A Halloween Message from Zeena:
In various Vedic, Mahayana and Vajrayana schools of Buddhism, the intermediate, transitional, or liminal state between death and rebirth is known as the Bardo. There are also several other kinds of Bardo states. But for the purposes of this Halloween message, let's take a moment this weekend, transitioning from October to November, to focus on the symbolism of the Bardo of death as we enter the month most associated with death.
Whether it's Halloween, Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), All Saints' Day (La Festa di Ognissanti ; Allerheiligen) or All Souls' Day (Giorno dei Morti; Allerseelen), in general the entire month of November is the seasonal change into darkness, when harvesting is finished, accounts settled, supplies and necessities stored for winter, and when visits to cemeteries and liturgies to the deceased are performed.
With these thoughts in mind, I send out heartfelt blessings of the season, that you may have positive connections with the dearly departed beings (humans and animals) who have touched your life in meaningful and profound ways. Think loving thoughts to them and remember that everything in this life is impermanent, beginning from the moment we're born. So value the preciousness of all that you have - in this moment, while you have it - so that you have no regrets or sadness once it has passed.
Relevant to theme, I'm sharing a lovely video clip I recently discovered - a most noble goodbye to a stalwart Jack-o'-lantern, by Joe Pera (please watch til the end; it's only 2½ minutes!).
The Zaum of Zeena: A Collection of Interviews, Essays, Quotes and Images by Zeena Schreck, edited by Frank Haines, is a monograph originally presented as an art zine at the 10th NY Art Book Fair, at MOMA/PS1, Sept. 17-20, 2015. The limited first edition of 50 sold out immediately. The 2nd edition in zine format, also sold out years ago. Many requests for a reprint inspired this new 3rd edition - now in high quality softcover book format, also offered with autograph option on this site.
Review excerpt by Luca Piccolo:
"[...] in order to have [a] kind of transcendental experience from a work of art, one needs to develop and learn how to use one's sensory perception in a most supernatural way. Therefore, in the case of Zeena's work, we can only begin to understand the deeper dimensions of her art and music, which are so closely linked to her spiritual path, by developing our own senses and spiritual awareness. We might then come to understand how it is that her creations are "a non-verbal, trans-rational branch of her spiritual teaching." In fact, this is the main theme of the first interview in this book, which happens to be my own interview with Zeena, originally published in WSF (online Italian art journal)."
Review excerpt by Nicholas Diak: "One of the standout qualities of iconic individuals in the post-industrial underground is their ability to be successful in a variety of mediums. The subject matter they explore—occultism, history, literature, magic, criminals, film, Grail studies, taboo topics, etc.—crops up in their songs, short films, books, poetry, art, photography, and a plethora of other outlets. Correlating such output is a daunting task. [...]Zeena Schreck is a multi-media artist, writer, musician famous for Radio Werewolf, and a Tantric Buddhist whose artistic output spans decades. Her newest literary offering is The Zaum of Zeena, a softcover that straddles the zine/book format debuted at the tenth annual New York Art Book Fair at the MoMA PS2 this past September. The alliteration in the title is a re-appropriation of a term for a Russian art movement during World War I that encompassed many fields. In the case of The Zaum of Zeena “zaum” is being used as an umbrella term for Schreck’s many endeavors that are showcased in the book.
To order click here: The Zaum of Zeena
Celebrating Animal Rights Activist Brigitte Bardot's Birthday Today: Message and biographical archival material from Zeena
In a clandestine operation on the Full Moon, February 28 of 1991, eighty Mongolian wolves were freed from a fur farm in Hungary and transported by the Brigitte Bardot Foundation to safe refuge in France. I was among the volunteers who cared for the wolves during their overnight stay at the Salzburg Zoo.
Only two weeks after that wolf rescue, there was an editorial in The European newspaper glorifying the glamour of celebrities who die young, while at the same time decrying likes of Brigitte Bardot as a bitter old has-been, animal rights nut-case (presumably because she didn't kick the bucket prematurely, like the other youthfully deceased celebrities listed in the article). After having witnessed the genuinely selfless efforts by the Bardot Foundation, which made a lasting impression on me, I felt compelled to write a rebuttal (a scan of the original letter is at the end of this post).
Bardot had long been an inspiration to me; a woman with principles and compassion who turned her back on celebrity status to focus on animal liberation. The journalist's name has been removed. However, my respect for Mme. Bardot and the sentiments expressed in my letter remain as strong if not stronger today.
