|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Hidden Masterpiece by Honore de Balzac:
able, by caressing the outline of my figure and veiling it with cloudy
half-tints, to do away with the very idea of drawing and all other
artificial means, and give to the form the aspect and roundness of
Nature itself. Come nearer, and you will see the work more distinctly;
if too far off it disappears. See! there, at that point, it is, I
think, most remarkable." And with the end of his brush he pointed to a
spot of clear light color.
Porbus struck the old man on the shoulder, turning to Poussin as he
did so, and said, "Do you know that he is one of our greatest
"He is a poet even more than he is a painter," answered Poussin
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Lemorne Versus Huell by Elizabeth Drew Stoddard:
where I was. As he turned to go out he saw me and stopped.
"I have been in New York since I saw you," he said. "Mr. Lemorne
sent for me."
"There is my aunt," I said.
He shrugged his shoulders.
"I shall not go away soon again," he remarked. "I missed Newport
I made some foolish reply, and kept my eyes on Aunt Eliza, who
dawdled unaccountably. He appeared amused, and after a little talk
Aunt Eliza's purchase was a rose-colored moire antique, which she
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo:
and as his strength decreased, it made the weight of his burden
increase. Marius, who was, perhaps, dead, weighed him down as inert
bodies weigh. Jean Valjean held him in such a manner that his chest
was not oppressed, and so that respiration could proceed as well
as possible. Between his legs he felt the rapid gliding of the rats.
One of them was frightened to such a degree that he bit him.
From time to time, a breath of fresh air reached him through
the vent-holes of the mouths of the sewer, and re-animated him.
It might have been three hours past midday when he reached the belt-sewer.
He was, at first, astonished at this sudden widening. He found himself,
all at once, in a gallery where his outstretched hands could not reach
|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 An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce:
him and his executioners -- two private soldiers of the
Federal army, directed by a sergeant who in civil life may
have been a deputy sheriff. At a short remove upon the same
temporary platform was an officer in the uniform of his rank,
armed. He was a captain. A sentinel at each end of the
bridge stood with his rifle in the position known as
"support," that is to say, vertical in front of the left
shoulder, the hammer resting on the forearm thrown straight
across the chest -- a formal and unnatural position,
enforcing an erect carriage of the body. It did not appear
to be the duty of these two men to know what was occurring at
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge