Breaking Free Of The Hero Myth
We humans have evolved from the days of passing information down through stories told around a campfire.
Those ancient tales served as instructional tools for elders to explain the wonders and horrors of the world around them, teach children what it takes to become an adult, and perpetuate tribal legacy.
The Hero’s Journey was a tool for adolescents to learn their role in the community, echoing the cycles of life.
It’s not surprising that mythologist Joseph Campbell saw variations of this universal story structure in nearly every culture he studied. We can still easily recognize the same Hero’s Journey model in our 21st century mass media.
But the storyline hasn’t evolved: Hero leaves for the quest, learns from the mentor, fights the monsters, dies and resurrects, finds his power, returns with the elixir. Wash, rinse, repeat, ad infinitum. Mass media has been stuck in an endless and simplified stage of the Hero’s Journey.
The mainstream is full of these savior narratives, thanks to a plethora of superhero movies, television shows, and comic books. Our narrative sensibility—a reflection of our developmental stage as a civilization—remains mired in perpetual adolescence.
Mass media focuses on the simplest form of the Hero’s Journey—the masculine form—and perpetuates the drama triangle, an ever-present tension where characters take turns putting on certain masks (whether knowingly or through circumstance) of the Victim, the Persecutor, and the Hero/Savior. As an audience we have no choice but to identify with one of those three. The hero-savior archetype usually sacrifices something in order to save us all. And in our deep-seated expectation that a hero will rise to save us, we give our own power away.
Someone who will make a difference always arrives in the nick of time, don’t they?
In a world where we all need to roll up our sleeves and get to work on huge challenges ranging from runaway climate change to poverty and inequality, the paradigm of the hero-savior, endlessly repeated throughout the media, actually disempowers us. We need alternative narratives that show empowered and diverse people taking on the biggest challenges and coming together to transform a situation, not just ‘save the day.’
The Gendered Journey
As a first step on the journey to evolve the global narrative toward an inclusive one, let’s consider making room at the table for the Gendered Journey.
Joseph Campbell gave us an amazing model from which our journey can draw inspiration, but his model is not without fault. Many critics point out that it is a predominately male-centric model. The journey perpetuates masculine patterns within its steps: aggression, persistent conflict, linear thinking, violence, and the feminine depicted as either a temptress or goddess.
Over the past few millennia, the patriarchal narrative has been undoubtedly the ruling one, and I believe this dominance has led us to the predicament we are in now.
The perpetuated narratives of conflicts with an enemy or nature no longer serve us. There needs to be an awakening and understanding that we are strengthened by one another and that we are nature. It is time to evolve beyond a narrative that is overwhelmingly biased toward the masculine archetypes of the Hero/Savior.
There have been attempts to develop a heroine’s journey model, akin to Campbell, but trying to rebuild the same circular hero’s journey and to apply it to the feminine might be missing the point. There have been new heroines’ voices appearing in media—from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games—but on the whole they follow the same varnished formula as their muscle-bound counterparts. All we have done is changed the gender.
The Heroine does not necessarily need to leave the old world; instead, she transforms the world—transforming the old world into its next evolution. Women do not need to go out and conquer; they don’t need to leave the nest and collect items to make the home or even hometown better. When a strong female character is involved, the narrative is multi-dimentional. Women invite the tribe to be part of their journey and are empowering to the collective. The power of the feminine is about transforming nothing into something.
An emergent narrative can be offered that is much more complex, nonlinear, networked, and exciting. The Gendered Journey can encompass the masculine, feminine, and two-spirited journey, which can be any of the rainbow colored genders. These are journeys of coming out, waking up to how one truly defines oneself, and being proud and empowered by the journey. How can we ever create a thriving and balanced global civilization when our basic stories are outmoded, violent, unmindful, and needlessly one-sided?
This is beyond a call to action—it’s a wakeup call!—to create more narratives with evolved archetypes that tell the story of the world we know is possible.
The Collective Journey
Imagine this scenario: The human race has made its first contact with an intelligent alien civilization. You are the one chosen to go and represent humanity and the planet Earth as we make the first close encounter of the third kind with our new galactic neighbors.
