Episode 79: Responsible Spirituality — Spiritual Consumerism, Instagram Shamans, Red Flags, and Pre-Capitalist Practices with Anya Kaats

This episode is 4 months in the making…

Back in December 2021, I felt a nudge to ask my Internet friend Anya about capitalism and white people without ancestral knowledge and spirituality.

I am a “white” person. I don’t identify as “white”, but the world identifies me as such. I’m a Heinz 57 mix of Northern European ancestry — English, French, Scandinavian, German, and a whole lotta Scottish Highlander.

Of course, what is now England wasn’t always called England. What is now France and Germany weren’t always France and Germany. Those are their modern names and the imaginary lines on the map tell us where they are.

But, these places are colonized just as much as the United States or India or Australia or Central America. The Woke Left would you have you believe that only BIPOC lands have been colonized by the evil white man, but that’s simply not true.

Prior to invasion by the British, the Scottish Highlander people lived a remote, indigenous, tribal lifestyle. Before that, all of these places were ruled by the Roman Empire. Before that, they were Germanic tribes. Before that…

Well, you get the idea.

The point is… I want so badly to recreate a spiritual practice based in ancestral lineage — BUT I HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE what that looks like because the information just isn’t out there.

This is what colonization does. We’re all affected. We all have holes in the tapestry of who we are and of the stories of people who came before us and without whom we would not exist.

There’s a lot of talk about cultural appropriation, and those are important conversations.

But my question is this: In the absence of cultural or ancestral tradition, what is my “white” spirituality “supposed” to look like and how do I create that without appropriating from other traditions?

The answer is neither simple nor straightforward. In fact, there is NO answer.

And that is the backstory of how this conversation with Anya came to be.

Because we can’t talk about spirituality without talking about the utter lack of responsibility in some spiritual spaces. And we can talk about the lack of responsibility without naming what that looks like (ie. Instagram shamans) and the red flags to watch out for.

Spirituality, like everything else, has been colonized and is a victim of capitalism and consumerism. Many “white” folks think burning some sage, having a bunch of house plants, and buying unethically sourced crystals is how you “be spiritual”.

I know it’s deeper than that, but how much deeper am I allowed to go before someone calls me out for colonizing and appropriating? No easy answers. Just conversation.

I genuinely hope you enjoy this one because I sure enjoyed having it.

This Episode’s Guest

Anya struggled to define herself for myself. Cultural labels, norms, and categorizations never seemed to address the complexity and nuance of her everyday experience and it was challenging for her to rationalize her divergent interests and avant-garde thinking into the limited scope of what the world expected of her.

Anya went from being a passionate, creative, imaginative young person to an unengaged and discouraged adult. At 28, she faced multiple tragic events that broke her open and reacquainted her with her authentic self. After decades of living according to other’s expectations, Anya made the decision to walk out on anything and everything that didn’t authentically serve her or the world she wanted to live in.

Professionally, Anya has worn many hates. She spent nearly a decade in the natural products industry, overseeing marketing for several major organic food brands. She also worked as a consultant in creative marketing, product development, photography, and content creation. She is a certified holistic health coach, certified astrologer, as a BA in Gender and Sexuality from Sarah Lawrence College, and studied sexuality and religion at the University of Amsterdam.

You can listen to Anya’s podcasts, A Millennial’s Guide to Saving the World and Whore Rapport wherever you listen to podcasts, and you can find her writing on Substack.


Show Notes

In this episode, astrologer and avant-garde thinker Anya Kaats and I…

  • share Anya’s journey from her Jewish upbringing to her gender and sexuality studies, marriage, divorce, food blogging, chronic illness, agnosticism, and astrology
  • talk about the comfort of ritual and connection to something higher, the nature of belief, and the comfort found in belief
  • discuss the rise of spiritual influencers, spiritual bypassing of trauma, influencers promising life-changing psychic readings and secret “codes, and Instagram shamans circa 2017
  • discuss the nuances of responsible spirituality and how fragile spiritual spaces and practices can be without radical responsibility
  • share some of Anya’s experiences in spiritual spaces with questionable boundaries and ethics
  • talk about some general red flags to watch out for so listeners can better discern and find a spirituality that honors reconnection to Self, Others, and the Planet
  • discuss the ancestral connection to the natural world in pre-historic, hunter-gatherer spirituality vs. capitalism and scientism
  • share various opinions on abundance as a potential for hoarding wealth and resources


Hey friends. Welcome back to the podcast. If you’ve been listening to the last few episodes, the most recent episodes I’ve been speaking with a cold and it seems to have finally passed. I am starting to sound more like my normal self. I don’t have that annoying stuffy, congested, sexy, raspy voice anymore.

And it feels good to finally feel like I’ve made it over the hump of whatever that was it. Wasn’t COVID. I don’t know. I think I’m convinced that it was, and the test was just wrong, but anyway, I’m back feeling much more normal and like myself and I am stoked to be sharing today’s podcast episode with you, because this is a conversation that I’ve been having off the podcast for about four months.

And now we’re finally bringing it to the show in the most coherent way that we possibly can. So before I share with you what this episode is going to be about, I want to introduce you to my guest. Her name is Anya cuts. And for many years, Anya struggled with how to define her. Because cultural labels, norms and categorizations never seem to address the complexity and nuance of her everyday experience.

And it was challenging for Anya to rationalize her divergent interests and avid guard thinking into the limited scope of what the world expected of her. So she went from being a passionate, creative, and imaginative young person to an unengaged and discouraged adult trapped in a cage of her own making.

When Yanina was 28, she faced multiple traumatic events that helped break her open and reacquaint her with her authentic self. After decades of living, according to other people’s expectations, she made a decision to walk out on anything and everything that didn’t authentically serve her or the world she wanted to live in professionally.

Anya has worn many hats. She spent a decade in the natural products industry, overseeing marketing for several. Large organic brands. After that, she worked as a consultant and assisted brands with creative marketing, product development and photography and content creation. She’s also a certified holistic health coach.

A certified astrologer has a BA in gender and sexuality from Sarah Lawrence college and studied sexuality and religion at the university of. You can catch Anya on both of her podcasts. One is called millennial’s guide to saving the world. The other is called hor rapport, and those are available wherever you listen to podcasts.

And her writing is also available on sub stack. Her intention is simple through curiosity, creativity, and conversation. She wants to encourage others to dream new dreams, ask new questions and interpret the world in new ways in aligning her inner and outer self on your hopes to inspire. To do the same.

So we are having a really juicy conversation and it was hard for me to come up with show notes for this conversation, actually, because it is so difficult to verbalize and have language for something that I think we’re all collectively feeling, but struggle to express. So we’re having a conversation today about spirituality and the commodification of spirituality.

The desire and need for spiritual connection, which is incredibly difficult to engage in responsibly. We’re talking about taking spiritual practice. Seriously. We’re talking about the roles of systems like capitalism and patriarchy. In spirituality and how that’s showing up, especially on social media, through the rise of the ever popular Instagram showman, we share lots of opinions about being a spiritual consumer, idolizing spiritual teachers, putting them on pedestals, projecting our own insecurities and limiting beliefs onto those teachers and our cultures, voracious appetite for spiritual meaning and connection.

Um, we’re also sharing Anya’s journey from her Jewish upbringing to her gender studies, to marriage and divorce, food blogging, which is something that we share as part of, uh, our former past lives, chronic health issues. Going from being agnostic to atheist and ultimately to landing at astrology. We’re also talking about the comfort of ritual and connection to something higher than ourselves in moments of desperation.

And we discussed the nature of belief and how we find comfort in that. We also discussed the surgeons of spiritual influencers that were showing up online circa 2017 and awareness of how fragile spiritual spaces and practices, um, and the level of responsibility involved in all of that, like really creates a very complex.

Issue that is hard for a lot of us to identify, um, Anya sharing some of her experience in spiritual spaces, where there were questionable boundaries or ethics involved. We’re also sharing some general red flags to watch out for. So if you’re on Instagram or hanging out in spiritual spaces online, um, there’s some red flags that you can look out for and kind of, you know, know what you’re getting into and protect yourself.

We’re also talking about how spirituality has meant to reconnect us to ourselves, into the. And we’re discussing ancestral connection to the natural world and spirituality versus capitalism and scientists. And we were talking all about like abundance, our ideas around Ascension and like five D the dissociation and bypassing of spirituality from actually letting us feel our feelings and deal with trauma.

We’re talking about the evolution of human consciousness, uh, the promises that a lot of spiritual teachers or Instagram’s spiritual teachers, promise like their reading is going to make you enlightened, or they have these. Spiritual private codes that they’re going to share with you or whatever.

And then ultimately we end our conversation with like, in the absence of knowing an ancestral or a cultural lineage or have, have of having those things passed down to you, what can responsible spirituality look like? And ultimately it looks like going back way back in time to like pre-history hunter gatherer times, , and seeing how people lived in reciprocity back.

And these societies were fiercely egalitarian and everyone in the community played a role and everyone, if they didn’t do what they were supposed to do and their role in the community, the whole community suffered. And in that way, they created these very egalitarian and. Equitable and reciprocal societies.

And ultimately I think to divesting from capitalism and patriarchy and these systems of oppression and really finding a spirituality that is ethical, responsible, and earth honoring involves going way back before. You know, there were things like countries with borders, you know, imaginary lines on a map and pre colonialism and pre patriarchy and all of that.

