Indio, El

El Indio (“The Indian”) is an ancestral guardian spirit originally venerated in Mexican Santeria and Espiritismo traditions. Although there are archetypal Indio spirits, this is a class of spirits: each medium, devotee, or spiritualist may have their own unique Indio who serves as spiritual advisor and/or guardian. To some extent El Indio corresponds to Brazilian Caboclo spirits. Mass-produced images of typical Indio figures are available from botanicas and spiritual merchants; however, unique personal images can easily be substituted. Although this class of spirit is very popular in the Spanish Caribbean and is perceived as an ancestor, the image does not portray a native Caribbean or Mexican. Instead, images generally depict an idealized North American Plains Indian dressed in buckskin and frequently wearing a feathered war bonnet.

• El Indio de la Paz, or the Indian of Peace, serves as a sentinel and guardian. He is commercially portrayed as a man sitting cross-legged, smoking the sacred pipe.

• El Indio Guerrero, or the Warrior Indian, is petitioned for protection and to bolster courage. He may be armed and/or wear a war bonnet. (Alternatively, he just looks fierce.) He is identified as a Native American warrior persistently battling for land, rights, autonomy, and dignity and is a valued spiritual advisor.


Tobacco, beads, cornmeal; individual spirits will advise regarding preferred offerings.



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.


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