Her Sacred Roar: Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth

With the world in crisis, with women disempowered and disenfranchised around the globe, including here in the United States, it is more vital than ever to find our own "sacred roar" and rebirth Her onto the world stage as deity, archetype and ideal. With our pink-handled machetes we blaze a trail forward toward a new normal!

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Karen Tate

Karen Tate

Karen Tate is a twice published author, ordained minister, social justice activist, national speaker and radio show host of the long-running Voices of the Sacred Feminine on Blog Talk Radio.  She was recently named one of the Top 13 Most Influential Women in Goddess Spirituality.

Welcome friends to the New Year.  If you are familiar with Goddess or earth-based spirituality you no doubt know or have been hearing for over a month about the Winter Solstice and the returning of the light. We have heard that our northern European ancestors called the holiday of Winter Solstice, Mother’s Night, when the female ancestors and Goddess were celebrated and their guidance sought out by the people. We know it is the time to celebrate the Roman God, Saturn, as well as Mithras and Jesus. We tell tales of the Yuletide Goddesses such as Lucia and Holda and how the Druids celebrated their “festival of liberation,” a time when the soul is set free to dream a new world. The returning of the light from Winter Solstice forward for a time, is not just about whether we see more darkness or light in the sky. The light actually symbolizes the potential for life and new beginnings.

That said, let me share a little story with you with a new perspective on the season. A myth I don’t think gets so much play at this time of year. It’s about the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, a Shinto Goddess whose sacred sites are on the island of Japan.

Her myth shares similarities to the Greek Goddess, Demeter, and her bawdy and unrestrained counterpart, Baubo. You see, in her sorrow, Amaterasu, like Demeter, withdrew from the world causing the land to become barren and bleak. In her grief, Amaterasu secluded herself in a cave. No amount of coaxing could get Amaterasu to come out and restore fertility and vegetation to the land. Until, like in the story of Demeter and Baubo, Amaterasu was also coaxed out of hiding and despair by her counterpart in the myth, Uzume. Legend has it Amaterasu peeked out from the cave, her curiosity aroused by the laughter and clapping inspired by Uzume’s dance - but this wasn’t just any dance. You see, like Baubo, Uzume was “lifting her skirt, “ a nice euphemism for showing her genitals or yoni.

Why? You might ask. Well, on the exoteric level, it might seem funny or lewd to watch someone dance an erotic dance, or strip tease, if you will. I can’t forget the woman on the stage popping ping pong balls from her yoni in the movie, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” Or the curious Japanese men holding their mini-flashlights hoping to get a glimpse of the yoni of female performers spreading their knees on stage. The yoni then and now holds great power and mystery. These stories of the dances of Baubo and Uzume are not meant to be lewd. They are, in fact, meant to be sacred. They are from a time when procreation and sexual union were still considered sacred and sex had not yet become something shameful or taboo. A woman’s body held the mysteries of the cycles of life and death. You might recall those sacred statues in museums highlighting the public triangle, that part of the woman’s body known to be the gateway or threshold of fertility and new life - until Christianity turned what was normal, natural and sacred on it’s head.

Baubo and Uzume’s yoni dances were the catalysts jump-starting Demeter and Amaterasu to once again spark new life. Think about the last time you really had a belly-laugh. Did you not feel alive and vital? Seeing the dances of their counterparts brought Amaterasu and Demeter such joy that life was re-kindled. Vegetation sprang forth once more and humanity could once again eat, sustain itself. People and creatures would live and not starve.
In the story of Amaterasu, it is said that as she peeked from the cave to look upon Uzume’s dance she caught sight of her own image in a bronze mirror and as became she dazzled by her own radiance, light and fertility was restored to the world. Some scholars believe this myth reflects the regenerative force. It is the power and awe inspired by the yoni across cultures as a catalyst for creation, change, healing or protection. Let us remember also, that women, as life givers, were associated with Goddess, herself, the Creatrix of the world and everything in the universe. Life springs forth from women’s bodies and women bleed without dying. Simply put, without the yonis in these stories, without the yonis in our stories, life ceases to exist.

