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Thread: Departed today on the 26th October 1982 - Sybil Leek

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    Departed today on the 26th October 1982 - Sybil Leek

    Hail Ho Guy's

    Merry we meet

    Sybil Leek - Written and compiled by George Knowles.

    Sybil Leek was an English Witch, a gifted Psychic, Astrologer and prolific Author who wrote more than 60 books on such subjects as Astrology, Numerology, and Reincarnation. She was born with a witch’s mark and claimed to be a hereditary witch of Irish and Russian Descent. A colorful character in her time, her trademarks were a cape, loose gowns, and a pet jackdaw named "Mr. Hotfoot Jackson" perched on her shoulders. She always wore a crystal necklace that she claimed had been passed down to her from a psychic Russian grandmother. Her entire family was involved in astrology and some of the guests who visited her home included: H.G. Wells, Lawrence of Arabia, and Aleister Crowley.

    Sybil claimed to be able to trace her mother’s ancestry back to the witches of southern Ireland in 1134, and her father’s ancestry to occultists close to royalty in czarist Russia. Her most notable ancestor was "Molly Leigh", an Irish witch who died in 1663. As the story goes - Leigh was buried at the very edge of the local church graveyard well away for others on account of her being a witch. A short time after her burial the local vicar and others went to open her cottage and retrieve her pet jackdaw. When they arrived they were shocked to see Leigh, (or an apparition of her), sitting in an armchair with her pet jackdaw perched on her shoulders (just as she had often been seen in real life).

    Frightened, the vicar and others returned to the graveyard and reopened her grave. They drove a stake through her heart and threw the living jackdaw in the coffin and reburied it. Sybil took special pride in being descendant from Molly Leigh, and on a visit to Ireland she visited Molly’s grave. Later she was seen about town with her own pet jackdaw perched on her shoulders, following the same custom that old Molly had done before her.

    Sybil was born on the *22nd February 1917* (see note below) in Straffordshire, England. From an early age she lived and grew up in the New Forrest area of Hampshire, were she demonstrated an early gift for writing. The New Forrest is one of the oldest forests in England, steeped in folklore and witchcraft associations. The same area is where "Gerald B. Gardner" first joined "Old Dorothy Clutterbuck’s" coven in 1939. That coven was reportedly descended from one of "Old George Pickingill’s" famous "Nine Covens". Sybil claims that during her time in the area, there were still four old covens that had survived from the days of King William Rufus.

    In *1932* (see note below) when she was only nine years old, Aleister Crowley became a frequent visitor to her home. She claims to have spent time with him climbing the mountainsides and wondering through forests near to her home. In her autobiography (Diary of a Witch, New York: Signet, 1969.), Sybil wrote that he talked to her about witchcraft and recited his poetry, encouraging her to write her own. He also instructed her on the use of certain magickal words used for their vibratory qualities when used in magick.

    Sybil’s family was relatively well to do and she grew up as a young lady of society, her mother was related to the Masters family, well known in high society. In their New Forest home her mother and friends regularly met for tea, and called themselves the "Pentagram Club". When she was fifteen years old and during one of the family's regular trips to the south of France, Sybil was initiated into a French coven at "George du Loup" in the hills above Nice. According to Sybil, she was initiated to replace an elderly Russian aunt who had been High Priestess of the coven, from which the New Forest covens in England were derived.

    Returning home Sybil met a well-known pianist-conductor who was 24 years her senior. Despite the age difference they fell in love and were married shortly after her 16th birthday. During the relative quiet of the pre-war years they toured and traveled about England and Europe. He died two years later and she returned home to Hampshire. During World War II, Sybil joined the Red Cross and worked as a nurse in a military hospital near Southampton, she helped nurse the wounded at Anzio Beach, and then back in England at a military barracks in the isolated Scottish Hebrides Islands. She ended the War with a handful of medals, but the prosperity of her family had been lost to the austerity of the War.

    After the war and into her twenties, Sybil returned to Hampshire and a small village called "Burley" in the heart of the New Forest. There she lived among the Gypsies, joining the Horsa coven they claimed had existed for 700 years. The Gypsy knowing she was a witch born, accepted her as one of their own. From them she learned a great deal about herbal potions and elixirs. When the time came for her to move on, they honored her in the traditional Gypsy way reserved only for the most respected of outsiders. They made her a "blood-sister". This was done by cutting her wrist and mixing her blood with the blood of the of the Gypsy leaders.

    While living in Burley, Sybil started up and ran a successful antique shop. At some point met and married a man called Brian. Together they had two sons, Stephan and Julian, who are reported to have inherited the family’s psychic gifts. While walking in the woods one day Sybil had a vision, it brought to her the realization that her purpose in life was to promote the craft and the Old Religion. She began to do just that, and into the 1950’s her reputation as a Psychic, Astrologer, and Witch began to attract attention. Media publicity brought tourists to her village but in the wake of autograph seekers, her antique business began to suffer. Witchcraft was still viewed with suspicion in those times, and her landlord refused to renew her lease unless she publicly denounced it. Sybil declined and was forced to close up shop and leave.

