Perspectives on the Nature of Virgo and Matter
30 AUG 2004
By Malvin Artley
I have never really been one to believe in superstitions. Friday the 13th had been a work day for me just like any other. It had been a long one, though. Machines never behave normally when Mercury is retrograde and the one I had worked on that day had been a bit of a pill—lots of awkward positions to work in--and my back was telling me about it. Still, it wasn’t a bad sort of day. All finished well. Spring had given us a prelude kiss by providing us with stunning weather and I was on my way home, looking forward to the weekend. It was dark when I left the job site. As I made my way along the Salisbury Highway the lights of Adelaide stretched out before me and I felt a strange sort of calm come over me as the distant glow of the lights filled my head with the reverie of fire-gazing. I felt as though I was looking out over a vast womb, with each light holding the promise of unfolding life, of gestating potency and it all gave the impression of a great city moving united toward some future manifest destiny. The thousands of street lights looked liked pearls of fire strung in lines stretching to the horizon and snaking their way throughout the city and suburbs. Most people were at home having tea, getting ready for the weekend Footy and having a few beers while they watched the tellie—in short, moving through their lives, most being oblivious to the larger energies around them. I felt a certain kinship with that collective and a sense of belonging to the greater purpose unfolding through the society. I could have sat and stared at the lights for hours, but my own home beckoned and I needed a good soak for my sore back.
In the days that followed, Heaven’s shorthand told me it was time for another letter. My experiences of work that day and on the road that night set me to pondering over the significance of one of the more under-rated signs of the Zodiac—Virgo, the Virgin. It is an ancient constellation—possibly the most ancient, for reasons that we will see. It is a sign that expresses the most acute dedication and attention to detail. There are common themes expressed through this great sign: work, dedication, sacrifice, gestation and birth of the Soul, service and attention to purity. My Virgoan friends certainly express these qualities to greater or lesser degree. But, as with all the signs, there is a lot more to this one than meets the eye. I spoke much of the angelic and spiritual connections with Virgo in last year’s letter, and we shall continue on with that theme somewhat here. There is another side of Virgo that needs to be addressed, though, and it is in keeping with the theme of the just-past Venus transit, of Venus’ representation of one’s connection with the spiritual realms and with the energy of the Goddesses in general that certain topics in this letter will be elucidated. Just as Venus has an intimate connection with our humanity, so Virgo does as well, and much moreso than is commonly known, for our very Spirit is ruled to a degree by this constellation and there is a direct connection between Virgo, Venus and humanity, though astrologically they may seem to be like chalk and cheese together.
In esoteric lore Virgo has always been associated with matter, with the gestation and eventual birth of "the hidden Christ" and thus with the Mother. But, I have made mention that Virgo is also connected with and rules over aspects of the eternal human Spirit, which is known as the Father aspect of divinity. There is a seeming paradox with these apparently conflicting statements. We should be aware that polarized thought and paradox only occur when we are not able to see the larger view of a situation or idea. Both of the preceding statements about Virgo are true, but they have to be seen in their proper perspectives to understand what is really at work here. As always, the seeming conflict with the information given to us eventually spurs us to look beyond conventional wisdom and our awareness expands as a result.
We should probably begin to unravel our little mystery here by defining exactly what "Spirit" is and the context in which I am using it. To be a little technical about it, there are many densities of matter in our known universe and most humans only see on one of them—the physical plane. But, we know that we are more than simply our physical body. We know we also have emotions, mind and more spiritual aspects. Thus, we are aware that we operate and exist upon several densities simultaneously, although we usually have no registration of them in the physical brain. This is the sort of thing that is spoken of regarding faith when we read "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." We thus have faith that we are more than a physical body and we act accordingly, based upon our belief. In fact, there are 5 major density levels beyond the physical realm upon which the human being is found, the divisions of which constitute our 7-fold nature (the mental plane or density is subdivided into three in the human constitution). Beyond the human realms there are densities that supposedly go on ad infinitum as we move outward into the vastness of space and "upwards" in the hierarchy of evolution and Being. These various layers of density that make up our other bodies of manifestation are all interlocking and, indeed, layered upon eachother. We actually somewhat resemble Russian dolls to the clairvoyant eye in terms of how we are constructed.
