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James
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27/02/2010 3:12 pm  

It has been said often in these threads that Kenneth Grant’s gematria “doesn’t add up”. It may sound a bizarre question but how much does this matter? Does this mean that it is of no value therefore?
The reason for asking has to do with the nature of methods of divination, of which gematria is one.
All the methods of divination that I have come across have to do with association between things and qualities. That is, for example the martial nature of something, or Libran nature of something. A system assumes an interconnectedness of everything to make up one universe and that the things in that universe all have a qualitative relation to each other and to the whole. A system, whether it is the set of tarot card attributions, I Ching hexagrams or Tree of Life, maps out these connections of qualities via symbolic representations.
Gematria uses numbers to represent these qualities. The thing is that numbers are more commonly used for measurement of quantity but they can also have a qualitative value, such as 1 - for unity, 2 - for opposites etc. Gematria uses a quantitative method to discover the qualitative associations betweens words (and thereby concepts etc.) However, it seems to me that the computation in itself is only a method rather than a sine qua non for discovering associations between quantities. This is because the function of making associations is an intuitive one. In a similar way the doctrine of signatures associates the curative properties of plants to the parts of the human body they seem to look like. However, if you use Culpepper’s associations then you would look for the planetary attributions of a plant and use it to cure a disease of a similar planetary attribution.
There is an anecdote about eleven Chinese generals who have to decide whether or not it would be more strategic to enter into a battle or to retreat; so they vote on it. Three generals vote for battle with eight for making a retreat. They agree, therefore to go into battle, as the number three has associations of unanimity. Here the value placed on a computational majority is second place to the number quality of the result.
So perhaps the question is not whether Kenneth Grant’s method of gematria ‘adds up’ – it doesn’t always seem to – but rather what is the ‘as if’ effect on the reader?
Like others on this site who have an interest in KG’s work I have also had curious synchronicities during spells of immersion during the study of his texts.
IMHO perhaps KG’s work casts doubt on the Crowleyan maxim ‘To synthesize the aim of Religion and the Method of Science.’


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 Anonymous
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27/02/2010 4:09 pm  

I think examples of incorrect Gematria do not devalue the texts of Mr. Grant's work due to the fact that he is not submitting them as proofs, but as springboards. That is how he illustrates the golden thread that jumps from topic to topic. The Gemtaria is in a sense the mortar that holds the bricks of his experiences together.

I am amazed at how many people want to attack his work from a dogmatic, reductionist, or doctrinal angle. His books are about what happened at Nu Isis Lodge. The events that happened, happened. Take the Data, and draw your own conclusions if you like, or better yet, take the Data and experiment as empirically as possible. Then, and only then, can you truly say you are using the Method of Science in service to the Aim of Religion.


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lashtal
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27/02/2010 4:31 pm  
"SSS" wrote:
I am amazed at how many people want to attack his work from a dogmatic, reductionist, or doctrinal angle.

I don't think it helps to consider every criticism, every critique and every expression of bafflement as an 'attack'. It's not representative of what's really happening, it's often intended to avoid responding to genuine questions and concerns and, well, it just sounds very 'sect-like'.

"SSS" wrote:
His books are about what happened at Nu Isis Lodge. The events that happened, happened.

Are you seriously suggesting that the events he describes as happening during the Nu Isis Lodge years actually happened? All of them? Seriously? And is there any independent corroboration of the experiences he describes?

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 Anonymous
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27/02/2010 4:55 pm  
"lashtal" wrote:
Are you seriously suggesting that the events he describes as happening during the Nu Isis Lodge years actually happened? All of them? Seriously? And is there any independent corroboration of the experiences he describes?

I am not quite sure I understand what you mean by the emphasis on the word actually, nor have I even read all of his claims about what did happen.

Is there any independent corroboration of the experiences he describes? I think so, but I am not sure how much corroboration there is.

What I do know is that last year I met Soror Nema, and asked her a few questions about Grants work. She was very enthusiastic about some of it, and critical of some as well.

I have also not seen any one, yet, who is seriously suggesting that his experiences weren't experienced.

To be fair, I probably could have worded what a said a little better. I did not intend to imply that I know what happened at Nu Isis Lodge. My main point was intended to be that the validity of Mr. Grants work should be tested in the Temple.

And Adonai said: The strong brown reaper swept his swathe and rejoiced. The wise man counted his muscles, and pondered, and understood not, and was sad.
Reap thou, and rejoice!
Liber Cordis Cincti Serpenti 1:56


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Michael Staley
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27/02/2010 5:28 pm  
"lashtal" wrote:
I don't think it helps to consider every criticism, every critique and every expression of bafflement as an 'attack'. It's not representative of what's really happening, it's often intended to avoid responding to genuine questions and concerns and, well, it just sounds very 'sect-like'.

I do agree that some of us drawn to Grant's work have at times a siege mentality, for various reasons. I agree that it's not helpful, and we'd do well to abandon it.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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lashtal
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28/02/2010 1:28 am  
"lashtal" wrote:
Are you seriously suggesting that the events he describes as happening during the Nu Isis Lodge years actually happened? All of them? Seriously? And is there any independent corroboration of the experiences he describes?

