|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Girl with the Golden Eyes by Honore de Balzac:
the presence of the old hag. Love takes pleasure or fright at all, all
has meaning for it, everything is an omen of happiness or sorrow for
This decrepit woman was there like a suggestion of catastrophe, and
represented the horrid fish's tail with which the allegorical geniuses
of Greece have terminated their chimeras and sirens, whose figures,
like all passions, are so seductive, so deceptive.
Although Henri was not a free-thinker--the phrase is always a mockery
--but a man of extraordinary power, a man as great as a man can be
without faith, the conjunction struck him. Moreover, the strongest men
are naturally the most impressionable, and consequently the most
The Girl with the Golden Eyes
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Gambara by Honore de Balzac:
predilections; he proceeded to attack the European fame of Rossini,
disputing the position which the Italian school has taken by storm,
night after night for more than thirty years, on a hundred stages in
Europe. He had undertaken a hard task. The first words he spoke raised
a strong murmur of disapproval; but neither the repeated
interruptions, nor exclamations, nor frowns, nor contemptuous looks,
could check this determined advocate of Beethoven.
"Compare," said he, "that sublime composer's works with what by common
consent is called Italian music. What feebleness of ideas, what
limpness of style! That monotony of form, those commonplace cadenzas,
those endless bravura passages introduced at haphazard irrespective of
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift:
but I soon put them out of fear; for, looking mildly, and
immediately cutting the strings he was bound with, I set him
gently on the ground, and away he ran. I treated the rest in the
same manner, taking them one by one out of my pocket; and I
observed both the soldiers and people were highly delighted at
this mark of my clemency, which was represented very much to my
advantage at court.
Towards night I got with some difficulty into my house, where I
lay on the ground, and continued to do so about a fortnight;
during which time, the emperor gave orders to have a bed prepared
for me. Six hundred beds of the common measure were brought in
|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 Dust by Mr. And Mrs. Haldeman-Julius:
the old one born again, and such well-equipped farm buildings
that they were the pride of the township.
Rose, who had surrendered long since, let the promises go to
naught without much protest. Martin was so quietly domineering,
so stubbornly persistent--and always so plausible--oh, so
plausible! --that there was no resisting him. Only when it came
to the fireplace did she make a last stand. She felt that it
would be such a friendly spirit in the house. She pictured Martin
and herself sitting beside it in the winter evenings.
"A house without one is like a place without flowers," she
explained to him.