King of the Crossroads: Kalfou

“All magic passes through my crossroads – good, bad, in-between – Legba will protect you, but I?  I will show you your true potential.”

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Met Kalfou  is the dark horse Petro lwa, king of the crossroads, equated with the Devil, a dark spirit whose veve of two writhing snakes belies how all evil spirits and curses stem from his dark magic and enchanted leaves.  He is either the brother or dark side of Papa Legba, the guardian of ceremony and entrances and exits in Haitian Vodou.  Kalfou, or Carrefour, is Legba’s flip side, the shadow side of the kindly grandfather of the Vodou pantheon.

I call him the Man in Black, as he favors tailored black and red pinstripe suits, vests, blood hued ties, a monocole, cane, shining patent leather shoes, and cufflinks in the shape of snakes.  He is rarely without a Cuban cigar, rum, or his favorite blunts, and you can oftentimes find him working dark magicks and hexes with the leaves and herbs of his favorite trees or plants or crooning away at a piano as he sings sultry jazz.

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His skin is dark as night, he sports braids or locks that look like the sheen of an oil spill, and his eyes are either fully black as pitch or have red irises.  To me, he appears as a part of, but independent of, Samael.  Spirits rarely overlap for little hard polytheist me, but a vivid memory stands out in my astral dreams:

I’m sitting at the kitchen table with Samael, who is cutting herbs that smell like the forest.  He pauses with his knife and the blade reflects in his eyes.  Suddenly, his form shifts into an African man that I have seen throughout my childhood from the age of four on – coated in writhing darkness, the Shadow Man, and the caul slips away to reveal his second most taken human form besides the Middle Eastern one he usually dons, what I call evil Bob Marley.  He smiles and it looks like he is a lion ready to devour prey.

“Who are you, when you’re like this?” I ask him, hesitant.

He twines a blood red thread from his tie around his fingers then brutally snaps it.  His eyes are liquid oil spills of Pre-Cambrian depths and I see birds fly in them then sink into tar and die.  His nails are long and curved into talons, and he brushes a loc back.

“Kalfou: it is one of my many names.”

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I Google the unheard of before name when I wake up and discover it is no other than the lwa syncretized as the Devil but still not really Satan, but something perhaps older and even more dangerous.  I guess all these years he wasn’t playing at Evil Bob Marley after all and his passion for jazz might be organic, not acquired.

I think of the Devil at the crossroads, of souls sold for musical genius, and how others view Samael as Chango or Baron Samedi.

But not me.  To me, he is, yet is not, Met Kalfou, Mister Carrefour

I go through my drawings and find endless sketches of his as yet unnamed face.  To me, his eyes are galaxies, black hole hearts, and his power is that of the devouring void.

Being in his presence makes me uneasy.  He reminds me of a black mamba, and he takes another thread, then

Snap.

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