|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Glaucus/The Wonders of the Shore by Charles Kingsley:
tails and lobsters' horns, and what not, are zoophytes of different
kinds. Here is Sertularia argentea (true squirrel's tail); here,
S. filicula, as delicate as tangled threads of glass; here,
abietina; here, rosacea. The lobsters' horns are Antennaria
antennina; and mingled with them are Plumulariae, always to be
distinguished from Sertulariae by polypes growing on one side of
the branch, and not on both. Here is falcata, with its roots
twisted round a sea-weed. Here is cristata, on the same weed; and
here is a piece of the beautiful myriophyllum, which has been
battered in its long journey out of the deep water about the ore
rock. For all these you must consult Johnson's "Zoophytes," and
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Seraphita by Honore de Balzac:
into one celestial emotion, "no, I am ill, I suffer, that is all.
Leave me, my friend; it is your manly right. We women should ever
please you, entertain you, be gay in your presence and have no whims
save those that amuse you. Come, what shall I do for you, friend?
Shall I sing, shall I dance, though weariness deprives me of the use
of voice and limbs?--Ah! gentlemen, be we on our deathbeds, we yet
must smile to please you; you call that, methinks, your right. Poor
women! I pity them. Tell me, you who abandon them when they grow old,
is it because they have neither hearts nor souls? Wilfrid, I am a
hundred years old; leave me! leave me! go to Minna!"
"Oh, my eternal love!"
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Laches by Plato:
willing to trust them if they only professed to be masters of their art,
unless they could show some proof of their skill or excellence in one or
LACHES: That is true.
SOCRATES: And therefore, Laches and Nicias, as Lysimachus and Melesias, in
their anxiety to improve the minds of their sons, have asked our advice
about them, we too should tell them who our teachers were, if we say that
we have had any, and prove them to be in the first place men of merit and
experienced trainers of the minds of youth and also to have been really our
teachers. Or if any of us says that he has no teacher, but that he has
works of his own to show; then he should point out to them what Athenians
|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 Red Inn by Honore de Balzac:
each took that friendly liking to the others of which we are never
stingy on a journey; so that when the time came to separate for the
night, Wilhelm offered his bed to the merchant.
"You can accept it without hesitation," he said, "for I can sleep with
Prosper. It won't be the first, nor the last time either. You are our
elder, and we ought to honor age!"
"Bah!" said the landlord, "my wife's bed has several mattresses; take
one off and put it on the floor."
So saying, he went and shut the window, making all the noise that
prudent operation demanded.
"I accept," said the merchant; "in fact I will admit," he added,