|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Almayer's Folly by Joseph Conrad:
passage, but for the trail of disturbed grass, whose feathery
heads trembled and swayed for a long time in the moonlight before
they rested motionless and gleaming, like a design of silver
sprays embroidered on a sombre background.
Mrs. Almayer lighted the cocoanut lamp, and lifting cautiously
the red curtain, gazed upon her husband, shading the light with
Almayer, huddled up in the chair, one of his arms hanging down,
the other thrown across the lower part of his face as if to ward
off an invisible enemy, his legs stretched straight out, slept
heavily, unconscious of the unfriendly eyes that looked upon him
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Gorgias by Plato:
SOCRATES: That may very well be, inasmuch as doing injustice is the
greatest of evils.
POLUS: But is it the greatest? Is not suffering injustice a greater evil?
SOCRATES: Certainly not.
POLUS: Then would you rather suffer than do injustice?
SOCRATES: I should not like either, but if I must choose between them, I
would rather suffer than do.
POLUS: Then you would not wish to be a tyrant?
SOCRATES: Not if you mean by tyranny what I mean.
POLUS: I mean, as I said before, the power of doing whatever seems good to
you in a state, killing, banishing, doing in all things as you like.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Philebus by Plato:
general puzzling of us all is to be the end of our discussion, but if we
are unable to answer, do you answer, as you have promised. Consider, then,
whether you will divide pleasure and knowledge according to their kinds; or
you may let the matter drop, if you are able and willing to find some other
mode of clearing up our controversy.
SOCRATES: If you say that, I have nothing to apprehend, for the words 'if
you are willing' dispel all my fear; and, moreover, a god seems to have
recalled something to my mind.
PHILEBUS: What is that?
SOCRATES: I remember to have heard long ago certain discussions about
pleasure and wisdom, whether awake or in a dream I cannot tell; they were
|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 House of Mirth by Edith Wharton:
go beyond putting myself at your disposal."
"But in what capacity? What am I to do with you?" she asked in
the same light tone.
Selden again glanced about Mrs. Hatch's drawing-room; then he
said, with a decision which he seemed to have gathered from this
final inspection: "You are to let me take you away from here."
Lily flushed at the suddenness of the attack; then she stiffened
under it and said coldly: "And may I ask where you mean me to
"Back to Gerty in the first place, if you will; the essential
thing is that it should be away from here."