The most rarified layer of our energy fields is the outermost and most extended layer of our being and this is called the monadic sheath in esoteric parlance. It is this body that is the only eternal (truly eternal) part of a human being. Seen over the vast stretches of what we call geologic time, even the human Soul is temporal. But the monad (Spirit) always persists. It is this monad which is the eternal Spirit—the individual "Father in Heaven". It is from this part of our being that we are able to know God and divine Will, because we are very close to the planes of the divine in that essence. This divine Spirit is thus always with us, always a part of our energy fields and it is the very root and cause of our being. It is from this part of us that all divine Will filters through, but it is so rarified that few people even are able to register it. The only densities of which most people are aware are the physical, astral and mental levels. There is a direct reflection of this monad or Spirit in the Soul as well, and it is in a construct called "The Jewel in the Lotus", seen at causal levels (our 4th layer). In terms of the 7 chakras or energy centers, the monad is only ever registered in the uppermost (crown) center, whereas the Soul is registered in the heart. The thing most people do not realize when looking at these sorts of things, though, is that all these levels at which the human being is found are but sub-levels of the cosmic physical plane. Thus, from a universal perspective, we are but physical beings in the grand order of the cosmos. It is in this last statement where we begin to get resolution of our paradox around Virgo.
So, we have somewhat defined the Father/Monad/Spirit, and hopefully not confused the issue too much. There is another thing that needs to be defined, though, before we go any further, and that is matter itself. We think we know what matter is but, spiritually considered, what constitutes matter is also subject to one’s perspective. From the perspective of Spirit, matter is defined as that which constitutes a form, thus having no consciousness of its own, and is thus inert, to state it simply. The Hindus would say that matter is "not-self", whereas Spirit is "Self". Matter is therefore the blind dark stuff of which is constructed every form we see in existence. Esoterically and technically, matter is condensed aether (occultly understood) and is what the occultist would term "elemental essence". The fullness of what this all means is too much to go into here, but the reader will hopefully see the point. To clairvoyant vision, then, matter is seen as the tiny atomic lives that are congealed together to make a form of any kind. These lives are governed by and exhibit an intelligence of their own, but the thing that differentiates them from Spirit is that they have no consciousness of their own—i.e., they are not Self-conscious. It is these unconscious lives that Virgo is said to rule. These tiny lives form the "pearls of fire" strung on lines of energy which form the matrices of everything within the visible universe. They are the atoms and cells of everything that exists in form.
It might rightly be pointed out here that I seem to be contradicting myself with all I have described about Virgo so far. How can Father/Spirit and Mother/Matter be one and the same? Again, it all depends upon one’s perspective, and it is here that we begin to touch upon the very mystery of Life itself. From this point we begin to launch into what, to me, is one of the most fascinating aspects of occultism because this next discussion will enable us to understand the purposes and evolutions other worlds and solar systems and the purpose that underlies all of manifestation—and Virgo is intimately connected with all of it. And we thought Virgo was such a fussy, prudish and lackluster sign!
There is a Law in occultism and it is said to be absolute. It is called the Law of Analogy and Correspondence, and it is this Law that "explains the mind of God to man" and the workings of the universe. Essentially, it is the old adage of "As above, so below", but it is a bit more involved and it is more elegant than that. What it really comes down to is this: Anything we can comprehend about ourselves can be predicated of a greater system, whether a larger group, a planet, a solar system, etc, and onwards, and this can be known by having knowledge of certain number systems and how to use them to "multiply the lesser by magnitudes". As an example and as a case in point, the seven planes or densities we know as human beings can be extended by magnitudes. The end result is that since we know that there are seven planes in human evolution, we know there must also be seven in planetary/solar evolution. Our seven planes thus become the seven subplanes or divisions of an even vaster cosmic plane. Our seven planes thus become the seven subplanes of the cosmic physical plane through the Law of Correspondence. This was alluded to in a previous paragraph. So, let’s hash a few things out, given that we are now armed with the proper key to understanding these concepts.
