The Teachings of Christine Jones
Christine Jones was the last student and nurse of the twentieth century’s most famous Witch, Sybil Leek. Taryn Archer was, in turn, Christine’s last student and her close friend. During the time he was training with Christine, he spoke with her on the phone daily. Her best friends when she was alive included Raymond Buckland and Taryn. This page represents some things that Christine told Taryn that we can share with you publicly here.
Taryn is a public penname he uses when writing online. He was initiated as a high priest in our Wolfa Coven located in Pennsylvania. He is also forming a new Horsa coven in the Pacific Northwest in the Portland, Oregon, area. Follow Faun’s Circle Instagram page for up-to-date content.
Sybil Leek had a few students around the country, including several elders of the Wolfa Coven (some named and unnamed, including Charmaine Dey and Tarostar) on this blog. This story is about another student of Sybil’s who was British by birth and immigrated to New Jersey, named Christine Jones. She was Sybil’s nurse and her last student in Witchcraft from 1977 until Sybil’s death in 1982.
Christine contacted Sybil first by letter after she had a bad experience with a hypnotist in which she was taken under but not properly brought back out of the hypnotic state. This caused a bit of psychic and mental turmoil in Jones’s mind and psyche, so she wrote to Ms. Leek to ask for assistance. Sybil wrote back to Christine and agreed to help her and proceeded to set up specific times for her to concentrate on remedying this remotely.
This sounds much like a version of the technique Sybil taught the elders of our coven, called the “Witch’s laser beam,” which is a specific technique for psychic healing that has been passed down and still taught to initiates of the Wolfa Coven.
During that experience when they performed this technique, Christine discovered that she was a Witch. This revelation culminated with Sybil inviting Christine to move to Florida and live in one of her homes in Melbourne Beach.
Shortly thereafter, Christine began to learn Witchcraft from Sybil while working as a nurse. Sybil would share bits and pieces as needed and taught her in the classic teachings such as the power of the mental gymnastics of the mind, psychism, candles and herbs, along with the magic of the archangels. Some people call this collection of practices “kitchen witchcraft” or “folk witchcraft,” but she also had a deep reverence for the Great Mother and the religion that we know today as Wicca.
Christine received a number of Sybil’s tools and her initiation robe before she passed. She gave a few items to Taryn as her student, and then donated a few others to Ray Buckland. Some of these tools can be viewed at the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick located in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Christine wrote four books on Witchcraft in which she generously shared some of her magical secrets she had learned from Sybil. The first was The Handbook of Sacred Truths, which was later retitled The Magic of the Archangels. The second book expressed more of her kitchen-Witch side that she gleaned from Sybil, and was titled A Witch’s Workbook, which she published under the penname of “Lady Athena.” She also wrote a memoir that she worked on publishing before she passed, but Christine asked for the book to be pulled from publication.
Later in life, Christine became a popular and well-liked professional phone psychic, working from her home. While our practice is focused on coven-based Wicca, Christine preferred to work solitary. Though what she learned can be practiced in a coven setting as well.
Interview with Taryn, Part One
Q: Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Taryn, to share your story! You were the only student of Christine Jones when she was still alive, is that correct?
TA: I was close friends with Christine for the final five or six years of her life. We spoke on the phone daily almost. It drove my ex-husband nuts. He would yell, “Phone! It’s Christine—again.” She asked me one day if I minded. I told her I did not; I enjoyed our conversations. She did not have any other students at the time that I know.
Q: You had told me how Raymond Buckland was one of her best friends. Did she talk about any other Witches or occultists of any stripe that she strongly admired?
TA: I corresponded with Ray, and he vouched for Christine for me. She spoke with him frequently; he had encouraged her to write her memoir. She was also friends with Dikki-Jo Mullen, over at The Witches’ Almanac. Another friend was Morganna Davies of Keepers of the Ancient Mysteries (K.A.M.) who lived in Maryland. Christine had contributed to Davies’s book that she edited with Aradia Lynch, titled Keepers of the Flame. She also knew Sybil’s mother, Louise. But she didn’t mention many others.
Q: Christine gifted you a number of things, including her book manuscript, which was in print for a short time. Did she ever write any other books or booklets besides the angel book and “The Witches Workbook” that she didn’t have a chance to get reprinted?
