As we're upon the The Witching Hour of Walpurgisnacht, I'm sharing how I celebrated this holiday twenty-eight years ago in the Harz Mountains of Germany. Filmed in 1992, this footage is of the first public Walpurgisnacht festival after decades of being banned by the former DDR. The footage is from my film 'Germania: The Theory of Ruins'. Some described this scene as eerily reminiscent of the Danish silent classic 'Häxan', but in color.
While this world-wide pandemic has had varying effects on everyone, and public events must now be cancelled, we can take heart in the fact that for many years, many people weren't able to partake in the sort of celebration shown in this video. If they were able to maintain a continuum to their spiritual roots and folk traditions, even if practicing privately, certainly we too can find ways of making the best of this holiday.
Whatever you do tonight, worldly or other-worldly,
may you have a very wonderful Walpurgisnacht and May Day!
Many blessings and stay well!
Walpurgisnacht 1992 is an excerpt from the Originally titled GERMANIA: The Theory of Ruins, A Film by Zeena Schreck.
In 1992, during a pilgrimage to several Germanic pagan holy sites, Zeena filmed scenes at the first publicly organized Walpurgisnacht celebration in the Harz Mountains since WWII. In an attempt to remove all traces of religion, including pre-Christian Germanic pagan customs, from the East German Democratic Republic (DDR), public Walpurgisnacht celebrations were banned. Therefore, this footage is a pure document of the people in the Harz region of Germany - the original birthplace of Walpurgisnacht - reviving a long lost tradition, pieced together from scraps of relics and memories from the elders of their community.
An exhibit in the Walpurgishalle was held that year to display Walpurgisnacht folk costumes and decorations which had been gathered from cellars and attics, unused for decades.
The twilight performance footage seen here was held at the outdoor theater, Das Harzer Bergtheater, on the Hexentanzplatz.
From these modest beginnings, the Harz Region now enjoys a thriving tourist industry dedicated to the magnificent Walpurgisnacht festivals they host every year. For information visit www.harzinfo.de
Music in this video is Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Op. 60, Ouvertüre: I. Das schlechte Wetter (Bad Weather) by Felix Mendelssohn. Performed by Kurt Masur, Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Video footage copyright Zeena Schreck 1992/2020
All rights reserved.
[Scroll down to see a personal message from Zeena.]
Those who pre-ordered the digital EP from Bandcamp, check your email as you'll receive the new release via download link that's been sent directly to you. Those who pre-ordered the limited edition, signed and numbered physical CD, your orders were sent as soon as they came in; you should have them any day (if you haven't already).
There are still some limited, signed & numbered CDs available HERE!
You can sample tracks on the Zeena Scheck Bandcamp site at:
FOR REVIEW COPIES of the physical CD and/or Interview requests to Zeena, please write to: email@example.com
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A Message from Zeena:
"My heartfelt thanks to all you sweet, kind patrons of the arts who already pre-ordered my debut solo EP! I recognize so many of your names and have wonderful memories of your kind support over the years! Honored to have such a wonderful, eclectic following of alternative music aficionados. It's thanks to people like you who keep independent art and artists going! Some of the initial impressions shared with me have given me such joy and even greater, creative inspiration! By all means, feel free to post your impressions of my new CD publicly too - in comments below or anywhere on my online sites!
Thank you again and may the light of the Morning Star shine brightly upon all of your paths toward Liberation and Enlightenment!"
A personal message from Zeena:
I'd like to share an important three-part film project, which I endorse, called "Women vs. Warlords". The film aims to bring greater world-wide awareness of the struggles and oppression of Afghani women under the current Taliban rule. The most urgent goal right now is for filmmakers Diarmuid Brannick (Co-ordinator) and Tim Hood (Camera Operator, Director) to get into Afghanistan next week to interview Malalai Joya, activist for women's education and literacy in that country. An extremely risky undertaking as Malalai Joya has suffered assassination attempts; a risk which could extend to Western filmmakers attempting to reveal the current plight of women in Afghanistan.
My reasons for endorsing this project:
The Afghanistan region gave birth to the origins of Tibetan tantric Buddhism as we know it today; a religion of peace, loving-kindness and in particular, reverence for the feminine principle within the mystical practices of tantric Buddhism.
Prior to the Islamic conquest of Afghanistan between the 7th to the 10th centuries, Buddhism was a major religion in the region. Around the beginning of the 21st century, among other oppressive and destructive actions, the Taliban destroyed two of the largest and oldest Buddha statues in existence, dating back to the 6th century, C.E., a blatant display of disregard for world protests and world heritage sites.