What story will you tell?
How do you synthesize a whole planet’s existence into a few sentences?
The narrative of humanity and the Earth as one system can be referred to as the metanarrative—the synthesis of all stories, experiences, history, ideas, and beliefs of all humanity. It is comprised of the narratives of all who ever lived, an intertwining of stories reaching from the dawn of humanity and stretching to our destiny. It is the essence of what it means to be human.
Humanity is changing at a rapid pace. We live in a different world from our ancestors, facing very different challenges. Our civilization is moving towards a global reality. The old myths do not recount or prophesize how we engage humanity as a whole. We do not have a Hero’s Journey that tells the trials and tribulations of a collective of diverse peoples.
New narratives are important in times of great transformations.
The Collective Journey Rises
The Collective Journey is a nonlinear, multiplatform, physical and digital experience and story of several diverse people, groups, tribes, cultures, and networks coming together for a higher purpose and a common cause. In their journeys, they move beyond their own individual experiences to a cohesive collective that is both the sum of all individuals and also a new entity entirely. They move between physical interactions in real space to online digital interactions in cyberspace.
Our technological advancement, mobile and urban lives, the Internet, and even journeys into outer space have all created the circumstances for the rise of the Collective Journey.
On December 7, 1972, the Apollo 17 crew took the famous photo of the Earth, dubbed “Blue Marble,” from space. This was the first time we saw our planet from an outside perspective and in its entirety. It gave us our entry point to start considering the idea of a planetary society. Similarly, the Collective Journey can help us move from the individual narrative into a far greater narrative with a global perspective of humanity.
The Collective Journey can become a tool for social movements and climate change groups, and it can empower us to change political narratives in geographical areas. These are stories of empowerment that are accepting of all voices and can bring forth positive change. We are still in the very early stages of this journey. We don’t yet have the full vocabulary to tell this epic Collective Journey.
As such, it cannot be a singular narrative. It must converge many voices of different genders, ethnicities, ages, and opinions in a nonlinear fashion.
Glimpses are starting to show up in many fringe areas and countercultures around the world: At Burning Man, the counterculture festival in the Black Rock desert of Nevada, and at the startups, hackerspaces, makerspaces, and collaborative co-working spaces popping up in major cities across the globe. People are creating new technologies, new social structures, and new ways of working that differ from the hierarchal structures of the past. New collective mythologies are being created and remixed.
Developing a fixed and linear model for such a fluid, multidimensional, and ever-evolving complex system is not a simple task, but here is my attempt at a starting point (see diagram).
The model is a simplistic representation of the stages that may occur, told linearly (as is the default when reading this digital, 2-dimensional page).
The digital interbeing that is the Internet can be a frightening place, harbouring extremely angry and polarizing voices, but if we look closely we can see a new and inclusive narrative emerging through diverse groups. Virtual worlds, augmented worlds, massively multiplayer online games, and other immersive spaces and technologies will hail an era where more collective experiences can emerge. New forms of narratives will evolve to work within these spaces. We are at the very beginning of creating the playground for the Collective Journey to come to pass.
How can we align the entire human race to powerfully choose a narrative that serves humanity as a whole?
We are more connected than at any other time in human history. We are standing at the threshold of a future, which we can help forge. But in order to do so, we must deeply understand the collective approach in the same way that we have understood the individual heroic approach.
It’s time to start writing humanity’s epic story together!
For a deeper dive into these ideas, read the The New Human Narrative ebook.
(Featured Image Credit: Maya Zuckerman)
Female Sorcerer’s Fascinating Arsenal of Charms Discovered In Pompeii
- The Facts:
On August 12th archaeologists uncovered a trove of jewels in Pompeii that are thought to have been part of a 'sorcerer's treasure trove' used to bring fortune and fertility, and protect against bad luck.
- Reflect On:
As we dive into all of the magic that crystals, amulets, and similar tools have in this day & age, it's even more magical to see this latest finding & remember that we have been utilizing such tools for as long as we can look back all over the world.
My initial reaction to this story was, ‘WOAH. I love and have to share this!’
