The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005
Monte della Sibilla, The Sibyl’s Mountain in Norcia
Places: A witch’s Travel Guide
According to legend, the Cumaean Sibyl took refuge in a mountain cave where she transformed into the witch-goddess Sibilla. (See BOOKS: Library of the Lost: Sibylline Books; DIVINE WITCH: Sibilla.) That cave may allegedly be found on Mt Sibilla in the Sibillini Mountains, part of Italy’s Apennine mountain chain, now a National Park.
Her cave is near the summit, which is wrapped by rocks resembling a crown. Archeological evidence indicates that whether or not the Sibyl herself lived there, the cave served as a shrine to a prehistoric goddess.
Another feature of the Sibillini Mountains is now called Lake Pilato, named after Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. According to legend, he was later condemned to death and was drowned in the lake. (Rumors suggest that Lake Pilato is the gateway to Hell.)
The lake was renowned long before the Crucifixion however; it has a mirror-smooth surface but periodically during the year, its waters turn red. Christian myth suggested this was because of the devil’s influence. Modern science reveals that Lake Pilato is the home of a unique shellfish, similar to the Phoenician mollusks that produced wonderful vivid red and purple dyes. One may only imagine how ancient Pagan goddess-worshippers envisioned this periodically red lake.
Lake Pilato and Mt Sibilla were famous all over Europe. Documents dating to the fifteenth century indicate that sorcerers and wizards traveled from great distances to consecrate their grimoires here, despite the gallows erected at the entrance to the valley by a local bishop to serve as a warning to visitors.