Zeena Cover Story in Derailed Magazine:
Since the publication of this extra-long interview with Zeena for Derailed Magazine, many have requested to read it in a more user-friendly format. Specifically, some found the version on the Derailed website difficult to open and navigate to read all the way through whereas some non-native English speakers expressed that they would have liked a way to read the text through translation apps. For those reasons, we're archiving the complete interview text below in this post.
The original full color hardcopy of the magazine (containing visuals not included in this post) is available at: https://www.derailedmagazine.com/april-2021
Many thanks to Daphne Minks Daly at Derailed Magazine for facilitating this in-depth, exclusive interview with Zeena!
[Posted by Thomas]
Eager Student, Humble Teacher
Issue 4, Vol 1 April 2021
Words by Daphne Minks Daly.
All Images copyright Zeena Schreck.
Zeena Schreck has held many titles, avant-garde artist, musician, author, spiritual leader, and High Priestess, to name a few. These days, professionally, she's simply called ZEENA. Of all the monikers she's donned, the one that is truly her most beloved is, of course, that of yogi, or in its feminine form, a yogini. She states, "My life has taken a turn. One where I'm 'becoming.' I'm a yogi that lives out in the forest. I live a solitary existence. And that's somewhat necessary for the kind of spiritual path that I'm on."
Her private existence makes penetrating Zeena's inner circle a difficult but not impossible task. These days, she's kept well-insulated from outsiders, and it's of little wonder why. In the eighties, her father's religious organization was the center of controversy and a worldwide media nightmare, thrusting her already highly publicized family further into the spotlight. Ultimately, at her father's behest, Zeena publicly took up for him and his organization, taking the heat for both while becoming its first public spokesperson.
Although she resigned from her role and severed ties with her father in 1990, many people still mistakenly associate her with events leftover from decades ago. In many ways, the shadows of her past will always be there. In other ways, they're all but a faded memory. Her childhood house, which once stood in San Francisco, California, was demolished in 2001. Known globally as The Black House, the building was, for many, a symbol of opposition and religious freedom. For others, blasphemy, fear, and hatred. But, despite the controversy, for Zeena, it was just home.
Refusing correspondence that addresses her by previous surnames or titles, she has done her best to distance herself from her former identity. A permanent resident of Germany for well over two decades, Zeena says, "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." The former High Priestess affirms, "In the eighties, there were so many factors that came together, that caused good reason to travel a very extreme distance. My mind was made up. And that was it, I just had to get away. And sometimes you have to go very, very far away in order to get your life and head together."
Zeena thoughtfully explains, "I often compare that experience to a branch on a tree. The tree, representing the family, maybe has root rot and it's beginning to reach up through the trunk of the tree as it's growing. The root rot is beginning to infest with parasites and it's actually toxic and rotten. Yet, there are a couple of branches, maybe close to the top or sticking out at the side, that the root rot hasn't reached fully. It's getting close, but if you can snip them off and replant them maybe they've still got enough life in them that the toxic effect hasn't reached them completely."
Continuing, she says, "Snip it off, replant it, get it into healthy soil with some sunlight and nutrients. Then that branch of the tree can grow and get healthy. But first, it has to be separated from the rot. I feel that about my life here in Europe, that I returned home. That I actually was in the wrong place before."
Her artwork speaks to an old soul with an appreciation for German romanticism. Stating that her inspiration comes from a comfortability with solitude and vivid imagination skills, Zeena shares, "As a kid, I was very artistic. I loved artistic expression. I never wanted what was already prefabricated. I never wanted dolls. I hated dolls, in fact." She remarks, "What I really wanted was art supplies. Or... and this may sound weird, but things that were just for 'survival.' One year, I asked for an icebox so I could keep food in my room, to begin learning how to live on my own. I wanted to know how to be utterly, utterly self-sufficient."
I wondered about her childhood and how growing up in The Black House may translate to her art. "Was I ever a child?" Zeena sarcastically asks herself before responding. "I was left for pretty much the whole day, everyday. My sister would be in school and my parents slept through the day. I developed the necessity, but also the ability...well, I mean, I had no other choice than for my imagination and mind to expand," she explains.
Pondering for a moment, Zeena recalls, "Because they slept all day, my mother would leave my breakfast on a chair next to the crib so when I woke up, I could reach out and take it. She used to brag to her friends, 'Oh, Zeena! She's like a little monkey. I have her so well trained, she can feed herself.'"
Clarifying, she says, "My parents were not 'kids' kind of parents, you know? I didn't really spend a bunch of fun time with them, unless it was my birthday, or a holiday or some other reason. Otherwise, I was very much left to my own devices. I developed the ability to entertain myself." Zeena remarks, "My mother didn't know what I was interested in. She was just working all the time. I would only associate quality time with her after a big blowup between my parents."
Her father, she explains, contributed to her interest in art and music a great deal. "In my earliest life, he definitely spent more quality time with me than my mother, with things that interested me. He would play music or after dinner he'd sometimes draw with me and teach me about classical art and music. He hated rock and metal music and gave long diatribes about how stupid it was. So, I was raised with very traditional musical influences. My father's original profession was musician. That's what's written on my birth certificate, as his profession. That's what he did back then," she says, her voice softening.