So it’s a complex topic. It’s a complex conversation we’re having and I’m super excited. Um, links to Anya and her website, her podcasts, her sub stock. All of it is going to be in the show notes below. Um, you can also find show notes@lindsaylocket.com forward slash podcast. And this is episode 79. And I guess one last thing that I’ll say is that this is just part one of the conversation with Anya.

I’m actually going to be a guest on her podcast. This week to discuss my perspective of responsible spirituality, um, which was very confusing for me, given my fundamentalist Christian upbringing and the deconstruction from. And also being a white woman who does not have historical access to the ancestral practices that people in my lineage would have had.

And that it’s been extremely difficult for me to figure out what responsibility or responsible spirituality looks like in the absence of knowing what my cultural traditions would have been. And, um, Appropriation and all of that. So that’s going to be a really juicy conversation as well. It’ll be on Anya’s podcast, millennial’s guide to saving the world this coming week.

So both of these episodes are out the same week. And as soon as Anya’s episode is out, I will link to it in the show notes as well, so that you can listen to this one and then click over and listen to that conversation. So without further ado, sit back, relax and enjoy this lovely chat with Anya cuts. Hello, Anya. Welcome to the podcast. Hi Lindsey. Thank you. I love to be here. I’m so excited to have you, um, it’s your first time on my podcast. So thank you so much for being here and just to give our listeners some backstory of how we came. To be in this space that we’re in today. Um, I don’t know. What was it like back in December?

I think I, I was having all of these thoughts and feelings about spirituality and, uh, white spirituality and the commodification of spirituality and the role of capitalism in that and the role of. Ancestry in that. And I just having all these thoughts and feelings about it and I reached out and I was like, what do you think about this?

Here’s this other white girl, you’re spiritual, you have feelings. Right? So, um, we, we had a really interesting like voice text exchange and text exchange. And then you like started traveling all over the place so that we put a pin in that conversation. And now here we are back again, picking it back up. So I’m really excited.

And I’ve no idea where we’re going to go today, but, um, I’m buckled up and ready for the ride. Those are the best kinds of podcasts. Honestly. It’s like two podcasters making it work. Yeah. We’re the, literally just making this shit up as we go. Yeah, no plans. So, um, why don’t you just like start by sharing your own journey of spirituality and where you started and kind of where you are today.

Cool. Yeah. I, um, would say that I grew up pretty much having no idea what spirituality was, which I think is probably a pretty common experience. I made the assumption that to believe in something meant religion, organized religion, and like, quote, unquote God with a capital G. Um, I was raised Jewish, but not in a super strict way, but I got a bar mitzvah and went to Hebrew school and went through the motions of a bunch of stuff that I didn’t really understand.

And that didn’t really hold a lot of meaning for me. Um, and I never would’ve, I don’t think I would’ve ever called myself atheist, but certainly spent a lot of time in my sort of older teenage years into my twenties feeling rather agnostic, just feeling like, man, I don’t know what’s out there. Like I don’t really have a connection to any of this.

But I’m also not going to pretend like I could tell you whether or not God exists. Like, I don’t really think I’m capable of proving that one way or another. So I don’t know if that’s my best answer. Um, and then in my late twenties, I decided to pretty, uh, I was going to use the word violent because that’s sort of what it felt like, but I pretty violently uprooted myself from my entire life, um, in order to start a new one.

And I think I grew up as a pretty like open-minded, um, curious and traditional kid. I went to college for gender and sexuality. My dad’s gay. I was raised in a pretty like progressive household with a lot of familiar familiarity, with lots of different types of romantic relationships and ways of living.

And I still fell victim to the mainstream culture, which told me that I needed to like get married and have a job. Buy a house and be a food blogger housewife. So that’s what I did. Um, and I, for most of my twenties, I think just spend a lot of time running away from myself, thinking like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, but I wasn’t.

And then I, I just couldn’t take it anymore. Some sort of like inner guide of mine that I couldn’t identify at the time. Um, thankfully, uh, pulled me out of that situation. Um, but I was left with a lot of unprocessed trauma and grief and relational issues and codependency issues. And, um, I really just had no idea who I was, I think, um, and.

It was an interesting situation for me because I left my marriage and I pretty instantaneously, I’d struggled with health issues, my entire life, which is why I had this food blocked, um, over the years. Yeah. A lot of similarities with us. Um, I had over the years, of course tried like every diet and every supplement and every type of modality that I was told to use in order to solve my issues.

And none of them had worked. And, um, I think what I started to come to terms with was that the root of all of my problems were psychological and emotional and that I couldn’t out supplement my shitty relationship and my shitty unfulfilled, like unhappy life and existence. Um, so I, yeah, I think it was rather intuitive.

I can’t necessarily say I knew that that’s what I was doing when I left my marriage, which was to finally come face to face with all of that. Um, but I found myself. With, like, I came down with the worst of the worst of my health issues. I had like really, really severe sucks, cystic acne all over my face at the age of like 28 and no marriage and like the inability to do my, like, like I’m going to write a health blog.

Like clearly I have no idea what I’m talking about. It was just awful. So like all of my, I would say all of my external structures of value, um, came crashing down. So, whereas before when I could say like, well, look, I’m fine. Like, look at my marriage, look at my job. Look at my house, look at my income, look at my appearance.

Right. Like, I’m fine. Um, and then when all of that got taken away, I realized like I had no self-love and worthiness or like awareness at all. And what was really interesting to me in the very early days of that process. Despite other people telling me that I like needed to go on psychiatric medication because I was like in bed all the time, I felt like I just sprays kept recurring in my head, which was, this is the worst pain you’ve ever been in, but this is exactly where you’re meant to be.

And that was, that felt so true to me in such a deep, profound way that I think it sparked my journey toward figuring out what that meant. Um, and so I sort of haphazardly through Googling and through getting advice from some. Friends of friends and having, uh, a friend of mine who knew like a psychic or something, give me some kind of reading.

And she mentioned that I was like, oh, you’re in your Saturn return. And she started using all this like astrological lingo. And so I started researching astrology. And, um, in this process, I think I recognize, I mean, I don’t know, maybe I didn’t have any choice otherwise, but I really felt like for the first time I was finding meaning in my life and by way of meaning, I found like faith in the process and in the journey.

Um, and that was such a beautiful transformation for me. And I think growing up as someone who was so anxious and so neurotic and like just such a mess in so many different ways, To be able to, I’m not claiming I’m a master at it, but to be able to sink into like, okay, what’s the lesson here? Or like, what is the message I’m supposed to be getting?

Or like, what is the purpose of this time in my life was such a massive relief. Um, and so I, I think my main pathway into all of this was astrology and I took an astrology apprenticeship. Um, and that my, my personal approach to astrology I think is much more about architectural psychology and about mythology than anything else.

So I’m very interested in how we can understand ourselves, right. How we can understand our personality as a process, that’s like telling a narrative. Um, and if we can sort of like relate to these sort of narratives that have existed for like eternity, um, we can learn about ourselves that don’t require us to learn to, to use like psychological terminology, right?

Like you’re not a narcissist or just engaging in a narcissistic process. Right. And like, let me tell you a story that exemplifies, um, what that could look like or feel like to help you relate to it more. So that was my introduction to the spiritual world. And I’ve, since I would say experimented with a lot of different forms of spiritual practice, whatever that means, um, from astrology to psychedelics to, um, even just honestly, mainstream religion, like looking at that in a new way outside of the sort of structure that it exists in now, um, And, uh, buying crystals and Sage, you know, doing all the white chick shit on setting intentions.

Um, yeah, I’ve done a lot of research into like, uh, shamanism as well. Um, and, um, gotten really angry about why traumas and the like, so yeah, I would say that’s the introduction I could keep talking, but maybe I’ll stop and let you interject. Yeah, that’s fantastic. That’s I mean, your rollercoaster sounds a lot.

Like my roller coaster, we were on, we were in parallel universes on the same orchestra. Um, so thank you for sharing all of that. And I mean, I guess my only question about what you just shared is that you were clearly. In your, your Saturn returned, which I guess could have been your dark night of the soul.

Um, just this like very desperate, lowest of low places. And, you know, it’s amazing, like for me as well, I’ve had, you know, I’m almost 40 now, so I’ve had a few darkness of this soul, so get ready. There’s more. Um, but. I just remember the way that I was raised in grew up was like very strict and rigid. And it was like, there was no room for anything else outside of that, like this was the paradigm that we looked through.

This was the lens we saw through fundamentalist Christianity, Jesus, as the savior, the Bible is the literal word of God. Like you’re a woman. So you need to submit to your husband and like bear and raise all of these godly children. And like, your life will be amazing. Um, which, you know, spoiler alert for anyone who’s still in that, like, it’s bullshit,

bullshit. So it did not turn out that way at all. Um, but I just like the dark nights of the soul going through those difficulties for me was ultimately what opened me up to a totally different. Worldview or a totally different paradigm or whatever. And so I’m curious, like, as you, you know, you grew up Jewish and, but not strict Jewish.

And then you went through this phase of being like atheist and maybe agnostic and like, um, I’m guessing at a certain point you were probably a little bit like, um, I dunno what the word is like ambivalent about spirituality. Like, was there a point when you were just like, that’s bullshit? Yes. Um, yeah. You know, it’s interesting because I would, I would say that although I wouldn’t have necessarily understood what I was dismissing with spirituality at the time I was and did throughout my childhood and adolescence think that belief, structures like that were, um, weak and lazy.

And I remember. Frequently talking about like, well, why do you have to like, believe in Jesus or God to be a good person? Why can’t you just be a good person on your own? Like if God, or Jesus is forcing you to be a good person, are you really a good person? Or are you just like doing what someone else says?