In the mix, you appear not to have responded to this question, beyond your assertion that:

"SSS" wrote:
I have also not seen any one, yet, who is seriously suggesting that his experiences weren't experienced.

Let's ignore for the time being the observation that Dave Evans has, indeed, done so and take it as read that I have grave doubts that Grant even intended for his accounts to be taken literally, what's your take on this? And on what do you base your opinion?

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michaelclarke18
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28/02/2010 3:30 pm  

I'd love to know more about the Nu-Isis Lodge - as the activities seem very interesting and the results quite astonishing. But it seems strange to me that there are practically no other accounts from anybody else that was involved; and for a group that was working with what appears to be quite powerful currents and was supposed to have included a number of individuals, I find this odd.

It all makes me very suspicious as to whether what was experienced existed outside the intellect and imagination of KG. For example, if you take AC, there are plenty of quite detailed accounts from a number of others - though I accept that AC was something of a socialite and KG is a very private man. Perhaps I should just be content that I am probably not privy to such information.


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christibrany
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28/02/2010 4:33 pm  

i think they all happened but maybe not exactly as he wrote them. and maybe it has to do with who has good astral sight and who doesn't. because i could see him seeing something happening on the astral that other people couldn't. and i could also see him taking real events and elaborating and adding to them to make good art. either way seems both possible but probable to me.


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lashtal
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28/02/2010 7:20 pm  
"christibrany" wrote:
i think they all happened but maybe not exactly as he wrote them. and maybe it has to do with who has good astral sight and who doesn't. because i could see him seeing something happening on the astral that other people couldn't. and i could also see him taking real events and elaborating and adding to them to make good art. either way seems both possible but probable to me.

Crikey! Lots of opinions and feelings, but based on what evidence?

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 Anonymous
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28/02/2010 7:38 pm  

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

"Does a firm perswasion that a thing is so make it so?'-blake marriage of heaven and hell. It all comes back to what a person can make CERTAIN for we all know an argument can be pushed to a point and then off the cliff and then close to the point then off the cliff..Sure Crowley opened a DOOR, Grant expands that door, eye expand that door, paul expands that door. Doesn't mean that one has to go through it..jump through the window. Damn it talking in circles again. FORGIVE ME!!

Love is the law, love under will

"ROOTS, BLOODY, ROOTS'-sepultura
"BE humble BOB you haven't had dinner yet"-connie dobbs


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 Anonymous
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28/02/2010 7:59 pm  
"lashtal" wrote:
"SSS" wrote:
I have also not seen any one, yet, who is seriously suggesting that his experiences weren't experienced.

Let's ignore for the time being the observation that Dave Evans has, indeed, done so and take it as read that I have grave doubts that Grant even intended for his accounts to be taken literally, what's your take on this? And on what do you base your opinion?

I have never seen Dave Evan's account of what happened at NU Isis Lodge.

While reading Mr. Grants books I personally have found no reason to think that Nu Isis Lodge, and its workings, where intended as a fictional construct. To be fair I have not read them all, I am currently reading Outside the Circles of Time and The Ninth Arch. I have read the first trinity and Nightside of Eden.

Am I wrong? Did Nu Isis Lodge not exist? May I ask for a reference to an account that you say was not intended to be literal? Does this apply to all accounts of workings at NU Isis Lodge or only special selections?

I have certainly been wrong before and wouldn't mind being wrong this time.


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michaelclarke18
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28/02/2010 8:41 pm  

i think they all happened but maybe not exactly as he wrote them. and maybe it has to do with who has good astral sight and who doesn't. because i could see him seeing something happening on the astral that other people couldn't. and i could also see him taking real events and elaborating and adding to them to make good art. either way seems both possible but probable to me.

It's perfectly possible that KG may have been more sensitive to certain currents that others were not, and he may well have been far more capable of invoking and experiencing forces that others were not.
However - putting KG's great facility for the astral plane to one side - there aren't even any accounts approaching activities of a more mundane nature, for example, providing sticky buns and tea for the group to consume once their magical activities for the session have been completed. There simply isn't anything...


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lashtal
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28/02/2010 8:45 pm  
"SSS" wrote:
May I ask for a reference to an account that you say was not intended to be literal?

Well, that's a surprise. You really do believe his accounts to be literally true, don't you?

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James
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28/02/2010 8:50 pm  

Going back to this maxim 'To synthesize the method of science with the aim of religion'. How realistic is this? For example, say there is independent evidence that there was a working magical group called New Isis Lodge from 1955-62, say that they did perform ceremonies as outlined in Hecate's Fountain et al, say others, such as Ithell Colquhoun who was a member of the OTO at the time confirm Grant's account in some yet to be revealed diary , say that some or all saw some or all that Grant described 'astrally' or otherwise...what would this prove? Would it be science? As a regular reader of Fortean Times I often read accounts of anomalous phenomena backed up by witnesses, however scientifically it doesn't amount to much in itself.
Personally I'm wondering if ' the method of science' is being used as an 'as if' to ensure that practitioner's belief is given the 'stamp of authenticity'. After all science has the authority in our society to say what is real and what is not. Imagination is the shadow-self of science and if it is to be taken as a form of reality, to us, then it has to hi-jack science for its own clandestine purposes. There is value to taking the objects of imagination as real as well as obvious dangers.
My original post at the top of this thread is perhaps trying to show that magical workings are,by nature, more qualitative than quantitative and concepts such as 'evidence' and 'science' which have often been hi-jacked for magical & mystical purposes are not being used scientifically. Thus magical works such as Grant's have a sort of liminal existence a bit like the actors on Eastenders who have to put up with viewers writing to them asking why they are behaving so badly? On the one hand these viewers know they are just actors but they experience something which still compels them to write. What they experience is real even though it is not literally true. I am aware that Grant goes further and perhaps might say that what viewers experience through the TV has its own reality and is thereby true in that sense and that sense only; that is because the imagination has a reality of its own.

