Get to know a Lwa: Kouzen Zaka

Many Haitians are farmers; it’s a very agriculturally based economy. Back when the slaves freed themselves from their French owners, many went up into the mountains and began sustenance farming on small plots of land. This is where the Kouzen family of spirits came from.

Kouzen just means “cousin” in Kreyol. It’s a familiar term of address for anyone regarded as a friend, not just a family member. You could translate it to “friend” or “man” or “dude.” There are many Kouzen spirits (Kouzen Zaka Mede, Azaka Tonne, Minis Zaka); the most well-known of these is Kouzen Zaka.


The saint image commonly used for him is St. Isidore the Farmer, as illustrated above. This saint was so devoted to God that God sent His angel to plow Isidore’s fields so he could pray.

Kouzen is an agriculture spirit. He makes his living off the land. He is a “work lwa”. He loves to work on just about anything, and he likes to be busy. He is a bit shy and suspicious of outsiders, but once he gets to know you you are a member of his fami (family) and he will work so hard to provide for you.

His color is blue, especially blue denim (the outfit of a Haitian peasant). He will take white rum as an offering but his favorite liquor is made with white rum and wormwood.

He is excellent to talk to in regards to herbs and herbal medicine. Since he is a work lwa, he is excellent to talk to if you’re having trouble at your job. However, you have to pay him for his work (well, you have to pay all the spirits for their work in some way or another) and he can drive a hard bargain. Remember, you have the right to bargain with your spirits for a fair price.

His favorite food is a stew called tchaka. It’s made with pinto beans, corn, beef, and chayote squash. Recipes may vary but here is a good one. BIG IMPORTANT WARNING; when you cook for Kouzen it is VITALLY important that you do not taste his food. If you do, he will think you are stealing from him, and Kouzen hates thieves.

Kouzen has a special bag (note he has a bag over his shoulder in the above picture) where he keeps all his things. When I work with him and I put things in his bag, I tell him before hand, “Kouzen, I’m opening your bag to put this in.” I also tell him when I’m closing the bag. That way, he knows I’m not stealing from him.

Kouzen loves women, and he is a commonly married spirit. He is also good to go to in regards to marriage and relationships. Surprising, I know, but when he finds you a partner the relationship is solid and “grounded” and it will last.

Alasso Kouzen!


4 thoughts on “Get to know a Lwa: Kouzen Zaka

    1. Hi Thana: It could mean that Kouzen wants to start having a relationship with you; he could be wanting to give you something.

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