|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Laches by Plato:
LACHES: Yes; I suppose that, in his way of speaking, the soothsayers are
courageous. For who but one of them can know to whom to die or to live is
better? And yet Nicias, would you allow that you are yourself a
soothsayer, or are you neither a soothsayer nor courageous?
NICIAS: What! do you mean to say that the soothsayer ought to know the
grounds of hope or fear?
LACHES: Indeed I do: who but he?
NICIAS: Much rather I should say he of whom I speak; for the soothsayer
ought to know only the signs of things that are about to come to pass,
whether death or disease, or loss of property, or victory, or defeat in
war, or in any sort of contest; but to whom the suffering or not suffering
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Schoolmistress and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov:
hair, and in her petticoat and white dressing-jacket hastily sat
down to the table to write a letter like Tatyana's.
"I love you," she wrote, "but you do not love me, do not love
She wrote it and laughed.
She was only sixteen and did not yet love anyone. She knew that
an officer called Gorny and a student called Gruzdev loved her,
but now after the opera she wanted to be doubtful of their love.
To be unloved and unhappy -- how interesting that was. There is
something beautiful, touching, and poetical about it when one
loves and the other is indifferent. Onyegin was interesting
The Schoolmistress and Other Stories
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Snow Image by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
he had instinctively clung, as the living stream rolled by him.
His cheek was somewhat pale, and his eye not quite as lively as
in the earlier part of the evening.
"Will you be kind enough to show me the way to the ferry?" said
he, after a moment's pause.
"You have, then, adopted a new subject of inquiry?" observed his
companion, with a smile.
"Why, yes, sir," replied Robin, rather dryly. "Thanks to you, and
to my other friends, I have at last met my kinsman, and he will
scarce desire to see my face again. I begin to grow weary of a
town life, sir. Will you show me the way to the ferry?"
The Snow Image
|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 Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne:
had ensued betwixt them.
--Oh! oh!--said Slop, casting a glance of undue freedom in Susannah's face,
as she declined the office;--then, I think I know you, madam--You know me,
Sir! cried Susannah fastidiously, and with a toss of her head, levelled
evidently, not at his profession, but at the doctor himself,--you know me!
cried Susannah again.--Doctor Slop clapped his finger and his thumb
instantly upon his nostrils;--Susannah's spleen was ready to burst at it;--
'Tis false, said Susannah.--Come, come, Mrs Modesty, said Slop, not a
little elated with the success of his last thrust,--If you won't hold the
candle, and look--you may hold it and shut your eyes:--That's one of your
popish shifts, cried Susannah:--'Tis better, said Slop, with a nod, than no