Specific to the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu’s, story, and in many other spiritual traditions, as well as in science and nature, there is usually no life without light.

That brings us back to this season of the returning of the light. The days and nights are of equal length with the days continuing to build in length and the nights shortening until the Summer Solstice in June. We too are coming out of the darkness and building momentum and energy, or gather light within ourselves, to do things and to manifest our desires in the world.

If we are in sync with the cosmic forces, this is the time for our own awakening and transformation, and our evolution as people and spiritual beings. Each turning of the wheel at this time of the year enables us to renew ourselves, be who we always hoped we’d be and hopefully see things more clearly as we grow in wisdom. We have the juice to re-invent ourselves, if you will. The light helps us see the world and ourselves more clearly and our role in the cosmic dance. Light shines forth, offering illumination that might give us clues to our destiny and purpose in life. This is the time that we take the ideas and seeds we planted in the dark fertile ground of winter and we nurture them to burst forth in the world.

So with all that explained, can you see why this is the time of year when we make resolutions? Can you see how that tradition is based on actual natural, cosmic and spiritual laws? Let us use this time to fill our vessel with the light that nourishes our potential, fills us with life, with incentive to accomplish positive change.

I would be remiss while we are talking about light and motivation to not mention the Goddess or Saint, Brigid of Ireland. She is both fire Goddess and Goddess of the healing waters. What do you get when you mix heat and water? STEAM. And what’s steam? Steam is a force that propels you forward. Think too of Brigid’s steam as a catalyst around this time of year that helps us renew ourselves, transform and succeed in the resolutions we make.

You have the natural energies of the universe working with you in these months leading up to Summer Solstice to see your resolutions through. Here are a few suggestions to help you accomplish your goals:

1) Make sure your resolution is reasonable.
2) Do not try to make to make more than one change at a time.
3) Tie a string to your wrist to act as a trigger to keep you focused on your goal.
4) Have a deadline to accomplish your goal.
5) Have a plan how you’re going to accomplish your resolution.
6) Do research or enlist help if you need it to accomplish your resolution.
7) Keep a diary of your progress and success.
8) Show gratitude for your accomplishments


So as we go forward, it’s also important to remember our thoughts are powerful tools of manifestation so nurture your attitude and thoughts with love. We must be the change we want to see in the world - cliche as that might sound. We must resolve to live our lives according to how we would like to see society change. So as we look within and outside ourselves, let us be filled with a certainty that the light will shine forth in the coming months providing transparency, healing, balance and enlightenment not just to ourselves but to humanity. Let us ride this roller-coaster of a paradigm shift not white-knuckled and in fear, but resolute to be filled with hope and excitement for the new world we can create together.

Excerpted from Goddess Calling:  Inspirational Messages and Meditations of Sacred Feminine Liberation Thealogy available for pre-ordering on Amazon.

 

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“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.  On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” - Arundhati Roy

When I read that quote for the first time, the breath caught in my throat and the hair stood up on the back of my neck as I remembered....

I had been invited  to Wisconsin to present at a weekend workshop which turned out to be a more than wonderful experience.  I went thinking I was just going up there  to teach these women the workshop material, but the sharing and activities I participated in were a beautifully reciprocal dance.  Besides the bonding and the fun, issues I had never quite been able to banish from my psyche had dispersed in the safety of the  ritual the night before and I was feeling light and open and gloriously happy and fulfilled.

As the weekend came to a close and the time to drive back to the airport was drawing near, I grabbed a few moments of solitary time behind the dormitory where we were staying located about 100 yards off a serene and shining lake.  Between the lake and the dorm,  trees had been planted in a circle, with barely two to three feet of space between their trunks, and inside the circle was a bench.  I was drawn within the circle desiring a few moments of quiet contemplation in what felt like Nature’s embrace.

