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Today's Stichomancy for Richard Branson

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from St. Ives by Robert Louis Stevenson:

Another, and a quieter. They draw fine ale, however - fair, mild ale. You will find yourself among friends, among brothers. You will hear some very daring sentiments expressed!' he cried, expanding his small chest. 'Monarchy, Christianity - all the trappings of a bloated past - the Free Confraternity of Durham and Tyneside deride.'

Here was a devil of a prospect for a gentleman whose whole design was to avoid observation! The Free Confraternity had no charms for me; daring sentiments were no part of my baggage; and I tried, instead, a little cold water.

'You seem to forget, sir, that my Emperor has re-established

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The House of Dust by Conrad Aiken:

I gave her roses, a ring with opals; These hands have touched her head.

'I bound her to me in all soft ways, I bound her to me in a net of days, Yet now she has gone in silence and said no word. How can we face these dazzling things, I ask you? There is no use: we cry: and are not heard.

'They cover a body with roses . . . I shall not see it . . . Must one return to the lifeless walls of a city Whose soul is charred by fire? . . . ' His eyes are closed, his lips press tightly together.

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Tao Teh King by Lao-tze:

things.

3. Always without desire we must be found, If its deep mystery we would sound; But if desire always within us be, Its outer fringe is all that we shall see.

4. Under these two aspects, it is really the same; but as development takes place, it receives the different names. Together we call them the Mystery. Where the Mystery is the deepest is the gate of all that is subtle and wonderful.

2. 1. All in the world know the beauty of the beautiful, and in doing this they have (the idea of) what ugliness is; they all know the skill

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 First Men In The Moon by H. G. Wells:

the sight of him, and we remained motionless and peering long after he had passed out of our range.

By contrast with the mooncalves he seemed a trivial being, a mere ant, scarcely five feet high. He was, wearing garments of some leathery substance, so that no portion of his actual body appeared, but of this, of course, we were entirely ignorant. He presented himself, therefore, as a compact, bristling creature, having much of the quality of a complicated insect, with whip-like tentacles and a clanging arm projecting from his shining cylindrical body case. The form of his head was hidden by his enormous many-spiked helmet - we discovered afterwards that he used the spikes for prodding refractory mooncalves - and a pair of goggles of


The First Men In The Moon