Gnostic Visions and Voudon Technology – The Black Iron Kisses Interview
  • 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.

      • protector
        [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 his
        sheer control of pictorial narrative, through imaginative and very dream like strokes rarely seen in digitally
        created 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 inviting
        and magickally potent sounding Carrefour Tarotdeck. In celebration of his work and to give the man some
        extra 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 have
        been creating art, music and writing for a number of years.
        Sia Abderezai: What would you say are the main motivation and influences of yours currently
        as an artist?
        S.W: My current projects are a direct result of deep work with the Voudon Gnostic current, the Lwa and the
        spirit-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 tradition
        natively, 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 the
        benefit of brothers and sisters in the Orders although it is equally true to say that much of the work by its nature
        must come from personal interaction and a developing relationship with the spirits. There are many treasure houses
        of the Orders which can only be entered by the cultivation of this method. The spirits themselves decide when an
        initiate is ready to be admitted to their mysteries. It’s good to have the sense of worldly community in the Orders
        but without the foundation of trafficking with the spirit guardians it is difficult to make real progress. This is covered
        in the early chapters of Bertiaux’s seminal work, the Voudon Gnostic Workbook. It’s also noted by Milo Rigaud in
        The Secrets of Voodoo “The Mystères themselves give the instruction by “mounting” someone, who then instructs
        the initiate verbally. Otherwise the Mystères send him dreams or visions when necessity arises. A great many
        houngans are created in this supernatural manner. It is the loas themselves who initiate them and give
        them 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 gnostic
        experience 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 Bond
        movies and horror films. They don’t have any real understanding of traditional Vodou, of the rich spiritual tradition
        which helped maintain the cultural identity of those removed from their homeland and which was instrumental
        in supporting the rebellion which led to Haiti being the first nation delivered from slavery, let alone the added complexity
        of Gnostic Voudon! But if you have studied the western hermetic tradition it’s easy to see how these elements came
        together 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 a
        certain knowledge and persuasion which sometimes can take lifetimes to accumulate. So in that sense there is no
        benefit in trying to convey anything of the experience! However, like the Hermit of the traditional tarot, we are ready
        to shine a lantern upon the path of those who themselves are ready for the adventure. Personally the
        Voudon gnosis resulted in the opportunity to communicate directly with its spirits and for events to materialise which
        helped forge links with the elemental forces of the Vodou tradition. I traveled to Germany to visit the Marianne
        Lehmnann collection of Haitian Bizango or Zobop secret society artifacts and to the UK to the Kalfou exhibition of
        Voodu art from the 1950s to the present. It is the power of art to exist on multiple levels, as pretty
        colours and shapes to one viewer or a portal into another world for another,which caused me to concentrate on
        this medium in recent years when I have previously expressed these ideas in music.

         

      • oriental
        [Master of the Oriental Temple of Antiquity by Sean Woodward]
      • ‘many don’t have any real understanding of Vodou’

        S.A: Your work uses a very unique form of sigilization almost like it is being
        formed as its being made, you normally accompany these designs with depiction of
        entities, many with three eyes and of very alien appearance yet in ceremonial garb
        reminiscent 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 art
        there are generally two items which denote their illuminated status – the third eye and the golden band
        of 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 spirits
        of 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 a
        hierarchy 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! Some
        too are trans-yugggothian and have a very Kosmic nature to them. These are perhaps some of the
        oldest magician ancestors, the ones that predated the journey to Atlan (Earth). With them it becomes
        very difficult to distinguish their magick from advanced technology. Some of these are so alien to us in
        form that we approach the realms of the Nightside where you have to don your own Shuggoth Skin
        just to avoid detection. Other nations of the spirits revealed to me include the Snow Hoo who are
        more 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 ancient
        Kosmic Lwa and the condensation of thought forms as per Spare’s methods. The latter more
        so in the Hoodoo Welbeing series of images. In all cases they are there to charge and
        maintain the necessary energies to keep the artworks alive as portals.

         

        carrefour2
        [The Carrefour Tarot by Sean Woodward]
      • S.A: It is fascinating that you bring up the Atlantean ancestor/ magick spirit
        and 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 who
        is “transmitting them” (from Enochian entities to other races brought up by
        people 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 using
        the same “technology?”
        S.W: Personally I think I think its one source- though that’s not to say it doesn’t have
        factions! Robert Anton Wilson shares a similiar experience in Cosmic Trigger and as
        you 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 Orion
        via the Afro-Atlantean tradition.

     

    • golden-collar

      [Golden Collar of Les Loa from The Book of the Crow by Sean Woodward]

    • 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 formula
      is that of the old shamanic magick and sorcery of Afro-Atlantean cults’. Also, ‘The original masters
      of 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 your
      site, the Carrefour Tarot, what does Carrefour mean, and how does it differ with
      traditional Taro ala the standard Waitte-Rider deck? And whatare the intended
      uses for this deck in particular?
      S.W: The Carrefour Tarot is based upon the Creole Cabala of the Tarot mentioned by Michael
      Bertiaux in the teaching papers of the Monastery of the Seven Rays. I am currently working on
      an essay regarding its history, influences and practical application for Qliphoth Journal’s forthcoming
      Opus 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 deck
      there 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 main
      deck 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 the
      Quarters. The deck can be used for divination, as portals for meditation and evocation and for magickal
      operations. The Spider Loa card for example is a Signifier used for LCN time travel. Over the two month
      period it took to create the deck I began to see the importance of the Leghba and the Crossroads in the
      dynamics 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 lord
      of the crossroads, also called Kalfu.
      Master-of-the-Formless-Void
      [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 you
      accept it as a form of payment?
      S.W: The evolution of digital currency such as Bitcoin is representative of the way that
      internet 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 the
      future. Major credit cards and PayPal are welcome though!
      S.A: Cool, well, I will be making a Bitcoin wallet for you and embed it
      at the bottom of the interview, if there are interested people we can
      work something out, or they can just send you bitcoins . Any last thing,
      promotions, declarations to the world/metaverse before we sign off
      on this session?
      S.W: If you enjoy the art, be sure to check out my music as Gothick at
      http://gothick.bandcamp.com or at www.gothick.co.uk. As well as details of my album
      and compilation releases there are also a number of free albums, including a trilogy
      based upon Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law. As well as the Carrefour Tarot you
      can also purchase signed, limited edition prints of my art works at
      http://www.seanwoodward.com . The collection is being added to all the time, so be
      sure to check back regularly for new availability.
      Thanks for the opportunity to discuss my work today Sia!

About The Author

Sean Woodward is a British artist, writer and musician who stands at the crossroads between technology and the arts, between the supernatural and the mundane, the light and the dark. 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 Keys to the Hoodoo Kingdom, Erzulie of the Deep, The Grimoire of ZAL and co-author of The Infernal Faces of Hekate. Vudutronix: Selected Art, Essays & Lectures, Archonix: The Chronicles of Leng and Keys to the Inner Kingdom are forthcoming.

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