|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Captain Stormfield by Mark Twain:
made all of flashing jewels, and they pierced a wall of solid gold
that you couldn't see the top of, nor yet the end of, in either
direction. I was pointed straight for one of these gates, and a-
coming like a house afire. Now I noticed that the skies were black
with millions of people, pointed for those gates. What a roar they
made, rushing through the air! The ground was as thick as ants
with people, too - billions of them, I judge.
I lit. I drifted up to a gate with a swarm of people, and when it
was my turn the head clerk says, in a business-like way -
"Well, quick! Where are you from?"
"San Francisco," says I.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Lesser Hippias by Plato:
general considerations which equally affect all evidence to the genuineness
of ancient writings are the following: Shorter works are more likely to
have been forged, or to have received an erroneous designation, than longer
ones; and some kinds of composition, such as epistles or panegyrical
orations, are more liable to suspicion than others; those, again, which
have a taste of sophistry in them, or the ring of a later age, or the
slighter character of a rhetorical exercise, or in which a motive or some
affinity to spurious writings can be detected, or which seem to have
originated in a name or statement really occurring in some classical
author, are also of doubtful credit; while there is no instance of any
ancient writing proved to be a forgery, which combines excellence with
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne:
the British consul at Suez, who, despite the prophecies of the
English Government, and the unfavourable predictions of Stephenson,
was in the habit of seeing, from his office window, English ships
daily passing to and fro on the great canal, by which the old roundabout
route from England to India by the Cape of Good Hope was abridged
by at least a half. The other was a small, slight-built personage,
with a nervous, intelligent face, and bright eyes peering out
from under eyebrows which he was incessantly twitching.
He was just now manifesting unmistakable signs of impatience,
nervously pacing up and down, and unable to stand still for a moment.
This was Fix, one of the detectives who had been dispatched from England
Around the World in 80 Days
|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 The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot:
certain references to vegetation ceremonies.
<1> Macmillan] Cambridge.
I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD
Line 20. Cf. Ezekiel 2:7.
23. Cf. Ecclesiastes 12:5.
31. _V. Tristan und Isolde_, i, verses 5-8.
42. Id. iii, verse 24.
46. I am not familiar with the exact constitution of the Tarot pack
of cards, from which I have obviously departed to suit my own convenience.
The Hanged Man, a member of the traditional pack, fits my purpose
in two ways: because he is associated in my mind with the Hanged God
The Waste Land