The below quote describes the moment Bardot knew what her life's mission was to be:
„Durante un film, sul set c'era una capretta. La proprietaria mi ha detto 'si sbrighi a finire la sua scena, perché domenica è la comunione di mio nipote e dobbiamo farla allo spiedo'. Ho comprato la bestiola e l'ho portata con me, attaccata a una corda, nell'hotel a cinque stelle. Me la sono portata in camera, che scandalo. Quel giorno ho preso la decisione di smettere con il cinema e di aiutare gli animali. Era il giugno 1973, avevo 38 anni.“. --Brigitte Bardot
To an amazingly strong and dignified woman who has survived many storms and saved many sentient beings' lives: May she have the very best of birthdays!
-Om Mani Padme Hum-
Note: More about the wolf rescue is in BEATDOM #11: The Nature Issue
In the Sethian Liberation Movement, the birth of the ancient Egyptian deity Seth/Sutekh is celebrated annually for a thirteen day cycle between 16th-29th of July. To mark the conclusion, Zeena releases two additional new designs to her Magic and Mysticism apparel collection. Descriptions below! You can also check them out on our new Etsy shop!
This design by Zeena incorporates a rare ancient Graeco-Egyptian depiction of the god Seth in warrior pose with the head of a donkey and two serpentine legs, bare-chested wearing a fustanella and brandishing dagger and shield. This is perhaps the clearest example of the Seth-Typhon-Abraxas merging of iconography, mysticism and ritual traditions from the Graeco-Egyptian magical gnostic era approximately 2,000 years ago. The background is an invocation comprised of an unbroken stream of the barbarous names of Seth.
Ready - Set - Go!
In Honor of Today's Nativity of Seth, Zeena Shares Personally Crafted Sethian Talisman on New Apparel!
In the ancient Egyptian calendar, the third epagomenal day of the year - the equivalent to July 16th of our current Gregorian calendar - was celebrated as the birthdate of the most powerful of all deities Seth/Sutekh. Today we celebrate with the unveiling of a Sethian talisman created by Zeena (Hemet-neter tepi-Seth) especially for the Nativity of Seth. Made in the ancient magical spellcasting tradition during a trance-meditation state, the original of this Sethian talisman is designed and hand-inked on virgin linen with the prescribed religious ointments. Zeena now shares the magical working on a new apparel item so that like-minded spiritual practitioners may benefit from it and writes:
"The graphic incorporates two glyphs representing the ancient Egyptian god Seth in his zoomorphic canine-like form and as the ancient Egyptian symbol for His name, which is also the symbol of the Sethian Liberation Movement (SLM).
Encircled by a Sethian incantation text from the Greek Magical Papyri, the letters in spiraling format represent the churning waves and confusion of endless cyclic existence. The words themselves are an invocation for stability within the sea of samsara.
When the talisman is worn over the heart chakra, as it is on this shirt, its intended effect is of an ancient pectoral to calm the heart and promote strength in the central channel and spine, fostering a sense of centeredness within chaos – as with the calm in the eye of the Storm.
And with that, on this sacred day, and always, may you enjoy Happiness and the causes for happiness and Peace in the Eye of the Storm! -SLM-" ~Zeena
To order, visit our new Etsy page!
[posted by Thomas]
“Big Thanks to my dear friend Fabiano Gagliano of the band Sacred Legion for adding me in the acknowledgments of their fantastic new debut album 'Silent Lineage'! At Fabiano's request, both the band name and album title came to me through a divination for the purposes of “christening” the newly formed band. And the rest is history, as they say!
[Scroll down for my review!]
Though 'Silent Lineage' is their first album, these well-seasoned musicians have decades-long experience in previous European-based Deathrock and Punk bands. Specifically, Fabiano Gagliano (also a visual artists) is formerly of Chants of Maldoror, Mirko is formerly of Human Disease, and Tony Volume is formerly of Idol Lips. The lads hail from Italy, yet Gagliano, in keeping with the necromantic and nostalgic themes of the album, conjures vocal qualities of deceased cult singers like Marc Bolan, Syd Barrett and Benjamin Orr. The original music in this album reflects an eclectic mix of '80s genres from deathrock, classic goth-rock and post-punk. Yet the music also hints of '70s influences like glam rock, prog rock, early neo-martial and industrial music with choice bits of sampling from cult films that film buffs will enjoy. The stark and mysterious cover art is Gagliano's creation. All lyrics are contained within the CD booklet. An excellent debut for this great new band!
My best wishes and blessings to all involved!
