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Today's Stichomancy for Voltaire

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

had a city or house of their own, may through want of experience err in their conception of philosophers and statesmen. 'And therefore to you I turn, Timaeus, citizen of Locris, who are at once a philosopher and a statesman, and to you, Critias, whom all Athenians know to be similarly accomplished, and to Hermocrates, who is also fitted by nature and education to share in our discourse.' HERMOCRATES: 'We will do our best, and have been already preparing; for on our way home, Critias told us of an ancient tradition, which I wish, Critias, that you would repeat to Socrates.' 'I will, if Timaeus approves.' 'I approve.' Listen then, Socrates, to a tale of Solon's, who, being the friend of Dropidas my great- grandfather, told it to my grandfather Critias, and he told me. The

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare:

And do you tell me of a woman's tongue, That gives not half so great a blow to hear As will a chestnut in a farmer's fire? Tush, tush! fear boys with bugs.

GRUMIO. [Aside] For he fears none.

GREMIO. Hortensio, hark: This gentleman is happily arriv'd, My mind presumes, for his own good and ours.

HORTENSIO.


The Taming of the Shrew
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Plutarch's Lives by A. H. Clough:

concerned at the report, for it is a fiction." This Hermippus relates, from Pataecus, who boasted that he had Aesop's soul.

However, it is irrational and poor-spirited not to seek conveniences for fear of losing them, for upon the same account we should not allow ourselves to like wealth, glory, or wisdom, since we may fear to be deprived of all these; nay, even virtue itself, than which there is no greater nor more desirable possession, is often suspended by sickness or drugs. Now Thales, though unmarried, could not be free from solicitude, unless he likewise felt no care for his friends, his kinsmen, or his country; yet we are told he adopted Cybisthus, his sister's son. For the soul, having a principle of kindness in itself, and being born to

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 Massimilla Doni by Honore de Balzac:

Do you not perceive that the sea is claiming its prey?"

The Prince bent his head; he dared no more speak to his friend of love.

To know what a free country means, you must have traveled in a conquered land.

When they reached the Palazzo Vendramin, they saw a gondola moored at the water-gate. The Prince put his arm round Vendramin and clasped him affectionately, saying:

"Good-night to you, my dear fellow!"

"What! a woman? for me, whose only love is Venice?" exclaimed Marco.

At this instant the gondolier, who was leaning against a column,