|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte:
fully aware that only serious moods and occupations were acceptable,
that in his presence every effort to sustain or follow any other
became vain: I fell under a freezing spell. When he said "go," I
went; "come," I came; "do this," I did it. But I did not love my
servitude: I wished, many a time, he had continued to neglect me.
One evening when, at bedtime, his sisters and I stood round him,
bidding him good-night, he kissed each of them, as was his custom;
and, as was equally his custom, he gave me his hand. Diana, who
chanced to be in a frolicsome humour (SHE was not painfully
controlled by his will; for hers, in another way, was as strong),
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Alcibiades II by Platonic Imitator:
SOCRATES: You certainly would when you saw each of them rivalling the
other and esteeming that of the greatest importance in the state,
'Wherein he himself most excelled.' (Euripides, Antiope.)
--I mean that which was best in any art, while he was entirely ignorant of
what was best for himself and for the state, because, as I think, he trusts
to opinion which is devoid of intelligence. In such a case should we not
be right if we said that the state would be full of anarchy and
SOCRATES: But ought we not then, think you, either to fancy that we know
or really to know, what we confidently propose to do or say?
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Massimilla Doni by Honore de Balzac:
in the cascades leaping like a flock of sheep, an idea of his passion
shared with la Tinti. In the midst of his torrent of love a rock stood
up against which the torrent broke. The Prince, like Sisyphus, was
constantly under the stone.
"What on earth does the Duke do with a violin?" he wondered. "Do I owe
this symphony to him?"
He asked Clara Tinti.
"My dear child,"--for she saw that Emilio was but a child,--"dear
child," said she, "that man, who is a hundred and eighteen in the
parish register of vice, and only forty-seven in the register of the
Church, has but one single joy left to him in life. Yes, everything is
|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 Ion by Plato:
prophet and the physician and the fisherman, do you, who know Homer so much
better than I do, Ion, select for me passages which relate to the rhapsode
and the rhapsode's art, and which the rhapsode ought to examine and judge
of better than other men.
ION: All passages, I should say, Socrates.
SOCRATES: Not all, Ion, surely. Have you already forgotten what you were
saying? A rhapsode ought to have a better memory.
ION: Why, what am I forgetting?
SOCRATES: Do you not remember that you declared the art of the rhapsode to
be different from the art of the charioteer?
ION: Yes, I remember.