And what if Jesus and God disappeared? Like what would happen? Um, so I really did think it was sort of weak. I use that word a lot to believe in something. And then there’s this moment. Um, that is, it’s so interesting how, like, you know, our memories, our selective memories of what we remember and what really made a profound impact on us.

But I remember at some point I must have been, uh, 13 or 14 and I went to temple with my mother who made me go to temple for all the high holy days. And I was just so bored and none of it meant anything to me ever. But on one of these times, um, the rabbi gave a sermon. And what he was talking about was the fact that he and his wife had just had twins and he was telling a story about how something had gone wrong with the pregnancy and that for a good several hours, there was a risk that both his wife and his newborn twins were going to die in pregnancy.

And he was telling all the details of this story. And I’m sure the sermon was far more complex than what I remember it to be. But what I remember him saying was, and in those moments, there was nothing I could do, but pray, like I had no control over the situation. And I felt so grateful that even though I wasn’t like praying because I.

But by praying I was going to save my wife per se, but because in those moments of a total lack of control, that it was comforting to feel like I had a ritual to engage in, and that there was something despite this tragedy or potential tragedy and despite this pain and this grief that I’m connected to something.

And I remember hearing that in like, even in my 14 year old writing was like, okay, well, that’s kind of legit. Like, I kind of understand that. Um, and I remember thinking, I feel like if I’m ever in, if I ever find myself in a situation like that, I too would like to feel comforted by feeling a connection to something or, or by prayer or, or through Richard.

Um, and so I can’t necessarily say that. I thought about that very much at all up until my dark night of the soul. But once I hit my dark night of the soul, that little story reappeared in my mind, very profoundly. And I felt like, okay, here I am. Here’s the moment. Um, I don’t know. I still, I still honestly engage with this, um, this question quite a bit around, you know, the nature of belief and how so many of us find belief and meaning in really difficult periods of time.

Um, and what that means. And, you know, whether that makes the belief or the meaning it legitimate somehow or not. And like when we’re happier, we don’t need it as much. Um, so I don’t know. Yeah, it’s an interesting question, but I certainly, yes. I always thought it was sort of silly and beneath me and something that, um, I knew better than.

And did it need like other people did. Okay. So. You went through this dark darkness of this hole, you, you found something, whatever that something was to pray to, to put some kind of belief and find comfort in, and then you started an astrology apprenticeship. Is that the gist of it? Yes. Um, so what happened there?

So yeah, I, I, a thing that I have done in my life quite a bit is to do things like, um, become certified, a certified health coach or a certified astrologer without necessarily the intention to be a health coach or astrologer. Um, I’ve taken a lot of courses. Mainly because I was interested in them and because I wanted to learn more about them and like engage in a process of my own growth and awareness.

Um, so when I took the astrology apprenticeship, it was not because I wanted to be an astrologer. I was actually pretty certain, that was not what I wanted to do. Um, but I was so interested in these archetypes and I felt like in the little bit that I’d learned through podcasts and online up until that point felt incredibly like, um, aligned.

And the language of it made sense to me in a way that so much other types of language and ways of looking at the world and interacting with the world didn’t make sense. So, um, I figured I’d just want to learn more about this. I was listening to a podcast, um, and the host of the podcast said that he was creating an apprenticeship and I applied and it was a year.

And so it was like me and 17 other people, um, mostly women, but some guys. And we, yeah, it was many, many classes we had, most of it was online, but we met in person a couple of times. And, uh, it was a good experience in many ways, but also a profoundly troubling experience. Um, and that, I don’t talk about that frequently because I am so anti cancel culture and so pro taking accountability for my own actions and, um, behavior.

Um, but there was a lot of, I would say lack of professionalism and really questionable boundaries, um, between the teacher and the students. And I got caught up in that probably more than anyone else did in the apprenticeship. And I think around that time, which this is like 2017, um, 2018, Uh, I feel like there was just a sort of big, um, I don’t want to say resurgence of surgeons of like these spiritual people in spiritual practices and spiritual influencers.

I would say showing up online in a myriad of different spaces, whether it was astrology or psychedelics or, um, just a lot of people were like, I’m spiritual and I’m a spiritual teacher and blah, blah, blah. Uh, and I, it was troubling to me and I was as a part of the apprenticeship. We were in encouraged to give readings of our own.

And of course disclose that we were still a student, but give readings. And so I started to give readings and I, I, it was very clear to me in giving the readings. About my own capacity to project and my own capacity to like, you know, okay. So I’m struggling with a lot of issues around the mother wound and I look at someone’s chart and I just see the mother wound.

And so I start to ask them questions about that and like, sure. I think people are probably drawn into my orbit because they have similar issues to mine, but I became very well aware of how fragile this space was in the sense that therapy is of course, something to take very seriously as a therapist around boundaries and around training and around all, all these other things.

But when you become a spiritual teacher or guide, you’re what you’re basically saying, unless you say otherwise, is that in some way, like your, the voice of God, um, and you are either. Like you are a God, or at least you are capable of hearing these messages and, um, transmuting them and translating them to the person who’s paying you.

And this, um, was a type of responsibility that, uh, especially given my own experience with teachers, um, it just started to really affect me and make me question things. I’m I think I’m just a critical thinker by nature. Um, but this in particular was an issue that I think about constantly in so many different ways around my own behavior and what is appropriate.

What’s not appropriate. Um, what, right. And legitimacy, I have to practice this. And then also what right. And legitimacy and training do other people have. To practice this. And it’s complicated because like when it comes to being a psychedelic practitioner or an astrology teacher or an astrologer of any kind on the one hand, I’m grateful that there aren’t the same sorts of like very strict rules as there are for mainstream therapy, because I think there’s many, you know, negative aspects of the fact that you like can’t hug your client if they’re crying, for example.

Um, and so on the one hand, I’m very grateful for the sort of like freedom that spiritual, um, practitioners have in developing their own practice and their own belief structure and their own way of engaging in those things. But on the other hand, there is absolutely no governing body or no checks and balances.

And so we require what’s required is discernment on behalf of the. Consumer. And I don’t really think the world, our culture has discernment in many ways. Um, so, you know, I always have this joke that like, and something I try to hold myself to as well, like, is the problem Trump, or is the problem, all the people that support him that don’t necessarily have the discernment to not support him or anyone else for that matter.

Right. Like any, any, um, guru figure or political leader that we’re talking about? Is it them, or is it the fact that like we’re incapable of, uh, seeing what’s really happening behind the curtain and whose responsibility is that right? Like, is it the responsibility of boss or the leader? So, um, yeah, it’s, I, it took me, took one side, had this experience with my apprenticeship, which was, um, Quite disturbing.

And it was a situation where I basically privately to the teacher called out a lot of what I was seeing and was kind of nominated by the group. So my fellow students to call this behavior out, which was a bad idea, I should have never taken on the role of the messenger, but I have a fear of conflict. So I was like, I’ll save the day.

Like he’ll understand me. And it’ll be great. That did not happen. Um, and instead, basically what ended up happening is that I was like scapegoated and, um, basically accused of like starting a mutiny, a dark feminine mutiny against him. Um, just say feminine you name. It was really, it was really awful. Um, and of course, like I had my own of course engagement and responsibility here, but it just made, it gave me a really sour taste in my mouth relative to, uh, the entire world and the spiritual world and the.

Um, yeah, a spiritual teacher is on just strategy as a whole. Like I just felt grossed out by it all coupled with what I was seeing happening outside as well, with all these people, going to Peru and doing iOS go one time. And they’re like, Michelman like, are you, what are you talking about? Like, no, you’re not.

Um, so it left me with a really bad taste in my mouth. And I think it took me like three years, four years to finally feel like safe, to engage in the space again. And I decided to create a sort of like my own little introduction to astrology course for people that’s felt I’ve taught it. I’ve been we’re in the middle of our fourth, my fourth round with it now.

And that’s. Really fruitful and amazing. Um, I unfortunately just had another really like, awful experience with someone that I admired in the community. So I don’t know. I feel pretty consistently, consistently conflicted, um, around, yeah, just like the discernment and responsibility of people who engage in these spaces, but also recognizing how much we all need meaning.

Right. And, and belief. So it’s like, I don’t really blame anyone and yet I, yeah. I just feel sort of confused a lot disappointed. Um, so I’m actually really, really glad that you brought up what you said, that the example that you gave about Trump was I think perfect. Is that like, okay. Is it Trump that’s the problem or is it people’s lack of discernment?

It went when it comes to who we elect or who we support, um, I’m setting myself up for a massive cancellation here, but this is why I don’t vote anymore. Like I just refuse to vote. I’m not because I’m not grateful for my right to vote, but because my, my discernment is that there’s literally no one here that I could vote for and like put my head on the pillow at night and feel good about my choice.

Um, and so I just refuse to participate in the whole ritual because like, to me, it’s, it’s like, it doesn’t matter actually. Yeah. It is a circus. It’s a shit show. Um, so for, for people listening, who, you know, maybe like sometimes we don’t even know what it is we’re thinking or feeling until we hear someone say what we’re thinking and feeling.

And then we’re all of a sudden like, oh, now I have language for what I’m thinking and feeling, but I couldn’t describe before. And I think that, that at least for me, I think that it seems. Like you may have given some people language just now of like, I know something’s off here. I don’t know how to describe what it is.