Check it out at batcaveproductions.bandcamp.com/album/the-silent-lineage
Released by Bat-Cave Productions
Exclusive in-depth seven page interview with Zeena in the April '21 edition of Derailed, a new magazine for cynics, renegades and survivors of the unimaginable, describes the article: "The Artist Discusses Inspiration, Early Life & 'The State of Suchness.'"
"My leaving my birth country wasn't just about my family. It was about the country itself. It's about what I went through with that national witch-hunt, the whole experience." -Zeena Schreck
To read online, go to Featured Story in the April 2021 Issue.
Order the print edition at: www.derailedmagazine.com/
Den of Geek magazine consults Zeena about Tibetan tantric Buddhist practices of astral projection and traveling though netherworlds in relation to the new film 'Insidious,' and its portrayal of a realm called 'The Further'.
Selected excerpts of Zeena's interview below.
The entire article can be read at:
DoG: Among true believers, “the Further” is also called Liṅga Śarīra, Akasha, and prana. But it’s probably best known as the astral plane, a shallow tag in itself.
“The term ‘astral plane’ is a poetic description, at best, or more accurately a misnomer,” says Zeena, a Tibetan tantric Buddhist yogini, and iconic occult authority and artist. “When our consciousness pierces the veil of our ordinary, everyday scope of perception, there are infinite other realities one might experience, not just one ‘astral plane.’”
DoG: In Insidious, the paranormal hunting psychic Elise explains that Dalton is a “traveler,” who was born with the ability to pierce that veil.
“Everybody possesses the potential for astral projection,” Zeena says. “It’s a natural part of being human, just as many other metaphysical or paranormal experiences can naturally occur. But the ability to actualize it is relatively rare, and the effects from the occurrences vary greatly depending on many factors.”
“Astral projection during deep states of unconsciousness like sleeping, fainting, or coma, could be achieved by a master of such techniques,” Zeena says. “For one who’s trained most of their life in the esoteric method of willed astral projection, and has become highly skilled in the ability to focus the mind under all circumstances, then deep states of unconsciousness wouldn’t impede their ability.”
DoG: Zeena confirms people can be guided through the experience, but insists “it’s a very delicate process requiring a qualified teacher from reputable metaphysical lineages that specialize in that. And even then, astral projection, or directing one’s consciousness, is not the main goal, but rather a way to gauge preparedness for more advanced training on the path toward spiritual enlightenment. When done improperly, the results of attempting astral projection simply for experimentation, entertainment, or curiosity can be disastrous.”
DoG: The different practices are often mistakenly considered interchangeable, but are quite different.
“With astral projection, one is sending one’s consciousness–either in part or fully–away from their body to a designated place or realm, in this world or others, for a particular purpose,” Zeena explains. “Remote viewing is when consciousness remains in the body but one can view anywhere else from afar. These two phenomena are also different from the involuntary experience colloquially known as OBE (out of body experiences), which usually spontaneously occurs in conjunction with trauma, near death experiences, or extreme stressors or ecstasy.”
[End of excerpts]
FAQ General Info Letter To People Who Newly Discover Zeena based on outdated, last century interviews with her.
With so much misinformation, disinformation, conspiracies and outdated or vestigial sources saturating the so-called information highway of the Internet, there are always those who discover Zeena from very old interviews found online dating back to the 1980s during the "satanic panic" era in America. Because we get a bit tired of answering the same questions about what is easily found in a couple of seconds' web search, we've compiled a concise general info letter with facts about Zeena's personal and spiritual evolution and current status. For easy reference, this FAQ letter is now a permanent page within Zeena's website. We hope it helps to clarify some things. And if inspires you to unsubscribe, we're happy to have helped you to make that decision too and wish you all the best!
-Thomas M [webmaster]
In 1990, Zeena left the Church of Satan, an organization within which she was raised and groomed to become its High Priestess and first public spokesperson. From 1985 to 1990, she publicly defend her father's organization at his request during the U.S. witch-hunt known as "the Satanic Panic" (a moral panic characterized by allegations of Satanic ritual abuse). Many at the time rhetorically asked Zeena why her father didn't confront his accusers himself. Strong philosophical, ethical and administrative differences grew between Zeena and her father, as well as parental jealousies surrounding renewed attention garnered for the church from the impact of Zeena's media appearances. The final straw precipitating her abdication was her father's threatening her life in the presence of a witness. After this ideological and familial breaking point, Zeena severed ties with her father, publicly exposing him and his organization as fraudulent and hypocritical. Her final ritual of severance from the Church of Satan, on Walpurgisnacht of 1990, sent shockwaves through the occult world that knew her as her father's strongest public defender up to that point. The event was referenced in a 1991 Rolling Stone article by Lawrence Wright who wrote, "Later I learned that earlier in the evening, LaVey's younger daughter had chosen this special day to renounce her father. 'I officially and ritually ended my positions as Church of Satan representative-defender and daughter of Anton LaVey,' Zeena declared in a letter." The ensuing character assassination, spin-doctoring, rumor mongering, and threats from her father's dwindling die-hard supporters continue to this day. Zeena is unfazed, describing LaVeyan Satanism as "Uptight Dark Triad personality disorder ninnies with cosplay and ritual fetishes."
