|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Alkahest by Honore de Balzac:
A second house, exactly like the building on the street, and called in
Flanders the "back-quarter," stood at the farther end of the court-
yard, and was used exclusively as the family dwelling. The first room
on the ground-floor was a parlor, lighted by two windows on the court-
yard, and two more looking out upon a garden which was of the same
size as the house. Two glass doors, placed exactly opposite to each
other, led at one end of the room to the garden, at the other to the
court-yard, and were in line with the archway and the street door; so
that a visitor entering the latter could see through to the greenery
which draped the lower end of the garden. The front building, which
was reserved for receptions and the lodging-rooms of guests, held many
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from An International Episode by Henry James:
One of our friends, nevertheless--the younger one--intimated that
he felt a disposition to interrupt a few of these soft familiarities;
but his companion observed, pertinently enough, that he had
better be careful. "We must not begin with making mistakes,"
said his companion.
"But he told us, you know--he told us," urged the young man,
alluding again to the friend on the steamer.
"Never mind what he told us!" answered his comrade, who, if he had
greater talents, was also apparently more of a moralist.
By bedtime--in their impatience to taste of a terrestrial couch again our
seafarers went to bed early--it was still insufferably hot, and the buzz
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Woman and Labour by Olive Schreiner:
make linen for their households and obtain the right to bear men; so,
though we bend no more over grindstones, or labour in the fields, or weave
by hand, it is our intention to enter all the new fields of labour, that we
also may have the power and right to bring men into the world. It is our
faith that the day comes in which not only shall no man dare to say, "It is
enough portion for a woman in life that she bear a child," but when it will
rather be said, "What noble labour has that woman performed, that she
should have the privilege of bringing a man or woman child into the world?"
But, it has also been objected, "What, and if the female half of humanity,
though able, in addition to the exercise of its reproductive functions, to
bear its share in the new fields of social labour as it did in the old, be
|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 Iron Puddler by James J. Davis:
and I must make it sing again. While she was crying in
distraction, I wrapped my own tearful face in her skirts and
prayed to God that I might grow up in a day--that He would make
my arms strong so I could go to work at once earning money to
replace the lost feather beds. I was then not quite eight years
old. It was early in April, 1881. Before the month was out I had
found a job in the new country and was earning money. I gave all
my earnings to my mother. I have been earning money ever since.
As long as I lived at home I turned over all my wages to my
mother. When I went away I sent her weekly a percentage of my
earnings. This I have ever continued to do.