The most famous Sibyl presided over the Oracle of the God Apollo at Cumae, from where she sang to the Fates and wrote her prophesies on oak leaves,. She was given longevity, to live as long as the numbers of grains of sand she picked from a beach, a gift given to her by Apollo who was hoping she would relinquish her virginity to him in exchange. But she never did, and as a result, Apollo let her wither with age until she was nothing more than a voice in a bottle.
Sibyl comes from the Greek word for prophetess, and today continues to evoke images of strong magical women, who served in temples and lived in caves and sacred glades. Women who were able to speak not only for the Gods but who could also communicate with the spirits of the dead – women with great power whose words could and did affect the outcome of kingdoms, and the future of entire regions.
The role of the Sibyl in contemporary Pagan traditions is slowly re-emerging, as magical practitioners seek and develop their skills and apply them to their own ceremonies. The theatrical renditions of romanticised ancient oracles have inspired a new generation of practitioners who are more actively seeking to access the knowledge and skills necessary to speak as oracles for the Gods and to deliver meaningful prophecies for magical, mundane and spiritual purposes. During this presentation, I will be sharing not only some of my research into the fascinating world of the historical Sibyls such as the Sibyl of Cumae and the Pythia of Delphi but also some of my own experience and insights gained during around twenty of years of practical experimentation and practice.