|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Catherine de Medici by Honore de Balzac:
of 1840 would have been the /undress/ ornaments of a great lady in
To-day, the discovery of America, the facilities of transportation,
the ruin of social distinctions which has paved the way for the ruin
of apparent distinctions, has reduced the trade of the furrier to what
it now is,--next to nothing. The article which a furrier sells to-day,
as in former days, for twenty /livres/ has followed the depreciation
of money: formerly the /livre/, which is now worth one franc and is
usually so called, was worth twenty francs. To-day, the lesser
bourgeoisie and the courtesans who edge their capes with sable, are
ignorant than in 1440 an ill-disposed police-officer would have
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbot:
the mental benefit you will receive."
Before I could utter a word of remonstrance, I felt a shooting pain
in my inside, and a demoniacal laugh seemed to issue from within me.
A moment afterwards the sharp agony had ceased, leaving nothing but
a dull ache behind, and the Stranger began to reappear, saying,
as he gradually increased in size, "There, I have not hurt you much,
have I? If you are not convinced now, I don't know what will
convince you. What say you?"
My resolution was taken. It seemed intolerable that I should endure
existence subject to the arbitrary visitations of a Magician who could
thus play tricks with one's very stomach. If only I could in any way
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Summer by Edith Wharton:
In the train, during the short run from Creston to
Nettleton, the warmth aroused her, and the
consciousness of being under strange eyes gave her
a momentary energy. She sat upright, facing Mr.
Royall, and stared out of the window at the denuded
country. Forty-eight hours earlier, when she had last
traversed it, many of the trees still held their
leaves; but the high wind of the last two nights had
stripped them, and the lines of the landscape' were as
finely pencilled as in December. A few days of autumn
|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 Dracula by Bram Stoker:
lifting our crucifixes, advanced. The moonlight suddenly failed,
as a great black cloud sailed across the sky. And when the gaslight
sprang up under Quincey's match, we saw nothing but a faint vapor.
This, as we looked, trailed under the door, which with the recoil
from its bursting open, had swung back to its old position.
Van Helsing, Art, and I moved forward to Mrs. Harker,
who by this time had drawn her breath and with it had given
a scream so wild, so ear-piercing, so despairing that it seems
to me now that it will ring in my ears till my dying day.
For a few seconds she lay in her helpless attitude and disarray.
Her face was ghastly, with a pallor which was accentuated by the blood