As someone who has gone on a very specific path in life, my journey has been filled with tools much like these. I am forever fascinated by all things magic (you can tune into my interview with Collective Evolution The Magic Within on CETV to understand this even further if you wish) and when news like this pops into my frequency, it solely reaffirms that there are so many of us out here and that energetic practices are, of course, nothing new.
On August 12th archaeologists in Pompeii discovered an array of amulets, gems, and lucky charms thought by researchers to have belonged to a female sorcerer who could have been a victim of the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius more than 2,000 years ago.
More than 100 miniature objects were found in a wooden crate which had all but decomposed except for its bronze hinges. The findings include miniature dolls, phallic amulets, necklace beads, and a tiny skull among other objects made of bone, bronze, glass, and amber. The researchers have come to the hypothesis that they were likely used for adornment or protection by a woman in the years before Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, which later buried the city and its population in volcanic ash.
“They are objects of everyday life in the female world and are extraordinary because they tell micro-stories and biographies of the inhabitants of the city who tried to escape the eruption,” said Pompeii’s general director, Massimo Osanna, in a statement.
See items from the treasure trove below.
“The objects… were found at the Casa del Giardino, the same area where an inscription was recently uncovered that made historians change the date of when they think the Vesuvius eruption that destroyed Pompeii took place, shifting it from August 24 to October 24 79 AD.” – ANSA
At this very location, the researchers also discovered a room containing the bodies of ten victims, which included women and children. Archaeologists will use DNA analysis to determine if the victims were related. “Perhaps the precious box belonged to one of these victims,” Osanna suggested. “The iconography of the objects and amulets invoke fortune, fertility, and protection against bad luck,” Osanna said. He has suggested to the Italian news agency Ansa that it could have been a “sorcerer’s treasure trove.”
Since there was no gold found in the trove, it is likely these objects belonged to a servant or a slave, rather than the owner of the house, Osanna told Ansa.
The jewelry will go on display soon at Pompeii’s Palestra Grande in an exhibition set to be a follow-up to its recently closed show on Roman jewelry called “Vanity.”
Though the past potential usage for these items is stressed to be simply a hypothesis at this time, it is incredible to simply see and imagine the time they existed in through these images.
As humans in a material, physical, 3D world, we ourselves are continuously building our own treasure troves in a way. Every piece of jewelry or product we purchase, find, or create flows its way into our homes, cars, pockets, backpacks, etc. and in the end shall remain and live on well beyond us to share a glimpse into our story. What would you like to leave behind? A trunk filled with magical amulets, or a legendary story (or both)?
Though it is nearly impossible to always be thinking of this when adding more ‘stuff’ into our lives, I do believe it serves as a good reflection point that these things are simply that – things – and that the real magic lies within each and every one of us. Remember that the energy and intentions that we at times give to others, things, or tools, is always coming from & through US.
Now, this is not to say that treasures themselves can not be treasured. If you just so happen to love the look, feel, and energy that they give off or wish to utilize these physical objects as an extension of yourself, by all means (and I get it – I’m with you!). As a final note, however, from a real-life gem collector to the hearts of all of you, know that the answer, the love, the magic IS YOU.
Scientists Show How Silence Literally Alters Our Biology
- The Facts:
Studies have shown that excessive environmental noise not only decreases one's quality of life and cognitive function, but also reduces lifespan. The good news is that spending time in silence can reverse these effects.
- Reflect On:
Are you living in an environment that is consistently loud? Do you take much time for intended silence? Have you tried the 5 Days of You Challenge?
If you’re the average person, you wake up to the sound of an alarm. That alarm sends you to the bathroom where you quickly get yourself ready for your workday. If you have the time, you might eat something before jumping into your car to listen to music or the radio while you sit in traffic on your way to work.
Once you get there, it’s all people, customers, co-workers, cars, trucks, planes, lawn mowers, construction, phone calls, and tasks for the next 8 hours. These noises that most of us experience in excess send our bodies into stress states, decreasing our quality of life and potentially reducing our lifespan. It appears that noise, in excess, is not healthy for humans. Silence, on the other hand, can have huge benefits, but let’s explore the damage caused by noise before we get to the benefits of silence.
