|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Fantastic Fables by Ambrose Bierce:
death. To him who the longer wears a weed upon his hat in memory
of me shall go my entire fortune. I have made a will to that
So when the Old Man was dead each of the youths put a weed upon his
hat and wore it until he was himself old, when, seeing that neither
would give in, they agreed that the younger should leave off his
weeds and the elder give him half of the estate. But when the
elder applied for the property he found that there had been an
Thus were hypocrisy and obstinacy fitly punished.
The Disinterested Arbiter
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Bronte Sisters:
to her, who can so thoroughly appreciate her excellencies, and
sympathise with all her thoughts, as I can do, and it would be
wrong in me to forget so excellent and divine a piece of God's
creation as she, when I have once so truly loved and known her.'
But I said no more to him on that subject. I instantly started a
new topic of conversation, and soon took leave of my companion,
with a feeling of less cordiality towards him than usual. Perhaps
I had no right to be annoyed at him, but I was so nevertheless.
In little more than a week after this I met him returning from a
visit to the Wilsons'; and I now resolved to do him a good turn,
though at the expense of his feelings, and perhaps at the risk of
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche:
precept: "Die at the right time!
Die at the right time: so teacheth Zarathustra.
To be sure, he who never liveth at the right time, how could he ever die at
the right time? Would that he might never be born!--Thus do I advise the
But even the superfluous ones make much ado about their death, and even the
hollowest nut wanteth to be cracked.
Every one regardeth dying as a great matter: but as yet death is not a
festival. Not yet have people learned to inaugurate the finest festivals.
The consummating death I show unto you, which becometh a stimulus and
promise to the living.
Thus Spake Zarathustra
|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 Philebus by Plato:
Socrates. The instincts of ingenuous youth are easily induced to take the
better part. Philebus, who has withdrawn from the argument, is several
times brought back again, that he may support pleasure, of which he remains
to the end the uncompromising advocate. On the other hand, the youthful
group of listeners by whom he is surrounded, 'Philebus' boys' as they are
termed, whose presence is several times intimated, are described as all of
them at last convinced by the arguments of Socrates. They bear a very
faded resemblance to the interested audiences of the Charmides, Lysis, or
Protagoras. Other signs of relation to external life in the dialogue, or
references to contemporary things and persons, with the single exception of
the allusions to the anonymous enemies of pleasure, and the teachers of the