As I sat there, enjoying a cool breeze on my cheeks, glimpsing the reflection of the sun on the lake between the tree trunks before me,  I suddenly realized I heard a rhythmic breathing.  In and out.  In and out.  Where was it coming from?  In my mind, I began a process of elimination.  I held my own breath for a few moments thinking perhaps here in this small space among this odd configuration of trees I was hearing the echo of my own breath, but no, it wasn’t me.  I looked around to make sure there was no one else there, perhaps just beyond my initial line of light.  No. I wasn’t hearing the incoming tide of the lake.  I sat there mesmerized as I listened.   No, this sound was coming from this very spot where I sat.  Dare I ever utter the next thoughts that crossed my mind?  It was as if  I were sitting within the body of Goddess and I was hearing Her breathing  This was incredulous, but I was going to go with it and  just listen, feel, and  receive. I soaked in the magic of this sacred place.  The hair stood up on back my neck and arms.  I felt that familiar cold chill up my spine and my tears turned into sobs of joy.  What an emotional experience!

In hindsight, many of us might speak in metaphor, as perhaps the novelist and activist Arundhati Roy is speaking above, about Gaia or the coming new paradigm of the Sacred Feminine, but this was different.  This experience went beyond metaphor or even feeling inspired in some natural landscape.  This wasn’t merely equating the ebb and flow of the ocean tides with Her breath as we attempt to personify Her and embrace Her mysteries.  This felt as if it were another phenomena of a dimension I had yet to experience.   Was I crazy to even contemplate  hearing the inhaling and exhaling.....of our Mother?  Well, sometimes we just have to shut off that left-brain and just feel Her incredible gifts!  Those few minutes sitting in that sacred grove in Wisconsin will no doubt be some of the most profound and magickal minutes of my life.   Thank you, Mother.  Thank you for that precious gift.. I can hear you breathing!

 

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Sneak Peak!  Goddess Calling...Inspirational Messages & Meditations of Sacred Feminine Liberation Thealogy....Coming in April!

 There was a time long ago when Christianity was the liberation theology of our time - but today many realize the ideals of the Sacred Feminine are what we need for a sustainable future, for freedom, justice, women's rights and equality.

Here's a sneak peak about what others are saying about Goddess Calling:  Inspirational Messages and Meditations of Sacred Feminine Liberation Thealogy.....Coming in April!
Pre-order your copy on Amazon now!

 

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  • Lia Hunter
    Lia Hunter says #
    How exciting! This sounds made for me!
  • Karen Tate
    Karen Tate says #
    Hello Caity, Yes, the book will be available in e-book. Please help me spread the word! Thanks for your interest
  • Caity
    Caity says #
    Will this also be available on Kindle?
Femme: Women Healing the World...The We and the Us, Not the I and Me

     In ever-increasing numbers women and men are seeking spirituality beyond traditional religious institutions and more and more their new normal includes the deities, ideals and archetypes of the Sacred Feminine.  They have a desire to get beyond the patriarchal dogma of the Abrahamic religions that so often perpetuates sexism, homophobia and the domination of Mother Earth and all her inhabitants.  Women, in particular, are hearing and heeding their calling, stepping forth to take on their mantle of leadership as rabbis, ministers, priestesses, Nuns on the Bus and Womanpriests.  They are exercising their spiritual authority in circles at their kitchen tables, in their living rooms and classrooms, in brick and mortar churches and temples, in political arenas and groves.  They are flexing their spiritual wings and allowing themselves to be guided by their intuition, innate female wisdom and inner-knowing.  They encourage their congregations to know and feel the essence of Goddess and understand what that new knowledge might mean for themselves personally and the world.  They refuse to go back to a time when men have dominion over women's bodies and tell them to put an aspirin between their knees as a form of birth control!

Often the shared message of these like-minded women and men is one of female empowerment, equality, social justice and environmental responsibility, sometimes referred to as eco-feminist spirituality.  The liturgy may contain social, cultural and political messages of liberation thealogy using Goddess mythology, archetypes and metaphors as benchmarks and templates for a more just, peaceful and sustainable future.   Gone altogether or tempered is the message of the strict authoritarian Father whose mythology gives license for a male-dominated society with women in a subordinate role.  Nothing less than peace, partnership, justice, equality and care for the planet are at the heart of this Sacred Feminine wisdom.  Gone are the greed is good or survival of the fittest mentalities.  As more and more people find themselves “the other” and with little hope of achieving the American Dream, they are willing to rethink the status quo and vision another future and a government that serves more than the 1%.

