|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia by Samuel Johnson:
climate or custom, from the sprightliness of infancy to the
despondence of decrepitude. He must divest himself of the
prejudices of his age and country; he must consider right and wrong
in their abstracted and invariable state; he must disregard present
laws and opinions, and rise to general and transcendental truths,
which will always be the same. He must, therefore, content himself
with the slow progress of his name, contemn the praise of his own
time, and commit his claims to the justice of posterity. He must
write as the interpreter of nature and the legislator of mankind,
and consider himself as presiding over the thoughts and manners of
future generations, as a being superior to time and place.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from I Have A Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr.:
the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be
self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons
of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able
to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a
desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and
oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a
nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) by Dante Alighieri:
When I beheld the thing itself stand still,
And in its image it transformed itself.
While with amazement filled and jubilant,
My soul was tasting of the food, that while
It satisfies us makes us hunger for it,
Themselves revealing of the highest rank
In bearing, did the other three advance,
Singing to their angelic saraband.
"Turn, Beatrice, O turn thy holy eyes,"
Such was their song, "unto thy faithful one,
Who has to see thee ta'en so many steps.
The Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
|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 Collected Articles by Frederick Douglass:
My whole future depended upon the decision of this conductor.
Agitated though I was while this ceremony was proceeding, still,
externally, at least, I was apparently calm and self-possessed.
He went on with his duty--examining several colored passengers
before reaching me. He was somewhat harsh in tome and peremptory
in manner until he reached me, when, strange enough, and to my surprise
and relief, his whole manner changed. Seeing that I did not readily
produce my free papers, as the other colored persons in the car had done,
he said to me, in friendly contrast with his bearing toward the others:
"I suppose you have your free papers?"
To which I answered: