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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 The Call of the Canyon by Zane Grey:

plate and cup, with plain, substantial-looking knives, forks, and spoons. He went outside, to return presently carrying a small crock of butter. Evidently he had kept the butter in or near the spring. It looked dewy and cold and hard. After that he peeped under the lid of the pot which contained the biscuits. The other pot was sizzling and smoking, giving forth a delicious savory odor that affected Carley most agreeably. The coffee-pot had begun to steam. With a long fork Glenn turned the slices of ham and stood a moment watching them. Next he placed cans of three sizes upon the table; and these Carley conjectured contained sugar, salt, and pepper. Carley might not have been present, for all the attention he paid to her. Again he peeped at the biscuits. At the edge of the hot embers he


The Call of the Canyon
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad:

had gone into trade for no commercial reasons. He had been guided in the selection of this peculiar line of business by an instinctive leaning towards shady transactions, where money is picked up easily. Moreover, it did not take him out of his own sphere - the sphere which is watched by the police. On the contrary, it gave him a publicly confessed standing in that sphere, and as Mr Verloc had unconfessed relations which made him familiar with yet careless of the police, there was a distinct advantage in such a situation. But as a means of livelihood it was by itself insufficient.

He took the cash-box out of the drawer, and turning to leave the


The Secret Agent
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Battle of the Books by Jonathan Swift:

conjectures and form conclusions; but the smallest accident intervening (and in the course of affairs it is impossible to foresee all) does often produce such turns and changes, that at last he is just as much in doubt of events as the most ignorant and inexperienced person.

Positiveness is a good quality for preachers and orators, because he that would obtrude his thoughts and reasons upon a multitude, will convince others the more, as he appears convinced himself.

How is it possible to expect that mankind will take advice, when they will not so much as take warning?

I forget whether Advice be among the lost things which Aristo says

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 Margret Howth: A Story of To-day by Rebecca Harding Davis:

" 'T was fur her I comed back hyur. 'T was a resk,"--with a dumb look of entreaty at Holmes,--"but fur her I thort I'd try it. I know't was a resk; but I thort them as cared fur Lo wud be merciful. She's a good girl, Lo. She's all I hev."

Lois brought a box over, lugging it heavily.

"We hev n't chairs; but yoh'll sit down, Mr. Holmes?" laughing as she covered it with a cloth. "It'd a warm place, here. Father studies 'n his watch, 'n' I'm teacher,"--showing the torn old spelling-book.

The old man came eagerly forward, seeing the smile flicker on Holmes's face.


Margret Howth: A Story of To-day