In answer to this collective call to restore and re-write our values and find a new social and spiritual path women and men are blazing a trail using their pink handled machetes to find their way.  Within religious groups it might manifest in progressive churches using gender neutral names for God in prayer and song.  Others include liturgy embracing the Divine Mother in equal partnership alongside the Father.  Altars might not be dominated only by male images.  Still others give themselves permission to conduct women-only services and exhibit only female images of deity at their gatherings.  Congregants worship together in circles rather than in hierarchical configurations with a male intermediary between them and deity.  In fact, these groups and gatherings might be leaderless, egalitarian or organizers might share leadership.

To push these new values forward in society Goddess advocates recognize the need to stand in solidarity with pro-worker, pro-women, pro-science, pro-immigrant, pro-peace, and pro-environmental groups who feel the weight of  rich, white, male privilege on their neck.  It means partnering with secular people, particularly the millenials, who feel the most disenfranchised with the current state of the economy, their crushing student loan debt and their hopelessness about the future.   It means legislating real family values,  restoring worker stability, shoring up the depleted social safety net and investing in people and jobs.

Social justice and uplifting the common good are key and those values are not only prevalent in ideals of the Sacred Feminine but their importance is punctuated in a newly released documentary that addresses the issues of patriarchy, women's rights, and our desperate need for partnership. Femme: Women Healing the World is a brave film that starts at the beginning, unafraid to talk about pre-patriarchal times, when women and Goddess were revered and people were more concerned about the We and the Us instead of the current climate of greed and selfishness, aka, the I and the Me.   Femme is unafraid to examine the relationship between religion and the oppression of women and the economic disparity that is the result of our following a patriarchal or male-dominated agenda. 

With Red States and Republicans around the country taking away women's freedom and dignity in mandating they be penetrated with state sanctioned vaginal probes and limiting access to birth control in the year 2013, never has such a film been more needed.  With women doing 80% of the work with only 20% of the assets, never has a film been more important.  With so many hungry children,  women retiring in poverty and austerity measures being thrust upon the poor and middle class, disproportionately affecting women and their kids, information in this film is vital to help shift consciousness toward a more equitable and sustainable future.   With Republicans about to destroy the full faith and credibility of the United States with needless manufactured crises,  it's time to step up and demand a return to balance, sanity and majority rule.  With the daily assaults on our finite resources and Mother Earth, it is time to awaken and this film is a wake-up call! 

The Dalai Lamma said it would be Western women who would save the world.  Certainly it can be women across the globe, stepping up, taking on their mantle of leadership, demanding they no longer be diminished and oppressed under male authority, and with that, a tipping point toward love, balance, peace and an inter-connection among us all. Nothing less is acceptable. Nothing less will save humankind and the planet.   Femme features American women  Jean Houston, Marianne Williamson, Celeste Yarnall, Riane Eisler, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Sharon Stone, Gloria Steinem, Barbara Marx Hubbard, myself, and numerous other women across the globe speaking out on how we might change the world along-side our beloved men.   Most importantly, it offers real solutions for a sustainable world and should be required viewing in religious, corporate and educational settings the world over.  If we can vision it, we can manifest it, and manifesting a new world is our moral imperative for the majority of us on this planet.