Zeena then remarks, "I started reading fairly early, thanks to my grandmother. Every weekend, when I went to their house, she would get me a new book from that series, Little Golden Books. The fairy tale books that I was reading, my mind would wander and kind of discover alternate realities." She finishes her thought by sharing, "In my earliest life, my grandparents were that little bit of stability in my life. Because they led a 'normal, regular life.' There were a lot of changes that happened very rapidly throughout those early years. In my life, in my family, and in my household."
When I ask about her experiences attending school, Zeena's gentle but nervous laugh makes another appearance. She replies, "For the longest time, for the life of me, I could never remember my first day of school. But, when I was dealing with issues after leaving my family, I learned some self-hypnosis techniques. I began uncovering a lot of just very mundane, ordinary memories. One of the things I realized was why I couldn't remember my first day of school. It's because I didn't go."
Zeena explains, "My mother wasn't aware that school had started. So, I started late. I'm pretty sure it was a couple of weeks late." She goes on to say, "I spent so much time alone and was not socialized very early in life. It was a big problem when I started school. I was a little like a wild animal. I didn't really know how to behave for school."
Recalling her first day at school, she describes, "All the other kids were already well-trained. The teacher said, 'We're going to get graham crackers before we take a nap.' And everybody got into 'formation,' to get their crackers. I didn't know the concept of science fiction, but it was all just weird!" she laughs. "When the teacher said, 'It's time to take a nap with your head down on the desk,' I wouldn't put my head down. I thought, 'I want to go outside and play!"
She points out, "Of course, given the philosophy that I was raised with...that my parents made clear in interviews, and this is their words, by the way, they raised me 'by the laws of the jungle.'" She explains further, "I was able to be very independent and of course, that made my parents very happy - less work for them. I always kept to myself. I was always a loner. Unfortunately, that made me easy prey to be picked on and taken advantage of in a lot of ways. So, I learned how to fight early too," Zeena says.
"Most of my life I hated school, but it wasn't that I hated learning. It wasn't that I didn't like my teachers. It was just...the problems I had in school because of my parents' notoriety, definitely caused serious problems for me. So, I took the GED to get out early," she shares.
Zeena details, "It wasn't until much later in life that I could unravel how much of my behavior was a reaction to the way I was treated by other kids, and societal influences. And how much was inherent to my natural character." She discloses, "I've always had one or two very close friends, and I'm still that way, actually. I was never one of these girls that had a gang of girls they hung out with or some club at school that was their own clique."
She expands by saying, "The only places I can recall that I felt safe was with a favorite uncle and two particular friends in my neighborhood. I always used to wish that they would just adopt me." With a childlike chuckle, she elaborates, "I was the stray dog at their door at dinner time. Like, 'Can I just kinda hang out here for a while?"
About her childhood friends, she shares, "Their parents were kind enough to give me a little refuge, some shelter, even if just for a few hours, it was enough for me to get a breather." Taking a more serious tone, Zeena says, "Although I, myself was not a victim of parental physical abuse, there are many studies showing the effects of domestic violence between parents on the children."
The artist emphasizes, "Even if the children are not being physically beaten themselves, it's just as damaging. Because they're living in a constant state of anxiety, of never knowing when something's going to blow up or where they stand. The stability of the household is totally shot." In the early years, death threats, nightly vandalism, stalkers waiting outside of the home, and hate mail were common occurrences due to her parents' notoriety. Zeena highlights, "In my case, I not only had violence in the household but violence outside of the household as well. I really had nowhere peaceful."
"I used to feel like a lone wolf or a jungle cat that must fend for itself, like a jaguar," Zeena details. "I had a very strong connection to animals and still do obviously. My connection to other humans was far weaker. It probably still is," Zeena admits. "I so identified with animals. As I said, I was not socialized when I was a kid. But we did have a lot of animals and I was really tightly linked to them. Not only to our animals but to all animals."
Her family's various exotic pets were also the source of another much-publicized debate. Most of the focus was placed on the family's pet lion, Togare. Zeena remembers, "I made a very strong connection with that lion. My grandparents lived a few blocks away from the San Francisco Zoo. And after he was taken there, they took me to visit that lion every single Saturday."
She maintains, "I came to know Togare better than my parents did, after so many years," recalling, "My parents just dropped him there. They never went back to visit him. So, I was visiting regularly, making a shamanic connection. He was my brother. We were both just show-things in my parents world." The avowed vegan and animal rights advocate quickly points out that she doesn't condone keeping wild animals as personal pets.
Expounding on her connection to animals and how it relates to her Tibetan Buddhist practices, a distinct sound of joy lifts in her voice. Zeena explains, "Part of what I teach is healing practices for people's animals." She says, "I really enjoy being able to guide people through certain spiritual practices, who maybe have an elderly or sickly animal. Or if they've just gotten a new baby animal, I teach how to do certain strengthening and longevity practices. Even choosing a name that will be beneficial to the animal is something Buddhism places emphasis on."
