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Psychedelic Witchcraft

Begin november 2017 liep ik tijdens Damnation Festival snel de zaal binnen om de laatste nummers van Psychedelic Witchcraft mee te maken. Ik wist van tevoren dat dat iets zou zijn waar ik geen spijt van zou krijgen, maar toen ik eenmaal binnen was en de wulpse bewegingen van zangeres Virginia Monti aanschouwde wist ik dat dit meer was dan een doorsnee optreden. Wat een schoonheid ontvouwde zich voor mijn ogen en wat een pracht had haar stem. Het was de eerste band die ik op dat festival zag en mijn dag was al goed. Even geleden luisterde ik naar het eerste Dead Witches album en verrassend genoeg is Virginia daar ook de zangeres op. Zoveel vragen! Zo weinig antwoorden. Tijd voor een interview.

Door: Bart M. | Archiveer onder stoner

Hi, Virginia, so nice of you to do this interview. How are you?
It is so nice to be here and thank you so much for your patience, been very busy with new projects here and there but it is always nice to answer question and to connect with people, so thank you so much for this opportunity

Last year at Damnation Festival, I had not yet heard either of you or Psychedelic Witchcraft, but the name of your band enticed me, so I went to take a look and enjoyed your performance quite a lot! How do you feel when you are up there performing?
Oh it makes me so glad to know this, and this is an interesting question because to me being on stage has always been very natural, like something I can do and I just go and do it. But more than that I like to see people while we are performing, the energy and the exchange of that energy is the beautiful part. I always say that music is the language of the Universe, because it is the language of emotion and we are emotional beings. And on stage you can totaly feel that vibration, and it is always nice and uplifting to see how me as a performer can engage emotionally through songs with the audience. Each and every person will interpret that experience later or the songs itself in a different way, but while we are having the experience I can definitely sense the nature of oneness as a collective consciousness. That's what I enjoy, haha I hope I am making sense.

When you play a festival like that, or, more recently, the Doom Vs. Stoner festival, do you take the time to watch other bands as well? And what are the bands you like to see?
YES! All my bandmates actually do, I just love to be in festival. I am not the type of artist that sits in the backstage waiting for her turn to play, nothing againts that obviously, but I mean I literally enjoy to be in the crowd with other people and talk and have fun around. I always did that in every festival and I watch every band usually that performs, not only because I am a fan of music in general, but also because some of the bands that perform I will never have the chance to see them live so often, so having the opportunity to watch them I feel would be silly of me to be wasted. So definitelly I love seeing other bands perform, and it actually is so much fun considering how very talented the majority of these bands are. I feel very lucky that I can do that.

If you had to choose: doom or stoner?
I would just choose both man! Hahaha, it is like saying do you prefer beer or pizza in a way....can I have them both? Ha, I am just kidding but seriously though, when music is good it is good regardless of the genre. I think both these genres have a different approach and different things to say and communicate, and again I do appreciate them both a lot.

It has been a while since we heard anything about Psychedelic Witchcraft. How have things been for and with the band since the release of your album 'Sound Of The Wind' last year?
Yeah a lot of people ask, and the thing is i have been working so hard on music in the past four to five years. I did basically four albums including Dead Witches. One each year, so now we are just relaxing, thinking about other projects, and living. Because if you don't live you can't write about anything. I am a very creative person in everything I do, so I am just expanding and experiencing other things at the moment, finding myself again, writing different kinds of music, and then the future will tell where all of this will go exactly for me as an artist and then for the band.The only thing that matters is the experience, and what we learn from it as people and artists.

Since you travel to various foreign countries, I was wondering, how different are the Italian dishes in other countries compared to those same dishes when you have them at home? Do they compare or are they totally different?
Well they are pretty different. I am honestly quite indulgent with food so I feel experiencing and trying different cuisines and cultures is awesome and is part of the blessing of traveling a lot. Again I feel very lucky that in my life I could not only play music around the globe, but also had the chance to travel and meeting new people and cultures. It makes you realize how different but indeed all connected we are at the same time. And I just always enjoyed everything from the food in Poland to England, American, haha, I just love food.