About Femme:  Women Healing the World -
Click here to watch: http://ykr.be/4ik59m1n6
You can download the video or stream it for only $4.99
Or DVD copies of Femme will be available in early 2014
For more information about the movie, go to

www.FemmeTheMovie.com

READ MORE ABOUT FEMME -

http://www.examiner.com/article/femme-women-healing-the-world-screenings-los-angeles-july
http://www.examiner.com/article/down-with-patriarchy-make-way-for-femme-women-healing-the-world-part-1
http://www.examiner.com/article/down-with-patriarchy-make-way-for-femme-women-healing-the-world-part-2


About Rev. Dr. Karen Tate --
Author of Walking An Ancient Path: Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth, Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations and the soon to be released Goddess Calling: Inspirational Messages and Meditations of Sacred Feminine Liberation Thealogy and Voices of the Sacred Feminine: Conversations to ReShape Our World.  Karen is a speaker, social justice activist, sacred tour leader, workshop presenter and host of the long running radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine Radio.  She can be reached at www.karentate.com or on Facebook and Twitter and can be seen in the documentary, Femme: Women Healing the World.  She resides in Venice, CA with Roy, her husband of thirty years who she describes as the wind beneath her wings.

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I felt like I was holding on by a thread after my husband’s heart attack. I found myself a caretaker while working a full-time job, dealing with our out-of-touch employer, editing my new manuscript for my publisher, keeping my radio show on the air and trying to pay the bills. Then the opportunity to spend a couple days floating on the Lazy River at a resort in Las Vegas presented itself.

Yes, it was in the hottest part of summer in Las Vegas, but anything was better than being in the office where I could not shake off my boss’ demoralizing words. I thought our performance for the last thirty years in his employ buffered us from the angst and vulnerability so many workers were feeling these days, but no. His reply to my query if my husband could expect sick leave during this health crisis kept echoing in my ears. “I don’t want to pay Roy for sitting home on the couch!” It took all my strength to refrain from hoping in his next life he came back as the guy who cleans out port-o-potties.

So we packed up the car and headed for Las Vegas and the Lazy River. Days of floating in quiet contemplation was just what I needed to recharge my batteries and have a moment to think about something besides stents, pills and doctors and how unappreciated I was feeling. At first the Lazy River just allowed, allowed, allowed me to just be, with no pressure. I could drift with no place to go but round and round, softly, gently, and quietly. Even the kids sharing the Lazy River were not a source of aggravation. It was peaceful and my brain could click off for a few hours.

As the hours turned into days, I began to feel like myself again and before I knew it the creative juices were flowing and this Lazy River became a source of inspiration.

Sometimes we can just float along in life, easily avoiding the chaos all around us, without having to put forth much effort to avoid turbulents. We see others around us going under but somehow we’ve managed to catch the current that just steadily pulls us along out of harms way. We may be lucky enough to continue like that for a bit but sooner or later we’re going to brush up against the rocks. We might even feel as if we're drowning as we are unable to avoid getting sucked beneath rapids and struggle to the surface gasping for air. If we’re lucky, in the next few times around the bend, we might be able to catch our breath. We feel lucky to maneuver ourselves away from the crushing weight of the waterfalls, large and small, we see along the journey.

As we go round and round, with each turn of the wheel, we learn to adapt. We try different positions to discern how to place ourselves so that we float along as stable as possible. We stretch and strengthen our muscles to avoid the rocks and waterfalls. We keep an eye on the horizon so we might manage to avoid chaos and not get stuck in log jams. We wear protective covering to ward off direct hits we might not avoid along the way. And sometimes, if we look for it, gifts present themselves during the struggle, and it is oh so important to embrace those moments in gratitude.  I am grateful.  I am grateful.  I am grateful.

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Before Gordon Gekko There Was Star Trek

Before Ayn Rand became a household name or Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in the movie, Wall Street, captivated the masses with his "greed is good" ideals, a license to callously cheat and exploit, we believed in the progressive values of Star Trek.  Remember, in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan (1982) when Spock's dying words to Kirk were "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."  Or a few years later, in Star Trek: First Contact (1996) Picard explains the world view of the future when he says "The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives.  We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity." In fact, Star Trek's mission was one of exploration and humanitarianism rather than the Right Wing rejection of science or the Ayn Rand values to spurn collectivism and altruism.

That said, I wonder how many have considered how much more Trekkies and Goddess Advocates have in common?  Let's see.

