T.A.T. THE ARCHETYPAL TAROT
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NEWSLETTER NO. 04 10th December 1999
I am posting these musings, undigested, as they are – in the last few days before I leave Italy, and move onwards to re-establish my operations in Amsterdam, Netherlands, from now onwards until mid-March 2000.
I was thinking recently, that the entire edifice of the Sacred Tarot also rests on an ancient agricultural calender.
This applies to the archetypal Tarot and not systems which have deviated from the natural order of things.
The Foundations of the Tarot, are in Nature.
The astrological calenders of the Middle Ages, and especially those that are illustrated in beautiful Mss, show the action-patterns associated with every season, i.e. sign of the zodiac.
For those of you who live in the Northern Hemisphere, and especially in Italy, when Virgo - "…picturing the harvest-decanate of the harvest sign, through which the Sun passes each year from August 23 to September 2…" as C.C.Zain writes in his "Spiritual Astrology" – is the time of the year that the grapes are harvested.
Isis Unveiled has grapes embroidered on her mantle – and as Virgo, She is the polar opposite of the Constellation of Pisces, where, in the Egyptian Tarot, we also see grapes.
But this is the Pruning side of the Polarity. Harvesting and Pruning are performed in different seasons.
Of Virgo, C.C. Zain writes:
"The chief star in the constellation is mentioned in Job 38:32,…" [Zain. ibid.]
Follow up that one yourselves….
"Bootes, the keeper of the vineyard, it is when the Sun enters Virgo that the harvest ripens and the water drawn from the earth into the grapes swelling on the vine is converted into juice which is suitable for wine." [ibid.]
"…the turning of water into wine…" [ibid.]
Erich Neumaan, in his monumental work, The Great Mother. has amassed material on the Great Mother, as well as a collection of extra-ordinary images. There is very little that can be added to the two Great Arcana of the Goddess, Arcanum 2 and 3 – Veiled Isis and Unveiled Isis. But we will still make comments, where comments are due.
They are Cosmic Archetypes in the true sense, Goddesses, and should not be merely reduced to the clinical setting.
One subscriber to this list, in response to Newsletter No. 2 Notes on Arcanum 8 – informs me that Virgo is the alchemical process of separatio?
How can this be?
To repeat: From one point, we accept, as common curtesy that Arcanum 2 and 3 represent two archetypes of the Great Goddess.
Secondly, according to the transmission of the Egyptian Tarot, we can call these two Arcana, Veiled Isis and Isis Unveiled.
Therefore, any mythological material on the Great Goddess Isis, is of value to these two Arcana. Plus of course, the other archetypal Goddesses that relate to her action patterns.
Isis, in the Myth of Isis and Osiris, as transmitted by Plutarch – (De Iside et Osiride, I have always used the Loeb Classics Edition) , goes out to gather the scattered parts of the Body of Osiris.
She gathers together the Parts, she collects the dis-membered parts of Osiris.
But, it it true that certain of the aspects of the Great Mother are connected to separatio, for example the Hindu goddesses Kali and Chinnamasta, and the Tibetan Deity Vajravahari – and others. But these are almost always shown in Fire, and to the colour Red.
Thus they are within the energy field of Mars - also confirmed by the blood symbolism that accompanies these forms.
We are thus in the territory, so to speak, of Arcanum 13 – The Reaper.
Here all the keys are present, the Fire, the Blood, the Redness, the Bone - that speaks of a great codification to do with Transformation, the Key Word of Arcanum 13.
But these textures cannot be related to Arcaum 2 – Virgo –Veiled Isis – which is cool, pregnant, heavy with moist fruit, Mercurial, and Veiled.
It must be noted that Arcanum 3 – Isis Unveiled – is the polar opposite of Arcanum 13 – The Reaper.
Thus these Four Arcana – set up a very deep cluster, on which the Mysteries are based.
Arcanum 13 – has always been associated with the Harvesting of Corn, Grain, Wheat and other such cereals – that go into the production of bread.
Arcanum 12 – represents the Wine of the Sacrifice of the Self –
Arcanum 13 – the Bread of the Transformation…
Neither of these concepts are specifically Christian, as they pre-dated Christianity. That is to say, the Wine-Vine Mysteries of Dionysus and the Cereal Mysteries of Demeter – pre-date Christianity.
There is also a Cereal Festival in ancient Egypt that links very strongly to Arcanum 13.
But more on that another time.
I was also thinking, that in one sense, Virgo represents the Lake of Estrogen, She is the Great Estrogenic Archetype – and her Polarity is to be found in the Great Gods of Testosterone, like Mars and Saturn.
Estrogen, as has been demonstrated in certain scientific studies, always encourages connectedness, the sense of relating. Virgo as estrogenic, can have nothing to do with Cutting and separating…
Women were the social glue of the community. Men the explorers and journeymen to outer regions.
The women of the Sahara desert control the positioning of the tents. They thus can re-define social space.
The Tent and the Canopy and the Veil, are very evident in Virgo-Veiled Isis – as this Arcanum stands for the Hebrew Letter Beth - likewise in Egypt we find the Goddess linked to the concept of House, Home, Seat, Throne - or even MAAT -
How can there be any SEPARATIO in the House of the WOMB, unless in the sense of a universal aborter?
Those aspects, as mentioned elsewehre, belong to the Devourning Mother, by necessity associated with Saturn.
Isis gathers the Parts of Isis together - How she she be a separator when that action falls to the paterns of Set-Typhon/Saturn – who "dis-members" Osiris?
Is it the estrogen that "re-memebers" and the testoreone that "foregets".? I wonder.
An excellent book, that contains many links between the Tarot and the Ancient Mystery religions, is:
Blakeley, John D.The Mystical Tower of the Tarot, Watkins, London, 1974.
This is the Second Vision – which corresponds to Arcanum 2 of the Egyptian Tarot:
When I retired my Guide led me to the Second Chamber. There I saw a stately Woman deeply veiled, wearing on her head a crown with the crescent moon at top, and on her lap lay a great book closed. With deep respect I prostrated myself before her, saying: ‘Teach me, thou noble woman, that I may learn’. She replied: ‘l am the Recipient - the Passive; I am the complement of that which thou hast seen in the First Chamber. I am the Link between the Unity and Man. I am the Holy Sanctuary. I hold the Book of Knowledge which he only can read who has the power to lift my veil’. And as I contemplated her more steadfastly I saw that her veil grew dimmer and dimmer, until for an instant I beheld the beauty of her face; then she vanished from my sight.
A FURTHER NOTE ON ARCANUM 8
Amongst the rich cluster of symbols and images in Arcanum 8 - there are two transmissions of particular interest – in the following sense:
C.C.Zain describes Her thus:
"…in her right hand a raised sword, in her left hand a balance, and from her brow the sacred serpent thrusts its head."
1.) SCALES [LEFT]
2.) SWORD [RIGHT]
The Sword has a very rich symbolic tradition, expressed in the Story of Solomon, where it is the Sword of Discriminating Wisdom in the Hands of the Wise Solar King. In the negative sense of discrimination – in South Africa we had racial discrimination, or Apartheid.
Apartheid, as well as discrimination, are not only negative – but are very much part of the separatio process, as indicated by Arcanum 8.
The separatio of quicksilver is different to cutting the child in half.
The One becomes the Many, and the Many returns to the One. But a baby boy that has been chopped in half remains a dead child. We cannot compare the Mercurial separation with infanticide.
What I am saying, is that some processes of separatio seem to have an inbuilt tendency towards UNION, other not.
I think it was in the Theosophical literature, that I first read about the Great Heresy of Separateness – Divide and Rule. Apartheid.
Therefore I think it is important to not be too reductional with the Tarot.
All humankind is bimodal, i.e. the common knowledge of the hemispheres of the brain etc. Perhaps all sentient beings are bi-modal. Perhaps Quasars are bi-modal. Let’s think big!
Bi-modality, or polarity , runs through the Tarot like a great dualistic stream - and it is this Two-ness which is expressed in Arcanum 2 – Veiled Isis, as Two Pillars.
In the sense of Pythagorean Numbers – Arcanum 2 – is the "gestalt" of Two.
These Two Pillars, which have a vast and deep history - will receive further attention in due course.
