|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Blix by Frank Norris:
the room in his stocking feet, puffing fiercely on his cigar as he
warmed to the tale, blowing the smoke out through either ear,
gesturing savagely, his face flushed and his eyes kindling.
"Well, now, lessee. First thing Our Mug does when he gets to
Mazatlan is to communicate his arrival to Senora Estrada--
telegraphs, you know; and, by the way, have him use a cipher."
"What kind of cipher?"
"Count three letters on from the right letter, see. If you were
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells:
the ammunition piled to hand, the limber gunners with their
horses and waggons, the groups of civilian spectators standing
as near as they were permitted, the evening stillness, the
ambulances and hospital tents with the burned and wounded
from Weybridge; then the dull resonance of the shots the
Martians fired, and the clumsy projectile whirling over the
trees and houses and smashing amid the neighbouring fields.
One may picture, too, the sudden shifting of the attention,
the swiftly spreading coils and bellyings of that blackness
advancing headlong, towering heavenward, turning the twi-
light to a palpable darkness, a strange and horrible antagonist
War of the Worlds
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Iliad by Homer:
remember your threats against the Trojans while you were at the
ships in the time of my anger, and you were all complaining of
me. 'Cruel son of Peleus,' you would say, 'your mother must have
suckled you on gall, so ruthless are you. You keep us here at the
ships against our will; if you are so relentless it were better
we went home over the sea.' Often have you gathered and thus
chided with me. The hour is now come for those high feats of arms
that you have so long been pining for, therefore keep high hearts
each one of you to do battle with the Trojans."
With these words he put heart and soul into them all, and they
serried their companies yet more closely when they heard the of
|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 Life of the Spider by J. Henri Fabre:
Maturity is achieved in the exquisite floss that surrounds the
natal chamber and fills out the balloon. This is the waiting-room
in which the body hardens. All dive into it as and when they
emerge from the central keg. They will not leave it until four
months later, when the midsummer heats have come.
Their number is considerable. A patient and careful census gives
me nearly six hundred. And all this comes out of a purse no larger
than a pea. By what miracle is there room for such a family? How
do those thousands of legs manage to grow without straining
The egg-bag, as we learnt in Chapter II., is a short cylinder
The Life of the Spider