|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Life of the Spider by J. Henri Fabre:
rope-walker; it is the hesitating gait of entangled feet. Perhaps
the lime-threads are stickier than in her own web. The glue is of
a different quality; and her sandals are not greased to the extent
which the new degree of adhesiveness would demand.
Anyhow, things remain as they are for long hours on end: the
Banded Epeira motionless on the edge of the web; the other lurking
in her hut; both apparently most uneasy. At sunset, the lover of
darkness plucks up courage. She descends from her green tent and,
without troubling about the stranger, goes straight to the centre
of the web, where the telegraph-wire brings her. Panic-stricken at
this apparition, the Banded Epeira releases herself with a jerk and
The Life of the Spider
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Three Taverns by Edwin Arlington Robinson:
No marvel you are slow to find in him
The genius that is one spark or is nothing:
His genius is a flame that he must hold
So far above the common heads of men
That they may view him only through the mist
Of their defect, and wonder what he is.
It seems to me the mystery that is in him
That makes him only more to me a man
Than any other I have ever known.
I grant you that his worship is a man.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens:
distrustful even of him, and rapidly retreating. After calling to
him twice or thrice that there was nothing to fear, but without
effect, he suffered Hugh to sink upon the ground, and followed to
bring him back.
He continued to creep away, until Barnaby was close upon him; then
turned, and said in a terrible, though suppressed voice:
'Let me go. Do not lay hands upon me. You have told her; and you
and she together have betrayed me!'
Barnaby looked at him, in silence.
'You have seen your mother!'
'No,' cried Barnaby, eagerly. 'Not for a long time--longer than I
|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 Meno by Plato:
Upon the assumption just made, then, virtue is teachable. But where are
the teachers? There are none to be found. This is extremely discouraging.
Virtue is no sooner discovered to be teachable, than the discovery follows
that it is not taught. Virtue, therefore, is and is not teachable.
In this dilemma an appeal is made to Anytus, a respectable and well-to-do
citizen of the old school, and a family friend of Meno, who happens to be
present. He is asked 'whether Meno shall go to the Sophists and be
taught.' The suggestion throws him into a rage. 'To whom, then, shall
Meno go?' asks Socrates. To any Athenian gentleman--to the great Athenian
statesmen of past times. Socrates replies here, as elsewhere (Laches,
Prot.), that Themistocles, Pericles, and other great men, had sons to whom