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Today's Stichomancy for Vincent Van Gogh

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Arrow of Gold by Joseph Conrad:

the kind saints in heaven angry, and our mother ashamed in her place amongst the blessed."

"Mademoiselle Therese," I said, "vous etes folle."

I believed she was crazy. She was cunning, too. I added an imperious: "Allez," and with a strange docility she glided out without another word. All I had to do then was to get dressed and wait till eleven o'clock.

The hour struck at last. If I could have plunged into a light wave and been transported instantaneously to Dona Rita's door it would no doubt have saved me an infinity of pangs too complex for analysis; but as this was impossible I elected to walk from end to


The Arrow of Gold
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Fantastic Fables by Ambrose Bierce:

name of it, and was told that it was a fish-horn. The next time he went fishing he set his nets and blew the fish-horn all day to charm the fish into them; but at nightfall there were not only no fish in his nets, but none along that part of the coast. Meeting a friend while on his way home he was asked what luck he had had.

"Well," said the Truthful Man, "the weather is not right for fishing, but it's a red-letter day for music."

The Hare and the Tortoise

A HARE having ridiculed the slow movements of a Tortoise, was challenged by the latter to run a race, a Fox to go to the goal and be the judge. They got off well together, the hare at the top of


Fantastic Fables
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin:

produced, and probably never would produce, even with the pollen of either pure parent, a single fertile seed: but in some of these cases a first trace of fertility may be detected, by the pollen of one of the pure parent-species causing the flower of the hybrid to wither earlier than it otherwise would have done; and the early withering of the flower is well known to be a sign of incipient fertilisation. From this extreme degree of sterility we have self-fertilised hybrids producing a greater and greater number of seeds up to perfect fertility.

Hybrids from two species which are very difficult to cross, and which rarely produce any offspring, are generally very sterile; but the parallelism between the difficulty of making a first cross, and the


On the Origin of Species
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 Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe:

Having deposited our mournful burden upon tressels within this region of horror, we partially turned aside the yet unscrewed lid of the coffin, and looked upon the face of the tenant. A striking similitude between the brother and sister now first arrested my attention; and Usher, divining, perhaps, my thoughts, murmured out some few words from which I learned that the deceased and himself had been twins, and that sympathies of a scarcely intelligible nature had always existed between them. Our glances, however, rested not long upon the dead--for we could not regard her unawed. The disease which had thus entombed the lady in the maturity of youth, had left, as usual in all maladies


The Fall of the House of Usher