|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Agesilaus by Xenophon:
when he had nothing to fear than he registered vows in time of
He was accustomed in the midst of anxiety to wear an aspect of gaiety,
but, when the victory was won, of gentleness.
Amongst friends his warmest greeting was reserved, not for the most
powerful, but for the most ardent; and if he hated, it was not him
who, being evil entreated, retaliated, but one who, having had
kindness done to him, seemed incapable of gratitude.
He rejoiced when sordid greed was rewarded with poverty; and still
more if he might himself enrich a righteous man, since his wish was to
render uprightness more profitable than iniquity.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Cousin Pons by Honore de Balzac:
or three great successes, but they attributed the improvement vaguely
to "progress." No one cared to know the composer's name; like
occupants of the /baignoires/, lost to view of the house, to gain a
view of the stage, Pons and Schmucke eclipsed themselves by their
success. In Paris (especially since the Revolution of July) no one can
hope to succeed unless he will push his way /quibuscumque viis/ and
with all his might through a formidable host of competitors; but for
this feat a man needs thews and sinews, and our two friends, be it
remembered, had that affection of the heart which cripples all
Pons, as a rule, only went to his theatre towards eight o'clock, when
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Unseen World and Other Essays by John Fiske:
emergencies of our complex life. The progress of events has
thrown the work of sustaining life so largely upon the brain that
we are beginning to sacrifice the physical to the intellectual.
We are growing spirituelle in appearance at the expense of
robustness. Compare any typical Greek face, with its firm
muscles, its symmetry of feature, and its serenity of expression,
to a typical modern portrait, with its more delicate contour, its
exaggerated forehead, its thoughtful, perhaps jaded look. Or
consider in what respects the grand faces of the Plantagenet
monarchs differ from the refined countenances of the leading
English statesmen of to-day. Or again, consider the familiar
The Unseen World and Other Essays
|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 Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) by Dante Alighieri:
And therewithal I whilom had designed
To take the panther with the painted skin.
After I this had all from me unloosed,
As my Conductor had commanded me,
I reached it to him, gathered up and coiled,
Whereat he turned himself to the right side,
And at a little distance from the verge,
He cast it down into that deep abyss.
"It must needs be some novelty respond,"
I said within myself, "to the new signal
The Master with his eye is following so."
The Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)