Before we get into the research, I’d like to note that the word ‘noise’ is said to come from the Latin word nausea, or the Latin word noxia, meaning seasickness, sickness, hurt, damage, or injury. Is it any wonder ‘noise’ is not healthy for us?
Outside of your anecdotal reflection, there is scientific evidence that supports the negative effects of noise on our health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) examined and quantified its health burden based on a European study that involved 340 million people living in Western Europe. It found that residents were cumulatively losing about a million years off their lives due to noise every year. That’s like one in every three people losing an entire year off their life due to excessive noise!
A study that was published in 2011 in Psychological Science examined the effects Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Professor Gary W. Evans of Cornell University noted that the children who were exposed to noise developed a stress response that caused them to ignore the noise. These children not only ignored harmful noises, but also regular stimuli that are important to pay attention to like speech. Wonder why people have trouble paying attention these days? Perhaps we are exposed to too much noise and too many sounds.
This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise–even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage–causes stress and is harmful to humans. – Professor Gary Evans
Going back to anecdotal evidence for a moment, I always find that staying with my friends who live in cities produces a much more uncomfortable situation for myself than when I’m in more quiet situations, or living at my quiet, somewhat isolated home in nature. I always share with friends that the environment of living in a city seems to be unhealthy; not just the air, but the energy, hustle and bustle, and the noise as well. Reading these studies clearly illustrates that it does not appear to be natural or healthy for humans to live or work in loud environments every day.
Noise has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, tinnitus, and loss of sleep. Living in consistently noisy environments will cause you to experience much higher levels of these harmful hormones. Of course, there is something you can do about this should you take action on it, but it requires that–action.
The Benefits of Silence
Again, pointing to anecdotal evidence for a moment, think back to the moments where you were on your own, retreating to the cottage or somewhere else quiet. Did you notice how often you NOTICED the silence? Not only that, but you likely felt a lot better after 3 or 4 hours of being there.
It isn’t just cleaner air or taking some time away from work, it’s the silence and lack of distraction. This can be observed by playing loud music and partying the entire time at a cottage as well. You’ll realize it isn’t relaxing, but simply another distraction. When you contrast the two different experiences, the benefits become more clear.
An interesting study observed the effects of noise, music, and silence on the brain. The study was published in the journal Heart and found that the two minute pauses randomly placed between the ‘relaxing music’ in the study were far more relaxing for the brain than the relaxing music. The longer the silence, the more benefits experienced by the participants. Study author L. Bernardi found that his ‘irrelevant’ blank pauses were the most important aspects of the study. Silence is heightened by contrast.
What You Can Do & The Takeaway
So, what can you do if you experience a lot of noise and are looking to avoid loud noises or simply take a break? Firstly, the good news is that the brain recovers from too much noise over time. According to the attention restoration theory, the brain’s finite cognitive resources can begin restoring when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input. In silence, the brain essentially lets down its sensory guard and restores some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.
The practical end of this would look like making an extra effort to be or spend time in silence. This means no music, movies, friends, conversations, phone chimes, etc, even if it’s only for 30 minutes or an hour each day.
This silence would not only allow your brain to restore its cognitive functions like creativity, but it can give you the opportunity to disconnect, quiet down and connect with yourself as well.
Years ago, I created a challenge called the 5 Days of You Challenge that’s designed to do just that – help people slow down, reduce noise and distraction, and connect deeper with themselves. Over the years, I have sent 180,000 people through this challenge and it has resulted in an incredible number of positive transformations.
If you’re looking to:
- Clear emotional blocks
- Connect deeply with yourself
- Find more peace in your life
- Develop greater self-awareness and presence
- Slow down and enjoy life more
Then this challenge is something I highly recommend. I’ve made this challenge available to everyone to experience for free. You can check it out on CETV here.
Reiki Is Now Reaching The Top Hospitals In The US
- The Facts:
Reiki, a healing practice that focuses human intention in order to heal another with touch, or at a distance, is starting to be offered at multiple hospitals in America. This is due to scientific publications as well as patient feedback.
