how hyena & an old woman led me to my path

Believe me, you will find more lessons in the woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you what you cannot learn through masters.

— St. Bernard of Clairvaux

I saw this quote on a blog and thought it time to write the story, it is a long and rambly one so be forewarned. A while back, the introvert and I were visiting in the garden over tea, talking this and that when I shared this with her. It had been rolling around in my head that I should write on it, if for no other reason than to put it down, but it is very personal in feel.. and mine. Just telling it to her made it that much easier though, and so it was decided. I hope I get across how important in my life people such as this are, because they are..

I am traveling into the forest, there are gypsy trailers on its threshold near a clearing. I am in the back of a police car driven by two men and I am there to help. There is a woman running and screaming, but they don’t want me to exit the car.. I am not sure why. I jump out knowing I need to get to her and find myself running into a cleared circle in the wood. There is a fire in the center and a ritual is being held. Around the circle are many different peoples and many different animals. The only one I can remember is the hyena. There is a house? building? off to the side. It is without a roof/doors/windows.. almost like a shell of a house but not in disrepair. I walk through the first doorway, the room is empty. I walk through the next doorway, passing through a small open walkway. There is nothing in this next room either. I continue on through another pass thru, open like the first into the third room. It is not empty.

There is a hearth lit and a long wooden table where one would eat. There is an old woman by the hearth rocking in a chair. I go up to her and I know she is telling me something important, or more that I know she told me something important although I don’t remember the actual telling.. time isn’t moving as normal. It is now and it is past at once. A hyena is at my side, hugging me at the waist or I am petting him.. maybe both? I feel like it is time to go. It is an overwhelming feeling. I head out toward the wood, the circle is no longer there and the wood seems much closer to the doorway than before. I come face to face with a brown horse. Her eyes are red and I know I’ve met her before. The one-eyed cat is pulling urgently at my hand, we must go. I cannot remember if he’d come inside the house to get me or if he had just now popped up but I know something is coming and that is why he is here – to pull me out. This was the first time I’d met him, but I didn’t seem to think it odd at the time. We are running through the trees when I lose him.. he is up ahead but I cannot see him. I am scared, very scared. I make it out but the trailers are further away. I get into the car and the two males are now a single female. I know this, although I cannot see her. Then I wake.

Many years ago I had this dream. I was in a very complacent place, having left my old path and drifting. I had yet to figure my place and quite honestly, I didn’t feel in any hurry. I dabbled off and on, continuing the drift.. I would like to be nice and call it exploration but I had spent quite more time in the stagnant pool than I probably should have. There just wasn’t much to be found in the immediate, post 101.. my views differed and I just never really did do things “by the book” anyways. While others thrive in that setting (bless all my friends who did/do, just so not how I am wired), I left in search of something more personally fulfilling. Then it came.

I’ve always had the dreams and other such things but one just doesn’t discuss these things over tea (usually). Furthermore, at this point I was quite settled into my solitary state and so with whom would I discuss it anyways? They’d think I was nutters.. besides, I liked being a hermit (still do). Now, I have had some form of this dream off and on over the years or parts of it, and for various reasons.. but this first instance was the one that set me on my path. In researching aspects of it was how I learned of my call to the wildwood, spirit work, and all those other things I could no longer ignore. And once you open a door.. well, you know. The fiery one and I were to work on hyena (yes, I have known her since dirt) but for me the old woman was must prevalent in my mind at that time. I am sure you’ve noticed (as I have on the write) that she reeks again of Baba.. who is apparently in and out of my life even without me realizing sometimes for one reason or the other. At the time, I didn’t make the connection, but then I was just starting out and with very little guidance.

I am quite thankful for that now, as it has taught me a lot about working intuitively. I had no preconceived about what/where my practice should be and I learned a lot about what worked for me personally.. guidance coming later when I was ready. I greatly value how it all worked out and I discovered that great connection that I had had in the beginning.. all from being brought to this little place in the woods to meet a wise woman, a hyena, and a red-eyed horse. I never finished looking into hyena until just recently (recently being the now) but as a wise friend pointed out – sometimes things don’t come to us immediately, they come to us when we need them. And I am still in deep discussions of why I exited differently than I entered, and just what the significance is of the red-eyed horse who comes in and out of my dreams but I’ll get there. It’s been a long, long journey and it will always be so..

Hyena totemness (in case you were curious):

  • to be clearer on what to do, whom to trust, what to believe.. they trust “what smells right”
  • communication is very important, be careful with your words
  • develop clan & communal life.. for whom the hyena appears, the clan will become more important (not so hot with this one as my hermitness takes precedence but am grooving on the idea of a commune)
  • Spiritually, Hyena people are very aware of themselves and their place in the universe, but sometimes feel inexplicably lost even so – probably because they feel out of place among people who are not so highly-attuned to their surroundings as they are.. this stems from the fact that Hyena people are also prone to be affected by the emotions of those around them
  • Hyena implies a lack of seriousness or a vicious nature (vicious.. really?? ouch)
  • often scorned for their funny words and scavenging habits (I think I recently had this convo as well)


6 thoughts on “how hyena & an old woman led me to my path

  1. Wow, first off that is a wonderful quote i have heard before but did not know from whom it came. St Bernard of Clairvaux is a very important figure in a past life and i think i was a Catholic priest/scribe working for him as he was (unfortunately) organizing the second crusade. I remember a large gathering of people and he and us standing on a simple unadorned platform preaching to the masses. Much later i read in a book and saw a drawing of that event.
    Regarding the dream the hyena reminds me of Hogfather’s boars, lol. Did you run out of the forest because the one eyed cat urged you too or did you have fear? If you had fear good magickal dream practice is to turn and face whatever/whomever it is and ask their name and what they want, and even embrace them as any monster will turn into a benevolent creature then. I often have dreams of wandering through various floors of old building and meeting people who hand me old books or crystals, as you probably read in my dream blog.

    1. I remember (it’s been long) having felt fear but more in the form of urgency to go. I wasn’t scared of anything in particular, more scared that I knew I needed to go and that I might not make it through?? (for lack of a better term). I think I was so engrossed with the old woman that I missed time and then was the fear/urgency to go.. like on the precipice of something that was about to happen or maybe I was in too long.. so much so that the cat came to draw me out, but I knew I was feeling the urgency to leave before he made his appearance and now I realize he is there to take me out safely when I forget myself/time/for protection and such things so to speak (I have found). I remember being afraid afraid when I lost sight of him, like I needed the help to find my way sort of thing. I also feel like when I stared into the horses eyes it was very important but I do not know (or do not remember) why. I didn’t try turning around but am filing that away for future endeavors, lol. Yes, I did read that.. I’ve really been enjoying going back and reading past posts when I can.

      1. That’s good. It seems you have the cat and horse and hyena as animal spirit guides who help lead and teach you. But the grandmother figure is most important and you can go back with your allies in future dreams and try to talk to The Elder and go forward from there. Perhaps she is a passed relative, or an elder in your blood or witchblood line, or perhaps a manifestation of the Crone Goddess herself. Blessings.

  2. It is a wonderful quotation and many thanks for sharing the details of your dream, the questions it raised for you and how the symbols, themes and guidance from this has played such a role in how you walk your spiritual path. Blessings…..SRTB.

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