Our bodies are composed of countless cells at a physical level, each going about its appointed work and doing its allotted task, with its own life-span, gifts to the body, requirements and quota of energy to give and to receive. All these cells supposedly work in unison and thus form a cohesive, coherent unit that functions as a unit in and of itself and therefore functions as a cell in a greater organism (group). If we take this up a magnitude, we then see our planet as a sort of "cosmic human"—a "heavenly Man" (genderless, of course). But, instead of His cells being composed of what we know as physical matter, they are composed of cosmic physical matter, which encompasses every part of our being. Yet, it is the lowest of matter to that great planetary Being. We, as individual Spirits, are only as specks of light within the grand order of things and are thus invisible to the planetary Lord. All monads are thus the cells of our planetary Logos—all 180 billion of us, and it matters not whether the individual Spirit is on the human or angelic line of evolution. We each have our role to play, our energy to contribute and distribute and our life-cycle. So, from one perspective we are conscious of our own divinity and fully Self-conscious, but in another respect we are simply the material aspect of a great Being, of little or no consequence at all in the grand scheme of things and largely unconscious of the plans or intentions of this great Life in Whom we live and move and have our being. We have no more consciousness of what plans the Lord of our planet has than a muscle cell in our arm has of what we even plan to do for the day, for example. It all kind of puts the importance we place on our lives in a different perspective.
And there we have it—the resolution of our apparent contradiction from the beginning of our discussion. We are both God and matter. We are divine in our essence—a spark differentiated from the great Flame that is God but still integral with It. But, we are all also cells in a greater Being and we are thus seen as matter from a larger perspective. The key statement for Virgo is "I am the mother and the child. I, God, matter am." Virgo governs the evolution of matter. It is the great Mother aspect which hides the Christ Light and nurtures it in gestation until it is ready to come forth and live as a fully developed and Self-conscious Son of God, which is really what is being described when I use the term "Christ". This applies to a planet as well as a human being. So, finally we must define this term "Son". Esoterically, the Son is that which is formed from the interaction between Spirit and Matter. It is our consciousness—our Soul. That Soul is the middle principle of a human being, standing juxtaposed between Mother and Father, clinging to both initially and eventually becoming the intermediary and channel between the two when full Self-consciousness is realized.
In esoteric lore it is said that the Mother serves the Son and the Father. Unfortunately, this allegorical statement has been misconstrued or deliberately distorted by fundamentalist religious authorities over the centuries to mean that women should be subservient to men. The travesty that is our current state of gender relations in the world is due in large part to that very misconception. Let us be clear--all humans, no matter what their gender, are Sons of God. We are all conceived of Spirit, wend our way through the material worlds (have our gestation and development in matter) and grow in consciousness (become full of Light) as a result of that interaction. Throughout our long series of lives we are born in each life as male or female, the number of times as each being dependent upon a large number of factors. We first cling close to the Mother and lead strictly material existences, but at some point we begin to realize there is more to life than that. We come to recognize the call of Spirit and slowly begin to make our way back to the Father, full of the richness of experience we have gained along the way. All this time both "parents" have nurtured us along, helping us to realize ourselves and to see the unique gifts we have and are. And, eventually on the way we begin to lift up the matter with which we come in contact instead of simply using it for our own ends. In that way we become Fathers ourselves eventually. We use these anthropomorphic descriptors because it makes all this easier to understand, but it is really beyond all question of gender in human terms.
This idea of the Mother serving the Son and Father is the esoteric reason behind Virgo being associated with work, servants and service, especially involuntary service. This type of service is the individual daily grind, in distinction to the Aquarian ideal of service, which is always group-related. It relates to the responsibilities we take on board in the service to our immediate family and job responsibilities. It is more often connected with one’s job, but it can mean any sort of service that is very personal and which relates to nurturing something or someone. It is the astrological house of duty. It is the duty of matter to provide the vehicle through which the Soul can unfold and through which the essential purposes of Spirit will eventually work out. But that duty is not recognized as such by matter. It simply responds to the call put out from the higher levels and does its work automatically and without true consciousness.
There is a bit more to the puzzle here that may shed a little more light on Virgo. Our planetary Lord is said to form His body of manifestation from the totality of all the monads of this planet. But, what does that really mean? It means simply this—that were it not for the eternal Spirits (monads) of our globe, there would be no Earth as we know it. This globe would simply be an inert rock in space with no life—that is to say, no conscious life upon it. Our Earth would be as the Moon, which is a dead body, slowly decaying over the eons of time. It takes the monads of a world to imbue a planet with life and thus to enable the evolution and purpose of a planetary or solar Lord to work out. Without this conscious intelligent substance, seen from the greater perspective, life is not possible. The monad (Spirit) is Life or Being itself. Each monad, under impress from the Lord of the world, appropriates its own quota of matter from the lesser subplanes and begins work in its own small way to make of our world an eventual Garden of Eden. Through humanity and the greater devas (angels) the plans of our planetary Lord work out, and all this via the Spirit.
