|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Life of the Spider by J. Henri Fabre:
The silky spray is gathered by the hind-legs, which are longer than
the others and open into a wide arc to allow the stream to spread.
Thanks to this artifice, the Epeira this time obtains not a thread,
but an iridescent sheet, a sort of clouded fan wherein the
component threads are kept almost separate. The two hind-legs
fling this shroud gradually, by rapid alternate armfuls, while, at
the same time, they turn the prey over and over, swathing it
The ancient retiarius, when pitted against a powerful wild beast,
appeared in the arena with a rope-net folded over his left
shoulder. The animal made its spring. The man, with a sudden
The Life of the Spider
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Adam Bede by George Eliot:
matter of course, and not as a subject for panegyric.
Such men, happily, have lived in times when great abuses
flourished, and have sometimes even been the living
representatives of the abuses. That is a thought which might
comfort us a little under the opposite fact--that it is better
sometimes NOT to follow great reformers of abuses beyond the
threshold of their homes.
But whatever you may think of Mr. Irwine now, if you had met him
that June afternoon riding on his grey cob, with his dogs running
beside him--portly, upright, manly, with a good-natured smile on
his finely turned lips as he talked to his dashing young companion
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Mosses From An Old Manse by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
"No, indeed," said she, smiling; but perceiving the seriousness
of his manner, she blushed deeply. "To tell you the truth it has
been so often called a charm that I was simple enough to imagine
it might be so."
"Ah, upon another face perhaps it might," replied her husband;
"but never on yours. No, dearest Georgiana, you came so nearly
perfect from the hand of Nature that this slightest possible
defect, which we hesitate whether to term a defect or a beauty,
shocks me, as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection."
"Shocks you, my husband!" cried Georgiana, deeply hurt; at first
reddening with momentary anger, but then bursting into tears.
Mosses From An Old Manse
|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 Sophist by Plato:
opposite of the true teacher. He is the 'evil one,' the ideal
representative of all that Plato most disliked in the moral and
intellectual tendencies of his own age; the adversary of the almost equally
ideal Socrates. He seems to be always growing in the fancy of Plato, now
boastful, now eristic, now clothing himself in rags of philosophy, now more
akin to the rhetorician or lawyer, now haranguing, now questioning, until
the final appearance in the Politicus of his departing shadow in the
disguise of a statesman. We are not to suppose that Plato intended by such
a description to depict Protagoras or Gorgias, or even Thrasymachus, who
all turn out to be 'very good sort of people when we know them,' and all of
them part on good terms with Socrates. But he is speaking of a being as