I follow you on social media and it is pretty clear that the witch-thing is not just an image you uphold, it seems to be a big part of your life. Can you tell us more about that? When did you get interested in it and, because there are so many theories by many different people, what exactly does witchcraft mean to you?
I discovered the occult when I was a child, around eight years old. My mother and also my father were very open about it and they were reading occult books when they were younger, so I had them at home and I was allowed to read them. It was never seen as a "sin" in my family. Especially because I never connected the occult with evil necessarily. I always had a wider perspective to that. Then I used to have dreams where I could see things that eventually did happen in the future, and stuff like that, and my mother told me she had that gift too and I should just honour it and not be afraid about it. I mean Witchcraft in history was nothing but women and men empowering themselves, women and men that knew the laws of the Universe. Think about the Ancient Egyptians: for them magic was daily practice to connect with their Gods and tap into the divine capacities that we all have. In fact they used to say "know thyself and you shall know the kingdom of the Gods" because that metaphorically speaking just means that we are an extension of this universal energy. Call it God, universe, source, whatever label. Not only are we an extension of that energy, but we are the eyes through which that energy experiences itself and knows itself. Another principle taught in witchcraft for ages and ages, is what people nowdays call "The Law of Attraction". The Law of attraction is nothing but a law of the Universe that was actually put into stone by the Egyptians for the first time in the so-called "Emerald Tablet". Later it was put into a book called "Corpus Hermeticum", from the Greek God Hermes, who was nothing but the God of wisdom and scripture Toth in Ancient Egypt. One of the seven Hermeti principles in that tablet states "As Above so Below, as Within so without". Sounds familiar, right? Even Aleister Crowley knew about that law. And what this means is that we are only having an inner experience. We are vibrational beings, so whatever we think and mostly feel reflects on the outside. If we become self aware and can control with our Will, which is nothing but the power of choice, how we feel, we become the Alchemist of our Reality. And this is obviously self empowerement. And that's what witchcraft truly teaches. As with everything, people then interpret things how they want to, because guess what? They are just indeed projecting what they feel on the inside towards a specific label. I hope I answered your question!

band imageAnother interesting thing, when talking about witchcraft, is the name of your band. I can hardly imagine they are just two words that you thought looked good together. Maybe you already explained the Witchcraft part in the questions above, but how about the Psychedelic part? And the combination of the two.
I was very young when I decided that name, and very naive. I don't know if I would call the band like that now again. I mean like I said before we experience, we grow and we change. Witchcraft was about my background and about the love for growing spiritually and the love for knowing the laws of the Universe like I mentioned before. I think I put Psychedelic to it because everytime witchcraft is connected by a negative image, or a fear based consciousness like Satan, and so on. I think that is a very limited perspective, also because Satan itself, Lucifer (which means bringer of light, therefore wisdom and knowledge like, again, I mentioned before), is nothing but a metaphore to indicate in some cases our Ego and how we can transcend that with wisdom. After all: knowledge is power. But regardless of that, since we all know how much negativity is attached to that label, I wanted to put a word that would have described me and my music better. Also because I am a very crazy, wild thinker, and actually I think we all are shadows and light at the same time. Combining these two aspects in two words like Psychedelic and Witchcraft sounded right to me at the time. After all the world of duality is just of this earth. In spiritual truth duality doesn't exist, every aspect coexists together in perfect union.

When I think of psychedelic I think, among other things, of mind altering substances. I always thought that was just for show, but then I once read an interview with Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane) and she was very open about the alleged drug use. What is your opinion on this subject? And have you ever used anything yourself?
Well those were wild years where young people were finally breaking free from prejudice and limiting beliefs and false moralism. They experimented not only with their bodies but also with their minds, to expand their consciousness. I mean The Doors where called The Doors thanks to the book about LSD written by Huxley, that is in fact called "The Doors Of Perception".

I did use psychedelic drugs in my younger age, and that was an experience for sure. But to be honest I have't used any type of drugs for ten years now, because I learned that to expand my consciousness and perception I don't need drugs of any kind. The only thing I need is me. Connecting with my higher self is the only thing I have to do. It is a soul journey and practice that can be efficiently done through meditation. I mean buddhist monks performed this type of meditation for years to reach enlightement, they just don't need drugs to do that. Or what the Hindu call Samadhi, which is arriving at those higher doors of perception. Enlightenment is a realisation.

When we are talking about art, drugs back then were an expression of a generation, and it made sense for Jefferson Airplane and others to use them. Also to create, because that music was the message of that Era and that generation embodied that message fully. I think the message of this generation in 2018 is completelly different. It is a spiritual collective awakening, and I wish to see it in music more often these days.

