The Low-Down on the Far-Out

New Moon in Aquarius, February 2016

Chart for the New Moon in Aquarius
Chart for the New Moon in Aquarius

Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
~ Apple Computers promotional poster, written by Rob Siltanen and Lee Clow

Feb.08 – NEW MOON in AQUARIUS (19:15 of Aquarius)

Aquarius is for visionaries!

I mean, who but a crazy visionary would be an Air sign, yet be represented by someone called a Water Bearer?

Air signs are focused primarily on thought. It's not that Air doesn't have feelings (like Water signs) or can't organize (like Earth signs) or doesn't get enthusiastic (like Fire signs). It's just that the fastest, easiest, most effective way for an Air sign to navigate through a situation is through brainwaves – curiosity, ideas, perception, interaction and how to find ways to communicate these.

Aquarius is also a Fixed sign, which is concerned with maintaining a central focus and endurance. It's not that Fixed signs aren't goal oriented (like Cardinal signs) or flexible (like Mutable signs). Rather, Fixed signs work best when they are anchored to a stable base.

As long as they have that constant point of reference, all things are possible. Mind you, for some Fixed people that constant needs to be broader and stronger than for others, and on an individual level much depends on what's happening in the rest of the chart.

For Aquarius, a Fixed Air sign, that stable frame of reference can be adjusted, aimed or embellished through ideas.

However, Aquarius is not generally known for its love of stability and constancy! It is most often associated with rebellion (not conformity), upheaval (not stability), defiance (not blending in) and individuality (not the team).

We tend to see Aquarius as being more likely to shatter the mould than be shaped by it. And yet, Aquarius encompasses all of these qualities. How is this possible?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
~ Maya Angelou

Every rebel needs something to rebel against. Every teenager instinctively finds the things that are sacred to his/her parents and decides that these are not him/her. This is a fundamental part of the job description of being an adolescent.

Every visionary starts with what is and sees far-reaching ways to improve on it. And sometimes that means tearing down what is to make way for what could be. In order to work, the old mustn't get in the way of the new.

Hence, the Aquarian qualities of breaking free of old constraints and being contrary to the status quo. If something is to truly grow it must eventually do something different, or else it becomes mere repetition. There's nothing wrong with replication, but growth must ultimately extend beyond what is, not simply be more of the same.

The new must follow from the old. The seed of the future evolves from the fruit of the past. That seed begins its life by being held firmly within the earth – supported and protected, yet also constrained and withheld from the rest of the world.

To grow, the seed must become more than just a seed – it must leave behind the conditions that gave it birth. And in order to do that it must rebel. It must break free of its seed shell, push defiantly up through the dirt, break through into the air and sunlight, and then keep going to become whatever it can become. Morphing, changing, evolving, transforming. The shoot progressing from the seed. Each branch progressing from the stem that came before it. Each leaf developing from the branch on which it grows.

The new must follow from the old.

Every zodiac sign carries a deep contradiction in its nature – light and shadow, which play off each other like yin and yang. Although dramatically different, each is utterly dependent on the other to give it definition, purpose, visibility and distinction.

Until they become conscious they will never rebel,
and until after they have rebelled
they cannot become conscious.
~ George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-four

Himalayan LilyHimalayan Lily

These are especially pronounced and puzzling in Aquarius. It starts with the boring, conformist, same-old-same-old status quo – a plain seed planted in the dirt. From there, like all signs, its job description is to grow into whatever it can be.

Much of Aquarius' job description is to be different. Sometimes the mandate is about being or becoming as radically different as possible. Sometimes it's to distinguish oneself in simple and subtle yet significant ways.

Some are like just your normal, garden variety human, but then they'll suddenly do something remarkable. Like the Himalayan Lily that takes 120 years to bloom, they may look beautiful yet relatively ordinary but occasionally they'll blossom in splendour!

Night blooming Cereus cactusNight blooming Cereus

Special conditions might bring out an extraordinary side of the Aquarian, like a night-blooming cactus.

