If drinking with a guinea pig isn’t what you had in mind, maybe you should consider picking up some gorgeously hued red Huayruro seeds. Found in the pods of a tree native to Peru, these seeds are thought to bring good luck and wealth, while defending against harm and negative energy. The vibrant red and black hues are not only pleasing to the eye, but they’re also believed to bring balance. Collected from the jungle floor by locals, these seeds are usually kept in jars in the home, or worn as a bracelet. New born babies in Peru are often given Huayruro seeds as their first gift, as a welcoming wish for a blessed, prosperous life. These seeds are used by Peruvian artisans to craft spectacular pieces of jewelry, so be on the lookout next time you’re in the market.
If you’ve ever visited an Andean town in Cusco, such as Chinchero or Ollantaytambo, then chances are you noticed a pair of ceramic bulls on many of the rooftops. These ceramic bulls are also thought to ensure good luck, by protecting the house itself and by bringing health and abundance to the family inside. They’re called toritos de Pucar, “bulls of Pucara,” because authentic luck-bearing bulls come only from Pucara, a region just outside Cusco. They are always placed on the roof, where they can view the apus, the mountain gods of the ancient Incas. These gods are believed to be the most powerful of the natural spirits, protecting the local people of the highlands. The ceramic bulls help garner these protective spirits, bringing even more positive energy into the home.
Another widely used good luck charm in Peruvian folk culture is the milagro. The milagro, which translates from Spanish to mean “miracle” or “surprise,” is often a metal charm with a signifying shape, such as a heart (love), a leg (strength) or a man/woman’s head (spirit, wisdom). Traditionally, these charms would be offered to a saint as a religious votive for answering a specific prayer. For example, if someone had a sore leg, this person may use a small silver leg as an offering for the cure. Today, milagros serve many functions outside religious purposes. These ancient talismans continue to be used for good fortune, worn as necklaces, stashed under pillows or hidden in pockets. Some common milagros include the arm (work, touch), eyes (vision, intuition), sheep (community, faithfulness), horse (journey, travel), dog (protection, loyalty) or a house (protection, family). Another popular milagro is the heart-in-hand charm, which represents ones connectedness with others, the feeling of compassion and the healing quality of touch. Whether you’re looking for love, health or prosperity, I wish you the best of luck!