Depending on your culture or beliefs, more and more people are being drawn to their pre-Christian ancestral ways. Modern African American, Afro-Caribbean, South American, and many other magical people feel called to work with the Orishas or Loa. In The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, the third installment of my young adult time travel adventure series, I included a scene where my character (Henri) practices Voodoo sorcery. During his ceremony he summons an evil Loa Voodoo spirit by the name of Kalfu. To offset this, I added another scene later in the book where my point-of-view character, Drake Bailey is forced to conjure the Orisha, Shango, who is one of the Seven African Powers.
Loa are the Voodoo spirits called upon by practitioners in order to make a request, whether it’s to improve one’s romantic life or heal a loved one’s sickness. Since each Loa is responsible for a different aspect of life, there are hundreds of these spirits and each has their own veve symbol (religious symbol used in different branches of Voodoo) used to invoke them. Loa legends like Papa Legba (gatekeeper to the Loa world) and Baron Samedi (keeper of the spirit world and ruler of the dead), or creations based on them, are often used as characters in movies, comics, and television. Unfortunately, these recreations are usually caricatures and often give Voodoo the reputation of being creepy and evil. Misunderstood facts about Loa sometimes make the things Loa can do seem dark and scary, but there are many Loa spirits who are benevolent. There are those who represent love, romance, and fertility in addition to death and war.
KalfuKalfu is definitely not a warm and fuzzy Loa. He also happens to be the twin brother of Papa Legba,
and helps control the crossroads between the dead and the living as well. However, Kalfu is considered to be more of an evil twin and is known to only let bad spirits cross over. While Papa Legba’s righteousness caused him to become old and frail, Kalfu stayed young and strong. Since balance is needed in the world, Kalfu is a very important Loa and is necessary to compliment his brother. Kalfu’s power with black magic leads people who desire injustice, misfortune, and destruction to call upon him. Despite being a feared Loa, he is also well respected thanks to his power.
The Orishas—particularly the Seven African Powers—are a group of spirits originating from Yorubaland, which is a region in Africa spanning Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. Some people liken the Orishas to gods and goddesses. They are similar but not quite the same. Put simply, Orishas are spirit beings who may be anywhere from intangible to fully manifest in the flesh. They represent facets of God, the Supreme Deity—manifestation of God’s many faces and natures, if you like. Each Orisha has an associated color, an appropriate offering, and other associations.
Shango is the most beloved of all Orishas. He is the immensely powerful Lord of Thunder, Lightning, and Fire. His colors are red and white, and his loves dancing and music. Lover boy supreme, Shango epitomizes virility, male beauty, and the procreative energy. He is invoked for courage and justice, and in Yoruba cosmology, lightning is understood as an instrument of divine justice, retribution, and protection. As the wielder of lightning, Shango provides victory over enemies and protects from all evil by breaking hexes, curses, and evil spells. With a bio like that, it’s no wonder Shango is the most popular!
It should go without saying that if you plan to invoke and work with the Orishas or Loa (whether Shango or Kalfu or others), you should approach them with respect and reverence. Understand the culture and people from whence these magical beings came. These spirits, the Orishas and Loa, were brought to the Americas on the backs of the enslaved Africans. They’ve survived because of the culture. They’ll continue to survive through those who need a little extra help.
Looking for help choosing your next read or a gift for the reader in your family? Here’s a glimpse of The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, Book 3 in my young adult time travel adventure series…
True freedom happens only when you choose to be free.
Eleven-year-old Drake Bailey is an analytical thinker and the genius of the Timekeeper crew. However, no logic or mathematical acumen can change the color of his skin, or prepare him for this third Timekeeper mission in antebellum Georgia. To survive, Drake must learn to play the role of a plantation slave and when confronted with the brutality, hatred, and racism of the deep south, he’ll have to strategically keep one move ahead of his sadistic captors to ensure his lineage continues.
In a dark world of Voodoo, zombies, and ritualistic sacrifice, the Timekeepers must ensure a royal bloodline survives. Can Drake remove both literal and figurative chains to save both himself and a devout slave girl from a terrible fate? If he can’t summon the necessary courage, humanity could stand to lose one of its greatest leaders.