Zeena remarks, "I happen to like all creatures, too, even insects that I've never seen before that are kind of creepy looking. I'll have a curiosity and think, 'Wow, that's neat. I wonder what it's thinking right now.' I try to look them in the eye and relate to them on their level." With a tender laugh, she says, "Some people don't respond too favorably when they see that you like singing to an insect, thinking you're a little buggy yourself."
She goes on to explain, "Of course, I know the bug doesn't speak English. But you know what? I also know that if you're in a foreign country and you don't understand the language, but someone's genuinely kind to you, you're going to understand it. You don't need to speak their language."
Zeena shares, "So often, I hear people coming to me saying, 'I'm so lonely.' Especially in these times, with coronavirus, lockdowns, and everything. People are so lonely. Depression and mental illnesses are getting worse because of isolation. I always try to remind them that if they open their mind up to all the life forms around them, visible and non-visible, it's literally impossible to be lonely."
She kindly points out, "There are so many small life forms that you could be devoting your attention to, which could benefit from your positive attention. Just as you're feeling lonely, wishing someone would give you attention, so does that dog sitting next to you, or a spider in your kitchen!" Zeena suggests, "Just talk to them like a normal person talking to another person. They'll feel your intention. They'll feel your kindness. And that whole process transforms you, then you don't feel so lonely."
As a yogini, Zeena instructs students privately, teaching Buddhist philosophy, rituals, meditation, and magic techniques. On a secular level, she offers private life-coaching and spiritual-based counseling to anyone of any religion. Offering lectures, seminars, and workshops to the general public, she believes in the importance of continually learning and challenging the mind. Zeena frequently partakes in solitary Buddhist retreats to expand, deepen and master her own practices.
"I've been teaching since I was 16 years old. Metaphysics and magical sorcery when I was younger. Not so much sorcery anymore," Zeena clarifies, "but teaching spiritual practices and meditation for a very long time." She describes, "The core of my life is maintaining my spiritual practices. Like the hub of a wheel, from which everything else in life expands like the spokes."
Zeena confesses, "Partly my biggest challenge these days, with my own spiritual practices, is compassion for humans. What I mean by that is, to have compassion for humans but not for their disruptive behavior. That is the important distinction." I then inquired about her path toward Buddhism. I wondered what it was that drew her to its time-honored traditions. She replied, "For me, it was the result of several personal tests that I had to go through. My life was changing in such a way that I really needed some spiritual direction of a metaphysical type."
"I was not interested in psychotherapy. I explored that earlier in life. It was as good as it could have been for the people who were providing it," she explains. "But, you know, it just didn't work for me. It was not my solution. I had specific things that I was going through in life." She elaborates by saying, "The advice. The empowerments. The initiations, and training that I've received from my Buddhist teachers awakened the ability to make clear spiritual, metaphysical, and even health-related changes more rapidly than ever before."
Zeena explains, "The compassionate manner, the way they also taught by example, activated deeper understandings about the true nature of the world we live in. About life in general, and about how the mind operates. That proved to me the pure and magical nature of these Tibetan Buddhist practices, which is still a living thing."
She is quick to point out, "As I was undergoing all of these challenges, lessons, training, and initiations this was all interconnected, happening simultaneous to my creating art, which is my profession." However, Zeena notes, "My spiritual life is my private life. It's not an identity. It's just my existence, how I am. It's like saying I have hazel eyes, you know? But I'm not going around saying, 'Hey, you know what? I have hazel eyes!' It's just who I am."
After a short pause, she says, "Buddhism is, in fact, realism. It's neither nihilism nor utopian. The mystical and metaphysical techniques that I use these days are very different from when I was younger." Pausing for a moment, she states, "I suppose that's the process of evolution." Continuing her thought, she reflects, "In recent years, the accumulated effects from decades of meditation and other practices have allowed me to transform the process by which I do my art as well.
"I do much more observing and listening now," Zeena explains. "I take more time to open my mind up and allow what organically comes up without imputing, forcing, or steering a precise meaning or goal onto something." Elaborating further, she relates, "Sometimes, when something I hadn't initially meant to do develops, which is more meaningful than the original plan, I think, 'Yeah, okay. So, this is what I was really meant to do.'"
Zeena tells me, "Observing what naturally arises, it's often not even what is in the forefront that reveals itself as so important, but what's on the periphery or in the background. There are many levels of awareness happening simultaneously." She expounds further, professing, "I have a certain exercise that I guide some of my students through, which I call 'The Incidentals.' The incidentals are not the thing that's in the forefront of your view."
Simplifying, she describes, "If you go to the zoo, for example, you go with the thought in mind that you're going to see tigers, bears, and elephants. The 'big things.' You're not really thinking that there's also going to be city sparrows there. Or a mouse stealing from feed trays. Or, other things like the people working there, who you didn't really pay to see. But they're there, also living beings. They're what I mean by 'the incidentals.' It's what we often overlook." She asserts, "Of course, there's much more to this exercise than only that! But that's how my art is ever more integrated with my spiritual practices."
