taking place during this time. Popular culture has always painted the picture of the warty old witch or evil sorcerer, regardless of the time period, because of superstition created by the church; that magic is evil and powered by demons.

It’s easy to understand why people would be enamoured of the idea of the Renaissance bringing the ‘light’ of reason into a filthy, superstitious world. The downside to this, in my opinion, is the loss of ancient traditions and customs that are part of the growth of a culture. It’s great to understand why we do things, and the science behind them, and of course if practices are found to be dangerous, they should stop. But one day, we may not have access to electricity, medicine or even books, and the knowledge and practices of our ‘magical’ forebears could be the most useful ‘hand-me-down’ available.

Magic is performing transformation for people. Science is understanding how you did that and how to do it again, in exactly the same way. Religion, particularly Christianity in this context, often condemns both science and magic for being ‘against God’. Telling, no?

Mabh Savage is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

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Fashion Against Bullying with Review

November, 2016



“Active Kindness” Apparel Line is Clothing with a Cause, Benefits Teen Anti-Bullying


Compassion Brands, the first fashion company to launch retail collections that offers real-time help to teens in crisis, and The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc .,  launched their line  of Active Kindness, now available at all Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers stores and online, in addition to The new fashion collection incorporates details of its partnering teen crisis center, Teen Line, on all product and packaging, offering kids and teens help in real time as they shop.

Compassion Brands and Stony Apparel teamed up to design the stylish Active Kindness t-shirt collection for juniors in sizes XS-XL. The new line includes six shirts in various colors and styles, featuring messages of empowerment such as “Don’t Be a Bully” and “Be Kind to Yourself.” Each tee comes with a unique tag that includes a Teen Line hotline number for anyone seeking help or advice against bullying. Teen Line, based out of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, is the main anti-bullying charity financially supported by the company.



“On the label of each shirt it clearly states the toll free helpline’s phone number and their cause.” -PaganPages

“Active Kindness is a new brand that I developed to address the epidemic of bullying by inspiring others and working collaboratively with industry leaders to be united in kindness through the art of fashion,” said Gigi Yeoman, Founder of Compassion Brands. “Partnering with The Bon Ton Stores, Inc. and Stony Apparel is a major step for the brand and we hope to help as many kids as possible with information on Teen Line to provide a resource for the many kids that are in need of immediate help.”



“Each shirt is emblazoned with a positive message for kids to feel and pass on”. -PaganPages

With designs that are both high quality and stylish, Active Kindness marries fashion forward trends with positive messaging for teens everywhere.



“The long and short sleeve shirts are soft on the skin and to touch. Great choice of  material.  The fits are relaxed which I appreciated.  Not fitted as if for small adults.  The messages are cute and positive.  The labels in each shirt are amazing.  The shirts seem very well made, no hanging strings, well stitched.  Our teen model felt comfortable in them.  She said they were very soft and looked nice on.  All in all we know this campaign can reach and help many teens who are being bullied”. -PaganPages

For more information about Compassion Brands, visit


About Compassion Brands

Compassion Brands was founded by Gigi Yeoman, wife of actor Owain Teoman (Turn, The Mentalist), whose fashions have been showcased across the industry. Having designed and manufactured for some of the biggest names in retail, Gigi was inspired to create a collection of fashion that did more than just follow current trends by focusing on making a difference. Compassion Brands is a collective of socially conscious executives in fashion design, retail, the arts and philanthropy, who aspire to enlighten engage and empower our global community through fashion, to bring about a transformational and positive cultural change on important social issues. By developing and marketing our cause related fashion brands we fulfill one very significant goal: to bring awareness and support to charitable causes, through positive messaging fashion! Compassion Brands platforms a revolutionary shift in charitable funding.


About The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc.

The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., with corporate headquarters in York, Pennsylvania and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, operates 267 stores, which includes 9 furniture galleries and five clearance centers, in 26 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Boston Store, Bergner’s, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates.  The stores offer a broad assortment of national and private brand fashion apparel and accessories for women, men and children, as well as cosmetics and home furnishings.  The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. is an active and positive participant in the communities it serves.


For store locations and information visit Join the conversation and be inspired by following Bon-Ton on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterest and the fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog, #LoveStyle.


About Stony Apparel

Created in 1996, Stony Apparel is a fashion forward contemporary junior, girls and plus size apparel company that has worked with major retailers nationwide. The design-driven company focuses on trendy apparel for the fashion conscious customers, with all products designed in Southern California.


About Teen Line

Teen Line is the nonprofit, community-based organization that Compassion Brands has partnered with to help troubled teens address their problems before they become a crisis by providing personal teen-to-teen education and support through community outreach, modern technology and a confidential national hotline operating every evening from 6 – 10 pm PST.


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Notes from the Apothecary

November, 2016

Notes from the Apothecary: Horse Chestnut

Conkers! That was always the main appeal for me. This grand, stately tree with its leaves like great hands, giving shade from the summer heat, and shelter on a rainy day, and all we wanted to do was wait until the conkers were falling. We would string them up and smash them together, revelling in this annual autumn battle.

I still collect conkers, but they don’t get strung up any more. Rather, they sit on altars, usually at north, as a reminder of the changing season and that great things start small. I have one in my pocket right now, and feeling its smooth, solid roundness between my fingers is very reassuring.

There is, as implied, so much more to this tree than its iconic seed, as you will find out below.



Image credit: Ninjatacoshell via

The Kitchen Garden

Herein lies the only problem with horse chestnuts: the fruit is not edible. Unlike sweet chestnuts, widely available during the upcoming holiday season, the horse chestnut is poisonous. The picture here shows three sweet chestnuts on the left, and two horse chestnuts on the right. Do note the difference, as horse chestnuts are poisonous. Even most wild animals won’t eat them. If in doubt, just don’t eat it. Please!