I'm still trying to formulate my own ideas on this point...patience may be required!

Regards

Jamie Gregory


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steve_wilson
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28/02/2010 8:57 pm  

I am highly critical of Grant's gematria and consider the man a genius.
As for what happened in the Nu Isis lodge, consider such things as the enormous amount of "incense" they used in a basement in the middle of winter before doubting what they, well, saw.


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 Anonymous
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28/02/2010 11:14 pm  
"lashtal" wrote:
"SSS" wrote:
May I ask for a reference to an account that you say was not intended to be literal?

Well, that's a surprise. You really do believe his accounts to be literally true, don't you?

I am really not sure what you are getting at here. I asked you to select an account that you say should not be taken literally true, and you respond with this? I have already said I have not read all accounts.

I can't recall, from what I have studied so far, any accounts that seemed allegorically or metaphorically true. Would you please point one out.

Can I ask what moderator this is?

SSS


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lashtal
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28/02/2010 11:26 pm  
"SSS" wrote:
Can I ask what moderator this is?

I wasn't posting in my 'moderator' role but it's still a very strange question. Meaning?

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christibrany
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01/03/2010 1:11 am  

my evidence for my opinion is simply my personal experiences and thus my opinion. i didn't realise my opinion that these events mostly happened needed sources. if i was stating they definitely DID instead of i think they did happen then of course i'd need to back it up. but i can't fathom how i am supposed to show evidence for my feelings and opinion other than saying them. sowwy
🙂
i GUESS you could use your own life as a source of evidence in my statement, because i am just going on common sense as to most people when they are writing generally write the truth for a large core or 50 to 80% of their framework (even in fiction we draw from personal experiences) and then the other % would be made up fluff or filler for effect.
i dunno.
as to the gematria issue
i was told many times that these were largely the fault of editors mis reading Grant's writing and things of that nature. that isnt to say he cannot make mistakes I am simply passing on what the publisher (i believe thats where i heard it) told me. HEnce the reprints have corrections , like in "Outside" the gematria is (i hear) revised.


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 Anonymous
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01/03/2010 7:16 pm  

From what I understand there were a few problems in Nightside of Eden where he had some miscalcualted Gematria, happens to the best of us I'm sure. I know it's happened to me, and even my mistakes have led to some interesting insights, which is more important anyway.
Grant's methods of Gematria may seem outside the box, but I would refer one to read the chapter in Outer Gateways titled Creative Gematria for a better idea of his methods.


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kidneyhawk
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01/03/2010 7:40 pm  

I would refer one to read the chapter in Outer Gateways titled Creative Gematria for a better idea of his methods.

The opening of that chapter has much wisdom to offer with regards to how we work with perceived connections between letters and numbers-and where that connection ultimately lies for the "esoteric numerologist."


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mika
 mika
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01/03/2010 8:13 pm  
"James" wrote:
My original post at the top of this thread is perhaps trying to show that magical workings are,by nature, more qualitative than quantitative and concepts such as 'evidence' and 'science' which have often been hi-jacked for magical & mystical purposes are not being used scientifically.

Regarding Gematria: Crowley would use it, for example, to verify or validate information that he'd receive during various workings. It doesn't matter if one treats these experiences as purely subjective, all-in-the-head, or as communications with external, independently existing entities - either way, the gematria either adds up to correspondences that make sense according to the qabalistic system upon which the work is founded, or they don't, and if they don't conform then the information received is treated as faulty (or a trap or misdirection or what have you).

So essentially what he did is use a somewhat- scientific method to test what was learned through subjective experiences. I say "somewhat" because gematria can be done in many different ways until you get an answer you want. However it still follows a set of rules which can't be changed. At some point the alpha-numeric manipulation might 'go too far' in order for the numbers to match the desired result - but that's a whole other discussion -and there's plenty of black and white to evaluate before reaching that grey area. The point is, gematria is often used to "check one's work".

Simple example: say you do a Venus working and meet a spirit who speaks certain words to you. You could then run gematria on the words and see if/how they correspond with Netzach. Is this 'circular reasoning' because you maybe subconsciously ensured that the values of the words you heard match up correctly? Maybe (though that would be a lot of calculations to accomplish unconsciously...). My approach is that correspondences *not* matching up provides more significant insight into evaluating how an experience is interpreted.

