|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Reason Discourse by Rene Descartes:
this, that I see very clearly that in order to think it is necessary to
exist, I concluded that I might take, as a general rule, the principle,
that all the things which we very clearly and distinctly conceive are
true, only observing, however, that there is some difficulty in rightly
determining the objects which we distinctly conceive.
In the next place, from reflecting on the circumstance that I doubted, and
that consequently my being was not wholly perfect (for I clearly saw that
it was a greater perfection to know than to doubt), I was led to inquire
whence I had learned to think of something more perfect than myself; and I
clearly recognized that I must hold this notion from some nature which in
reality was more perfect. As for the thoughts of many other objects
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Amy Foster by Joseph Conrad:
should be startled myself. Ah! He was different:
innocent of heart, and full of good will, which no-
body wanted, this castaway, that, like a man trans-
planted into another planet, was separated by an
immense space from his past and by an immense
ignorance from his future. His quick, fervent ut-
terance positively shocked everybody. 'An excit-
able devil,' they called him. One evening, in the
tap-room of the Coach and Horses (having drunk
some whisky), he upset them all by singing a love
song of his country. They hooted him down, and
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The American by Henry James:
A singular feeling came over him--a sudden sense of the folly of
his errand. What under the sun had he to say to the duchess, after all?
Wherein would it profit him to tell her that the Bellegardes were
traitors and that the old lady, into the bargain was a murderess?
He seemed morally to have turned a sort of somersault, and to find
things looking differently in consequence. He felt a sudden stiffening
of his will and quickening of his reserve. What in the world had he been
thinking of when he fancied the duchess could help him, and that it
would conduce to his comfort to make her think ill of the Bellegardes?
What did her opinion of the Bellegardes matter to him?
It was only a shade more important than the opinion the Bellegardes
|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 The Gentle Grafter by O. Henry:
agency in a side street about eight inches off Broadway me and Andy
had thrust upon us the acquaintance of a New Yorker. We had beer
together until we discovered that each of us knew a man named
Hellsmith, traveling for a stove factory in Duluth. This caused us to
remark that the world was a very small place, and then this New Yorker
busts his string and takes off his tin foil and excelsior packing and
starts in giving us his Ellen Terris, beginning with the time he used
to sell shoelaces to the Indians on the spot where Tammany Hall now
"This New Yorker had made his money keeping a cigar store in Beekman
street, and he hadn't been above Fourteenth street in ten years.