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Today's Stichomancy for Billy Joel

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Tao Teh King by Lao-tze:

consumed by their superiors. It is through this that they suffer famine.

2. The people are difficult to govern because of the (excessive) agency of their superiors (in governing them). It is through this that they are difficult to govern.

3. The people make light of dying because of the greatness of their labours in seeking for the means of living. It is this which makes them think light of dying. Thus it is that to leave the subject of living altogether out of view is better than to set a high value on it.

76. 1. Man at his birth is supple and weak; at his death, firm and

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Hiero by Xenophon:

And in the next place (he continued), I am sure your own experience will bear me out so far: the more viands set before a man at table (beyond what are sufficient),[25] the more quickly will satiety of eating overtake him. So that in actual duration of the pleasure, he with his many dishes has less to boast of than the moderate liver.

[25] {ta peritta ton ikanon}. These words Hartm. op. cit. p. 254, regards as an excrescence.

Yes, but good gracious! surely (broke in Simonides), during the actual time,[26] before the appetite is cloyed, the gastronomic pleasure derived from the costlier bill of fare far exceeds that of the cheaper dinner-table.

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by L. Frank Baum:

they scattered like straws in the wind. But the noise and clatter seemed as dreadful to them as Jim's heels, for all who were able swiftly turned and flew away to a great distance. The others picked themselves up from the ground one by one and quickly rejoined their fellows, so for a moment the horse thought he had won the fight with ease.

But the Wizard was not so confident.

"Those wooden things are impossible to hurt," he said, "and all the damage Jim has done to them is to knock a few splinters from their noses and ears. That cannot make them look any uglier, I'm sure, and it is my opinion they will soon renew the attack."

"What made them fly away?" asked Dorothy.


Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
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 The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy:

power to do so. It seems to me that I alone have to suffer for the truth, while he," pointing to Ivan, "is allowed to do and say what he pleases." Gavryl wished to say something more, but his lips trembled, and the words refused to come; so in silence he turned his face toward the wall.

The sight of so much suffering moved even the judges to pity, and, becoming alarmed at Gavryl's continued silence, they said, "He may do both his neighbor and himself some frightful injury."

"See here, my brothers," said one feeble old judge, looking at Ivan and Gavryl as he spoke, "I think you had better try to arrange this matter peaceably. You, brother Gavryl, did wrong to


The Kreutzer Sonata