So: with Crowley and other people whose work is based on a qabalistic system, gematria is used as a somewhat-scientific tool to evaluate subjective magical insights or experiences. With Grant's work, if one glosses over his errors as irrelevant, then one is rendering Gematria meaningless. People are of course free to treat Gematria as unimportant, but if that is the case then it must be thrown out entirely. If it is accepted as useful or important sometimes, then it is relevant always. "The method of science" requires consistency, not applying certain methods when convenient and then dropping those methods when it interferes with what a person wants to believe. If the gematria doesn't correspond, then there is an error in how the information or experience has been interpreted. Either that, or the information/experience has absolutely no relation to the qabalistic system and should not be described using qabalistic language.

Since Grant's work is thoroughly integrated with the qabalistic system, and qabala is part of its very foundation, I don't understand how anyone could dismiss his gematria errors as irrelevant unless they throw out "the method of science" entirely and/or completely detach Grant's work from Crowley's.


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James
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02/03/2010 11:37 am  

Thanks for this Mika -

And of course, I would have to agree that there is little point taking a method and then changing it half way through. However, using it 'scientifically' I think is still an assertion, a belief of the practitioner, as although one can use gematria to see if a spirit is really Venusian as you described one cannot then use this result to say that gematria and its method is thereby validated by it ( I realise you do not say such in your post). Thus the validity of the method, and thus gematria itself, is a belief in the end, but one that has a purpose - to give the subjective experience a stamp of authenticity or objectivity and I think this is the important quality that using methods like gematria provide. It becomes a method for our feeling function to operate through. After all, once one is familiar with the feel or sense of something one can trust ones instincts and so not rely so much on such 'external verifiers'.

Regards,

J.


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mika
 mika
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02/03/2010 5:50 pm  
"James" wrote:
Thanks for this Mika -
And of course, I would have to agree that there is little point taking a method and then changing it half way through. However, using it 'scientifically' I think is still an assertion, a belief of the practitioner, as although one can use gematria to see if a spirit is really Venusian as you described one cannot then use this result to say that gematria and its method is thereby validated by it ( I realise you do not say such in your post).

Yes - I did not say that, and actually I don't agree that one can use gematria "to see if a spirit is really Venusian" in any kind of objective sense. What gematria can be used for is to test internal, subjective consistency, as in: are your interpretations and descriptions of your experiences consistent with your internal model of reality. It can't be used for something like "the words she spoke add up to 7 therefore qabala proves I was really communicating with an actual angelic praeternatural intelligence from the sephira of Netzach!"

Qabala is a language that people can use to communicate with their own minds, to describe perceptions and experiences in a very particular, organized way. That communication is entirely subjective.

"James" wrote:
Thus the validity of the method, and thus gematria itself, is a belief in the end,

Not sure what you mean by "gematria is a belief". It's a tool, that is all. Does the English language work as a method of communicating with other people because you believe in it? No - it's based on mutual agreement over the meanings associated with various symbols (letters and words). Qabala is the same.


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thamiel
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02/03/2010 8:38 pm  

I have been inspired by Grant's magick, and have alot of respect for him, but have always considered his descriptions of lodge-work and ritual quite dubious.

There are numerous erudite and scholarly individuals here...are there any lodge records or personal journals extant that corroborate Grant's account? Not that I think the veracity of his accounts reflects on the quality of his work. I'm idley curious...


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lashtal
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02/03/2010 9:58 pm  
"thamiel" wrote:
are there any lodge records or personal journals extant that corroborate Grant's account? Not that I think the veracity of his accounts reflects on the quality of his work. I'm idley curious...

Likewise, but, although their authenticity is asserted by a number of members here, I've yet to see anything.

The idea that they are an accurate account of 'real' events seems preposterous to me, although I've never thought that the accounts themselves need to be considered 'true' in any consensual sense for Grant's work to impress. I do just wonder where they buried the bodies?!

😉

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thamiel
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02/03/2010 10:46 pm  

I'd be curious to see any records from the Nu-Isis Lodge...irregardless of whether they touched on Grant's account. Do any records, except Grant's, exist from that era?


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 Anonymous
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03/03/2010 2:08 am  

"The method of science the method of science" but magick is also an art. In instances where a mistake in calculation has been discovered some time after the fact, how does one ignore the insight that has resulted from it's numbers? I'm not talking about crunching numbers to test spirits or visions, I'm talking about the use of Gematria to derive insights from words or lines from holy books etc, or even words and numbers given to me by spirits or in vision or dream.


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mika
 mika
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03/03/2010 5:23 pm  
"AEternitas" wrote:
"The method of science the method of science" but magick is also an art. In instances where a mistake in calculation has been discovered some time after the fact, how does one ignore the insight that has resulted from it's numbers? I'm not talking about crunching numbers to test spirits or visions, I'm talking about the use of Gematria to derive insights from words or lines from holy books etc, or even words and numbers given to me by spirits or in vision or dream.

If you're trying to get insights from someone else's work, there are no errors. You could just as well open a Dr Seuss book and randomly assign numbers to letters and come up with insights that are as equally valid and effective as insights achieved through re-crunching Grant's (or Crowley's) gematria. Because you're dealing with someone else's personal work.

