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Today's Stichomancy for Steve Martin

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

can we conceive Him under the forms of time and space, who is out of time and space? How get rid of such forms and see Him as He is? How can we imagine His relation to the world or to ourselves? Innumerable contradictions follow from either of the two alternatives, that God is or that He is not. Yet we are far from saying that we know nothing of Him, because all that we know is subject to the conditions of human thought. To the old belief in Him we return, but with corrections. He is a person, but not like ourselves; a mind, but not a human mind; a cause, but not a material cause, nor yet a maker or artificer. The words which we use are imperfect expressions of His true nature; but we do not therefore lose faith in what is best and highest in ourselves and in the world.

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Four Arthurian Romances by Chretien DeTroyes:

strong castle, and the pleasure and delight of the courteous damsel, who is so charming and fair, and with the damsel her worthy sire, who is so honourable and nobly born that he strives to dispense honour. Then he will see the bulls in the clearing, with the giant boor who watches them. Great is his desire to see this fellow, who is so stout and big and ugly and deformed, and as black as a smith. Then, too, he will see, if possible, the stone and the spring itself, and the basin and the birds in the pine-tree, and he will make it rain and blow. But of all this he will not boast, nor, if he can help it, shall any one know of his purpose until he shall have received from it either great

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Paz by Honore de Balzac:

had given him. The trial of his former life, when he lived beside his mistress, unknown, unappreciated, but generously working for her, was better than this. Yes, he wanted the reward of his virtue, her respect, and he had lost it. He grew thin and yellow, and so ill with constant low fever that during the month of January he was obliged to keep his bed, though he refused to see a doctor. Comte Adam became very uneasy about him; but the countess had the cruelty to remark: "Let him alone; don't you see it is only some Olympian trouble?" This remark, being repeated to Thaddeus, gave him the courage of despair; he left his bed, went out, tried a few amusements, and recovered his health.

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 Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen:

for the gentlemen HAD supplied the discourse with some variety--the variety of politics, inclosing land, and breaking horses--but then it was all over; and one subject only engaged the ladies till coffee came in, which was the comparative heights of Harry Dashwood, and Lady Middleton's second son William, who were nearly of the same age.

Had both the children been there, the affair might have been determined too easily by measuring them at once; but as Harry only was present, it was all conjectural assertion on both sides; and every body had a right to


Sense and Sensibility