|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Hidden Masterpiece by Honore de Balzac:
Effects! effects! what are they? the mere accidents of the life, and
not the life itself. A hand,--since I have taken that as an example,--
a hand is not merely a part of the body, it is far more; it expresses
and carries on a thought which we must seize and render. Neither the
painter nor the poet nor the sculptor should separate the effect from
the cause, for they are indissolubly one. The true struggle of art
lies there. Many a painter has triumphed through instinct without
knowing this theory of art as a theory.
"Yes," continued the old man vehemently, "you draw a woman, but you do
not SEE her. That is not the way to force an entrance into the arcana
of Nature. Your hand reproduces, without an action of your mind, the
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from What is Man? by Mark Twain:
previous controversies have informed me, concerning which
illustrious experts of unimpeachable competency have testified:
WAS THE AUTHOR OF SHAKESPEARE'S WORKS A LAWYER?--a lawyer deeply
read and of limitless experience? I would put aside the guesses
and surmises, and perhapes, and might-have-beens, and could-have-
beens, and must-have-beens, and we-are-justified-in-presumings,
and the rest of those vague specters and shadows and
indefintenesses, and stand or fall, win or lose, by the verdict
rendered by the jury upon that single question. If the verdict
was Yes, I should feel quite convinced that the Stratford
Shakespeare, the actor, manager, and trader who died so obscure,
What is Man?
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from King Henry VI by William Shakespeare:
So God help Warwick, as he loves the land
And common profit of his country!
[Aside.] And so says York, for he hath greatest cause.
Then let's make haste away, and look unto the main.
Unto the main! O father, Maine is lost;
That Maine which by main force Warwick did win,
And would have kept so long as breath did last!
|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 Heroes by Charles Kingsley:
'Hail to the hero, the conqueror, the unconquered, the
destroyer of all evil things! Drink, hero, of my charmed
cup, which gives rest after every toil, which heals all
wounds, and pours new life into the veins. Drink of my cup,
for in it sparkles the wine of the East, and Nepenthe, the
comfort of the Immortals.'
And as she spoke, she poured the flask into the cup; and the
fragrance of the wine spread through the hall, like the scent
of thyme and roses.
And Theseus looked up in her fair face and into her deep dark
eyes. And as he looked, he shrank and shuddered; for they