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 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
On this day, to commemorate the 100th Armistice Day, Zeena issues a highly personal glimpse into her first hand experiences of death and impermanence. This limited edition 2020 calendar features solemn yet beautiful reminders of Impermanence in its many guises. Whatever your personal battles, great or small, we all experience the same pain, grief and suffering from death, loss and impermanence. Whatever your religion, sexual orientation, race, or political leanings, there is no escaping the one great unifier: Death.
Most prefer to look away from that truth, or conversely attempt to glamorize, parody or mock such uncomfortable realities. Yet this beautifully printed, gallery quality art calendar doesn't pander to the ironic or flippant but looks at the greater meaning of death and impermanence in a compassionate and bare manner.
Each image reveals Zeena's eye for minimalism, composition, symbolism and tableaux. Several of the artist's first-hand experiences from serving as death's midwife to humans and animals are conveyed. April hints at the life-long trauma to civilian children of war in a still life comprised of WWII souvenirs of the boy, Bernd-Peter S., who wrote in his Tagesbuch of the ordeals he and his classmates endured through the end of the war. In March, we see a religious funerary rite for a loyal canine, Manfred. In October the cremation of feline familiar Mephisto, captured on film, through the small cremation viewing hole. July was the birth month of Zeena's friend, the multi talented musician John Murphy; her stark portrait taken shortly before his untimely death. To all the aforementioned Zeena performed traditional Tibetan Buddhist death rites. These and all the other months are visual reminders on the constant, unpredictable and uncontrollable cycles of life and death.
This calendar is printed on fine art quality Premium Paper suitable for cropping and framing after use.
Dimensions: 200x300mm / 8”x11½”
Personalized autograph option available in the drop-down menu at this link:
In today's The Sun, Zeena talks about fabled Jayne Mansfield death curse.
Excerpted: "Artist Zeena, who used to practise magic and is now a Buddhist, claims it was beyond her father’s powers to cause the crash.
She said: 'His curses were fits of anger.
'This needed a focused ritual.'
But she is in no doubt LaVey was a man you would not want to cross.
Zeena, who also knew serial killer Charles Manson, said: “I could deal with Manson in a more rational way than I could with my father.'
The film dwells on LaVey’s kooky TV persona, yet Zeena describes a 'brutal' man who almost killed her mother Diane Hegarty more than once."
Read the whole article here: https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/6230856/jayne-mansfield-satanic-sex-cult-film/
Thanks goes out to author Jamie Mason for posting this very thoughtful message in response to a correspondence he had with Zeena relating to his mother's recent death. Below you will find his kind message, and below that, the letter from Zeena to which he's responding.
If there are any other requests for blessings at next week's Summer Solstice ritual, please write clearly what the blessing is for (i.e., deceased being, or sick person or animal), briefly state what the purpose of the blessing is. They will be added to the ritual.-Om Ami Dewa Hri-
Jamie's message below:
The following is the email from Zeena to Jamie to which he refers:
Sent: Saturday, June 17, 2017 6:30 PM
Subject: Re: Letter to Zeena Schreck [pls. forward]
Thank you for your recent letter. I appreciate your explaining the complicated and challenging upbringing you surely experienced.
For now, because of the timing, I will address the issue which first inspired you to write:
I'm very sorry for what you are experiencing surrounding news of your estranged mother's death (which is now over a month ago) and the accompanying hostility from family.
I understand and empathize with your mixed emotions about your mother's passing, a once in a lifetime experience. Such dysfunctional family situations are especially difficult at the time of death, when unexpected behavior among family inevitably arises and emotions are raw.
Nonetheless, right now, your mother's consciousness is still wandering within the 49 day transition between this life and where she will take form next. Her Bardo phase will end approximately on June 29, so her consciousness is still able to perceive faint traces of this world, and connections to it, albeit it with more difficulty with each passing day.
However, she can still be contacted. So it was very fortunate that you happened to make contact at this time and that the time coincided with this Summer Solstice ritual.
The mother-child bond is very revered within the Tibetan tantric practices and teachings. With applied focus techniques I've learned from my heart lamas (the old-school first-generation of exiled lamas), I will focus especially on the aspect of dissolving the karmic sources of pain and suffering on both of your sides so that there should be no clinging to resentments, animosities or hostilities. Such destructive emotions only cause worse problems for all concerned. There is nothing more she can do to you now. Now you are in a stronger position to be for her what she couldn't be for herself or others.
