AN/ This was written as practice writing task for an english subject (imaginitive journeys). It's about a girl who takes a fantastical journey in a dream, where her experience is meant to be metaphoric of life and growing old. At the end of the story is a list of all the symbolisms.

ELEMENTAL DREAMS

Because life is a fantastic experience

It's in dreams that anything is possible. On occasions, life can mirror a dream but on other occasions, a dream can mirror life.

As her eyes grew heavy,

Her feet sank lower into the cool water

And thus she slept

A smooth pale hand grasped the wooden edge of a tiny craft, lingering for moments before the whole weight of a body sprawled over the still object. Springing into an upright position and gazing at her surroundings, the fair maiden was shocked by a jolt that sent the boat adrift. No sooner had she realised the occurrence, did the first images meet her wide radiant blue eyes.

A soft breeze spiralled through an evergreen forest carrying pollen and fragrance through the atmosphere. It provided a fresh liberation from the molten brilliance streaming through a fissure of the trees above. In another astonishing moment, a dazzling snow-white horse galloped in accordance with the current of the river and directly beside the boat as it sped through the scenery. The maiden squealed in delight for she recognised the significance of the creature by the gleaming horn atop its brow.

Realisation finally sunk in and the maiden submitted to the adventure that her mind was guiding her through. She allowed a pink faery to decorate her hair with marigolds and green leaves. Soon she found herself following the faery's little bewitching voice down the stream and into what looked like a sudden opening. The sound of a bell chimed thrice from no direction in particular, and as the boat sped up, the figure of the goddess of bright energy, Artemis, smiled down from a high branch, wishing her a safe journey.

Heat bore down from a red sun amongst an infinite sky of white clouds and beads of sweat enveloped the shocked maiden. In an attempt to cast her cape and overdress into the crystal clear water, she almost fell in. With impressive swiftness, outstretched arms from below steadied her balance and with darting eyes the maiden glimpsed the disappearing body of a mermaid.

A piercing scream went unnoticed as what had been the sky suddenly twisted and distorted as if a wet hand had run across a painting and left horrible scars. The colours changed rapidly and from a light blue developed into a mixture of red and honey orange. In a moment of panic, the maiden covered her eyes but a supernatural sound forced her attention to focus on its source. On a field of fire danced the naked god, Pan, with goat horns and legs, a prominent chin and a crown of pine needles. He played a strange mouth instrument that inspired a deep-sinking terror to any who heard the dreaded tune. The maiden would have fainted a moment later had it not been for an opposing virtuous voice that came from the depths beneath the craft. It was the call of a mermaid, banishing away evil and fearful forces.

Light headed and suddenly exhausted, the youthful maiden felt the core of her mind rise and her eyes began to seal closed. The dream was dispersing swiftly until a voice from the sky called her back. 'Be strong, do not let go of the dream thread.' The maiden's eyes fluttered open to reveal the Mother Moon, the nurturer, staring down into her shadowed face.

'Why must I continue?' The maiden asked in a small raspy voice.

'The journey is not yet over' the ethereal voice stated softly. 'The Matron shall take you from here,' and the world changed around her.

Entirely awakened now, the maiden examined the night environment that now encircled the boat. In the dark, a squirrel raced up a tree and the moonlight illuminated the meadow. Yellow and brown leaves hung loose on trees and purple flowers sprouted from the earth. The air smelt of fresh rainfall and the ground was considerably muddy. Sure enough, the Matron's countenance smiled down, her warrior helmet and strong will feeding courage to the beings of the night.

Leaning into a straight sitting position, the Maiden flinched. Her hand twisted to massage a muscle in her back. Her bones felt quite stiff, but she placed the thought aside for she had been sitting for a considerable amount of time. A silent wish played across the maiden's mind that it should not be so still and quiet. Her desire was immediately fulfilled, for on a rock amongst a garden of mushrooms the joyful Kokopelli played his flute.

Many rustles later, and tiny wide-eyed creatures circled the old man to listen to his tune. A brown rabbit dropped a flower at his feet in silent gratitude, causing the old man to lift the tune and motivate the animals to dance and forget their simple livelihoods. The maiden laughed merrily at the sight until a strong chilling wind sent her craft forward. Behind her, the animals scattered away in fright, and Kokopelli vanished from sight.

A wicked laugh reached her ears and she swivelled to see the cause of this new source of hideous interruption. It was the Crone, an omen of death itself. The maiden's face paled, all blood seeping away to mirror the Moon's blue, continuing gaze. In a forced movement, she looked at her reflection in the now icy cold water. Just visible were patterns of wrinkled skin hanging from a frail face. 'No…' she whispered to herself.

Dead trees covered in flakes of snow lined the bank of the frosty river, towering over the woman who was once maiden. Tears of desperation trailed down her withered cheeks and her hand trembled as they clutched to the wood of the boat.