And some Aquarians are just naturally weird and wonderful, like a purple Passion Flower that seems more alien than earthly.

Passion FlowerPurple Passion Flower

Even if you weren't born while the Sun was in Aquarius (roughly January 20 to February 18), you still have Aquarius somewhere in your natal chart. You still have Saturn and Uranus (Aquarius' ruling planets) somewhere in your chart. And you still have an 11th House (Aquarius' natural house) in your chart.

We all have a rebellious, contrary streak (even if we try to hide it!). We all have parts of ourselves that, under the right conditions, will come out to play or run amok. And we each have areas where we need to grow and do something different so that improvement, transformation or liberation can take place.

Our lives disconnect and reconnect, we move on, and later we may again touch one another, again bounce away. This is the felt shape of a human life, neither simply linear nor wholly disjunctive nor endlessly bifurcating, but rather this bouncey-castle sequence of bumpings-into and tumblings-apart.
~ Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet

The Aquarius New Moon cycle is a time to explore and make friends with your Aquarius nature. This particular lunar cycle seems especially designed to break free, break through and break apart that which has become too constrained, inflexible or dysfunctional.

Aquarius New Moon square Mars

The Sun-Moon conjunction (a.k.a. the New Moon) is in a tight square aspect to Mars (90°). To add fuel to this fire, the Sun and Mars are also parallel within 1° of orb, having reached exact on Feb.06 with the Moon joining them on Feb.07. (More about this and other parallel planets in February below this article.)

Mars is strongly placed in its own sign of Scorpio, which is famous for its tendency to be quietly tolerant of unpleasantness—until it's not, at which point it walks away and slams the door. Mars in Scorpio in this case could bring you to a breaking point where "enough is enough."

The square aspect is typically fueled by conflict and motivated by discontent, so the Sun-Moon-Mars square may not be a very pleasant experience, but the changes it instigates are probably necessary and important. This is the kind of energy that can get you over the hump that's holding you back, although it's more likely to feel like a hot kick in the backside than cool incentive.

But if it's time to break free of something, what exactly does that mean?

There are different degrees and types of liberation. Does it mean taking a small step in a different direction, or leaping off the path into uncharted territory? Is this about detachment or disconnection? Or something in between?

Aquarius is often known for its detached demeanour. Aquarius can be like a stone skipping freely across the surface of the water, whereas Scorpio is more like the stone that is engulfed in water and sinks into its hidden depths. So the Sun and Moon in Aquarius have a different style and agenda than Mars in Scorpio.

Detachment can often be confused with disconnection. While the two might seem similar, they are actually very different. As an analogy, think of your shoulder joint. It is a hinge that moves with the help of muscle and bone that are separate yet connected; independent yet interdependent. Detachment is like a shoulder that moves freely, yet its parts remain connected through muscles, tendons and ligaments. On the other hand, disconnection is more like amputating the arm – there is no connection between the parts, other than perhaps phantom sensations.

Detachment and disconnection each have their uses in the right situations. For instance, if you are in a truly toxic situation, it might be healthier to disconnect from it entirely – walk away and cut your losses. On the other hand, healthy detachment might be a better option. In this case, you remain connected or involved but the situation doesn't dictate who you are, how you feel or what you do. In other words, you draw a healthy boundary that don't require complete disconnection.

An example might be learning to deal with an intolerable family member – you avoid becoming entangled in their drama, but you can still be with your family. Detachment is about recognizing that you are an independent entity who can coexist with others different from you without losing yourself in the process.

Even when I detach, I care. You can be separate from a thing and still care about it. If I wanted to detach completely, I would move my body away. I would stop the conversation midsentence. I would leave the bed. Instead, I hover over it for a second. I glance off in another direction. But I always glance back at you.
~ David Levithan, The Lover's Dictionary

Back to the New Moon chart. Amid the burning urgency of the square to Mars, the good news is that there is plenty of supportive encouragement to offset it. There are no less than 3 Mini-Trine aspect patterns in the chart, giving lots of creative opportunity and resources with which to manifest whatever is on your cosmic to-do list.

