|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from My Antonia by Willa Cather:
his father's soul, which he believed was in a place of torment and would
remain there until his family and the priest had prayed a great deal for him.
`As I understand it,' Jake concluded, `it will be a matter of years to pray
his soul out of Purgatory, and right now he's in torment.'
`I don't believe it,' I said stoutly. `I almost know it
isn't true.' I did not, of course, say that I believed
he had been in that very kitchen all afternoon, on his way
back to his own country. Nevertheless, after I went to bed,
this idea of punishment and Purgatory came back on me crushingly.
I remembered the account of Dives in torment, and shuddered.
But Mr. Shimerda had not been rich and selfish:
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from 'Twixt Land & Sea by Joseph Conrad:
me talk even of going to Singapore before. But, really, such a
sensible girl couldn't keep on objecting for ever. 'Do what you
like, papa,' she says. Rather a job, that. Had to catch a steamer
at sea, but I got her over all right. There, doctors, of course.
Fever. Anaemia. Put her to bed. Two or three women very kind to
her. Naturally in our papers the whole story came out before long.
She reads it to the end, lying on the couch; then hands the
newspaper back to me, whispers 'Heemskirk,' and goes off into a
He blinked at me for quite a long time, his eyes running full of
'Twixt Land & Sea
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Blue Flower by Henry van Dyke:
lips; the brow of a dreamer and the mouth of a soldier, a man of
sensitive feeling but inflexible will--one of those who, in
whatever age they may live, are born for inward conflict and a
life of quest.
His robe was of pure white wool, thrown over a tunic of
silk; and a white, pointed cap, with long lapels at the sides,
rested on his flowing black hair. It was the dress of the
ancient priesthood of the Magi, called the fire-worshippers.
"Welcome!" he said, in his low, pleasant voice, as one
after another entered the room--"welcome, Abdus; peace be with
you, Rhodaspes and Tigranes, and with you my father, Abgarus.
|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 Rig Veda:
established places; For up above the yearling Calf the sages,
a web, their own seven threads have woven.
6 I ask, unknowing, those who know, the sages, as one all ignorant
sake of knowledge,
What was that ONE who in the Unborn's image hath stablished
firm these worlds' six regions.
7 Let him who knoweth presently declare it , this lovely Bird's
The Rig Veda