Since leaving the Church of Satan, Zeena also totally rejects, is not a part of, nor condones, any form of Satanism, or western occult trends such as Luciferianism, Crowleyism, Thelema, Chaos Magick, Theosophy, The Golden Dawn, Freemasons, Temple of Set, etc. Her reasons for this disavowal are due to her own life's experience witnessing how and why such pseudo-religious, occult or otherwise hierarchical esoteric groups and practices are not a viable route to freedom, liberation and enlightenment. Her first-hand experience in such groups proved they're just traps, often leading to worse manipulation, abuse, exploitation, mental and physical suffering and decay than conventional religions. Zeena teaches that oppressive religious or ideological zealotry can happen within any system and that the antidote to that is not to flip to the opposite extreme or competitor, in a reactionary maneuver.
After leaving the Church of Satan, Zeena began practicing traditional Indian tantra* (*traditional Indian/Vedic tantra is not to be confused with the degraded Western forms of tantra, called neo-tantra and most often associated with sexual abuse and exploitation; that's not what traditional Indian tantra is.).[*Ref: Zeena's book "Demons of the Flesh", 2002, co-authored with Nikolas Schreck.]
Within the framework of traditional tantric spiritual practices, Zeena was initiated specifically into the Kali-Shakti practices. These practices led her to discover, evolve, and formally convert to Tibetan Buddhism, in the Drikung Kagyu, Karma Kagyu and Nyingma lineages.
As a yogini, Zeena has taken full Bodhisattva vows and completed the traditional Tibetan tantric Buddhist three year retreat training (i.e., initiation and practices which include Vajrayogini, the Six Yogas of Naropa and Mahamudra). She is an established religious teacher in the field of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism and of Mahamudra and Karma yoga meditation. She teaches Buddhist philosophy and meditation techniques at the longest standing Buddhist center in Berlin, Germany (BGB) as well as giving lectures, seminars, workshops, instruction in ritual practices, private coaching, and spiritual counseling on these topics. She also takes regular retreats to deepen and master her ongoing practices.
In 2015, Zeena and her former husband Nikolas Schreck divorced, also ending their collaborative work, and they now live totally separate lives. However, Zeena chose to keep her married name stating that she would not reinstate her born surname (LaVey) "due to the heavy weight of negative karma that travels with it."
If one only knows her from her 20th century U.S. interviews while defending her father's religion during the heat of a national moral-fundamentalist hysteria, it's important to understand that Zeena was never against Christianity, or any religion. She was and is against ignorance and closed-mindedness - including ignorant Satanists and closed-minded occultists. Zeena is apolitical and believes in freedom of religion, choice and lifestyle for everyone. She also feels that ones religion should be their own private business just as politics, sexual orientation or any other personal preferences should be. So, whatever her religion is - or has been - it should not be confused with her profession and career which is that of artist, musician and writer.
For more about Zeena's disavowal of Satanism and her life in the last 30+ years, please refer to these links:
Wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeena_Schreck
Zeena's Teachings Page: https://www.zeenaschreck.com/teachings.html
Interview for VICE magazine describing her rejection of Satanism http://www.vice.com/read/beelzebubs-daughter-0000175-v19n4
Zeena's YouTube Channel with recent interviews: http://www.youtube.com/user/ZeenaSchreckOfficial
[Last updated: 13 March, 2021]
Big thanks to author and industrial music scholar Nicholas Diak for his great review of Zeena's Bring Me the Head of F.W. Murnau in the latest issue of Exotica Moderna. Fans of Exotica-Industrial mixes will especially appreciate his take on Zeena's 'Tabu' track:
“Bring Me the Head of F.W. Murnau (BMTHOFWM) is the debut studio release of multimedia artist Zeena Schreck. Created in response to the theft of the skull of German director Murnau, that made the news back in 2015, BMTHOFWM is a concept EP that dives into the world of Murnau, his films and his legacy. The release proper is mostly spoken word recitations of Murnau's letters and film intertitles (such as those from his most renowned film, Nosferatu), over field recordings and minimalist industrial pulses.
