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Today's Stichomancy for Alanis Morissette

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Island Nights' Entertainments by Robert Louis Stevenson:

And he turned and went off walking with great strides; and as often as Keola sank in the trough he could see him no longer; but as often as he was heaved upon the crest, there he was striding and dwindling, and he held the lamp high over his head, and the waves broke white about him as he went.

Since first the islands were fished out of the sea, there was never a man so terrified as this Keola. He swam indeed, but he swam as puppies swim when they are cast in to drown, and knew not wherefore. He could but think of the hugeness of the swelling of the warlock, of that face which was great as a mountain, of those shoulders that were broad as an isle, and of the seas that beat on

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from My Antonia by Willa Cather:

and drove down to see you and your family.'

She dropped my hand and began rushing about. `Anton, Yulka, Nina, where are you all? Run, Anna, and hunt for the boys. They're off looking for that dog, somewhere. And call Leo. Where is that Leo!' She pulled them out of corners and came bringing them like a mother cat bringing in her kittens. `You don't have to go right off, Jim? My oldest boy's not here. He's gone with papa to the street fair at Wilber. I won't let you go! You've got to stay and see Rudolph and our papa.' She looked at me imploringly, panting with excitement.

While I reassured her and told her there would be plenty of time,


My Antonia
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Amy Foster by Joseph Conrad:

and lose their amazing power before the immensity of the sea. He was barefooted, and looking as out- landish as the heart of Swaffer could desire. Leav- ing the horses on the turn, to the inexpressible dis- ust of the waggoner he bounded off, going over the ploughed ground in long leaps, and suddenly appeared before the mother, thrust the child into her arms, and strode away.

"The pond was not very deep; but still, if he had not had such good eyes, the child would have perished--miserably suffocated in the foot or so of


Amy Foster
The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from Herbert West: Reanimator by H. P. Lovecraft:

in their denial of the possibility of reanimation, was inexpressibly disgusting and almost incomprehensible to a youth of West’s logical temperament. Only greater maturity could help him understand the chronic mental limitations of the "professor-doctor" type -- the product of generations of pathetic Puritanism; kindly, conscientious, and sometimes gentle and amiable, yet always narrow, intolerant, custom-ridden, and lacking in perspective. Age has more charity for these incomplete yet high-souled characters, whose worst real vice is timidity, and who are ultimately punished by general ridicule for their intellectual sins -- sins like Ptolemaism, Calvinism, anti-Darwinism, anti-Nietzscheism, and every sort of Sabbatarianism


Herbert West: Reanimator