    With the revival of a modern Witchcraft movement in the late 1950’s early 60’s, and the growing prominence of such people as Gerald B. Gardner, Alex Sanders, and Arnold Crowther. Sybil feeling she still had more to do, accepted an invitation to visit the United States where witchcraft in general was still in its infancy. After making several media appearances in the States, she decided to stay and become a resident. Settling first in New York, but finding it a depressing city and particular gloomy in winter, she moved on to Los Angeles. There she became acquainted with Aleister Crowley’s old secretary "Israel Regardie", and much they reminisced about the great man. In her later years Sybil divided her time between Houston and Florida.

    Sybil continued to promote the craft and the Old Religion in a positive sense, both as an author and a media celebrity dispelling myths and educating the public. She worked as an astrologer and gained quite a reputation in the field, editing and publishing her own astrological journal. Such was her reputation that she toured frequently holding lectures throughout the United States, as well as making trips to England and Europe.

    Strong in defense of her beliefs, Sybil sometimes differed even quarreled with other Witches. She wrote and spoke a great deal about reincarnation, guided she said, by the spirit of "Madame Helena P. Blavatsky", the cofounder of the Theosophical Society. She disapproved of nudity in rituals, a requirement in some traditions, was strongly against the use of drugs as were most modern Witches, but she was at odds with most, in that she did believe in cursing. She was also one of the first of the modern day Witches to take up environmental causes.

    Sybil died on the 26th October 1982. One report of her death has it that a train derailed near to her Melbourne home in Florida, and dosed her with a toxic gas. This, the report states, occurred when she was magically attacked by a group of Witches after an argument? She will be remember as a remarkable woman of many accomplishments, a gifted Psychic, Astrologer, and Writer who did much to influence the revival of the modern day movement, the Craft and the Old Religion. Blessed she be.

    Some of the many books she wrote are: Diary of a Witch, My Life in Astrology, The Night Voyagers, Numerology: The Magic of Numbers, Phrenology, Reincarnation: The Second Chance, Star Speak, Astrological Guide to Love and Sex, Astrological Guide to Financial Success, Astrology and Love, Driving Out the Devils, Sybil Leek's Book of Curses, Sybil Leek's Book of Fortune Telling, Moon Signs, ESP - The Magic Within You, Herbs, Medicine and Mysticism, Complete Art of Witchcraft, The Jackdaw & The Witch (Mr. Hotfoot Jackson), and How To Be Your Own Astrologer.

    Sources:

    Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft - By Ravan Grimassi
    The Encyclopedia of Witches &Witchcraft - by Rosemary Ellen Guiley.
    Plus numerous website to many to mention.

    First published on the 03rd May 2001, 20:29:02 George Knowles

    *Note

    My grateful thanks to SoulFire who sent me the following by email:

    Sybil Leek was actually born Feb. 22, 1917 and died October 26, 1982, not 1983. I had tried to send flowers to the hospital where she was staying, but a nurse told me that she had checked herself out and gone home. I obtained a copy of her funeral card from her last initiate. To add to the confusion, Sybil publicly gave her birth date as 1922. I am not the only person who has a copy of her funeral card. Noted astrologer Lois Rodden, a former astrology student of Sybil’s, also has a copy, which confirms the 1917 dob. You can read about it
    here (scroll down to the bottom of the link to read the entry).

    One site that gives her dob as 1923 also gives it as 1922 within the same article. I have always assumed that “1923” is merely a typo. I suspect this is the source of the erroneous date, which spread like a virus all over the WWW and, eventually, in print as well.

    Critics who claim that she could not have known Aleister Crowley because they were not in the same place in 1939 (when she was supposed to have been 16) base this on the incorrect dob. She would actually have been 16 in 1933 rather!


    According to Sybil’s initiate, Sybil’s father knew Crowley, and it was through him that Sybil met A.C. I’m no expert on Crowley, but it would be interesting to research whether Sybil and A.C. could have been in the same place around 1933-34. Critics also say that there is no mention of the Leek’s in A.C.’s writing. Naturally, because “Leek” was not her family name; it was a pen name rather.

    One report of her death has it that a train derailed near to her Melbourne home in Florida, and dosed her with a toxic gas.


    To clarify, Sybil died from cancer. She did, however, apparently believe that the cancer had been caused by exposure to the gas.

    B*B,
    SoulFire



    Best Wishes.

    Merry we part.

    George Knowles (Man in Black).
    E-mail - George@controverscial.com
    or - themaninblackuk2001@yahoo.com
    Website - http://www.controverscial.com

    Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall not be disappointed.
    Last edited by GeorgeKnowles; October 26th, 2011 at 10:14 AM. Reason: Added info

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