|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Herodias by Gustave Flaubert:
perpendicular rows. Those of the fourth were covered with scimitars.
In the middle of the fifth cell, rows of helmets were seen, the crests
of which looked like a battalion of fiery serpents. The sixth cell
contained nothing but empty quivers; the seventh, greaves for
protecting the legs in battle; the eighth vault was filled with
bracelets and armlets; and an examination of the remaining vaults
disclosed forks, grappling-irons, ladders, cords, even catapults, and
bells for the necks of camels; and as they descended deeper into the
rocky foundation, it became evident that the whole mass was a
veritable honeycomb of cells, and that below those already seen were
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Market-Place by Harold Frederic:
was a great person in the times when he monopolized wealth.
It enabled him to monopolize almost everything else
that was pleasant or superb. He had the arts and the
books and the musicians and the silks and velvets,
and the bath-tubs--everything that made existence
gorgeous--all to himself. He had war to amuse himself with,
and the seven deadly sins. The barriers are down now.
Everything which used to be exclusively the nobleman's
is now within everybody's reach, including the sins.
And it is not only that others have levelled up to him;
they have levelled him down. He cannot dress now more
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Modeste Mignon by Honore de Balzac:
returned, possessing millions. With his permission, she put her
various lovers to certain tests (always carefully guarding her own
independence); she owned a magnificent estate and castle, servants,
horses, carriages, the choicest of everything that luxury could
bestow, and kept her suitors uncertain until she was forty years old,
at which age she made her choice.
This edition of the Arabian Nights in a single copy lasted nearly a
year, and taught Modeste the sense of satiety through thought. She
held her life too often in her hand, she said to herself
philosophically and with too real a bitterness, too seriously, and too
often, "Well, what is it, after all?" not to have plunged to her waist
|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 Critias by Plato:
assent of the majority.
For many generations, as tradition tells, the people of Atlantis were
obedient to the laws and to the gods, and practised gentleness and wisdom
in their intercourse with one another. They knew that they could only have
the true use of riches by not caring about them. But gradually the divine
portion of their souls became diluted with too much of the mortal
admixture, and they began to degenerate, though to the outward eye they
appeared glorious as ever at the very time when they were filled with all
iniquity. The all-seeing Zeus, wanting to punish them, held a council of
the gods, and when he had called them together, he spoke as follows:--
No one knew better than Plato how to invent 'a noble lie.' Observe (1) the