|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from A Simple Soul by Gustave Flaubert:
go out for a walk. In order to occupy herself she tried to make lace.
But her clumsy fingers broke the threads; she had no heart for
anything, lost her sleep and "wasted away," as she put it.
In order to have some distraction, she asked leave to receive the
visits of her nephew Victor.
He would come on Sunday, after church, with ruddy cheeks and bared
chest, bringing with him the scent of the country. She would set the
table and they would sit down opposite each other, and eat their
dinner; she ate as little as possible, herself, to avoid any extra
expense, but would stuff him so with food that he would finally go to
sleep. At the first stroke of vespers, she would wake him up, brush
A Simple Soul
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Beast in the Jungle by Henry James:
face delicately shone with it--it glittered almost as with the
white lustre of silver in her expression. She was right,
incontestably, for what he saw in her face was the truth, and
strangely, without consequence, while their talk of it as dreadful
was still in the air, she appeared to present it as inordinately
soft. This, prompting bewilderment, made him but gape the more
gratefully for her revelation, so that they continued for some
minutes silent, her face shining at him, her contact imponderably
pressing, and his stare all kind but all expectant. The end, none
the less, was that what he had expected failed to come to him.
Something else took place instead, which seemed to consist at first
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Statesman by Plato:
government there were no estates, or private possessions, or families; but
the earth produced a sufficiency of all things, and men were born out of
the earth, having no traditions of the past; and as the temperature of the
seasons was mild, they took no thought for raiment, and had no beds, but
lived and dwelt in the open air.
Such was the age of Cronos, and the age of Zeus is our own. Tell me, which
is the happier of the two? Or rather, shall I tell you that the happiness
of these children of Cronos must have depended on how they used their time?
If having boundless leisure, and the power of discoursing not only with one
another but with the animals, they had employed these advantages with a
view to philosophy, gathering from every nature some addition to their
|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 Turn of the Screw by Henry James:
It was only a question of hurrying again, for a few preparations,
to the house which the attendance at church of so many of
the servants would practically have left unoccupied. No one,
in short, could blame me if I should just drive desperately off.
What was it to get away if I got away only till dinner?
That would be in a couple of hours, at the end of which--
I had the acute prevision--my little pupils would play at
innocent wonder about my nonappearance in their train.
"What DID you do, you naughty, bad thing? Why in the world,
to worry us so--and take our thoughts off, too, don't you know?--
did you desert us at the very door?" I couldn't meet such