The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005
Leek, Sybil (February 22, 1922—October 26, 1982)
Witchcraft Hall of Fame
Astrologer, author, lecturer, witch, ghosthunter, and radio and television personality, Sybil Leek was born at a crossroads where three rivers meet in what she described as a “witchridden” part of Staffordshire.
She claimed to be a hereditary witch of Russian and Irish descent. She traced her maternal Irish lineage back to 1134. On her father’s side, she was descended from occultists affiliated with the royal court in Russia. She grew up in the New Forest region of England, one of the country’s oldest surviving forests, and was largely home-schooled until age 11. Beginning in childhood, she studied astrology, occultism, witchcraft, the Kabalah and the Bible, and Eastern religions and philosophies.
Aleister Crowley was a family friend during her childhood and predicted great things for her. H.G. Wells was another friend of the family. In her twenties she moved into the New Forest where she lived among Romany horse-traders for a year, studying their herbal traditions.
She eventually became High Priestess of a New Forest coven. According to Leek, the New Forest supported four distinct covens living in different sections of the wood. There were thirteen people per coven, six men and six women plus a High Priestess. Leek was the High Priestess of the Horsa Coven. She described the phenomenon of “religious” people who feared witches coming to the forest to seek healing from them anyway.
Leek ran an antique store in Burley. Her familiars included Mr Hotfoot Jackson, her jackdaw and Miss Sashima, a boa constrictor. She attracted too much notoriety, and some neighbors encouraged her to leave. Leek moved to the United States where she became an astrologer, which she described as her “first love.” Her 1969 autobiography, Diary of a Witch, was followed by dozens of other books.