One of the things that doesn’t get talked about often enough are the fundamentals of any magical practice. What should people be doing or able to do when they first start out? Are there any universal ideas one should bear in mind?
Here’s my take:
One of the things that doesn’t get talked about often enough are the fundamentals of any magical practice. What should people be doing or able to do when they first start out? Are there any universal ideas one should bear in mind?
Here’s my take:
Since I’ve been asked a few times, I wanted to talk a bit more about my Magic & Witchcraft 101 class coming up and who it’s good for.
The internet is a double edged sword. There’s so much info out there and it’s really challenging to know where to start or what to even do. This class is for people who are getting started on their journey but are completely confused on what’s a good source of info, what they want to do, what traditions & practices are out there, and are completely overloaded & overwhelmed with info. My goal is to break it down.
It doesn’t help that there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Anyone with a platform is assumed to be knowledgeable and an expert. And there’s so much out there to learn and do. Where to start? If you’re in that boat or know someone who is, you may benefit from my class.
The class breaks down the history of well known Western traditions, defines various terms, and tackles common misconceptions. I even discuss cultural appropriation vs appreciation as well as what to look and watch out for in groups, traditions, and teachers.
Magic & Witchcraft 101 starts Nov 21st, deadline to register is Nov 14th.
More info here: https://riverenodian.com/classes
I tweeted recently that at some point as a nation, we need to sit down and have a serious chat about toxic Christianity and its relationship to the patriarchy, white supremacy, and toxic masculinity. Screenshot and link below:
Now to the meaty bits (or seitan if you don’t eat meat): what exactly do I mean by toxic Christianity?
Like with the phrase “toxic masculinity“, I’m not saying that all of Christianity is toxic. I’m referring to a very specific flavor of Christianity which IS toxic, and has perpetuated a number of problematic to outright bigoted and hateful behaviors, particularly here in the USA. This especially includes Dominionism, which everyone needs to read up on in order to understand some of the political and religious power struggles here in the United States. It’s also led to a number of people to get involved in lawmaking and try (and sometimes succeed) in passing a number of laws based on them. These laws are actively working towards making the rule of the land be mostly white cis men while taking away the rights of literally anyone else.
We can’t pretend that Christianity is the only place where we’ve had this toxicity, as certainly a number of ancient cultures were patriarchal and in them women had few to no rights. But right now, those cultures are not in a position of power, and neither are we pagans/polytheists/witches/magicians/etc for the most part. While some of us do indeed come from a Christian background–particularly since witches and magicians can pretty much be of any religion–we are still partaking of a lifestyle that is not mainstream and often targeted for abuse.
So where am I going with this, and what can we be done? What do we collectively need to realize in order to withstand the potential threats we face to our rights and well being?
First of all, we are all affected by politics, some of us more than others. And we are all impacted by our upbringing, some of us more so than others. This is a good chunk of why I have urged pagans and polytheists to work on dumping their baggage as too many have come into polytheism–especially reconstructionist and revivalist polytheism–and other branches of paganism dragging their match luggage behind them and letting it color their perspective on the faiths they are attempting to practice. We all need to work on dismantling our pasts and the crap that holds us back, and in dealing with this topic especially so. There’s a lot we have to rethink, and institutionalized sexism, racism, transphobia, and homophobia are among those things. Unfortunately there’s a great deal of religious fervor devoted to the feeding and protecting of those -isms and phobias, and that is part of why the struggle continues in the United States.
More than anything regardless of our respective backgrounds we need to discuss the problem of toxic Christianity, as it’s dooming us all. We have Dominionists in the White House, people making laws not based on science but based on beliefs that focus around misogyny and the control of anyone with a uterus (especially black women), and children in cages in actual concentration camps. Yes, they are concentration camps and yes, I am Jewish. “Never again” is now. America needs to wake up, strengthen the protections and walls between church and state, get the offenders, enablers, and grifters out of their respective offices and take back our government from toxic Christianity and its followers which infiltrated the Republican party.
We need to stop making excuses for the attitudes that enable the behavior to go on. We need to stop pretending that voting won’t solve the problem, and also that voting alone will solve the problem. We must become comfortable with multitasking and with being vigilant long after the danger has past. Our culture, lack of proper regulations, and lack of consequences for those responsible are just a few things that are letting the cancer continue to grow and eventually kill us all. Toxic Christianity and its beliefs prop up white cis men at the expense of literally everyone else while tax exempt churches make large donations to politicians who back up their views.
