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Keys To The Hoodoo Kingdom : A Review


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#1 Morrigan

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 03:40 PM


I’m not going to lie to all of you. This review was a real challenge. Writing book reviews is much more difficult when the work is meaningful, poignant, and strikes to the heart of the subject in such a profound way.

In my head every line is basically repeating READ THIS BOOK! IF YOU KNOW WHO BERTIAUX IS THEN READ THIS BOOK. TAKE IT UP AND READ. TAKE IT UP AND READ! However it wouldn’t be fair to Sean Woodward or Keys to the let it stand there. Fair warning, review that follows is lengthy and detailed. If you’re short of time or feel an attack of TL;DR coming on then let this tag line sum it up for you:

If the VGW made you Huh? Then Keys this will make you go OH!

Seriously, I consider this text to be essential reading. Keys does for the Lucky Hoodoo Grimoire what Syzygy does for the Monastery papers. Like Palamas, Woodward lays his personal gnosis out bare for the reader to experience. Woodward opens a window into how a dedicated and long established practitioner interacts with the spirits, designs their magical universe, and woven their story. Here is a channeled work that merges creativity and personal gnosis into a map for other seekers to follow.

As with other works in the Esoteric Voudon current Keys operates on numerous levels. At its most base, Keys to the Hoodoo Kingdom is a work of personal gnosis, Woodward takes us through his own journey through becoming a Lucky Hoodoo. From his earliest exploration of magic as a pre-teen to the primal spirits encounters with some of England’s most ancient and sacred spaces. From bookstores to bayous, and back to sacred stones Woodward’s journey of connections and interaction with the Hoodoo is an inspiration to those setting out on the path.

In Keys to the Hoodoo Kingdom Woodward masterfully reaches to the heart of this current’s gnosis, by creating his own grimoires and developing his own mythos. Reading Keys in a passive manner might seem like Woodward is presenting notes for an incomplete fantasy novel, which is a criticism that can be laid at the foot of many more esoteric publications. A deliberate and perhaps even spiritually active reading of Keys opens the reader up the the intense personal universe of the Hoodoo, a magical universe of the magicians own experiences.

One of the goals of work with Bertiaux’s systems is to develop your own occult universe. To meet the Spirits, work with them, and become a gnostic artist weaving your own mythos out of the aether. The Monastery of the Seven rays is a toolbox to understand how this all works but we get to fill in the creative bits. Think of it as an occult erector set or a spiritual GURPS if you’re familiar with role playing games. The VGW is perhaps best described as an advanced guide to a developed occult universe. A collection of Bertiaux’s methods to complete this great work. If this is the case, then Keys to the Hoodoo Kingdom is the players guide.

One particular chapter “The Cabinet of Currencies” tackles one of the more interesting and often discussed issues of the Lucky Hoodoo Grimoire, the Contraite. One of the things that attracted me to the VGW years ago was the way Bertiaux explained how the Hoodoo would work for you. It had that back of the comic book feel to it, but in a genuine way. A blunt admission of what the spirits could accomplish. Woodward captures that same blunt sense of wonder and promise;

“The beaches of the Caribbean, the high reaches of the Andes , all are waiting for your arrival. The Hoodoo Kingdom is a doorway to your real life, to the one that awaits you today. When you have taken that first step, you will never again spend your time in regret. You have come to this very place, this very time to find a better life. It is yours to live, right here, right now.”

There in lies one of the many lesser known qualities of the Lucky Hoodoo, their accessibility and ability to impact our lives. Life with the Hoodoo is a beautiful experience. Life becomes an adventure supported by the spirits. Suddenly the magician finds barriers lifted, funds sufficient, and the way made clear. This isn’t an unlimited source of funds, rather things always seem to work out in the end. Considering my recent experiences with Hurricane Irma I can attest that a little bit of faith in the spirits goes a long way.

Apprentice and Master is perhaps the most useful and universally applicable chapter of this work. Woodward collected these questions through personal messages and public forums, collecting the major questions of those working with the Lucky Hoodoo. Personally the best take-away from this chapter is knowing that you’re not alone in having questions or confusion. While reading this chapter I found myself saying I wish I had this when I started out. Clear Q&A’s like this are a rare beast in Bertiaux associated works. This alone is worth the price of admission.