Do you believe that since Grant did particular qlippothic workings and symbolically translated the experiences as sex with alien spider creatures, that you also will have visions of sex with alien spider creatures when you do those same workings? Or that if you imagine sex with alien spider creatures, you will achieve the same qlippothic working results?


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James
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03/03/2010 6:32 pm  

I think that the comparison between gematria and the English language (or any language including mathematics), is a valid point in as much as both make certain assumptions about the world. Just as a language assumes an objective world as correlation and a subject who pictures inwardly using language and concepts, so does gematria do the same for inner subjective experiences. That is it assumes a certain objectivity whether between different individual's subjective experience or between past and future experiences in one individual. This is vital otherwise it would be a private language limited to one individual or to one experience at one time by one individual and thus a contradiction in terms. Thus both the English language and gematria act as carriers of belief, 'as if', in order to operate. It is this 'as if' that allows gematria to give ones inner subjective experience a stamp of authenticity and thus give a sense of 'reality' to what is often dismissed as 'just imagination' etc.
I think Grant uses his books in the same way, by introducing gematria to contemporary fiction it allows the 'as if' to come alive, so to speak (at least for some readers). The reason I think this is important is that he was influenced by the Kantian philosopher Hans Vaihinger who posited the philosophy of 'As If'. This fact is mentioned in the book 'Zos Speaks' in the correspondence section as he discussed this with Austin Spare and both subscribed to Vaihinger's argument that we can never know reality itself as it is always mediated by 'as if' beliefs. Spare's philosophy of 'Will, Desire & Belief' draws heavily on Vaihinger's conclusion - as does Grant's.
I think an appreciation of Grant's work is not possible without some appreciation of Vaihinger's 'as if' principle.

Regards

Jamie


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 Anonymous
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04/03/2010 1:45 am  
"mika" wrote:
"AEternitas" wrote:
"The method of science the method of science" but magick is also an art. In instances where a mistake in calculation has been discovered some time after the fact, how does one ignore the insight that has resulted from it's numbers? I'm not talking about crunching numbers to test spirits or visions, I'm talking about the use of Gematria to derive insights from words or lines from holy books etc, or even words and numbers given to me by spirits or in vision or dream.

If you're trying to get insights from someone else's work, there are no errors. You could just as well open a Dr Seuss book and randomly assign numbers to letters and come up with insights that are as equally valid and effective as insights achieved through re-crunching Grant's (or Crowley's) gematria. Because you're dealing with someone else's personal work.

Do you believe that since Grant did particular qlippothic workings and symbolically translated the experiences as sex with alien spider creatures, that you also will have visions of sex with alien spider creatures when you do those same workings? Or that if you imagine sex with alien spider creatures, you will achieve the same qlippothic working results?

Yes except instead of Dr. Suess I'm talking about the Torah or the Gospels, or the 13 Holy Books of Thelema, and I'm not just randomnly assigning numbers. There have been times when doing this that I have gotten the math wrong, but the insight derived still had relevancy. I've never considered the Bible, or the Book of the Law to be anybodies personal work. I've never bothered re-crunching any of Grant's or Crowley's or anybody elses numbers except for some quick mental addition while reading their work.

I have still yet to read any accounts of Grant experiencing sex with alien spider creatures, but to answer your question the answer is no, I don't expect to have the same vision or experience as another magician even when performing the same said working, unless I intentionally visualize say, the fangs of a tarantula bearing down on my skull in ecstatic union.


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thamiel
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04/03/2010 6:43 am  

I'd be curious to see any records from the Nu-Isis Lodge...irregardless of whether they touched on Grant's account. Do any records, except Grant's, exist from that era?

With everyone here and no response...thats telling.


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Michael Staley
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04/03/2010 7:32 am  
"thamiel" wrote:
With everyone here and no response...thats telling.

Really? What do you construe from the fact that no-one here on Lashtal can give you an answer on this?

As a matter of fact I answered this in another thread yesterday afternoon, but my question still stands.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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Michael Staley
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04/03/2010 9:25 am  

thamiel,

I was referring to the 'Key to the Pyramid' thread, and on looking at it again I see that it's not at all germane to your question, so my apolgies for my misapprehension.

I'd still be interested in knowing what it is that you regard as "telling" from the fact that no-one answered your question.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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James
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04/03/2010 10:11 am  

Further to my last post about the influence of Hans Vaihinger on Grant's work I've found some relevant quotes from 'Zos Speaks!':

Herein will be found a systematized summary of magic, which, for want of a better name, can fairly accurately be termed the Doctrine of Ecstatic ‘As-If’, the latter phrase being used in the sense in which it incarnates Hans Vaihinger’s connotation. By Belief in a concept, either true or false, (objectively speaking) wonders may be wrought and reality realised in the flesh by the use of the body as an instrument of ecstasy.

(from INTRODUCTION written by Kenneth Grant and sent to Spare 14th October 1954 – ‘Zos Speaks!’ p. 103).