The preceding is the occultism behind the old saying that "Virgo is the work horse of the zodiac". The monad knows its part of the Will of God and nothing will stand in the way of its eventual execution. The monad is the way-station between God and the lesser lives, in the same way that the Soul is the way-station between one’s eternal Spirit and the persona. By virtue of the fact that the monad is the purest expression of Will as we can know it, the Plan of God is executed ceaselessly and inexorably toward its eventual conclusion. The Work goes on unabated. Every Virgo type carries this recognition of the value and necessity of ceaseless work deep within their psyche, whether they care to admit it or not.
I will not go into the intricacies of this relationship between the monad, matter and the divine, except to say that Virgo has a direct rulership over the evolution of all material substance upon our world (and upon many others, as it turns out), whether it is through the monadic lives as they form the material body of a great Heavenly Personage, or whether it is through the materiality with which we work every day as human beings. To put it another way, Virgo adapts materiality to divine purpose. It is for this very reason, along with the preceding thoughts, that Virgo has also been so closely associated with purity. Purity is but the perfect attunement and attainment of matter with divine Will, from the standpoint of the occultist. So, in a sense, Virgo relates form to Spirit from the perspective of purpose similarly to the way that Venus relates the higher Self to the persona. Just as the Soul guides the development of the persona through the long series of incarnations on this world and shapes it eventually into a perfect vehicle of expression in the lower worlds for the Word of God, so Virgo shapes the material that forms all worlds in our local universe and eventually reveals the Love and Life that has been gestating within. "A woman’s work is never done!"
From the preceding perhaps we can see that we encompass and express in fullness a little spark of what is called in the Bible" the Holy Trinity". We are at one and the same time Father, Son and Matter/Mother (Holy Spirit). In the grand play that is evolution we start as matter, eventually become the Son and then the Father, only then to realize that we are Mother again on a higher turn of the spiral. Christ was born of Virgin birth (both allegorically and astrologically), as were we all, and we all take the same journey as have the great examples of spiritual Life that have walked among us throughout history. All paths lead to the same figurative destination—the full overshadowing of and union with the Mother by the Father. Our literature and media are full of expositions of this idea of the journey toward wholeness and liberation. In The Wizard of Oz, for instance, there were many yellow brick roads on the way to the Emerald City (heaven worlds), but it was never specified which one to take and Dorothy (which means "gift from God") was told only to follow the road, the Good Witch knowing full well Dorothy would reach her destination and fulfill her destiny no matter which direction she went. We are all a little like Dorothy, and all very definitely gifts from God.
Now, this brings us up to one of my favorite topics—the stars of the universe and the life that evolves throughout the solar systems that greet our gaze on most evenings upon venturing outside. I can only but give certain indications and key ideas here, but it may help to expand our understanding both of Virgo and of the evolutions taking place in other solar systems. In certain occult books we are told that each solar system has as its purpose the evolution of a certain aspect of the divine trinity, whether Will (Father), Love (Son) or Activity (Mother/Matter). Our own solar system is said to be evolving the fullness of Self-consciousness, or what we know as Love. When we say that "God is Love" we are, in fact, speaking of the plan of God for our solar system. But, in the solar systems preceding ours (Our solar Lord—our God—reincarnates through solar systems just as we do through physical bodies.) it was the material aspect that was under development. This was recapitulated for us in our Earth history in the days of Atlantis, which is from where most of our mythology about goddesses has descended. It was a matriarchal society. The Mother was the dominant principle then as in the previous solar systems, whereas it is the Son that is receiving the impetus to development now.
