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

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comments 19 people have left their opinions, what is yours?

19 Responses to “The History of Lucero”

  1. Ginea Jacmel says:

    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. Tata Nkisi Lucero Vira Mundo says:

    “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. Ginea Jacmel says:

    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.

    • Tata Nkisi Lucero Vira Mundo says:

      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. gbredbone says:

    I just received my Lucero Prima and I’ve been scratched 7 Years. I’m grateful for this Page.

    Malembe

  5. Tata Nganga Nkuyo Nfinda Tsi says:

    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

  6. Hijo de Lucero says:

    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

    • Omimelli says:

      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

  7. Hijo de Lucero says:

    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

  8. Hijo de Lucero says:

    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

  9. garrick7 says:

    I really enjoyed the information about Lucero from the forum,,,please keep providing information very good,,,thank you

  10. jesse chandler says:

    i had a lucero made for me and it dosent look like anything in the pictures of lucero was i duped…

    • Omimelli says:

      Jesse

      Luceros come in different shapes and sizes. The photo you have there is just a representation of a Lucero. If you post a photo on your response or email one to mymysticcup@gmail.com I can give you an opinion.

      Omimelli

  11. Garland says:

    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.

  12. gamble says:

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

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  14. missy says:

    Ive been stracth 5 yrs. and finally received the pot of lucero..i must say i cnt complain so far.

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