"Another aspect of artistic inspiration," Zeena says, "is that I'm very drawn to, and had early life experience exploring symbolism and the Symbolist art movement." There's also a vital source of inspiration that comes from her dreams. She explains by saying, "In that sense, I'm influenced by the same things that the Surrealists and Expressionists were. For decades, I kept a dream diary. Although I these days, I don't need to so much anymore."
When it comes to her students, I can't help but wonder how she feels about 'internet followers.' Upon asking her about social media and its role in her life, she candidly replies, "I've never wanted 'followers.' Since the beginning of the internet, I've been against its narcotic effect on people's minds and never wanted anything to do with it." Zeena reveals, "The only reason I opened certain accounts, got a website, and began an online presence at all was because there were so many impostor pages... claiming to be me...even speaking as me at times!"
She continues, affirming, "As for my students, I encourage them to refrain from excessive online use, or to develop mindfulness with how they use it. Set a timer and not go beyond a certain amout of minutes per day. Turn everything off at a certain hour, and do whatever is necessary to not get hooked by the toxic influence."
Zeena advises, "Taking regular digital detox days or weekends is also helpful. Be as vigilant with online use as you'd be entering into a toxic waste dump. We're already navigating through enough illusions in real life. Letting yourself get caught up in even more illusions through virtual reality is beyond illogical, it's insane. I would not be sad if the whole internet just disappeared tomorrow."
Zeena then reflects on a quote she once read in a German magazine. She thoughtfully recalls, "A famous Tibetan Buddhist, The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, was asked if he uses modern conventions like the internet or email. Well, he sort of scoffed and said, 'With whom should I email? The internet only provides the illusion of information. It also creates a lot of confusion.' That quote was such a great little teaching, in and of itself."
She remarks, "It's a very sick society that we're living in now, requiring radical rebellion. This is something I try to impart to people I know." Rhetorically, Zeena asks, "What is radical rebellion?" She responds with, "The way to be radical is to stop a lot of insane mind-damaging behaviors that have become addictions. That's how to become radical."
Explaining further, she says, "Being radical is getting a grip on yourself, on your mind and not being seduced by the newest, latest thing. Not being emotionally dragged down because you think you should be doing whatever your peers are doing. How to be radical in this day and age is to think of the consequences of your actions. That's how you'd be radical. Don't just do things mindlessly and impulsively."
Zeena tells me, "Being radical is stopping destructive, habitual behavior. Don't care about what your neighbors are doing. Don't care about what some politician is doing or saying. Who the hell cares? Care about what you are doing. Care about how compassionate you are to others." She imparts, "A lot of people might think, 'Why should I be compassionate when nobody else is?' Well, when has it ever worked out that two wrongs create a right? Not paying attention or caring about one's own actions and consequences is why the world is in the state it's in."
She highlights, "Get yourself healthy. Get yourself as strong as possible... your body and your mind. This is what's radical. Why is it radical? Because it actually requires more mental strength and discipline than just falling apart every time something offends and having a toddler tantrum." Clarifying her thought, she explains, "We enter life, and we're given these identities from our family, from our society, from our schools. The conditioning comes from both outside of ourselves as well as self-generated."
Zeena says, "Are you going to go into this profession or that profession? What is your identity going to be? What are your politics going to be? What will be your religion? Or no religion? What are you going to do with your life? We place a lot of thought and expectations into 'I'm this,' 'I'm that,' 'I'm not this,' I'm not that.'
She advises, "For those on a true spiritual path, eventually one begins to feel a healthy disgust for all identity labels. You don't want or need them anymore." Expanding further, she explains, "Gradually, all of that begins to drop away. Even your own ideas and definitions gradually dissolve and drop away, so that you don't need to be defined by any comparisons or points of reference."
Zeena concludes by stating, "You become pure existence. You just are. In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a way of describing this. My root Lama, Thrangu Rinpoche, explains it as attaining a state of 'suchness.' Such a beautiful word in its simplicity. 'Suchness.' Pure existence. Not this. Not that. Not both. Not neither. Just relaxing in a pure state of being. Simply being."
Easter with The Count:
Many thanks to Tnopud Salocin for his video mastery, perfectly synchronizing select clips from the classic 1922 Prana-Film* Nosferatu to my tone poems in 'Bring Me the Head of F.W. Murnau.' What better way to enjoy Good Friday and Easter weekend than with a haunting necromantic tale tracing the end of Murnau's life into his afterlife, all choreographed to the visuals of his centenary cinematic masterpiece! Embedded below are each of the videos or watch on auto-play at my YouTube channel.
Many thanks also to all who ordered the premiere 1st edition, signed and numbered series of BMTHOFWM, which are now sold out. More sonic magic is currently in the works!
[Digital downloads at Bandcamp or get the CD HERE]
*Correction made on 29.03.2022 to original text which mistakenly stated production company as 'UFA film.'
[Posted by Thomas]
[Posted by Thomas]
Celebrating the 100 year anniversary of F.W. Murnau's classic film Nosferatu:
Beginning Friday 4th of March, Bandcamp is waiving their artist fees for 24 hours - a perfect time to order Zeena's first solo release, 'Bring Me The Head Of F.W. Murnau: A Ghost Story in Six Acts,' available at Bandcamp in both digital download or in a digipak CD limited edition (including download code).
