|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Alexandria and her Schools by Charles Kingsley:
fate, to refer to laws which I cannot but believe to be deeper, wider,
more truly eternal than the points which cause most of our modern
controversies, either theological or political; laws which will, I
cannot but believe also, reassert themselves, and have to be reasserted
by all wise teachers, very soon indeed, and it may be under most novel
embodiments, but without any change in their eternal spirit.
For I may say, I hope, now (what if said ten years ago would have only
excited laughter), that I cannot but subscribe to the opinion of the
many wise men who believe that Europe, and England as an integral part
thereof, is on the eve of a revolution, spiritual and political, as vast
and awful as that which took place at the Reformation; and that,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Rescue by Joseph Conrad:
confidence in his sanity.
In one half-opened hand he was holding the watch. He was also
provided with a scrap of paper and the stump of a pencil. Mrs.
Travers was confident that he did not either hear or see her.
"Captain Jorgenson, you no doubt think. . . ."
He tried to wave her away with the stump of the pencil. He did
not want to be interrupted in his strange occupation. He was
playing very gravely indeed with those bits of string. "I lighted
them all together," he murmured, keeping one eye on the dial of
the watch. Just then the shortest piece of string went out,
utterly consumed. Jorgenson made a hasty note and remained still
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Philebus by Plato:
another question was asked: 'Do pleasures differ in kind? and are some
bad, some good, and some neither bad nor good?' There are bodily and there
are mental pleasures, which were at first confused but afterwards
distinguished. A distinction was also made between necessary and
unnecessary pleasures; and again between pleasures which had or had not
corresponding pains. The ancient philosophers were fond of asking, in the
language of their age, 'Is pleasure a "becoming" only, and therefore
transient and relative, or do some pleasures partake of truth and Being?'
To these ancient speculations the moderns have added a further question:--
'Whose pleasure? The pleasure of yourself, or of your neighbour,--of the
individual, or of the world?' This little addition has changed the whole
|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 Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain:
the justice of the peace; the widow Douglass, fair,
smart, and forty, a generous, good-hearted soul and
well-to-do, her hill mansion the only palace in the
town, and the most hospitable and much the most
lavish in the matter of festivities that St. Petersburg
could boast; the bent and venerable Major and Mrs.
Ward; lawyer Riverson, the new notable from a dis-
tance; next the belle of the village, followed by a troop
of lawn-clad and ribbon-decked young heart-breakers;
then all the young clerks in town in a body -- for they
had stood in the vestibule sucking their cane-heads, a
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer