I love to get the opportunity to show off my amazing friends and their equally amazing talents. Author Donnie Light is one of those amazing folks. He’s just finished the first draft of his latest book and told me about this remarkable warrior woman, Lozen. I’d never heard about her before, so I asked Donnie to share what he’d learned with all of us. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
First off, thank you, Terri Reid, for allowing me a guest spot for this article!
I recently finished the first draft of my latest book, the second in a series called The Lightning Ghost. In this series, my heroine, Jenny McLane, has developed the ability to visit the past—as a ghost. While in the past, she enters a strange dimension called The Fray, where all sorts of strange and dangerous beings exist.
A recurring theme in The Lightning Ghost books is that Jenny encounters ghosts who linger about this world because they are unsettled about what happened in their life on Earth. While researching historical characters, I ran across one of my now favorite historical figures: LOZEN.
Lozen was a revered warrior and medicine woman of the Chiricahua Apache tribe, who lived in the late 19th century. She was a sister of the famous Apache leader Victorio, and she gained a reputation as a skilled warrior and strategist, as well as a powerful healer and seer.
She was said to have a range of psychic and supernatural abilities that were highly valued by her people. She was able to communicate with spirits, including the spirits of the deceased, and to see into the future through visions and dreams. She was also said to have the power to heal the sick and wounded with her touch, and to call forth rain during times of drought.
One of Lozen’s most remarkable abilities was her talent for tracking and sensing the presence of enemies. She could locate enemy camps and follow their movements through the wilderness with uncanny accuracy, using her psychic gifts to anticipate their actions and plan effective ambushes. Her abilities were so highly regarded that she was often called upon by other Apache tribes to aid them in their campaigns against the US and Mexican armies.
Despite her powerful gifts, Lozen was known for her humility and her devotion to her people. She refused to take part in any raid or battle that she believed would harm innocent civilians and instead focused her energies on defending her tribe and their way of life. She was known to pray for guidance before making any decision and to act only when she believed that the spirits were on her side.
Tragically, Lozen’s story ends in sorrow. In 1886, she and her brother Victorio were captured by the U.S. Army and sent to a reservation in Florida. There, they were separated from their people and forced to live in squalid conditions. Lozen died of tuberculosis in 1890, far from her homeland and her people.
Despite the hardships she endured, Lozen remains an inspiration to many today. Her courage, skill, and dedication to her people have earned her a place in history as one of the greatest Apache warriors and spiritual leaders of all time. Her legacy continues to inspire people around the world to stand up for what they believe in and to fight for justice and freedom.
The character of Lozen was not only inspiring, but she became the model for a character in Book 2 of The Lightning Ghost, which should be published later in 2023. I have changed her name in the book because I felt I could not do the real-life Lozen the justice she deserves. Many of the historical records leave out any mention of her psychic powers, but others do mention them, and in my case, those gifts and her story were perfect for my character.
Here’s a quick excerpt from the first draft, when Jenny travels to the past and meets Lozen for the first time. In this scene, Lozen’s group has been captured and put on railcars to be taken to a government prison. In Jenny’s time, Lozen is an angry, earthbound spirit, still seeking retribution:
As Jenny turned back toward Lozen, she found her gazing upward, tracking with her steely, dark eyes, as if seeking something. Lozen’s head went back down, her roughened hands on her knees. Only seconds later, Jenny heard a voice.
“Has Ussen sent you to me again?” the voice asked.
Jenny looked around to see who was talking, only to find most of the Apache prisoners in roughly the same sitting position as before.
“Lozen speaks to you,” the voice said. “Lozen seeks a message from Ussen.”
Recognizing the name Ussen as the supreme Apache deity from the articles she had read, Jenny was at a loss for what to say. She had no message to deliver but wanted to offer something to the forlorn figure sitting before her.
“Speak, or begone, red spirit,” Lozen’s spirit said.
“I bring a message of guidance to you,” Jenny replied. Knowing only what she had read about Lozen, she offered what she could. “Continue to lead and protect your people.”
Lozen’s head nodded subtly, her thick hair swaying with the movement. Jenny then watched as Lozen’s spirit rose from her body and drifted toward her. In the spirit world, her raggedy clothing was replaced by a flowing gown and shoulder-wrap, decorated in the Apache way. She stared at Jenny, then glanced around the railcar at the silent prisoners.
“My people are few, and they are defeated,” Lozen said.
Jenny knew that this was Lozen’s last trip of her life on Earth. Her last battle had been fought, but she wanted to comfort the warrior in some way. “Your people are proud and will live on,” Jenny said. “The fighting is over, Lozen. You have served your people as well as any could. Generations of Apache and many others will remember the name Lozen.”
Lozen turned. “They will remember me in bondage?” she asked. “Freedom is no longer ours. What good is Lozen’s name remembered only by prisoners?” She drifted around the car, and Jenny stayed close. “Even the great Geronimo has fallen to the white men,” she said, hovering above the great warrior. “All is lost, unless I can free them.”
Jenny locked eyes with Lozen. “You have not been defeated, you have been overwhelmed. The world changes, and your enemy is legion. Against such odds, victory is impossible, but you have not been defeated.”
Lozen seemed to consider, then spun around. “Imprisoned people are the same as defeated people!” she spat. “What good has been done by all the Apache blood spilled? What good comes from the beating heart of a warrior who is trapped in a cage?”
“Live and lead by example,” Jenny said. “Your people need the leader they consider a legend.”
“Bah!” Lozen said. She waved an arm toward Jenny and then settled her spirit back into her body. Her voice alone came to Jenny once again. “Go back, red spirit, unless you have a message from Ussen.”
The railcar began to lurch forward with groans and mechanical clangs. The steam-whistle blasted a lonely sound across the desert of New Mexico. Jenny hung suspended above Lozen as the railcar moved away. The freight car moved away, and Jenny watched it grow smaller, the engine spewing clouds of dark-gray smoke in a dissipating trail.
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Thanks, Donnie! And I encourage everyone to check out his free ghost story featuring Mary O’Reilly!