|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Soul of the Far East by Percival Lowell:
sexless term was held sufficient for a given species, and did duty
collectively for both sexes. Only where a consideration of sex
thrust itself upon them, beyond the possibility of evasion, did they
employ for the male and the female distinctive expressions. The
more intimate the relation of the object to man, the more imperative
the discriminating name. Hence human beings possessed a fair number
of such special appellatives; for a man is a palpably different sort
of person from his grandmother, and a mother-in-law from a wife.
But it is noteworthy that the artificial affinities of society were
as carefully differentiated as the distinctions due to sex, while
ancestral relationships were deemed more important than either.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Cratylus by Plato:
dwells above among the Gods, whereas falsehood dwells among men below, and
is rough like the goat of tragedy; for tales and falsehoods have generally
to do with the tragic or goatish life, and tragedy is the place of them?
HERMOGENES: Very true.
SOCRATES: Then surely Pan, who is the declarer of all things (pan) and the
perpetual mover (aei polon) of all things, is rightly called aipolos (goat-
herd), he being the two-formed son of Hermes, smooth in his upper part, and
rough and goatlike in his lower regions. And, as the son of Hermes, he is
speech or the brother of speech, and that brother should be like brother is
no marvel. But, as I was saying, my dear Hermogenes, let us get away from
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett:
she counted upon my friendship and tolerance. "He's very
particular, and he's all in his old fishin'-clothes to-day. He'll
want me to tell him everything you said and done, after you've
gone. William has very deep affections. He'll want to see you,
Almiry. Yes, I guess he'll be in by an' by."
"I'll search for him by 'n' by, if he don't," proclaimed Mrs.
Todd, with an air of unalterable resolution. "I know all of his
burrows down 'long the shore. I'll catch him by hand 'fore he
knows it. I've got some business with William, anyway. I brought
forty-two cents with me that was due him for them last lobsters he
|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 Travels with a Donkey in the Cevenne by Robert Louis Stevenson:
this discharge: his comrades burst in the door with hatchets and a
beam of wood, overran the lower story of the house, set free the
prisoners, and finding one of them in the VINE, a sort of
Scavenger's Daughter of the place and period, redoubled in fury
against Du Chayla, and sought by repeated assaults to carry the
upper floors. But he, on his side, had given absolution to his
men, and they bravely held the staircase.
'Children of God,' cried the prophet, 'hold your hands. Let us
burn the house, with the priest and the satellites of Baal.'
The fire caught readily. Out of an upper window Du Chayla and his
men lowered themselves into the garden by means of knotted sheets;