|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy:
did not go, as though waiting for something.
The conversastion fell upon table-turning and spirits, and
Countess Nordston, who believed in spiritualism, began to
describe the marvels she had seen.
"Ah, countess, you really must take me, for pity's sake do take
me to see them! I have never seen anything extraordinary, though
I am always on the lookout for it everywhere," said Vronsky,
"Very well, next Saturday," answered Countess Nordston. "But
you, Konstantin Dmitrievitch, do you believe in it?" she asked
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
knowing whence it came, but feeling almost certain that it was
her daughter's voice. It seemed so unaccountable, however, that
the girl should have strayed over so many lands and seas (which
she herself could not have traversed without the aid of her
winged dragons), that the good Ceres tried to believe that it
must be the child of some other parent, and not her own darling
Proserpina, who had uttered this lamentable cry. Nevertheless,
it troubled her with a vast many tender fears, such as are
ready to bestir themselves in every mother's heart, when she
finds it necessary to go away from her dear children without
leaving them under the care of some maiden aunt, or other such
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) by Dante Alighieri:
All love is in itself a laudable thing;
Because its matter may perchance appear
Aye to be good; but yet not each impression
Is good, albeit good may be the wax."
"Thy words, and my sequacious intellect,"
I answered him, "have love revealed to me;
But that has made me more impregned with doubt;
For if love from without be offered us,
And with another foot the soul go not,
If right or wrong she go, 'tis not her merit."
And he to me: "What reason seeth here,
The Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
|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 Early Short Fiction of Edith Wharton by Edith Wharton:
The floor she trod had felt his tread; the books on the shelves
had seen his face; and there were moments when the intense
consciousness of the old, dusky walls seemed about to break out
into some audible revelation of their secret. But the revelation
never came, and she knew it would never come. Lyng was not one
of the garrulous old houses that betray the secrets intrusted to
them. Its very legend proved that it had always been the mute
accomplice, the incorruptible custodian of the mysteries it had
surprised. And Mary Boyne, sitting face to face with its
portentous silence, felt the futility of seeking to break it by
any human means.