Schreck's EP is of interest for fans of exotica for her track Tabu, which is an homage to Murnau's final film, Tabu: A Story of the South Seas, from 1931.
The track begins with some old school industrial clangs and beats before it transitions to Schreck reading text from the film as the music eases into a subdued form of primitive exotica with shakers and primal drumming that evokes the likes of Martin Denny and Les Baxter. BMTHOFWM is a niche release, but it situates itself at that interesting pop culture intersection of silent film appreciation and aesthetics to the realm of Tiki and exotica. It is an excellent CD for collectors who indulge in exploring the newer forms of exotica.”
- Nicholas Diak
Bring Me the Head of F.W. Murnau CD Available on this site: HERE
Or download at Bandcamp digital download* [*This Friday Feb 5, Bandcamp will again waive it's revenue share!]
Exotica Moderna is a quarterly publication showcasing the latest in tiki art and culture published by House of Tabu.
Below: A page capture of Nicholas Diak's review of Bring Me the Head of F.W. Murnau in Exotica Moderne #10
The title of this post, "Last Day of a Bummer Year" is a reference to the below 1988 letter to me from my godfather Kenneth Anger, penned on his personal stationery bearing beautifully intricate artwork by Bobby Beausoleil.
If '88 was "A Bummer Year", then thirty-two years later, as we come to the end of 2020, how should we classify this year? Surely Kenneth, and most of us, will be happy to see the door shut on this year.
Whatever your usual New Year's Eve celebrations, most everyone throughout the world will be having a quiet, lockdown New Year's Eve this year. There are myriad self-help articles and endless updates on every platform about the pandemic and how to deal with it in practical medical and psychological ways. I don't have anything to add to all of that, on that level.
I know many who have lost loved ones this year, not only to Coronavirus but countless other ways. Many are feeling grief, pain and sorrow because they couldn't see their loved ones one last time before they passed. Others have been separated from family, friends or partners, unable to travel due to quarantine or lockdowns. In times like this, it's important to remember that we're never truly separated from the mind streams of those we love, not even after physical death. If you consider yourself a true mystic, magician or spiritual being of any kind, it's important to develop the mind, and the ability to focus, so that we may connect with those we've lost or are unable to physically be with.
This WWII song "We'll Meet Again," sung by Vera Lynn who died this year at the age of 103 years shortly after the first lockdown, is as relevant to our feelings of loss and disconnect in the current world-wide situation today as it was eighty years ago.
I extend my wishes and prayers that all of you stay physically and mentally healthy, that you have strength to get through these difficult temporary times and that you try to do whatever possible to generate loving-kindness, joyfulness and life affirming thoughts for yourselves and others. Try to not spend too much time taking in disaster oriented news but do stay connected to animals, nature and real-life offline experiences within your immediate environment. It is more important to stay grounded and compassionate than hateful, divisive and accusatory, which doesn't help to heal anything. If we remember that everyone is experiencing their own pain and suffering through all of this, and their own experiences of Impermanence, we can hopefully try to remain calm if and when heated and stressful situations arise.
My thoughts and blessings for a strong and healthy New Year 2021 are with you all. Through the power of our combined magic and prayers, may we see positive changes in the year to come!
I close now with the closing words from Kenneth Anger's above letter to me, "Keep Well" !
Om Mani Padme Hum & SLM
Medicine Buddha mantra blessings to anyone ill or experiencing mental and psychic disturbances, also for the wellbeing of all animals:
Tayatha Om Bekandze Bekandze Maha Bekandze Radza Samudgate Soha
Amitabha Buddha mantra blessings, for those who've passed this year:
Om Ami Dewa Hri
For Black Friday weekend beginning now until Nov. 30Th, get a 20% discount on all Featured Products on this site and at Zeena's Bandcamp site.
Use this discount coupon: Blackweekend20 when ordering! Good on all music, new products, apparel, limited editions and vintage items!
The Blessed Beasts 2021 calendar is now almost completely sold out (only 16 left). Grab one while you can and don't forget to use the discount code: Blackweekend20
*Personalize autograph option for you and your animal companions also offered.
Only a few left of the signed & numbered collector's edition CDs (comes with download code and extras).
*The 20% discount coupon Blackweekend20 also applies to Bandcamp digital downloads.
