|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Illustrious Gaudissart by Honore de Balzac:
discovers the sport where he can get off his wares.
How many great qualities must such a man possess! You will find in all
countries many such diplomats of low degree; consummate negotiators
arguing in the interests of calico, jewels, frippery, wines; and often
displaying more true diplomacy than ambassadors themselves, who, for
the most part, know only the forms of it. No one in France can doubt
the powers of the commercial traveller; that intrepid soul who dares
all, and boldly brings the genius of civilization and the modern
inventions of Paris into a struggle with the plain commonsense of
remote villages, and the ignorant and boorish treadmill of provincial
ways. Can we ever forget the skilful manoeuvres by which he worms
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Professor by Charlotte Bronte:
"I say you are one of them."
"That merely proves that you know nothing at all about it; I am
my mother's son, but not my uncles' nephew."
"Still--one of your uncles is a lord, though rather an obscure
and not a very wealthy one, and the other a right honourable:
you should consider worldly interest."
"Nonsense, Mr. Hunsden. You know or may know that even had I
desired to be submissive to my uncles, I could not have stooped
with a good enough grace ever to have won their favour. I should
have sacrificed my own comfort and not have gained their
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Gobseck by Honore de Balzac:
imagination. A pair of satin slippers gleamed from the great bear-skin
rug spread by the carved mahogany lions at the bed-foot, where she had
flung them off in her weariness after the ball. A crumpled gown hung
over a chair, the sleeves touching the floor; stockings which a breath
would have blown away were twisted about the leg of an easy-chair;
while ribbon garters straggled over a settee. A fan of price, half
unfolded, glittered on the chimney-piece. Drawers stood open; flowers,
diamonds, gloves, a bouquet, a girdle, were littered about. The room
was full of vague sweet perfume. And--beneath all the luxury and
disorder, beauty and incongruity, I saw Misery crouching in wait for
her or for her adorer, Misery rearing its head, for the Countess had
|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 Caesar's Commentaries in Latin by Julius Caesar:
quidem queri neque auxilium implorare auderent absentisque Ariovisti
crudelitatem, velut si cora adesset, horrerent, propterea quod reliquis
tamen fugae facultas daretur, Sequanis vero, qui intra fines suos
Ariovistum recepissent, quorum oppida omnia in potestate eius essent,
omnes cruciatus essent perferendi.
His rebus cognitis Caesar Gallorum animos verbis confirmavit
pollicitusque est sibi eam rem curae futuram; magnam se habere spem et
beneficio suo et auctoritate adductum Ariovistum finem iniuriis facturum.
Hac oratione habita, concilium dimisit. Et secundum ea multae res eum
hortabantur quare sibi eam rem cogitandam et suscipiendam putaret, in
primis quod Haeduos, fratres consanguineosque saepe numero a senatu