|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Atheist's Mass by Honore de Balzac:
to which European doctors do homage, practised surgery for a long
time before he took up medicine. His earliest studies were guided
by one of the greatest of French surgeons, the illustrious
Desplein, who flashed across science like a meteor. By the
consensus even of his enemies, he took with him to the tomb an
incommunicable method. Like all men of genius, he had no heirs;
he carried everything in him, and carried it away with him. The
glory of a surgeon is like that of an actor: they live only so
long as they are alive, and their talent leaves no trace when
they are gone. Actors and surgeons, like great singers too, like
the executants who by their performance increase the power of
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Oscar Wilde Miscellaneous by Oscar Wilde:
'As to my personal attitude towards criticism, I confess in brief
the following:- "If my works are good and of any importance whatever
for the further development of art, they will maintain their place
in spite of all adverse criticism and in spite of all hateful
suspicions attached to my artistic intentions. If my works are of
no account, the most gratifying success of the moment and the most
enthusiastic approval of as augurs cannot make them endure. The
waste-paper press can devour them as it has devoured many others,
and I will not shed a tear . . . and the world will move on just the
The contents of this volume require some explanation of an
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Damaged Goods by Upton Sinclair:
other your own. Take care that you are just."
George was at last overcome. "Very well," he said, "I give way.
I won't get married. I will invent some excuse; I will get a
delay of six months. More than that, I cannot do."
The doctor exclaimed, "I need three years--I need four years!"
"No, Doctor!" persisted George. "You can cure me in less time
The other answered, "No! No! No!"
George caught him by the hand, imploringly. "Yes! Science in
"Science is not God," was the reply. "There are no longer any
|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 The Tapestried Chamber by Walter Scott:
to himself; "then there must be something in the reports
concerning that apartment." Again turning to the General, he
said, "For God's sake, my dear friend, be candid with me, and let
me know the disagreeable particulars which have befallen you
under a roof, where, with consent of the owner, you should have
met nothing save comfort."
The General seemed distressed by this appeal, and paused a moment
before he replied. "My dear lord," he at length said, "what
happened to me last night is of a nature so peculiar and so
unpleasant, that I could hardly bring myself to detail it even to
your lordship, were it not that, independent of my wish to