- Reflect On:
Why have ancient practices like this, ones that have an unexpected amount of scientific validity and patient success, been shunned by the mainstream medical community? Is it because the medical industry can't make money off of it?
Dr. Jessica Utts, the Chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of California and a professor there since 2008, published a paper in 1999 showing that parapsychological studies and their results are far more statistically significant than the studies that are used to approve some of our medications. Not long ago, she expressed:
“What convinced me was just the evidence, the accumulating evidence as I worked in this field and I got to see more and more of the evidence. I visited the laboratories, even beyond where I was working to see what they were doing and I could see that they had really tight controls… and so I got convinced by the good science that I saw being done. And in fat I will say as a statistician I’ve consulted in a lot of different areas of science; the methodology and the controls on these experiments are tighter than any other area of science where I’ve worked.” (source)
In fact, in 1999 she published a paper published a paper showing that parapsychological experiments have produced much stronger results than those showing a daily dose of aspirin helping to prevent heart attacks.
Here, she’s talking specifically about remote viewing, but she’s also referring to parapsychology, which includes distant healing and Reiki. Reiki is a very specific form of energy healing in which hands are placed just above the body or lightly touching the body, as in “laying on of hands.” Reiki can also be done “long distance” as a form of prayer.
This deals directly with human intention and whether or not our thoughts can have a direct effect on our biology. We already know that human intention can have a direct effect on our physical material world in multiple ways. This document I obtained from the CIA’s electronic reading room titled, “Paranormal Ability To Break Through Spatial Barriers” clearly outlines that, and it’s only one of dozens of examples.
Studies within quantum physics also illustrate this fact. For example, a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Physics Essays explains how this experiment has been used multiple times to explore the role of consciousness in shaping the nature of physical reality. Human intention, via meditators, was able to actually collapse the quantum wave function. The meditators were the “observer” in this case.
In fact, the author points out in his lecture that a “5 sigma” result was able to give CERN the Nobel Prize in 2013 for finding the Higgs particle (which turned out not to be Higgs after all). In this study, they also received a 5 sigma result when testing meditators against non-meditators in collapsing the quantum wave function. This means that mental activity (the human mind, attention, intention, consciousness) compelled physical matter to act in a certain way.
“Observations not only disturb what has to be measured, they produce it. . . . We compel [the electron] to assume a definite position. . . . We ourselves produce the results of the measurement.”
A recent study has found that healing intentions and energy can be stored and used to treat breast cancer cells in vitro. It’s one of many examples of mind-matter interaction and the mind-body connection. You can read more about that and access the study here.
There are so many examples, and I just wanted to provide a brief background and overview. There are thousands of papers out there examining the effects of human intention, and this theory dates back thousands of years, from ancient cultures and indigenous peoples throughout all periods of history.
The popularity of this practice is exemplified by the fact that, as of 2000, there were more ‘distant healers’ in the United Kingdom than therapists practicing any other form of complementary or alternative medicine, and the same goes for the United States. (Barnes PM, Powell-Griner E, McFann K, Nahin RL. Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults: United States, 2002. Adv Data. 2004. May 27;(343):1–19. [PubMed])
Reiki is a type of study that can be grouped into the category of Distant Mental Interactions With Living Systems (DMILS). The effects of distant mental interactions are measured using electrodermal activity, heart rate, blood volume pulse, and electrocortical activity (EEG electrodermal activity, heart rate, blood volume pulse, brain blood oxygenation [MRI], and electrogastrogram [EGG]). These studies have yielded remarkable results, which have since been successfully repeated in laboratories around the world.
DMILS experiments, which relate to distant healing, more clearly indicate the existence of genuine interactions between people from a distance. As Dean Radin, Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), explains:
But the proof-of-principle offered by DMILS experiments more clearly indicates the existence of genuine interactions between distant people. This presents us with an evidence-based enigma worthy of serious consideration. However, for many researchers, the mere concept of distant healing continues to elicit significant resistance for two main reasons. The first is based on the assumption that “action at a distance” is impossible because it violates one or more physical or biological laws. The second is founded on the neuroscience-based assumption that the mind is identical to the brain, in which case it does not make sense to propose that the brain activity we call “healing intention” can interact with anything outside of the brain’s own body. (source)
Below is another great point that really gets to the core of why it’s taken so long to integrate such therapies into hospitals.