Um, I don’t know if I’m supposed to participate in it and just like move past this. I don’t know if I’m supposed to pause and kind of wait on the outside and just watch and see what’s going on. So without giving away, like too much, because you and I are both very anticancer culture, which means we are not going to name specific people on a public podcast.

Um, so without giving away details that would, um, give away who this person is or what this group was. Do you mind sharing it with as little detail as you, or as much detail as you’re comfortable with, um, what some of the red flags were that you were noticing? Because I think it helped for people to hear real life examples of things that were inappropriate or ways that boundaries were violated in a spiritual space, by someone who was an authority in that space.

So. As little or as much detail as you’re comfortable with. Yeah. So, I mean, it’s hard to separate what my answer to that question. It’s difficult to separate from the fact that I had a major crush on this person. And so, and I think this is common, whether it’s like a romantic crush or just a like feeling of deep admiration and the feeling of wanting to be accepted and feel legitimate and feel seen by people that we admire, which of course is most likely a carry over from like, not getting that from our parents friend childhood.

Um, but so I think across the board, myself and a lot of the women in this apprenticeship, um, had some degree of desire when it came to that to be seen, to be chosen, to be. Um, accepted whatever it was, um, loved fucked. I don’t know if I can say that on the spot against, um, so of course you can say anything on the spot, so I’ll, I’ll, I’ll preface all this to say that I just, I recently, um, I really stood episode on my podcast episode 1 0 8, where I, where I wrote a sort of third person narrative of this entire experience.

Um, uh, so if anyone’s interested in hearing more about that, you’ll hear before in episode 1 0 8. Um, but that was sort of my way of like, alchemizing the very painful experience into some degree of like creative output that was very much focused on my own accountability and responsibility and forgiveness.

Um, so I would say that like I, in many ways I think initiated the desire to be seen. Um, so. I had decided that, uh, he and I were like, meant to do this project to get together that I had sort of heard him talking about that he wanted to do X, Y, Z. And I was like, I want to do X, Y, Z to, um, let me reach out to you about that and express my interest in doing that.

And I think if he were responsible, he would have responded by saying like, ma let’s talk about that after the apprenticeship is over right now, let’s just like, keep the structure of me being your teacher and, um, your astrologer. Uh, and you’re sort of like, I mean, it’s a, it’s a form of therapy. You’re sort of like therapeutic guide in this space intact and, or like, no, it’s, wouldn’t be appropriate for me to do that sort of project with.

Um, but he, he wanted to do the project with me. And, um, this made me very happy, of course. And I did not disclose that. I also was hoping that he would fall madly in love with me and that we would live happily ever after. Um, but we talked like late into the night, uh, about this project, about many other things that were not necessarily super appropriate.

Um, and I think, I mean, it’s hard to say what the red flags were because it was so contextual to this experience. But I think if I had to sum it up, it was like, I feel like I want to tell you that your boundaries are fucked up. Like, even though I’m so happy to be getting this attention from you, I feel like I wish you told me to stop.

And I feel like, I wish you were telling me like that this type of engaging was inappropriate or that you would. Stopped it from happening to begin with. And yet we were talking every day on Facebook messenger about lots of inappropriate things. I think at some point we both acknowledged that there was a sexual, a sexual attraction between both of us.

And he basically said like a friend of mine thinks we should just fuck and, uh, get that out of the way, uh, to see if we would be good business partners in the future. Right. Like red flag, red flag. And I said, like, that would be a bad idea. Um, and we both sort of agreed. It was a bad idea, but still like he’s, we’re talking about it and it’s been brought up.

And so now I’m thinking about us having sex and not like I wasn’t before, but, um, yeah. But yeah, there was now he said it though. So it’s like now, you know, he’s also really thinking about it. Yeah. Right. So I, I basically spent like the entire apprenticeship basically feeling like, oh, we just need this apprenticeship to end so that we can be together and live this life.

And. And meanwhile, a lot of this nice that my fellow students and myself, honestly, not only were there sort of questionable issues around boundaries at that time, I felt those were just my issues though. I didn’t know if they were affecting other people or not. But what I did know is, was affecting other people where it was that there were a lot of, um, just questionable teacher practices.

Like just not being a very good teacher, like making people feel stupid when they ask questions and just not holding space very well. And so these other women seeing sort of how comfortable we seemed with one another asked me if I could please give him this feedback. Um, and another red flag I think would, was that I gave him the feedback and he called bullshit on it and just said, well, if these other people don’t come to me with this feedback directly, How do I know you’re not just making it up.

Um, and so things sort of like took a turn for a word for the worst. I think at a certain point, because I felt so accused of, um, turning people against him in a way that I hadn’t, I, I became, I stated explicitly like, look, dude, I’m not trying to turn people against you. In fact, like I’m madly in love with you and hope we end up together.

Like this is not what’s happening. Um, and so then it became this thing where, oh, well, because like, I don’t want to be with you like that. You’re angry. And in a sort of like revenge, unrequited love Fest, um, you’re deciding to turn everyone against me. And of course this wasn’t true and it was really devastating and embarrassing and, um, it sucked and I, yeah, it’s, I mean, there were red flags everywhere you looked it’s.

It’s amazing. Um, I think how far I went, I think in that situation before coming to terms with this, but, but I’ll say like, you know, I think when we are for the first time seeking meaning and belonging, because we have just gone through a dark night of the soul, where in many ways we’re like leaving our sort of existing belief structures.

We’re having to walk away or be alienated by our friends, our, by our parents, by, you know, we don’t fit in with anything or anyone at all. And so we’re desperate to be sort of scooped up by somebody else who shares our values. And I think that’s what that’s, what’s happening. Right. We have people like, I don’t even think this guy, like, I mean, I’ve, we’ve spoken I’ve I can’t say we’re necessarily we’ve ever been on the same page, but like.

I know about his own life and his own trauma and his own journey to feel like I wish this hadn’t happened, but also like you’re a human and I understand why you did what you did. Um, and I understand why these people who are so desperately seeking, you know, attention and love and acceptance are, you know, these two sorts of people are finding each other.

Um, and there’s this great book called power in the helping professions. Um, how, I think a lot of people who sort of seek approval and validation through, um, uh, yeah, power art become therapists and become astrology teachers and become gurus, um, and are constantly, you know, in the realm of scared sort of desperate, uh, Week, fragile humans who are really looking, I think for authority and for direction and for strong boundaries, um, but are met with the opposite of that.

And that can be incredibly confusing and just all, you know, I think what kept me in denial about this for so long was embarrassment and shame that like I had, I’d really put this person on a pedestal. Like I really thought they were so cool and so awesome. And so worthy of my admiration. And I’ve definitely done this with other humans in the past, too charismatic people whose public face is like amazing.

Um, but who I don’t necessarily know. And I sort of forget that. So, um, yeah, I, I don’t, I think I was just really embarrassed that I had sort of sung the praises of this person for so long. And when it turns out they’re not who you thought they were, that’s not just about them. That’s also about your own judgment and or lack thereof.

Right. And that’s, I mean, you can see this in a, if you’re in a bad relationship, a toxic relationship, I think we often stay in it for longer than we should for a myriad of reasons. But I think one of them is because to leave is to say, I was maybe wrong about that person. And that’s a really hard thing to do.

Do, and family were wrong about a thing. Yeah. So yeah, I think, I think it really sucks. And I th I think we hold on for way longer than we should. Um, so maybe more broadly. Not specific to your experience, but I know that you you’ve been in spiritual spaces for a very long time and you’ve probably seen it all.

Um, so what are some of the other just more broad, other than like the white shamans who go to Peru and they do Iowasca one time and they come back and they’re like, I’m a shaman now. Um, what are some other just general red flags that maybe listeners could just start keeping their eyes and ears open for whenever they’re engaging?

Um, because I, I do, you know, I believe that everyone has intuition. Like, I don’t believe that there’s anybody on the planet who doesn’t have intuition. I just think that some of us are, we ha we seem to have more access or like more. Yeah, more access to our intuition than other people do. And I think intuition is something that can definitely be developed.

Like if people are like, oh, I don’t really have great intuition. Like that doesn’t mean you’ll never have great intuition. It can definitely be developed for me. Intuition requires being embodied. So if I’m walking around, living in my head all the time and everything is cognitive and analytical and intellectual, then I’m cut off from intuition because for me it lives in my body and it’s a felt sense of this is a yes for me.

This is a no for me. Um, so just what are some things generally that people could look out for and kind of notice, or even even just feel into whenever they’re on Instagram or whenever they’re considering, you know, studying with an astrologer or some other spiritual teacher or hiring a white Sharman or like whatever, don’t do that across the Lord.

No edge of it. Um, yes. Uh, good question. Um, so. I think over the years, I’ve tried to define what spirituality means to me or what it, I mean, I don’t like the word should, but like what, what is it that we’re talking about? What is spirituality? What’s the purpose of it? And I think to me, I’ve come up with a definition or an opinion about it, which is that it is meant to reconnect us.

It’s about connection. And when I say connection, I mean, connection to ourselves and more broadly, I would say connection to the planet. Um, I think we’re wildly disconnected. Like you said, from our intuition, which means we’re wildly disconnected from our bodies, which means we’re wildly disconnected from like the larger animal world.

Um, I think because of our lack of connection, We feel that it’s okay to drill for oil and to clear cut forests. And we, if you look back and study, um, you know, our ancestral spirituality, hunter gatherer spirituality, it was all about understanding and feeling totally connected to the natural world. We’re a part of the natural world.

