Lucero

Lucero

Also known as: Lucero Mundo (Light of the World); Lubaniba; Nkuyo

Origin: Congo

Classification: Nkisi

Lucero is among the most beloved spirits of the Afro-Cuban religion, Palo, which is based on Congolese spiritual traditions. Lucero is a divine messenger, master of the crossroads and guardian of the soul. He closely resembles Elegba (Eshu Elegbara) but whether or not they are the same spirit is subject for passionate debate:

• Some describe Lucero as a descendent of Elegba.

• Some identify Lucero as a Cuban path of the Haitian crossroads spirit, Maitre Carre four (who also may or may not be Elegba)

• Lucero may also be an independent Congolese crossroads spirit.

Lucero and Eshu Elegbara are easily mistaken for each other. They rule similar dominions. Even their images are similar: both spirits are venerated in the form of a concrete head embellished with cowries. However, Lucero’s head is kept discreetly in a cabinet or similar enclosed, dark place, not placed openly behind the door as is done with Eshu Elegbara’s image. Lucero guards travelers and opens avenues of opportunity. Small travel-sized Lucero cement heads are marketed.

Both spirits are tricksters however Lucero is more temperamental and volatile than Eshu Elegbara. (In this way, he more closely resembles Maitre Carrefour.) He shares Eshu Elegbara’s solar associations but unlike Eshu, Lucero is never depicted as a child or elderly man. Lucero’s name derives for the Spanish word indicating the morning star. Like Eshu Elegbara, Lucero may be associated with the Christian devil but is also syncretized to Saint Anthony.

Iconography: Lucero’s image is a cement head packed with magical herbs and dirt gathered from the crossroads, cemetery and forest. Cowrie shells form his eyes, ears and mouth. Coins are affixed to the bottom of the image, usually five nickels. Lucero’s sigil consists of a pair of crossed arrows, two suns and two crosses.

Planet: Sun; Venus

Colors: Red, black

Offerings: Cigars; rum in which spicy hot peppers have been steeped

See also:

  • Carrefour
  • Maitre;
  • Eshu Elegbara;
  • Nkisi

Judika Illes
From the Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

Categories Nkisi