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  • G. B. Harte
    G. B. Harte says #
    Resistance is Not Futile. Resistance to the eternal spiritual 'darkness' is most decidedly not futile. We - as a lifeform & specie

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Embracing The Other

I was recently interviewed on a radio program and the host asked me if I might name one way my mother influenced my life.  I immediately knew the answer to her question.  Evelyn, my mother, taught me to fight for the under-dog.  She never verbalized it, but I think she felt like an under-dog.  She grew up in Louisiana in the 1940's.  It was a time when women had little choice about the direction their life would take.  She had no protections like Roe v Wade.  Her mother was a janitor and education for women was not a priority.  Her world view consisted of getting married, keeping a roof over her head and her kids fed.  I can still remember her and my step-father, too poor for a decent meal because selling vacuum cleaners door to door was not putting food on the table, eating corn chips with some cheese spread for dinner.  Sometimes my breakfast cereal did not come with milk, but water to moisten it.  Ham was out of the question and I came to love bologna sandwiches, especially if I had potato chips to slap between the slices of bread instead of lettuce. 


Never having taken a class in Women’s Studies and a product of the conservative South, I don’t think Evelyn can name the cause for her circumstances.  I can still hear her misplaced loyalty to her Southern roots as my step-father, a northerner from Iowa,  would tell her of the rampant ignorance and racism in the South.  Sexism never came up, however.  Afterall, women just had their role in society.  Evelyn’s life path was not in question - it was normal for the times, but I doubt she was happy.  I wonder if she even felt happiness was something she could hope for.  I got the feeling she was happy surviving.   I wonder how her life would have been different if she had the option to finish high school and go on to college or if she could make enough money not to have to get married or fulfill society’s expectations that women have children.  So, yes, Evelyn instilled in me to fight for the under-dog, probably because she felt there was no one fighting for her. 

She encouraged me to reach out to the lonely kids on the playground who were rejected by the popular kids.  We shared what little we had with neighbors who had less than us.  She told me to go out and get what I wanted in life because it would not come “knocking on my door.”  She tried her best with what she had to work with, which wasn’t much materially or education-wise, but she had compassion and empathy, which I believe, made her very rich.

So it’s no surprise, today I consider myself a social justice advocate.  I fight for “THE OTHER” because today, so many more of us are THE OTHER.  We are the ones with a boot on our neck. The boot of white, male, fundamentalist Christian men and their female counterparts who benefit from the oppression of others.  Yes, this is the root of so much of the oppression and denigration and it’s not just oppression from the elites.  Often it’s poor, white, male, fundamentalist Christian men and their female counterparts who play their part in this patriarchal scheme. 

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Goddess Notices

As I prepare to write a book on sacred sites of Goddess in Turkey and consider leading another tour to Anatolia, my mind returned to our last trip to a rural and out of the way place there called Pessinus. Pessinus was sacred in ancient times as a center dedicated to Cybele, though her temple remains hidden beneath the sands of time and as yet undiscovered by contemporary archaeologists.

This might all sound trivial, but I remember feelings of sacredness in Pessinus presenting itself in surprising ways. Although we didn't find Cybele's temple, I believe I "felt" her there. It seemed her essence was in the people and the energy of the place, still today. Burned into my memory were the kids playing with their cows, adorning their heads with costume jewelry, walking them down the main road, not much more than a mud pathway. It was obvious this was just a daily occurrence, this joyous and playful relationship to their cows. For a city girl, it was revealing also seeing the cows responding to them. Like they were pets But what hit me like a ton of bricks was this old crone, sitting in a doorway. She was dressed in what we Westerners would call a costume, though I suspect it might have been her native dress. She wasn’t there selling anything or trying to make herself visible in any fashion. There was something about her gaze. It grabbed me and seemed to follow me. Even though it was years ago, it feels like it was yesterday. Don't laugh, but if felt as if she was a conduit to Goddess, or Goddess in human form overseeing our pilgrimage. I had this sense that our visit was not going unnoticed.

Then just a couple weeks ago, it happened again.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you for your work in dispelling the disinformation! Blessings on all She notices.
  • Karen Tate
    Karen Tate says #
    Hi Lizann, Thanks for your reply. My apologies for the delay in responding. Glad you liked the article.

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