The part of the ritual where I do the blessings and release for the deceased will occur at roughtly 9:45PM CET, which would be about 12:45PM PST. It would be good if you could simultaneously perform whatever mind clearing meditation that you know, focusing on only peaceful thoughts. If it helps stabilize your visual field, and the mind from wandering, use the support of a white candle flame to gaze upon, allowing yourself to become relaxed within the warmth of the flame for several minutes, keeping the breath even and relaxed.
From that warmth, allow peaceful, loving thoughts to emanate for your mother, visualizing her perfected self, free of the defilements she had in worldly life. Then visualize her being absorbed within the Pure Light, released from cyclic suffering and uncontrollable rebirth. Try to not think but just experience non-judgmental loving-kindness. This is one reason why these practices are called "the Heroic Path." Because to emanate loving-kindness, especially to those who've hurt us most, requires a heroic constitution, carried out from a place of strength, understanding and compassion.
May you have Peace within the Eye of the Storm,
Om Mani Padme Hum
Jamie Mason's books are available online and personal writings on his blog at https://jamiescribbles.wordpress.com/
R.I.P. Jutta Winkelmann, German director, author and 1/2 of the '60s counter-culture creative partnership with photographer & twin sister Gisela Getty, both of whom were and are (respectively) my friends.
Lighting a candle on my shrine tonight for Jutta;
May she quickly reach the Pure Light of Nirvana.
May her loved ones, and everyone, have peace and freedom from the pain and suffering of loss
and this cyclic existence. May they have happiness and the causes of happiness.
OM AMI DEWA HRI
This is Jutta Winkelman's last interview, from three weeks ago, for the German magazine Der Stern,
Below is a short video clip about the two sisters, in English:
"On this darkest night of the year, may all survivors of war and violence be blessed with strength, perseverance, peace and an end to suffering.
May we take a moment of silent contemplation, during our Yuletide festivities, to honor those who have perished as the result of war and mindless violence."
-Zeena Schreck, Winter Solstice 2016
Photo of Gen. George S. Patton's dog, Willie, mourning Patton's death.
"How awful war is. Think of the waste." -Gen. Patton, moments before the car collision in Heidelburg, Germany that ended his life on Dec. 21, 1945.
Zeena and the Admins wish you a very Happy New Year - 2016! To celebrate the transition from this year to the next, Zeena curates a day of programs for New Year's Eve, reflecting the symbolism, reality, speculation and metaphysics of Death.
Tune in to Network Awesome anytime after midnight tonight for an unconventional New Year's Eve fest.
1. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXAMINES WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DIE
Life After Life: What happens when we die? Is there an afterlife? Does consciousness survive physical death? These are some of the most baffling questions known to us
2. Doc - The Tibetan Book of the Dead (2004)
LEONARD COHEN NARRATES A DOC ON AN ESSENTIAL PART OF BUDDHISM, THE BOOK OF THE DEAD
Death is real, it comes without warning and it cannot be escaped. An ancient source of strength and guidance, The Tibetan Book of the Dead remains an essential teaching in the Buddhist cultures of the Himalayas. Narrated by Leonard Cohen, this enlightening two-part series explores the sacred text and boldly visualizes the afterlife according to its profound wisdom.
Part 1: A Way of Life reveals the history of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and examines its traditional use in northern India, as well as its acceptance in Western hospices. Shot over a four-month period, the film contains footage of the rites and liturgies for a deceased Ladakhi elder and includes an interview with the Dalai Lama, who shares his views on the book's meaning and importance.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Part 2 - The Great Liberation), 2004
Part 2: The Great Liberation follows an old lama and his novice monk as they guide a Himalayan villager into the afterlife using readings from The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The soul's 49-day journey towards rebirth is envisioned through actual photography of rarely seen Buddhist rituals, interwoven with groundbreaking animation by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Ishu Patel.
3. The Storyteller: The Soldier and Death (Jim Henson, 1987)
JIM HENSON'S BRILLIANT 1987 SERIES STARRING JOHN HURT IN THE TITLE ROLE
The Soldier and Death
Taken from an early Russian folk tale retold in English by Arthur Ransome and is also inspired by Godfather Death.