Mini-Trine aspect pattern: New Moon, Saturn, Uranus

The Sun-Moon conjunction forms the apex of one Mini-Trine configuration. They are sextile Saturn and Uranus (60°), which are themselves joined by a trine (120°). This suggests that the Aquarian urge to break free of old structures, constructs and habits is more likely to feel like "it's time" rather than a panicked "get me outta here!!!" At the very least, the changes you are challenged to make can probably come about a bit easier than you think they will, even for situations where you don't really want to let go but you know you must.

Mini-Trine aspect pattern: Venus, Mercury, Pluto with Mars and Chiron

Another Mini-Trine involves the Mars-Chiron trine (120°) with a Venus-Mercury-Pluto conjunction at the apex. This combination indicates a healing, transformative quality that can come from taking action that has been thought through and carefully chosen.

Discussing your options with friends or trusted advisors can help you gather a variety of viewpoints. Just don't get overwhelmed by so many different perspectives, or stuck in believing you must be perfectly fair to all, that you can't make up your mind.

Mini-Trine aspect pattern: Mars with Venus, Mercury, Pluto and Jupiter

Pick your priorities by being deeply honest with yourself about what you really want, and being realistic about the stuff that has been holding you back from achieving it. There is also bound to be stuff you don't really want to face or let go of, so it can help to explore what about that feels scary or overwhelming. This offers valuable insight that could help to clear the path ahead.

The other Mini-Trine pattern puts Mars in Scorpio at the apex with the Venus-Mercury-Pluto in Capricorn in trine aspect to Jupiter in Virgo. This complex configuration speaks of the opportunity to embrace and pursue what you really want, by balancing intuitive insight with pragmatic decision making. It is important to understand the meaning and implications of what is possible, but knowing how to put it into practical use is what will make it effective and enduring.

Why do you go away? So that you can come back.
So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors.
And the people there see you differently, too.
Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.
~ Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

The New Moon (Sun-Moon) is also at the apex of what the Hubers called a Little Eye or Little Ear aspect pattern. The Sun and Moon at the apex are semi-sextile (30°) to Venus and Chiron, which themselves are in sextile aspect (60°). All planets are at 19 degrees of their respective signs: Sun-Moon in Aquarius, Venus in Capricorn and Chiron in Pisces.

Little Eye aspect pattern: New Moon, Venus and Chiron

In this pattern, the apex planet (in this case, both the Sun and Moon) become highly sensitized with heightened awareness. They pick up information gathered by the planets in sextile (in this case, Venus and Chiron).

Aquarius often feels "different" from the mainstream, and therefore tends to feel awkward or separate from the world around them. Those born with Aquarius prominent in their chart will often say that (at least in certain situations) they feel like the "odd man out" or that they're "on the outside looking in." We all have situations where we feel ill at ease, unqualified, alienated or we just don't fit in, which is in part the Aquarius side of our nature.

The Little Eye aspect pattern takes the Aquarius New Moon and points it like a satellite dish toward a constellation of issues that include social interaction, collection and use of resources, and which people and groups you associate with. This can start out feeling irritating and off-putting, like wearing itchy underwear, and yet this heightened awareness gives you a chance to do something different with it, which in turn can catalyze and invoke helpful change.

Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down
they are different from everyone else.
~ David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

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On a personal level, this New Moon may give you a chance to find new ways to honour that alienated feeling by reframing it. See yourself as unique, distinctive and individualistic, rather than odd, abnormal or unworthy.

On a social level, it could lead to becoming more attuned to others who are like-minded, whom you had previously overlooked or underestimated.

In terms of your resources, you may discover that there is a cause or project or goal that you would rather invest your energy, money, time or creativity into, instead of what you are currently spending them on.

And in terms of healing potential, you might discover that changing who you interact with, and how you do that, can shift some of the discontent or awkwardness you feel about yourself and life in general. As an example, you might decide it's time to let go of a friendship in which you are giving more than you're getting. You may need to decide whether it's best to end it or perhaps just move it to a lower level on your priority list. Remember, Aquarius challenges you to decide between detachment or disconnection.