I see many interesting updates and pictures coming by with words of wisdom, and some of them raise some questions. For instance, what is the Divine Feminine energy?
Ah, well like I said before we live in a world of Duality, where we think we are separated from everything. We don't have a soul and we are just flesh and blood, and when we die that's it. I don't think it is like that. I think we are not separated but we are all one, and this was taught by every native culture in the world. Think about the Native Americans for instance, or like I mentioned before, the Ancient Egyptians and so on and on. We are multi dimensional beings (souls) having a human experience, and we know that because we Feel, and we connect like I said with music through our feelings. Quantum physicists and bioligists like Bruce Lipton are proving nowadays that our feelings create vibration, and vibration alters matter, therefore we create our reality. For our soul only energy exists, because souls are extensions of this greater source of consciousness that created us all. Therefore, as souls we have no gender, neither masculine or feminine. Because the Source has both aspects within itself, we could say the matter of the Universe where we live is the Divine Mother, the female aspect that nurtures us. And the Source is the divine masculine energy that created us and we are the creation. What many religions called the Holy trinity for instance. But as humans we do have gender, don't we? That's why I talk about feminine principle and masculine principle, and since my soul for example decided to incarnate in a female body I need to honour that and honour my femininity and also honour what the masculine means. Not in a fight between genders or feminine energy versus masculine, but rather as a dance of balance between the duality that we experience in this world. The more we will experience balance between these two aspects of reality in our relationship the more we will transcend them, and we will understand we all are one, and we will live healthier lives and relationships with a deep sense of peace.

And how do the Tarot cards fit into your way of life?
Tarots are fun. I have been using them since I was a child, because they help me in meditation. They were exported by soldiers from the middle east to Italy ages ago and later became favourite for noble families in Italy as a storytelling game. Only later in France they became an occult tool.
I see tarots as a tool to shift the awareness on how we feel rather than predict the future.
Many people would go to a psychic and say "this thing she told me really happened". Well what is truly happening in there is that the psychic through her capacities and the tarots can tap into your energy field. Your energy field determines how you feel and obviously we already understood that when someone knows how you feel, predicting your next choices and therefore your outcome is pretty easy. A vibration of fear will produce a fear based reality and so on. Again, the Law of attraction. So if tarots show me how I feel regarding a situation and where I come from in the past as a vibration, if I notice that I become self aware, when I am aware of my thoughts and feelings: boom! I can change my outcome, because by virtue of choice I can change and improve how I feel. Thus I change the vibration that I was previously matching. So if I know I am in fear, I heal that, and I vibrate differently so I change my future.The more the person is self aware the less the prediction of a tarot reader will be accurate, because the future is determined by our choices. Ever saw the movie 'Sliding Doors'? Haha. So Tarots are a fun tool to understand how we feel, and become more conscious in our decision. Plus they are so cool to collect.

I don't know much about the cards, but, out of genuine interest, is it possible for you to lay them for me? (Or do you need the person to be there with you?)
I can do them even by distance, they always work. You just have to ask for it. "Ask and you shall recieve". And that's another Law of the Universe.

You also seem to have a very clear opinion on religion. I read you have been accused of being possessed for listening to rock/metal music? There is some resemblance between you and me then. I come from quite a religious background and I have always been at odds with the people who judged me for my music choices. The thing that bothers me most about it is the stubborness, and the "wrong vs right" attitude, that makes everything black and white and leaves very little room for open mindedness. What are your experiences with, and how do you view religion?
We can stay here talking about religion for hours and we would just waste our time. I respect everyone and I believe in a Creator in this great consciousness. If people want to call it God, bless them, I don't mind, but when I talk about God I mean it in a spiritual way and not a religious way. Why? Because religion is the byproduct of us. Humans have nothing to do with our Creator, and as a byproduct of our mind it is per definition limited. If we really want to awake we need to transcend labels and the religious concept, because as long as we will stay there and think that we own the truth, and ours is the Only God, we lack of perspective and we are limiting ourselves. Most religions come from a place of fear, and they preach fearful concepts like sin, heaven or hell, they preach separation and duality. Those concepts are illusions of the Ego mind that is limited like I said before. In spiritual truth fear and separation are only illusion. Philosphers used to call it "The veil of Maya" if you go beyond the veil of illusion you will see that our true nature is oneness, and is Love. Not in a romantic way. Love as an inclusive energy, love that dissolves fear, is the love that we feel when we help someone, when we listen to that song that truly resonates with us and for a moment we feel part of a greater picture, we feel understood. What if I tell you that that feeling is who you naturally are? That feeling of oneness is who we all are.

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Until a couple of years ago I thought Italy was a very religious country, but the people I meet show me a very different side. What would you say are the main differences between south Italian and north Italian people?
Again I don't live in duality. Yes, it appears on the surface that we are different, and there is separation because some southern people might be more religious or conformist compared to the north, but that is just the surface of the matter. It's not true. We are all the same at the core, and we just need to scratch the surface and go beyond what appears to be.

