|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Critias by Plato:
to speak truly in future concerning the generation of the gods, I pray him
to give me knowledge, which of all medicines is the most perfect and best.
And now having offered my prayer I deliver up the argument to Critias, who
is to speak next according to our agreement. (Tim.)
CRITIAS: And I, Timaeus, accept the trust, and as you at first said that
you were going to speak of high matters, and begged that some forbearance
might be shown to you, I too ask the same or greater forbearance for what I
am about to say. And although I very well know that my request may appear
to be somewhat ambitious and discourteous, I must make it nevertheless.
For will any man of sense deny that you have spoken well? I can only
attempt to show that I ought to have more indulgence than you, because my
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Timaeus by Plato:
entered toward the place of fire. On leaving the body it is cooled and
drives round the air which it displaces through the pores into the empty
lungs. This again is in turn heated by the internal fire and escapes, as
it entered, through the pores.
The phenomena of medical cupping-glasses, of swallowing, and of the hurling
of bodies, are to be explained on a similar principle; as also sounds,
which are sometimes discordant on account of the inequality of them, and
again harmonious by reason of equality. The slower sounds reaching the
swifter, when they begin to pause, by degrees assimilate with them: whence
arises a pleasure which even the unwise feel, and which to the wise becomes
a higher sense of delight, being an imitation of divine harmony in mortal
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Almayer's Folly by Joseph Conrad:
solitude of the secluded clearing, in the vast silence of the
forest he was waiting alone, a fugitive in fear of his life.
Indifferent to his danger he was waiting for her. It was for her
only that he had come; and now as the time approached when he
should have his reward, she asked herself with dismay what meant
that chilling doubt of her own will and of her own desire? With
an effort she shook off the fear of the passing weakness. He
should have his reward. Her woman's love and her woman's honour
overcame the faltering distrust of that unknown future waiting
for her in the darkness of the river.
"No, you will not return," muttered Mrs. Almayer, prophetically.
|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 Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain:
A storm of derisive applause broke out.
"Perhaps they all contain the secret. I move that you open them all
and read every signature that is attached to a note of that sort--
and read also the first eight words of the note."
"Second the motion!"
It was put and carried--uproariously. Then poor old Richards got
up, and his wife rose and stood at his side. Her head was bent
down, so that none might see that she was crying. Her husband gave
her his arm, and so supporting her, he began to speak in a quavering
The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg