|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Madame Firmiani by Honore de Balzac:
to understand her, yet unwilling or unable to go to her house, would
(from the answers to his inquiries) have had equal reason to suppose
her a widow or wife, silly or wise, virtuous or the reverse, rich or
pour, soulless or full of feeling, handsome or plain,--in short, there
were as many Madame Firmianis as there are species in society, or
sects in Catholicism. Frightful reflection! we are all like
lithographic blocks, from which an indefinite number of copies can be
drawn by criticism,--the proofs being more or less like us according
to a distribution of shading which is so nearly imperceptible that our
reputation depends (barring the calumnies of friends and the
witticisms of newspapers) on the balance struck by our criticisers
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes:
particular persons in the company to whom they were addressed. It
so happens that those which follow were mainly intended for the
divinity-student and the school-mistress; though others, whom I
need not mention, saw to interfere, with more or less propriety, in
the conversation. This is one of my privileges as a talker; and of
course, if I was not talking for our whole company, I don't expect
all the readers of this periodical to be interested in my notes of
what was said. Still, I think there may be a few that will rather
like this vein, - possibly prefer it to a livelier one, - serious
young men, and young women generally, in life's roseate parenthesis
from - years of age to - inclusive.
The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Prufrock/Other Observations by T. S. Eliot:
"For everybody said so, all our friends,
They all were sure our feelings would relate
So closely! I myself can hardly understand.
We must leave it now to fate.
You will write, at any rate.
Perhaps it is not too late
shall sit here, serving tea to friends."
And I must borrow every changing
find expression ... dance, dance
Like a dancing bear,
Cry like a parrot, chatter like an ape.
|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 Critias by Plato:
passage from the sea up to this, which became a harbour, and leaving an
opening sufficient to enable the largest vessels to find ingress.
Moreover, they divided at the bridges the zones of land which parted the
zones of sea, leaving room for a single trireme to pass out of one zone
into another, and they covered over the channels so as to leave a way
underneath for the ships; for the banks were raised considerably above the
water. Now the largest of the zones into which a passage was cut from the
sea was three stadia in breadth, and the zone of land which came next of
equal breadth; but the next two zones, the one of water, the other of land,
were two stadia, and the one which surrounded the central island was a
stadium only in width. The island in which the palace was situated had a