The History of Lucero

A Representation of Lucero

Editor’s Note: The following article is a contribution from Tata Nkisi Luceroviramundo. Although it is not from the experiential point of view The Mystic Cup encourages, the information is very much welcomed as it presents a foundation about of Lucero. This foundation could be further enriched by other tatas and yayas who could contribute to the dialogue by telling us about their experiences with Lucero.

Gobernar Lucero
Lucero Prima, Lucero Gobernador
Lucero, Lucero Gobernador
Lucero Abre Camino, Lucero Gobernador

Lucero is the keeper of potential, possibility, and the great secrets of Cosa Congo Mayombe. Lucero is the hidden foundation that has stayed a constant throughout all the changes in Cosa Congo Mayombe history – changes that still continue as I write this. I think though, that it is important that people know a little about his origins, and what he truly has meant for people for untold centuries.

Lucero has his origins in what is known as the Bayombe (Mayombe) forest region of the central to northern Congo Basin. This is the home of the Yombe people – from who what we come to know as Palo evolves in Cuba. To the Yombe, he was known as Nkuyo (En-ku-yo), or Nkuyo Nfinda. The Yombe lived primarily in the forests near the Kuilu river, upstream from the city of Loango, which was the center of one of the great kingdoms of the Kongo.

Nkuyo was known by other names in the surrounding regions, but his function remained the same. To the culturally and linguistically similar Bavili, he was known as Bunzi, or Phulu Bunzi (not to be confused with the Bunzi of the southern Congo, who was a female serpent spirit who presided over good rains). Bunzi was the keeper of law, the winds, the sky, and moral tradition for Bavili (as was Nkuyo). It was said that whenever a shooting star passed the sky, it was Bunzi/Nkuyo coming to visit his people on the Earth. The shooting star was known as Tetembua. Tetembua in Cuba becomes Tetengua – which translated into Spanish, becomes Lucero – a falling star or a great light.

As keeper of the traditions of moral and spiritual law, the stories of Nkuyo of the Yombe people differ slightly from Bunzi. Nkuyo, much like his people, was a king of the forest who was given favor over his younger brother Nkuyu for his adherence to moral and spiritual law. The children of Nkuyu are spirits of the dead who have lost their way. They are cunning, deceiving, intelligent, mischievous, and predatory to the world of the living. The Yombe would capture the Nkuyu and seat them in ceramic vessels, under the watch and domain of Nkuyo, in order for them to learn to serve humankind and evolve past their destructive state. This concept in Cuba would later translate to what would become the Prenda.

Nkuyo and Bunzi are said to have brought the first Nkisi medicines from Ezulu (the heavens) to help the plight of mankind. He brought the understanding of divination and the movement and passing of time and the seasons. He brought moral law, justice, and medicine to the people. It is no coincidence that the Lucero Guardianero is often one of the first things that that an Ngeyo may receive after an initiation, and why so many houses of Palo still insist that a Lucero must be a guide to and Prenda that is built. Even as the Tronco Mayor of Palo lineages tend to be Nsasi (Siete Rayo – Seven Rays) and Sarabanda (Nsala Mbanza – never ending hard work), Lucero is still the guide a regulator to us all – living and dead.

By Tata Nkisi Lucero Vira Mundo

33 Replies to “The History of Lucero”

  1. Nsalem Malecum

    This is an excellent piece of oral tradition that you are sharing. When I was rayado in the munanso I came from Lucero is not the first thing we recieve. It does not make it right or wrong it is just the tradition of my tata munanso. We recieve the nganga of lucero, not the one with the cement head.

    I have found that Lucero is an nkisi that take time to harness his energies. Especially during the phase the new or full moon, or during an eclipse.

  2. “When I was rayado in the munanso I came from Lucero is not the first thing we recieve.”

    Palo is tricky like that. No matter who I talk Palo with, there is always so much that is the same, but so much that is different. However, Palo is a living, evolving, breathing religion that changes everytime a new Prenda is constructed. I love the fact that it is not homogenized and their is something new to discover every day.

  3. What you are saying is true just like in some munanso the first nganga you recieve is the nkisi who came out to be your madre or padre. In some munanso it is read first in front your tata Nganga which nganga you should recieve first.

    I do not personally agree that lucero should be recieve the first nkisi someone should recieve. As we know lucero as the messenger, when something come your way who lucero is giving the message to?

    It is just logic to me and I could be wrong that the person should recieve lucero with the nganga it walk with, or recieve lucero as an nganga.

    1. Lucero is more than just a messenger though. With the proper information, a Guardianero can be worked. In some Rama, a guardianero is used to read the nkobos.

      Ultimately, it comes down to the tradition of the house as to how the giving of Lucero – be it a full blown prenda or a guardianero.

  4. Nsala maleco Tata Nkisi Lucero Vira Mundo. I know you from somewhere else. 🙂 I really appreciate the story, it connects with me deeply. In my munanso, as Nkuyo has me he was the Ganga I recived. And that’s plenty…!!! Thanks! ~Curtis

  5. This is an excellent sharing. Its very hard to positive truth about our beautiful religion, that is Palo Monte. So many people misconstrued it and make it something its not. Everywhere over the internet, even from some Paleros themselves surrender themselves to evil ways and put Palo Monte in that same frame work which scare people terribly. I am still new to the religion, but have been around it for over a decade and know that it is not evil, only the people who are evil that chose to enjoy in such activities that then paint Palo as “evil” when it is not. its nice to find positivity surrounding our religion.

