|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Lucile by Owen Meredith:
With the birth of the palm-tree! Let ages expand
The glorious creature! The ages lie shut
(Safe, see!) in the seed, at time's signal to put
Forth their beauty and power, leaf by leaf, layer on layer,
Till the palm strikes the sun, and stands broad in blue air.
So the palm in the palm-seed! so, slowly--so, wrought
Year by year unperceived, hope on hope, thought by thought,
Trace the growth of the man from its germ in the boy.
Ah, but Nature, that nurtures, may also destroy!
Charm the wind and the sun, lest some chance intervene!
While the leaf's in the bud, while the stem's in the green,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Apology by Xenophon:
one dreams of dunning me for benefits conferred, hosts of people
acknowledge debts of gratitude to myself? And what of this, that
during the siege, while others were pitying themselves I lived
in no greater straits than when the city was at the height of her
prosperity? and of this, that while others provide themselves with
delicacies of the market at great cost, mine are the dainties of
the soul more sweet than theirs, procured without expense? If in
all I have said about myself no one can convict me of lying, is it not
obvious that the praise I get from gods and men is justly earned? And
yet in spite of all, Meletus, you will have it that by such habits I
corrupt the young. We know, I fancy, what such corrupting influences
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Art of War by Sun Tzu:
sacrificed everything for speed.  ]
9. If you march fifty LI in order to outmaneuver the enemy,
you will lose the leader of your first division, and only half
your force will reach the goal.
[Literally, "the leader of the first division will be
10. If you march thirty LI with the same object, two-thirds
of your army will arrive.
[In the T`UNG TIEN is added: "From this we may know the
difficulty of maneuvering."]
11. We may take it then that an army without its baggage-
The Art of War
|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 In a German Pension by Katherine Mansfield:
discussing the functions of the body. As well speak of a railway train and
refuse to mention the engine. How can we hope to understand anybody,
knowing nothing of their stomachs? In my husband's most severe illness--
She dipped a piece of sugar in her coffee and watched it dissolve.
"Yet a young friend of mine who travelled to England for the funeral of his
brother told me that women wore bodices in public restaurants no waiter
could help looking into as he handed the soup."
"But only German waiters," I said. "English ones look over the top of your
"There," she cried, "now you see your dependence on Germany. Not even an