Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Sybil Leek - The Burley Witch Part Two.....


Sybil's family was relatively well to do and she grew up as a young lady of privileged societal standing, her mother was related to the Masters family, well known in high society. In their New Forest home her mother and a group of friends regularly met for tea, they called their group 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 based 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, and it was from this coven that the New Forest covens in England were descended.
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. Later she was sent to help nurse the wounded at Anzio Beach, before returning to England and being stationed 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 lived in a small village called Burley situated in the heart of the New Forest. There she mixed with and lived among the Gypsies. She also joined their 'Horsa' coven, a coven they claimed had existed for 700 years. The Gypsy knowing she was a witch born, accepted Sybil 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 honoured 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 Gypsy leaders.
While living in Burley, Sybil started up and ran a successful antique shop. Then at some point she met and married a man called Brian. Together they had two sons Stephen 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.
More to come..........

3 comments:

Leanne said...

very interesting! i am looking forward to the next instalment!

Leanne x

Sue "Sioux" Seibert said...

An interesting story.

Caitlin said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog, it's always nice to 'meet' new blog friends. Thanks also for your good wishes regarding the 'thing' :).

I'm now completely fascinated by Sybil Leek, I read this post then had to go back and find the other one (yeah, I do things backwards a lot).

One more thing....LOVE your dog.
Caitlin