About the Album:
After a long career in collaborative music activities, this is Zeena Schreck's first entirely solo recording project, placing the collector value of this project in historical context. (To order from Bandcamp, click here or on the picture below.)
Released on March 11, 2020, 'Bring Me The Head Of F.W. Murnau: A Ghost Story in Six Acts,' was inspired by news reports that the director's head had been stolen from his grave in Berlin.
The tone poems in this recording are sonic necromancy, reflecting the transition from the end of Murnau's worldly life to what his disembodied consciousness may have experienced in the afterlife. Many of the intricate sounds heard in these tracks were captured in field recordings at Murnau's former residence in Berlin and at his grave site in Stahnsdorf, Germany.
All music and vocals composed and performed by Zeena Schreck.
Genres: Ambient, Avantgarde, Electroacoustic, Experimental, Minimalism, Sound art, Soundscapes, Tonkunst, Tone poems.
For more details on the backstory, and the making of the recording, here's an in-depth interview with Zeena by Nicholas Diak about this recording.
To order, click the picture below .
[posted by Thomas]
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/
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
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!
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*Personalize autograph option for you and your animal companions also offered.
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To celebrate October World Animal Month*, Zeena honors our non-human companions in a limited edition 2021 photo-art calendar. Vibrant original works for monthly contemplations on themes of animal rights and spiritual liberation.
The calendar is printed on fine art quality premium paper suitable for cropping and framing after use.
Dimensions: 300x200mm / 8”x11½”
Personalized autography option located in the drop-down menu. If you have animals (or a group of animals) for which you'd like Zeena's personalized blessings, simply send your and their (the animals) names to email@example.com to be added to her personalized message. To ORDER click HERE.
To U.S. Customers: If you're ordering this as a gift, please consider that due to severe restrictions on parcels entering the U.S. from overseas, delivery is only allowed via ship and can take up to 8 weeks to reach destination. You will receive an email notification the day your order is sent, with tracking number, so you can follow its status.
Message from Zeena about the calendar below.
*A brief history of World Animal Day (and month) at the end of this post.
Message from Zeena:
“How many of our lives would feel incomplete without our magical familiars, totem animals, or service and emotional support animals? How many of us also feel compassion for the unseen, forgotten, unloved, feral or endangered animals? Within my 'Blessed Beasts' calendar, each tableau reveals the deeper emotional intelligence of the lovely creatures depicted. Sometimes it's in their expression, their body language, a knowing glance or an attitude which conjures a sense of loyalty, companionship, nobility, or wisdom. For pagan and shamanic religions, all animal species have inherent magical powers associated with and symbolizing different aspects of different gods. On the basis of my Tibetan Buddhist yogic training, I patiently develop a rapport with the animals I photograph by chanting specific tantric Buddhist mantras which gradually relax and open the beasts to loving-kindness and the liberating vibrations of these ancient sacred syllables. Hence the title, 'Blessed Beasts.'
In relation to the theme of the 2021 calendar, as well as October being World Animal Month, I ask you to consider donating or volunteering to any animal welfare organizations of your choice (if you don't already). In these difficult times, during the world-wide pandemic and its collateral damage, let's not forget the brave warriors who risk their own safety, health and emotional well-being to continue caring for animals in need. I have my preferred animal aid organizations to which I regularly contribute. But it really doesn't matter whether you do so for a small animal protection group in your own town, or to the neighborhood feral cat lady or bird man who contributes their free time caring for injured and sick wildlife, or whether you choose a reputable international organization – please consider making a donation to help any of them!
For more information on spiritual practices for your animals, including prayers for sick and dying animals, I recommend Lama Zopa's Enlightenment for the Dear Animals website at https://enlightenmentforanimals.org/
In closing, I send blessings and prayers to all animals and those humans who help them, and especially those who have suffered and perished this year as the result of natural and man-made disasters.
May the creatures you aid today return to you as Enlightened Mother Beings of your future lifetimes!
-Om Mani Padme Hum-
Brief History of World Animal Day/Month:
'World Animal Day' is celebrated each year on October 4th. World Animal Day was originated by the specialist in canines, Heinrich Zimmermann. He organized the first World Animal Day on 24 March 1925 at the Sport Palace in Berlin, Germany. Over 5,000 people attended this first event. The event was originally scheduled for 4 October, to align with the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, a nature lover and patron saint of animals and the environment. However the venue was not available on that day. The event was moved to 4 October for the first time in 1929. Initially he found a following only in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Czechoslovakia. Every year Zimmermann worked tirelessly on the promotion of World Animal Day. Finally, in May 1931 at a congress of the International Animal Protection Congress in Florence Italy, his proposal to make 4 October World Animal Day universal was unanimously accepted and adopted as a resolution. Today, World Animal Day is a global event that unites the animal protection movement agencies and has expanded to encompass the entire month of October with different events globally.
NEW Review and Interview: Zeena Schreck and her solo debut Bring Me the Head of F. W. Murnau, by Nicholas Diak
Many thanks to Nicholas Diak for this fantastic review and exclusive interview with Zeena about her new music! [Re-posted below from the original at Heilige Tod - Interdisciplinary Analysis of Neofolk Music.]
