|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from King Henry VI by William Shakespeare:
Keep off aloof with worthless emulation.
Let not your private discord keep away
The levied succors that should lend him aid,
While he, renowned noble gentleman,
Yield up his life unto a world of odds.
Orleans the Bastard, Charles, Burgundy,
Alencon, Reignier, compass him about,
And Talbot perisheth by your default.
York set him on; York should have sent him aid.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The King of the Golden River by John Ruskin:
The Golden River, which sprang from one of the lower and
snowless elevations, was now nearly in shadow--all but the uppermost
jets of spray, which rose like slow smoke above the undulating line
of the cataract and floated away in feeble wreaths upon the morning
On this object, and on this alone, Hans's eyes and thoughts
were fixed. Forgetting the distance he had to traverse, he set off
at an imprudent rate of walking, which greatly exhausted him before
he had scaled the first range of the green and low hills. He was,
moreover, surprised, on surmounting them, to find that a large
glacier, of whose existence, notwithstanding his previous knowledge
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Faraday as a Discoverer by John Tyndall:
the heating of the hydrate under pressure in a sealed glass tube.
This was done. The hydrate fused at a blood-heat, the tube became
filled with a yellow atmosphere, and was afterwards found to contain
two liquid substances. Dr. Paris happened to enter the laboratory
while Faraday was at work. Seeing the oily liquid in his tube, he
rallied the young chemist for his carelessness in employing soiled
vessels. On filing off the end of the tube, its contents exploded
and the oily matter vanished. Early next morning, Dr. Paris
received the following note:--
'Dear Sir,--The oil you noticed yesterday turns out to be
|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 Pagan and Christian Creeds by Edward Carpenter:
of life, surrenders itself back again into the arms
of the Mother-consciousness from which it originally sprang
--surrenders itself back, not to be merged in nonentity, but
to be affiliated in loving dependence on and harmony with the
 Compare also other myths, like Cupid and Psyche, Lohengrin
etc., in which a fatal curiosity leads to tragedy.
 German Sunde, sin, and sonder, separated; Dutch zonde, sin;
Latin sons, guilty. Not unlikely that the German root Suhn,
expiation, is connected; Suhn-bock, a scape-goat.
All this I have dealt with in far more detail in Civilization:
Pagan and Christian Creeds