|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Timaeus by Plato:
As in the Republic, Plato is still the enemy of the purgative treatment of
physicians, which, except in extreme cases, no man of sense will ever
adopt. For, as he adds, with an insight into the truth, 'every disease is
akin to the nature of the living being and is only irritated by
stimulants.' He is of opinion that nature should be left to herself, and
is inclined to think that physicians are in vain (Laws--where he says that
warm baths would be more beneficial to the limbs of the aged rustic than
the prescriptions of a not over-wise doctor). If he seems to be extreme in
his condemnation of medicine and to rely too much on diet and exercise, he
might appeal to nearly all the best physicians of our own age in support of
his opinions, who often speak to their patients of the worthlessness of
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Glinda of Oz by L. Frank Baum:
can recall enough of your witchcraft to enable us to
raise the sunken island to the surface of the lake.
Tell us that and I'll give you a string of pearls to
wear around your neck and add to your beauty."
"Nothing can add to my beauty, for I'm the most
beautiful creature anywhere in the whole world."
"But how can we raise the island?"
"I don't know and I don't care. If ever I knew I've
forgotten, and I'm glad of it," was the response. "Just
watch me circle around and see me glitter!
"It's no use," said Button Bright; "the old Swan is
Glinda of Oz
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain:
that morning. The matter was this: He happened to be up very early--
at dawn, in fact; and he crossed the hall, which divided his cottage
through the center, and entered a room to get something there.
The window of the room had no curtains, for that side of the house
had long been unoccupied, and through this window he caught sight of
something which surprised and interested him. It was a young woman--
a young woman where properly no young woman belonged; for she was in
Judge Driscoll's house, and in the bedroom over the judge's private
study or sitting room. This was young Tom Driscoll's bedroom.
He and the judge, the judge's widowed sister Mrs. Pratt, and three Negro
servants were the only people who belonged in the house. Who, then,
|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 Enemies of Books by William Blades:
were used by our economical first printer, Caxton, to make boards,
by pasting them together. Whether the old paste was an attraction,
or whatever the reason may have been, the worm, when he got in there,
did not, as usual, eat straight through everything into the middle
of the book, but worked his way longitudinally, eating great furrows
along the leaves without passing out of the binding; and so furrowed
are these few leaves by long channels that it is difficult to raise
one of them without its falling to pieces.
This is bad enough, but we may be very thankful that in these temperate
climes we have no such enemies as are found in very hot countries,
where a whole library, books, bookshelves, table, chairs, and all,