Bring Me the Head of F.W. Murnau can be purchased digitally at Bandcamp or in physical format at this site.
Review and Interview: Zeena Schreck and her debut Bring Me the Head of F. W. Murnau
Tuesday, August 4, 2020 by Nicholas Diak
During the summer of 2015, the skull of German silent film director F. W. Murnau was stolen from his tomb. Remnants of wax from lit candles present at the scene spurred the hypothesis that occult work was afoot while the macabre nature of Murnau’s stolen skull drew parallels to his legendary horror output, in particular his influential expressionist film, Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922).(1)
Shortly thereafter, inspired by the event, multimedia artist Zeena Schreck announced a “sequel to Radio Werewolf’s mystical, musical piece Bring Me the Head of Geraldo Rivera” that would be appropriately titled Bring Me the Head of F. W. Murnau.(2) Five years later, Bring Me the Head of F. W. Murnau (BMTHOFWM) was released in March of 2020.
BMTHOFWM marks the first studio release proper of Zeena performing music solo. Prior to this EP, Zeena had been a part of many musical collaborations and projects, such as Radio Werewolf, and had released some of her live ritual performances, such as her appearance at Wave-Gotik-Treffen, on compilations and YouTube. Per Zeena in regard to releasing a concept album instead of an album of her ritual performances:
“I definitely have future recording plans which will be in the areas of dark ambient and ritual music. [T]his first solo release was experimental in the sense I'd never done such a precise theme as concept album like this before. I like working within specific parameters though. Even in past recordings, when it might not seem obvious, I've almost always had in mind a particular framework within which to create the music. But this album was much more of a specific theme than I would normally do.”(3)
BMTHOFWM certainly has a thematic laser focus, concentrating on Murnau and some of his films, while capturing a certain silent film aesthetic, though paradoxically, with sound. Zeena pulls this feat off – a silent film with no images but instead with sounds – by incorporating elements of field recordings, minimalist-industrial, exotica, spoken words, and incantations, in conjunction with the brilliant German expressionist/Caligari style artwork that emblazons the release’s cover art that evokes some of the classic horror posters of the era.
Though Murnau is the subject of the EP, the filmmaker did not have a strong influence on Zeena at the beginning of the project:
“[Murnau was] not a huge influence. It was only his films Nosferatu and Faust that I had known and really liked since childhood, when they'd play on late night TV. I knew he'd worked with the occultist artist/architect Albin Grau on the sets for Nosferatu but working with an occultist doesn't automatically make you one. There is also the tie-in of my last name being the same as the actor who played Count Orlok, Max Schreck, in Murnau's most famous film Nosferatu. I'd also remembered the scandalous rumors about his untimely death that my godfather Kenneth Anger wrote of in Hollywood Babylon, rumors which, by the way, I've since learned weren't true. But aside from these things, I hadn't much knowledge of his life prior to embarking on this project. I know far more about him now.
Originally, I'd planned that this [release] was only going to be a single; not more than a two-track novelty piece inspired by a quirky event. But then, as I began researching more about Murnau and put flesh on the bones of this project, certain metaphysical portals started opening up. More material for more tracks developed than could be narrowed down to just a single. Yet I didn't want this to be a full album either. So, the logical middle ground was to make it an EP.”(4)
Through the process of researching Murnau, Zeena also visited the director’s home and his grave, gathering field recordings that would be incorporated into the compositions of BMTHOFWM:
“[I] intermingled various sounds from both locations in just about every track except the opening one, ‘Letter to Mother.’ Some of those field recordings were used in a straightforward manner, such as a fox barking, birds singing, the sound of some machinery or a metal gate clanging. Those can be detected fairly clearly enough. But other sounds used, I distorted in the editing to achieve certain auditory effects.
When I visited Murnau's grave, for the photo shoot to the CD, I was focused on getting the photos but hadn't intended on capturing field recordings at the same time. I'd already compiled field recordings taken at the former Murnau house in Berlin, which coincidentally happens to be right in my neighborhood. In addition to that, I'd painstakingly searched for specific samples corresponding to the exact years of Murnau's creative life and his death, such as the sound of the precise year and make of the car he was in when it crashed, leading to his death. Or a snippet of a song that would've been popular at parties in Hollywood that he may have attended. Things like that.