I know that people are exhausted of the state of the world, especially those who have been fighting the longest and hardest, but I’m talking about the very heart of the issues that allowed America’s current government administration to do all that they are doing, and with the issues that affect us globally it won’t just be Americans who are in trouble, but the rest of the entire planet. Climate change alone has become a huge part of this, and it will literally kill us all if we don’t do something. We have 10-15 years left to be able to do anything about it. Toxic Christianity won’t care because toxic Christianity wants to usher in the end times and bring back Jesus. Toxic Christianity doesn’t think women should have rights let alone vote. Toxic Christianity only likes white people, heterosexuals, and cis men. The rest of us are deemed unworthy, unacceptable, and less than human.
I realize that there are a fair amount of occultists who are Christian, engage in Christian mysticism and Christian derived magical practices (yes, they exist). I’m also painfully aware that most occultists are not engaged in toxic Christianity. However, some are. There are a few fairly famous examples that I could give, particularly in the ceremonial magic communities. Some of you who are Christian mystics, witches, magicians, and occultists are already actively involved in fighting against fascism, white supremacy, and the patriarchy. I salute you and stand by you. We need to stick together and remember our commonalities over our differences. Please continue to use your religious privilege to call out those who continue to act as if religion is synonymous with Christianity and try to make decisions for the rest of us based on those beliefs and ideas. It continues to amaze me that someone like Jesus who challenged the patriarchy, those in positions of power, and his culture in general could possibly have inspired the ideas which these people perpetuate, and the failure falls not on religion but that of humanity.
The rest of us, however, do not come from Christian backgrounds. While most pagans and polytheists were originally Christian or from Christian homes, I was not. I lack religious privilege on a fairly substantial level. I run into monotheists and atheists all of the time who equate religion with Christianity and monotheism in general and use phrases like “Judeo-Christian” when they really just mean Christian. Religion is assumed to be entirely anti-science when my very faith honors deities for whom science and medicine are both sacred. When I don’t run into bigotry against paganism and polytheism, I run into anti-Semitism. Antisemitism stems from toxic Christianity, too–as does Islamophobia. Anti-witchcraft and magic sentiments? Also from toxic Christianity. Anti-science beliefs and ideas surrounding climate change denial, anti-vaxxers, and flat earthers? Same.
And the list goes on.
We don’t need less religion or less Christianity; we need greater protections, more conversation, and the dismantling of the support toxic Christianity has received up to now. The problem lies not with specific religions, genders, or races, but in disproportionate privilege and power. Deconstructing privilege and balancing the scales begins with starting the necessary conversations about concepts such as the Paradox of Tolerance, and why tolerating intolerance needs to stop. We need to challenge ourselves and call on people around us who behave and speak inappropriately as compassionately but as decisively as we can.
Removing toxic Christianity from power both in our culture and in the American government will unfortunately not remove the attitudes and ideas it perpetuated. But it will prevent further harm to those who are among the marginalized and disenfranchised while we continue to try for a better world.
I’m part of a blog hop for topics concerning financial sorcery! Today I will blog about having learned how to do financial magic right after having learned the absolute hard way how not to do the thing.
Learning how to do magic to boost wealth and finances has been a series of trials and errors. Along the way, I’ve learned a good deal about what you should and should not do if you want to do magic in order to gain money:
I credit money magic with going from being tens of thousands in debt with maxed out credit cards in a terrible job to being in my ideal job, about 70-80% of that debt now gone, and making more than enough to support myself and have a savings account. It took a while and a LOT of trial and error but it’s real and it worked.
Liked this blog post? Check out the others in this blog hop:
Trump Card is available in print:
E-book on Smashwords:
There have been, in my experience, three different forms of magic:
How do you determine which of the following types will suit your needs? To be honest, it depends on the goal. Is this something you will continuously be requiring? Or is this for a particular need-of-the-moment? Or is this something more serious which requires formal attention over a length of time?
