|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Dream Life and Real Life by Olive Schreiner:
She crept to the door and made an opening in the branches with her fingers.
A large fire was blazing in the shadow, at the foot of the rocks. A little
Bushman sat over some burning coals that had been raked from it, cooking
meat. Stretched on the ground was an Englishman, dressed in a blouse, and
with a heavy, sullen face. On the stone beside him was Dirk, the
Hottentot, sharpening a bowie knife.
She held her breath. Not a cony in all the rocks was so still.
"They can never find me here," she said; and she knelt, and listened to
every word they said. She could hear it all.
"You may have all the money," said the Bushman; "but I want the cask of
brandy. I will set the roof alight in six places, for a Dutchman burnt my
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Marriage Contract by Honore de Balzac:
should freeze to death. The life of that great majority, to which I
belong in my commonplace way, is made up of emotions of which I now
have need. Often a man coquets with a dozen women and obtains none.
Then, whatever be his strength, his cleverness, his knowledge of the
world, he undergoes convulsions, in which he is crushed as between two
gates. For my part, I like the peaceful chances and changes of life; I
want that wholesome existence in which we find a woman always at our
"A trifle indecorous, your marriage!" exclaimed de Marsay.
Paul was not to be put out of countenance, and continued: "Laugh if
you like; I shall feel myself a happy man when my valet enters my room
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Euthydemus by Plato:
about nothing.' That was the expression which he used. 'Surely,' I said,
'philosophy is a charming thing.' 'Charming!' he said; 'what simplicity!
philosophy is nought; and I think that if you had been present you would
have been ashamed of your friend--his conduct was so very strange in
placing himself at the mercy of men who care not what they say, and fasten
upon every word. And these, as I was telling you, are supposed to be the
most eminent professors of their time. But the truth is, Crito, that the
study itself and the men themselves are utterly mean and ridiculous.' Now
censure of the pursuit, Socrates, whether coming from him or from others,
appears to me to be undeserved; but as to the impropriety of holding a
public discussion with such men, there, I confess that, in my opinion, 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 From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne:
Columbiad, and to place it on its soft bed of gun-cotton.
But before doing this, all those things necessary for the
journey had to be carefully arranged in the projectile vehicle.
These necessaries were numerous; and had Ardan been allowed to
follow his own wishes, there would have been no space remaining
for the travelers. It is impossible to conceive of half the
things this charming Frenchman wished to convey to the moon.
A veritable stock of useless trifles! But Barbicane interfered
and refused admission to anything not absolutely needed.
Several thermometers, barometers, and telescopes were packed in
the instrument case.
From the Earth to the Moon