So, getting back to the cemetery field recordings: It was only by fluke, while taking photos at Murnau's grave, that my camera accidentally engaged the video record. It wasn't until later that day, when downloading my data from the day's shoot, I realized I'd inadvertently gotten some unexpected and pretty interesting sounds while at the grave. Luckily, there was still time to mix those in before the final edit and mastering. For some unknown reason, I've always had strange energy clashes with electronic devices; something's always malfunctioning with them in my case. I've come to expect these ‘accidental’ recordings of environment sounds, with both my audio recorder and my cameras video setting. Whenever it happens, I always discover something interesting, humorous or just uncanny and bizarre that gets added to my sound library. This reveals how much is occurring all the time that we humans normally filter out but which, when cut out of the normal flow of everyday life, can be wonderful auditory meditations. I'm sure that those unexpected sounds at the cemetery made a difference in enhancing an underlying eerie quality to the whole thing.”(5)
Zeena’s field recordings directly tie into her concept of “sonic necromancy.” These field recordings she gathered communicate an additional essence of Murnau that would not have been present otherwise:
“Sound art differs from conventionally composed music in that soundscapes are generally thought to be like paintings done with sound rather than matter. They may or may not necessarily tell a story. In this case, however, there is story. Between many years of magical ritual practices, as well as early-life theater and film training, which includes techniques in character development, sense memory and improvisation, a fusion of disciplined training in all these areas creates conducive conditions for summoning of the dead. While my magical training and ritual experience is probably more generally acknowledged than my theater training, I mention the latter only in relation to this music project because I'm playing various characters or roles throughout. Whether we are hearing Murnau's own thoughts in the opening and closing tracks, or the female Angel of Death who's come to usher Murnau away from this worldly experience, or the ‘bardo beings’ who inhabit the intermediate state between the end of one life and the beginning of the next. All of those voices are different characters revealing different levels of metaphysical existence and understanding.”(6)
If BMTHOFWM sounds like a multifaceted release, it is because it certainly is. Though the EP only contains six tracks and clocks in at roughly 18 minutes, it is compact in its sound design, atmosphere, and ambitious scope.
The first track of the EP, “Letter to Mother,” has Zeena reciting a letter Murnau wrote to his mother against a background of crashing waves. In this track, Zeena channels her aforementioned acting chops, mimicking a deeper voice that would be Muranu. It is a somber recital that sets a melancholy mood that permeates the release.
Track two, “Ill Omens,” runs with this melancholy with a peppering of something menacing or foreboding. It is a track that is minimal on sound, but high on atmosphere. Closing one’s eyes, one can picture an old film with a scene of tiptoeing through a cave or a dimly lit forest, illuminated day-for-night style, while a Harryhausen-esque monster waiting to emerge from the shadows.
The third track, “A Drive up the Coast,” chronicles the last moments of Murnau as he died in an auto accident while traversing the Pacific Coast Highway near Santa Barbara in 1931. The track begins jovial, with organ music composed by Zeena that evokes a funfair or a period appropriate party in the background. Sounds of an open car window woosh by before (spoiler alert!) the sounds of accelerations, followed by a scream, tires screeching, and a crash.
Track four, “Tabu,” is a reference to Murnau’s final film, Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931) that was released shortly after his death. An early tiki film, the story depicts two lovers, Reri and Matahi, as they try to escape Reri’s fate of being made into a sacred maiden for their island’s deities. The first half of the song is the most industrial-sounding music on the EP, with some minimalist piston-percussions. The last half of the song switches gears to the exotica genre, with primitive drumming and shakers, that channels the likes of Martin Denny and Les Baxter. Over the music, Zeena, reaching into her experience of performing incantations, recites the same decree that was uttered in Tabu that denoted Reri as forbidden, and not to be touched by any man.
“The Phantom Bridge” is the EP’s fifth track and this one digs right into the vampiric roots Murnau is best known for. A spoken word track, Zeena recites some of the inter titles from Murnau’s Nosferatu which in turn were taken from Stoker’s Dracula. The music in this track is, as the title suggests, ghostly, with spirituals wisps, shackling noises, tiny bells and chimes.
The EP’s final track, “Endlich Daheim,” is perhaps the most ambitious track on the album, that not only underscores Murnau’s career, but demonstrates Zeena at her most artistic. Prior songs on the EP has Zeena reciting texts from other sources while “Endlich Daheim” contains both original organ music and lyrics by Zeena, sung in a haunting and beautiful style. A sound of a 1920s projector starting up beings the track with the music proper evoking the feelings of being at a funeral - Murnau’s funeral - with Zeena’s poetry acting as a eulogy.
The end result is that BMTHOFWM is a superb solo debut for Zeena and an excellent experimental release all around. Atmospheric, haunting, and magical, but also cinematic and fully versed in filmic pop culture that it celebrates. Born from a macabre act of stealing the skull of Murnau, the EP easily could’ve embraced grotesquery or morbidness, but instead the CD comes off as sincere. Aside from these observations, Zeena herself had her own goals for the release:
“Well, after a few years of unexpected obstacles, as well as unexpected serendipitous occurrences which led to creating much more material for this than I'd originally planned, I guess the main thing I wanted to accomplish was getting it completed at all! Jokes aside, the fact is, there's still someone out there who has taken and kept the skull from Murnau's grave. This is at the heart of the project. I wanted to pull all of the unusual elements surrounding this case together into one cohesive creative expression. The music in this project is created to facilitate opening the mind to all possible questions surrounding that event, and even to, on a transcendental and metaphysical level, provide even bigger answers.”(7)
Five years after the act, the mystery of who absconded with Murnau’s skull remains unsolved. Of course, thoughts have drifted to Schreck as a possible culprit, which she both playfully and adamantly dismisses: “[S]ince many have already jokingly asked me – let's nip this in the bud right here – NO, it wasn't me!”(8)
Sincere thanks for Zeena Schreck for allowing me to interview her for this writeup and providing the images. All images used in this article are copyrighted by Zeena Schreck and used with permission. More information about Zeena and her projects can be found at the following websites and social medias:
1. Nigel M Smith, “Nosferatu director’s head stolen from grave in Germany,” The Guardian, last modified July 14, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/jul/14/nosferatu-director-head-stolen-germany-grave-fw-murnau.