...and the following:

The doctrine of ‘as if’, which is crucial to an understanding of Spare’s later writings, derives its name from the philosophy of Hans Vaihinger (1852-1933) to whose work The Philosophy of ‘As If’ I directed Spare’s attention in the late nineteen-forties. He realised immediately that the concept encapsulated his own major magical premise, summed up by Schiller many decades earlier. “In error only is there life, and knowledge must be death.” This was acknowledged by Vaihinger to have formed the foundation of his own theory of the “useful fiction”. As he stated:
“The ‘As If’ world…the world of the ‘unreal’ is just as real and important as the real or actual…indeed it is far more important for ethics and aesthetics.” And – Spare would have added - “for sorcery”. Vaihinger pointed out that the “specific particles ‘As if’, ‘as though’ etc., are frequently found expressed in this manner among the medieval and later mystics, e.g. in St. Catherine of Genoa”.
He also noticed that the ‘as if’ theory was the nexus between the philosophies of Kant and Neitzsche, who declared: “The belief in external things is one of the necessary errors of mankind”, and ‘”our external world is a product of the fantasy.” The fantasy is the ‘as if’. Spare combines the fantasy of the ecstatics – poets, artists, dreamers – with the austerity of the stoics who asked people to “regard our manner of living and acting as parts in a play, including therein our maxims and principles”, and Spare reiterated this request.
Vaihinger discovered that the “‘As If’ (i.e. appearance, the consciously false), plays an enormous part in science, in world philosophies and in life”. In Spare’s system, the ‘as if’ is paired with the ‘as now’ to indicate the transference of belief from subconscious to conscious immediacy. ‘Does not matter – need not be’, describes the selfhood of haecceity, of which the ego at any given moment is the total yet fleeting reification in terms of time and space. The latter are cognized as delusive conceptions bred from an ill-conceived sigil of the primal Id. In other words, temporal and spatial concepts are bereft of reality, for reality is always the inconceivable.

(except from ‘The Book of Zos vel Thanatos – Foreward by Kenneth Grant – Zos Speaks! Fulgur pub. 1998)

As a final fling, and having only yesterday finished re-reading 'Outer Gateways' I do wonder if all that frantic gematria is perhaps a ploy to distract ego consciousness and thus allow the embedded 'As Ifs' in the work to enter and permeate the subconsciousness of the reader and thus become organic and vital. In some cases to engender fascination but in others revulsion depending on the primacy of the current ego Ids?

spooky!!

Regards

Jamie


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mika
 mika
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04/03/2010 7:32 pm  
"AEternitas" wrote:
I've never considered the Bible, or the Book of the Law to be anybodies personal work.

Really? You don't consider the Book of the Law to be a subjective document that resulted from Crowley's personal work, informed by his particular history, culture and experiences? Do you really believe it universally applies to everyone, everywhere, at any time period, exactly as it is written?


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Michael Staley
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05/03/2010 12:06 am  

Why so combative?

Why cannot the Book of the Law be something the reception of which was coloured by Crowley's predelictions, but which contains material which whilst not to be swallowed wholesale can be quite useful to others?


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Proteus
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05/03/2010 12:19 am  

reception of which was coloured by Crowley's predelictions, but which contains material which whilst not to be swallowed wholesale can be quite useful to others?

like any other piece of supposedly prophetic literature ever written...


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mika
 mika
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05/03/2010 12:29 am  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
Why cannot the Book of the Law be something the reception of which was coloured by Crowley's predelictions, but which contains material which whilst not to be swallowed wholesale can be quite useful to others?

It can be, and that's what I think of it myself. And, the fact that it "was coloured by Crowley's predelictions" makes it a product of Crowley's personal work. Claiming, like AEternitas did, that the Book of the Law (or the Bible?!) is not "anybodies personal work" is equivalent to claiming it is a stand-alone, objective document. Which is patently ridiculous. One can't separate the work from the man who wrote it (or "channelled" it).


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SatansAdvocaat
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05/03/2010 2:17 pm  

This topic appears to be going all over the place, but I would like to focus on the NEW ISIS LODGE (1955-1962) and HECATE'S FOUNTAIN issue.

Not only do opinions on the Lodge Workings differ considerably, it would also seem that some individuals are even sceptical about the actual existence of the Lodge altogether. Given the confusion, I feel that it is justifiable to quote from correspondence which I had with Kenneth Grant that went into these issues in some detail.

"..I do not quite get your point in quoting A.C's instruction to me concerning the Star tracing; he was very precise, and so were we in following the lines of our rituals. [reference to the Ritual of the Mark of the Beast, on page 172 of H.F. - S.A.] But when things went awry we did not close down the Circle, we endeavoured to adapt to the intrusive Current with spontaneous reactions that would not have occurred to any of us outside the actual situations as they developed. There has, I admit, been a little poetic licence here and there in the description of the rites, but far less than you appear to imagine. However, your critique is very perceptive and I welcome it".

Letter of '17 May 94 e.v.'

"The thesis behind 'Hecate's F.' is that it is precisely when a tangential reflex disrupts set ritual that things begin to happen and a valid nexus is made - however fleeting. These occurrences are by their very nature surprising because unpredictable and therefore truly magical, both in their onslaught and in their manifestation. The lessons we learned in NIL disproved the usual 'scientific' guarantee that if process 'A' is set in motion result 'B' will ensue if ritual is performed to the letter".

Letter of 'New Moon, 7 Aug 94 e.v.'