TA: I still have the original diskette of Chris’s complete (unedited) memoir that she gave to me for safekeeping. It had a different title originally: “A Tale of Two Witches.” She did also write a children’s book, which has not been published. She also gave me color photographs of Sybil, one of Sybil’s own magical oils, her funeral card and other artifacts.
Q: Christine seemed to have prized the psychic skills she developed over the years—both from what she learned from Sybil and what she learned on her own. I remember us talking about one method she liked to call “Seek and Find” that she learned from Sybil where a pendulum was used over a map. Were there other forms of divination that she loved to use such as tarot or anything else?
TA: She just used her psychic senses that she had developed under Sybil’s guidance. She worked for a psychic line at the time that we were friends.
Q: Christine seemed to have really loved angelic magic. That is a classical form of magic in our coven. Did Christine have a favorite angel or archangel that she told you about?
TA: Yes, she loved Cassiel, the ruling angel of the planet Saturn. He cares for the elderly.
Q: Initiates in our tradition have a love of herbs and herbalism—both in occult folklore and herbal remedies. Did Christine have a favorite magical herb or a favorite herb she loved to use for cooking or as a support?
TA: Chris had all of Sybil’s herbs in their original jars. Some of them had secret coven recipes in Sybil’s handwriting on the labels, such as a Ritual Tea recipe that Chris taught me. Some members of our coven report that it is tasty, but I don’t brew it to drink; I use it as a ritual bath tea rather.
Q: Did Christine have any favorite magical texts that she used in support of her magical and occult work?
TA: Chris told me that Sybil had given her several classic texts to study and report on. One of Sybil’s favorites was The Great Book of Hindu Magic by de Laurence. Another was Geoffrey Hodson’s Kingdom of the Gods. She doesn’t give the titles in her book, but she told me this herself. She had both of Sybil’s own copies and others, as well as an unpublished manuscript about Hitler and the occult that Sybil had written!
Q: Looking at the manuscript she gave to you, what is your favorite teaching she shared from her book and why?
TA: I love the psychic development exercises from Sybil. And I love her Witch’s Jar, which is similar to other formulas I have seen, but just different enough to make it unique.
Q: Did Christine share with you an interesting or memorable spell or piece of magic that she didn’t put in her books that you think readers might like to know about?
TA: I used to get bad migraines, and Chris told me that when Sybil would have a headache, she would hold a slab of green jade that she owned to her forehead to relieve it. So that’s something readers might be interested in trying.
Another thing she said was that when Sybil was in pain she would recite Shakespeare to relieve it. This reminded me of something similar that another teacher had told me: when they were in pain, they would recite limericks.
Over the years, Christine shared many stories about Sybil and gave me numerous lessons. I have scribbled notes from phone conversations, letters, and recorded conversations, which I typed and have preserved. She taught me a nifty curse, which I won’t share here for obvious reasons. It works, too. I know; I’ve used it.
She taught me the proper sequence of ritual in Horsa, which I still follow, plus some secret ritual protocols. And how to find and evoke your guardian angel. The method she taught was different from others I have seen, and I prefer the method that Chris taught me.
Q: When did Christine pass?
TA: Christine was born on January 31, 1937 and passed away on August 27, 2011. I spoke with her a couple days prior. She was very upset and embarrassed about her book, because some of her friends were giving feedback about the formatting. Christine’s eyesight was poor, and she didn’t know that there were many errors in the book. She told me that she was going to have her attorney write a letter to cease publication. I know her attorney and am in touch with him.
Q: One of the traditional parts of initiation in Wicca is that of receiving your Witch name from your teacher. I know Christine had shared her experience of how Sybil gave her, her Witch name. I also know how Christine gave you, Taryn, your Witch name. In our coven, Wolfa, we continue the practice of gifting a Witch name to a new initiate. How did it feel when you were first given your Witch name by Christine and accepted as a Witch and her student?
TA: I was thrilled to finally meet someone who knew Sybil well. Christine gave me my first degree Horsa name. I wasn’t a fan of the name, to be honest, but a friend said I should accept it to honor Christine, so I have. When I was initiated to second degree in Wolfa Coven, I chose my own name.
Q: How did you feel when you were initiated into the Wolfa Coven and combining what you learned here with what you learned from Christine?
TA: My initiation into Horsa was very moving—and scary—and I am grateful for it. I was already an initiated Witch in two other traditions (non-Wiccan). I was originally dedicated and initiated by my trans cousin, Lillian Taber, on Imbolc 1984 and vernal equinox 1986, respectively. I’ve had a lifelong interest in vintage and folk Witchcraft.
