Customs

The Red and Black Wayruro Seed Charms in Cusco

Huayruros

Used as an amulet since Inca times, the wayruro (ormosia coccinea), also spelled huayruro is a red and black seed from lowland Peru. It still claims importance today, as a source of luck and riches.

Lowland peoples in the Amazon jungle use juice from the seeds in small dosages to cure problems of the eyes, such as conjunctivitis.

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It is said that there when youths of certain groups are isolated in the deep forest as part of an initiation ritual they can find there way home and receive orientation from the wayruro trees they find along their way.

The seeds that are intensely red and have a black spot are said to be male seeds while those that are just red are said to be female seeds. Our grandparents also say that there are completely black seeds and they have a different meaning and a different use in rituals and offerings.

Information exists on the historical use of the wayruro from pre-Hispanic times in the writings of the Spanish chroniclers. They talk about their many uses. Today you will find people who wish to do commerce and they wear these seeds as necklaces, bracelets, or they simply have seeds in their purses or wallets to bring good fortune their way.

These seeds are used today in costume jewelry to make beautiful necklaces which tourists buy as a souvenir of their visit to the Amazonian jungle. It is a popular seed. It represents and reminds us of Peru’s jungle.

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