The Witch Sybil Leek-What You Should Know About Her
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Basically, when the British repealed the 1735 Witchcraft Act in 1951, she stepped out into the public eye.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?
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 ,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. Book of Curses
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.