2. “Coming Soon From Zeena Schreck: Bring Me The Head of F.W. Murnau,” Heathen Harvest, last modified July 21, 2015, https://heathenharvest.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/coming-soon-from-zeena-schreck-bring-me-the-head-of-f-w-murnau/.
3. Zeena Schreck, email message to author, June 16, 2020.
“Coming Soon From Zeena Schreck: Bring Me The Head of F.W. Murnau.” Heathen Harvest. Last modified July 21, 2015. https://heathenharvest.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/coming-soon-from-zeena-schreck-bring-me-the-head-of-f-w-murnau/.
Schreck, Zeena. Bring me the Head of F. W. Murnau. KCH KCHCD01. 2020. CD.
Smith, Nigel M. “Nosferatu director’s head stolen from grave in Germany.” The Guardian. Last modified July 14, 2015. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/jul/14/nosferatu-director-head-stolen-germany-grave-fw-murnau.
Posted by Nicholas Diak at 6:58 PM
Many thanks to Dominik Tyroller of Raben Report for his great review of Zeena's new EP! [Click here for original German version.] English translation below:
“Why I came to this CD is immediately apparent when you take a look at the artist behind this music project: Zeena Schreck. I have been following the numerous works of the polarizing Femme Fatale Infernale for years (including in the review of her book "The Zaum of Zeena") and respect the extensive creative expression that the artist was able to express in many areas (something that I absolutely recommend to everyone). Whether in the form of graphic design, writing texts, making music or also leading / accompanying / elaborating complex rituals / magical ceremonies, Zeena Schreck's creative work in and on a wide variety of media is truly varied and expressed itself in this complexity, among other things also in the works in the band "Radio Werewolf", alongside her then partner Nikolas Schreck, one of the cornerstones of the dark ambient and (ritual) industrial genres.
Within this concept album, with the interesting title ”Bring Me The Head of F.W. Murnau ”, Zeena Schreck releases her first work in the dark ambient sector after many years. In addition, this album is her first ever solo release. Zeena dedicated this album to the life and work of the legendary German film director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and the creepy fact that Murnau's head was actually stolen by unknown people from his grave in Stahnsdorf (near Berlin) in 2015 and has since disappeared to this day ...
Murnau's cinematic works, which were primarily in the horror area, are still considered pioneering and still inspire this popular genre to this day, and not just in the medium of film, but far beyond.
Zeena Schrecks ”Bring Me The Head of F.W. Murnau ” [EP] consists of six musical pieces, individual acts to a ghost story, as expressed on the album in musical form creating frightful realms and atmospheric horrors for the listener. The six pieces together have a playing time of 18 minutes 21 seconds.
The eerie start to “Bring Me The Head of F.W. Murnau” comes in the form of “ A Letter To Mother,” in which an extract from one of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's letters to his revered mother is recited in a really uncanny voice. In this document, which was made in Tahiti while filming Murnau's last film "Tabu" (1931), Murnau's thoughts are both about the fascination of the exotic island, but much more about the homesickness that plagues him so much.
The following "Ill Omens" bleeds a true horror atmosphere and brings to mind the moody quality of Murnau's films. For me, this song is also the quintessence of this concept album and hits the nail on the head.
The following "taboo" immediately gets to the point, which kidnaps me into damp cemetery dungeons haunted by female horror phantoms. Zeena's voice, in combination with the drums, transforms the piece more and more towards the ritual atmosphere.
Significant to the atmosphere in V "The Phantom Bridge," is Zeena's chant, which in some places whispers an ASMR mood. The fifth title is therefore rather calm and almost relaxing. In terms of content, “The Phantom Bridge“ is dedicated to F.W. Murnau's pioneering film "Nosferatu - A Symphony Of Horror" (1922), in which actor Max Schreck in the role of Count Orlok who affects and inspires the look and manner of vampires in pop culture to this day.
Zeena Schreck's ”Bring Me The Head of F.W. Murnau ” offers a seamless horror atmosphere, especially with suitable framework conditions (darkened room, no disturbances), and is therefore recommended to dark ambient fans but also to friends of soundtracks (regardless of whether from films, video games etc.) and anyone who wants an atmospheric musical background for suitable scenes (e.g., for Pen-&-Paper und LARP role-playing games).
And of course, the topics presented on the album would also appeal to friends of classic horror films from the 1920s and beyond, because in my opinion (at least as far as the majority of the pieces on the album are concerned) they also convey the spirit and atmosphere of these films really well.”
-- Dominik Tyroller
To read this review in original German version, click HERE.
To order the signed & numbered limited edition of this CD, go HERE.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR SHOPS AND RETAILERS and any questions regarding your order, please write to:
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!"