I used to struggle with money/financial magic until I realized that I was responding to emergencies as they came up and not dealing with the long term. Most of the magic I’d do was in type #1 and sometimes type #2. Realizing that I needed a constant and more consistent flow I switched to type #3 and suddenly the results came–and stayed. I didn’t just get a job that turned sour later; I got myself what amounted to my dream job and was not only able to stay in it but make it even better. I created a cash box from Jason Miller’s Financial Sorcery book, and take out and put in cash into it regularly. That cash box rests on my money/Jupiter altar in my temple room where I keep my statues of Zeus and HEra. When I do, money comes in. When I don’t, I notice it–and a lot. The results I get are as consistent as my practice.
Some forms of magic require more maintenance and attention than others, but it all comes down to intent. If it’s something that you KNOW you will constantly, constantly need, I recommend creating a particular designed space or an altar for it and do magical work for it regularly. Could be daily or once a week, whatever works for you–but I recommend making the day work for you as well. For instance, if you’re gearing magic towards making and keeping yourself healthy, I recommend picking Sunday for the solar work. For financial concerns, Thursday is the obvious pick. If you’re unable to do it that particular day, use the corresponding nighttime planetary hour instead–that’s the planet of the first hour of that night. For Sunday, that’s Jupiter. If you’re looking to have a solar background to your Jupiter work, that’d be a great backup day/time to do your work. The idea is regular investments on a magical level towards getting what you want, keeping what you want, and getting even more of what you want.
In addition, I definitely recommend tying in your work to a particular deity or daemon, preferably a being you already have a connection to, and appeal to them in your work. I found Jupiter energies extremely difficult to control until I made regular prayers and offerings to Zeus and later on both Zeus and Hera to act as guiding, controlling forces. Prior to that, I found myself creating basement floods and hot water heater breakages–which I obviously don’t recommend. 🙂 If gods aren’t your thing, there are many daemons to pick from who can assist such as angels, saints, etc.
Part of being a magician and/or a witch is being in harmony with your environment and local spirits. You may not always chat with or say hello to your neighbor, but it’s not nice to blare music at 12:30am and if you’re going to have a loud and widely attended party, it’s good to warn them in case they want to be elsewhere. And then there are the sorts whom you do not NOT want to invite because of the fallout which will inevitably occur. So what’s an occultist to do under similar conditions in their practice?
My roots as a pagan and my very first spiritual community was with ADF, a pan-Indo European Druidic organization. It was here that I learned the concept of giving offerings to the “outsiders.” These outsiders could include anything from trickster deities like Eris (who already has a tale about her and what happened when she wasn’t invited to a party) to the fae, whom I think pretty much everyone knows you REALLY don’t want to piss off. By doing this, it was making it clear that these weren’t spirits to be banished or cast out but instead “Hey, we’re doing a private ritual and intend no disrespect, but here’s a token of respect so you can party over here instead”.
Nineveh Shadrach details similar practices with the Djinn in his books such as Magic That Works in which the idea is that you warn the neighboring Djinn that you’re about to do a ritual so if they don’t want to be there to get the hell out. Courtesy again in this case matters, as the Djinn and the fae have similar traditions in dealing with them and pissing either off isn’t something you want to do.
I sometimes wonder how much of “imp” or “trickster” activity in one’s home is instead a manifestation of this: a spirit feels forgotten, left out, wanting attention. Maybe they outright feel snubbed or slighted for whatever reason. What’s an attention-seeking daemon to do? Why, hide your things, of course! If you’re finding that a lot of weird activity is happening within your home or surroundings at any given point in time, it might be helpful to do a divination to determine the identity or type of spirit or just go for broke and leave an offering for the local spirits in whatever form or forms they may be in.
It’s good to save the outright banishing rituals for entities of malicious or evil intent, and cases like this where they just simply happen to live near you instead give them courtesy and respect. Be kind to your neighbors, you never know when they too might decide to have a party or otherwise remember you. Allies are just as good to have as are friends.
This blog post is part of a blog hop. Feel free to check out the rest of the posts in this theme when you’re done with this one. 🙂
This was a blog post I was going to make before the total proverbial shit hit the fan and I had to make a post about that instead. What I am about to discuss is a case of “no one’s wrong, it’s just a matter of different perspectives and words getting in the way of understanding.” It’s a kinder, gentler post, but no less important. So without further adieu….
I posted a link to a blog a week or so ago entitled Magick, Money, & Bullshit: Do the F**cking Work. Literally my only complaint about this post was the need to censor an excellent word such as “fucking”, but I digress. One of the best parts about it was this section here: “Magick isn’t something you do. Magick is something YOU ARE. How you think. How you live. How you love. How you behave all affect any magickal working you perform.”
