|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from My Antonia by Willa Cather:
hear the wind singing over hundreds of miles of snow. It was as if I had let
the old man in out of the tormenting winter, and were sitting there with him.
I went over all that Antonia had ever told me about his life before he came
to this country; how he used to play the fiddle at weddings and dances.
I thought about the friends he had mourned to leave, the trombone-player,
the great forest full of game--belonging, as Antonia said, to the `nobles'--
from which she and her mother used to steal wood on moonlight nights.
There was a white hart that lived in that forest, and if anyone killed it,
he would be hanged, she said. Such vivid pictures came to me that they
might have been Mr. Shimerda's memories, not yet faded out from the air
in which they had haunted him.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Travels of Sir John Mandeville by Sir John Mandeville:
to say, 'Ye hills of Gilboa, neither dew ne rain come upon you.'
And a mile from the hills of Gilboa toward the east is the city of
Cyropolis, that was clept before Bethshan; and upon the walls of
that city was the head of Saul hanged.
After go men by the hill beside the plains of Galilee unto
Nazareth, where was wont to be a great city and a fair; but now
there is not but a little village, and houses abroad here and
there. And it is not walled. And it sits in a little valley, and
there be hills all about. There was our Lady born, but she was
gotten at Jerusalem. And because that our Lady was born at
Nazareth, therefore bare our Lord his surname of that town. There
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Girl with the Golden Eyes by Honore de Balzac:
either all white or all rose, harmonized with the effects of the light
shed upon the diaphanous tissues of the muslin, which produced an
appearance of mistiness. The soul has I know not what attraction
towards white, love delights in red, and the passions are flattered by
gold, which has the power of realizing their caprices. Thus all that
man possesses within him of vague and mysterious, all his inexplicable
affinities, were caressed in their involuntary sympathies. There was
in this perfect harmony a concert of color to which the soul responded
with vague and voluptuous and fluctuating ideas.
It was out of a misty atmosphere, laden with exquisite perfumes, that
Paquita, clad in a white wrapper, her feet bare, orange blossoms in
The Girl with the Golden Eyes
|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 Kenilworth by Walter Scott:
Amidst these dismal reflections, he turned his head repeatedly to
see by whom he was chased, and was much comforted when he could
only discover a single rider, who was, however, well mounted, and
came after them at a speed which left them no chance of escaping,
even had the lady's strength permitted her to ride as fast as her
palfrey might have been able to gallop.
"There may be fair play betwixt us, sure," thought Wayland,
"where there is but one man on each side, and yonder fellow sits
on his horse more like a monkey than a cavalier. Pshaw! if it
come to the worse, it will be easy unhorsing him. Nay, 'snails!