I’ve been devouring this advanced copy since the morning it popped into my mailbox. . I’ll not split hairs here, this is incredible. I don’t know what I expected when I first heard of this project, but what I got is exactly what I love about our little non-Euclidean corner of the occult world. This is not a dry how too book, nor is it an incomprehensible mess of personal gnosis, rather it is a synthesis of these two extremes, dare I say a Syzygy.

As part of this review I asked Woodward a few questions concerning Keys. He was kind enough to respond.

Morrigan: What is the release date and where can it be purchased from?

Sean Woodward: Release date is imminent, publisher is just waiting for the manuscript ( Update: Keys was officially this morning and can be purchased here)

Morrigan. What was the motivation for Keys?

SW: Keys is meant to be an introduction to some of the core aspects of the VGW, enhanced with personal experiences, visionary episodes or seances with the spirits and the publication of material from personal correspondence with Michael.

Morrigan: Could you describe the journey of writing Keys?

SW: Keys began life as a brief introduction but rapidly grew as I wanted to include some deeper aspects in it to. The Master and Apprentice section was the core from which I developed answers to common questions in more detail and also included material from work I was undertaking with Michael’s direction, the Avalon Working for example. Pilgrimage to Zothyria documents my recent visit to Chicago and consecration by Michael as a bishop. Sewn throughout are references to the Leng Mythos, a Transyuggothian dialogue that is at the heart of my own magical practice.

Morrigan: Describe the process of gathering questions for Keys, what did you expect vs what you got? What was the repose from the comunity?

SW: Gathering questions seemed a good use of social media and an opportunity to gauge the level of interest in the project. Within hours I had also received publication offers from the UK, us and South America!

Morrigan: What advice would you give to someone just starting out with the Lucky Hoodoo? What mistakes do you feel many students make when starting out with the spirits?

SW: I think the biggest mistake people can make is thinking the spirits are distant or have not been to hand most of your life. Some of the contacts, I thinking Lam especially can also cause ‘alien abduction’ type experiences.

Morrigan: What do you hope Keys does for the community?

SW: My hope for Keys is that it will be beneficial to both newcomers and those already exposed to the VGW and looking for insights into the experience. The creation of world’s and exercise of the imagination is just s important as any occult litany and I hope the visionary and Leng passages will show this.

Morrigan: What’s next for you?

SW: Next is the Edition Noire of the Carrefour Tarot, the Gholem Tharot and Vudutronix: Collected Essays, Art and Lectures. In respect of the Leng Mythos,the story Watchers of Leng will appear in the next issue of The Occult Review

Those interested in Keys to the Hoodoo Kingdom, or other work by Sean Woodward should visit http://www.seanwoodward.com.

Cast Wide the Circle: Place for my musings and the occasional book review.
The Art of Stealing Fire : My Online Magical Journal
Big mountain, wide river
There's an ancient pull
These tree trunks, these stream beds
Leave our bellies full
They sing out I am going to stand my ground
You rise to me and I'll blow you down
I am going to stand my ground
You rise to me and I'll blow you down

#2 Curious Cat

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 09:13 PM

I can't wait to get my copy. I ordered it this morning.

#3 Spida

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 05:23 PM

I don't have much time for reading anymore as a leisurely activity. It mostly operates on a "need to know" basis.
Scribe of the Gods; My Ritual Blog: http://occultcorpus....stical-qabalah/; Black Cat Music Blog: http://occultcorpus....lack-cat-music/

#4 Morrigan

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 06:31 PM

If you are interested in the VGW, specifically the Lucky Hoodoo grimoire then I would consider this need to know material.
Cast Wide the Circle: Place for my musings and the occasional book review.
The Art of Stealing Fire : My Online Magical Journal
Big mountain, wide river
There's an ancient pull
These tree trunks, these stream beds
Leave our bellies full
They sing out I am going to stand my ground
You rise to me and I'll blow you down
I am going to stand my ground
You rise to me and I'll blow you down

#5 Spida

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 08:55 PM

I suppose it might be interesting to look into sometime to see what the tools of the trade are exactly, among other things.
Scribe of the Gods; My Ritual Blog: http://occultcorpus....stical-qabalah/; Black Cat Music Blog: http://occultcorpus....lack-cat-music/





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