Christine’s Horsa practice was simple witchery, and I appreciated that. So many people tell tall tales, but the initiates of the Wolfa Coven expressed the sincerity that I had yet to find from other practitioners with whom I had conversed. And Wolfa possessed the “goods.” They’ve carried out the tenets and teachings that Sybil taught to their elders and passed down to them as best they could. While all Witches and occultists take inspiration from others, the core they were taught is unique.
Q: I know you’ve been interested in Witchcraft for a long time and have been practicing for decades. When did you start learning about Witchcraft?
TA: My great-grandmother who helped raise me had practiced folk healing. She bought my first books on Witchcraft, ESP and meditation for me in the early 1970s. This included Delphine Lyon’s Everyday Witchcraft, my first book on the subject that she had purchased for me at the supermarket checkout.
And my aunt was a medium and psychic and gave me my first oracle deck, The Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling Cards, plus a book on automatic writing and Florence Hershman’s Witchcraft USA, when I was 10. I was hooked—I felt I had found my calling. Later, she taught me to read playing cards and the I Ching.
I met my first Wiccan teacher in 1978. She was Pagan author Mike Nichols’s first high priestess, and I was, in turn, her first student. I call her my godmother. We’re still in touch. She taught me the foundation and gave me a reading list that included books by Sybil, Paul Huson, Raymond Buckland, and Stewart Farrar, to name a few. And I began practicing the magical exercises that my godmother had taught me.
At the time, it was very difficult to get hold of some of these books. My junior high art teacher bought me Huson’s book, actually. I eventually found Sybil’s Diary of a Witch and The Complete Art of Witchcraft, along with Doreen Valiente’s ABC of Witchcraft, in my high school library.
In the early 1980s, I also studied briefly with a Gardnerian and a Mohsian coven in Phoenix. Later, after my primary teachers had passed, I found Christine and was taught by her. Then I met the high priesthood of Wolfa Coven and felt I came full circle.
Q: We all have stories that we love the most about our many elders. What is one thing that Christine Jones told you many times that you could tell was a particularly favorite memory or piece of nostalgia?
TA: There are so many. She claimed that one day Sybil’s vacuum cleaner was running by itself, moving back and forth across the floor. I’m inclined to think it was probably just malfunctioning, but it made me laugh because it reminded me of an episode of Bewitched.
She said there was a large spider in Sybil’s kitchen, and when it saw her, it would descend on a thread, and Sybil would roll a piece of raw hamburger into a ball and give it to the spider, who happily accepted the gift, and back up its thread it would climb to its corner.
One more. Sybil’s eyes would get dry, and Chris would have to give her eyedrops, and Sybil hated this. One day she started to put drops in Sybil’s eyes, then paused and capped the bottle. She turned to leave the room when she heard Sybil giggling. Chris said, “What are you giggling about?” And Sybil replied, “You thought you put those drops in my eyes, didn’t you?” Sybil had used her mind power to make Chris think that she had put the drops in. She told me that Sybil was a master at mind control. She asked Sybil one time where she had learned the technique, and Sybil said “from the Koreans.”
Q: I know for myself, especially since my High Priestess Jeannie (“Alsace”) has passed, and since my most impactful teacher and mentor, Rollin G. Bennein (“Tarostar” of Las Vegas, and later Toronto) had passed, that there are so many things that run through my mind that I wished I would have thought of asking before their time came. There were many more things I thought of when Tarostar passed and he left me his magical legacy from him and Charmaine Dey (June Day). I think this is a normal thing, especially since all things in Wicca are a constant work in progress. Are there any things you can think of that you wished you would have asked Christine about before she passed away?
TA: So many. There are so many things I would ask her now. When she was alive, I asked her to vet various individuals or groups claiming lineage to Sybil. I would show her their materials, and she would either say, “That’s not from Sybil” or “I don’t know who that is.”
Q: How do you think Christine would like to be remembered by those that have come after her today?
TA: I think she would want to be remembered as a genuine Witch and healer. I remember her saying “My religion is like my skin: it goes with me wherever I go and will be there when I leave the earth.”
One thought on “Christine Jones – Witch and Psychic”
Lovely interview, so many new details! Thank you for sharing
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