|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy:
the position from which we always contemplate it. The commander in
chief is always in the midst of a series of shifting events and so
he never can at any moment consider the whole import of an event
that is occurring. Moment by moment the event is imperceptibly shaping
itself, and at every moment of this continuous, uninterrupted
shaping of events the commander in chief is in the midst of a most
complex play of intrigues, worries, contingencies, authorities,
projects, counsels, threats, and deceptions and is continually obliged
to reply to innumerable questions addressed to him, which constantly
conflict with one another.
Learned military authorities quite seriously tell us that Kutuzov
War and Peace
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence:
"Should we go, mother?" he said.
Then Mrs. Morel stood up. The girl was passing near.
"Will you bring one currant tart?" said Mrs. Morel clearly.
The girl looked round insolently.
"Directly," she said.
"We have waited quite long enough," said Mrs. Morel.
In a moment the girl came back with the tart. Mrs. Morel
asked coldly for the bill. Paul wanted to sink through the floor.
He marvelled at his mother's hardness. He knew that only years
of battling had taught her to insist even so little on her rights.
She shrank as much as he.
Sons and Lovers
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde:
Windermere. Somehow it doesn't go with modern dress. It makes one
look old. [Takes up hand-mirror from table and looks into it.]
And it spoils one's career at critical moments.
LORD WINDERMERE. You fill me with horror - with absolute horror.
MRS. ERLYNNE. [Rising.] I suppose, Windermere, you would like me
to retire into a convent, or become a hospital nurse, or something
of that kind, as people do in silly modern novels. That is stupid
of you, Arthur; in real life we don't do such things - not as long
as we have any good looks left, at any rate. No - what consoles
one nowadays is not repentance, but pleasure. Repentance is quite
out of date. And besides, if a woman really repents, she has to go
|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 De Profundis by Oscar Wilde:
secret debt that I am glad to think I can never possibly repay. It
is embalmed and kept sweet by the myrrh and cassia of many tears.
When wisdom has been profitless to me, philosophy barren, and the
proverbs and phrases of those who have sought to give me
consolation as dust and ashes in my mouth, the memory of that
little, lovely, silent act of love has unsealed for me all the
wells of pity: made the desert blossom like a rose, and brought me
out of the bitterness of lonely exile into harmony with the
wounded, broken, and great heart of the world. When people are
able to understand, not merely how beautiful -'s action was, but
why it meant so much to me, and always will mean so much, then,