Click on: 'Bring Me the Head of F.W. Murnau'
Our other top selling items listed below; click the image to order or visit Featured Products on this site for many more selections!
Visit Featured Products for more items!
For some musicians it's Halloween everyday. This is certainly true of musical artist King Dude (TJ Cowgill). Below, a message from Zeena about being the inspiration for this song, along with description & order info from the distributor, Tesco's, webpage.
"I was so happy and very honored when my dear friend TJ Cowgill (aka, King Dude) recently told me that a reminiscence I'd related to him on one of our walks in Berlin's Grunewald forest sparked the inspiration for his newest release, the 7" vinyl single, "I Was Evil".
While I don't seriously believe in dualistic labels like "good" and "evil", it was said in a humorous way and from that fleeting comment, a truly beautiful song written by King Dude, with vocals by the hauntingly velvet voiced Katrin (of the band AWEN), has emerged!
To all involved in its creation and production, I wish all the best for its success and send forth the ancient magical formula of Lord Sutekh:
"Life, Health, Strength and Happiness!"
Description/Beschreibung:STRICTLY LIMITED COLLECTOR’S VINYL EDITION OF THE COOPERATION BETWEEN KING DUDE AND AWEN.
TJ Cowgill (KING DUDE) and Erin Powell (AWEN):
Two American friends having a long conversation over whiskey and nicotine on a balmy Texas evening before a King Dude performance in Dallas, Texas. At one point TJ relays a story told to him by Zeena Schreck (née LaVey) wherein she could have effected some malice but on a whim decided not to, adding ‘but, that was back when I was evil’. That sentence was a springboard for a song idea.
The two projects came together to collaborate on this powerful 7” release “I Was Evil”, featuring the tracks “I Was Evil”, backed with “Sanctioned”!
“I Was Evil” features Katrin of AWEN’s vocal performance that is at the same time vulnerable yet formidable against the majestic and crepuscular music that KING DUDE fans have come to expect and love.
TESCO ORDER PAGE
Tony Sokol at The Chiseler Online Magazine interviews Zeena about her memories of actor Christopher Lee:
The interdisciplinary avant garde artist spoke exclusively with the Chiseler about the legendary actor.
Zeena “met Christopher Lee as a result of being co-producer for the CD ‘Christopher Lee Sings Devils Rogues and other Villians.’ Specifically, I first met him at the apartment in Los Angeles that [former husband] Nikolas and I rented for him and his wife Gitte to stay in while we worked on the recording of ‘Christopher Lee Sings Devils Rogues and other Villains.’ ”
Long before Lee recorded with the symphonic power metal group Rhapsody of Fire, he was involved with “Christopher Lee Sings Devils, Rogues & Other Villains (From Broadway To Bayreuth And Beyond).“
“Nikolas knew of Lee’s love of classical music, opera and Broadway musicals. But at that time, the general public only knew Lee for his vampire roles and had little awareness of his musical talent and appreciation,” Zeena explained.
Lee maintained that his one regret was his decision not to become an opera singer.
“Nikolas conceived of the idea to spotlight Christopher Lee’s considerable singing talents,” Zeena said. “But he knew that to do that effectively, such a project would need to focus on musical selections one would automatically think of Lee singing, appropriately sinister villainous characters from Opera and musicals.
“Lee was very enthusiastic at the proposal. So it was through helping Nikolas with the planning, production and coordinating of that project that I got to know Christopher. We recorded it at a studio in Crossroads of the World in Los Angeles. A considerable amount of work and expense went into finding suitable, classically trained musicians and a musical director (Dean Shepherd, who was fantastic) who had the right skills and temperament to work well with Lee.”
The friendship endured long after the work was completed.
“We stayed in contact throughout the years following that album,” she said. “We’d see him whenever he was in Berlin for the Berlin Film Festival and the ‘Cinema for Peace’ benefit.”
“It goes without saying that Christopher was a very colorful person,” Zeena said. “But for me, the most interesting conversations with him revolved around his descriptions of his WWII work as a British Intelligence officer. He talked about parachuting into German enemy Waffen SS camps and, well, he did what the British government trained him to do, which was not pretty.”
“I got the impression he was still rather haunted, even decades later, by some of his experiences during the war. Even though he believed that what he did was for virtuous and just reasons,” she added.
“He definitely had an interest in magic beyond the roles he played,” Zeena said. “But we need to make a distinction between 'interest’ and 'involvement.’ He had no first-hand involvement in any magical, occult or satanic groups and even declined direct invitations from such groups.