Humans are not bad human server role and important role in the overall ecology of the planet. We, since the scientific revolution, uh, have become a strange from that, because now we prioritize facts and proof and sort of mechanistic, ways of thinking when it comes to like true and false and right, and wrong and proven and unproven.

But these are all scientific structures and scientific terms. And then we’ve relegated anything that involves. Belief or intuition or synchronicity or magic or luminosity as wrong. And like just not even worth discussing just, uh, uh, creation of the sort of subconscious subjective mind and therefore illegitimate.

Um, and so to me, my spiritual practice is to reconnect me to the, I would say like divine, which to me means just the planet and the sort of like, I think the planet and everything that’s around us is totally magical and amazing in a way that I will never fully be able to comprehend as a human and that in and of itself, um, makes me feel incredibly humbled and grateful.

And so. To me, what, what frustrates me or, or what I see as red flags are any kind of spiritual practice that is not aimed at reconnecting us either to ourselves or to the planet. And so when I see people talk about abundance, um, and what they mean by abundance is like, you know, charging $4,444 for their, like, I don’t know, spiritual mastermind thing.

Um, and that like abundance means hoarding, great amounts of wealth. For example, to me, this is to not recognize the original structure and archetype of resource, which is not limitless, right? Like a resource is used to be that which came from the earth. And, um, we lived in Galatarian and regenerative ways that allowed us to not take more than we need.

So. If I see things like that, where it’s like spit, you know, to feel I am worthy of all the wealth in the world and to charge whatever. I mean, of course we should charge what we’re worth. I’m not saying that is not true. Um, but to me, those difference between like taking what you need to do something meaningful and like hoarding, hoarding millions and millions of dollars, which to me is, uh, um, is disrespectful of the concept of a resource to begin with.

Um, so that’s a major red flag and I would say, I, you know, words are difficult because words can be used to mean so many different things, but, um, ideas around Ascension and like five D often make me feel uncomfortable because I feel like, again, the point is not to like ascend elsewhere. Like it makes me feel like we’re going to Mars.

Like, should we really be going to Mars? Or should we maybe figure out how to like deal with the planet we’re on first and not go destroy another planet? So I think there’s a lot of, sort of like disassociation and spiritual bypassing that often is contained within, um, concepts around Ascension and, um, the, like the evolution of human consciousness, which I believe is happening, but which I don’t think we will get anywhere near to, in this lifetime, um, or in the next, like many, many, many thousands of years.

Um, so I think we should, like, there’s a lot of like goals, right? Like, okay. I think, for example, that we like are the embodiment of God. Like I think we have God within us, but that doesn’t mean we have the capacity.

In this human form to be God, it doesn’t mean we are. God. It just means that we hold that, um, uh, this guy, Robert H.

Johnson, who I love, uh, um, union analyst calls it our inner gold, right? Like, just because we have that inner gold within us does not mean we’ve yet, um, understood or learned how to be the embodiment of God or to P Jesus. We can try to be like him. Um, but I think there’s a disconnect it’s, it’s sort of actually like what you said about sort of like literalist interpretations of the Bible, right?

Like this isn’t literal, like we just need to be taking these ideas around, you know, the evolution of human consciousness or, um, uh, Ascension. Sort of symbolic goals that help us to become better people and to become more connected. Um, but not think that we’re actually going to become like a rainbow being or, um, actually be Buddha or like be enlightened.

Like it’s just so people that claim that they are, those things, um, people that come that claim that their methodology is the right one or who promise that their reading is going to make you enlightened. I mean, um, that’s definitely a red flag. Like I did this Instagram live once. I think that I titled how to be spiritual and not be a duke fag.

And I, and I think like, If the person that you’re learning from, isn’t speaking to the complexity of these issues, that’s a red flag. Like I try as best I can when I teach to say like, the fact that I’m even charging you for this astrology workshop is makes me feel a little uncomfortable. Like I’m engaging in realms of discomfort around my own spiritual beliefs, around the commodification of spirituality, um, around my own capacity to be a worthy enough or, um, quote, enlightened enough teacher.

And I think if, if, if there isn’t a, if you don’t see or sense a great deal of humility on behalf of the teacher, whoever it is, you’re following, it’s probably not a good sign again, because like these sorts of professions and roles attract those who I think often engage in narcissistic processes and who, um, Are attracted to power.

So it’s something to really look out for. And, um, I spoke that, I just mentioned inner gold. I really, I would recommend it for anyone that finds this conversation. Interesting. It’s like a 75 page book, so it’s basically a glorified pamphlet. Um, and it’s so eloquently written and contains so much amazing stuff in like no words.

And I’ve, re-read it like I’m re rereading it again. Now, every read it like six times and it always gives me more insight. Um, but he, he speaks about this idea of the fact that we it’s really the way that I understood psychological projection for the first time. Um, I think we mostly think about psychological production as like projecting something negative onto someone, right?

Like you were ugly, which really means that like we’re insecure, but also we do this with positive things. So we project what we’re unable to fully accept about ourselves, our own inner gold onto somebody else in the form of a guru or a religious leader, or, um, so we see people we admire, we think you are so amazing because of X, Y, Z.

And what we don’t realize is that we have X, Y, Z inside us. We’re just not ready to embody it yet. And he sort of Robert Johnson talks about how natural of a process this is, and that it’s not something to actually fault ourselves for that we project this inner gold on to other people, but he says it becomes really complicated when we, like, if I had just projected my inner gold at my teacher, but never engaged with him in a student teacher or like astrologer client space, it would have been a better decision because I was sort of mixing my sort of natural projection, um, And by process of coming to terms with my own inner gold, with like, but actually I want to be with you and I want to T T like learn from you and I want you to teach me and like, I want to be your friend and I want to be your lover.

Like it’s too many levels getting combined. Um, and so I think like having, if we’re going to have a guru or we’re going to admire someone, like it’s, honestly, if you feel that like you’re projecting a lot onto this person, like keep them at a distance and just go through that process of recognizing that you have within you, what you’re projecting onto them.

Um, because otherwise you’re bound things are going to get messy. Um, and you’re going to realize that they’re not who you thought they were, and you’re going to start to blame them for your own projections onto them because they will disappoint you. They will. Yes. And like, I don’t know how many times I need to learn that lesson, but it keeps happening.

So yeah. Well, I want to circle back to what you were saying about like, uh, like the five D Ascension, like that whole process. I mean, I can’t deny that like something about the frequency of humankind or the planet is shifting. Like, I don’t think anybody can deny that. And I, to me, that’s what Ascension is, but.

I don’t know, coming from a background and evangelical Christianity that like heavily emphasized like the rapture and then the subsequent return of Christ, like being like Ascension and getting to the five D is this thing. That’s this event that exists out in the future and suddenly that’s when everything is going to be better, it sounds and feels a whole lot, like waiting for the return of Jesus and suddenly that’s when everything is going to be better.

And I mean, I think it’s outside the scope of this podcast to like, talk about price consciousness, or like, whatever the fuck that means. But I mean, I don’t know. I just see like all of these Western evangelical Christian ideals that people come out or maybe they were never even in Christianity, but it’s the same projection, right?

It’s like I’m taking this like savior. Idea from this religion. And I’m saying I don’t affiliate or associate myself with that religion, or even believe in it, but I’m taking the same concept and I’m like putting it, oh, I’m overlaying it onto this version of spirituality. Yeah. And it just, it feels like the same thing to me.

It’s just got different language. Yeah. I would agree. Um, yeah, I think the same book sort of speaks like, speaks about the, this, this, uh, transition that we’re in right now, which is that we used to have a lot more respect for authority. So like the church held God or the priest held God or like the guru held God.

Um, and we don’t necessarily have that kind of respect for authority anymore, which I would say in the long run is a good thing. Right. But, but we’re in a, it’s like we’re in this week. Prepubescent pubescent phase where like, we don’t have that respect for authority anymore. So we, so God is like, and the concept of God and the feeling of God has sort of like infiltrated the main stream in a way that I think is, will be ultimately good.

Um, but because we’re not having reverence for that process and we just want to get right to adulthood. Um, this is where I think we’re becoming quite messy around either. Like you said, just taking the same ideology from Christianity and putting it into wider spiritual practices, like the rapture in five D and dissension, or we don’t have any respect for authority or for training or for diligence or for practice.

Um, and we just. Oh, well, I’m God. Right. And I think that’s, what’s happening with all of these psychedelic journeys. A lot of them, at least, you know, it’s so stupid to me when people say like, oh, Trump should just take Iowasca like, no, no, no. Trump would be worse if he took Iowa, because all like all those, those, like when you take psychedelics, it’s just an extension of your own existing, like psychological structure.

If you’re not ready to be humbled, you won’t be, it will go the opposite direction and you will become a self-made, which happens all the time. Right? So it’s like, we’re getting these tastes of the divine and we’re experiencing these in ways that are so profound and so real. I think more. A lot of people ever experienced in actual like mainstream organized religion, which I think was a lot of going through the motions.

And I think now due to the advent of like the ma the, um, uh, psychedelics becoming more mainstream and all of these other practices becoming more mainstream, I really do think we’re starting to understand what I think the sort of words in the Bible were maybe trying to talk about. Um, but that’s incredibly dangerous and like, we’re just not very evolved as a species.

And we are extremely caught up in our own egos still. And we’re extremely caught up in, on, on our, you know, unprocessed trauma and our lack of awareness around our own psychology. And so if you mix all of that with God, uh, you’re just not going to get a very good outcome. Um, so I, to me again, that’s where it’s like, We have to have reverence for the process.

