|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy:
round the homestead before going to bed, to see that
all was right and safe for the night. Gabriel had almost
constantly preceded her in this tour every evening,
watching her affairs as carefully as any specially appointed
officer of surveillance could have done; but this tender
devotion was to a great extent unknown to his mistress,
and as much as was known was somewhat thanklessly
received. Women are never tired of bewailing man's
fickleness in love, but they only seem to snub his con-
As watching is best done invisibly, she usually carried
Far From the Madding Crowd
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Village Rector by Honore de Balzac:
rector went to visit him in prison, and that dangerous fellow, who
used to be the terror of the whole country, became as gentle as a
girl; he even let them take him to the galleys without a struggle. On
his return he settled here by the rector's advice; no one says a word
against him; he goes to mass every Sunday and all the feast-days.
Though his place is among us he slips in beside the wall and sits
alone. He goes to the altar sometimes and prays, but when he takes the
holy sacrament he always kneels apart."
"And you say that man killed another man?"
"One!" exclaimed Colorat; "he killed several! But he is a good man all
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Soul of Man by Oscar Wilde:
And yet, Christ did not revolt against authority. He accepted the
imperial authority of the Roman Empire and paid tribute. He
endured the ecclesiastical authority of the Jewish Church, and
would not repel its violence by any violence of his own. He had,
as I said before, no scheme for the reconstruction of society. But
the modern world has schemes. It proposes to do away with poverty
and the suffering that it entails. It desires to get rid of pain,
and the suffering that pain entails. It trusts to Socialism and to
Science as its methods. What it aims at is an Individualism
expressing itself through joy. This Individualism will be larger,
fuller, lovelier than any Individualism has ever been. Pain is not
|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 Hidden Masterpiece by Honore de Balzac:
you may yet paint a worthy picture; you grew weary too soon.
Mediocrity will extol your work; but the true artist smiles. O Mabuse!
O my master!" added this singular person, "you were a thief; you have
robbed us of your life, your knowledge, your art! But at least," he
resumed after a pause, "this picture is better than the paintings of
that rascally Rubens, with his mountains of Flemish flesh daubed with
vermilion, his cascades of red hair, and his hurly-burly of color. At
any rate, you have got the elements of color, drawing, and sentiment,
--the three essential parts of art."
"But the saint is sublime, good sir!" cried the young man in a loud
voice, waking from a deep reverie. "These figures, the saint and the