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Today's Stichomancy for Leonard Cohen

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Ion by Plato:

ION: I cannot deny what you say, Socrates. Nevertheless I am conscious in my own self, and the world agrees with me in thinking that I do speak better and have more to say about Homer than any other man. But I do not speak equally well about others--tell me the reason of this.

SOCRATES: I perceive, Ion; and I will proceed to explain to you what I imagine to be the reason of this. The gift which you possess of speaking excellently about Homer is not an art, but, as I was just saying, an inspiration; there is a divinity moving you, like that contained in the stone which Euripides calls a magnet, but which is commonly known as the stone of Heraclea. This stone not only attracts iron rings, but also imparts to them a similar power of attracting other rings; and sometimes

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from To-morrow by Joseph Conrad:

as if the devil had been at his heels; and the only thing that brought him down was a letter--a hoax probably. Some joker had written to him about a seafaring man with some such name who was sup- posed to be hanging about some girl or other, either in Colebrook or in the neighbourhood. "Funny, ain't it?" The old chap had been advertising in the London papers for Harry Hagberd, and offer- ing rewards for any sort of likely information. And the barber would go on to describe with sar- donic gusto, how that stranger in mourning had


To-morrow
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum:

colors of her patches proved good, for they did not run together nor did they fade.

After passing the wall of water the current did not change or flow backward any more but continued to sweep them steadily forward. The banks of the river grew lower, too, permitting them to see more of the country, and presently they discovered yellow buttercups and dandelions growing amongst the grass, from which evidence they knew they had reached the Winkie Country.

"Don't you think we ought to land?" Dorothy


The Patchwork Girl of 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 Eryxias by Platonic Imitator:

Athenian, who had a thousand talents weight of the stones which lie about in the Agora and which we do not employ for any purpose, be thought to be any the richer?

ERASISTRATUS: He certainly would not appear so to me.

SOCRATES: But if he possessed a thousand talents weight of some precious stone, we should say that he was very rich?

ERASISTRATUS: Of course.

SOCRATES: The reason is that the one is useless and the other useful?

ERASISTRATUS: Yes.

SOCRATES: And in the same way among the Scythians a house has no value because they have no use for a house, nor would a Scythian set so much