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The Witch Sybil Leek-What You Should Know About Her

Updated on November 24, 2017

Who Is Sybil Leek?

Sheepishly, I have just recently learned of the existence of the witch Sybil Leek; a prolific Neo-Pagan of the 20th century. She's been dubbed "Britain's Most Famous Witch" and written dozen of books on the subjects of astrology, reincarnation, herbs, and of course, Witchcraft. Obviously, I'm quite embarrassed that I haven't heard of her sooner.

Basically, when the British repealed the 1735 Witchcraft Act in 1951, she stepped out into the public eye. ( Can you believe it took them almost 200 years to repeal this act? Shocking!)

After doing some research, I certainty had some mixed feelings about her at first. Her claims of lineage and birth are sketchy at best.

  • She claims to be born on February 22, 1922 when actually she was born on February 22, 1917. Although, I don't think we should hold this against her; many women lie about their age for vanity reasons, so I would consider this only a little white (witch) lie.
  • She claims to be a decent of Molly Leigh, who, according to legend, was an infamous witch in her own right. Not sure this claim has been proven without a doubt.
  • As a young girl, she claims that Aleister Crowley visited her home frequently. Critics dispute this claim on the basis that Crowley wasn't in that area in the year of their alleged meeting.

I feel a lot of information on Sybil and her background has to be taken on good faith. However, overall, I think she genuinely believed in the craft and its practices. I believe her stories about how her grandmother introduced her to the "Craft of the Wise", as she called it. I also believe her tales of hanging out with gyspies and being accepted into their "Horsa" coven, which she adopted as her official tradition.

What really endeared me about Sybil was relationship with her familiar, a jackdaw named Mr. Hotfoot Jackson. Frequently, he would be seen perched on her shoulder.

This picture below really tugged at my heartstrings!

Aw...How Sweet Is That?

Sybil with her familiar, Mr.Hotfoot Jackson
Sybil with her familiar, Mr.Hotfoot Jackson

Book Of Curses

It was also said that Sybil had a pet boa...gee whiz, I'm starting to think I was this woman in a past life. Of course, that isn't really possible, since she died about 10 years after I was born; October 26, 1982 to be exact. However, I firmly believe she and I would have been kindred spirits for sure!

Sybil could be called one of the pioneers of Witchcraft and Wicca, although I'm not she would consider herself solely affiliated with the religion of modern day Wicca. For one, she wrote a Book of Curses,which most followers of Wicca do not agree with. Wicca's most important and primary law, "Do No Harm", does not support curses. Although I don't consider myself an Orthodox Wiccan, rather more of a witch with eclectic religious beliefs, I agree with this law and the existence of Karma. This book also seems to contradict her label as a "White Witch"; as I understand it, White magic has pure intent, whereas practicing curses would be self-servicing with the intent to do harm.

However, I think this is the only topic she and I wouldn't see eye to eye on. I respect the fact she was very much against covens that required "skyclad" practices (being naked during rituals) and she despised the use of drugs. She was also known as a strong environmentalist.

Probably her most famous books were: "A Diary of a Witch", "Complete Art of Witchcraft," and "My Life in Astrology: Star-Crossed Adventures, Professional Secrets & Case Histories".


A First Lady Sought Out Sybil

Apparently, astrology was a great love of hers and she was very proficient at it; so much so that she had famous people knocking down her door, like former First Lady Nancy Reagan. It was said that Mrs. Reagan consulted with Sybil on several occasions.

Furthermore, Sybil appeared on the Late Night Show with Johnny Carson. "Carnac the Magnificent" and Sybil Leek together? What a bewitching pair!

So Mote It Be!

If you consider yourself a Pagan, I would suggest that even if you don't agree with all her methods or teachings, you should at least read some of her books. We have people like her to thank for bringing witches out of the realm of fringe and into mainstream acceptance and tolerance.

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    • hecate-horus profile imageAUTHOR

      hecate-horus 

      6 years ago from Rowland Woods

      OOPS...thanks CWB! I hate when I miss something in editing, thanks for letting me know! You convinced me; you're hired, Prof. Bob. :)

    • Civil War Bob profile image

      Civil War Bob 

      6 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

      HH...interesting hub...voted up, useful, interesting. Got here from "Witches' School." One small edit: In your 2nd paragraph, you write "200 hundred years"...that works out to 20,000, so you might want to drop the "hundred." ;) Would you consider me as English prof at Hogwarts? After all, its what I do, Darlin'! ;)

    • hecate-horus profile imageAUTHOR

      hecate-horus 

      6 years ago from Rowland Woods

      Thanks for your comments Kittythedreamer! That book really speaks to me. I've seen interviews of Sybil and I so wish I could have met her in person.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Kitty Fields 

      6 years ago from Summerland

      I read her "Diary of a Witch" autobiography when I was a teenager and found it to be very interesting. And you're right, she tells the story of learning much of the craft from Aleister Crowley (before he sort of turned South) and she also talks about being accepted into one particular tribe of Gypsies. Awesome book. I really have a spot in my heart for Sybil...even if the claims she made weren't fully true, I'd like to believe they were! Awesome hub!

    • nityanandagaurang profile image

      nityanandagaurang 

      6 years ago

      very interesting hub hecate-horus.i hadn't heard about sybil leek.From your hub i get know about her.voted up ,

    • hecate-horus profile imageAUTHOR

      hecate-horus 

      6 years ago from Rowland Woods

      Thanks for stopping by, Nell! Merry meet :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi, I read her book of fortune telling, above, years ago, in fact I still have it in my bookcase! lol! shows how often I clear out the old books! but I do keep my pagan books as, like you, I am a pagany witchy person! interesting to see her background though, cheers nell

    • hecate-horus profile imageAUTHOR

      hecate-horus 

      6 years ago from Rowland Woods

      Thanks Daniella! She certainly was quite an interesting lady!

    • Daniella Lopez profile image

      Danielle Lopez 

      6 years ago from Spain

      Very interesting hub. I've heard of Ms. Leek before, but didn't know much about her. Now I'm rather interested. Voted up!

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