|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:
of primitive honour? No fear can stand up to hunger, no patience
can wear it out, disgust simply does not exist where hunger is;
and as to superstition, beliefs, and what you may call principles,
they are less than chaff in a breeze. Don't you know
the devilry of lingering starvation, its exasperating torment,
its black thoughts, its sombre and brooding ferocity? Well, I do.
It takes a man all his inborn strength to fight hunger properly.
It's really easier to face bereavement, dishonour, and the perdition
of one's soul--than this kind of prolonged hunger. Sad, but true.
And these chaps, too, had no earthly reason for any kind
of scruple. Restraint! I would just as soon have expected restraint
Heart of Darkness
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Country Doctor by Honore de Balzac:
of the globe, it was by dint of concealing his deathbed from the
crowd. The same rules hold good for the great conqueror and for the
provincial mayor, and a nation or a commune is much the same sort of
crowd; indeed, the great multitude of mankind is the same everywhere.
"I have been exceedingly firm with those whom I have helped with
money; if I had not been inflexible on this point, they all would have
laughed at me. Peasants, no less than worldlings, end by despising the
man that they can deceive. He has been cheated? Clearly, then, he must
have been weak; and it is might alone that governs the world. I have
never charged a penny for my professional advice, except to those who
were evidently rich people; but I have not allowed the value of my
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Adventure by Jack London:
panic in Wall Street. Dear good Dad! He never let me know. But I
read about the crash in a newspaper, and hurried home. It was
before that, though, that people had been dinging into my ears that
marriage was all any woman could get out of life, and good-bye to
romance. Instead of which, with Dad's failure, I fell right into
"How long ago was that?" Sheldon asked.
"Last year--the year of the panic."
"Let me see," Sheldon pondered with an air of gravity. "Sixteen
plus five, plus one, equals twenty-two. You were born in 1887?"
"Yes; but it is not nice of you."
|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 To-morrow by Joseph Conrad:
deep laugh in the throat, like the father's, only
soft and gentle, thrilling to the woman's heart,
awakening to her ears.
"He isn't frisky--is he? I would be afraid to
lay hold of him. The chaps are always telling me
I don't know my own strength."
"He's the most harmless creature that ever
lived," she interrupted.
"You wouldn't say so if you had seen him chas-
ing me upstairs with a hard leather strap," he said;
"I haven't forgotten it in sixteen years."