|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad:
We had a glimpse of the towering multitude of trees, of the immense
matted jungle, with the blazing little ball of the sun hanging
over it--all perfectly still--and then the white shutter came
down again, smoothly, as if sliding in greased grooves.
I ordered the chain, which we had begun to heave in, to be paid
out again. Before it stopped running with a muffled rattle,
a cry, a very loud cry, as of infinite desolation,
soared slowly in the opaque air. It ceased. A complaining
clamour, modulated in savage discords, filled our ears.
The sheer unexpectedness of it made my hair stir under my cap.
I don't know how it struck the others: to me it seemed as though
Heart of Darkness
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy:
jostling masses of Russian troops. At the bend of the Danube, vessels,
an island, and a castle with a park surrounded by the waters of the
confluence of the Enns and the Danube became visible, and the rocky
left bank of the Danube covered with pine forests, with a mystic
background of green treetops and bluish gorges. The turrets of a
convent stood out beyond a wild virgin pine forest, and far away on
the other side of the Enns the enemy's horse patrols could be
Among the field guns on the brow of the hill the general in
command of the rearguard stood with a staff officer, scanning the
country through his fieldglass. A little behind them Nesvitski, who
War and Peace
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Dark Lady of the Sonnets by George Bernard Shaw:
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices,
That, if I then had waked after long sleep
Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
The clouds, methought, would open and shew riches
Ready to drop on me: that when I wak'd
I cried to dream again.
which is very lovely; but the Dark Lady may have had that vice in her
ears which Cloten dreaded: she may not have seen the beauty of it,
whereas there can be no doubt at all that of "My mistress' eyes are
|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 On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin:
during their long southern migration and re-migration northward, the case
may have been wholly different with those intruding forms which settled
themselves on the intertropical mountains, and in the southern hemisphere.
These being surrounded by strangers will have had to compete with many new
forms of life; and it is probable that selected modifications in their
structure, habits, and constitutions will have profited them. Thus many of
these wanderers, though still plainly related by inheritance to their
brethren of the northern or southern hemispheres, now exist in their new
homes as well-marked varieties or as distinct species.
It is a remarkable fact, strongly insisted on by Hooker in regard to
America, and by Alph. de Candolle in regard to Australia, that many more
On the Origin of Species