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Today's Stichomancy for Ludwig Wittgenstein

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

SOCRATES: Thank you: the fact is, that I seemed to understand what you meant when you said that the poet intended Achilles to be the bravest of men, and also that he intended Nestor to be the wisest; but when you said that he meant Odysseus to be the wiliest, I must confess that I could not understand what you were saying. Will you tell me, and then I shall perhaps understand you better; has not Homer made Achilles wily?

HIPPIAS: Certainly not, Socrates; he is the most straight-forward of mankind, and when Homer introduces them talking with one another in the passage called the Prayers, Achilles is supposed by the poet to say to Odysseus:--

'Son of Laertes, sprung from heaven, crafty Odysseus, I will speak out

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Travels of Sir John Mandeville by Sir John Mandeville:

also a spirit they know well, for else they say, he were not alive. And when men speak to them of the Incarnation how that by the word of the angel God sent his wisdom in to earth and enombred him in the Virgin Mary, and by the word of God shall the dead be raised at the day of doom, they say, that it is sooth and that the word of God hath great strength. And they say that whoso knew not the word of God he should not know God. And they say also that Jesu Christ is the word of God: and so saith their ALKARON, where it saith that the angel spake to Mary and said: "Mary, God shall preach thee the gospel by the word of his mouth and his name shall be clept Jesu Christ."

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Protagoras by Plato:

eloquently about that which he makes him understand, that is about playing the lyre. Is not that true?

Yes.

Then about what does the Sophist make him eloquent? Must not he make him eloquent in that which he understands?

Yes, that may be assumed.

And what is that which the Sophist knows and makes his disciple know?

Indeed, he said, I cannot tell.

Then I proceeded to say: Well, but are you aware of the danger which you are incurring? If you were going to commit your body to some one, who might do good or harm to it, would you not carefully consider and ask the

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 Ferragus by Honore de Balzac:

commonplace. Without confiding in her wholly, he charged her to buy secretly and daily, in different localities, the food he needed; telling her to keep it under lock and key and bring it to him herself, not allowing any one, no matter who, to approach her while preparing it. He took the most minute precautions to protect himself against that form of death. He was ill in his bed and alone, and he had therefore the leisure to think of his own security,--the one necessity clear-sighted enough to enable human egotism to forget nothing!

But the unfortunate man had poisoned his own life by this dread, and, in spite of himself, suspicion dyed all his hours with its gloomy tints. These two lessons of attempted assassination did teach him,


Ferragus