Like it’s a beauty, like for me, it’s a beautiful, or for you. It’s a beautiful thing that we were able to kind of extract ourselves from what felt like meaningless religious structures or harmful or toxic religious structures into structures and spaces that spoke to us authentically and made us feel like we belonged and that there was a purpose to our life and that we had, we were on a karmic journey and we wanted to become better people.

And we wanted to like learn lessons. Like that’s all so amazing. Um, but the second we start to feel like, because we have that awareness or that knowledge that we’re special, um, or that word God, or that we know better than someone else or that we have the right to, um, You know, instruct other people on this path when we don’t have the proper certifications or awareness is really, um, it’s really dangerous.

Uh, and you know, I’ve, I have a close friend who was almost like killed basically by not basically, he was almost killed, um, due to some sort of like psychedelic mishap. Um, I’ve, there’s a really, uh, sort of shocking podcast outright. Now I’m forgetting what it’s called. I think, uh, it’s about someone who, um, I think it’s really brave that they’re actually speaking about this because nobody is, it’s like a cover story or something, but it’s a woman who was, I think, abused in the process of, um, taking Iowasca by like a quote ShawMan who like abused her while she was on the drugs.

Um, and it’s, it’s tricky because it’s like, we all want more people to like, Learn about themselves and to quote a weekend and like find meaning in their life. But I get worried sometimes that if we go too quickly and if we become too casual about this process, that we’re either gonna prevent it entirely.

Um, or we’re just going to cause a great deal of harm in the process. And, um, that sucks. Yes, it does suck. It does suck. Um, yeah. Wow. I have like a lot of things I want to say, and I’m not quite sure which direction I want to steer us next, but, um, I also have like a lot of notes that I’ve been taking here, so, oh, I know what I was gonna say.

Another red flag that I have that you didn’t list in your list of red flags is when people start talking about code. Um, they’re like I have the codes and like, when you pay, you know, 3000, $333, you get the codes and I’m just like, what the fuck are the codes? And like, you know, and I mean, here’s the thing.

So this goes back to what you were saying too about, you have really weird feelings about teaching something spiritual, like astrology and charging money for it, because it is commodified. Then, um, I have the same feelings as well. Like I believe that healing should be available to everyone. Healing shouldn’t exist behind a paywall, like it should be available for everyone.

And also I have to financially support my family and like pay for my house and my electricity and my food, you know? So it is this weird, um, like dissonance, right? It’s this weird feeling. So. I mean, I just think back to that, or, or I try to think back to like, okay, before capitalism, before, before all of this, if I was a healer, if you were a spiritual teacher, when astrologer, like how would we be supported in that?

You know, like how would we survive if, if that was our, if that was our quote unquote job or our calling or whatever, like how would we survive if we didn’t charge money for it? And I don’t even know that I have a really good answer for that, because I think that a lot of that is historically depending on culture and geographic location and all of that, you know, it’s been lost for a number for a long time, especially for white people because, uh, indigenous people and people with a strong tie to their ancestry, if they’re people of color.

Um, those types of things have been passed down, like the way that like a medicine woman or a medicine man or shaman or whatever would have been taken care of by the village, by the community it’s been passed down and they have this understanding when you’re a quote white person and your ancestry is this mix of all of these different, um, Indo-European, uh, Germanic, you know, whatever tribes before it was countries like France and Germany and Scotland.

Like, like we, I don’t know, like I have a lot of Scottish Highlander ancestry a lot. I still don’t know how my Scottish Highlander. Great. Great, great, great, great, great, great grandmothers. Like how would they, if they were like the village medicine woman or like the village witch or whatever, like how were they supported?

You know what I mean? Like I have no idea. I would assume that it looks something like people bringing them food or people bringing them like an animal or people bringing them like a afer or hide or like shoes or something like that in exchange, because there is something to be said for like, we don’t just take, take, take from people without reciprocating giving something back.

Right. Right. In our current day and age, it looks like we give coaching or instruction on astrology or a straw astrological readings or whatever in exchange for money. So there is that reciprocity. Yeah. I CA I can’t say it’s bad because that’s literally how I make my living, but I also have this awareness that something about it feels icky.

You know what I mean? So it’s, it is a very desperate thing. Do you have any, do you have any thoughts to this? Yeah, so I definitely like in my own, you know, study and, um, journey through all of this found it very helpful to, and not necessarily to go back to my ancestry necessarily, but to go back to what is all of our ancestry, right?

Which is like prehistory and hunter-gatherer societies, where we all came from, um, where culture, as we know, it could not be applied retroactively, applied there. And, and of course, you know, we’re able to study some of this because, uh, hunter gatherer tribes still exists today. Um, many of them have been sort of disbanded on.

Affected by maternity and by civilization. But there, I mean, we have to, we have to recognize that there was a pre monetary way of existence. Money is not something that always existed. And so when we lived in these sorts of communities and tribes, we all had a role. And so there were people that hunted and there were people that were the, the healer and the, and the Sharman.

Um, and there were the women who gathered and had the babies and this person built the houses and right, like everyone, um, was, uh, responsible for their own role and dependent upon the other members of the group. So everyone was sort of not doing the same thing necessarily, but equal in the sense that all of their roles were required in order for the group to survive.

Um, so. There wasn’t even a question of exchange necessarily because when someone went out to hunt, everybody was fed it. Wasn’t just given to that family that would have been absurd. Right? The meat is split among everyone to be selfish in that kind of, uh, uh, a tribe and would be impossible. Like you, you, it still wasn’t, you wasn’t even a thought.

No, it wasn’t, it’s not even a thing. Like, what do you mean? Like you can’t and if someone else is selfish, you won’t survive. So that’s not a concept. Um, everything was interdependent and, um, they practiced what is called fierce egalitarian ism. There was fairness and equality throughout, but that did not mean that sameness.

Right. We’d go and do a whole issue around that in this day and age to gender and sexuality and all that. So everyone was different and yet everyone was equal. And this worked quite well. And, uh, they only took what they felt allowed to take. They asked the land if they could take it. And, um, yeah, everything just sort of existed smoothly and respectfully.

And there was a great deal of connection to the natural world, et cetera, et cetera. So, um, now of course we don’t live in that kind of a world and it’s basically virtually impossible to get back to that. Um, it’s exceedingly difficult to extract ourselves from civilization, um, if not totally fucking impossible.

Uh, so we are where we are, which is that we live in a capitalist world where we deal in realms of money. Um, and we do not live in a Galatarian tribes. So I think. You know, we have, like, I find comfort and reassurance in going back and to think about that structure and then trying to figure out like, what’s the most responsible way that I can carry that practice forward.

Um, and I, you know, I’ll often ask myself just a more broad question that I recommend in general, people ask, like, if you were to find yourself in a community or in a tribe, like what role feels right for you to fill? Um, which I think is just a wonderful question to try to figure out like what we want to do with our lives.

Um, and if my answer to that question is to be some sort of like spiritual guide of some sort, uh, which I think in some ways that, that makes me wildly uncomfortable to say that, but I do think that feels true to me. Um, and so I then will ask myself. What is the most respectful and responsible way that I could carry that practice forward.

Um, and if you look back to most traditional, um, shamonic practices, uh, there’s a great book that I just read called spell of the sensuous by David Abraham, um, that I can’t even like get into how great it is in a myriad of ways and covers so many topics, but he spends a part of the book sort of talking about our misunderstanding of what a shaman or a spiritual healer is.

And we see, I see a lot of people on Instagram being like, I’m a spiritual healer, like, which means like I belong in like gowns and jewelry and on a throne and people worship me like legit. I’ve seen this, um, and really, uh, Shawmut. Would live on the outskirts of the, uh, the tribe, like the physical, like the physical outskirt of the place of the land, where everyone else lived.

And one that was to have some degree of privacy, uh, and self-containment, but the other was to symbolize that the shaman’s job was to connect the tribe to the outside world and the outside world, meaning the greater animal world, the plants and the animals and the soil and the air. Um, so when you visited the shaman, you were basically meeting with the intermediary between humans and the rest of the world.

And when I say animate world, I don’t necessarily even mean just everything that has like a heartbeat that is, are, and alive, but even things that we would consider as inanimate, like what is the spirit of rocks, right. Or the spirit of the air, or, um, and so the shaman’s job, what basically shamans believe that all.

You know, illness, uh, psychological or physical is due to a lack of connection between oneself and the greater animate spiritual, meaningful world. Um, and so you would go to see the shaman and they would say, you know, when was the last time you danced? And when was the last time you took a walk in the woods and go listen to what the error says and like, that’s what they would tell you to do.

Um, and so this whole concept that like the ShawMan, um, is like in the, you know, the center of the tribe on a stage dressed in gowns and robes. And like that was not at all completely contradictory to what a shaman is a shot, like a shaman would not have an Instagram account. Like, it’s just, if you’re a, and you’re like not on the internet and, and I think again, You know, because we don’t live in that world anymore.

I do recognize the difficulty in how do we try to fulfill those roles in this, um, structure and in the space that we find ourselves in. And I think that’s very difficult. Um, for me, I, I find a particular offense when it comes to Sharmane because I think that sort of, in my opinion, one of the sort of like deepest and most profound ways of practicing spirituality, because my version of spirituality has so much to do with the natural world.

And so people who go to Peru one time and take Iowasca and think they’re a shaman and, um, lead like men’s retreats and, uh, are a social media influencer, I just think is so. Uh, disgrace. Um, I mean, it’s, if you’re going to be a white person, you want to be a showman, like, okay. Literally go. Like, I don’t even know if we’re capable of deprogramming ourselves to the point where we could be connected in that way.

