Sia Abderezai bumped into my work around December of last year, and was immediately struck by my sheer control of pictorial narrative, through imaginative and very dream like strokes rarely seen in digitally created work.
You can read the revised full interview here or the original at Black Iron Kisses.
Click on any of the images for a larger view
Gnostic Visions and Voudon Technology
– Interview with Sean Woodward.
By Sia Abderezai.
[Master Guardian of the Gnosis by Sean Woodward]I think I bumped into Sean’s work around December of last year, and I was immediately struck by hissheer control of pictorial narrative, through imaginative and very dream like strokes rarely seen in digitallycreated work. Me and a fellow BIPPEE13 comrade have approached Sean to get him to be part of the core staff,
but sadly his obligations currently lie elsewhere. One such obligation is the release of his alluringly invitingand magickally potent sounding Carrefour Tarotdeck. In celebration of his work and to give the man someextra boosts, here it is, a surprisingly insightful conversation with the wizard himself:Sean Woodward: I’m something of a nomad having traveled extensively in the Near and Far East and havebeen creating art, music and writing for a number of years.Sia Abderezai: What would you say are the main motivation and influences of yours currentlyas an artist?S.W: My current projects are a direct result of deep work with the Voudon Gnostic current, the Lwa and thespirit-pools and gnostic spaces of the tradition. That covers the driving, relentless octane fueled motivation!Influences are eclectic and diverse. They range from the comic book art of Steve Dikto,
Todd McFarlane and Dave McKean to Miro, Tanguay, Dali, Picasso and many others.S.A: When you say deep work, is this done under guidance of people who work on the traditionnatively, or something you get through your own research based on text?S.W: It’s a mixture of both! As an initiate of the Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua & La Couleuvre Noire I have thebenefit of brothers and sisters in the Orders although it is equally true to say that much of the work by its naturemust come from personal interaction and a developing relationship with the spirits. There are many treasure housesof the Orders which can only be entered by the cultivation of this method. The spirits themselves decide when aninitiate is ready to be admitted to their mysteries. It’s good to have the sense of worldly community in the Ordersbut without the foundation of trafficking with the spirit guardians it is difficult to make real progress. This is coveredin the early chapters of Bertiaux’s seminal work, the Voudon Gnostic Workbook. It’s also noted by Milo Rigaud inThe Secrets of Voodoo “The Mystères themselves give the instruction by “mounting” someone, who then instructsthe initiate verbally. Otherwise the Mystères send him dreams or visions when necessity arises. A great manyhoungans are created in this supernatural manner. It is the loas themselves who initiate them and givethem the asson.”
‘without the foundation of traficking (sic)
with the spirit guardians
…there is no real progress.’S.A: Nice, what would you say is the most difficult thing to convey to the uninitiated world, a gnosticexperience brought on by currents invoked in the Voudon tradition?S.W: Many people only have a perception of Vodou from the lurid references to Voodoo in our culture, from Bondmovies and horror films. They don’t have any real understanding of traditional Vodou, of the rich spiritual traditionwhich helped maintain the cultural identity of those removed from their homeland and which was instrumentalin supporting the rebellion which led to Haiti being the first nation delivered from slavery, let alone the added complexityof Gnostic Voudon! But if you have studied the western hermetic tradition it’s easy to see how these elements cametogether with the founding of the Orders in Haiti. You have to remember that not everyone has reached a sufficient
understanding to be ready for the illumination associated with any path. Of course all are welcome, but it takes acertain knowledge and persuasion which sometimes can take lifetimes to accumulate. So in that sense there is nobenefit in trying to convey anything of the experience! However, like the Hermit of the traditional tarot, we are readyto shine a lantern upon the path of those who themselves are ready for the adventure. Personally theVoudon gnosis resulted in the opportunity to communicate directly with its spirits and for events to materialise whichhelped forge links with the elemental forces of the Vodou tradition. I traveled to Germany to visit the MarianneLehmnann collection of Haitian Bizango or Zobop secret society artifacts and to the UK to the Kalfou exhibition ofVoodu art from the 1950s to the present. It is the power of art to exist on multiple levels, as prettycolours and shapes to one viewer or a portal into another world for another,which caused me to concentrate onthis medium in recent years when I have previously expressed these ideas in music.
