|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Aspern Papers by Henry James:
and yet I consented not to be so. It was possible she intended
her omission as an impertinence, a visible irony, to show
how she could overreach people who attempted to overreach her.
On that hypothesis it was well to let her see that one did
not notice her little tricks. The real reading of the matter,
I afterward perceived, was simply the poor old woman's desire
to emphasize the fact that I was in the enjoyment of a favor
as rigidly limited as it had been liberally bestowed.
She had given me part of her house, and now she would
not give me even a morsel of paper with her name on it.
Let me say that even at first this did not make me too miserable,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Faith of Men by Jack London:
"But it was a great brew we had, Moosu and I," he added a moment
later, with just the slightest suspicion of a sigh.
I knew there were big deeds and wild doings behind that sigh, so I
haled him into a corner, between a roulette outfit and a poker
layout, and waited for his tongue to thaw.
"Had one objection to Moosu," he began, cocking his head
meditatively--"one objection, and only one. He was an Indian from
over on the edge of the Chippewyan country, but the trouble was,
he'd picked up a smattering of the Scriptures. Been campmate a
season with a renegade French Canadian who'd studied for the
church. Moosu'd never seen applied Christianity, and his head was
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians by Martin Luther:
II Corinthians 12:9, 10: "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take
pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in
distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." And in
the eleventh chapter of the same Epistle the Apostle writes: "In labors
more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in
deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice
was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck," etc.
(II Cor. 11:23-25.) By the infirmity of his flesh Paul meant these afflictions
and not some chronic disease. He reminds the Galatians how he was
always in peril at the hands of the Jews, Gentiles, and false brethren, how
|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 Shadow Line by Joseph Conrad:
denly the darkness turned into water. This is the
only suitable figure. A heavy shower, a down-
pour, comes along, making a noise. You hear its
approach on the sea, in the air, too, I verily believe.
But this was different. With no preliminary
whisper or rustle, without a splash, and even with-
out the ghost of impact, I became instantaneously
soaked to the skin. Not a very difficult matter,
since I was wearing only my sleeping suit. My
hair got full of water in an instant, water streamed
on my skin, it filled my nose, my ears, my eyes.
The Shadow Line