Um, and I think, again, that’s the sort of disrespect for the transition, right? Like go learn from a strawman fine, but you are not a showman. And if you would like to, um, practice spirituality or teach spirituality, please do so in a way where you’re certain that you’re not leading people in the wrong direction and that you’re acting with a great deal of humility and awareness that you are not what you, um, like aspire to be.

Right? Like you’re a messenger maybe. Um, so. Yeah. I don’t even remember what your question is. I don’t know. Oh, you answered it. You did answer it. And it’s actually, I mean, yeah. I’m glad that you, I’m glad that you answered the question by saying like, we, we could go back to prehistoric times to hunter gatherer times, because that actually makes me as someone who, you know, I’ve done a lot of study into my ancestry.

Like I’ve done the whole family tree thing on ancestry.com and I’ve seen like where different tree branches of my family, like come from. And so I have a knowledge of that, but you know, very little exists when it comes to, like, if you’re trying to find like pre colonized, Scottish Highlander, spiritual practice, like good luck, you know, like really good luck, because so much was lost.

Like. You know, when the British, like went into Scotland and like colonized Scotland, what is now Scotland? Um, so I’m really glad that you, you took it back even further to like prehistory and hunter gatherer times, because there was a time when it, like, when we were just humans and we weren’t black and we weren’t white and we weren’t brown.

And we weren’t like, nobody would have even said that you were indigenous because every fucking body was indigenous. So like, it’s like back then, if you were to get in a time machine and travel back in time and go back to like, pre-history hunter gatherer time, like you wouldn’t see anybody like posting on social media about like black lives matter.

Like you just literally wouldn’t see it they’d be like black. What do you mean? What the fuck do you mean? Like, um, and so it helps me to be like, okay, in the absence of factual, historic cultural knowledge, There, there is a lot of information about hunter gatherers and about the way that they practiced spirituality and the way that, that, that different people in the tribe had a role and everybody’s role was egalitarian.

And if somebody wasn’t fulfilling their role, then it wasn’t just their, their family that suffered. It was literally the whole, the whole group. So that helps me out a lot. Um, thank you. I actually feel like I haven’t had a big question just in my own life answered just now is like, does Lindsay just like go back even further?

You know, but I mean, there is also a part of me that’s like, but I really want to know what my legs, Scottish Highlander, great-great-great-great times 20 grandmother. Like she wouldn’t have even been called a Scottish Highlander. Right. Like, I really want to know. I want to know, but I’ll probably never know.

And. And I think I’ve put this burden on myself of like, in order to not appropriate other spiritual or cultural traditions, I need to do all of this research into my own ancestry and figure out what quote my people would have done. But honestly, who the fuck are my people? Like, who do I pick from, right.

Yeah. Yeah. You pick from, yeah, I don’t know. Um, I mean, you know, I, I agree with you. Of course. I also want to know, and I do think that recently I’ve done a bit more of a deep dive into my own ancestry and, um, even being raised Jewish, I mean like the Jewish calendar is built around like celestial movements and the earth, and it went like nobody taught me that and Hebrew school, like that would have been really interesting, but like in studying, I had to memorize letters that I didn’t understand.

Um, so I do think it’s worth like delving back into things. I didn’t understand when we were younger and doing our own research and approaching it in our own ways. Um, because for sure, and, and I think that desire that you just stated is what I’m stating more specifically, which is that we desire connection.

And so to be disconnected from our ancestry and our ancestral lines and traditions is devastating. Um, like my great, my grandmother, her mother immigrated here from Russia. Uh, they left well actually from Ukraine. Um, they left after a program and where 1500 Jews were killed in like three hours or something.

And so they left and came to America and left everything that they ever knew behind. And I think due to the trauma of that, my grandmother, uh, and also my great there after they came over here, got tuberculosis and spent most of my grandmother’s life in a sanatorium and died when she was 12. So there was like, no, Passing down of ancestral practices.

And my mother wasn’t raised Jewish, even though my family is very much Jewish on that side. And I think both due to the fact that my grandmother, my great-grandmother died when my grandmother was so young, but also just because like the, in order to deal with the trauma. They were like, okay, new beginning, like everything that happened before this date didn’t happen, so let’s just start fresh.

And so of course I like have great compassion and empathy for, I can’t imagine that kind of a trauma, um, and leaving everything that I ever knew behind and going to a new country. I mean, to go from Ukraine, to, to Delaware is what happened. Like what the fuck would that be like? Um, my God Delaware, Delaware exists.

I know that’s why I have to mention it because like all places they went to Delaware, which is, I guess, for other, like Jews from Ukraine went. Um, and so they were like meeting them there, but anyway, yeah, I it’s, it’s pretty devastating to not have that knowledge and not have any of those practices or the recipes.

Right. Like there’s much more than just spiritual practices. And it was interesting. My, my mom, um, my grandmother. Died now like whew, 10 years ago, a while ago. And my mom’s been holding my mom held onto the ashes of my grandmother and my grandma, my grandfather for so long. And I think part of that was because she’s like, I don’t know what to do.

Like what’s the tradition, what am I supposed to do here with this stuff? And so she’s been thinking for a long time about how to honor my grandmother and my grandfather, and just recently decided that she wanted to buy a plaque in, uh, for a bench in central park. My grandmother, my mom was very much raised on the upper west side.

My grandmother lived in this like really famous apartment in New York city. Um, and like, when I think about my grandparents, I just absolutely think of New York city and this apartment overlooking central park. And it was such a profound and important place for my mother growing up. And, um, for me growing up as well, because I visited my grandparents there.

And so my mom decided to buy this plaque and it was like $10,000. And she was just like, what am I doing? Why am I spending all this money? Like this. Totally ludicrous. Unlike I hear my, you know, my mother’s voice in my head saying, what are you doing? Spending all that money on a silly black and for central park.

Excuse me. And I, it was interesting to think about this. I was very much in favor and my mom sort of said like, can you like send me some like words of support? Or like, why are you in favor of this? Like, help me figure this out, you know? And I said like, well, because we have, I’m very, I’m a big proponent of like ritualizing and, um, creating tangible, like structures and systems and things around beliefs, right?

So like, if we’re going to pray, you know, let’s, you know, make our bed or prepare an alter, clean our house in a way that’s like, uh, an expression of devotion. Um, and so I’m very, I’m into con the concrete visitation, I guess I would say of me. Um, and I think that’s how we stay grounded and connected when it comes to spiritual practices and make sure not to ascend is to concretize and like this attorney and grounded world.

Um, so I said to her like, well, I’m really into the idea of like ritualizing and concretizing belief and meaning, and not neither one of us know really anything about our heritage and our ancestry. And we don’t have any connection to the place where our great, great grandmothers were born. We don’t really have the foods or the spiritual practices or the belief structures.

We have no connection with any family members. We don’t speak the language. And so what else are we to do if we want to start new practices and new rituals and new structures of meaning and belief then to start somewhere, you know? And if I could think of one thing that, that gives me meaning as it relates to.

My grandparents or to find a space that would represent them. It is a hundred percent central park in New York city. And so like, let’s put a plaque on the bench and get together and have a picnic with our family and then family members to come can visit it. Right. And it’s like, okay, it’s not this, you know, fancy shamonic ceremony in Peru, but it’s like, this is where New York Jews.

And like, this is our thing. And we’re going to go eat bagels and lox on this bench for fuck’s sake. Like, let’s do something for future generations that gives us that kind of meaning that we didn’t have. Um, so I just think when it comes to anything, like start somewhere and, um, yeah, like you said, it’s beautiful to go back and try to figure out what our actual ancestors did, but at the end of the day, that’s often an unanswerable question.

And so we have to like lean into. Modernity in a responsible way and just move forward and do something that means something to us. Um, and so, yeah, that’s my story. And would you say that move forward and do something that means something to you if it happens to be a tradition or a practice from another culture?

Is that appropriation? Um, no, I don’t really, I don’t really understand appropriation honestly, because like who’s a prep appropriating from who, when and where, like, I mean, should I not eat pizza? Is that appropriating Italian culture? Like, I’m pretty sure dreadlocks came from the Jews originally. So like who’s appropriating who in that case.

Um, it’s, I, I. I think when we talk about appropriation, what it’s, what we’re trying to talk about or what we should be talking about is inequality. Um, it doesn’t really to deal with like who’s wearing dreadlocks or not is not going to solve the issue of inequality. Um, I think it’s, uh, a roundabout way to deal with a complex it’s a roundabout way to not deal with a complex issue.

Um, and to avoid our feelings of hopelessness and grief around this stuff. Uh, so yeah, I think to me like the bigger question is again, like think through the thing be discerning, are you just lighting this Sage because someone told you to, or because you feel really comforted by the smell and you really like it.

Um, are you buying that crystal because some pretty girl on Instagram buys crystals and said they were cool, or because when you put that crystal on your chest and you saw on the floor uncontrollably to heal your childhood trauma, it feels helpful in grounding, you know, like, um, I think that that’s the most important process to me is to ask ourselves why we’re doing something and ask it over and over and over again, not as a way to like, you know, disregard our intuition or desires, but just to get to know ourselves better.

And if the reason you’re doing something is because you saw someone on Instagram do it. And you’re like, I will look like them. And my flowy goddess, feminine robes with my like braided, wavy blonde hair. Like I will look like them and I will feel like them, and I will attain what they have attained if I just do what they do like that, I’m sorry.