There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing. —Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)
But it’s not all about the science, it’s about what patients report and feel, which is why this practice is starting to enter into multiple hospitals in the United States.
The Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine & Digestive Center in Maryland USA offers Reiki to its patients “to create deep relaxation, to help speed healing, reduce pain, and decrease other symptoms you may be experiencing”. They don’t explain its mechanisms, but have wisely adopted Reiki among acupuncture, integrative psychotherapy, and therapeutic massage.
The Mayo Clinic was ranked No. 1 at USNews.com’s Best Hospitals Honor Roll in 2017-18. This is a clear example of an integrative model where the latest developments and technology are applied and the spiritual and emotional needs of the patient during cancer treatment are addressed.
Their Integrative Healing Enhancement Volunteering Program along with the Clinic’s Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program have a wide range of wellbeing and healing services in which Reiki is clearly included. They also have a brief explanation of what Reiki is about.
If this isn’t enough, their Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center has a huge range of services, and guess what? Reiki is in the list of the Relaxation Services.
Considered the 2nd best hospital in Connecticut, the Hartford hospital is also rated as high performing in 6 adult specialties and in 5 procedures and conditions. It is a general medical and surgical facility as well as a teaching hospital. Specially trained Reiki Volunteers give free Reiki sessions throughout the main hospital, the Harry Gray Cancer Center, the Dialysis Unit, and the Brownstone Outpatient Clinic. Patients may request a session through their nurse or physician.
In 1973, the University of Pennsylvania established a cancer center to serve as the focus and stimulus for all cancer-related activities at the University. In 2002 it was renamed the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Reiki Therapy is available for any type of patient, either for the ones that are given infusions or for those receiving treatment in the Radiation Oncology department. This therapy is available at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine.
You can see more examples of hospitals integrating this type of therapy here.
Every individual’s energy affects the collective field environment. The means each person’s emotions and intentions generate an energy that affects the field. A first step in diffusing societal stress in the global field is for each of us to take personal responsibility for our own energies. We can do this by increasing our personal coherence and raising our vibratory rate, which helps us become more conscious of the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that we are feeding the field each day. We have a choice in every moment to take to heart the significance of intentionally managing our energies. This is the free will or local freedom that can create global cohesion. – Dr. Deborah Rozman, the President of Quantum Intech (source)
Did you know that your heart emits electromagnetic fields which change according to your emotions, or that the human heart has a magnetic field that can be measured up to several feet away from the human body? Did you know that positive emotions create physiological benefits in your body, or that you can boost your immune system by conjuring up positive emotions? Did you know that negative emotions can create nervous system chaos, and that positive emotions do the complete opposite?
I thought it was important to mention this, it comes from the work of the scientists at The HeartMath Institute. Look them up if interested.
Our Interview With Dr. Natalie Trent
Dr. Natalie Trent, PhD is a neuroscientist and shamanic energy healer working to integrate the scientific and the mystical. As a scientist, Natalie studies the power of mind-body medicine and spirituality for wellness, healing, and the prevention of illness and disease. Natalie has received media attention for her work and has been interviewed by The Dr. Denise show, Collective Evolution, Michel Pascal, and Juliana Klinkert, and her research has been featured in The New York Times. She appeared in the recent documentaries Expanding Reality and Titanic: Premonitions. Natalie is the author of many scientific publications and two forthcoming books from the award-winning publisher Param Media: Expanding Science: Visions of a Post-Materialist Paradigm is a great example. Natalie has presented her research and given talks to diverse audiences throughout North America and Europe.
You can learn more about her and see her publications by visiting her website.
A couple years ago, I sat down and interviewed her about the subject, which you can see clips from below. If you’re interested, you can watch the full interview here on CETV, a platform we created to combat the censorship we are currently experiencing. Thank you for your support!
There’s a reason why such practices are entering into mainstream medicine, and that’s because they hold a certain degree of scientific validity as well as something that goes beyond science, and that’s the experience patients have with this type of work and how it makes them feel.
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