The preceding paragraph brings up some very interesting points. To begin with, those familiar with esoteric lore know that matter takes much longer to evolve than does Spirit, due to matter’s much slower vibratory rate. To use an analogy, it takes much more effort and longer to move a boulder than it does to make a breeze, if one can see the correspondence. In solar systems wherein it is matter that is receiving the attention of the solar Lord, one would thus expect the evolution of such a system to take much longer than a system such as ours wherein the material aspect has already been highly developed. The light of such a sun would be dimmer and its life-span long due to the work being undertaken. These suns would correspond to the myriads of small red and orange stars, the vast majority of which we cannot see with the naked eye. It might be of interest to note that most of the naked-eye stars in the heavens are actually developing the Will aspect of divinity, and their life-spans are generally much shorter than that of the little red stars. It might also be of interest to note that there are around 40 such reddish stars in close proximity to our own solar system, so there is a lot of goddess energy taking shape in our immediate little universe and humanities in those systems would have qualities very different to our own. I am talking of a distance of 40 light-years radius to our Sun, which is but a stone’s throw, astronomically speaking.
To get some idea of the ratios of all the types of solar systems that I am speaking of here, the ones evolving matter are far more numerous than the other types. As well, the "Love systems" (don’t you love it?) are more numerous than the "Will systems". This is always the case. We know of the great stars such as Regulus, Sirius, the Pleiades, the Rishis of the Great Bear, Betelgeuse and so forth. All those great stars and others like them are formidable expressions of some aspect of the Will of God and highly exalted cosmic Beings in their own right, having passed beyond the evolutionary status of our Sun many long eons of time ago in what would seem an infinitude of time to us. But, in point of fact, they number among the fewest of the stars in the firmament, comparatively speaking. We know about them because we can see them, but there are countless other stars around us about which we have no knowledge—many like our own—and a far greater number even less advanced than our own Sun. I wonder how many people have ever thought about this? In the manifested universe, it is the Mother Who is most potent and Who holds the greatest sway. She guides the development of all those lesser suns and slowly evolves the material which goes toward the creation of ever greater and more refined Lives as the numberless solar systems live, pass on and are reborn.
Every solar system responds to its own version of the constellation of Virgo and, in our neck of the cosmic woods, the Virgo we know presides over the development of quite a few suns and Sons. Do we realize the full impact of the statement that the majority of the humanities in the universe come from solar systems wherein the development of intelligence is the norm, rather than wisdom which is the case in our own system? Intelligence and wisdom are two very different things. Wisdom is born of love and Self-knowledge, whereas intelligence is inherent in matter itself. Well, there is a little bit to think about there. To put the last point about humanities more succinctly, we are told that disciples (those in whom the Son aspect is very strong) may not always be highly intelligent—but they are always wise. Wisdom supercedes intelligence, and our solar system is evolving wisdom rather than intelligence, little as our Earth humanity may express it at times. Our Sun is a disciple of cosmic standing, as well as is our own planet. Not all solar systems or planets are thus. I know I have given out a lot to chew on here and I haven’t even touched on goddesses yet (They will have to be the subject of another letter, which would probably work out better anyway.), but the main intent was to give a clearer understanding of this grand sign and constellation, which I hope has been done.
This year’s Virgo full moon occurs on the 30th of August at 12:23 PM AEST. The planetary aspects are most potent and intense this time around and there will be ample opportunity for us to renew our sense of purpose for the material side of our being and to assure the purity of our vehicles so they can do their needed work and provide proper support to the needs of the Soul. The symbol for the degree of the Sun in this figure tells the tale and the primary lesson for this full moon. It reads thus:
"A 5-year-old child takes a first dancing lesson." 8 Virgo
We are all as little children learning to dance in the realms of Spirit. Many times we miss our step and stumble, stepping on the feet of our partners in the dance of life and discipleship. But, practice makes better and effort eventually pays off. We grow in grace as we do our work, and the work of the dance between Spirit and Matter goes on unabated. Through our learning we are eventually initiated into the greater mysteries of life, but we have to get the footwork down first, so-to-speak, before we can master the form of the dance. Expansions of consciousness only come when the density of the matter of the bodies gets light enough and this only comes about through the structured work we do every day at making our bodies more fit receptacles for spiritual Light and Love. The implication with this symbol is that there is a new potentiality to be presented this full moon that can lead to new expressions and structures in society and within ourselves in the future if we are willing to attend to the details of the process (learn the dance steps). The degree of the Moon will show us the means to do so and indicates the polar opposite that is needed to balance the energies of the Sun. It reads thus:
"A girl blowing a bugle." 8 Pisces
The call is going out to rally the forces within our nature and to rise to the work at hand. The material forms, as represented by the girl, are sending the call upward to the Soul that the time for change has come. We are being summoned to greater work on these material densities than has heretofore been the case. In short, this full moon carries the energy of beginnings and a rallying of efforts toward a future goal. What that goal is will be different for each of us. New structures need to be introduced, and many people have reported feeling such as late. This is further highlighted for us by the conjunction of Uranus with the Moon. Uranus always confers the urge toward better conditions, the shattering of the old and the establishment of a new order in one’s life. Mars conjoins the Sun in this figure, indicating an intensity purpose, a fiery desire to succeed and the courage and stamina to persist in the decided efforts. There is a risk of pushing things too far too fast with this setup, though, because Mars opposes Uranus through the full moon. It can indicate recklessness and too much independence, but it can also bestow the daring sometimes needed to just step off the edge and take a risk every now and then. In all, this is a very powerful planetary alignment and it promises results and many new starts.
