Thursday, November 4, 2010

A witch on broomstick at the Coven of Witches

ENGLAND'S NEW FOREST WITCHES ARE ALIVE AND WELL IN AND AROUND THE VILLAGE OF BURLEY


It's common knowledge that the forest surrounding the village of Burley in England's New Forest is home to Hedgewitches. These women are not part of a coven, but rather continue their Wicca practices in a solitary way.  In that same small community of Burley the villagers have long been dedicated to old time culture. Customs, magic and witches are all part of day-to-day living. Witches’ spells - the best sellers in the local witchcraft shop - are made by local Hedgewitches.


When I tried to delve deeper into the Wicca culture when visiting Burley, the assistant in the shop was not to be drawn. Then, venturing one step further into a nest of vipers, I said quite innocently, “Are you a witch?” The air around us suddenly chilled. Ignoring my question she glared at me – could she be giving me the evil eye I wondered - and there our conversation abruptly ceased.

Burley shop: A Coven of Witches

There was a time when Sybil Leek, a past resident of Burley and a well known 'white witch' of the 50s, incurred the wrath of the locals when she adopted a manner of dress that befitted a more sinister kind of witch. Her witchy apparel and general appearance; long black cloak with her pet jackdaw 'Mr. Hotfoot Jackson’ perched on her shoulder, resulted in her receiving, in a not so subtle way, her marching orders from superstitious locals.

More lenient with such as she, America accepted the eccentric British woman and she continued into old age, studying the occult, writing books and operating a restaurant - Sybil Leeks's Cauldron' - in Houston, Texas.

Today, a visit to the New Forest will reveal that witches and witchery are an important feature in the mysterious village of Burley.

Posted by Anne Gordon on Thursday, 4th November, 2010

 

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