|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Salammbo by Gustave Flaubert:
her so beautiful, and above all so pure. Often he saw that she grew
weary of following his thought. Then he would turn away sadder than
before; he would feel himself more forsaken, more empty, more alone.
Strange words escaped him sometimes, which passed before Salammbo like
broad lightnings illuminating the abysses. This would be at night on
the terrace when, both alone, they gazed upon the stars, and Carthage
spread below under their feet, with the gulf and the open sea dimly
lost in the colour of the darkness.
He would set forth to her the theory of the souls that descend upon
the earth, following the same route as the sun through the signs of
the zodiac. With outstretched arm he showed the gate of human
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Damnation of Theron Ware by Harold Frederic:
the construction of "Abraham" should be spick-and-span. He
watched with his own eyes a whole ream of broad glazed white
paper being sliced down by the cutter into single sheets,
and thrilled with a novel ecstasy as he laid his hand
upon the spotless bulk, so wooingly did it invite him
to begin. He tried a score of pens before the right one
came to hand. When a box of these had been laid aside,
with ink and pen-holders and a little bronze inkstand,
he made a sign that the outfit was complete. Or no--
there must be some blotting-paper. He had always used
those blotting-pads given away by insurance companies--
The Damnation of Theron Ware
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Altar of the Dead by Henry James:
strange instinct rejoiced. This was no dim theological rescue, no
boon of a contingent world; they were saved better than faith or
works could save them, saved for the warm world they had shrunk
from dying to, for actuality, for continuity, for the certainty of
By this time he had survived all his friends; the last straight
flame was three years old, there was no one to add to the list.
Over and over he called his roll, and it appeared to him compact
and complete. Where should he put in another, where, if there were
no other objection, would it stand in its place in the rank? He
reflected, with a want of sincerity of which he was quite
|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 McTeague by Frank Norris:
through his clenched teeth, white with passion. "I've been
played for a sucker long enough."
"What's the matter with you lately, Mark?" remonstrated
McTeague. "You've got a grouch about something. Is there
anything I've done?"
"Well, that's all right, that's all right," returned Marcus
as he rose from the table. "That's all right. I've been
played for a sucker long enough, that's all. I've been
played for a sucker long enough." He went away with a
parting malevolent glance.
At the corner of Polk Street, between the flat and the car