|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Eryxias by Platonic Imitator:
procure those things of which they stand in need?
ERYXIAS: There are.
SOCRATES: And these men by the arts which they profess, and in exchange
for them, obtain the necessities of life just as we do by means of gold and
SOCRATES: Then if they procure by this means what they want for the
purposes of life, that art will be useful towards life? For do we not say
that silver is useful because it enables us to supply our bodily needs?
ERYXIAS: We do.
SOCRATES: Then if these arts are reckoned among things useful, the arts
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Essays of Travel by Robert Louis Stevenson:
at the bottom of all his misconduct there was a guiding sense of
humour that moved you to forgive him. It was more than half a jest
that he conducted his existence. 'Oh, man,' he said to me once with
unusual emotion, like a man thinking of his mistress, 'I would give
up anything for a lark.'
It was in relation to his fellow-stowaway that Alick showed the best,
or perhaps I should say the only good, points of his nature. 'Mind
you,' he said suddenly, changing his tone, 'mind you that's a good
boy. He wouldn't tell you a lie. A lot of them think he is a scamp
because his clothes are ragged, but he isn't; he's as good as gold.'
To hear him, you become aware that Alick himself had a taste for
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Kwaidan by Lafcadio Hearn:
no other priest for many leagues around. So, in that time, the bodies of
the mountain-folk who died used to be brought here,-- sometimes from great
distances,-- in order that I might repeat over them the holy service. But I
repeated the service and performed the rites only as a matter of business;
-- I thought only of the food and the clothes that my sacred profession
enabled me to gain. And because of this selfish impiety I was reborn,
immediately after my death, into the state of a jikininki. Since then I
have been obliged to feed upon the corpses of the people who die in this
district: every one of them I must devour in the way that you saw last
night... Now, reverend Sir, let me beseech you to perform a Segaki-service
 for me: help me by your prayers, I entreat you, so that I may be soon
|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 Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson:
must steal forth under night, and go like a fox; and how ye are to
cross Till I know not, neither by the bridge nor ferry."
"I can swim," returned Throgmorton. "I will come soundly, fear
"Well, friend, get ye to the buttery," replied Sir Daniel. "Ye
shall swim first of all in nut-brown ale." And with that he turned
back into the hall.
"Sir Daniel hath a wise tongue," said Hatch, aside, to Dick. "See,
now, where many a lesser man had glossed the matter over, he
speaketh it out plainly to his company. Here is a danger, 'a
saith, and here difficulty; and jesteth in the very saying. Nay,