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Today's Stichomancy for Robert A. Heinlein

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne:

the action of this cylinder, charged with some explosive substance, nitro- glycerine, picrate, or some other material of the same nature, that the water of the channel had been raised like a dome, the bottom of the brig crushed in, and she had sunk instantly, the damage done to her hull being so considerable that it was impossible to refloat her. The "Speedy" had not been able to withstand a torpedo that would have destroyed an ironclad as easily as a fishing-boat!

Yes! all was explained, everything--except the presence of the torpedo in the waters of the channel!

My friends, then," said Cyrus Harding, "we can no longer be in doubt as to the presence of a mysterious being, a castaway like us, perhaps,


The Mysterious Island
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Grimm's Fairy Tales by Brothers Grimm:

if such beautiful eyes as these should never see the daylight again.'

But the youth said: 'However difficult it may be, I will learn it. For this purpose indeed have I journeyed forth.' He let the host have no rest, until the latter told him, that not far from thence stood a haunted castle where anyone could very easily learn what shuddering was, if he would but watch in it for three nights. The king had promised that he who would venture should have his daughter to wife, and she was the most beautiful maiden the sun shone on. Likewise in the castle lay great treasures, which were guarded by evil spirits, and these treasures would then be freed, and would make a poor man rich enough. Already many men had gone into the castle, but as yet


Grimm's Fairy Tales
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Iron Puddler by James J. Davis:

step and they had the right stride. I thought their judgment must be better than the judgment of the whole world because their judgment pleased me. I later learned that their judgment was just like the judgment of all Reds. That's what makes 'em Red.

"Are there many of us where you come from?" the man asked.

"Many what?" I asked.

"Communists, communists," he said excitedly.

I wanted to please him, because we were now cracking the melons and scooping out their luscious hearts. So I told him how many comrades there were in each of the rolling mills where I had worked. I had to invent the statistics out of my own head, but

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 La Grenadiere by Honore de Balzac:

rustic-looking house door, and three dormer windows in the roof--a slate roof with two gables, prodigiously high-pitched in proportion to the low ground-floor. The house walls are washed with yellow color; and door, and first-floor shutters, all the Venetian shutters of the attic windows, all are painted green.

Entering the house, you find yourself in a little lobby with a crooked staircase straight in front of you. It is a crazy wooden structure, the spiral balusters are brown with age, and the steps themselves take a new angle at every turn. The great old-fashioned paneled dining- room, floored with square white tiles from Chateau-Regnault, is on your right; to the left is the sitting-room, equally large, but here