|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Christ in Flanders by Honore de Balzac:
be seen in the sand; but in 1793, at the time of the French invasion,
the monks carried away this precious relic, that bore witness to the
Saviour's last visit to earth.
There at the convent I found myself shortly after the Revolution of
1830. I was weary of life. If you had asked me the reason of my
despair, I should have found it almost impossible to give it, so
languid had grown the soul that was melted within me. The west wind
had slackened the springs of my intelligence. A cold gray light poured
down from the heavens, and the murky clouds that passed overhead gave
a boding look to the land; all these things, together with the
immensity of the sea, said to me, "Die to-day or die to-morrow, still
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Historical Lecturers and Essays by Charles Kingsley:
stop-gap as it is, it does not even succeed in what it tries to do.
It does not last. Have we not seen that it does not, cannot last?
How can it last? This falsehood, like all falsehoods, must collapse
at one touch of Ithuriel's spear of truth and fact. And -
"Then saw I the end of these men. Namely, how Thou dost set them in
slippery places, and casteth them down. Suddenly do they perish,
and come to a fearful end. Yea, like as a dream when one awaketh,
so shalt Thou make their image to vanish out of the city."
Have we not seen that too, though, thank God, neither in England nor
in the United States?
And then? What then? None knows, and none can know.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Early Short Fiction of Edith Wharton by Edith Wharton:
wilderness of rosewood and upholstery, with a picture of a Roman
peasant above the mantel-piece, and a Greek slave in "statuary
marble" between the folding-doors of the back drawing-room. It
was a room with which she had never been able to establish any
closer relation than that between a traveller and a railway
station; and now, as she looked about at the surroundings which
stood for her deepest affinities--the room for which she had left
that other room--she was startled by the same sense of
strangeness and unfamiliarity. The prints, the flowers, the
subdued tones of the old porcelains, seemed to typify a
superficial refinement that had no relation to the deeper
|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 Intentions by Oscar Wilde:
who has never wronged me, or stirred by a great love for some one
whom I shall never see. There is no mood or passion that Art
cannot give us, and those of us who have discovered her secret can
settle beforehand what our experiences are going to be. We can
choose our day and select our hour. We can say to ourselves, 'To-
morrow, at dawn, we shall walk with grave Virgil through the valley
of the shadow of death,' and lo! the dawn finds us in the obscure
wood, and the Mantuan stands by our side. We pass through the gate
of the legend fatal to hope, and with pity or with joy behold the
horror of another world. The hypocrites go by, with their painted
faces and their cowls of gilded lead. Out of the ceaseless winds