In this system, they are identified with Jachin and Boaz [various spellings] - two central and key concepts common both to the Kabbalah and to Freemasonry. And evidenced in certain mystical tendencies within Islam.
Recently, there has been extensive speculation on the Templars, in Scotland, and many fine books have been published on the Two Pillars in the Sinclair Chapel at Rosslyn in Scotland.
These Templar connections can actually amplfy our explorations into Arcanum 2 – because Veiled Isis is not separate from the archetype of The Black Madonna. The key to the Black Madonnas, and the Mary Worship in general, which emerged parallel to the Birth of the Gothic style, and the emergence of the Cisterians, and the Templars in France.
Many myths take us back to an Egyptian connection. It must be remembered that the Holy Family fled to Egypt for safety, and that the Egyptian Christian Church, or as it eventually became known, the Coptic Church, has very ancient roots. These roots, re-emerge in the tales of Members of the Holy Family reaching Southern France – but more on that one anon…
TAROT NEWS AND A NOTE on THE ARCHETYPE
Ellen Z. Uecker sent notification of her site at:
She writes, in an online article at that site entitled:THE PSYCHODYNAMICS OF TAROT IMAGERY, By Ellen Z. Uecker, OTR, [refering to the book "Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey" by Sallie Nichols:
"According to Nichols, Jung had specifically acknowledged that the Tarot had its origin in the archetypal images of the "collective unconscious."
C.G.Jung, of course, wrote extensively on the archetype – and there is enough material to be used in and out of the context in which Jung had set the statement.
"…a psychological fact of prime importance: the indefiniteness of the archetype with its multitude of meanings, all presenting different facets of a single, simple truth."
Psychology of the Transference, p.126
To this I would add, yes, the archetype has an "indefiniteness" but it also is very "definite."
Or at least that:
"The Truth, Lies Somewhere Between These Advocated Extremes."
Samten de Wet
A FINAL NOTE
Rather like the film Stargate – when all the hieroglyphs OR THE ARCHETYPES - are in position, then the Gate opens. When we corrupt readings of the symbols or hieroglyphics - OR THE ARCHETYPES - no energy doors will open.
We will remain calcified in our opinions and dogmas.
Likewise, if we change the keys of the piano – we will NOT receive the same music.
NEWSLETTER NUMBER 3 -08th December 1999
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I have just placed the following text – with illustrations on the LUXLAPIS site:
The Text is in two Parts:
This is the URL:
This text is significant in relation to Tree Symbolism in Arcanum 12 of the Tarot.
I am not sure whether copyright has expired on the text – but I will ask in Amsterdam – before making it official. This is a Preview.
NOTE: I will be leaving Italy on Sunday 12th december 1999 – so no further correspondence to this email address.
Thanks you. Further details below.
NEWSLETTER NUMBER 02 -25th November 1999
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The work on the Tarot is progressing well. This week I have been concentrating on an area that I have neglected – which is Arcanum 8 – The Balance.
In all respect – to the multitude of versions of the Tarot which exist, I would like to paraphrase something that C.G.Jung said.
" My business is merely the natural science of the psyche, and my main concern to establish the facts. How these facts are named and what further interpretation is then placed upon them is of secondary importance. Natural science is not a science of words and ideas, but of facts. I am no terminological rigorist — call the existing symbols "wholeness," "self," "consciousness," "higher ego," or what you will, it makes little difference. I for my part only try not to give any false or misleading names. All these terms are simply names for the facts that alone carry weight."
The Psychology of the Transference, pp. 157-158.
Contained within this quotation – is a core idea that applis to the Tarot. Though Jung is talking about the "psyche" "self" etc - with the Tarot, it is also the "facts that alone carry weight."
What is this "weight" that they carry?
And what has "weight" to do with "archetype? "
Strange questions, and quotations out of context.
But bear with me , and read between the lines of the above. Find your own connections.
The word "weight" in both the Tarot and Astrology, can only be connected with the heavy Planet Saturn - which through millenia of cultural history, has always given humanity a hard time. In the greater sense, Arcanum 8 cannot be studied without reference to Arcanum 15.
"Weight" and "hardness", the Testing of the Dweller on the Threshold – these all lead us to the House of Saturn – Capricorn – where we see the Operation of Weighing.
