Nkuyu, also called Lucero Mundo or Nkuyo is regarded as the most important mpungu (deity) among the other deities in Palo Mayombe. He is the god of woods, crossroads, and wilderness. Lucero in Spanish means lightning (Morning Star). The lightning also represents the descend of a spirit to the earth.
Nkuyu is said to have an errant nature and he lives in the wilderness, forests or top of the bamboo tree. He is the Guardian of the Cemetery door, of Voyages, Fortunes and the Moon.
Nkuyu is associated with balance and guidance. He is also known for his wisdom through which he guides men. He is said to be tricky, fickle and mischievous like a child. He can also play the role of fierce defenders, contending strongly with his enemies.
He is also said to be fond of dragonflies, fireflies, sparks from a forge and everything that can produce fire such as mercury and sulfur.
Lucero is the one that travels the paths and roads. He is believed to be the deity who shuts and opens doors. He is known as the divine messenger. He sees everything and no spiritual energy can be accessed without him.
Therefore, he is first acknowledged in every rite or ceremony. He is said to be the first to receive the mysteries of the Supreme Deity, Nzambi. His personality is so revered that that alongside with Zarabanda, must have individual shrines dedicated to them by any Tata of Palo Mayombe.
Tata must establish a good connection with him to get their requests met. Failure to do so will result in very futile efforts. It is advised that anyone going into agreement with him must do so very carefully as he is known to be tricky in his methods.
He can be compared to a strong magnet that can repel or pull the forces of good and evil. He places the character of the man on trial using challenges and tests.
He is consulted on issues relating to employment, cleansing, legal and court matters, protection and road opening.
Nkunyu is also appeased and consulted with sacrifices and offerings which include: rum, cigars, peppered rum, and animal sacrifices. His sacrifices are presented to him in the wilderness. His sacred colors are red and black and his dedicated number is number 21.
He shares similar traits with the Holy Infant of Atocha; a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. He is also likened to the orisha of the Santeria and Yoruba religion, Eleggua or Eshu.
Nkuyu’s shrine is built using a red and black painted terracotta pot filled with earth samples from different locations. Examples of these locations are forests, crossroads or cemetery. It is filled with sticks got from the forests. The pot is decorated with beads, feathers of a sacrificial bird and leaves associated with the mpungu. At the center of the pot is the statue of Lucero.