A soldier returns home after 20 years of war, with three biscuits in his knapsack. On his way he meets three beggars to whom he gives the biscuits; in return one gives him a ruby whistle, one the jolliest dance, and the final man, who gets the last biscuit despite the soldier being hungry himself, in return gives him a pack of magic playing cards and a musty sack that has the power to trap anything ordered into it. Using the sack, the soldier manages to trap a flock of geese, and so manages to feed himself. Upon arriving at an abandoned castle overrun with small devils, he plays them in a game of cards, winning 40 barrels of gold, and when they try to kill him, he captures them in the sack only letting them go when they promise to never return. He makes one of them swear to serve him and keeps its foot as leverage. Quickly becoming rich and famous because he removed the devils from a palace that is owned by the Tzar, his luck runs short when his son becomes deathly ill. Calling upon the devil, the soldier is given a glass goblet that allows the owner to see Death. If Death is at the foot of the person's bed (as was the case with his son), he or she will recover if sprinkled with water from the goblet. If Death is at the head of the bed, nothing can be done. Then the Tzar becomes ill and the soldier, seeing Death at the head of his bed, makes a bargain with Death: his life in exchange for the Tzar's. Death takes his offer and gives the illness to the soldier, curing the Tzar. Lying in his death bed, he summons Death into his sack, and stops death from happening everywhere. But as time goes on, he sees people everywhere who are waiting for death that will not come. So he frees Death, who fears the soldier and his sack so much that he refuses to take the soldier's life. The soldier, old and weary of life, seeks out a way to die. He travels down to the underworld, forcing the devils at the gates (the same ones from before) to give him two hundred souls and a map to heaven. Terrified of the sack, the devils agree to his demands. Upon reaching the gates of heaven, he asks to be let in with the souls while begging for forgiveness from God, but he is denied by thegatekeeper. He gives the sack to one of the souls, asking the soul to summon him into the sack when he has passed through the gates. But since there is no memory in heaven, the soul forgets and the soldier is condemned to live forever upon the Earth. In closing, the storyteller remarks (with a smile) that the soldier is still probably about his business. As the Storyteller tosses the bag aside, a devil emerges from the bag unnoticed by the Storyteller, but noticed by the dog who dismisses it as his imagination.
4. Doc - The Egyptian Book Of The Dead
A LOOK AT THE SACRED TEXT OF THE EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD
The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian funerary text, used from the beginning of the New Kingdom (around 1550 BCE) to around 50 BCE. The original Egyptian name for the text, transliterated rw nw prt m hrw is translated as "Book of Coming Forth by Day". Another translation would be "Book of emerging forth into the Light". "Book" is the closest term to describe the loose collection of texts consisting of a number of magic spells intended to assist a dead person's journey through the Duat, or underworld, and into the afterlife and written by many priests over a period of about 1000 years.
5. Doc - A Certain Kind Of Death (2003)
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE WITH NO NEXT OF KIN DIE?
Unblinking and unsettling, this documentary lays bare a mysterious process that goes on all around us - what happens to people who die with no next of kin.
Dead bodies in various stages of decomposition are seen, but not played for shock factor. Instead, you learn a little about each person, both what they were before death and what will happen to them afterward. They are followed from the discovery of the body to the final disposition of the remains, and each step in between.
6. Movie - A Matter Of Life And Death (Powell & Pressburger, 1947)
A JAW-DROPPING FANTASY OF A DOWNED PILOT WHO MUST JUSTIFY HIS EXISTENCE TO A HEAVENLY PANEL BECAUSE HE FELL IN LOVE WITH AN AMERICAN GIRL WHEN HE REALLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN DEAD.
Also known as Stairway to Heaven, A Matter of Life and Death is the remarkable British fantasy film that became the surprise hit of 1946. David Niven stars as Peter Carter, a World War II RAF pilot who is forced to bail out of his crippled plane without a parachute. He wakes up to find he has landed on Earth utterly unharmed...which wasn't supposed to happen according to the rules of Heaven. A celestial court argues over whether or not to claim Carter's life or to let him survive to wed his American sweetheart (Kim Hunter). During an operation, in which Carter hovers between life and death, he dreams that his spirit is on trial, with God (Abraham Sofaer) as judge and Carter's recently deceased best friend (Roger Livesey) as defense counsel. The film tries to have it both ways by suggesting that the heavenly scenes are all a product of Carter's imagination, but the audience knows better. Among the curious but effective artistic choices in A Matter of Life and Death was the decision to film the earthbound scenes in Technicolor and the Heaven sequences in black-and-white. The film was a product of the adventuresome team known as "The Archers": Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
posted by: Admin
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"Think of the people in professions who work with death and the dying, including people who kill for a living such as veterinarians who euthanize pets; soldiers; slaughter house employees who prepare animals for mass consumption; executioners in countries that have not abolished the death penalty; insect exterminators; abortionists, etc. This is not a moral judgment but a prayer to those on both sides who suffer the non-virtuous karma of the act and those who are killed. Think of all the different situations where death is surely occurring as you are in seated meditation while conducting your daily prayers. Spend at least a moment each day to contemplate your own death and remember that this life is not solid nor is tomorrow guaranteed. Do not take for granted that you or your loved ones will still be alive tomorrow." --Zeena Schreck
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