'Do not fear, my child,' The Crone croaked as she stirred her cauldron. 'This path does not lead to danger.'

'I will not die then?'

The Crone laughed. 'Surely death is not so evil? You will see that your journey will continue nevertheless.'

The maiden did not have a reply. Instead, she surrendered to her oncoming fate. If I am to feel pain, she thought, then perhaps I should sleep and that way I will feel nothing.

So she closed her eyes for what seemed a very long time but sleep did not come. Instead, the felt the approach of Dawn and opened her eyes with a new sense of hope. She saw nothing but fog, but heard the piercing chirp of an Iceland Gull and the sound of its feathers flapping in flight. The craft tugged along slowly, following an unknown path. Where did the channel lead?

Again the sound of a bell chimed thrice and this time a personality approached. A blue man with snakes coiled around his neck, walked close and placed a single foot on the wooden boat to stop its progression.

'Who are you?' The maiden asked with exasperation.

'I am the gatekeeper of life, Shiva. I suck the poisons of old age and create new life.' Saying this, he reached his hand to hers. As they connected, a flow of energy surged through her body and a regenerative spirit consumed her senses. Shiva closed his eyes in meditation, a purple hue forming at the base of his neck. Wordlessly, he turned and disappeared back into the fog, and the boat continued on its way.

What had come to pass in those astounding moments was beyond comprehension, but the maiden felt far too fatigued to contemplate any recent happenings. As her eyes once again came close to sealing, and her mind moved upwards to a plane of wakening, a last vision introduced itself.

The fog thinned, revealing a large fallen tree lying across the river, blocking the scenery in front but leaving enough room beneath it for the boat to pass under. Whatever views the tree was blocking, there were certainly sounds to inspire the imagination. Birds chirped, girls giggled and the sound of the harp played harmoniously. Running onto the log, Lady Greensleaves, banisher of winter, laughed and summoned the maiden to make haste.

Forgetting all her troubles and past, the maiden impatiently sprung from her sitting position, into the water and swam to the bank where a group of young girls came to her aid.

Jumping into strong arms,

Her foot made contact with earth

And thus she awoke from the long dream.

The Mermaid weaves a siren song that leads you to vision and mystery.

The Moon Glowing with reflected light, the Moon represents light within the darkness, and is associated with the female divine energy. Lunar energy offers us the ability to connect with the flowing powers of magick and mystery and our powers of psychic perception and intuition. The phases of the Moon correlates with 4 phases of the Goddess - Maiden, Mother, Matron (Warrior Woman) and Crone. Many female deities have some lunar connection, but these Goddesses and Gods are especially lunar: Artemis.

Unicorns symbolize innocence, purity of heart and primal perfection. Where unicorns played, the land was said to be in eternal springtime.

Shiva is one of the three gods of the Hindu triad or Trimurti. His name means "auspicious" or "welfare" and although he is known as "the Destroyer" who vanquishes evil, he is also the god of creation and fertility. During the creation of the world, when the poison was churned out of the oceans, Shiva was said to have swallowed the poisons to save the world from destruction. He is often worshipped as the lingam or phallus, symbolic of regeneration.

Lady Greensleeves is one of the names of the Goddess in her face as the evergreen earth. As the Undying One, she represents the immortality of the soul and the strength of Life, beauty and joy, even in the depths of cold and dark. She is the power of renewal, the ability to shake off the snows of winter, and bloom young and fresh and vibrant.

The Bell is a tool of the elements of air and of spirit. Bells are used in ritual to create focus in the mind. Their sound represents the creative power of the universe, and their feminine shape represents the divine feminine as well as the vaults of the heavens. They are used in calling the quarters, creating moments of space between parts of a ritual, in summoning spirits and in cleansing an area of negativity. Negative entities do not like the sound of bells, as their purity of sound disturbs their energy flow.

The Crone is the wise grandmother who teaches us the power of endings. Like the winter cold, she allows us to consider our lives with distance and dispassion. Then wielding her sickle, she cuts the cords between lives and banishes that which serves us no longer, and in her cauldron, where tomb becomes womb, we complete the cycle of Life and Death and are reborn anew. Invoke her for knowledge, divination, final endings, banishing, and rebirth.

Kokopelli -Found in petroglyphs across southwestern America appears as a hunch-backed man playing a flute. He symbolizes fertility, both in people and the rains that bring growth to the crops. The magic from his flute was thought to stimulate creativity and help good dreams come true, and the gifts in his sack bring joy and abundance.

Pan This Greek god appears as a hairy goat-legged man or satyr, with a prominent chin, a wrinkled face and goat's horns, and often wearing a crown of pine needles. The name Pan means "all" and this ancient god was likely the first male deity of the Greek peoples. One of his abilities is that of inspiring fear.

Flowers represent beauty, springtime, fertility, and the Maiden and Mother aspects of the Goddess.