“He liked horror fiction of authors like H.P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker, Algernon Blackwood, etc. But that was purely a literary appreciation. He also had an interest in John Dee, The Golden Dawn and other 19th and early 20th century magical groups,” she explained.
“However, it should be stated that Lee had an interest in a wide variety of eclectic subjects, which had nothing to do with occultism. He was simply very well-read and inquisitive by nature,” she added.
Lee was in the enviable position to be able to satisfy his many curiosities.
“As a result of his years in British intelligence, he’d known figures like Dennis Wheatley, his cousin Ian Fleming, etc., and had heard of their experiences with Aleister Crowley. In fact he was lifelong friends with Dennis Wheatley and agreed with Wheatley’s views on the occult. But their friendship grew out of their mutual intelligence work, not because of occult or magical interests.
Christopher Lee was instrumental in getting Wheatley works to film. Wheatley’s The Forbidden Territory was made into a movie starring Ronald Squire as Sir Charles rather than Duke de Richleau in 1934.
“It was Lee who convinced Hammer films to buy the rights to Wheatley’s books for the films he would star in,” Zeena said. “But it should be clarified that Lee was very dismissive and wary of occultists, black magicians or satanists.”
During Zeena’s involvement in the Lee album, she had the opportunity to ask Lee about the rumor that her father knew Christopher Lee.
“When Nikolas and I got to know Lee, we were able to discuss this rumor with him in detail,” Zeena said. “Both Lee and his wife Gitte refuted the rumor vehemently. Lee explained that, as a result of working on the U.S. TV movie Poor Devil, with Sammy Davis, Jr. (who became a Priest in the Church of Satan), Davis tried to ingratiate Lee into accepting an invitation at the behest of my father, offering Lee a copy of The Satanic Bible, personally inscribed and signed by my father.
“Lee still had the book in his collection and, on one of Nikolas’s visits to London for preparations of the CD, Lee showed Nikolas the book referring to it as a cheap paperback from the '60s witchcraft fads. Lee didn’t take it at all seriously,” Zeena said. “His wife Gitte recalled another time they visited Sammy and his wife Altovise in Los Angeles, when again Sammy tried to serve as middle-man between Dracula and the Black Pope, and again to no avail.
“Lee had no interest. He said Sammy was nuts about my father but Lee saw my father as a 'Johnny-come-lately opportunist and con-man’ within the occult. Lee expressed that he had no intention of ever meeting LaVey. Then, Lee pointedly looked me in the eye and said 'I’m very glad that you had the sense to get out of all of that destructive rubbish,' expounding on what he called 'the ruinous effects of that type of belief system.' ” she concluded.
The levelheaded enchantress also got to see the work that went into his actor’s preparation.
“Lee took personal responsibility to research his roles, to learn what he could about the characters and the historical context, in order to bring a more believable performance to each character,” Zeena said. “His interest in devilish and monstrous roles was purely a matter of aesthetics and literary appreciation - but not at all a personal lifestyle.
“I think he considered the villainous roles he played as having allegorical and moral significance. Sort of like morality tales for a new generation. I don’t think he expected to actually inspire people to want to become the characters he played. He was part Italian and had a very strong sense of religious moral ethics. So even though he befriended Wheatley and personally researched the villainous roles he would play, it was really out of a dedication to portray those roles in as real a way as possible, to understand those characters from their own points of view and to make them believable,” she said.
[End of excerpts]*
*THERE'S EVEN MORE TO THIS ARTICLE - READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE
Originally posted to Chiseler on June 9, 2015
In the run-up to Halloween, we're re-posting some of Zeena's past Samhain-specific articles and vintage pictures. This first installment is from Zeena's VICE Magazine column titled, "Halloween in a Satanic Household"
To the article:
"As I write this, I'm already decked out in orange and black apparel in preparation for the most wonderful holiday of the year. I'm happy Berlin's finally caught up to the joys of that kooky American custom Samhain, because for the first quarter century of my life, back when I was the devil's defender, Halloween wasn't the fun and merriment it was for many others.
Statistically, crime rates rise on Halloween night, so you can imagine the kind of mayhem the HQ of the Church of Satan—a black house centered in one of San Francisco's most conservative, pastel-lined districts—invited upon itself. Early 70s San Francisco was hit by a steep spike in the crime rate, with a special twist of Barbary Coast weirdness added by such local lunatics as the Zodiac Killer, who brought fear into the city even when it wasn't Halloween.