On the basis of statements such as these and other information regarding participants and procedures in the Workings, I have no doubts whatsoever that New Isis Lodge was a dedicated magical lodge functioning on the physical plane in 1950s and early 1960s London.

As for "a little poetic licence", you will have to make your own judgments.

Love is the law, love under will.

Satan's Advocaat.
___________________________

The Children of Transgression are the Dragons of the Law.


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kidneyhawk
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05/03/2010 6:31 pm  

SA-

Very interesting stuff and thank you for this contribution!

Kyle


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James
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05/03/2010 10:31 pm  

Yes, indeed thank you for this!


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Walterfive
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07/03/2010 2:57 pm  
"lashtal" wrote:
"SSS" wrote:
His books are about what happened at Nu Isis Lodge. The events that happened, happened.

Are you seriously suggesting that the events he describes as happening during the Nu Isis Lodge years actually happened? All of them? Seriously? And is there any independent corroboration of the experiences he describes?

Thank the Saints that someone else has expressed this point-of-view.
😮
I always felt that if some of those Lovecraftian episodes related in his much later volumes actually occurred, why didn't he ever mention any of them much earlier?? 😕 I mean, your own mileage may vary, but don't be a dupe!


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SatansAdvocaat
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08/03/2010 3:20 pm  
"Walterfive" wrote:
"lashtal" wrote:
"SSS" wrote:
His books are about what happened at Nu Isis Lodge. The events that happened, happened.

Are you seriously suggesting that the events he describes as happening during the Nu Isis Lodge years actually happened? All of them? Seriously? And is there any independent corroboration of the experiences he describes?

Thank the Saints that someone else has expressed this point-of-view.
😮
I always felt that if some of those Lovecraftian episodes related in his much later volumes actually occurred, why didn

I always felt that if some of those Lovecraftian episodes related in his much later volumes actually occurred, why didn't he ever mention any of them much earlier??

Hi Walterfive - Yes the mileage does vary and I've no desire to debate the actuality of the 'Lovecraftian episodes' until the cows come home. But KG did produce an account of one bizarre Lodge episode as early as 1970/1971, the Clanda Water-Witch article that appeared in that highly influential part-work MAN, MYTH AND MAGIC; and he included it again in IMAGES AND ORACLES a few years later.

Elements of New Isis Lodge working begin to appear as early as AC AND THE HIDDEN GOD with the Throne of Nodens material and in NIGHTSIDE OF EDEN, the very term 'Tunnels of Set' derives from the Lodge transmission 'The Wisdom of S'lba' as does the 'Mauve Zone' etc.

But fair enough, its not a straightforward systematic presentation and we had to wait till HECATE'S FOUNTAIN for the fullest account and that book itself had to wait for a publisher which brings me back to the correspondence with KG in 1994 e.v.

Regards - S.A.


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 Anonymous
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19/06/2010 5:53 am  

"The power of numbers lies not in the numbers themselves but always and only in the magician. If his mind is well furnished with magical numbers (i.e. numbers meaningful to him) there is no limit, quantitatively speaking, to the worlds he may construct from their energies (shaktis). This is the basis of the science of numbers, and the rationale of numerology as a creative art distinct from a merely interpretative gauge of phenomenal probabilities. The magician aims not at predicting the future, which would imply that it already existed, so much as creating it according to the laws of his magical universe. Creative gematria is therefore the science and the art of projecting other worlds or orders of being, in harmony with the vibrations symbolized by numbers, which render the vibrations directly amenable." - "Outer Gateways", Kenneth Grant

I think this pretty much sums up the questionability of Grant's gematria to me. I don't know how much more straight forward it can be. It just goes to show how people take the words, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law", to mean "Do whatever the hell you want", that is not what it means, though 99% of people that hear it BELIEVE it to mean just that. Not to contradict myself, they DO believe it to mean that, but if what the majority of people around me BELIEVE had an impact on what I KNOW for myself to be true, which is always ELASTIC, then I would be a member of the nearest mega-church to where I live right now. 😕

Andrew


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einDoppelganger
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19/06/2010 7:45 am  

For what its worth I was reading the Water Witch story in Images and Oracles today and two things struck me. Mr Grant mentions that Gardner, upset at Clanda, wrote a letter to an occult magazine of the day denouncing the work of Nu-Isis Lodge. I am interested if anyone knows this letter. I don't doubt its existence. I would be fascinated to read its contents.

Secondly he tells the story of Clanda being carried off by the Owl elemental creature apparently conjured by Spare's talisman. While describing this abduction he makes an aside that the events described were experienced in her "astral vision."

Its been a while since I read HF but isn't the same story told there without the same caveat? I know I have read the same story before but I don't think it was the MMM account in the Water Witch article.

I can't speak for all of Grants work or his intentions but I had the impression Grant assumes his readers are experienced magicians who can tell the difference between "real experience" and "asteral vision." or he at least trusts his readers to make leaps with him over the course of the book. I am not implying that anyone who wants him to be more specifi is not an "experienced magician." I just have the feeling that GRant isnt explicitly stating whats real and whats astral because he does not think the specification is valid in the context.
This is just my reading of the material, of course.

This also leads me to wonder if there is a fundamental difference between the two when describing the experiences within a magical temple. It is almost like making a point of asking if those archangels really did appear during that LBRP last night...