Alternatively, you could find that by hanging out with more like-minded people – especially those who "get" the parts of you that are normally kept hidden or obscured – you can integrate more of yourself into the whole of who you are. Embracing more of who you are can make it easier to coexist with the world around you that feels different from yourself.

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

February – Saturn parallel Pluto, and more  ("What's a parallel?" "What is declination?")

When two planets are parallel, they have the same declination (give or take about 1° or so of orb). Think of a planet's sign placement as being "left to right" whereas declination is "up and down." When two planets are parallel, they have the same ("up and down") declination, regardless of where they are along the ("left to right") zodiac. Parallel planets combine their energies in a way that's kind of similar to a conjunction (except they don't have to be, and usually aren't, conjunct; at the same degree of the zodiac).

SATURN AND PLUTO

During February, we have three groups of planets that are clustered around the same declination. One group is focused around Saturn and Pluto, which have been parallel since Dec.08.2015 (within 1° orb) and will remain within that orb for the next 4 years!

Their first exact parallel crossing is the day after the New Moon, on February 9 or 10 (depending on your time zone). They'll make 6 exact parallel passes in total – 3 in 2016 and 3 in 2019 – and leave orb just as Saturn catches up to conjoin Pluto in January 2020. It's going to be an "interesting" 4 years!

Saturn and Pluto can be a tough alignment. Together they demand that we get down to brass tacks and get real about the stuff that seriously needs to be transformed. And if we have ignored it or run away from it for a long time, it can get pretty arduous or even ugly when these guys get up in your face.

At its worst, this combination of energies can wreck havoc, bringing to your doorstep the consequences of ignored warning signs that now begin to dominate your life. (Two devastating and extreme cases in point: Saturn and Pluto were in opposition in September 2001, and World War I began in 1914 under their conjunction.)

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However, Saturn and Pluto can also be a time of no-nonsense productivity and transformation. Changes and decisions made under their watch are likely to have far-reaching effects, and when applied in a positive, constructive, responsible way, the result can be life-changing in the best possible way.

The road is not likely to be the smoothest ride you've ever had, but if you put your back into it and keep moving through the process, even just little baby steps at a time, then these next 4 years could be extremely productive and beneficial.

FEBRUARY 2016 AND BEYOND ~ PARALLEL CLUSTERS

It's useful to see the exact dates, but don't forget that declination changes slowly (except for the Moon), so there are several days to weeks before and after these dates when the effects of these parallels will be in the air.

CLUSTER #1

Sun, Moon and Mars cross paths in parallel on Feb.06-07. Although past exact (barely), the Sun and Mars are still less than one parallel degree apart at the time of the New Moon, which underscores the square aspect between Mars and the New Moon (see the New Moon article, above).

CLUSTER #2

Saturn and Pluto are exactly parallel 2016: Feb.09, Apr.28 and Nov.20.

Mercury joins them: Dec.31.2015 to Jan.02.2016, Feb.04-08, Dec.23-26

Venus joins them: Jan.09-11, Feb.13, Oct.17-18.

Mercury has also been conjunct Pluto since mid-January, and Mercury stationed in close conjunction on Jan.25. Now Venus comes up to conjoin them from around Jan.30 to Feb.12. All the while Mercury, Venus and Pluto are also tightly parallel. (If it feels like that Mercury Retrograde just doesn't want to let go and move on, now you know why!)

Throughout February, Mercury and Venus add cleverness, curiosity, a desire for rewards and pleasure, exchange of ideas through interaction with others, and using your thoughts to find harmony and enjoyment. Since they happen to be both conjunct ("left to right") and parallel ("up and down"), this effect is especially emphasized. Great time to network with friends, find new ones, do creative writing, use communication to connect with people, and express yourself through beauty.

