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Today's Stichomancy for Kurt Vonnegut

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Pagan and Christian Creeds by Edward Carpenter:

prostrate themselves before him; his coming into a house brings a blessing, and if he sniffs at the food that brings a blessing too." Then he is led out and slain. A great feast takes place, the flesh is divided, cupfuls of the blood are drunk by the men; the tribe is united and strengthened, and the Bear-god blesses the ceremony--the ideal Bear that has given its life for the people.[1]

[1] See Art and Ritual, pp. 92-98; The Golden Bough, ii, 375 seq.; Themis, pp. 140, 141; etc.

That the eating of the flesh of an animal or a man conveys to you some of the qualities, the life-force, the


Pagan and Christian Creeds
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Agesilaus by Xenophon:

advancing, as it were, with maidenly demureness,[8] for in such procedure, as he believed, lay the secret of true calm, engendering a dauntless self-assurance, imperturbable, unerring, impervious to treacherous assault. Therefore by such behaviour he was a terror to the enemy, whilst he infused courage and strength in the hearts of his friends, so that throughout his life he continued to be a man whom his foes dared not despise, whom his fellow-citizens cared not to arraign, within the circle of his friends held blameless, the idol and admiration of the outer world.[9]

[8] See above, ii. 3; "Pol. Lac." iii. 5.

[9] Cf. Tacitus's phrase concerning Titus, "deliciae humani generis."

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

sacrifice which you are on the point of making, his honour and dignity would require him to give you, in exchange for it, this income, which would always put you out of danger of adversity. But he can not accept this sacrifice, because the world, which does not know you, would give a wrong interpretation to this acceptance, and such an interpretation must not tarnish the name which we bear. No one would consider whether Armand loves you, whether you love him, whether this mutual love means happiness to him and redemption to you; they would see only one thing, that Armand Duval allowed a kept woman (forgive me, my child, for what I am forced to say to you) to sell all she had for him. Then the


Camille
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 Awakening & Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin:

XXV

When the weather was dark and cloudy Edna could not work. She needed the sun to mellow and temper her mood to the sticking point. She had reached a stage when she seemed to be no longer feeling her way, working, when in the humor, with sureness and ease. And being devoid of ambition, and striving not toward accomplishment, she drew satisfaction from the work in itself.

On rainy or melancholy days Edna went out and sought the society of the friends she had made at Grand Isle. Or else she stayed indoors and nursed a mood with which she was becoming too familiar for her own comfort and peace of mind. It was not


Awakening & Selected Short Stories