    Sala Malecom

    1. Hijo de Lucero

      Malekum nsalam,

      I am glad that you enjoyed the story. There is a lot of beauty and depth in Palo and yes, people like to taint that which they do not understand. Keep your heart in the right place and you will continue to discover a deep and rich world …

      Yaya 7 Nkele

  6. Omimelli.

    Thank you for your shift response. Its very refreshing brother. Its definitely a battle to dismiss all the negative connotations there is about our religion. All the sources, available in print (which should have never made it that far) aren’t very helpful in understanding because it has a subjective view as opposed to the core, objective origin of our faith. Do you know or recommend any material?

    Sala Malecom
    Hijo de Lucero

  7. Omimelli,

    As I came back to the forum to see if you responded or not, I quickly realized I addresed you as “Brother”, I apologize sister.

    Hijo de Lucero

  8. Howdy, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.

    1. Also mit Umlauten hatte ich bis jetzt keine Probleme. Alniedrlgs habe ich den Eindruck, das in letzter Zeit schwer erreichbar war. Evtl. liegts ja auch nur an der WM!

    2. Linda from NY // March 19, 2010 at 1:52 pm Hey Linda(r),Loved this comment ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Liberty1970Note to any Rogue States listening in: now would be a great time to lob a nuke at our capitol… sigh…^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Botox San Fran Nanny ain’t got the votes.

  9. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It is the little changes that will make the most significant changes. Many thanks for sharing!

  10. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  11. People always say that Palo is misconstrued but the fact is that sometimes people have to use an nganga to fight wicked people. My Lucero is crossed with Sarabanda . El mundo es lleno de maldad y aveces es necessario a fajar maldad con maldad. Lucero es mi confianza.

  12. I am very interested in learning all that I can about Palo, with Lucero, Sarabanda, and Chola Wengue being specific individuals of interest. I know that much of this info is available only to initiates or those in very close contact with a Tata y Yaya. I have been informed that the way of Palo is open to me at this time. However, I do not feel I am ready to take on that level of commitment just yet. Still, to satisfy my personal curiosities, I seek authentic information regularly. I am happy to have found your site, and I look forward to reading more.

  13. I meant to say that this is one of the most informative articles on Lucero that I have found on the web to date. None so far have gone so far as to point us to his origins in the world. All of this resonates with me deeply.

    I have heard that there are different names for Lucero. Or, perhaps I have the word wrong. Maybe not names, but something else that denotes a different aspect or personality maybe? There are different colors or combinations of colors for the collares (like maybe red and black, or blue, or yellow and white). Does any of that sound familiar to you?

    1. Sala maleco, Male con sala

      There are different names for Lucero, such as Nkullu, or Kelusekeseke. The colors for the collares for Lucero, that I have studied and noticed, are black and red. My ceremony outfit is black and red, on the collares if you look carefully, you will notice that Lucero’s colors are black and red, plus his number is three. So you will see a sequence of three black, three red.

  14. So much that has been lost in time what is religions so many people are just about the money there’s no respect in this no love for the religion nowadays everything has been makes the other religion not to do with this religion

  15. Hijo De Lucero

    Sala Maleco, Maleco Con Sala.

    I have recently been rayo into the religion Palo Monte. When I first went for my consulta, I was spoken to by Lucero. Then by Cubayende. Since being there for my consulta, I learned some things that happened in the past that no one knew about but los muertos wanted to prove to me that they were real. Well I kind of needed assurance, because I am a devoted Christian and I believe in God and grow up in church. Anyway, Los Muertos told me some things for me to believe then started my consulta and I asked questions of course. They told me that if I didnt want these bad things to happen and only the good to happen, I needed to be rayo. So on May 7th, 2016, I was rayo that day and boy, was that a beautiful day. Mi Padrino explained to me in my consulta that I was a son of one of the Muertos. He told me: “Tu eres el hijo de Lucero, you were born to be in this religion.” That shocked me. Like how can I be a son of something when I’ve never really been into these kind of religions. Anyway, I got rayo. And since I’ve gotten rayo, So many things have changed in my life. I stopped drinking, I stopped doing drugs, my anger problems have calmed down, I have doors opening and closing in my life because of my Lucero Papa. I’m learning about ceremonias, firmas, resos, etc. I’ve gotten into the religion very much since my rayamiento. I’ve learned my name in this religion, and let me tell you it is long. But i learned it. I learned my firma to connect to mi papa y los muertos. I’ve learned other firmas that have to do with Lucero papa, Sietes Rayos, learning rituals, etc. But let me tell you I’ve seen things in dreams, in life, and have heard mi papa whistling. So its beautiful if you do it for good energy and good fortune. But using it for bad stuff, not my cup of tea. Mainly cause if something goes wrong, mi padrino is not going to fix it. But in any case I read this article on the history of Lucero, because I wanted to learn a bit more about my ancestors.

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