You seem to draw inspiration from a diverse bunch of singers, including Amy Winehouse. Would you say that there is one (or more) singer who actually made you decide that you too wanted to be a vocalist?
Sure there are many. I personally listened when I was eight to Robert Plant a lot and I truly enjoyed it, but I never thought my voice would fit rock music. So in my younger years I was more inspired vocally by blues and jazz singers, like Aretha Frankling, Dinah Washigton, Etta James and so on. But I learned from everyone. Every artist I liked gave me something that I take with me everyday and I express it in art. And that works for you too, and that is the beauty of art in general, it is a gift for us all.

Do you have certain kinds of music or certain bands/musicians that you like to listen to when you feel certain emotions?
Not necessarily. I live a lot in an authentic way to myself, so if one moment I feel I need to listen to jazz I just dive and jam Monk all day. Maybe tomorrow I will jam Metallica all day. It depends. Again, when music is good it is good regardless of the genre.

I always wonder how much of a hard time women have in this industry. I did an interview with Mist once, a band that consists mainly of women, and I was shocked to read that they are sometimes subjected to sexist or distasteful remarks from the audience. Do you have similar experiences?
We all have, but again being stuck in that mentality is coming from a place of lack. Saying females struggle so let's declare war to the man that treats them like shit. This entire female empowerment will only create a pendulum, we will have our rising time and then the pendulum will drastically fall on the opposite side and we will have men again thinking they rule the world. Again, I believe in balance. Yes, I've had comments from men and to be honest also from women regarding the way I perform on stage. But every comment is nothing but a projection, they hate me because they are seeing part of themselves in me. It's a mirror that happens not just for me but constantly for everyone. When females are treated badly it is because some men are projecting their fear of not being masculine enough to the female that is performing. Again, duality is merely an illusion. We should all grow up spiritually, drop the fight and seek for balance instead. When music is good what does it matter if it is performed by a female or a man. Or a transgender? What matters is the experience and the emotions that we are having from that performer. I support both women and men, I don't support the fight between them, and I don't give energy to it. Saying "this man at a show treated me badly", bless him, I am still here anyway so his projection remained in his energy field in my perspective. When you blame something outside of yourself you are weakening yourself. Don't allow people to do that to you, man or female.

When I recently ordered Dead Witches' album 'Ouija' and listened to it, I was very pleasantly surprised to find you doing the vocals on that! How do you and Mark (Greening) know each other, and how did you form Dead Witches?
Mark was my boyfriend. We met online two years ago I guess, and I feel it was a very karmic, intense relationship. Mark will always be part of my soul family and a great friend for eternity. He is a brilliant musician, a bit wild but definitelly he gave this world some contribution with his ideas and music, and being with him and creating music with him not only expanded my consciousness and ability as an artist, it was a great life lesson. And that was it, the album 'Ouija' was nothing but the creation of music that was very inspiring for me at that time, that helped me grow and see my shadow self a lot and push my voice and my art to a limit I never thought I could reach. I am very happy they continued without me because in that project I gave what I had to give just with that album, in order for them to move forward they needed to have a different approach, and I needed to move on my own with my art. It was a wonderful lesson for my soul and some very important years, i am very proud of what me and Mark were able to create together.

What was the reason for you to decide to quit that band?
Like I said before, I needed to move on. I couldn't stay with them for my soul evolution, and they needed a different singer in my perspective. And I think things went brilliant for both of us, Soozi (Chameleone) is perfect for them and fits perfectly the band and their need for music now. I would have only limited myself and the band if I stayed there. I played my part and I served in the moment when that band needed me. It was simply time to go for me and focus on a different art.

You also recently lost Cleo, your cat. My sincere condolences to you. As a cat/animal lover myself I know they often make for great companionship and entertainment. If it is okay with you, can you please share one or more fond memories of Cleo?
Oh my sweet Cleo! I miss her so her so much everyday, she was my friend. Not a lot of people will understand the connection that we can have with everything, including animals. They help us as souls themselves, as beings along our journey. They teach us what unconditional love is, and sometimes they sacrifice themselves for us. Cleo was always with me in every song that I wrote, she was my companion. She waited patiently at home after every travel, and I feel she never left me. I am so thankful because she chose me as her keeper, and I just remember when she was passing away, she waited for me to say the last goodbye dying in my arms. I will never forget her love and her suppport even in my darkest times. Only Love is real, because it is the only thing that even beyond death remains forever.

Finally, do you have any other bits of wisdom you would like to share with us?
I think I already annoyed people too much, hahaha. The only thing I want to say to you all guys, is to live your life at the fullest, don't live in fear. Fear you are doing wrong, your dreams will never come true, you will fail, fear of what other people will think. That is an illusion. You are never wrong and you are allowed to live your life at the fullest. You are only learning, and that's beautiful.

Thank you so much for doing this interview!
Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. It was really cool, and I hope to see you around at some gigs!

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