Canadians and the Power of Vodou
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    ‘We are all connected’ is a phrase that one of my ski instructors cherished enough to add to her business card. OK, she was Canadian!

    If you stay in the US long enough or catch enough of their TV you’ll soon realise that the US seem to view Canada as a strange land where something of the old British eccentric gene caught hold and spread there. I have to confess there are many Canadians who have impacted my life to date. Todd McFarlane’s work on Spider-Man and creation of Spawn were landmark events in ‘graphic novel’ land and I had the pleasure of meeting his father once in Mammoth, California. William Shatner is a biggie. If not for Star Trek I would never have learnt the basics of reading and writing – but that’s another story! I hadn’t realised James Doohan can be added to the list until I started writing this! Where would the Enterprise have been without its chief engineer?

    Whilst on the subject of Canadians though, I should add Leonard Cohen, whose sparingly poetic music touched me in my formative years and who I later discovered tangented my own interests in Buddhism. You may have noticed ‘tangented’ is not a real word, at least not as defined by my spell-checker. But you know what? To hell with spell-checkers! Writers and especially poets should enjoy a get-out-of-jail free card when it comes to this linguistic fascism. Language is forever changing and we should be the authors of that change. That’s my excuse and other than for the requirements of clear sense, something I will stick to.

    By now you’re probably wondering about the title of this entry. I’ve recently been researching Haitian Vodou. I was about to tell you how this was initially triggered, but does that really add value, or is it just a meandering digression? Advice for writers always talks about paring language down to an almost corporate level of succinctness. I’m tempted to go down that road, but I also think that is really best left to the corporate world, or for poetry where every word should hammer an impression of the spirit of the observation into the mind of the reader. Are blogs or diaries more free-form? Are there really any rules? Let’s assume not. For the purposes of demonstrating lines of thought and interpretations of circumstance, here we go. I’ll get back to the point I promise.

    Let’s start running backwards. Aleister Crowley wrote a little book about it called ThIShARB. My natural instinct is to auto-link that for you. But I’m not going to. I once believed that the infinite availability of information that the net offered was a fantastic resource. I’m fast changing my mind to think it’s a fantastic time-suck. So go ahead, check out that book (or Liber as he liked to call them) if you’re so inclined, but you’ll have to make an effort. My old school motto was ‘Nothing Without Effort’ and all these years later I kinda like it. You have to persevere (or in the world of Crowley – be Perdurabo, he who endures) to give any real meaning to anything. Working backwards brings us to news of an exhibition at the Nottingham Contemporary in 2012 which will be co-curated by Leah Gordon, and features her photography of Vodou artists from Port-au-Prince. These are the very same artists that I had recently been researching and thinking I might have to visit Haiti one day to see. It struck me as an odd coincidence. But as I have said, researching such subjects, you very quickly find coincidence, synchronicity and serendipity are your companions. Of course Rational Sean suggests that you’re just more inclined to notice something if you’re already interested in it, that you just filter-out perception of the things you’re not interested in. Quantum Sean¬†on the other hand just laughs and holds up the card of a ski-instructor.

    You decide who is right!


    February 20th, 2012 | admin | No Comments | Tags: , , , , , ,

About The Author

Sean Woodward is a British artist, writer and musician. His art is collected internationally and his essays, fiction and poetry have been published in a number of international publications. He is the author of A Grammar of Spirits, Keys to the Hoodoo Kingdom, ARCHONIX, NECRONIX, Erzulie of the Deep, The Grimoire of ZAL and co-author of The Infernal Faces of Hekate. AEONIX and Keys to the Voudon Kingdom are forthcoming from

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