To repeat, in all respect – to the multitude of versions of the Tarot which exist, and the countless attributions of the Major Arcana – it is only the Facts that count.
The Jungian Edward Edinger, who recently died in Los Angeles at a ripe old age - in his work ‘The Anatomy of the Psyche’ has given more facts, that associate Arcanum 8 of the Sacred Tarot, with the Alchemical Operation of SEPARATIO.
I suggest that you acquaint yourself with this book.
"Measurements, numbering, weighing, and quantitative consciousness in general belong to the operation of the separatio. So, likewise, do applied arithmetic, the geometrical imagery of lines, planes, and solids, and the surveyor’s and navigator’s procedures of setting boundaries, measuring distances, and establishing locations within a system of co-ordinates. Thus, compass, ruler, square, scales, sextant, and plumb line all pertain to serparatio, as do clocks and other modes of temporal reckoning. The very categories of time and space, the foundation of conscious existence, of a product of separatio." (see figure 7 - 9). Edinger, Psyche. p.197
What is very inetersting here – is that the plumb line – usually is made with a piece of LEAD attached to a string. In Italian, LEAD IS PIOMBO – we see the word at all petrol stations to indicate where petrol is without LEAD, i.e. sensa piombo.
To be without LEAD, is to be without WEIGHT.
Time, of course, is Kronos, the Greek God of Time, whose equivalent is Saturnus, Arcanum 15.
Aion is another Time God connected to Arcanum 8 and Arcanum 15.
Again, in all respect, as we gather the evidence and the archetypal material – I cannot see how Arcanum 8 can be attributed to the Number 20 – as in one case.
The Number EIGHT is of supreme significance to the Matter of weighing and Balance.
This can be traced to the Egyptian Goddess MAAT – the syzergy of THOTH.
There are secret Hermetic undercurrents in all this.
Central to EIGHTNESS – is the OGDOAD.
It is necessary to amplify this EIGHT-ASPECTED archehtype, especially in ancient Egypt.
Again, we are NOT concerned with concrete attributions in the Hermetic, or Archetypal Tarot – because EIGHT cannot exisit without its CENTRE – which in this case will produce NINE.
NINE ALSO CONTAINS THE INFLUENCE OF SATURN IN Aquarius.
But more of that later.
The one image that is seen in the Egyptian Tarot – is that of the WEIGHING SCALES.
As part of out Archetypal History, we should trace the manner in which this image found a home in the Tarot.
Also, we have to look at Images that exist in a tradition before they emerged in the constellation of the Tarot – and images that were freshly inserted at the point of the Tarot’s emergence in the Medieval times.
These factors will have to be amplified and dealt with in the TRANSMISSION OF THE IMAGE portfolio.
But, as a brief preview – let us look at this quotation from Brandon:
"In the comparative study of religion there is a motif which, though of minor significance, has both a great intrinsic interest and a fascinating iconography. It is the psychostasia, or weighing of the soul. Although the term psychostasia will frequently be used in this essay as a convenient designation, it will quickly be seen that it is not an exact one. In the idea, as it occurs in many religions, of a fateful assessment by weighing made immediately before or after death, what is then weighed varies greatly — often, as we shall see, it is not the soul. What is weighed, however, is always an entity regarded as being peculiarly representative of an individual human being."
Brandon, S.G.F. The Weighing of the Soul, in: Kitagawa, Joseph M. and Long, Charles H. (eds.) Myths and Symbols, Studies in Honor of Mircea Eliade, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1967. 91- 110.
This is a very important essay, and it points in the right direction.
Beverly Moon writes:
"The motif of the weighing of souls appeared in Christian art during the late Middle Ages. This eschatological motif came into Christianity by way of ancient Egypt and recalls the Weighing of the Heart, a postmortem rite described in Egyptian mythology during which the heart of the deceased was weighed on a balance together with the feather of truth."
From: Moon, Beverly (Editor) An Encyclopedia of Archetypal Symbolism, London & Boston: Shambhala, 1991. The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism.
Now here we have the idea that this image can be traced to Ancient Egypt.
Let me pause here for a moment, to cast a bitter words in the direction of certain writers on the Tarot. I have seen how they heap abuse on any suggestion that the Tarot can be traced to Ancient Egypt.