I understand the need and desire to be specific about the nature of the experience. In my own records I often need to fight the urge to voice my skepticism as I write them. I am starting to shed this tendency because I find it ultimately gets in the way of getting the experience down on paper and on record.

Scott


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 Anonymous
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19/06/2010 9:20 am  

A record of a vision is a record of an experience.

😀


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Michael Staley
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19/06/2010 11:12 am  
"adav93" wrote:
I think this pretty much sums up the questionability of Grant's gematria to me. I don't know how much more straight forward it can be. It just goes to show how people take the words, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law", to mean "Do whatever the hell you want", that is not what it means, though 99% of people that hear it BELIEVE it to mean just that. Not to contradict myself, they DO believe it to mean that, but if what the majority of people around me BELIEVE had an impact on what I KNOW for myself to be true, which is always ELASTIC, then I would be a member of the nearest mega-church to where I live right now. 😕

It's a matter of taste, I expect, but I don't find Grant's use of gematria "questionable". Rather, I think it goes to the heart of the matter.

During the 1980s I had no time at all for gematria; it seemed superstitious nonsense. Neverthless, I used to publish in the early issues of Starfire some articles which incorporated gematria - such as Stephen Dziklewicz's The Stele of Revealing and the Abomination of Desolation and The Hiss of the Serpent in issues 1 and 2 respectively -because although the gematria didn't interest me, there was an underlying substance to the articles which I found interesting. It was the passage quoted above from Outer Gateways which made me think that there might be something to gematria beyond superstitious "number noodling".

It's all very well labelling Grant's use of gematria "questionable"; I can understand why some - most, perhaps - would agree. But if you go back to the root idea - that there are correspondences between Hebrew or Greek words which share the same enumeration - that might seem questionable too.

After all, as a glance at Crowley's Sepher Sephiroth will show, some of these words that share the same enumeration are somewhat diverse. Take as a random example the entries for the number 298. The four Hebrew words listed there are translated as 'Amen, our Light', 'Son of the GODS', 'White', and 'Pathetic appeals; commiserations'. There is perhaps a vague commonality between the first three, but the fourth seems much further removed.

In my opinion, gematria is used by selecting the correspondences we want to utilise, and this selection is done on the basis of intuition. Again in my opinion, there's nothing "straightforward" about gematria; nothing scientific or automatic.

As a matter of fact, Grant is not using gematria to deduce relationships between words, concepts etc., but rather to underpin an insight that is already there - to build a case, if you like. Grant presses into service anything that underpins the insight, anything that helps build the case. Correcting the instances of faulty gematria in Outside the Circles of Time made surprisingly little difference.

Personally I approach gematria by building up a compendium of numbers and correspondences that arise in the course of my magical work, thus developing a gematria that is meaningful to me but might not be meaningful to anyone else. One of those numbers is 33, because during what I regard as a key portion of the Amalantrah Working the letters Gimel and Lamed are communicated in response to a question. I can relate this to other parts of the Working which I also regard as key, as well as to Crowley's drawing of Lam which I regard as a quintessentialisation of that Working. I doubt that 33 would have the same significance to anyone who didn't share that interest.

I don't think that this amounts to perverting "do what thou wilt" into "do whatever the hell you want".

Best wishes,

Michael Staley
Starfire Publishing Ltd

www.starfirepublishing.co.uk


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 Anonymous
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19/06/2010 12:21 pm  

Crowley certainly did a fair whack of "creative" gematria, too, himself. "Honi soit qui mal y pense" etc.

What I find interesting about it (and Numerology generally) is the fact that it's the ultimate paradox in some ways, the identification of a number as a quality, rather than only as a quantity, which is how we're usually taught to regard number.

Of course, the very idea of "number" is, itself, just a feature of human consciousness, not a "scientific fact" in any truly seperate, objective or external way independant of human observation or mentation. So the qualititative, and the subjective, are always bound up with any idea of number because they ultimately belong to the same field (as does everything in the "Universe"). Crowley's brilliant essay on number in 777 revised goes there too. I see Grant's brilliant essay in Outer Gateways as simply continuing the furrow thus ploughed by The Beast.


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 Anonymous
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19/06/2010 12:34 pm  
"lashtal" wrote:
Likewise, but, although their authenticity is asserted by a number of members here, I've yet to see anything.

The idea that they are an accurate account of 'real' events seems preposterous to me, although I've never thought that the accounts themselves need to be considered 'true' in any consensual sense for Grant's work to impress. I do just wonder where they buried the bodies?!

😉

Sometimes even 'real' events are surprisingly difficult to prove, but I can offer something here in the way of 'bodies'.

Some years ago I was contacted by an individual selling an AOS original that was a portrait of his mother. Upon our meeting and after some gentle enquiries on my part, he informed me she was an active member of 'Grant's group' in the 50s. He was an engaging, intelligent guy in his late 40s with no proclivities towards 'esoteric' interests, and never having read a book by KG, but he related a few details that struck me as entirely plausible and corroborative.

bazelek


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 Anonymous
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19/06/2010 2:24 pm  

I'm glad to finally see the Starfire website up and running, Michael!


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