|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:
other goodly sons and daughters.
All hail, Delusion! Were it not for thee
The world turned topsy-turvy we should see;
For Vice, respectable with cleanly fancies,
Would fly abandoned Virtue's gross advances.
DENTIST, n. A prestidigitator who, putting metal into your mouth,
pulls coins out of your pocket.
DEPENDENT, adj. Reliant upon another's generosity for the support
which you are not in a position to exact from his fears.
DEPUTY, n. A male relative of an office-holder, or of his bondsman.
The Devil's Dictionary
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Secrets of the Princesse de Cadignan by Honore de Balzac:
for any other woman, an immense sacrifice. Great deeds are always so
keenly felt in France that the princess gained, by her retreat, as
much as she had lost in public opinion in the days of her splendor.
She now saw only one of her old friends, the Marquise d'Espard, and
even to her she never went on festive occasions or to parties. The
princess and the marquise visited each other in the forenoons, with a
certain amount of secrecy. When the princess went to dine with her
friend, the marquise closed her doors. Madame d'Espard treated the
princess charmingly; she changed her box at the opera, leaving the
first tier for a baignoire on the ground-floor, so that Madame de
Cadignan could come to the theatre unseen, and depart incognito. Few
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Hated Son by Honore de Balzac:
of his father's wishes. This unknown poet conceived as yet only the
beautiful and noble passion of Petrarch for Laura, of Dante for
Beatrice. Like his mother he was all pure love and soul; the
opportunity to love must be given to him, and then the event should be
awaited, not compelled. A command to love would have dried within him
the very sources of his life.
Maitre Antoine Beauvouloir was a father; he had a daughter brought up
under conditions which made her the wife for Etienne. It was so
difficult to foresee the events which would make a son, disowned by
his father and destined to the priesthood, the presumptive heir of the
house of Herouville that Beauvouloir had never until now noticed the
|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 Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe:
Ye say that the _interest_ of the master is a sufficient
safeguard for the slave. In the fury of man's mad will, he will
wittingly, and with open eye, sell his own soul to the devil to
gain his ends; and will he be more careful of his neighbor's body?
"Well," said Cassy, the next day, from the garret, as she
reconnoitred through the knot-hole, "the hunt's going to begin
Three or four mounted horsemen were curvetting about, on the
space in front of the house; and one or two leashes of strange
dogs were struggling with the negroes who held them, baying and
barking at each other.
Uncle Tom's Cabin