When I posted this to Facebook, I was surprised at a few who didn’t seem to understand the spirit of what was being said, namely “Magick isn’t something you do. Magick is something you are.” One felt the need to point out that magic(k) is a practice while another voiced the idea that once you hit Adepthood, magical practice is something you do less often out of pursuit of other things. Neither of these statements are “wrong”; they just weren’t the point that I felt the deep need to express and celebrate. I also fell short of being able to explain it on Facebook, as the medium really isn’t sufficient for this sort of discussion. Expressing why magic is who you are and not just what you do requires more than it provides.
Magic is a mindset. It’s a mentality. There is no separation between your “mundane” life and your “magical” life, and when you live out your life in a way that expresses that, all of the barriers towards manifestation come tumbling down. It’s not just something you do when you’re lighting that candle, casting that spell, doing that working, this invocation, robing up and entering your temple room, or spending all of your hard earned money over at Wolf & Goat.
Yes Virginia, you ARE magic. This is why it’s so important to take care of yourself, get your physical needs met, and don’t neglect any part of your life. If there’s an area where you’re struggling to manifest something take a good look at why. Maybe it’s your approach, maybe it’s something you haven’t quite digested yet, or maybe you’ve been treating it as something you’re not yet worthy of. Maybe you’ve only done it when you desperately needed to as opposed to making it something you do on a regular basis, like brushing your teeth. Perhaps it’s a fear of failure o the belief that magic is somehow limited to certain things. It’s time to put all of that away and set aside the notion that you’re not deserving. Yes, you ARE worthy. You don’t need to feel guilty or make excuses as to why you can’t do money/job/career magic or any sort of magic; you are the vessel from which the power of the gods flow. You are a magical being, and with every step you take to perfect both the person whom you are and what you put forth into the world, you can make the world around you more in touch with the very essence of magic.
I’ve always found that magicians who quote the statement “As above, so below” and yet draw lines in the sand on their spiritual/personal and “mundane” lives to be demonstrating a sad cognitive dissonance. Repeat after me: it’s all the same. There are no lines, no boundaries, no differences between them. You cannot keep your altars tidy and not extend that into the rest of your life, and while doing one can help to improve the other it’s not enough. Take action, get it done.
One of my magical teachers once said to me that magic is about making a connection. And it’s true. We need to make connections between all of the bits of our lives, and if it’s the physical world we’re struggling with we cannot continue to divorce ourselves from it. Ultimately it’s about striving for what is termed in my faith as areté: excellence in all things and living up to one’s full potential.
Don’t just do magic, be magic.
I’m tackling this as a blog post because it needs to be said, someone needs to say it who does not identify as a male given the gendered nature of some of what has been said, and so it might as well be me. Given the subject matter I want to make a few disclaimers utterly crystal clear before I begin so that there is no misunderstanding:
A particular blog post has been making the rounds in the occult communities entitled Forging the body of a witch. While I agree with a number of points this post attempted to make, there are a few things in it which are decidedly problematic. I won’t get into the health points as they’ve been covered to death elsewhere, but I’d like to discuss one which was covered towards the end, namely that women need to submit in a ritual BDSM setting in order to have any power as a witch. To be fair Grey adds the disclaimer that “The kind of witchcraft (he) discuss(es) can be used as an excuse for abuse. For power over the aspirant rather than liberation. For sexual exploitation rather than liberation. That does not make the techniques anathema.”
No, it does not. But let me vehemently disagree on the following points:
The thing is this: you can add all of the disclaimers to the post that you want, but the implications are clear, and they are fairly disturbing. Of course sex can be abused. Of course BDSM can be done by people looking to abuse. Hells, I myself was raped by a “dom” and can speak volumes about that alone. But as always, I’m not saying that BDSM is abuse or that sex or sex magic is bad. What I am saying is that implying that they are expected, necessary, or required is bad, and does open the door wide open for abuse no matter what you may claim.
And do I really need to get into why a man suggesting a woman must submit, be sexual and submissive in order to fulfill his requirements of what he considers to be a witch is a serious problem? I’ll leave this comment here, no more need be said.
Then there’s the issue of sexuality. As someone who is on the asexual spectrum, I have no need nor desire to be sexual. Nor should anyone feel that it is required or a requirement of being a witch. Even if someone who identifies as pansexual was engaged in witchcraft or any sort of ritual or initiation, their consensual participation in such acts of sex or BDSM should not be assumed or required either. Having a ritual scourge, symbolic or otherwise is one thing, but what was described in this blog post was something else entirely. If people want to have such things in their rites, fine. Do we really need it? No. Can we do just fine without it? Yes. Am I still a witch if I don’t? Absolutely.
I had to deal recently within my own communities a few months back with a similar argument due to a very problematic situation which arose, and it became clear that there were people who felt that if you attended the ritual that you were open to being sexual and you were consenting to this. Had these ideas been clearly communicated and in advance, this would not have been a problem. The problem which arose was that no communication occurred, consent was just assumed. This presumptuous attitude which denies the opportunity to consent and consent knowingly needs to be discussed and at great length, and to ignore it is abuse.
Ultimately this is what makes Grey’s post problematic: the implication that we must all have sex magic and BDSM in our rites to be witches or otherwise have power. I don’t need to be beaten, tied up, or whipped in order to be a witch or have power. I don’t need to have sex or be sexual either, and I find it incredibly disturbing that this is even a subject for debate. It’s not just a matter of “safe spaces”; it’s a matter of not supporting what has been described elsewhere quite accurately as rape culture. Consent should never be required or assumed; it should be given freely, with perfect love and perfect trust.
Without that, your magic is in vain, and you have no right to call yourself a proper person let alone a witch.
In one of my most recent posts, I covered how magic is about creating connections between you and the force you’re invoking. And in all honesty that covers more or less some of the science and theory behind how to get this stuff to work, but it leaves one question:
But how do you DO magic? I mean, really?
At some point people may realize that it doesn’t matter what a book says or how you do a particular ritual, there’s some underlying actual juice that’s critical to making it all happen. And that all comes from the magician/witch. Otherwise you’re just blindly waving your hands in the air like you just don’t care, except that you most likely do. You really, genuinely care, your hands are in the air, but you can’t quite get that connection going. This could be you trying out divination, throwing out random cards from a tarot deck and reading a book on what they mean, and it’s still not happening. You can have the so-called right tools, be doing things during the correct astrological timing, but nothing’s jelling. Sure, there’s something to “faking it until you make it” but the reality is that unless you figure out how to flip that switch within you and get your shit flowing, it’s not going to.
Some may be reading this and concluding that maybe this “juice” can be learned, or maybe you’re just born with it–perhaps both. Others may say some have more talent in one arena that another–and that’s certainly the case. Not everyone was cut out to perform divination; some may find that their precognitive skills are nada. On the other hand you may be someone whose psychic skills are so keen they terrify you, but good luck doing anything more than accidentally making water goblets explode. Then there are those of us who are natural mediums, but that could be a whole other blog post entirely.
And here comes the potential controversy of this blog post: yes, I’m afraid it’s true, not everyone is cut out to be a magician or a witch. This shit is just plain and simple not for everyone, and merely imagining stuff in your head and going through hours of ritual isn’t necessarily going to work let alone have you actually doing magic. However, odds are very likely if you’ve been drawn to this stuff for some time now and SOME things have happened to you, you probably qualify and possess that necessary quality that allows you to make this stuff happen. It’s just a matter of figuring out what helps you to flip that switch and get everything flowing. Or maybe the switch is flipped but sometimes get stuck halfway, or on vs off, or the channels just need cleaning.
Some of us are very, very lucky and have found themselves doing stuff since their childhood or otherwise got involved relatively early enough in life. They are naturals, and maybe later in life–perhaps when they hit puberty–they started reading a few books and experimenting, and voila! Here they are today. And I say with absolutely no ego whatsoever that yes, I am one of those lucky people. There are drawbacks to being one of those sorts, however, and one of those drawbacks is figuring out how to teach people who want to either learn new skills or refine old ones precisely how to do it. I am hoping that by just talking about my own experiences I can help others make sense out of theirs, and provide them with insights on how to make it “click”. People like myself who have been doing this for a while can easily take how they do things for granted, and it can cripple not just their attempts at communicating it with others, but can make reconnecting a serious challenge if you’re forced out of it due to extreme stress or trauma. And sadly I have been there, done that, and it was terrible beyond any words I can use. But in the process of clawing my way out I learned a lot about how this stuff works for me.
I have found–at least for myself–that much of this stuff is subconscious. Some of the most amazing, fantastic stuff I’ve ever done was when I wasn’t very aware of what I was doing, if at all. I was spaced out, tipsy, not paying attention–in other words, in an altered state of consciousness. Figuring out how to harness that and get it in alignment with your will is half the battle. This is why some will say that yes, you need to learn how to meditate, you need to do personal development, perhaps learn self-hypnosis or NLP, and hells yeah you need to figure your shit out AND this shit called magic. In short, if you can figure out how to drop in and out of altered states at will and know your mind well enough to figure out the right “note” to hit that’s the same frequency as what you’re trying to accomplish, this will help you out a lot.
If this is something which you know you’re not good at, don’t worry–I know of a lot of longtime magicians and witches who struggle with this and find it difficult to get into the right state, easy to get jostled out of it, and find it that much harder to get back into. It’s something I have to learn to be mindful of when I do group ritual with folks as I found out that not everyone can dip in and out like I can out of so-called “ritual mindset” with ease, and I could potentially say or do something not ritual related that will jostle someone out of theirs. And if they can’t get back in as easily and as quickly as I can, I just screwed them up and threw them off track. Oops. I had to learn this the hard way, by pissing off other people I was doing ritual with. 😀 If you’re entirely solitary, so much the better. But I’ve found doing magic with others to be a fascinating and educational experience in how others work and perceive things.
For starters, so much of magic and psychic work is figuring how you sense the world around you and what your primary or strongest senses are. Some people are more visual, others auditory, then there’s more of a sensory “feeling” experience. It may not even be a physical, bodily sensation but some other sense of “feeling” inside of you, running through you. Maybe the only way you can discuss it is through analogies to other things, whether it be temperature, emotions, experiences. It may be that people who come here from having had psychic experiences and know how to sense and feel energy have it made while the rest have to figure out how to have that. It also may be that it’s just easiest to learn that when you’re younger and your brain isn’t so formed, rigid, and solid. If your inner child is either suffering, dead, or in a coma, best of luck to you–you’ll probably struggle and I bet you are already. But that’s the part of you that remembers another way of thinking before other patterns and programming seeped in, and there’s real scientific data behind hypnotizing someone back to a particular age and certain things that were true then come back. Get back there any way you can, and regain that fluidity of consciousness. If you’re a cynical bastard you can stay a cynical bastard if you want, but you’ll need to rein that in and become more flexible if you want to become any better at this shit. It doesn’t mean embracing rainbows, tie dye, and Birkenstocks, but it DOES mean embracing a wider reality out there and not limiting yourself or the possibilities in it. If you are already feeling frustrated reading this, start now, start today, work on getting it done. Find out why that attitude is there to begin with and get rid of it. If it requires healing, get that healing going. And know that it’s okay if you don’t get it all done in one day, week, or year.
If you know how you generally perceive the world, you’re in luck: you’ll know if you are more visual, more sensory “feeling”, etc.: “I see you”. “I feel you”, “I hear you”. Maybe you have some combination of a few, or maybe you know for a fact that some things you just struggle with, like visualization. In that instance, find out if visualizing concepts vs a literal image work better for you. If you want to visualize wavy lines or an ocean but can’t, think about how oceans and water feel, how they make you feel, and what sorts of sensations those conjure up and use that as a template. I did this technique while running an online Zener test on myself to see how it would rate my ESP skills, and it improved my score significantly. While I am not terrible at visualization and do a pretty good job, I do much better feeling/sensing things and analyzing the input that way. It’s far more abstract but that just may be how my mind works.
Working all of the elements in a particular ritual with various correspondences and symbols operates much like the example above but in the reverse order. Instead of having a particular thing and getting a whole bunch of feelings, symbols, and imagery on it, you’re instead taking those feelings, symbols, and imagery to conjure the thing. And there you have it, my best attempt to describe how I “do” magic.
Of course the reality is that you’re not “doing” magic as much as being magic. And it’s why it takes a lot of discipline, practice, sweat, and tears. While this blog post may not necessarily describe everyone’s experience, maybe it’ll help someone out there to make that own connection to theirs or fine tune it–or start a very interesting discussion on how all of this works “under the hood”.