|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Walking by Henry David Thoreau:
wooden sidewalk on a Sunday, or, perchance, a watcher in the
house of mourning, I hear a cockerel crow far or near, I think to
myself, "There is one of us well, at any rate,"--and with a
sudden gush return to my senses.
We had a remarkable sunset one day last November. I was walking
in a meadow, the source of a small brook, when the sun at last,
just before setting, after a cold, gray day, reached a clear
stratum in the horizon, and the softest, brightest morning
sunlight fell on the dry grass and on the stems of the trees in
the opposite horizon and on the leaves of the shrub oaks on the
hillside, while our shadows stretched long over the meadow east-
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli:
also because the others would not wish to take Lombardy from France in
order to give it to the Venetians, and to run counter to both they
would not have had the courage.
And if any one should say: "King Louis yielded the Romagna to
Alexander and the kingdom to Spain to avoid war, I answer for the
reasons given above that a blunder ought never to be perpetrated to
avoid war, because it is not to be avoided, but is only deferred to
your disadvantage. And if another should allege the pledge which the
king had given to the Pope that he would assist him in the enterprise,
in exchange for the dissolution of his marriage[*] and for the cap to
Rouen,[+] to that I reply what I shall write later on concerning the
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Golden Sayings of Epictetus by Epictetus:
which tend to modify its desires or repulsions, are good--for
ascetic ends. But if done for display, they betray at once a man
who keeps an eye on outward show; who has an ulterior purpose,
and is looking for spectators to shout, "Oh what a great man!"
This is why Apollonius so well said: "If you are bent upon a
little private discipline, wait till you are choking with heat
some day--then take a mouthful of cold water, and spit it out
again, and tell no man!"
Study how to give as one that is sick: that thou mayest
hereafter give as one that is whole. Fast; drink water only;
The Golden Sayings of Epictetus
|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 Seraphita by Honore de Balzac:
landscape whereon our simple yet superhuman drama was about to be
enacted could be seen and noted.
The winter of 1799-1800 was one of the most severe ever known to
Europeans. The Norwegian sea was frozen in all the fiords, where, as a
usual thing, the violence of the surf kept the ice from forming. A
wind, whose effects were like those of the Spanish levanter, swept the
ice of the Strom-fiord, driving the snow to the upper end of the gulf.
Seldom indeed could the people of Jarvis see the mirror of frozen
waters reflecting the colors of the sky; a wondrous site in the bosom
of these mountains when all other aspects of nature are levelled
beneath successive sheets of snow, and crests and valleys are alike