Sallie Ann Glassman

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Sallie Ann Glassman
Glassman in 2009
Glassman in 2009
Kennebunkport, Maine, United States[1]
SubjectsVodou, Tarot
Notable worksThe New Orleans Voodoo Tarot

Sallie Ann Glassman (born 1954) is an American practitioner of Haitian Vodou, a writer, and an artist. She was born in Kennebunkport, Maine and is of JewishUkrainian heritage.[2]


Island of Salvation Botanica on Piety Street in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans is adorned with artwork by Glassman

Glassman has been practicing Vodou in New Orleans since 1977 and in 1995 became one of few White Americans to have been ordained via the traditional Haitian initiation.[3] She owns Island of Salvation Botanica, a botánica and art gallery with religious supplies, medicinal herbs, and Haitian and local artworks.[4]

She was quoted in The New York Times in November 2003:

It's nonstop 24 hours a day ... I get people from all walks of life, from street people to professors to psychiatrists to political leaders. They aren't looking for hexes or charms to make someone's nose fall off. It's something much more basic. They turn to voodoo because there's an increasing desperation in our culture for spiritual meaning and direction."[5]



Glassman's art is both esoteric and syncretic. She has produced two major non-traditional tarot packs: the Enochian Tarot is derived from the Enochian magical system of Elizabethan magician Doctor John Dee, and the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot replaces the standard four tarot suits with depictions of the spirits of the major strands of Vodou (Petro, Congo, Rada) and Santería practices.[6]

New Orleans Voo Doo Tarot[edit]

In 1992, Glassman published a set of tarot cards called the New Orleans VooDoo Tarot. It was through this that she "gained national fame".[7] The cards depict black people on the tarot cards, unusual for the time. The cards feature:

... prominent Orisha divinities such as Obatala, Oshun, Ogun, Yemaya, and Shango next to classical Haitian Vodou spirits such as Damballah-Wedo, Ezili-Freda, and Guede, all integrated into one sacred cosmos. She also has cards for the religious leaders, the Haitian Vodou priest (oungan) and priestess (manbo) next to their Cuban counterparts the santero and santera as if they all belonged to one and the same tradition. The whole mix is interspersed with cards for New Orleans Voodoo icons Marie Laveau and Dr. John, the most famous priests of Louisiana Voodoo, and jazzed up with cards such as "Courir le Mardi Gras" and "Carnival".[7]

The tarot cards came with a book co-written with Louis Martinié, an author, liturgist, percussionist, and an advocate for New Orleans style Voodoo in the spectrum of New World religious practices.[8][9]


Glassman has lectured extensively and has received international television, radio and magazine coverage, including a front-page article in The New York Times[1] and a feature on World News Tonight.[citation needed] She has received mention in other publications including Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and The Washington Post.[citation needed]

In an MSNBC interview Glassman said that she cured her own cancer using Vodou in 2003:

I was willing to be healed and the essential nature of voodoo is to be healing, to heal cultures, to heal individuals ...[10]

She appears in the film Hexing a Hurricane. Her New Orleans Voodoo Tarot was also an influence on the first album by the band Sun God.[11]


  • Martinié, Louis; Glassman, Sallie Ann (1992). The New Orleans Voodoo Tarot. Destiny Books. ISBN 0-89281-363-6.
  • Schueler, Gerald; Schueler, Betty; Glassman, Sallie Ann (2000). Enochian Tarot. Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 1-56718-620-3.
  • Glassman, Sallie Ann (2007). Vodou Visions: An Encounter With Divine Mystery (2nd ed.). Island of Salvation Botanica. ISBN 978-0-9794554-0-7.


  1. ^ a b Bragg, Rick (August 18, 1995). "New Orleans Conjures Old Spirits Against Modern Woes". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
  2. ^ Miller, David Ian (July 10, 2006). "Finding My Religion / Sallie Ann Glassman, a Vodou priestess in New Orleans, on what Vodou is really about". Retrieved 2015-04-10.
  3. ^ "Biography of Sallie Ann Glassman". Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
  4. ^ "About Sallie Ann". Island of Salvation Botanica. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
  5. ^ Kinzer, Stephen (30 November 2003). "Interest Surges in Voodoo, and Its Queen". The New York Times. p. A28 – via Gale.
  6. ^ Jackson, Michele (1997). "New Orleans Voodoo Tarot". Michele Jackson. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
  7. ^ a b Fandrich, Ina J. (May 2007). "Yorùbá Influences on Haitian Vodou and New Orleans Voodoo". Journal of Black Studies. 37 (5): 775–791. doi:10.1177/0021934705280410. S2CID 144192532.
  8. ^ Rabinovitch, Shelley; Lewis, James, eds. (2004). Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism. Citadel Press. p. 202. ISBN 0806524073.
  9. ^ Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael, eds. (2006). Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 146, n. 19. ISBN 0275987175.
  10. ^ Novotny, Monica (December 30, 2003). "A voodoo revival in New Orleans". Countdown with Keith Olbermann. NBC News. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
  11. ^ "Sun God". Sun God. March 1, 2007. Retrieved 2015-04-10.

External links[edit]

Media related to Sallie Ann Glassman at Wikimedia Commons