My parents didn't allow my friends to visit our house—my daily routine consisted of coming home from school, checking in for headcount, immediately escaping to a friend's house or going out alone to play, then reporting back for dinner at our kitchen's grim mess hall before bed check.
You might expect that this drill would be different on Halloween in the most celebrated Satanic household of the 70s, but Halloween was the same old same old. Rituals were only held for the rubes—no special ceremonies necessary for family, who were all a part of Chez LaVey's mitt-camp (criminal fortune-telling rings of the carnival). We didn't spend Halloween celebrating spooky self-indulgence. We spent the harrowing night warding off the many thrill seekers who picked our infamous dwelling as the perfect target-practice for Halloween vandalism. It was bad enough this was a problem every night of the year, but on Halloween it was guaranteed that maniacs would use our house for even more imaginative drive-bys.
Like a Dickensian feral child, I always found other neighborhood kids whose parents let me tag along on Halloween nights, to make sure I was safe.
When I was eight years old, I thought I had my Halloween strategy all worked out. One of my best friends, Frankie, a Chinese boy with a Siamese cat named Mamacita, persuaded his father to take us trick-or-treating. Frankie would dress as Batman, and I would dress as Catwoman. We spent weeks preparing for Halloween, ardently studying Batman reruns, learning our lines, staging dress rehearsals, and getting all our gear in order for the big day.
Frankie and I had a lot of adventures together, encouraging each other into mischief. One day when I showed up for our Halloween training, Frankie was particularly excited about something. In hushed tones, he said he had something to show me. We went into his parents' room, and as he pulled a cardboard box from under his father's bed, he enthusiastically told me, “I found a Q-U-I and other cool magazines! You won't believe it!”
What the hell is he talking about? “What's a Q-U-I?” I asked.
“You know,” he said, “magazines for men!”
Oh! Just as my eye landed on the title, it hit me, “You mean Oui! Sure, I know Oui. My father's got tons those kinds of magazines.” (Frankie misread the title of the October '72 premiere issue as beginning with a “Q.”)
Okay. So soft-core porn was a big news to Frankie, but it was small potatoes to me, considering I belonged to a family who first come to prominence having salacious rites covered in porn rags. Cute, I thought. But let's get back to Batman. So we didn't give it much more thought about the magazines... until the big day.
Halloween night 1972: I methodically got all decked out in my sexy hand-me-down black leotard, tights and turtleneck sweater. Applied my whiskers, tail, and cat ears. Added some Julie Newmar eyebrow pencil and super sneaky-silent ballet slippers for paws.
Every good little ghoul knew it was bad luck to begin trick-or-treating before sundown. But by 5 PM, I couldn't contain myself any longer. I bolted out of that black house like a cat out of hell. Pillowcase in hand, I charged over to the corner grocery store where Frankie lived in the upstairs flat. After a while, I banged impatiently on his door. I could hear Frankie padding down the stairs. Good! I thought. Now we're getting somewhere!
When Frankie opened the door, NOT in Batcostume, my heart sank. What happened? Frankie simply said, “I can't go with you tonight. My father found out about the Q-U-I,” and then shut the door.
To keep San Francisco safe, Catwoman prowled the darkened streets without the Caped Crusader. I spent a very scary couple of hours stalking the avenues alone, ardently fulfilling my Halloween vow: Give me trick-or-treat or give me death.
That Halloween night abruptly came to an end when I knew I'd gone to the wrong house. I ascended the stairwell to a flat absent of festive Halloween decorations, but took my chances ringing the bell in pursuit of one last Snickers bar or pack of Fizzies. The creepy, disheveled occupant looked at me like a trap-door spider looking at its prey.
He grinned with an unfriendly smile and said, “What do you want?”
Immediately, I realized I'd come to the wrong door. I made something up about confusing the house with my friend's and pivoted to leave. But he grabbed my arm and said, “That's okay, I don't have any candy, but you can come in, and I'm sure I can find something.” In a nanosecond, the survival fear-reflex propelled me down the stairs and straight home.
Just one of many close calls in my life. But as you can see by the photo of the booty I plundered, my rat Orwell was happy I returned home safely.
After renouncing Satanism in 1990, in favor of sharing life with more considerate and generous entities, I'm freed up to fully enjoy Halloween as I never could when I served in defense of an ungrateful devil." --Zeena Schreck
Posted to VICE magazine website on October 26, 2013, 3:00pm at: https://www.vice.com/en/article/4w7dg3/halloween-in-a-satanic-household