CLUSTER #3

Mercury and Venus come within a mere 4 minutes of parallel on Feb.18 (and swing back to an exact parallel in May). They're only about a 1-degree orb from being parallel Saturn and Pluto. At this time Mercury and Venus are also conjunct in Aquarius.

Mars joins Mercury and Venus on Feb.24-25. During this time (plus/minus a few days) all 3 are parallel in declination. Although Venus and Mercury continue to travel in conjunction, Mars does not make any major aspects to them, which probably lessens the effect somewhat.

After being parallel Saturn and Pluto in the first half of February, Mercury and Venus travel together in parallel declination (as well as conjunct in zodiacal longitude). They have a parallel encounter with Mars for a few days later in February.

At its best, the Mercury-Venus-Mars cluster can bring a time of cooperative, intentional action that aims to manifest goals that have been carefully thought out and planned. Since Mars doesn't form any longitudinal aspects to Mercury and Venus, it might require a bit of extra effort to turn your thoughts, ideas, creativity and desire for rewards into grounded action. However, it could be worth it if you do.

On the down side, this could also amplify impatience, impulsiveness and over-reactivity when it comes to going after what you want and what you see as opportunities to pursue it. Aim for spontaneity based on forethought and solid research, rather than leaping before you've looked.

Feb.09 – Mars trine Chiron (19:14 of Scorpio/Pisces)  (Feb.10 in AU)

The healing of assertive energy and willpower mark this transit. It is bound to be easier to get past any inhibition you might normally feel about being assertive, expressing frustration and anger, and putting things into action. Perhaps you are able to reconcile some internal guilt or fear that has held you back in the past. Or, maybe you are finally able to reach a state of acceptance or resolution that allows you to move beyond a conflict or struggle that has been keeping you stuck. Applying your willpower to problems has a better chance of succeeding now because you're likely to be more attuned to the path that leads to peace rather than more conflict. It's possible you might choose to use this energy in the defence of another person, a cause or something else you feel passionately about. It's possible to focus your energy, intent, motives and actions in ways that are healing, healthy, balanced and constructive.

Feb.10 – Venus trine Jupiter (21:32 of Capricorn/Virgo)  (Feb.09 in HAST, AKST, PST)

Your luck and opportunity to attract money, love, resources and self-esteem are high right now. The flow of attraction (whether that is magnetizing people, things or opportunities) is riding a strong current right now. You could find it easier than usual to get the resources and abundance for whatever you need right now. On the other hand, "your eyes may be bigger than your stomach" (as mother used to say), meaning your desire may magnify your sense of need beyond what is wise. You may be tempted to spend, flirt or bluff your way through situations, preferring to ignore or avoid hardship, boundaries or drudgery. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but be careful you don't get your hopes up so high that you set yourself up for disappointment or make promises you can't keep. It's probably wise to balance this easy flowing energy with some discretion and good judgement.

Feb.10 – Venus trine North Lunar Node (21:59 of Capricorn/Virgo)  (Feb.11 in AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Today, as well as up to a couple of days before and after, you may feel a bit more comfortable in your own skin and in the social world around you. In fact, interactions you have with others may prove fruitful to help you move further along your path toward whatever destination you're pointed in. You might be in a position to do this for someone else, as well. It may be a good time to spend or save money and other resources. However, it's still wise to do a reality check to make sure both side of the exchange are satisfied that you got as much as you gave.

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Feb.13 – Mercury enters Aquarius (until Mar.05)  (Feb.14 in AU)

Mercury in Aquarius brings objectivity, detached mental focus, and communication that strives for unprecedented breadth and height – even to the point of adopting an "ivory tower" mentality. This is a good transit for anything requiring a scientific or analytical approach, as well as anything that calls for you to "think outside of the box." This can be a time when you start to see old familiar situations in new ways, giving you a fresh perspective on things. This planetary energy is not likely to be supportive if you need to take a gentle or sensitive approach to personal interaction, however, since you may be more tempted to just say what needs to be said and let the chips fall where they may. Your mental outlook may be focused on upcoming possibilities, and it can be a good time to map out future plans and try on new ideas, since you are likely to be more open-minded to things you had previously dismissed as unrealistic or too "out there." This can be a time when you suffer from "cabin fever" and need to get out of the house more, especially if you've been cooped up for a long time due to bad weather, hard work or just lack of motivation to do something different. Breaking free of old routines can be a good thing – just remember you have to live with whatever mess you make in the process.