Image credit: Michigan State University

The Apothecary

Currently, research is being done into using extracts of conkers to help sufferers of chronic venous insufficiency, which is where the veins cannot pump enough blood back to the heart. The same extract is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties and a few other health benefits. It’s important to remember that it is only a particular extract that is noted to have these benefits, and that eating the whole chestnut will make you very poorly indeed!

Bach Herbal sells a white chestnut remedy, made with the flowers of the tree. It is used for repressing or getting rid of unwanted thoughts, particularly those thoughts that go around and around in your head. The remedy is supposed to help you think straight, and set your thoughts in order.

There is also a remedy made from the young leaf buds, which is to help those that do not learn from their mistakes. The remedy is supposed to help you pause and learn from your experiences, and not move on to the next experience too quickly.

Other Uses

Horse chestnut wood is not considered a strong timber, but it is pale with a very fine texture, which means wonderful carvings can be made from it. It may be ideal to make a wand from, but perhaps not strong enough for a staff or stave. You could also make runes from slices of a horse chestnut branch, as the symbols would be easy to carve into the wood, and if you were burning the symbols into the runes, the burnt marks would stand out really well against the pale wood.

The Witch’s Kitchen

I remember reading a lovely children’s tale when I was little, where the protagonist makes a wish whilst holding a small branch of horse chestnut, and places it in a drawer for a month. When she comes back to the drawer, the branch has moved by itself, which means her wish is going to come true.

The ‘horsiness’ of the horse chestnut refers to the scar left when a leaf breaks away or falls from the branch, which looks like a tiny horseshoe. One can use this association with horses to link the tree to Epona, the great mare, a goddess widely associated with equine beasts.

Still presuming this association with horses, we could also say this tree represents Macha, who is also connected with horses, particularly grey horses. It is worth noting that Macha is a very complex goddess and figure in Celtic mythology, and not all her iterations are connected to horses, so use this connection wisely and only as needed.

In hoodoo, conkers or ‘buckeye nuts’ are carried in a man’s pants pockets to increase his sexual prowess, or luck with sexual encounters. They are also used in mojo bags to help with or ward off arthritis, rheumatism and migraines, which may be ties back to the anti-inflammatory properties we discussed before.

In other folklore snippets, the conker is used as part of a good luck charm, to stave off chills, and even to ward against hemorrhoids!

For me, the conker will always be a symbol of the fall; the ultimate note that although summer has left us, here are these beautiful, glossy gifts that will one day become leafy, graceful trees.

Home and Hearth

Chestnuts take many years to mature, and are a great symbol of patience and ‘all good things come to those who wait’.

If you are struggling with things not moving on as fast as you would like, and have no way to change this, you can instead try and change your mindset.

Find two horse chestnut seeds, as big and glossy as you can. Try not to pick seeds that have been partially eaten or are rotten. They should be left to return to the ground and become part of the earth again.

Find a safe space, where you won’t be disturbed. Light a candle if possible, and focus on the flame while you relax your breathing. Once you are relaxed, hold one of your conkers in each hand. Focus on the smooth, wooden texture. Focus on how solid and unchanging they seem. Realise how small they are, that each one can fit neatly in your palm.

Now picture a horse chestnut tree in your mind (here is an image to help you). Think about how big this tree is. How majestic. How powerful, bending in strong winds but never breaking, always growing.

Realise that this enormous tree came from something identical to one of the little conkers you hold in your hand. Meditate on how everything happens in its own time, and that the horse chestnut is proof that, with persistence, goals will be achieved.

After your meditation, relax, drink some water and eat some food to ground out.



Image credit: Sannse via

I Never Knew…

In some countries, horse chestnuts are actually used as food for horses!

Mabh Savage is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

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Book Review: One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal by Mike Medaglia

November, 2016

one year wiser book cover

One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal

Mike Medaglia

ISBN-13: 978-1910593219

As the calendar year comes to a close and a new witches year begins, you may find yourself thinking about appropriate gifts for friends and loved ones. Some people are easy to please, but some people seem to already “have everything” or at least have no need for more possessions to weigh them down. What to do with those people? Well, what better than a gratitude journal?

One Year Wiser is a journal interspersed with reflections by the author on finding balance and gratitude of each moment of each day. Quotes from Kahlil Gibran to Maya Angelou and the Dalai Lama are arranged in the margins and in the occasional whimsical image, which are also designed to be colored in. It has 365 entry spaces (240 pages from cover to cover), but no set dates, so you can pick it up at any time or remain guilt-free for missing a week.

With a silk white placeholder, I think One Year Wiser is a neat little journal and has a good production value. It would probably make a good gift for those with a penchant for coloring and those wanting a reminder or a practice to be present and thankful for each day.

The gratitude journal is part of a series including: One Year Wiser the Coloring Book and One Year Wiser: 365 Illustrated Meditations, so for the coloring enthusiast, the coloring book might be a better idea.

Click Image for Amazon Information

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November, 2016

 I Rose (from a  Hekate Meditation): 

My rose was blue

I stepped beneath the arch

My rose was gold

Or peach

Softness incarnate

Never crimson

Never bold

Tentative like my


I rose beneath the arch

To meet four faces

Framed with snake

With sea

With sinister teeth

With chains

With all the keys I need

To break free.

I rose and took

The proffered seaweed

Tiny bladders ready

To pop with salty sweetness

A shoreline promise

Of things to come.

I rose, hands out

Filled with light;

Stepping into darkness

My rose was black

Ashen; withered

Suddenly alive again!

Gold and glowing

Snakebite antidote

Starlight flowing

I rose; I gasped; I smiled.

Copyright Mabh Savage 2015. Mabh is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft. Image credit Sumathi Sowmia via Wikimedia Commons.

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