The Buddhist Master Padmasambhava (or Guru Rinpoche) was born in the 8th century in South West Odiyana, also known as Lake Danakosha, located on the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier. Padmasambhava brought tantric Buddhism from this region to Tibet and as a result Tibetans consider him “the second Buddha” to the Buddha Shakyamuni. Tibetan Buddhism is one of the few world religions which reveres its female religious leaders, feminine deities, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, dakinis and yoginis equally to their male counterparts.
As a Tibetan Buddhist yogini who has been initiated in the mystical practices and teachings originating from this region, I believe that the empowerment of the women of this sacred land to be of utmost importance.
The full description of this ambitious project can be read at THIS LINK.
(An excerpt is posted below.)
If this project moves you as it did me, please consider any donation toward funding - it would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you for taking the time to read this!
OM MANI PADME HUM and Š-L-M
An Excerpt of the Filmmakers' Description:
Today in Afghanistan women are fighting for their lives, for their future, for everything.
We are seeking to send an Irish film crew, 2 people, to Kabul, Afghanistan for 4 days in late December 2019 for the purpose of conducting an extended interview and short film with Malalai Joya, a prominent human rights and literacy activist, who despite assassination attempts and smear campaigns continues to fight for her people.
The interview will be the first in a planned series of feature length interviews with three of Afghanistan's bravest women: Previously mentioned Malalai Joya, Journalist and women’s rights activist Farahnaz Forotan and celebrated educator Dr Sakena Yacoobi.
The focus of these in-depth conversations; the fight for women's rights and the power of literacy in that fight.
By amplifying the voices of these women, starting with Malalai Joya we seek to strengthen their resolve, the resolve of their supporters and share a deeper more intimate insight into their lives.
With the emerging presence of Islamic State in Afghanistan and the US negotiating with the Taliban, supporting, safeguarding and emboldening female leaders in the country is the single most important thing we can possibly do.
Afghanistan is widely considered to be the worst place in the world to be a woman, and is one of the only countries in the world with a higher female suicide rate than male. The situation for some women and girls is so bad they actually set themselves on fire in desperate protest or as means of ending their lives.
Amid government failure, among the fundamentalists, warlords and criminals battling for control and resources, through the years and different phases of dominion, despite widespread unquestioned misogynistic traditional beliefs many ordinary Afghans, especially women have risked their lives to empower their people. They have risked their lives to bring the light of literacy and smash the bonds of subjugation.
Please support us!
Update DECEMBER 16, 2019 by Diarmuid Brannick, Organizer
We have just over €2000 left to raise, all our costs have been brought to bare minimum to make this important project happen. If you can pledge a final donation or know anyone who could, please ask them. €10 or €20 at this point from enough people will make it all possible. Thank you!
Detailed information in this link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/women-v-warlords
The Chiseler Online Magazine interviewed 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 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.
THERE'S MORE TO THE ARTICLE - READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE
Christopher Lee letter from 22nd of July  "Dear Nikolas, First & foremost, my thanks to Zeena for her much appreciated letter & the enclosure of the contact sheets [photos for the CD], most of which are very good. It is good to know that dedication, determination and devotion (the three D's) are still appreciated in the downspiralling & diminishing & destructive (thee more D's) rush of our wretched industry; and that there are still artistic & professional people who understand & support that horribly misused word “Talent.” I greatly enjoyed my sessions & we have indeed created musical history, it was great fun, if at times almost beyond me....I still think you should make the high notes in the Credo sound as good as possible. I don't want to make ugly sounds. Vanity of course. You can use any or all of the pictures included, except those marked with a red X. Obviously the “burnt out” ones will need to be graded, if possible. And you can match the facial expressions to the arias concerned. I would like to have some myself! Best to you both from Gitta & me, Christopher"
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/
An Excerpt from a 1992 film by Zeena Schreck originally titled "GERMANIA: The Theory of Ruins". Filmed 25 years ago today at crossover from Walpurgisnacht to May Day, at the top of the Harz Mountains in Germany, home of the original Walpurgisnacht.
In this clip, the personification of the May Queen ushers in Springtime with a speech of rejuvenation for the Pagan New Year, the day after Walpurgisnacht.
The raw footage of "GERMANIA: The Theory of Ruins" is being digitally rescued from old VHS master tapes for re-release in a series of theme-oriented short films and sound art recordings by Zeena Schreck.
The subject matter will focus on the history of German music, cinema, art, pagan lore, natural landscapes and architecture.
For more info, sign up to the mailing list on this site