|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Apology by Plato:
not of the original indictment, which is consistent enough--'Socrates does
not receive the gods whom the city receives, and has other new divinities'
--but of the interpretation put upon the words by Meletus, who has affirmed
that he is a downright atheist. To this Socrates fairly answers, in
accordance with the ideas of the time, that a downright atheist cannot
believe in the sons of gods or in divine things. The notion that demons or
lesser divinities are the sons of gods is not to be regarded as ironical or
sceptical. He is arguing 'ad hominem' according to the notions of
mythology current in his age. Yet he abstains from saying that he believed
in the gods whom the State approved. He does not defend himself, as
Xenophon has defended him, by appealing to his practice of religion.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Phaedo by Plato:
we live, but after death; for if while in company with the body, the soul
cannot have pure knowledge, one of two things follows--either knowledge is
not to be attained at all, or, if at all, after death. For then, and not
till then, the soul will be parted from the body and exist in herself
alone. In this present life, I reckon that we make the nearest approach to
knowledge when we have the least possible intercourse or communion with the
body, and are not surfeited with the bodily nature, but keep ourselves pure
until the hour when God himself is pleased to release us. And thus having
got rid of the foolishness of the body we shall be pure and hold converse
with the pure, and know of ourselves the clear light everywhere, which is
no other than the light of truth.' For the impure are not permitted to
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Duchess of Padua by Oscar Wilde:
That things are real which are not. It grows late.
Now must I to my business.
[Pulls out a letter from his doublet and reads it.]
When he wakes,
And sees this letter, and the dagger with it,
Will he not have some loathing for his life,
Repent, perchance, and lead a better life,
Or will he mock because a young man spared
His natural enemy? I do not care.
Father, it is thy bidding that I do,
Thy bidding, and the bidding of my love
|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 Pagan and Christian Creeds by Edward Carpenter:
life of each, and while the little creature at the end of the
stem is thinking (if it is conscious at all) that its whole
energies are absorbed in its own maintenance, it really is
feeding the common life through the stem to which it belongs, and
in its turn it is being fed by that common life.
You have only to look at an ordinary tree to see the same
thing going on. Each little leaf on a tree may very naturally
have sufficient consciousness to believe that it is an entirely
separate being maintaining itself in the sunlight and the air,
withering away and dying when the winter comes on--and there is
an end of it. It probably does not realize that all the time it
Pagan and Christian Creeds