But no, like it, then it doesn’t have meaning to you. That’s like completely egoic, right? That’s like, that’s like spirituality to feed your ego and to fit into this, this image or this box that you think you want to fit into when actually, like, you don’t even know anything about that box. You just want to look like somebody else, like totally you’re like appropriating their spirituality based on what it looks like and how you want to feel.

Right. So it’s, it’s again, it’s like, is this practice. And escape for you. Is, is this, is this getting you farther away from yourself or is it helping you get closer to yourself? And that answer is going to be different for everybody, right? Like it might be extreme straight. Like it might be super, super helpful for someone to learn about like native American practices as a way to develop their own spiritual practice.

At a certain point, they may decide like, actually, this isn’t helpful for me anymore. And I would like to lean into my own culture and see what’s there. Or I was just doing that because I thought that was cool and would make me feel legitimate because I was like with, you know, quote indigenous people from this country.

Um, so it’s all, it’s all going to depend on you as a person. It’s going to depend on your own story. It’s going to depend on the, the point in the journey that you’re at, something might feel good. One day, that two years later it doesn’t feel good and that’s okay too. Um, so yeah, of course. I don’t particularly love the smell of Sage, but I really love the smell of Palo Santo and it brings me great comfort and I love incense and I have some crystals and I have an altar, but I also have like, you know, pictures of me as a child in a feather boa on my altar, because I would like to embody that at all times.

And you know, other things that are like weird and meaningful to me that other people might not see as meaningful, but that holds meaning for me. So, um, yeah, it’s it, it’s a nuanced, it’s nuanced advice, right? Because I feel like what I want to tell people is do what feels intuitively right to you, but also make sure to hold onto your discernment and critical thinking and.

Um, question yourself in a loving way as frequently as possible. And I think to some people, they hear that and think that’s contradictory. Um, and to me, I just think it’s sort of been a capsule, an encapsulation of like nuance in a beautiful way. So yeah, I think asking ourselves those questions of like, am I doing this responsibly?

Am I doing this respectfully? It’s not about second guessing yourself all the time. It’s like, to me, that is grounding because if you don’t, if you’re not in awareness and asking yourself those questions, then you, you have the tendency to just sort of like float away, right? Like you just float away on it.

And it’s like, you get on this spiritual cloud and you know, you’re this like, Influencer on Instagram, on the spiritual cloud. And like, actually you’re completely untethered, right? Like you’re just totally untethered. And those questions of like, am I doing this respectfully? Am I doing this responsibly? It keeps you tethered because it, I mean, of course the only responsibility is self responsibility, but if you’re using spirituality as a way to evade self responsibility, then you’re doing it irresponsibly and disrespectfully.

So they should put that on a bumper sticker. Yeah, I would, I would buy it. Yeah, no, I, and I don’t even like bumper stickers and I buy it. Um, yeah, I’m, I’m in full agreement with that for sure. All right. Amazing. Well, is there anything that you wanted to say today that you haven’t said yet? No, I think I’ve probably talked enough.

That’s beyond nonsense.

No, but thank you for giving me the space to go on and on about this topic that I think about ad nauseum. I’m pretty much, I think it’s conversations that we need to have more of, and I’m excited to have you back on my podcast to continue it, um, from your perspective as well. And yeah, I just think we need to speak up a lot more and ask ourselves more questions and I really sometimes just wish social media would disappear so that things were less confused.

I know I have this very, very awful weird relationship with Instagram where in, like, I just hate that when I had my food blog, like I focused a lot on search engine optimization. I never, I never bought like a Facebook ad. I never paid to boost a post like ever. I was like, I am going to build traffic organically and I know it’s going to take longer, but it’s going to be more sustainable for me in the long run, because it’s not going to be dependent on the always creating content and putting content out.

Right. And I did, I built a really successful website. And when I sold my food blog in June of 2021, like I had two and a half million page views a year, like I did. And, and 90% of that was coming from Google. So I did what I set out to do. And then when I started what I’m doing now, um, of course like you do you start on Instagram, right?

And so now, like 90% of my income instead of coming from Google is coming from like people on Instagram who then like buy what I, my courses or coaching with me or whatever. And I hate it. I absolutely hate it because not only because I know I don’t actually own my Instagram account, like it could get taken down at any moment, but it just it’s contingent upon me constantly creating content and like constantly feeding the machine.

Right. And I hate it and I have such a weird relationship with it. And it, I don’t know. I don’t know why I’m saying that, but that’s, that’s how I feel. Totally agree. Yeah. I, after I, my food blog, I mean, I’ve liked dabbled in different things from time to time, but I predominantly went back to using Instagram as I used Instagram, when it first came about in 2011, which was just two posts, pictures, um, and some, and like, I won’t, I don’t promote anything on my feed.

I’ll sometimes do it in my stories and I’ll try to find like authentic and creative ways to do it. That don’t make me want to. Vomit, um, because so much of it feels forced and awful, especially after coming out of the food blogging world. I think I was just like, I really don’t want to like, do ads or be an influencer, or like do any of this shit ever again.

Um, yeah, I’ve, I’ve recently moved, um, a lot of my energy and focus to sub stock, which is like an independent platform that initially was created for writers, but they just moved into podcasting. So, you know, host your podcast on sub stack. Um, and so every time you post a podcast, it gets sent to your subscribers and you can do paid stuff or free stuff.

Um, and that’s felt a lot better to me. I don’t have the type of audience that I have in subsect that I have an Instagram, but it just. It feels a lot better, both as the consumer and the producer to like, be able to return to like long form non algorithm writing and to like support the people I like at like five bucks a month and know that I’m going to get what I want to see and not like 27 ads about like an exercise ball or whatever.

Um, so yeah, I, I hope that we are. I dunno, I, I hope that we’re moving away from it in a way and that there will be. Um, good alternatives to help people like us who genuinely need to reach people with messages somehow, but don’t want to participate in the machine. Like you said, and to be able to say what we want to say and not be censored.

I mean, like, I can’t even post anything anymore without like censoring the word Patrion or sub stack or like sex or everything in the entire world. Um, so yeah, I think we’re overdue. Uh, and I, I do think substance is doing a lot of really awesome things and I would totally support like a return to the like, oh, gee, A blog or like tumbler or something like live journal, like such, it sounds just like it’s so simple and personal and like I’m all about it.

So yes, I share a lot of your frustration. Yeah. I missed, I actually do miss that part of blogging, actually. I’ve just like, I have a thought I’m going to write everything that I think about that thought I’m not going to censor myself or edit myself at all. I’m going to put it out into the world and whoever fucking wants to read it can read it.

And if they don’t like it, then don’t follow me. And it’s like really simple and straightforward. And yeah. Now I, I find myself, you know, and it’s, it’s a value of mine to show up authentically. So that means that self-censorship and self silencing is like Tony currently against my values. But then also, and also.

If I’m going to continue to like, I’m the sole income winner breadwinner for my family. Like, it’s, it’s me. If I’m not making an income, we don’t have a home. We don’t have food. Like, you know, so it’s, uh, it’s so frustrating because just the other day, like I did, I found myself like it was the first time in a long time, but I found myself, censoring myself, and it had to do with the eraser of the word woman from.

Vocabulary and just talking about like, not obviously I disagree with erasing the word woman from the vocabulary, from the collective lexicon, but I also disagree with the raising the word man, by the way. Absolutely. Yes. Yes. Like I’m just like, oh, it’s boring. It’s boring. Like stop having this conversation.

It’s not even interesting anymore. Literally the only purpose of it is to stir the shit and like pit people against each other. It’s not even actually accomplishing anything. And it says it’s supposed to be about equality, but like, if you were raised the word man or woman from the vocabulary, it’s not equal.

Like, it’s just ridiculous. But I, I, I would not let myself say that on Instagram because enough people report that post. Or that story or whatever, and my account gets taken down and there goes 90% of my income and like, you know, it’s just, it’s fucking ridiculous. Yeah. Well, you should. It’s funny. Part of what I love so much about sub stack is their community guidelines is the only thing they don’t support is canceled culture boxing.

I was like, okay, you’re my people. Um, yeah, like everything else is fine. Uh, and yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s I, yeah, I have nothing to say, but just total agreement. It’s incredibly frustrating. And every time I try to say something, I feel like we put up a similar post. Um, uh, about like how, regardless of privilege, our nervous systems handle stress in the same way when I got so much shit for it, people hated that post.

Yeah. Anyway, they hated it. So, so speaking of sub stack, can you, can you share with everyone if they would like to go read yourself stack? Sure. Yeah. So you can find me on sub stack on your cots.subsect.com and Y a K a T S I M on Instagram at Anya dot cuts. Um, and I have a website on your cons.com as well.

Amazing. And you, and you have a couple of buckets. Oh, yeah, right. Yes. I have a podcast that I host called a millennial’s guide to saving the world, which is basically me trying to have taboo, nuanced conversations, about a variety of topics with a variety of people from spirituality to sexuality, to grief and trauma and you know, all that good stuff.

Um, and then I also have another podcast. That’s actually, um, we’re taking a bit of a break to reevaluate right now, but it’s called whore rapport, uh, whore as an hor and our app RT, um, where myself and my close friend talk about sexuality and issues around sexuality and what is also a, probably very nuanced and taboo way.

So, mm. All right. I love that. Well, I’m gonna link to all of it in the show notes. Thanks. And thank you so much for being here. I enjoyed it. Thank you so much for having me. 📍 did you enjoy the show? I’d really appreciate it. If you took a few moments to rate the podcast,

Into the world.

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