Feb.13 – Mars sextile Jupiter (21:10 of Scorpio/Virgo)  (Feb.14 in AU)

There is potential for optimism, cheerfulness and increased energy during this transit. You will probably have to go after it (rather than it just falling into your lap), but you can probably increase your mood and energy level by applying a bit of effort. Your self-confidence and general attitude can improve, although be careful you don't become so caught up in feeling good that you ignore common sense, caution or realism. This is a good time to consider the moral, philosophical or greater implications of your actions, and then make adjustments to bring your behaviour into alignment with your beliefs, aspirations and ideals.

Feb.15 – Mars sextile North Lunar Node (22:03 of Scorpio/Virgo)  (Feb.16 in AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Including a day or two before and after today, this may be a time when opportunities come your way. Taking action could have results or implications that reach farther than you expect. You might feel more energetic, motivated or passionate than usual, and therefore find it easier to get moving on projects and plans. By the same token, if you move your body and take steps toward what you want, the incentive and energy could come to you to keep going with it; in other words, getting your physical energy moving could "prime the pump" mentally and emotionally. Remember that this could be any kind of energy—not just positive strides, but also anger, hostility, vindictiveness and rejection. Use this opportunity wisely.

Feb.16 – Venus enters Aquarius (until Mar.12)  (Feb.11 in AST, NST, UK, AU)

Relationships, material abundance and values take a step back to gain perspective, detachment and room to breathe in freedom. You may find that you want to use your finances and resources to benefit those who are disadvantaged or to support the greater good of society in some way. It can be a good time to experiment or try new things, to network with groups of people, and to take an objective view about intimacy and interaction. Relationships can take on an idealistic edge, seeking a state of equality and rebelling against imbalances that give one person advantage over the other. Having a strong element of friendship in your intimate relationships may become very important during this time, and friendships themselves could take a central place in your life. Detachment without disconnection is the ideal here. You may not be in a position to foresee future possibilities and translate desires into wishes and new hope.

Feb.19 – Sun enters Pisces (until Mar.20)  (Feb.18 in HAST, AKST, PST, MST, CST)

Happy Solar Return to all Pisces! While the Sun travels through Pisces we all have a chance to attune ourselves to our intuitive, creative, spiritual and reflective nature. This can be a time when dreams may become more important, meaningful or frequent, as the unconscious swells into consciousness. It is a time to spend quality alone time with yourself away from the noisy world, so that you can tune in to the still, small voice within. This might be done through meditation, prayer or seclusion. Although not necessary to do in seclusion, you might also connect with that inner space through music, art, dance, yoga, Tai Chi or walking a labyrinth. This is a non-rational space (not necessarily the same as irrational) that emerges from the formlessness of the unconscious full of possibilities for manifestation. Pisces holds the gateway to our source of creativity and our spiritual Source. It points the way to the Great Unknown, where all life begins. Therefore, while the Sun is in Pisces, we have a chance to meditate on our relationship to this womb of creative energy. So try your hand at writing poetry. Or, try drawing or painting, especially with your non-dominant hand. Immerse yourself in a warm bath and listen to the most beautiful music you can find. Walk through a labyrinth, or walk through a forest. Take some time to just BE.

Next Update:  FULL MOON in VIRGO - available by February 22, 2016.

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© 2016 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied without the author's written permission. Most or all of the quotes on this page were found at GoodReads.com. Artwork: Aquarius : Emerging from a Crysalis © Carol McCloud, Galactic Alchemy; used with permission. Giant Himalayan Lily: Lokal_Profil [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Night-blooming Cereus: By Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Purple Passion Flower by Cannikon, via CanStockPhoto.com.


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