|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Georgics by Virgil:
Their life-juice to the tender blades may win;
Or that it hardens more and helps to bind
The gaping veins, lest penetrating showers,
Or fierce sun's ravening might, or searching blast
Of the keen north should sear them. Well, I wot,
He serves the fields who with his harrow breaks
The sluggish clods, and hurdles osier-twined
Hales o'er them; from the far Olympian height
Him golden Ceres not in vain regards;
And he, who having ploughed the fallow plain
And heaved its furrowy ridges, turns once more
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Sophist by Plato:
STRANGER: And do we not see that opinion is opposed to desire, pleasure to
anger, reason to pain, and that all these elements are opposed to one
another in the souls of bad men?
STRANGER: And yet they must all be akin?
THEAETETUS: Of course.
STRANGER: Then we shall be right in calling vice a discord and disease of
THEAETETUS: Most true.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Don Quixote by Miquel de Cervantes:
that wheat I told you of, the thick dust she raised came before her
face like a cloud and dimmed it."
"What! dost thou still persist, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "in
saying, thinking, believing, and maintaining that my lady Dulcinea was
sifting wheat, that being an occupation and task entirely at
variance with what is and should be the employment of persons of
distinction, who are constituted and reserved for other avocations and
pursuits that show their rank a bowshot off? Thou hast forgotten, O
Sancho, those lines of our poet wherein he paints for us how, in their
crystal abodes, those four nymphs employed themselves who rose from
their loved Tagus and seated themselves in a verdant meadow to
|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 An Old Maid by Honore de Balzac:
all the pleasures, all the joys, and all the fatigues of motherhood.
Mademoiselle Cormon did not possess in her person an obliging
auxiliary to her desires. She had no other beauty than that very
improperly called la beaute du diable, which consists of a buxom
freshness of youth that the devil, theologically speaking, could never
have,--though perhaps the expression may be explained by the constant
desire that must surely possess him to cool and refresh himself. The
feet of the heiress were broad and flat. Her leg, which she often
exposed to sight by her manner (be it said without malice) of lifting
her gown when it rained, could never have been taken for the leg of a
woman. It was sinewy, with a thick projecting calf like a sailor's. A