Jupiter sextiles a Venus/Saturn conjunction and trines the asteroid Chiron, indicating that old karmic associations with people will bring very useful things to the table in our mutual efforts. Though the Venus/Saturn energy can be a bit depressing on its own, the sextile to Jupiter brings in a lightness and expansiveness that would otherwise make for a more difficult and somber period. There is still a fair amount of old scar tissue from past emotional wounds to be cleared away as indicated by the Chiron/Saturn opposition, but Jupiter brings about a united effort to do so and brings people together in general. Relationships may be tested during this period, but in unity and dialog lies the overcoming of obstacles. With Jupiter in the sign that it rules from the hierarchical perspective expansion comes through attention to the fine details of problematic matters and of life in general. There are no little things, and Jupiter in Virgo brings all the disparate pieces together and from the seeming chaos builds a firm foundation.
Mercury trines Pluto in this figure and it confers the ability to divine deeply the needed information in order to get things done. Information and insight will come from hidden sources and through research. It indicates a special ability to focus long and in depth and, indeed, all meditative work is strongly indicated in order for the energy of this full moon to be of great benefit. Jupiter squares Pluto and warns against imperious behavior, pride and old prejudices rearing their head. The only planet not in a major aspect in this chart is Neptune, which means that we may have to work a little harder for our insights, but they will come. The quincunx by Mars to Neptune warns against letting emotions get out of hand, of not looking overly hard for results lest disappointment occur, of avoiding unhealthy relationships that cause undue strain on the system and is a flag that we should keep the immunity up to avoid infections. We are talking about the body here, since it is the Virgo full moon. In all, this full moon will be a very powerful catalyst to action and for clearing of obstructions to higher understanding. A great capacity for inner work is indicated and incisive and decisive actions will yield results, so long as proper research and due care is taken in the process.
Every once and a while an opportunity comes along that is just too good to pass up, yet we hesitate and want to stay in the old, comfortable ways. Now is just such a period of time. Throughout the coming year, but especially at this full moon, we should listen carefully to what the Mother tells us—the Mother being our own bodies and the wider world of Nature. There are some unusual and special things afoot on our world and within us at the moment, and we must be as one with each moment in time as we can possibly be in order to seize upon the gifts on offer. The Mother offers up beautifully and bountifully. And in the stillness of the bosom of the Mother we are given pause and space to listen for the call of the Father as we daily attend to our spiritual rites.
I get another chance to fire-gaze tomorrow night and look out over the lights of Adelaide from the hills. It promises to be a good show with clear skies and warm temperatures. One of my Virgo friends is having her 50th birthday bash. Sometimes I wonder how my own Light appears in the city of our world to onlookers. Upon what string am I cast and to where does that thread of consciousness lead? Someday I will know. But, for now I do my bit upon this stage of living substance and decide at each moment as consciously as I can which yellow brick road I will next take. May all of us shine more brilliantly with each passing day and add to the growing Light and Love within our world Mother. She is expecting and she wishes us fullness of life and has great dreams for our success. Let us see to it that every day we add to the beauty of our world and that each step brings us ever closer to the destiny that is our birth right and the promise of the liberation both of ourselves and of the great Mother. This is a beautiful world, yet it is because of us that it is even able to be here at all. May the great Mother bless your lives richly.
Much love to you all,
26 Aug 2004
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