|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Iliad by Homer:
sent the criers round to call the people in assembly. So they
called them, and the people gathered thereon. The chiefs about
the son of Atreus chose their men and marshalled them, while
Minerva went among them holding her priceless aegis that knows
neither age nor death. From it there waved a hundred tassels of
pure gold, all deftly woven, and each one of them worth a hundred
oxen. With this she darted furiously everywhere among the hosts
of the Achaeans, urging them forward, and putting courage into
the heart of each, so that he might fight and do battle without
ceasing. Thus war became sweeter in their eyes even than
returning home in their ships. As when some great forest fire is
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Alexandria and her Schools by Charles Kingsley:
of the Greek conquerors of the East. Gradually philosophic Schools
arose, first at Bagdad, and then at Cordova; and the Arabs carried on
the task of commenting on Aristotle's Logic, and Ptolemy's Megiste
Syntaxis--which last acquired from them the name of Almagest, by which
it was so long known during the Middle Ages.
But they did little but comment, though there was no Neoplatonic or
mystic element in their commentaries. It seems as if Alexandria was
preordained, by its very central position, to be the city of
commentators, not of originators. It is worthy of remark, that
Philoponus, who may be considered as the man who first introduced the
simple warriors of the Koreish to the treasures of Greek thought, seems
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Master and Man by Leo Tolstoy:
heard the horse's movements or the whistling of the wind, but
only Nikita's breathing. At first and for a long time Nikita
lay motionless, then he sighed deeply and moved.
'There, and you say you are dying! Lie still and get warm,
that's our way . . .' began Vasili Andreevich.
But to his great surprise he could say no more, for tears came
to his eyes and his lower jaw began to quiver rapidly. He
stopped speaking and only gulped down the risings in his
throat. 'Seems I was badly frightened and have gone quite
weak,' he thought. But this weakness was not only unpleasant,
but gave him a peculiar joy such as he had never felt before.
Master and Man
|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 Alkahest by Honore de Balzac:
Resolved not to undergo it a second time, she withdrew more and more
into the privacy of her own house, now deserted by society and even by
her nearest friends.
Among these many causes of distress, the negligence and disorder of
Balthazar's dress, so degrading to a man of his station, was not the
least bitter to a woman accustomed to the exquisite nicety of Flemish
life. At first Josephine endeavored, in concert with Balthazar's
valet, Lemulquinier, to repair the daily devastation of his clothing,
but even that she was soon forced to give up. The very day when
Balthazar, unaware of the substitution, put on new clothes in place of
those that were stained, torn, or full of holes, he made rags of them.