|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce:
for secular offences, it is most frequently adjudged in cases of
sacrilege. To the person in actual experience of impalement it must
be a matter of minor importance by what kind of civil or religious
dissent he was made acquainted with its discomforts; but doubtless he
would feel a certain satisfaction if able to contemplate himself in
the character of a weather-cock on the spire of the True Church.
IMPARTIAL, adj. Unable to perceive any promise of personal advantage
from espousing either side of a controversy or adopting either of two
IMPENITENCE, n. A state of mind intermediate in point of time between
sin and punishment.
The Devil's Dictionary
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Some Reminiscences by Joseph Conrad:
clad in a knickerbocker suit, but as at the same time he wore
short socks under his laced boots, for reasons which whether
hygienic or conscientious were surely imaginative, his calves
exposed to the public gaze and to the tonic air of high
altitudes, dazzled the beholder by the splendour of their marble-
like condition and their rich tone of young ivory. He was the
leader of a small caravan. The light of a headlong, exalted
satisfaction with the world of men and the scenery of mountains
illumined his clean-cut, very red face, his short, silver-white
whiskers, his innocently eager and triumphant eyes. In passing
he cast a glance of kindly curiosity and a friendly gleam of big,
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Reef by Edith Wharton:
indignantly on her step-son.
"I don't half understand what you've been saying; but what
you seem to hint is so preposterous, and so insulting both
to Sophy and to me, that I see no reason why we should
listen to you any longer."
Though her tone steadied Owen, she perceived at once that it
would not deflect him from his purpose. He spoke less
vehemently, but with all the more precision.
"How can it be preposterous, since it's true? Or insulting,
since I don't know, any more than YOU, the meaning of
what I've been seeing? If you'll be patient with me I'll try
|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 Life in the Iron-Mills by Rebecca Davis:
with consumption. In the mill he was known as one of the girl-
men: "Molly Wolfe" was his sobriquet. He was never seen in the
cockpit, did not own a terrier, drank but seldom; when he did,
desperately. He fought sometimes, but was always thrashed,
pommelled to a jelly. The man was game enough, when his blood
was up: but he was no favorite in the mill; he had the taint of
school-learning on him,--not to a dangerous extent, only a
quarter or so in the free-school in fact, but enough to ruin him
as a good hand in a fight.
For other reasons, too, he was not popular. Not one of
themselves, they felt that, though outwardly as filthy and ash-
Life in the Iron-Mills