And yet, this is a completely unscientific view.
The birth of monasticism was dependent on the Coptic Egyptian Church – the Celtic Church, which claimed an earlier transmission to the Latin Church also transmited the image of the psychostasia which we see on the East Side of Muiredach Cross, Monasterboice, County Louth, Ireland, dated to about 900-923 A.D.
We see the psychostasia, on a limestone relief from the lower right tympanum, of the west portal of the Cathedral of Saint Lazare, Autun, France, Circa 1125 - 1135 B.C. This is by the great sculptor Giselbertus.
And we also see the psychostasia on the facade of Norte Dame.
There is much more literature, more facts, bibliographies, material to be studied – to clarify the actual route of transmission of this image.
Let me end this brief overview and short survey with another quotation from Brandon:
"Phenomenologically this Egyptian conception of the judgment of the dead is unique both in chronological precedence and in the elaborate form of its presentation. The idea subsequently found expression in many other religions, most notably in medieval Christianity. In some instances Egyptian influence can be traced, or reasonably assumed, but in none did the notion acquire so dominant a significance as it did in Egypt."
From: Brandon, S.G.F. The Weighing of the Soul, p. 99.
I have gathered together some images, and they will be posted, plus the fleshed out version of this Newsletter on the Website soon.
Then – there will be details on the other symbols that are clustered around Arcanum 8.
Also in progress is a massive amount of material on TREE And FISH Symbolism in Arcanum 12.
Samten de Wet.
NEWSLETTER NUMBER 01
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15th November 1999
Welcome aboard this little vehicle for exploring the magnificent system know in its outward form as The Sacred Tarot.
The first task that awaits us is to define the territory, to map out the route ahead - and to lay down a few rules and regulations.
There will be 22 Archetypal Folders - numbered from 1 - 22 - which will be available from the T.A.T. Index Page - and hyperlinked throughout the material.
ALL material, questions and answers will be filed under these 22 Headings of the Major Arcana - to start with - we can introduce the Minor Arcana later.
Remember, this is a learning curve process for both me - and for the experimental process of designing - that will unfold as we go along.
This is NOT an Unmoderated Forum.
This is not a space for discursive or disruptive activities.
In this work, the evidence must speak for itself.
All the material posted on the Website and material received, will undergo constant re-shaping and re-editing - as is fit for a system of great volatility such as the Tarot.
Forms, within Forms will emerge as we go along.
At the moment - I am keen to start along certain lines - i.e.
THE HISTORY OF THE TAROT
THE TAROT AS A SYSTEM OF REVELATION
THE TAROT AS A HERMETIC SYSTEM
THE TAROT AS A HIEROPHANTIC SYSTEM
GNOSTIC SPECULATIONS ON THE TAROT
THE VISUAL TRANSMISSIONS ENCODED WITHIN THE TAROT
and so forth.
We will proceed carefully.
In this work the Tarot will NOT be used on a mundane level i.e. for personal problems.
Some material has now been posted on the T.A.T. site.
Please let me know if the pages are functioning.
Also, as of now, there is an ongoing.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Section.
[Now posted on site yet, as no questions have been received to date!]
Secondly, many friends will come on board, who are already authorities in their field, who have published and worked with the Tarot.
I hope they will share their expert knowledge - especially in the matter of Bibliographical Work - and for identifying material that will be of use for further research - and especially WEBPAGES and OTHER SITES.
The first WEBSITE for this newsletter is that of:
The Encyclopedia of the Tarot - published by U.S.Games Systems, is I think, now in three volumes. Author and Director of U.S.G.S., Stuart Kaplan has gathered together a vast array of Tarot decks from the past 500 years. Now online, besides being a commercial site - there are interesting links, lots of pictures and it is worth exploring... http://usgamesinc.com/
Let me know what you think…
THIS was posted in the UROBOROS Newsletter:
"I was delighted to receive some email from complete strangers, soon to be friends,who stumbled onto the Lux Lapis Web Page - a mere drop in the cyber ocean.