‘many don’t have any real understanding of Vodou’S.A: Your work uses a very unique form of sigilization almost like it is beingformed as its being made, you normally accompany these designs with depiction ofentities, many with three eyes and of very alien appearance yet in ceremonial garbreminiscent of many old shamanistic traditions, care to elaborate on these entities?S.W: Many of the entities are spirits, Lwa or guardians of the tradition with whom I work. In my artthere are generally two items which denote their illuminated status – the third eye and the golden bandof crosses and circles. The later is a very strong magick which is used to magnify the effect of works.My understanding of its significance and use came from contact with some of the Congo Petro spiritsof Palo Moyambe and Santeria in Havanna a few years ago. You’ll see those gold bands a lot in the art!Some of the entities have them around their necks, upper arms, wrists and ankles! I think there’s ahierarchy to it, but have never delved too deep about it with them. Much of the clothing is simply
what they wear and its true to say that a number of them have distinct shamanistic pasts! Sometoo are trans-yugggothian and have a very Kosmic nature to them. These are perhaps some of theoldest magician ancestors, the ones that predated the journey to Atlan (Earth). With them it becomesvery difficult to distinguish their magick from advanced technology. Some of these are so alien to us inform that we approach the realms of the Nightside where you have to don your own Shuggoth Skinjust to avoid detection. Other nations of the spirits revealed to me include the Snow Hoo who aremore elemental and then there are the Crow spirits of the English Vudu which again are more
earthly in nature. As for the sigils, these are a mixture of the language of the ancientKosmic Lwa and the condensation of thought forms as per Spare’s methods. The latter moreso in the Hoodoo Welbeing series of images. In all cases they are there to charge andmaintain the necessary energies to keep the artworks alive as portals.[The Carrefour Tarot by Sean Woodward]
S.A: It is fascinating that you bring up the Atlantean ancestor/ magick spiritand the use of shapes and heirlooms as pieces of technology- Me, Robert Bisno,Kyle Wilson and countless other artists recently have been channeling
different variations of these sigilizations- We all have different takes on whois “transmitting them” (from Enochian entities to other races brought up bypeople experiencing it) but they all seem to have very similar “interfacing”
Do you think that they all have one source that varies based on imagination,or do you think there are multiple distinct classes of entities that are usingthe same “technology?”S.W: Personally I think I think its one source- though that’s not to say it doesn’t havefactions! Robert Anton Wilson shares a similiar experience in Cosmic Trigger and asyou say numerous other writers. It would seem that there has also been a transmission of the
arcane knowledge down the ages. Definitely stellar though, from Sirius and Orionvia the Afro-Atlantean tradition.
S.A: In your words, briefly, what is Afro-Atlantean tradition?S.W: Michael Bertiaux states in the Voudon Gnostic Workbook , “In the Franco-Haitian OTO,the rites are based upon masonic ideal systems, while in the secret society of the LCN the formulais that of the old shamanic magick and sorcery of Afro-Atlantean cults’. Also, ‘The original mastersof the system were purely of the Atlantean mentality, and Kabona was the first of the Afro-Atlanteans.
The Afro-Atlanteans are the ancestors of the present day magicians of West Africa.”S.A: Fascinating. Let’s get to your recent work you are making available to yoursite, the Carrefour Tarot, what does Carrefour mean, and how does it differ withtraditional Taro ala the standard Waitte-Rider deck? And whatare the intendeduses for this deck in particular?S.W: The Carrefour Tarot is based upon the Creole Cabala of the Tarot mentioned by MichaelBertiaux in the teaching papers of the Monastery of the Seven Rays. I am currently working onan essay regarding its history, influences and practical application for Qliphoth Journal’s forthcomingOpus III edition. It is unlike a traditional tarot in that there are 64 cards and none of them relate
to the traditional arrangement of Major and Minor Arcana. With the first 100 copies of my deckthere are also 6 special Signifier cards which were originally only intended for Order members(Carrefour, Gran Bois, Gros Bon Ange, Spider Loa, FA Hat of the Houngan and Bacalou Baca). The 64 maindeck is made of two sets of 32 cards. These represent the forces of the Creole Caballa Tarot in two aspects.
These themselves include Masters, Hierophants, Servers and Priests of the Four Great Crosses of theQuarters. The deck can be used for divination, as portals for meditation and evocation and for magickaloperations. The Spider Loa card for example is a Signifier used for LCN time travel. Over the two monthperiod it took to create the deck I began to see the importance of the Leghba and the Crossroads in thedynamics of the deck, for the four crosses rotate around the central cross of Leghba and the four cards of his
astrological aspects. For this reason I named it after Carrefour, the Haitian god of magicians and lordof the crossroads, also called Kalfu.[Master of the Formless Void by Sean Woodward]
S.A: Nice, I wish I could get my hands on one of the 6 signifier cards!If there were people who were willing to pay you in Bitcoin, would youaccept it as a form of payment?S.W: The evolution of digital currency such as Bitcoin is representative of the way thatinternet technologies have become enablers and very close to real world behaviours.Currently it’s not a payment method I’m supporting although that could change in thefuture. Major credit cards and PayPal are welcome though!S.A: Cool, well, I will be making a Bitcoin wallet for you and embed itat the bottom of the interview, if there are interested people we canwork something out, or they can just send you bitcoins . Any last thing,promotions, declarations to the world/metaverse before we sign offon this session?S.W: If you enjoy the art, be sure to check out my music as Gothick atand compilation releases there are also a number of free albums, including a trilogybased upon Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law. As well as the Carrefour Tarot youcan also purchase signed, limited edition prints of my art works athttp://www.seanwoodward.com . The collection is being added to all the time, so besure to check back regularly for new availability.Thanks for the opportunity to discuss my work today Sia!