|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Poems by T. S. Eliot:
I mount the stairs and turn the handle of the door
And feel as if I had mounted on my hands and knees.
"And so you are going abroad; and when do you return?
But that's a useless question.
You hardly know when you are coming back,
You will find so much to learn."
My smile falls heavily among the bric-à-brac.
"Perhaps you can write to me."
My self-possession flares up for a second;
This is as I had reckoned.
"I have been wondering frequently of late
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare:
The fouler fortune mine, and there an end.
Now, by my holidame, here comes Katherina!
What is your sir, that you send for me?
Where is your sister, and Hortensio's wife?
They sit conferring by the parlour fire.
The Taming of the Shrew
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Herodias by Gustave Flaubert:
petrified waves, the black depths among the cliffs, the immensity of
the blue sky, the rising sun, and the gloomy valley of the abyss,
filled the soul of Antipas with a vague unrest; he felt an
overwhelming sense of oppression at the sight of the desert, whose
uneven piles of sand suggested crumbling ampitheatres or ruined
palaces. The hot wind brought an odour of sulphur, as if it had rolled
up from cities accursed and buried deeper than the river-bed of the
These aspects of nature, which seemed to his troubled fancy signs of
the wrath of the gods, terrified him, and he leaned heavily against
the balcony railing, his eyes fixed, his head resting upon his hands.
|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:
a species of private museum. If the dead could know what happens after
them, the chevalier's head would surely blush upon its left cheek.
If this history has no other effect than to inspire the possessors of
precious relics with holy fear, and induce them to make codicils to
secure these touching souvenirs of joys that are no more by
bequeathing them to loving hands, it will have done an immense service
to the chivalrous and romantic portion of the community; but it does,
in truth, contain a far higher moral. Does it not show the necessity
for a new species of education? Does it not invoke, from the
enlightened solicitude of the ministers of Public Instruction, the
creation of chairs of anthropology,--a science in which Germany