Have just launched a small, experimental TAROT section - more in the nature of a Notebook - as I am still reluctant to launch the bulk of my Tarot researches in the hope that it will mature into a book. [Heard that one before?] The Tarot on the Web has reached industrial proportions - and I would say about 95% of it is worthless. But to clear the debris in my own mind - the Tarot Newsletter [ the first will be out soon] - will be a form of online musing about problems. Everything will be archived at the Tarot site. And here it is:
T.A.T. THE ARCHETYPAL TAROT
Samten de Wet
01 Nov 1999 - From: "Robert G. Longpré. Subject: THE ARCHETYPAL TAROT
Thank you for offering the opportunity to receive your posts on the archetypal tarot. I look forward to all of your posts and wish that I had more to offer you in the way of news and ideas. However, life is leading me and I follow where it leads. As list-owner of the JUNG-L list I have learned much that leads only to more need to continue learning. Your posts help with this.
Here in Canada though it is far removed from people by distance (less that a million people here in my part of the country in the same surface area as France), in this small community of less than 300 souls, I feel little isolation because of the Internet. I do have a question of the Tarot should you ever have the time and energy to use the cards. I hesitate to say more knowing that you have chosen with care with whom you share your time and energy in this cyberspace. I wonder how it is that you found me and included me in this grand design of yours. Or, did I in some unconscious manner open the door for you. I wonder how this fits with the journey I am on, a journey that perhaps is bigger than I would ever be willing to admit to aloud or even in a whisper to myself. I hope that this silly note/mote finds you well.
in interational friendship
in friendship across time
in unconscious communion
Robert (rgl) Longpre
31st October 1999
Visited your site. The images are very satisfying, and it's nice to see them all together. Do you think you could add the names of the cards in text and a rough translation? I can't always make the words out. It would be excellent to be able to trace the cards historically through links.
Presumably you will eventually put a more standard set of 22 trumps on too, with some links between the two sets? Even the Gyppo taro ought to find a place!
31st October 1999
Dear Mike, Thanks for yours.
At the moment only the images are posted - on purpose. As I mentioned, the critical appartus and links, labels, history, bibliography, and so forth - is under development in the text section. But there again - it is not a one-way stream and you are welcome to add your comments - which will be archived in 50 compartments according to each of the Arcana. Please contribute!
Love and Peace, Samten.
This letter will go into the T.A.T. archives.
Sat, 30 Oct 1999
From: "Mary K. Greer"
Subject: Re: THE ARCHETYPAL TAROT
Yes - please subscribe me to your newsletter. Mary K. Greer
30th October 1999
As part of the ongoing Work – I am going to separate certain facets of the research into compartments – to facilitate group mailing according to needs and general interests.
This is to annouce a NEW NEWSLETTER – and WEBSITE:
T.A.T. - THE ARCHETYPAL TAROT
This Newsletter and Website – will contain my personal research into the Sacred Tarot over the past 30 years. Development of this site will take place slowly, and according to organic growth. At present I have placed the entire Tarot of Mantegna images here –
This Newsletter and Site will also include references to Tarot Sites, Bibliography and Other Material - plus the Archives of the T.A.T. Newsletter, and other related material. I am also keen to build a database on The History of the Tarot.
The Newsletter will be posted at very irregular periods – and will not burden your incoming mail folder.
CONSULATATION - QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
I am particularly interested in maintaining a relationship with the friends who have come to me for Tarot Consulations over the past few decades. Where possible, I would like to make reference to these readings, if I have the information on my data base, or if you still have the data.
Unfortunately, time does not allow for many personal consulations - except a few appointments in person, or if need arises, via email.
Nevertheless – open ended - QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS – on the Macrocosmic Nature of the Tarot and its Microcosmic application to the individual will be dealt with in the Newsletter. In other words, feel free to answer questions.
If the volume increases to such an extent – I will transform the project into an automated Discussion Forum.
The System used will be the Egyptian Tarot, as published by The Church of Light, in the book ‘The Sacred Tarot’ by C.C.Zain.
The Church of Light has a Website at: http://www.light.org
This will be the only mailing on the subject.
If you wish to receive the Archetypal Tarot Newsletter – please reply to this email – and you address will be placed on the list.
News about the T.A.T. Project will also be posted on the general Uroboros Newsletter – where in any event, you can follow developments.
Samten de Wet.
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